“These mainstream journalists…”

To everyone who is sick and tired of journalists yelling at you with fake reports, hear me out. I’m sorry we have media that fails in doing its fundamental duty – safeguarding democracy. I’m also sorry that you are made to feel anxious after listening to the 9am news bulletin. I apologise that you have to see disturbing images and videos on your TV just because some journalist forgot to take ethics seriously.

Now that we’ve set our apologies right, allow me to state what I’m not sorry for.

We live in 2020. We’ve experienced our bit of the tragedy with pandemic but during this crisis, we cannot help but criticise the media. Its loud, biased, untrue and most importantly, annoying.

Then why do we still switch on our TVs? Why do we endure something we know isn’t factual in the first place? Because living without news, if you aren’t ignorant, is impossible. We feed off of news on a daily basis. Our conversations are based off of prime time news. Our petrol prices, taxes, government mood swings are all told to us by the news. So how does something so fundamental to public get off hand?

It’s as simple as this – The news you receive isn’t functioning for you because it isn’t run by you. You believe you are entitled to good quality and fair news because you pay your cable bills and subscribe to the cheapest available daily, allow me to snap you out of your bubble.

You get a newspaper for as cheap as 5 rupee to a maximum of 15 rupee. There is no way that any organisation can hire journalists, buy equipments, carry out the printing, rent out an office and carry out investigation or even simple daily reports with that tiny sum of money. This is where advertisers come in. Why do you have sheets and sheets of advertisements of digital sales every morning staring at you? Because they help the organisation survive.

When you, as public, are not ready to pay a higher subscription rate to the press, how can you expect them to work in your interest?

Now a possible solution that you may have found is – government subsidies. Good argument. While governments fund the military and take interest in this investment, one can only see a handful of governments doing the same for their press. Now I don’t mean that the governments don’t pay the press to have their preferred narrative. What I mean is, government subsidies work as a functional model only if the model is mandatory to all news organisations with the exception of any government involvement in the news stories. Otherwise, the press turns into what it is now -a mouth piece of the government.

We have our right to speech, or rather, we had. The real problem with the mainstream media today is that it makes the ones who aren’t aware of its financial spine, believe its radical ideas. So when a left wing funded daily presents news to you, you have no access to the other side of the story. This is where caste issues, religious ideas and community conflicts stem. So the next time you expect to see a good journalist, prepare to fund their process. Because writing what is fair, what the government wants to hide from you, keeping the sense of democracy alive, is not possible without money.

Also remember, it is mainstream because you make it. There are smaller independent media organisations who try to bring way less radical reports but it is because you are unwilling to try out and support such organisations that we are stuck in this loop together.

Incase you’re willing to pay for the quality news, here are some sights that can help you understand how impactful a functional media can be –

https://ruralindiaonline.org

https://www.bloombergquint.com/bq-blue-exclusive

Side Note : Take some time to understand how they’re funded. If they have a particular ideology. Take time to understand the media and then accept the information. This helps you become aware and not manipulated.

Denial Around Climate Change

If you’ve come across folks who are delusional about things, you could relate to this.

Picture this, you’re sitting on a bench, sipping on your morning coffee and you see a kid walking around with a plastic bag wrapped around his neck. Give him 5 minutes, he’s gonna suffocate himself enough for it to be fatal. What do you do? Run upto to him and try to save this kid? Pretty obvious right? So then, Why don’t we do that for our cohabitants?

There are 7 billion of us. 7 billion breathing, working, functioning creatures that occupy a major chunk of the planet. Yet, we all go about our daily lives unthinkingly. While we sneak our scooters into small lanes, rush to grab our coffee, get all the paper work done with a slight frown, cover our nose when black smoke hits us, we seem to forget how co-dependent we are. 

There’s a beauty in cohabitation, one that we seem to have forgotten with the race for urbanisation.  The concept of sharing a space comes with responsibilities and we’ve not done a very good job at that. You’ve come across the video of the turtle that has a straw stuck up its nose, you’ve seen tons of plastic floating on the ocean and yet you go on about your day with your stupid little coffee mug, don’t you? Don’t we all? 

We are the bad guys here and the sooner we accept it, the lesser the damage is. You can call out to a single country for the global warming but that isn’t going to make a difference. You see people are simple, we know we kill animals, we always have, what’s the big deal in that, right? 

Well it is a big deal. Because while we stand worthy of the climate change, they don’t. While we build grey walls higher, they remain deserving of their green lands. 

But let’s not make this impersonal. Why don’t we care? Why haven’t we started working against it as a clan? Why doesn’t it affect us? 

I would say capitalism, easy politics, corporate demands, consumerism, plain old ignorance but lets go with – “Because it hasn’t hit us hard enough yet.” We’ve prayed for people affected with calamities, we’ve maintained a minute’s silent for the ones who lost their life but that’s about it. Real measures like choosing public transport, buying thoughtfully, treating our personal waste, switching to a zero-harm lifestyle are just for the you tubers right? We watch them, we try it out for a day or two and then just sit in coffee shops and demand the shopkeepers to change their products so that you’d automatically be saving the planet. For our little royal needs, the scientists are sure of a royal end. 

We live believing that all that’s given to us, is our right. And some of it is, but maybe your primary right is the climate right. But when I say you have the right to clean air, I mean you’re responsible for it as much as the next person is. In the present day, a glance at our newspapers tell us that there’s no real point waiting for the governments. We can’t gather circles and speak about how it is our fate because trying a new lifestyle is just too much of a task for us. 

They say the death of art is the tragedy of our times but I disagree. I think passiveness and the urge to look for convenient options is the real smoke of sorrow that surrounds us. While we know vertical gardens will filter the air in our cities, we’re too busy riding around in the comforts of our bikes. While we’re all trying to tone our bodies, we rarely walk to work. There’s so much we do that’s going  in the wrong direction that it aches my heart and many alike, who understand the impact of climate change. 

You know the facts and the data around climate change. The cause and effect of global warming but when are we gonna talk about how the mass beef consumption has led to mass forest fires to get land for grazing so that the burger on your plate tastes good. How the little bottle of water over the counter isn’t a mere purchase  but log that’ll choke animals to death. How, as we mindlessly go for rides, as the ozone gets cavities and there ain’t no dentist fixing those. How, as we go about with propagation, our landfills take up the lands we promise our children. 

There’s so much out there to talk about climate change and yet whenever we do, we stick to statistics. We stick with numbers and ideas and the need to drop that temperature by 2 degrees. But the need hold ourselves responsible is fundamental. We’ve done this and its our mess to clear. We’ve gotten comfortable but that’ll change when there’s constant cold, when there unstable climate will affect vegetation and we’ll starve, when the heat wave won’t just be a news from the UK but a fragment of your everyday sentences. The reality is harsh and its time everybody stops being delusional about it. There are children speaking but adults need to get the message into their thick skulls. Stop silencing young inds, stop silencing logic because it doesn’t get your revenue. Stop resisting this because its coming for all of us and some of us have decided to act. All I hope for those who are busy with their daily bread is that, when it’ll hit us, you’ll deserve it but not everybody did. 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the word ‘Minimalist’? Some popular ideas include – an empty house, the colors- black and white, fashion, slow and pale living and most importantly a hell of a commitment. The only one I’d partially agree to is the last. So to break it down to you, being a minimalist, simply means investing your money and time on the things that serve a functional purpose and nothing else.

While we run towards our dreams and aspirations trying miserably to keep it together and find happiness, perhaps we need to sit down with a cup of coffee and think if these dreams we keep running after, this idea of absolute satisfaction and joy is worth this whole struggle. Let’s look into why we are almost all the time in need or something or the other.

Given all that the current market has to offer, like cute Japanese stationery, millions of gadgets convincing you that you need help with just about everything, an option to choose from for every other item, a substitute for everything you probably already own and so on. Just when you decide to not go outside, you realize they’re all ready to deliver it to your doorstep. it may seem like a struggle but try to look at the bigger picture. Why are we constantly in search of something? Can we ever actually be content?

A popular blogger and minimalist, Leo Babauta wrote, ‘An ongoing quest for me, and one that I am renewing this year is to eliminate all that is unnecessary from my life.’ he continues by explaining what is truly necessary for life and that the rest can be avoided.

We are constantly engaged in making a list of things we believe we need. Seldom do we pause to question, ‘why’ and ‘Is it important?. ‘This isn’t limited to the market, even with relationships and any general investment of time or effort, we need to question if it’s truly worth it. Because if you do figure out the key to living a life that is simple and control this constant rush towards everything that your eyes fall on, that is when you’ll be a little more content and as far as happiness is concerned, well decluttering the unnecessary has never brought anybody sorrow. Unburdening yourself will ensure you control waste and save time.

Water : Too much or Too Little?

In a country like India it isn’t news that resources are kept at the doorstep for some and kept at the horizon for others. The rich and poor divide isn’t just theory around the nation, it’s a daily sight for everybody. Nobody really knows who to blame but it’s time we look into the logistics of the same.

The city of Bangalore acts as a crucial example for all that’s wrong with the entire country considering it’s the IT hub as well as the ‘Garden City’. Over the city, there is almost some construction work going on every day – be it drains, potholes, footpaths, flyovers etc. What media fails to mention is that every time there is a “crisis management” it is almost never planned, this is because there is no central account kept of all the development projects. Which means that drains are fixed right after road construction is accounted for.

This brings the spotlight to the authorities who take immense pride in boasting about all the “development” they’ve been aiding. The state has no ‘single/central plan’ for wholesome improvement which means they continue to invest millions from the treasure called ‘tax’ unthinkingly and this is problematic.

There are only a few things that are more problematic than improper management of resources, (which can be discussed on a later work) the most recent concern has been that revolving water. For a planet that is 2/3rd water we sure have a lot of water related concerns, this means both abundance and scarcity of the matter can kill the entire human race and for the same reason is something that should be written about.

In recent news, India has experienced floods in Karnataka and Kerala, two states where there were zero precautions taken for the same on a practical level. This is a result of inexperience on crisis and disaster management which is not a limited to “reaction” but also pro action. This includes coming up with a proper detailed safeguarding plans which ensure that any future disasters will cause minimal damage.  Which is absent in the present development cells.

Lets look at Bangalore City

The metropolitan city that hugs multiple cultures has drains almost at every nook and corner but the question is :

  1. Where do they meet?
  2. How is sewage treated?
  3. Are drains maintained regularly?
  4. How often are the drains blocked?
  5. Do the drains help during heavy rains?
  6. How effective are the road plans with regard to drains?
  1. Where do they meet?

These are all problems that end with revelation of the harsh reality. In practice, the locals almost always complain about how the drains  meeting up with lakes and ponds thereby polluting whatever water resources are available. This further leads to health issues and a larger problem of water scarcity.

India has not had the luxury of planning cities but Chandigarh, the shared capital of Punjab and Haryana stands as a classic example of why it should be popular and implemented.

For any piece of land to hold commercial and livelihood standards, a plan is essential. A systematic distribution of elements, a proper treatment of waste water along with other resources is a game changer for any economy.

In the city of Chandigarh not only is the commute planned but also the flow of drinking water, sewage and water bodies.  Bangalore, on the contrary rarely even carries out maintenance work for the existing drain networks. This just results in clogged drains, overflowing of water on a light downpour, scavenging and a fundamental destruction of all road or land projects.

The drains in the city usually pollute water bodies; a typical example is that of the foaming news of Bellandur lake. Other small towns usually have to wait for the local government inspections to even bring the problem to attention and then the wait for an actual situation takes another decade.

Most of the people are unaware of the pollution of water. This is typical of cities were overcrowding is a growing concern. This means high risks of communal diseases and damage beyond control.

  • How is sewage treated?

The bbmp along with all other state municipals have slight to no clue about waste water. This isn’t a local issue, it’s a national issue considering almost to state treats their waste water is a resourceful manner. The grey water is never flittered and sent for irrigation nor is it sent for treatment. Which means that we continue to exploit water until we can complain about its unavailability.

The sewage doesn’t collect in one big area, it is disseminated at various spots and because the covered drains are usually blocked due to the ignorance of the citizens, who take much pride in throwing out their garbage into the nearest water body, it isn’t surprising that treating this water would take a lot of effort.

Having stated that, other than private hotels and some companies, there is no real public sewage treatment plants. Most of the sewage is diverted to the lesser populated parts of the city, a disaster of a idea.  [https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/why-bengalurus-sewage-treatment-plants-may-never-be-enough-city]

  • Are drains maintained regularly?

The city has closed drains, which is admirable but these drains have slots for the water to run in which are very conveniently always blocked therefore cancelling out the very purpose of the drains. A simple way to avoid this and many other damages is by maintaining what we’ve already invested in. 

This doesn’t mean waiting for the rainfall to dig up freshly constructed roads in order to fix clogs. This means a regular check on the drains, proper filtering of waste, designing roads in favour of the flow and using assertive methods to ensure people aren’t throwing around garbage wherever they want.

  • How often are the drains blocked?

To clearly understand this, one can refer documentaries like “This is how we do it: cleaning a sewage.”  In simple words, drains in the country are blocked by a range of things like – construction waste, heavy plastic, cans and sometimes even dead animals.

In Delhi, the major internal stormwater drains were were caused by garbage, so much that TOI carried the news.  [https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/most-internal-stormwater-drains-blocked-by-garbage/articleshow/]

In the city of Bangalore, as depicted in the picture attached, the drains are blocked by as small as tea cups to unmanaged plastic.

The problem comes when we realise how quickly our drains block. MG road, the primary spot in the city were maintenance work isn’t as rare as the rest of it, drains get clogged the very hour after BBMP clears out waste. This indicates that citizens are just as responsible for clogged drains.

  • Do the drains help during heavy rains?

The city is currently experiencing a late monsoon, thanks to global  warming and the general ignorance around environment. What is worse than unnaturally heavy rain? Rain with nowhere to go. This is one of the reasons drains were built in the first place around commuting areas. Taking a drive around the city during a downpour accounts for the quality of the rains, not only does the water have no escape (due to blocks) but the water from the drains comes right out. This is because of the point mentioned in the introduction – improper management of resources. As the roads and drain maintenance is done without central plan, the roads are no longer slant slightly towards the drains but are the other way around. This is clearly evident in some parts of the city, thereby, yet again, cancelling out its very purpose, which is the sixth point of the argument made.

This ignorant use of water that is used and of the usable rainwater is to be looked upon while we complain of both water scarcity and floods. Planning the use and reuse of our resources sustainably will not only minimize our present chaos but also safeguard our future. The city of Bangalore represents all cities in the nation, one can only imagine the damages caused in areas with lesser commercial value.

Here are some images taken through smart phone while observing the water chaos in and around the city.

Not about green life. Perhaps Green mind?

Been in your pajamas all day? Complaining about how your day got ruined because your mom forgot to make you favorite breakfast?

It irritates me to see people constantly complain about how their day got ruined because of one thing or the other. Do I do the same thing, yes I do. Do I plan on doing something about it, yes I do. I’m not a morning person, so every time I get off the bed, I’m cranky, sleepy and probably cursing everything and everyone. We have 24 hours a day, how many of us actually use 50% of it? You can spend your day like a robot and complain why you’re day isn’t better or you could actually give a damn about other people, help them out a little bit, try not to be a complete @#$& , do something productive or helpful and come back to your home feeling a tiny bit better about yourself.

If we constantly focus on just ourselves we’d have very little reasons to be happy. Do something, make a difference and then maybe you could sit back and feel good about yourself. Help someone in need. Tell your friends they are important. Stop looking at the mirror and maybe look at your friend for once. Try keeping the phone away next time somebody tries to talk with you. In short , be someone you would respect. Become a person who is honest, worthy of respect and most of all loving.

Why did I bring this up? Its quite simple, we have all come to this point where kindness is a miracle and being selfish is a survival adaptation and self explanatory. How many times have you asked somebody to shut up? How many times have you cursed for no reason at all? How many times did you try to make someone smile today?

These are all pretty simple questions we can ask ourselves. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to be a kind person. And honestly, the world could use a little bit of kindness and love.

Accidentally Eco-friendly

It’s lovely to know that some habits, that come naturally to us are a step in the right way. The problem however is that the majority of our habits aren’t “Ideal.”

Here are some of the observations I made this month.

CCD seems to be doing it right! Greener options at your counter!
Met this vendor names Aruna, told me ” Everybody needs a matka during summer, so I made it more High Tech”
A friend recently yelled out ” ‘Eco part of ecofriendly’ but all freaking plastic bottles”, do you read out descriptions too? These folks

Some of the things we do right involve :

  1. Using stairs instead of elevators in our buildings – Not only is this a healthier option but it also ensures saving some amount electricity and let’s not forget all the infrastructural waste involved. Some of us don’t do this because of all the money involved and I believe it comes to mind only after making a building with more than 4 floors, traditionally speaking.
  2. Utensils – Steel/wooden/mud utensils are quite popular in some cultures, more so in Asian kitchens, these are great alternatives for plastic. The use of such utensils and other kitchen appliances ensures long term use and easy disposal.
  3. Our storage choices – One of the perks of not having great import material selection in my country is the absence of zip-lock bags. I know, super convenient. But here’s the thing, you get a 100 in a pack and suddenly you need a ziplock for everything. Not so ideal. In the absence of such luxuries, you store your fruits normally i.e, without a shield, which is quite appropriate if you ask me. Use your containers, or store them casually, all it takes is regular cleaning – which I support and encourage.
  4. Social Media Addiction – We keep scrolling, in the morning, while using the loo, at the bus stand, in bed, everywhere. The chances of us not knowing about environmental issues is extremely minimal. And every once in a while it affects a person or two, which is the intention of this blog as well. With the prominent discussions on the issue, even the smallest group of people who are affected is a good sign.

Things you need to stop buying right now.

So many of us fall into the trap of capitalists and drain our energy and income on buying everything available in the market. Everytime money flows into our hands we run to the nearest store and fill up our carts and expect happiness over the counter.

“If you’re someone who cares about environment, then being a minimalist is easier but people usually tend to find it very challenging when they’re not sure about their priorities. That is until they practice it and suddenly their bank account isn’t as sad as it used to be before,”


Ms. Justine Adams, an environmentalist.

One of the most compelling reasons to try out this lifestyle seems to be the better investment of money and few people are willing to try it out. If you’re someone who never feels good enough about the things you own and keep thinking “I need to go shopping,” here are some things you can stop buying.

  1. Bags – Think about it, how many bags do you need? Like really. How many of the 7-15 bags you own, do you use? Theres no need for a giant collection of bags because most of them serve the same purpose. Now if your argument is “But they don’t all go with every piece of clothing,” my response would be, life isn’t a runway in this particular sense. Do get or DIY cloth bags to avoid buying plastic bags but don’t get too much of any thing. Follow the golden rule – Get your basics
  2. Show pieces – You want to upscale your place? The first thing that comes to mind happens to be decor items. They serve no real purpose. Its as simple as that. Instead of getting an odd giant dog statue (Friends reference, I know) get a functional item. Invest in a plant, a real one, breath a little better. Put up photographs and no mini statues, your house doesn’t have to be museum.
  3. Furniture – So many of us have a dinning set thats just there, serving no or minimal function. Stop buying furniture in bulk, understand that for a house of four, four chairs is enough. Don’t rationalise it with “What if guests come?.” Thrift furniture, this helps you save money and ensure you don’t fall for the ‘wholesale’ idea.
  4. Grocery list – By the age of 20 or 25, I’m sure many of us develop a mental list of the things we eat as per the quantity. So while shopping for grocery, don’t pull in that chips packet (Struggling with it myself), buy items in bulk so you don’t keep running errands. Look for longevity of products rather than packaging appeals. Before going to the counter, go through the items and check if there is anything that’s avoidable.
  5. Water Bottles – An extremely small item but one that makes a huge impact. Take the effort of carrying a water bottle with you, do not try to be a camel. Carry water to avoid buying small water bottles that get dumped almost instantly. Same goes for other drinks, if you have the choice of getting the drinks in paper cups or glass bottles,prefer that over tetra-packs.
  6. Body wash and Lotion spray – Inexpensive and most importantly, doesn’t come in a plastic bottle. So many of us fall into the idea of “its easier with a shower gel” or , in the case of body lotion”why apply lotion when you can spray it?” Because, these aren’t tiresome tasks. Take a moment to understand that using soap, isn’t similar to moving a huge rock, it’s legit the size of your palm. Advertisers know their job and so now you think having a gel is going to make your bath-time easier.
  7. Shoes – “But there are so many options!!! I need one for each kind of outfit,” is something my sister told me a week ago. After being asked, “How many of them do you use regularly, we both came to the conclusion that she didn’t, infact need all those shoes. Again, the golden rule of basics can be applied here. Keep it simple and understand the role of a shoe.

These are small steps to ensure that your wallet doesn’t drain out. Buy things when you have to, don’t make purchases for the sake of it. If you restrain yourself from buying items that are unnecessary you will have the luxury of savings, most importantly a sense of security and if you’re doing it right, you might just find happiness and contentment.

Featured

The Minimalistic Lifestyle

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the word ‘Minimalist’? Some popular ideas include – an empty house, the colors- black and white, fashion, slow and pale living and most importantly a hell of a commitment. The only one I’d partially agree to is the last. So to break it down to you, being a minimalist, simply means investing your money and time on the things that serve a functional purpose and nothing else.

While we run towards our dreams and aspirations trying miserably to keep it together and find happiness, perhaps we need to sit down with a cup of coffee and think if these dreams we keep running after, this idea of absolute satisfaction and joy is worth this whole struggle. Let’s look into why we are almost all the time in need or something or the other.

Given all that the current market has to offer, like cute Japanese stationery, millions of gadgets convincing you that you need help with just about everything, an option to choose from for every other item, a substitute for everything you probably already own and so on. Just when you decide to not go outside, you realize they’re all ready to deliver it to your doorstep. it may seem like a struggle but try to look at the bigger picture. Why are we constantly in search of something? Can we ever actually be content?

A popular blogger and minimalist, Leo Babauta wrote, ‘An ongoing quest for me, and one that I am renewing this year is to eliminate all that is unnecessary from my life.’ he continues by explaining what is truly necessary for life and that the rest can be avoided.

We are constantly engaged in making a list of things we believe we need. Seldom do we pause to question, ‘why’ and ‘Is it important?. ‘This isn’t limited to the market, even with relationships and any general investment of time or effort, we need to question if it’s truly worth it. Because if you do figure out the key to living a life that is simple and control this constant rush towards everything that your eyes fall on, that is when you’ll be a little more content and as far as happiness is concerned, well decluttering the unnecessary has never brought anybody sorrow. Unburdening yourself will ensure you control waste and save time.