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Time’s Running Out – Or Has It Already?

Time's running out...

Every day, my social media feed is filed with many doom-laden articles, predicting the end of everything as we know it. End of the world. Asteroid crash. Depletion of natural resources. Climate change. Extinction of yet another beautiful animal.

It may sound a bit too doom-and-gloom for many people out there but the reality is that we are on a fast track to the end of days and even doing an about-face at this stage of the game is not going to change the outcome. Rather like termites ripping through the wood they make their homes in, we humans are eating, chewing and spitting out this beautiful world we occupy and we don’t seem too fazed at the thought of the whole thing falling about our ears like a pack of cards.

Along with most natural resources, we are fast running out of clean and safe water. Water is an essential resource. A human will not survive for more than three days without consuming water; at around the fifth day mark, the organs will shut down and that will be it for the person. Still, we don’t seem to be too bothered about this and are happily dumping our raw sewage in clean water sources, polluting the source and the ground water for ever.

We visit a number of housing developments as a part of our job; gated communities housing hundreds of families are our biggest consumer base as they buy tanker loads of water for their daily use and as such, are open to any and all suggestions to keep track of their consumption and bills.

One of the site visits we went to was this beautiful community not too far from a smallish lake, far away from the city centre. It was a picturesque location, one that must have done most of the selling for the builder. What shocked us upon arrival was the information that, despite having a lovely water body on their doorstep, the community still bought their water. Despite having a lake within spitting distance, the residents still paid money and bought water as said water body and the ground water was totally contaminated. 

How did that happen, you ask?

As is typical around these parts, where the government is yet to lay down water and  sewage facilities, tankers carry in water and another lot pump out the sewage and carry them out, to be disposed of safely. Only, safe disposal isn’t really what we’ll call what happens. Many of these tanks carrying raw sewage just drive out far enough to get away from the densely populated areas and dump the contents of their truck in the open. Polluting the water source for ever.

As more and more areas get developed, the once-pristine-now-messed-up-forever areas are slowly becoming sought after locations for building the next new development. With a totally unusable water table. Result? The spanking-new apartment might look over a lake but the water in it is totally unfit and what’s more, pure poison.

This is just one example of what is happening to our surroundings, thanks to the short-sightedness of our fellowmen. What we don’t seem to realise is that our actions have an ever-lasting and long-reaching impact. Let me put it this way: imagine the world as it was when your grandfather was born. Look around you today and try to imagine what it would like when your grandchild takes his first breath.

If he can take breath in the waste land we are leaving him.

Let us try to reduce the rate in which we are going through the vastly limited natural resources. Recycle, reuse. Let us bring down the pollution a few notches. We may have lost the war but we can win a few skirmishes to stem the tide.

Save water. Stop pollution. Be more aware of your actions and their repercussions.

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Pint-sized Juicers Help Locals Beat The Heat

BEAT THE HEATFor the past couple of weeks, a bunch of children no older than 11, have been industriously trying to help their fellow citizens beat the heat. Every Saturday, from 4.00 pm onwards, this delightful group, whose youngest member is not even 5, make fresh juices, and give them to members of the public.

Did I mention it was all free of charge?

Hard to believe, isn’t it? That was the reaction of most of the passers-by, when the squeaky voices urged them to halt and quench their thirst with their choice drinks. All made from pure, filtered water and containing no additives, the fresh juices and spiced buttermilk proved to be manna from heaven for the weary walkers of Besant Nagar.

Parents trundling with their young children, old grandmas carrying heavy bags, construction workers taking a break from their arduous day, studious older children zooming past in their bikes to tuition classes and badminton lessons, aayaahs and watchmen, none could escape the eager voices shouting “Juice! Juice! Fresh juice!” and stopped by with a ready smile and eager questions for the young juice dispensers.

Juice!!

While their mothers kept a watchful eye on their charges from the background, ensuring the youngsters didn’t venture too close to the traffic in their enthusiasm, the children had a field day, trying to outdo one another in promoting their juice to everyone. As each of them made and brought one flavour each, they were all eager to see that their juice outsold the others. Thus, puzzled drivers were accosted with “Watermelon juice! Lemon juice! Buttermilk!” and a hushed voice going “Ma! How do you say sweet lime in tamil?” and then belting out the answer!

The idea is the brainchild of Ayshwarya, mum of 7 year old M. Growing up, her parents had encouraged her motley gang of friends to do similar activities to beat the summer heat (and boredom, in one inspired swoop!) and she fondly reminisced about the time when she and her friends stopped a bus and offered fresh juices to a whole busload of passengers!

So, is this a regular thing? What are their plans? “Well, obviously the children are too young for us to plan long term”, said Lavanya, 5 year old S’s mother. “They are having fun doing this so we’ll go with it as for as long as we can.”

If you are planning to visit the Elliot’s Beach next Saturday, then swing by the juice stall at 4.00 or thereabouts. Directions, you ask? Just get to the road near the entrance to Kalakshetra colony and keep your ears tuned to high pitched shrieks and giggles announcing the day’s flavours! I guarantee that you will be charmed.