Life on planet EARTH: Perform or Perish!

Save Our Earth

In the truth

You don’t want to admit that our precious earth

Is falling apart, It’s beautiful skirts of grass

Is dying, It’s garden of stunning plants

Is running out of air, And us,

Us, the ones who made it this way

Will one day perish into a dark hole

In a way, we are all selfish murderers

Killing the Soul, we walk upon

With our trash and disgrace, our ungratefulness

Slowly, slowly it shall fade

Slowly we shall perish

Save the earth, Save our hearts and souls

Or forever be lost

Extract from the beautiful poem by Jessica Robert, Poetess

We are living in the times when everything is available to us at our beck and call, whether we want to eat, read, talk, sing, dance, walk, jump, fly or even sleep. Technology has made it all this and more easily accessible to us at the click of a button. We consistently go on replenishing things of our daily life and most of our time, energy, money and other resources are spent on this chore.

Everything is available to us so easily and in abundance, we never think what will happen when it is not available to us. By no stretch of the imagination, we can imagine this scenario, we happily go on deploying our resources. Today everything is centred around human aspirations which are growing leaps and bounds.

Our ancestors worked really very hard to make the ends meet and accessing even basic things in life. The simplicity from life is waning. It’s all about amassing wealth and luxuries, though at the cost of earth’s natural resources. Have you ever thought that what will happen when the energy sources which make the world move start depleting?

We are already stretching many of our natural resources to their limits, and probably we are heading towards times of catastrophic squeeze of these resources…when? Can’t say, but for sure!

From stone age to highly industrial age, our planet earth has seen it all. The graduation of the human race from homo-sapience to highly evolved humans of today, earth has been gleefully fulfilling all our needs, wants and luxuries. But now the time has come to stand up and take notice that even Oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil.

Times started changing with the consistent technological advancements from the times of the Industrial Revolution in the 1850s. As our culture advanced and we invented many things to make our lives not only convenient but also luxurious, it stretched the demand for raw materials, for which mother earth is the source.

In the race for development, we have forgotten that resources such as water, air, minerals, forests, oils etc. are available in limited quantities. There is a need for conserve these of natural resources which are becoming scarce with the passage of time.

In the words of Subhajit Mukherji, Brand Ambassador, Govt. of India’s Jal Shakti Abhiyaan and famed environmentalist, who has been credited with planting over 50,000 trees in Mumbai, “Environment is the biggest treasure which we humans have inherited, hence it is our moral duty to preserve it, take care of it and love it so that our future generations inherit it or else we would face extinction like dinosaurs.”  

Earlier human life was very close to nature, with the establishment of large and heavy industries after the Industrial Revolution, heavy exploitation of nature started taking place because of which earth’s natural resources came under heavy pressure. Still, no one bothered to think about it, till earth started experiencing “Climate Change”.  There is a gross violation of the rules of nature, indicates IPCC’s report on climate change.

Are we leaving planet earth liveable for our future generations, questions Swedish Student Environment Activist, Greta Thunberg when she says, “Now we probably don’t even have a future anymore? Because that future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money.”

The environment is being damaged in the name of development and the recent case in question is cutting of 2200 trees to make Metro Car Shed, Mumbai which invited ire of activists. Aarey is the only green lung of Mumbai and if that is disturbed, all hell will break loose in the form of climatic disturbances. Metros like Mumbai are facing environmental havoc in the form of incessant floods, untimely rains, a long spell of summers, global warming what not! But the sad part is neither the Government nor Public is bothered about this phenomenon.

It is business as usual scenario, they love their luxury cars, well-electrified homes, well – equipped offices and consistent supply of fossil fuels to run their lives. Have they ever thought that this humongous usage of fossil fuels is leading to carbon emissions which is polluting planet earth beyond measure? All of are mutely watching what is happening in our national capital, which has converted into a gas chamber.

If we think, the environment is his issue and not mine, that is not the case. Every conscious citizen must care for the environment and contribute to his / her might for its protection and preservation.

The problem is growing at alarming proportions due to over-consumption of natural resources. If this pattern of energy usage continues with overutilization of fossil fuels, the day is not far when our future generations may not inherit them. Time to think about it is NOW! Lifelike this is unimaginable, but we need to imagine.

The on-going developmental activities world over have created environment-related problems on earth as the usage exceeds the speed of their natural replenishment. Increasing pollution, global warming, industrialization and other processes have accentuated the depletion of natural resources.

 “You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.” —Wangari Maathai

My entry for #JaipurLitFest

 

 

 

Indeed, WAAH TAAJ!

Probably my last post of the years would do the honours for monumental beauty of India – The Taj Mahal as suggested by our traveller friend Kamal Mathur, who recently visited Taj Mahal and clicked some exclusive pictures for my blog. A trip to India is not complete without visiting this monumental marvel carved in marble located in Agra, UP, India. Kamal Mathur’s recent visit to Agra refreshed my memories of my visit to the place while in school, years ago. I am sure, Kamalji would have been mesmerised by his visit to magnificent Taj Mahal, which is beyond words, thus making his task even more difficult as he is “man of few words” and “thousand pictures”.

In an interview given to Sprangled magazine from the US, I have mentioned, “ I have a very vivid memory of visiting Taj Mahal in Agra, UP, India which I visited while I was in grade VIII, with my parents on a full moon night. Till then I had seen Taj Mahal only in my history textbook. And when I was there at the Taj Mahal, I found a vast difference between Taj Mahal in my history book and the one before my eyes. The real Taj Mahal was quite a revelation, as it’s much bigger and magnanimous than the one in my textbook.

By all means, it was splendid and looked absolutely out of this world on a blue moon night, though I could not think it to be the most romantic spot in the world. The ‘marvel’ created in ‘marble’ by Mughal Emperor Shahjehan was stunning and this is when I was inspired to travel to different places. It was a true revelation to me how places are so different in reality than the one which I had seen in photographs or movies. This way the adventure streak was in me since childhood and when I grew up the passion to travel stayed with me.”

Please click the link to read the full interview: http://sprangled.com/index.php/2015/12/30/734/

Pictures clicked by Kamal Mathur:

Coming back to the beauty, The Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal is a white tomb built in the 17th century by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The building is in the city of Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Widely thought as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, it is one of India’s biggest tourist attractions.

It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Constructed entirely out of white marble in the 17th century, it is among the finest edifices of Mughal architecture. Recognised by the UNESCO as a world heritage site, this monument is also considered to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Every year visitors numbering more than the entire population of Agra pass through the magnificent gates to catch a glimpse of this breath-taking monument, and only a few leave disappointed. Shah Jahan said about the Taj that it made “the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes“.

Rabindranath Tagore described it as “a teardrop in the cheek of eternity” while Rudyard Kipling said it is “the embodiment of all things pure“. The construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1631 and took 17 years before it was completed in 1648. The tomb is laid out in a rectangular shape and can be approached through a massive gateway which has an arch and alcoves on either side of it. The Taj, so majestic from the exterior, has equally splendid artistic work done in the interiors.

There are water channels and fountains in the entrance which makes the monument even more spectacular. The reflection of this majestic spectacle in the Yamuna is almost poetic in its perfection!

The Taj Mahal can be accessed through east, west and south gates. Inside the grounds, the ornamental gardens are set on the classic Mughal Charbagh lines (formal Persian garden). The monument stands on a raised marble platform at the northern end of the garden, facing its back to the Yamuna River. Its raised position is a masterstroke design as it leaves only the sky as its backdrop. Each corner of the platform is graced with 40m high white minarets. Taj itself is made of semi-translucent white marble, inlaid with thousands of semi-precious stones and carved with flowers. The four indistinguishable faces of the Taj are in perfect symmetry, featuring impressive vaulted arches containing pietra dura scrollwork and the quotations from the Quran. The whole structure is topped off by four small domes.

The cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal lies directly below the main dome. It is an elaborate false tomb which is surrounded by an elegant marble screen inlaid with various types of semi-precious stones, offsetting the symmetry of the Taj. The light enters the central chamber through finely cut marble screens. These tombs are false tombs as the real tombs of Mumtaz Mahal, and Shah Jahan lies in a locked room below the main chamber.

Indeed, Waah Taaj!

Zindagi maut na ban jaye yaron!

ज़िन्दगी मौत ना बन जाये यारों !

What is it like to pass through the darkest times of your life?

Is it a sin to yearn for a simple life? Uncomplicated life? Comfortable life which you have earned with your hard work?

I don’t think so. It all looks so achievable but it is not, you are entangled in the cobwebs which others around you have woven for you. People, who can’t be shrugged, forget elimination. They are all over…

…some burning your micro life, others burning your macro life!

The combination is deadly, you can’t escape, you can’t leave, you have to just be into it, till it rusts and breaks. When it will happen, I can’t say but yes, the surroundings are quite disturbing.

I have never seen such times when country burnt like today. There are protests, fire, shoot-outs, tear gases, water cannons…students, youngsters, seniors, professionals, teachers, politicians all involved with all their might fighting the system. I question, is it the right way to protest for which you have very little knowledge, hardly any understanding and doesn’t impact you at all. Is it the right thing to do?

The disturbing scenes from all over the country are forcing me to spend sleepless nights. Where are we going as a nation? Why youth is so aggressive? Why youngsters are so directionless? What to say of preachers, teachers and politicians? When there is a legal window for the subject, why take it to violence? As shown on many channels and also on social media, many of these have no clue what is this protest about? They are just doing it on the instigations of others. What are they going to gain?

Two-minute fame or two pennies for the act? Probably they think this is the shortest route to fame and popularity. Have you ever estimated the price you are going to pay for this? You are bartering your popularism with nationalism. This is our country, we get everything here – love, respect, admiration, education, employment…whatnot. Is it right to destroy the public property to make yourself heard?

Is it right to abuse the system without any valid argument, if some anti-national forces are at play, you join hands with them?

Scenario around is quite depressing, our beautiful Delhi, Tehzzebi Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad are burning which are famous for their peace and harmony and Ganga Jamuni culture. Is this the way to protect the rights of our citizens in spite of constant assurance from the Government? Listen to them, ponder over it, make an opinion and share the view-point. Social media is a powerful tool in your hands, use it effectively!

Most disturbing sight is so-called “intellectuals” sharing the panel on various TV channels using abusive language, losing their cool, fighting and shouting without even listening to the point of discussion. What an ugly turn all this has taken which could be sorted amicably. The whole culture of love and respect has lost the plot amidst political rivals. They have become bitter enemies and after the blood of each other.

You are risking your life and other’s life too. Is this your motive?

Please cooperate brethren, maintain calm and peace, this is our country, our voice would be heard, sooner than later. Don’t push yourself into the fire of hell…

Life is precious, Death is a loss!

 

 

Not to be MISSED! Jaipur Literature Festival 2020

 

The Jaipur Literature Festival, famously known as ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, is all set to return for its thirteenth edition from 23rd to 27th January 2020. The five-day literary extravaganza promises to bring together a line-up of exemplary speakers from India and across the world at the historic Diggi Palace.

Jaipur Literature Festival is a sumptuous feast of ideas and the past decade has seen it transform into a global literary phenomenon having hosted nearly 2000 speakers and welcoming over a million book-lovers from across India and the globe. For five days, the Pink City is infused with enthusiasm, a riot of colour and infectious energy as literature and art-enthusiasts flock to Jaipur for the Festival. During the festival days, there are endless places to see, and things to do, some of which include insightful sessions and an exciting and buzzing carnival encapsulating a bookstore, food stalls, a bazaar along with artists at work, and multiple parties hosted on the Festival’s fringes.

Here are some reasons why you would not want to miss out on the thirteenth edition of the festival.

Listen to some of the greatest minds of the world

Jaipur Literature Festival hosts some of the world’s best literary minds and brings them together for several panel discussions and interactions. Experts from diverse fields such as literature, economy, environment, food and science take the stage for stimulating and thought-provoking conversations. Eminent speakers such as recipient of the 2010 Man Booker Prize Howard Jacobson, Pulitzer-winning authors Stephen Greenblatt and Dexter Filkins, celebrated culinary expert Madhur Jaffrey, acclaimed author Elizabeth Gilbert, and leading Indian film director Vishal Bhardwaj, are amongst the first few announced speakers at the Festival for the 2020 edition – so be there to be a part of some life-changing and inspirational sessions!

Book-signings and an opportunity to meet your favourite authors

For all those literature enthusiasts who have spent days glued to books, turning one page after another captivated by the magic of a well-written novel – the Jaipur Literature Festival offers the perfect opportunity to meet your favourite authors in person. Besides attending noteworthy sessions and witnessing book launches, the Festival also has book-signing kiosks at all venues where you can grab that rare signed copy and earn bragging rights!

Art, Culture – Memories Galore!

In addition to being a platform for conversations related to literature and books, the Festival also gives the opportunity to its visitors to experience various forms of art and music. From fascinating art installations to beautiful backdrops for the perfect Instagram shot – there is something for everyone. Dance and music performances make the Festival even livelier. For shopping enthusiasts, the annual Festival Bazaar is a must-visit as several craftsmen, designers and entrepreneurs display and sell a vast array of hard-to-resist collectable items. Amongst the many things to be bought are embroidered shawls, exquisite minakari jewellery, funky stationery, edgy accessories, spiffy footwear, and exciting home décor.

Morning Music

For those passionate about music, the Festival begins each day with the calming strains of Morning Music.  The stage will be graced by acclaimed artists such as BC Manjunath, an exponent of Konnakol and the mrindangam; sitar maestro and recipient of the President’s Award for best instrumentalist, Purbayan Chatterjee; leading Carnatic veena-player Saraswati Rajagopalan, and Supriya Nagarajan, a renowned Carnatic vocalist and founder of ‘Manasamitra’.

Heritage Evenings

The Festival will also host a power-packed Heritage Evening at an iconic and historic venue in Jaipur. Supported by Rajasthan Tourism, this majestic evening at Amer Fort will feature a mesmerising performance by Pandit Rajendra Gangani, one of the leading practitioners of the Jaipur Gharana of Kathak. He will pay tribute to the age-old classical dance form, along with an ensemble of Kathak dancers. Les Souffleurs or The Whisperers, an artistic group created by Olivier Comte, will enthrall audiences with a unique production where they whisper poetic secrets into each other’s ears, using a hollow cane.

To end the evening on a musical note, world-renowned sitarist Shubhendra Rao will present ‘East Marries West — A Legacy’ as a celebration of his Guru, the sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar’s 100th birth anniversary.  He will be joined by his wife, Saskia Rao-de Haas, who is hailed as a pioneer for introducing the ‘Indian cello’ to classical Indian music.

iWrite at Jaipur BookMark

For all aspiring authors and poets with multiple drafts scribbled behind every notebook and diaries filled with words that you hope will one day be read by the world – ‘iWrite’ by Jaipur BookMark is the perfect platform. After a very successful first edition last year, iWrite is back to inspire literary aspirants. Shortlisted participants get a platform to share their work and receive constructive guidance from international publishers, literary agents, translators and other industry experts in a pitching session at Jaipur during JBM.

Blogging Competition

If you can write compelling copy and want to get close to where the action is, the Jaipur Literature Festival 2020 Blogging Competition is your chance to make that leap. Highlighting the Festival’s core aim to support and promote artistic expression through writing, the Blogging competition will give ten chosen writers a chance to inspire audiences through their words on the Festival’s official blog site. The winners will also be invited to the Festival and cover various sessions from the 23rd-27th of January 2020.

The Delegate Experience

While the Festival is open to all, specially-curated Delegate packages guarantee an experience to remember. Delegate-only lunches serve as an opportunity to meet and mingle with like-minded literary enthusiasts and make new connections. The well-stocked Delegate Lounge provides a luxurious reprieve and priority seating on special occasions ensures a close-up view of the Festival.  The Delegate package also includes an invitation to attend the beautiful Heritage Evening at Amer Fort, and a tote to take home. These Delegate Packages range from INR 6,300 per day to INR 23,800 for five days.

Information on Registration for the Jaipur Literature Festival can be found here: https://jaipurliteraturefestival.org/registration/