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November 10, 2007

An early morning in Kotagiri...

An early morning in Kotagiri,
And the sun shining hard and bright.
I see fluttering butterflies and I see raving sights,
The roads are empty, the chill of the weather bites.
And I walk on, alone watching nobody go by.
Maybe, it is the magic of the past rains,
that makes this sun seem so conscientious this morning,

I wander more and reach the hill and see my house down alone,
It seems so separated and full of life, and yet so forlorn.
The road I walk this morning has a vehicle broken down,
I wonder at the ingenuity of man, who to reach home swerves around.
There are a few birds, this morning and I wonder why,
Maybe the rains had given them a fright,

I walk and think aloud,
So many trees are being cut down,
No one cares and no one knows.
So I thought I should write it down.
The road has cracked with the drumming rain,
I see again anarchy prevail,
It takes time to start work,
and you may need some wondrous luck.
The roads may yet get repaired and with luck soon too,

But I walk on and reach my purpose and sit down and click hard,
The sights I saw were like the stationary tram,
It may move or may not, trees may get cut or may not, but I pass by watching on.

November 5, 2007

Now, a trip

Planning a trip like I have never before, I wonder at the absurdity of the very proposal that I made to enable and encash this idea. A month is a long or very short period of time, whichever way you look at it and I see as both. For I may meet a lot of people but not really get down to those old days of yore. It is ridiculous for me to imagine that such a trip will enable fulfillement of my desired objectives... But then since when have i started walking and talking about objectives. that is for the them to do who have their hands filled and stomachs empty... and though it seems supercilious, I am not very interested in proving to myself that I am doing so and so for this particular reason. It is just that the idea was brewing for a month and a month's holiday needs some help in preparation and so I am preparing.

I have a lot of ideas, but would do more with yours too. Maybe, a trip to Leh would not be possible for the snow would't have reduced. Dehra dun could be an option but then what to do there aftyer having stayed for so long. Chandigarh, I will definitely go, it being my alma mater and my personal space in land, where I was the best possible form that I could ever hope to achieve. Mumbai, I will go to meet my ailing aunt and all the other relatives who are there, especially bhaiya and nishi... so lets say about 7 days there including travel time. From Mumbai, i would love to make a visit to some parts of Rajasthan or maybe not. We can decide later.... Delhi would defintely take a week, for I would be resting and getting my clothes washed at my aunt's house and then making trips to see atleast 5 of my old friends. From Delhi to Chandigarh and about 4 days there, alone and with the rest of the world too.. meeting Prady, Rawat and the rest and then being with myself in the one town that was good to me. Chandigarh to Solan, for some days and then to Manali. the idea is to make Manali my base and take a bike to Leh... drive to Leh if the snow allows. Thereon, I am not very clear but the idea is that it must be a trip without reason or compulsion and neither of expectations nor desires... just seeing and moving and feeling the world at the pace it is meant to be filled.

The Plight of Nature

India with its vast diversity is home to unique bounties of nature, few other nations can match. When one starts reeling off statistics, the listener can merely shake his head in amazement. India is also home to a large proportion of the world's population - rapidly growing and turning increasingly western in its outlook. Western in their consumption pattern, western in their outlook and definitely western in their relationships with each other.

Yet, we are pretty unwestern and unmodern when it concerns our present day relationships with nature in the nation. Unmodern because we have ceased to see ourselves as a part of the Earth we live in, it is rather preferable to visualize oneself as that modern looking car we all drive nowadays - the feel remains that of a flaky body while we rest under the vast shade of the Peepul tree, blabbering over our mobiles to god knows which interested folk in this world.

India or rather, we Indian were not so long ago, the perfect example of an ecosystem people. Now all our claims are humbug, to say the least. Just as we harp about our culture, similarly we harp about our forests. Yes, it may be true that a lot of the urban drivers of the society were ecosystem people, not very long ago - when knowing how to milk a cow, smelling the rain in placid winds, respecting the earth as our mother and so on were the norm and not exceptions. We had innumerable sacred groves where we worshipped and inadvertently encouraged life in its wild form. We would all know what gardening was all about, if not agriculture and strangely we would keep away from the dark, foreboding masses of trees and forests. Forests were considered eerie yet holy place. Our hermits lived there, wrote the Aranakayas and put forth mystical theologies. A person who had no relation to any forest would still be aware that the wood used to fire his hearth was sourced from the forest. Venerated they were, respected and always kept away from. Tribals, living closest to these regions developed an animistic relation towards trees and animals of the forest and looked up to them for benevolence and protection.

but as it happens with a change of diet from vegan to meat - wherein our focus gets blurred, the same happened with forests. And as it is with communities seeking more pleasure and comfort... our sights shifted. The focus has now shifted from a symbiotic interface to a more direct relation with forest and the so called forestry resources.. And this is best embodied by the respected proponents of scientific forestry who in their born-again attitude contributed much towards alienation and mass scale exploitation of these holy places.

Ruthless it has been. This wanton destruction, this unwarranted misery that has been piled upon these invaluable living objects. And for me the greatest fear is the apathy of the vast masses of India, who are no longer interested in being termed as worshippers and religious. The friends in cities, the relatives in villages, the scholars in universities - all are interested in the pursuit of their individual happiness, marked out by the reluctance to hand out space to anybody else. In this scenario, as I see it...... and I work in forests..... That there are but very very few, who gather their wits to understand the consequences of their actions on the environment.... happily as they race as rats...................