Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dare to be true!



This very touching and innocent ad by Kinley 2014 TVC can make others think and retrospect about themselves. Some might even be able to relate to the same situation shown in the ad. Many times we do things that might not be right but we somehow manage to pull through it thinking that it was right for that situation. We tend to twist or hide facts just to escape from being blunt and open about things. I remember one such instance in my life where I thought of twisting and hiding facts just to be on the safer side and escape being in trouble for the future. 

We had an audit for a certification program for our company and it was the first major audit I was facing. They designated me as the person in-charge of quality control for the entire organisation. It involved compilation of documentations done by each department. That was the tough part - If someone had asked me to maintain documentation for my team I could have done it easily but my job involved me to coax and cajole the various team heads for submitting me the documents on the right time. The various team heads were at least 10 years elder to me and so I had to respect them and at the same time get work extracted from them. My CEO was too good a person but at the same also a perfectionist. If I failed to submit documents by the stipulated time he would definitely be a not-so-good man and I absolutely dreaded that. Somehow, one day before the audit I tried to complete my work and I presented it to him knowing that there were faults and mistakes in the documentations. I just prayed that it should escape through his perusal as well as the auditor's. One of the team leads refused to sign a few sheets in a document on the pretext that she was too tired and bored of signing many documents at once. It was my luck for that day that this minor blunder got missed from the eyes of my CEO. I knew somewhere within that I was not doing the right thing by hiding something from him because being a documentation specialist I exactly knew what was wrong. I still remember the warning given by the the team lead to me, "Look, you don't try to act too smart and show all this to the CEO or the auditors. Try to hide facts and small flaws sometimes. Only then can you become a good quality in-charge." 

I had sleepless nights thinking about the same. I was worried about the outcome of the audit which was to happen the very next day. This was my first job after college and I was too inexperienced to understand the corporate world. But I knew my CEO was an honest man and he expected honesty from everyone, even if we were wrong.  The audit happened the next day.  I came to my workplace with puffed eyes as I had been crying and mulling over the same fact. I had never done something like this, not even in school days. The first thing my CEO asked me was, "Did you even sleep last night?" 

I was loathing with guilt . At one hand he was being so concerned about me and I was hiding facts from him. I told him, "Sir, this is going to be my first audit experience. I am not sure what is going to happen today" Saying this I gave a half hearted smile and left. The audit was a disaster when it came to documentation. I was not to blame but it was my fault that I had overlooked few things and hidden it even from my CEO. The lead auditor asked me, "Why is there no signature of any authorised signatory here?" 

I kept quiet. She kept repeating the same question. I told, "Madam, the team lead was too lazy to sign. and I am new to the corporate world and to the job. I will take care next time."

She looked at me sternly, just like a school principal and said, "Anyway, I am going to document this as a fault in my report". I was already embarrassed at my act. 

Finally the time of the final report submission came. All the team leads were called and my CEO was also there. The report was presented. My CEO looked upset but to my surprise the auditor blamed the team lead for not signing the document. My name was not seen anywhere but I was appreciated. I was too upset again. After the audit I took permission and tried talking to my CEO. He still seemed upset with me. 

"Can you please tell me what went wrong??" he asked me sternly. 

I explained to him the entire situation and also discussed about what the team lead told me. I ended it with just a sorry. I was too embarrassed to speak further. He looked at me and said, "Never twist facts again or hide things just to save someone who is doing something wrong. Face the truth as it is. Take this as a first hand experience and move on.."

The fact that I was not thrown out of the job and was forgiven made me a better person from that day but telling the truth to the auditor and my CEO helped me. It saved my reputation but not of the team lead. The team lead was refused promotion for one more year. 


Thursday, December 18, 2014

A roller coaster back into our childhood

When there are kids at home it seems as if we are living each moment with them in their way. We are transported back to our childhood days where we could enjoy being children of their age again. When we are with them, the child within us comes alive. Our lives start changing in every way. There was a time when as a couple we were on our own planning a romantic vacation, but now we look forward to a vacation where we can take our children along. We look for enjoyment in the form of fun and frolic, an adventure trail that would not be taking a toll on our kids, a place where they can we safe and we can enjoy seeing them play, where there are informative things to see and learn, a place which will create a positive impact on the child's upbringing.  Children add magic to our trip. Their very presence makes us feel so alive. When adults travel there will be only gossips and silent admiration of the surroundings. On the other hand when we travel with kids, they will force us to talk by asking questions, by talking about innocent facts that they know, they will bring the sport spirit and the adventurer in us alive. We would be constantly on our toes. Our fitness level will increase being with kids. We will be forced to eat right so that our kids do not fall prey to unhealthy food because of us eating junk. Children will make us travel to places where we wouldn't have gone during our childhood days. We would be able to connect with them better. We will be able to see the world through their eyes. At this age we would be able to interpret their thoughts and imaginations. We, as adults who are just bogged down with work pressure and tensions in life would try taking out time to unwind. When we travel with them they will ensure that our 100% attention is towards them. This will also help a couple bond with each other in a better way; The way in which they would enjoy would bring out the happy feeling within us. If we give them a happy vacation where they would learn something and it would help us in the upbringing of the child in a constructive way. Our holiday would turn out to be fruitful. That's when we start relating to life more. We connect with the outer world with the same innocence as the child does. 


While travelling with kids there are many parameters that should be considered. Planning for the trip in the right way is very important. We should also choose travel destinations accordingly. When we are travelling with kids we have to ensure that the places where we are planning to go have clean drinking water and hygienic food facility. There is a small pool for children or any pool where we can make the child enjoy playing in the water safely along with us, a place where there are good sanitation facilities, a place which has a baby care facility, where there are clinics/hospitals nearby just to ensure that our kid doesn't suffer with any health issue there. Kids love eating food that will attract the eyes as well as something that is tasty and made with less spice. A place where they would keep snack items and milk boiling facilities for kids would be great because as parents we would not have trouble to search for a suitable place to eat just for the child. This way we also reduce the luggage we will be carrying which generally contains a child's food requirement to the maximum. A holiday should be such that the child should be able to learn something new wherever he/she travels. Travel should enrich their knowledge and it should be able show them the world in reality. What they just see or read should come alive. A child who experiences different kind of situations while travelling in the childhood days will become strong physically, mentally as well and emotionally. He/she will be able to connect with the world better. This will help in the growth of the child as a complete individual. The child will be able to remember first hand experiences for example : Going to the Zoo and seeing animals, going to see a waterfall, going for swimming, going for climbing along the rocks, going to an amusement park, going to a museum, going to a planetarium where they can learn etc.. They will be able to understand their curriculum better. They will be able to share beautiful experiences with others. When we grow as adults they will have wonderful experiences and stories to tell. They will know the world better. So as parents we must ensure that our child is having his/her overall development. We should make sure they are able to have fun, they are safe, they are healthy, they will be able to enjoy in all aspects. Any place where the child can learn and grow for the better would be the top most priority for me. A healthy child is a happy child. Health and sanitation issues should be taken care of by any parents before planning to travel. Any place which has special provisions for the kids to play and enjoy should be top in the priority. Places like a beautiful resort where we have amusement games for the kids as well as for parents to play along with them.  We should choose a place where kids can interact and mingle with other children of their age. We would shun our own inhibitions and travel to places which are only friendly for kids. Even if the charges are a little high the priority should be given on safety and happiness of the child. We should ensure that with each holiday the child learns something new and we should constantly interact with the child during the holiday to know if the child understood about the place and also always be upfront in answering their never ending questions. Their quest for knowledge should be more and they should be able to experience life to the fullest with each trip experience. It is our responsibility as parents to give wonderful travel experiences to our children which they will remember always.


When we were kids, our generation did not have such facilities which would be friendly for the kids. It is a great initiative taken by Club Mahindra with the introduction of Teddy travelogues. Here, you get to decide on a vacation which is for the kids and by the kids. The kids share their experiences in their own way about their travel and show their perspective of travel. If you want to gift such an experience to you kids then you must check out Teddy Travelogues .

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

True love waits

My answer to the question whether couples should or should not have Pre- Marital Sex is - NO.

It wasn't difficult for me to decide on this issue and justify myself. However modern I have become with advancing technology, social living style, thoughts and ideologies, I am against the idea of any couple venturing into Pre- Marital Sex. I feel that every individual must preserve his/her virginity till marriage. It is precious. Many might disagree with me with the counter argument that if we trust the person whom we are going to marry then why fear having sex. This theory holds good in some cases but why risk your virginity for it before marriage? There have been many instances where marital relationships are not working out after days to years of living together in a relationship. Every relationship has got a positive and negative side to it. We can only discover that once we start living together. When we have decided to take a plunge into the relationship and get it culminated into marriage then we should have the courage to face problems associated with it also. Getting into a marital relationship is equivalent to taking any major risk in life. It is completely dependent on us how we mould the relationship. Situations may not be just as they were during the days of courtship. The fear of that should not change our mind so that we try to enjoy the relationship by having sex before marriage. 

Sex is just one beautiful part of being together in a relationship but it should not be considered over building trust and love in a relationship. If one has decided that the partner he/she has chosen, is the perfect fit for them and their family,then having physical pleasure is just a few steps away after marriage. No one can question a couple then, the inner conscience doesn't question our own values and morality, there is nothing like loathing in guilt and there is no need to be scared of the consequences. There can be chances that couples are very happy for the one they have chosen as they seem to be perfect in all ways but they might not always end up having a great sexual life. This is one of the reasons for a divorce. Looking at the positive side, at least no one in the relationship loathes with a guilt throughout their life. 

On the other hand the consequences of having sex before marriage can be disastrous. Firstly, a partner who is trustworthy will never insist on having sex before marriage. Even if a partner does want to indulge into pre-marital sex just to feel the excitement and sudden kick in the relationship, it should be the responsibility of the other partner to counsel and explain saying that,"True love will always wait. There is always time to enjoy those erotic pleasures together once they are pronounced husband and wife." 




Some couples want to judge their sexual capabilities before getting married that's when they want to have sex. This has got a negative effect too. What if they do not turn out to be sexually satisfying for each other? Will they break their relationship based on one parameter? How will they be able to tell their family about the reason to call off the wedding? Even if they plan to go ahead with marrying each other, they will be lost in those mental frenzies by  imagining a horrible sexual life. When there are such tensions, couples cannot be mentally at peace and also will not be able to give mutual happiness- A major cause of sexual dissatisfaction. It might be temporary but the outcome could have a toll on the relationship that was once built on love and mutual trust. It might ruin the excitement associated with marriage.Why cause unnecessary troubles for oneself when a relationship can be happily nurtured with love,affection, care and trust. 

A situation can arise when either of the partners wanted the relationship only to have a sexual fling and the plans of wedding could be called off  after creating sexual contact. Then, the other partner feels cheated. Two lives have undergone a major change. There is a vast mental and physical agony that a partner goes through. No matter how much modernization grips us, somewhere down the corner there will be feeling of betrayal. What if they plan to marry someone else? Will they disclose about their lost virginity? Will they ever get that trust from the 'would be' partner? This is not going to happen until the would be partner has also gone through a similar instance. It can destroy multiple relationships and also affect the moral status of a human being who has gone through this. Our society is not modern enough to accept this. It leads to social stigma. Along with the couple, their families are also put through testing time when they need to testify their chastity. Why put ourselves and our family through this humiliation???

A trustworthy partner would never want to have sex before marriage. Relationships should be built on love and trust rather than sex. True love can wait to have sex. Sex is not the ultimate goal of being in a relationship. Trust and love need to be the foundation of a relationship. Sex is just one level in the relationship. Having unprotected sex before marriage has also risks of either partner contracting sexually transmitted disease like HIV, Syphilis. They get shunned by their partner, their family and the society. It can end a person's life. A precious life lost because of a foolish act of having sex before marriage.

Worst situation can arise when a woman becomes pregnant before marriage because of the foolish sexual act and then, the man decides to leave her. One act of foolishness can cause the entire family to suffer. What about the woman?? Will she ever be able to live confidently? Will she ever be able to have a happily married life? There will be 1:100000  males who will accept such a woman as a life partner. We all have got beautiful lives , then why destroy our future ourselves? Even if the woman or the man indulging in pre-marital sex gets married will they be able to enjoy their married lives.?
They can try putting away the past and starting afresh but there are more chances of comparing with the pre-marital flare. That's when the past ends up destroying the present marital relationship also. They will not be able to enjoy a new life too.

Studies have also revealed that Premarital Sex can rewire one's brain. It affects the chances of finding the right life partner. Dopamine, Oxytocin and Vasopressin are three powerful biochemicals and hormones that are released during sex between a man and a woman, help a couples bond. But, when they are introduced in casual sexual relationships,they can cause trouble. These help them committing to each other for maintaining a long term relationship. 

Scientist say, "When someone is involved sexually it makes them want to repeat that act. Their brain produces lots of Dopamine – a powerful chemical, which is compared to heroin on the brain. Dopamine is our internal pleasure/reward system. When Dopamine is involved, it changes how we remember. In the same way, Oxytocin, a hormone produced primarily in women's bodies, helps women become bonded to the object of her affection. So when a woman becomes intimate with a man, her body also releases Oxytocin and she becomes emotionally bonded to him. Oxytocin is released in a woman's body during sex. It is also called the happy hormone or the cuddle hormone. Men produce Vasopressin which serves the same purpose as Oxytocin. When one has premarital sex, one's reward circuitry is bonded to the partner now, and it will be much deeper and hurtful. Often, in breakups of people who've been sexually active, they can't tolerate the sense of emptiness, so they rush into another relationship. The neuro circuits did not have time to reset, and so they're impaired in their ability to bond with the next person, and they may become sexually active with them. This is just a repetitive cycle, and there are real impairments in bonding going on ." 

Thus, knowing how these neurochemicals interact and change the brain helps us to understand why sex is to be kept within the boundaries of marriage. It is better to wait until marriage and then enjoy those sexual pleasures slowly so that the relationship gets stronger, as it is already standing on love and trust. It is better to wait and indulge in this act after the two partners are comfortable in each other's zone after marriage. Waiting will enhance the beauty and the excitement of the real act. 

While pondering over this issue you can grab a book written by Poonaam Uppalbased on her true love story. It is available on Flipkart. Poonaam Uppal's True Love - A Mystical True Love Story on Flipkart.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Biking in a cold desert

There are few themes that are always on a writer's mind but sometimes these refuse to come in the form of writing when we want. There are situations that suddenly force those hidden thoughts out and then the outcome is in the form of an incredible story. 

I am going to narrate one such story, of my husband (Yd) who had a wonderful experience. He narrated to me this experience, which he calls as the landmark event in his life. It made him rise above his fears.  The moment I read on Indiblogger about the campaign on "Rise above fear!" promoted by https://www.facebook.com/mountaindewindia , I wanted to write about his most memorable experience. 

In Yd's words............

The plans of my road trip to Ladakh which is the mecca for bikers started about an year ago. Finally after a lot of background preparations, We- A group of Royal Enfield bikers decided to go on a road trip to Ladakh. The dates were fixed from mid of June 2012 to early week of July 2012.


We reached by train from Bangalore to Delhi . Our bikes were transported to Delhi. From Delhi our actual ride would start. 

The route: Delhi - Chandigarh - Manali -Keylong - Leh - Khardung La - Nubra - Tso-moriri - Kargil - Zanskar Valley - Dras - Srinagar - Jammu.

Preparation of  the trip had started. I wanted to start preparing three months before and wanted to get started with my bike. I had to purchase all the necessary gears. 

One of those days, I went to a buy a tire/tyre - ironically not a tire for my bike but a tire like ring cushion to sit on. I was diagnosed with coccyx bone injury just weeks before my dream Ladakh Road trip. (One day at office I fell down while playing TT and unknowingly my tail bone(coccyx) got injured and I had ignored it initially)

All my dreams were shattered,"Will I be able to do it?" I couldn't sit continuously for more than five minutes on any goddamn surface including soft cushions - the only thing I could sit on was that tire.

After consulting with multiple specialists(who expressed no hope of recovery in anything less than two years), I finally went to my family doctor; and she strongly advised me not to go on a bike trip which was about 3400 kms on crazy terrain. In fact she told me that I should stop riding my bike for about an year. That was earth-shattering for me to hear - I was really hoping to recover in a month and get back on the bike. I explained to her about my passion towards riding a bike and also about my dream trip. She was still not convinced.

"At this age coccyx injury? You have got a life to live. I won't allow you to go on this bike ride," she said angrily. I convinced her somehow and she decided to put me on the strongest pain killers for the duration of 3 weeks. I knew the consequences but decided to take my chances - My marriage was a about an year away and everybody including my girlfriend's family(now my in-laws) were very worried about me.

Hence after an entire month of convincing my family members I decided that I have to go for this trip no matter what!

We arrived in Delhi, and found our bikes waiting there at the blue-dart godown - after quickly assembling the mirrors, loading the bike with all the luggage and filling up our petrol tanks, we headed to Chandigarh - I'd not taken the Pain Killer just to gauge how bad the injury really was - but quickly had to take it on reaching Chandigarh - In addition to the Pain-Killer, I also was advised to take another antacid to counter the effect of it - In addition to this, plan was to take another altitude-sickness tablet every single day when we start riding on the hills.

From Chandigarh, we marched on to Manali, spent a day there - I was enjoying every bit of it - then on to Keylong, spent a day there before the craziness of the legendary Manali - Leh highway started. By now I'd made it a habit to pop those pills early in the morning because under no circumstances I wanted to screw this trip. The biking was strenuous and tiring as much as it was amazing. Crazy roads, crazy waterfalls in the middle of ridges (caused by the melting ice) were dangerously fun. I realized, I made the right choice - So what if I had this pain?? I'd at least be contented with what I'd done in my life. After Keylong, there were Gata loops and some of the most remote and desolate places I'd ever seen - no mobile network, no petrol, no trees, no people for about a hundred kilometers. It gets you to see into your soul.

After crossing the HP border, we entered J&K and it became a little more remote - stayed up in high-altitude Pang before making our way to the Morrey Plains - Driving through sand took the craziness to a different level. Then came some of the most beautiful villages I'd ever seen in my life and the Buddhism angle kicks in before viewing the first glimpse of the legendary Indus river - the river that gave life to the Indus Valley Civilization - some of the oldest and advanced civilizations in history.

That valley opens up to the Ladakh area and Leh was now only a few kilometers away. I was beaming all through this route that was filled up with heavy Army presence (China's close-by). After reaching the hotel (that surprisingly had a Ladhaki man speaking Kannada).We rested our body and souls for a day before heading to the highest motorable road in the whole world - Khardung-La - at a crazy height of 18380 feet, it was dauntingly high. But the kick that I got there was unbelievable.



After conquering the highest pass, we headed on to one of the more legendary valleys, Nubra - an exquisite valley on the bed of an ancient river - stayed there for a night and rode on camels (!) - the snow, the ice, the sand, the camels - my senses went hay-wire. From there we returned back to Leh before attempting the Tso-Moriri - another remote high-altitude lake. This two day trip was absolutely crazy and tested my endurance and hope to a large extent. From riding in the valley surrounded by high-altitude peaks on all sides, to going in paths which we were not sure of in the middle of the night - with absolutely no sign-boards or people or trees or any kind of light anywhere, this was absolutely crazy. We heaved a sense of relief on reaching the ITP checkpost in chilling weather before taking a tent in the village of Tso-Moriri. The lake in the morning was a pure beauty. Scintillating colors with beautiful clouds and hills were a treat to the eyes.

From Tso-Moriri, we headed back to Leh and from there we bid Leh goodbye and headed on to Kargil .The plan was to max the trip by going to the remote Zanskar Valley - a valley ridden by absolute bad roads for about 250 kilometers. This was my worst nightmare. I remembered my injury and thought about this journey probably a thousand times if I really wanted to do it - but then I finally decided to do it. The route was crazy, pathetic roads but amazing views - we crossed the 'drang-drung' glacier and some very high passes (Pang-La) before reaching Padum. This was also a time I'd lost connectivity with my family and they were very worried about my status. Padum was an old town with some old kingdoms and palaces - extremely remote. Next day we started back to Kargil (Leh to Zanskar road route does not exist, a trek exists though, called 'safed chadar' trek) . In Kargil, we felt deeply patriotic especially when we saw the sign on NH1 that read - "warning - you are under enemy observation" - felt even more patriotic after we visited the Kargil War museum and Dras sector. After Dras, came one of the craziest and most dangerous passes ever - the Zozi-La - breathtaking roads at crazy inclines that lead to Gulmarg, Kashmir. We travelled through Kashmir, reached Srinagar - by now the legendary views were almost complete and the road ahead was plain boring, so we stopped at Jammu and parceled our bikes from there - took a bus back to Delhi and took a flight from there to Bangalore.

The legendary trip was complete, but I still had a long way to go. Only after I reached Bangalore did I stop taking the pain-killers and then all that pain came back double-whammy. Physically I was crying (back to sitting on the tire) but mentally I was at peace, I was contented and it was worth it.
I had to leave biking for another year and few months before I got married and luckily all's well now The injury healed all by itself after an excruciating pain that lasted for an year and a half.

That's my story.

If you have experience to share just as it is shown in this video, please do, because we need to triumph over our fears someday. Kyunki..... Dar ke aage Jeet hai!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Prevent accidents- Save a life!

Our safety lies in our hands first and then with destiny. No matter how much we try to be safe while driving, accidents happen once or the other, not because we didn't follow traffic rules or have good driving ethics, it was because, someone else on the road did not follow them.

Driving carefully on the road doesn't mean we just stick to our lane while driving and follow our own path forgetting that there are other commuters on the road. They can be commuters who are driving and also pedestrians. Present day situation is such that the roads are not expanding but traffic keeps increasing on the roads along with a population burst. No matter how much we increase the various modes of transport like introduction of the Metro, local trains; traffic on the road will not decrease. Everyone above poverty line and who earns basic wages today is capable of owning a vehicle because banks have made it easy by giving the citizens the options of loan and flexible EMI. When so many vehicles are on the road and considering that the drivers are of different ages, there is no uniformity in driving. In such a situation even if one person does not follow driving rules it can cause trouble not only for them but also for the others who might not be at fault. Rash driving, overtaking, changing lanes without giving an indicator, applying brakes suddenly without an indication to the drivers behind, not following traffic signal rules, not wearing helmet, not putting seat belt, trying to squeeze through two vehicles without estimating the space between them are such unforgivable blunders on the road that can play with lives. 

Considering the way the roads are in India any driver needs to take care of the situation and abide by driving ethics. Driving rules first start from the way we need to drive. All should abide by a set of standard rules that is laid by the traffic police and not create once own rules. Focus should be completely on driving and not anything other activity while driving. The most frequent cause of road accidents now is using mobile phones while driving. This disturbs the concentration of the person who is driving leading to problems for the others. Once the driver looses concentration on the road he/she will not be able to foresee any vehicle movement around him. So one must not attend phone calls while driving. In case an important call is to be attended, then with proper indication the vehicle should be parked towards a corner so that no one is affected. Traffic should not pile up if vehicle is halted in the middle of the road suddenly. 

Breaking rules at a traffic signal can cause worst problems not only for the person who is driving but also for the pedestrians who might be crossing then, unaware of the fact that a vehicle can come suddenly. The vehicles coming from the other side where signal would be free would also not anticipate that the rule would be broken by someone thus leading to an accident. This doesn't mean that everyone meets with an accident. Such things happens daily, the person driving has to be extra careful these days thus increasing stress. Unnecessary honking also is ill manners on the road while leads to extreme noise pollution and is enough to destroy the concentration of the other people driving along. Rash driving with no control of speed can cause untoward incidents. One must follow traffic signals strictly and give way to pedestrians. Driving is meant for the roads and not on the footpath. That space should not be intruded.  

Driving ethics should be followed so that the other commuters are not caught unaware of our actions on the road. Indicators to be flashed when required and overtaking should be avoided when there is no space to move forward. 

"Do Not Drink and Drive"- this is a motto that everyone has been emphasizing. There is nothing good resulting from drinking and driving. Many lives can be put at stake if the driver is drunk. Every life is precious then why play with it. 

Wearing seat belts while driving car and wearing helmet while driving a two wheeler should be a mandatory rule followed by everyone irrespective of any rules being imposed. Every time traffic police will not be there to monitor . They should be a system such that no one is required to monitor our driving. It could all happen by just an online control. We are used to being monitored and punished. Some, follow traffic rules only because they fear being caught by the police. The attitude must change. Following discipline while driving should come from within. It should strike even before one plans to buy a vehicle. 

Rash driving should be avoided. Speed gives a thrill only for sometime but everyone should know that speed kills. It one needs to have a thrill of speed then they should try a hand on F1 racing. 

Maintaining distance between two vehicles while driving as well as stopping at a signal. This allows space for movement preventing vehicles from dashing against each other. 

The bright and high intensity beam in the cars and bikes can blind the sight of anyone who is coming from opposite. So it is better to keep it with medium intensity so that the others do not have a problem. 

Put the rear view mirror to the right use in order to know what the rider behind might be deciding to do. 

While driving behind a car, a two wheeler should not follow the same path of the car in front but instead try going little to the right or left of the car just to prevent going into a pot hole that might have come under the car and might have gone unnoticed by a two wheeler. 

A day should come when no one is required to monitor us. Only then can our country be accident free. Please join the The Nissan Safety Driving Forum to know more and keep yourself updated on road driving ethics.

Dreams of a clean India

Cleanliness begins at home. Only when we keep our home clean can we can extend that cleanliness to our surroundings. If each individual follows this policy, only then can an area be cleaned. Once  every locality is cleaned , the city/town will be cleaned. In the same way , districts will be cleaned and all districts combined together will help in keeping a state clean. Once all states are cleaned and they are all following the same protocol for maintaining cleanliness, an entire nation is clean. One attempt combined with a 1.27 billion population combined together will create an ocean of cleanliness around. Diseases will be at bay that arise due to unhygienic environment. Each individuals' efforts will multiply.

We can create a revolution by maintaining a clean environment and by following hygienic practices . This can act as an inspiration for the others as well as our own family members. In a country like India , where the population is on the rise constantly, it is difficult for the government to keep monitoring each area for cleanliness. The municipality employs workers to keep the area clean but this efforts goes into vain when they have to keep cleaning the same area again and again and keep removing the same accumulated garbage. If educated citizens like us try to throw garbage in a designated area it will become easy for the sweepers to clear off the garbage. Their work pressure will decrease. In this way they will be able to do more productive work in  a single man hour instead of cleaning just one small area. Only when we educated individuals behave in the right way can we create awareness among those who are not aware of the importance of maintaining cleanliness and sanitation around.

The question everyone would have is how to begin? It is a small step . There was a major step taken by the BBMP( Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) in Bangalore late in the year 2012 when they insisted that everyone should separate wet waste and dry waste generated each day . There should be separate dustbins and wet waste, sanitary waste will be disposed daily whereas dry waste will be taken once in a week. No body was ready to follow it properly. BBMP went to the extent that if garbage is not disposed off according to these rules, the  garbage clearing people of the municipality will not pick up garbage. Eventually , the garbage started piling and the people living around got fed up. Finally there were social activists who along with some responsible citizens of the city started creating awareness. They taught people in the near by locality and asked everyone to spread the message. Slowly there was an improvement. BBMP started clearing garbage then. Everyone followed for a short while but slowly this weaned off. Now there isn't 100% compliance but there are people who are following this waste segregation method.


How long will a municipality monitor ???? The question here is that, why can't this initiative come from within?? That's when my husband and I decided to keep following this practice in our family whether anyone follows it or not. We have instructed our maid also to clear wet waste daily which we keep in a disposable cover in a closed dustbin. Our maid is also well aware of the cleanliness measures. She in turn helps in keeping the entire building clean. If we have someone to clean our house that doesn't mean we are at a liberty to keep the house dirty. We make sure we discard waste properly, keep no stagnated water in the house, use disinfectants to clean the floor and washrooms so that infection doesn't spread in the house. The regular domestic waste that is generated from each house in our apartment is kept stacked outside in dustbin covers with their mouth tied and handed over to the garbage picker. Just in case he is not available for the day, the building maid makes sure she disposes it off in the nearest garbage accumulation area where BBMP van can come and pick up the garbage daily. If no one is there to do this we ourselves do this job. Any kind of food waste is disposed off daily so that it doesn't attract mosquitoes. The staircase is cleaned once in a week and my neighbours have taught their children not to dirty them too .

I observed on one occasion that my neighbour's children were playing with the building maid's children. They were using rubber bands and plastic cups . After playing each one of them threw the crushed cups and rubber bands in the dustbin. Education in this form is commendable. One doesn't need to be highly qualified to follow such small measures. One must learn and spread the knowledge.

Hospital and hazardous waste should also be segregated accordingly so that those who clean them up do not contract an communicable infectious disease. Improper management of wastes generated in health care facilities can have direct health impacts on the community, the personnel working in health-care facilities, and on the environment. This can lead to people contracting diseases such as HBV, HCV and HIV.

In the same way, I made sure I teach some good habits to my maid's children who are going to school but because no one at home is well aware of cleanliness measures much they do not follow them always. I educated her too on the same. In this way she can maintain good hygienic practices at home as well as where she goes to work. The children of today are the future of tomorrow. They will be growing at the time when India will progress a lot. Their role is extremely important in making India a developed country which every country looks up to. They should be taught habits like washing hands before and after meals, before touching food and also when they come home after school so that they do not contract any infections. Children must be educated to use washrooms properly and to flush toilets after use. These are responsibilities of every individual, be it a child or a grown up. If we teach good to our children and ensure they practice the same, we can think of a good future.

Anyone who cooks in the kitchen should wash hands before and after cooking and also while serving food. Keeping the house dust free by wiping surfaces regularly so that the same dust does not stay in our hands and we do not contaminate others. Taking bath regularly , wearing clean clothes and washing them. In this way if everyone is maintaining overall personal hygiene it will spread cleanliness around. This should be done without wasting water because with the increasing population and decreasing water table level it is required to conserve the natural resource.


These are practices of hygiene that we follow at home, the same should reciprocate when we go out. We should not litter the surroundings also . So many times it has been noted the same person who is a cleanliness freak throws a used coffee cup or a chips wrapper from a moving bus on the road, throws on the sides of the road where pedestrians walk, throw paper and fruit peels on the footpath, spit in corners, urinate on walls, throw half eaten food on the road side just to feed the stray dogs. This attracts all kinds of friends like stray animals, mosquitoes, insects that are vectors of bacteria and viruses that can contaminate the food and water we consume from the same street. So, the infection that we give comes back to us in some way or the other. If every citizen starts feeling that the street where they are walking is just like their home, no one will dare to dirty the locality. 


In the same way, in some places the government has made free toilets for men and women- Sulabh Shauchalay and Pay and Use toilets also. They should be used for what they are meant. Even the Pay and Use toilets are not kept clean. At times, the staff there do not do their duty properly and sometimes it is 'WE'- the general public who dirty every place that is built for us. People do not flush, they spit around. We should think of one day , what if the government starts penalizing everyone who doesn't follow rules?? Just like other countries where citizens fear to break rules because the fine imposed is more than they can even afford. 


The economic status of the citizens here is not even up to the level to be imposed with a fine. All we can think of is creating awareness, educating and teaching citizens in a way where everyone works amiably towards the growth of a clean and developed nation. 

Practices as these should be carried out because environment polluted by inadequate treatment of waste can also cause indirect health effects to the community. The municipality has a major role in it. One such instance happened when I went for a walk with my husband to BTM Lake, Bangalore which is near our house. It is maintained by the municipality and also by Madiwala Lake association who help in providing boating as a recreational activity there. We were just amazed to see the way in which the lake had been maintained. We had to pay Rs 10/- per head for entering the walking track around the lake. There was a not a speck of dirt that was seen around. There were workers constantly involved in clearing off the waste accumulated by dried leaves and also clearing the dustbins. It is open for public on all days with specific timings. There is a small playground for children, there are seats made for people to sit. Eateries are also available and it is expected for people there to put the food waste into the dustbins. While we were enjoying the scenic beauty and also feeling proud of the fact that the municipality had taken the efforts to maintain such a beautiful lake, something happened that shattered all hopes. A so called "good looking educated Indian" came and suddenly threw a plastic cover full of dried flowers into this beautiful lake. He threw two plastics in succession. My husband went forward and asked him politely, " Why are you doing this? This is such a beautiful lake. Why are you spoiling it?"

He replied," They are puja(sacred ritual) flowers and need to be thrown in water. No one's feet should touch them."

"Even if they are flowers from a puja you could have put them in a corner of the tree and covered with mud. At least the soil will have some organic matter as a fertilizer why thrown them, that too with plastic into the clean lake," my husband asked him.

There was no reply from him for a moment. He said abashedly ," I won't do it again." 
Saying this, he walked as fast as he could. 

We looked around in order to inform some officials and get that plastic removed but it had floated quite far from our reach.Citizens like these are preventing our country from having a clean environment. 

BTM LAKE, Bangalore ( before the incident)


                                              BTM LAKE, Bangalore ( after the incident)



When there are citizens like these there are also organizations like the The Ugly Indians (TUI) , who are an anonymous group of motivated volunteers who clean Indian streets. Anyone can join them as a volunteer. No one reveals their identity outside. They just help in keeping the city clean. Their motto is "Kaam chalu mooh bandh. Stop Talking, Start Doing." 
They say : "If you want to Be the change you want to See, you need to first See the change you want to Be." 

We should all be that Ugly Indian who wants to keep his/her city/country clean. 


Blaming the system, blaming corrupt officials , blaming poverty,illiteracy will not do but it is an individuals' attitude that will make the difference. If we behave as responsible citizens by not throwing garbage on the footpath (just because it is outside our house), by not littering the roads, by not urinating in public, by maintaining hygienic practices at home and in the surrounding, educating others and creating a system without blame game, where there is only scope for improvement only then will our nation prosper.

Only when we do this can a government's attempt be successful to help build more toilets, help installing more dustbins, help employing workers so that waste gets cleared off easily, increases the birth rate and survival rate leading to reduced mortality rate. Diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, dengue, hepatitis will be kept at bay. This will automatically give rise to a healthy nation. When people are healthy and educated, they can help in making our country's economy strong. There will be no wealth drain only to cure infections. There will be more concentration on novel methods of technology advancements leading to more research and development. The entire nation will become strong. We will have more important aspects to deal with rather than mulling over topics like maintaining cleanliness. 

The system is bad but we can't keep expecting someone else to do the job when we are ourselves not in the right path.  Talking about the government, progress is happening. Change is slow but it will take place. All government officials responsible for ensuring sanitation and cleanliness around the city are slowing getting motivated to do their work properly.

Let us all join hands in welcoming and bringing about this change. It will be for our future where we can expect to stay back in our country instead of emigrating to other countries in search for cleanliness and hygiene. 

Let us all join the Cleanathon and fulfill our dreams of a Swachh Bharat : http://swachhindia.ndtv.com/

Friday, December 5, 2014

Living in our dreams

There have been so many instances that we have had dreams and we have not been able to realize how these dreams have come to us in the first place. We feel that we have been transported into some foreign land. They are just an extension of our imagination. We always dream of a wonderful house where we could just sit back and relax and have fun but when we are getting a chance through Airbnb, why say NO???


There are places which we want to visit and locations that we love but for some reason we cannot live there. Mainly economical constraints are problematic for us. We try to choose something that people provide. Their home, which is beautifully decked and still doesn't feel like a hotel. It feels like our home. It is a platform where one can meet different people and stay in unique places. So here goes my Whislist for staying in different parts of the country :

1.  Tree house, charming hideaway... North Kuta, bali, Indonesia

Who would not love to live in a tree house. The top among my wish list. I have never visited Bali but when I would visit I would prefer in staying in a tree house there and also enjoy the beaches and culture of Bali. The aesthetic look and also the wooden architecture has made this my favourite. The rooms are beautifully done and the upholstery is amazing. The wooden furniture , the beautifully designed pool, cozy bedroom with adequate greenery would be the most amazing place to have a romantic stay with my husband. 


2. ADVENTURE IN THE SNOW - Igloo Night ...... K├╝htai, Tirol, Austria

It has always been my husband's dream to stay in a place where it would snow. He always wanted to live for years together in a place like Alaska or Iceland. Staying in a Igloo always fascinated him. When I looked up this place in Austria I was totally over bowled. It seems like the perfect place where I could stay with my husband and also fulfill his dream. The romantic seating inside. We would be feeling the actual cold around. It would be like living a life of the Eskimos. Snow skiing and enjoying some warm food cooked in a cold surrounding. This would make me feel out of the world. Never have I seen such a beautiful place to stay. 


3. Treehouse in lovely farm setting............SHELBURNE FLS, MA, United States

I am really in love with tree houses. It is a small and a cozy house. A warm appeal when I look at it. Simple interiors and also great designs. It has been made keeping in mind the warmth that it wants to extend to the people staying there. I loved it to the core . Just out of the fairy tales . It would be the most homely approach to living in the US.

4.  Valley Hideaway with Mountain Views........Gibbston, Otago, New Zealand

New Zealand would be the next honeymoon destination for us. The meadows and the beautiful green mountains and grasslands. This would be the place where I would love to go with my husband. A great honeymoon. There cannot be anything better than getting a place like this to stay. The name itself is so alluring and creative. The house is made of woods and also stone. The interiors and simple yet exquisite. The whole feel is beautiful. I can imagine how relaxing and how amazing the sight would be to wake up and see those high mountains from the glass door. I can't ask for more. The colours used are pleasant and appealing. I would choose this as a gift for me and my husband. 


5.  Beautiful Studio,BTS Silom and MRT.........Bangkok, Thailand   


A very bright and colourful house in Thailand. It could lift up the mood. The colours used are just perfect. The use of bright colours has made it very lively. I would love to stay here. 



So, what are you waiting for ?? Click here to invite your friends too :)