Friday, May 10, 2013

My relationship with Water

Yeah, that's right. Water.

That is one of the other things that is terribly important to me more so because my country is on of those that will have a water catastrophe by 2030 if scientists are to be believed.

You may ask, relationship? Isn't that too far-fetched?
Well, because my knowledge and feelings for water have evolved over the years, I'd say it is a relationship.

Till I was 9, I never gave a thought to it like a lot of other kids in the world. Then, I became passionate about the environment and that brought along a new understanding of the world and its resources and a new awareness of my actions.

Today I find that the only thing which irritates me to no end, makes me cringe and want to hit someone is the sound of running water. Especially when no one is using it. Even watching it rain in movies annoys me because I know that its all fake.
Today in every major city of my country borewells run dry, rivers reduce into streams and all plants flower at once because they feel threatened. if you think what's so great in all plants flowering at one , let me tell you that it is a very very bad thing. It is like a 4-year-old menstruating.
But people still go on wasting water like there is no end to it. In fact very few of my friends are water-conscious. They still ant to play with a hose pipe during holi. They'd happily splash each other with the water in their bottles. They stand under the shower for 1/2 an hour even after they are all clean.

So, I'm going to be telling you all what I do to save water.

1. I bathe every other day. I sponge on the day I'm not showering. I finish my shower in 4-5 mins.
No, I'm not dirty and I don't have BO. I barely sweat from armpits and other places that cause BO. And it is actually possible to wash off foam in 4 mins. Beyond that you're just stripping your skin of moisture and also wasting water.
Science has proven that even a month of not bathing(I don't do that though) keeps microbe levels in the skin blow the permissible limit. You won't become sick as long as you wash your hands.

2. I turn off the shower when I'm lathering up. Really this step alone can save gallons of water.

3. The plants in my house are watered with water from washing veggies. We wash veggies in big bowls instead of letting it all run and give it a final 2 second rinse in running water.

4. I for any reason we've taken excess water for maybe cooking or something we put the excess into a buckt that we later use for bathing.

5. I've switched to soap from bodywash. It washes off faster.

6. I've been trying to convince my neighbours to fill the pool only twice a week but no one listens. This is what I meant when I said that no one cares.

This post is not about telling you guys what the dangers of not conserving water are. If I have to tell you about that after all the awareness schools, scientists and what-not have been generating, the I'm sorry, you probably don't deserve to live. Seriously. Atleast common sense should have told you that wastage is not good.
What I want to point out is that You can save resources by making change to your own lives, if you can't control the thoughtless idiots out there. Sometimes conservation is bigger than you and you should forego your own comfort.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Why I stayed Hindu

This blog is supposed to be about my thoughts and all that matters to me. So, if I didn't speak about religion which has now become very important to me, this blog wouldn't accomplish its purpose.

This is my story. I don't ask you to follow my example or agree with me. This is the way I see things and I mean no offense to anyone here. To each his/her own belief and this is mine.

By birth I am Hindu. For the first seven years of my life, I was not religious at all. Festivals to me were the time to eat sweets and God wasn't something I thought about. I mean sure, my parents like so many others would tell me that if I did something wrong God would punish me but I didn't really care. Being grounded was way worse to me.
My family would tell me about Hindu mythology but to me, they were just fascinating stories that flew off my mind when the narration was done. So, religion really didn't affect me in the beginning. Its weird now that I think about it but that's how I remember it being. My memories are also supported by a bunch of kiddy diary entries I recently dug up. My family was not orthodox at all and didn't really care about religion.

From age 8 onwards, I was exposed to cartoons, Small wonder and a few other shows where christmas was a big deal. I was fascinated by their lives which were so different from mine. Going to church seemed to make them so happy, whereas frankly, I found temples too crowded. I read a bit about Jesus Christ, I forget where and I was sure that I had to be a christian. For a while I pretended to be one, saying christian prayers in my head during assembly and making the sign of the cross outside churches. This went on for about a year and then that phase was over.
I reverted to being non-religious. It wasn't that I came across something I didn't like, it was just that, that passion was gone one day when I woke up.

Around 12 there was a period when I worshipped all religions as equal while not really caring for any.

All through school we had Bhagavad Gita reading. It did not affect me because it was all in Sanskrit and I couldn't understand it and couldn't be bothered to read the translations. I studied in a school run by a board that was Hindu and before you run away with any wrong ideas let me tell you that besides the morning prayer and the Gita reading(that no one liked because it was not something we could relate to), no one cared what religion each student belonged to. No one discussed religion.

The next major change happened when The Da Vinci code became the rage. Everyone was divided over whether it was okay for Jesus to have a family or not. I thought(and still do) that having a family doesn't make him any less good than he was. It did not lessen the good that he did. I couldn't see why a 'son of God' should be prevented from having a family if he wanted to and I relished the idea of the Vatican being the suppressors of history. Then of course it all turned out to be false documentation.
At this point I was in a phase of wanting to prove that religion is bs and its all the same.
During this period I borrowed a bible from a friend and decided to read all holy books from all religions and prove that they were all the same.
Only something happened when I read the Bible. The old testament seriously disturbed me with all the incest but the new testament was like a revelation. Suddenly I was touched by Jesus and I began to agree whole heartedly with the teachings. I felt like I had discovered THE way of life. It was quite a profound feeling and I felt sure that I wanted to convert to Christianity  I contemplated approaching a church but it did not happen as I couldn't go anywhere without my parents accompanying me.

This went on for a couple of months and then the final change happened. One fine day during a particularly boring assembly programme when I was 17, I started reading the English translation in the Bhagavad gita. I was terribly sleepy and I had nothing else at hand. I glanced through the first chapter as it is not important in my opinion but the second chapter made a deeper impression on me than anything I had ever read. I was hooked and I read the book till the 10th chapter, steadily, all through the day. The bible fell away from my brain. For some reason it no longer compared to the Gita.
That was when I realised that I didn't need to go looking at other religions to satisfy myself because my Hinduism had all the answers too. The bible was a very good book. I tried reading it again but the magic was gone. The Gita had opened something in my life in a way nothing was able to do.

And that is why I decided to stay Hindu. From then on , I explored Hinduism more thoroughly. If I came across something I didn't like I could ignore it and I'd still be a Hindu because that is the nature of Hinduism. There is no one belief, there is a wide plethora of beliefs and streams, so you can adopt anything you like and chuck what you don't. You can pick one God or Goddess you like or many or believe in one supreme being.

What I liked about the Gita that I found lacking in the other religious books was the openness. It told me what was right and wrong but it did not tell me that there was only one right and wrong. It framed guidelines that one could tweak and follow according to the age in which one lives. While it is directed at men, women can also easily follow it. One can ignore teachings one disagrees with(like the caste system). The best part is that it addresses several dilemmas that the others don't that are not religious. It does not say that it is the only way to salvation. I have found it to be the best guide to life ever written.

If you are wondering whether I read the Quran, I did. I mean no offense to anyone but it did not impact me in any way and I found myself disagreeing with a lot of things in it. I didn't like the overtly instructional nature either. It was a good book though with good things in it.

But I prefer the Gita today. The Bhagavad Gita gave me a chance to grow. It taught me to resolve my own battles and carve my own journey by encouraging me to make my own decisions. If you don't understand what I mean by this then you have to read the book. Not to change your life or anything. You may read it to just see what ancient literature is or to know more about world religions. But the book is definitely worth a read.

A piece of advice to everyone here who plans to convert to whatever religion from whatever religion. Give your religion a chance before you change it. Read all about it. Definitely don't talk to people belonging to the other religion before you have explored the one of your birth completely. Read from different sources. You may find that there is no need to change after all.