Ananthoo's updates

When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bottled water er waste!!

pl see this.
The story of stuff is generally a great phenomenal insight in to how our stuff are being mishandled and wastes really wasted..
In this case it’s a fantastic story of the bottled water- another of the corporate tricks to fool us in to being their customer. Who doesn’t want free money, eh?

see this you tube video too..this fantastic..

Now to some serious thoughts:
Did you know?
1/ that the plastic bottles can leach harmful chemicals like bisphenol in to the water esp due to heat in cars etc?

2/ Behind each bottle is oil (fossil fuel) which otherwise could have been used up for cars?

3/ that 90% of the bottles end up as garbage? Inspite of all those tall claims of recycle?

4/ that the ones that end up in landfills will be there as a mark of our irresponsibility for millions of years!

5/ that tonnes of PET bottles from California travelled all the way to Madras as waste (in the guise of recycle) and got illicitly dumped!

6/ that 1500 bottles get trashed every second!

7/ that in a test conducted by an NGO in the US, almost all leading brands of bottled water failed the basic health standards?

What can we do??
W & myself have not bought a bottle since 3+ years! We carry our own stainless steel container. Regulars here know that we lived a month tour of North east India without buying a bottle! (ok, ignore that error in the delayed train) We lived just by refilling hot water in to our stainless steel containers!
Its so easy.. Its just a mind set tricked by the advertisements that the bottled ones are safer.

These days there are better options than the Klean Kanteen mentioned here ..infact there are the thermos ones that can hold your water cold or hot for hours to come.. so go buy them and do note that it is a good gift too!

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Rishi valley – not just a school!

RV was the part of our 1000km trip, thanks to Dr. Karthik and Dr.Kamakshi(Vidya).
More on them soon, but before that on the school..yes, it fully qualifies to be “The School”.
A complete place for students (of life like us too!). what with beautiful organic farm, veg garden, lotsa trees – it’s a heaven.
The students out there are given organic meal for which most of the produce is harvested in their land itself. Only in summer when there is very little that grows do they procure from known organic farms nearby.
The campus is so lively and the students look very happy. During our stay we had food from their hostel. I should mention that, just that food alone can be a great attraction for any one to spend their life there. The students, their programs, the assembly (yes, we attended an assembly too! And learnt some whole new stuff in that half hour!), curriculum, some extra-ordinarily talented (and encouraged by school) kids – all in all very impressive.
It was exam time and after many years I saw a teacher (RG) who was very anxious to see the question paper since it was her subject that day. Man! Such teachers do exist still!!
It was such a pleasant conversation that we had with her and very insightful too.
Among other things they also grew sugarcane last season and were processing jaggery. For a long time I have been wanting to see the jaggery extraction live,which was accomplished too.

Now to the Hero and Heroine of our trip!
Karthik and Vidya are 2 lovable characters. When they came to restore a few months back we just struck a conversation and when I was told they were in RV, I assumed they should be teachers.
In my hierarchy of esteem, teachers follow farmers and so I had that ‘respect’ reserved for these two. and its only when I went there to RV I found that they both were running a rural Health centre. Phewwwwwww..they just climb up so high in my esteemate..IMHO thats a dream. To serve people in rural area like this where they hardly have access to good medical attention and advise.
And to do that with sweet smile like these 2 do..those people in the surrounding few districts are really fortunate. Karthik is a doc and Vidya a pathologist! Made for each other and for such service. So RV school extends its arm to a new area few years back which is now such a big sought after service. Some 100s get treated every day. Apart from this vidya also goes to a near by town to help a lab out there. And they both are so passionate about organic farming that they help organic farmers in the surroundings.
The highlight is that they both collect (& collate) voluminous data on the effects (ofcourse ill effects only, what else do u expect?) of the chemicals – ferti and pesticides on the farmers (esp farm labours). That’s one huge exercise and when I saw their findings it was sad truth!
Next time any of you think u don’t have time or more importantly you say that to me, I pack you to RV and let you watch this couple.
Iam not going to reel out stats of the no. of persons treated, medical camps or other details..but one statement shud suffice. While we were talking to Karthick he said he even has patients from as far as Bangalore outskirts! I was amazed and asked why? Esp when people think there is better medical facility in cities. He said very modestly in a low tone “ may be treatment with a smile is rare..”
for those interested in some stats and figures see here.
Am sure it dedicate one’s life for such a cause and to carry out with such smile day in and day out and to also spread wings to all avenues possible is amazing..
Such people as I always say are hopes..they infuse so much of hope and joy in to you that all our earlier depression and lack of motivation run away.

Note: BTW they grow tomatoes in their garden, though we didn’t get time to see that. But K was to give us some tomatoes from their garden as per instruction from V but he forgets. We don’t know that yet.. but when we reach Madras the next evening a courier reaches us at the same time. It’s a small box of tomatoes grown in their garden. I dunno if he had to rush them by courier to save himself from V’s fury but that was the beginning of our tomato week.. infact it was this couple who introduced us to prabakar and asked us to visit his organic form and from there our tomato story started!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

oh so green!

one thing that caught my eyes amidst all these melee is the great Green building constructed for the TN assembly! oh! green and our politicos..
But our media innocently gobbles up that spin!
without even batting an eyelid..
hey this building itself was not ready but the grand gala opening with all those tons of vinyl boards - as green as ever boards, thousands of tube lights as per our Tamizh culture and all those other associated wastes went ahead as planned. Since the top dome (or what ever ceiling they had decided) wasnt ready yet, the CM being a movie loyalist called the famous movie art director and had him do up a temporary setting. for 2 crores rupees!
NO! I aint joking..dont insult our CM!
But the best part of all this was the way our media behaved..
all of the media (esp english media) faithfully carried first page news about the grand gala opening and about this being the first ever green assembly in the world!

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ton tonna ton..

The tomatoes’ story..
Tons of tomatoes..have u seen them on the farm or have u carried it on ur shoulder? I did, very inadvertently and it hurts man..really..
As a part of the visit to Rishi valley and Chittoor areas we visited some organic farm(er)s..
One such was a 20 something farmer who has taken to organic farming since 3 years..But market was a big issue for such small farmers and that was one of the main tasks of this trip- to see, analyse and throw some solution if possible..
So as I was going around his farm he showed one part of it with lotsa tomatoes..when I asked what he was doing with them and why they were still on the field as they looked matured for harvesting..
Its then he narrated me the sorry state of tomato..The Chittor palamaner belt is tomamto area and now the farm gate buy price is Rs 2-3. yes! A kilo!
This wudnt even pay for the harvest labour cost.
So he (and many others) intend to leave the tomatoes rot in the land itself..
This being an organic farm and this Prabakar being an young fella, I wanted to do something..
But what can u do when the whole system is like this..and esp the manufacturer (farmer)has no role in the pricing! I even see a big corporate conspiracy..may be the jam and sauce guys (ofcourse these are big guys) wud be doing something to trigger such a big fall every year, so that they can buy at throw away price and enjoy that huge profit margin!
Any way I didn’t have the time to ponder anymore on this and so asked him to harvest and transport them all to Madras and I thought I shud be able to do something and sell it off, with my contacts and well wishers around..
But That was an experience..I had offered to sponsor the transportation cost just to encourage that fella..but it was to be double from what we all envisaged.
Then still when we went ahead, I receive a call right at the stroke of 12 that night that they have been caught at TN border bcos they have to pay Road tax for the vehicle the tomatoes were coming. (some goofy prob. These guys came with sufficient amount for a quarter but recent amendment of the law states they have to pay for one full year!).. They are mid way and it was midnight and I had returned just that evening after 1000 km drive..
Then some begging on fone to the authorities and assuring that I shall be at the next check post with cash to pay up, they are left and I drive to poonamalee and receive these fellas at that check post!
Then we take the 1.7 tons of tomato to perambur where some good Samaritans (big time whole salers of that area) had accepted to sell these tomatoes based on my request. That was a challenge they took and so priced these natti (local) variety tomatoes at 6/- against the wholesale rate of chemical ones for 3 & 4! Most people wud walk up to this and say ‘ wow! Looks good..its all natural is it? Same like what we used to have in our younger days.. how much?” and then they wud slowly walk across and buy the Rs 3 ones…so much for health, environment and organic!
So they had to really strive so much to sell them..since they were struggling to sell I took some 250Kgs to restore (bcos we had our bazaar the next day!)..some smart announcement by our team and heavy pitching was done. Most of our customers understood and bought out 200kgs in 2 hours..that too at Rs15/- bcos we told them it was for a cause..other 50 was sent to other organic shops in Chennai.

Atleast some hopes..
So..a costly lesson..selling them at the gate for throw away price wud have been peaceful..but how wud we all have learnt so many things?
That was 3 hectic tomato filled days..

Side bit: BTW when we were at poonamalee check post at 3am, there were a couple of guys who approached us and asked what the issue was and said there was no need to pay the tax bcos its just one time this van is going to ply why waste.. they wud offer ‘guides’..what? guides?? So the ignorant me was explained that ‘ one of them the guide wud accompany this van and take them on routes where there wud be no police to catch and so the tomatoes shall be dumped where ever and they wud bring them back ‘safely’ till this checkpost and cross them over. For that the Guide needs to be paid some amount. What if police man catches we asked and he said Rs20/ for each ‘catch’ and that’s not included in the guide fees, but that’s very remote.
So innovative ways to beat the system! and rates applicable for that too! All these can happen only here!
Mera Bharath mahan!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

another 1000kms

so it was time for another travel..This time only 1000+ KMs..
one third of it was personal.
But the other part was very insightful and interesting too.
what with Rishi valley and its organic farm being a part of the trip do you expect.
Then there were some interesting farm(er)s enroute - Chittor, piler, vellore etc.
so much fun..Driving in rural India is fun.
but all that comes later..bcos i have hit base only today evening and so much to catch up..

oh! but i cant slip the last week there were very few times I glanced TV or news paper..and of that what was nauseatingly repetitive was the hussain affair and the womens bill..
How our visual media and print gets excited about such non-matter, hmm..

The Sec media was so excited by this hussain guy getting Qatar citizenship. phew what the phuck? so what if he decides to do that? good riddance to bad rubbish! he has some cases here and he has been dodging it, thanks to our 'oh-so-secular' media and politicos. Now he cant do that for what he does? makes his temporary hide out a permanent hide-out.
So now let him enjoy this new 'freedom' and depict all those muslim rulers and other islamic leaders/preachers in his famous nude arts..good luck for his new freedom..soon he shall be free of his dick..and that i shall call secular, free and fair justice.
and The sec media shall not crib then bcos its secular too.

Then we had this women's bill noise. I briefly saw burkha licking er interviewing sinia the great! This great lady was saying "why do they need reservation within this reservation? are they not free to field muslim or backward women in this 33?" Oh! ya. how fair?
any other interviewer with some gall and bran wud have turned back and asked, so why this 33 at all? why cant all u political parties any way field so many women? why didnt kangress do that in the prev elections? who stopped them? why wait for this bill?
and who is gonna stop all rabris and MRs.politicos only dominating the 33??
But, you know its not for any logic or future or womenhood this is being enacted rit?

finally, a fantastic perspective from the inimitable Vandana Shiva.
see here! very well written and meaningful. Sadly very true.


Monday, March 01, 2010

Moi at Childerns park

Oh yeah I spent a day at the Guindy children’s park(GCP)!
One of these days I got a call from Murali asking if I cud spend sometime with the Kids at GCP. I thought it was a good idea to spend time with kids of Sevalaya (orphanage). But later (when I was there) I came to know that this was TERI sponsored program and that students from some 30 schools were coming. I was to give them gyan on environment and to spend time with them and to go around the park. For the uninititated, GCP has lotsa trees, animals, snakes and lotsa info on ecology. There is also a snake park in the adjoining campus.
So what shud I do? I had to think, decide and implement in few minutes what I had to share with the kids.
I thought I will say a few words about how we (my generation) and my previous generation screwed it up by thinking only of ‘development’ and ignored the ecology. We used up so much of the natural resources indiscriminately that now it’s a great environmental blunder. Then some more small examples of how we over did as a community.

Then I had to put things easily and give them 3 points. 3 easy steps for them to personally implement and carry home and start from NOW.

1/ Trees are the best solutions. Almost all problems will come to this as a solution. (oxygen, food, shelter, shade, rain, global warming, what not?). to make things easy I asked them what all man needs to live. All that they said were got from trees. Then when I asked them what are needed to grow a tree? All that they said was what we were wasting or not using like CO2, manure, soil, (waste) water, etc and ofcourse sun for photosynthesis..but they didn’t mention Man! Yes, man to water it and take care of it until it catches up.
So asked them all to plant saplings anywhere and everywhere, maintain it for 2 seasons and they would have done a great job for their own future. In essence We cant just plant like the politicos do for photo op and leave. But plant every where- in and around schools, home, neighbourhood, on the way home.

2/ Carry cloth bag or jute bag or an old plastic bag. Just don’t get/buy a new carry bag ever any more. These substandard carry bags which live for just a few seconds and that too only to help (y)our laziness is a NO-NO. all of u shud avoid carry bags and any more of plastic in any ways will do a great good to the world.

3/ Water. The next world war can only e on this. May be 2 decades from now people may not believe we used to take bath in 10s of litres of fresh water and we washed our cars with fresh water. So re use waste water (to garden etc) and be very conscious of usage of water. Try and pitch in more towards reuse of water and waste water recycling.

I would have liked to add or replace one of the above with “avoid overt consumerism”. IMO the mindless consumerism, buying so many things just about anytime anywhere and anyhow is a bad burden on ecology.
What say u?
Would you folks have any different thing to say?
Come on shoot. This shall help- me, the kids and ur own future.
So comment here folks..

Note: towards the end, one student came to me with all innocence and asked me, ‘so what did u do?’. I didn’t get it, she again asked ‘u said u screwed what did u do..’ oops..kiddoo, I said my generation in no gossip about me personally..sorry to disappoint u:-)

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