My Convocation!

27 01 2006

I went to Pune on this 21st of Jan. 22nd Jan was our batch convocation at IMDR. The moment Chennai Express reached Pune, every grueling moments of the 23 hour journey was forgotten and I was giggling like an idiot! I never know that I was suffering from such heavy dose of nostalgia! The train journey was quiet enjoyable, thanks to my batch mate who gave me a good company. I went to my old flat at Mini Apartments on Bhandarkar Road. Everything seemed so normal…

I met an old friend there. He became sick without proper food and a lot of tension in life. Well, he is working in sales in the financial sector and guess there lies the reason for his unbalanced life. Financial sector frightens me with a strenuous work life. I just wonder about those poor souls who are facing the heat! I spent the evening with another friend over dinner catching up with the old times. Nothing changed infact!

On Sunday Morning, I had a great time running to the railway station for booking my return tickets.. That was quiet a long walk which rejuvenated my old memories. Infact, I went for walking for about 4 km a day throughout my stay in Pune.  I went for the convocation dressed in the Maroon Sari, a tradition of IMDR. I was feeling curiously strange as the convocation discussion was a little off the track. Surprisingly, I was a little tensed! Ultimately I was called on the podium as I stood first in Lady Students of our batch. I won a cash prize called “Late Shri. S.G.Barve free studentship.” Well, I felt strange that they decided to have a prize for a ladies topper and that ended up to be me of all probabilities! I was happy that the most creative award of the batch went to Reema Sahay. Who else? I can never forget the beauty and simplicity of her poems.

After the convocation, I had a grand lunch with my Mentee. There is a thing called Mentorship in IMDR where one senior takes the charge of one junior in the process of begadofying and guiding. That’s quite a fruitful relationship as it creates the pegs and relationships across the batches. After that hearty lunch, I went to my relatives place. I love their daughter, who is just 6 years old. She is too sweet and pleasant. Infact, I extended my trip in order to spend decent time with her.

My Observations

One thing that echoed common among a lot of my batch mates is disillusionment, as their expectations are no match to the kind of profiles in which they all ended up. I could sense the dilemma and the turmoil. Life has become a struggle in work life with the emerging challenges. The desire to keep the dreams alive is dwindling and life is rolling in pursuit of mundane tasks. Sad, yet true. I felt little lonely in the campus, guess that’s because of the lack of the comfort factor. A lot of things changed, isn’t it? That’s all about my convocation..

Chennai IMDR Alumni Meet..

30 09 2005

Yesterday we had an IMDRite get together at Dhaba Express in Cenotoph Road of Chennai. Thanks to Juniors and thanks to Placement preparations, I could see a lot of IMDRites. It was a small gathering of around 15 people. There were a few who were about 5 to 10 years seniors to us. I really liked their commitment to come after this many years.

The gathering brought back quite a lot of memories.. Sitting under the Bodhi tree, fighting for the computers, gossiping with friends, arguments with Doc, the serene quadrangle and the feeling of Bhupi’s presence. Every moment seems the Best. I am pretty impressed by the feeling of unity among the alumni. Really, its very important to have a sense of identity and IMDR has a unique culture of itself. IMDR makes one simple and down to earth. It made me more introspective and observant. Down the memory lane, I know that IMDR has made a big impact in my life.

For a moment, I wished to be at IMDR.. To silently walk around the campus, to see Bhupi from far (I am a little hesitant to talk to him,as always), to sit on the stairs and to listen to the humming of the birds. It really made me nostalgic. I know its not possible, yet, its great to have good memories, longings and a sense of belongingness. When I was at IMDR, I never thought of the feeling of being an alumni. The corporate life is quite a shift from the sensitive culture of IMDR. Yet, I need to come out of the shadow someday.. To realize myself and to be myself.

Why Robert Frost comes to mind always? May be his poem is very exquisite. It sums up my feelings..

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Chinchni Trip..

13 04 2005

I went to visit the Pravin Chordia’s Chinchni farms as a part of our Science, Techology and Ecology class. Pravin Chordia by sheer grit and dedication has taken up around 200 acres of barren land at Chinchni to turn it around to a fertile soil with the organic farming inspired by the ideas of Shripal Achyut Dabholkar.

The idea here is to do a multi-level farming by incorporating as much varieties of plant species as possible. It helps to enrich the soil, as different kinds of plants give and take different kinds of nutrients. The various levels are planted this way. Fruit trees and immobile plants are surrounded by movable vegetable plants which are further supported by the biomass plants. This creates a bio-diversity, which makes a forest-like ecosystem, thus there is a symbiotic growth of all plants. You can find an odd sunflower, rose, teak, spinach, tomatoes, papaya, mangoes, curry leaves, henna, and just about anything. Diverse needs of the people are also kept in mind, for example, Eucalyptus for bio-mass; or Teak, Sandalwood as cash crops, mangoes for economic returns and fruits to be self-sustaining.

The soil is made fertile by a process in which 9 alternating layers of ordinary soil and biomass are made. The biomass is covered by a soil heap and then diverse varieties of seeds are planted to regenerate the soil. After 21 days one-third of the plants are cut and kept in soil and this process is repeated thrice, which enriches the soil and makes it ready for farming.

The experiment has proven successfully that a 10Gunta or a one-fourth acre plot can support a whole family and also provide them with a decent living. Truly, we undermine the potential of the soil but it is a living soul which is like a mother to the mankind. The use of chemicals over the years has made the soil sterile, which could be enriched again only through Organic Farming, or farming which is compatable with nature. Man should realize that he is a child of the nature not the master. I hope its not too late before it dawns upon him.

Factory Visit to Pravin Masale

9 04 2005

This weekend we went to visit the Pravin Masale factory, which is into a variety of products like turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, chatpata masala, Biryani masala, chaat masala, etc. We saw the processing of base raw materials like turmeric, chilli and coriander. Each spice is processed in a separate division and each has its own set of workers, dressed in the corresponding coloured uniforms, Coriander ones wear green uniforms, Turmeric ones wear yellow and the Chilli ones wear Red.

The raw material is fed into machines and there are several steps where the dusty particles, stones and adulterants are filtered by the machines like pneumatic blowers,shakers, vibraters, sorters etc. Then the clean rawmaterial is roasted and grinded and then sent to packing. The printed flat plastic roll through the machine, making a cylindrical shape along the way, where it is filled by the required spice and sealed after specific intervals using form, fill and seal type of packaging.

And then moved to the quality control section. Here shelf life analysis, raw material testing and grading is done. The parameters for which the testing is done are: moisture content, flavor, ash content etc. The whole visit reminded me of my graduation days, and bought me back memories of our food technology labs..

Hiware Bazaar..

4 04 2005

As a part of course in IMDR, we went to check out Hiware Bazaar and I was completely unaware of the place before. Here is the summation of my experiences that little trip has bought.

Hiware Bazaar is a village located in the drought prone district of Ahmednagar in Maharashtra State. The district receives little rainfall, approximately 250 mm per year ion the normal rainfall but since the past three years it has received very scanty rainfall as much as 50mm. The condition is worsened still by the perennially low water table in highly porous soils that hardly retains any moisture. Today, it not only serves its own needs of water but also provides drinking water to other neighboring villages. The villagers became self-reliant with their efforts under the able guidance of Mr. Popat Rao Pawar.

To deal with the water crisis, the watershed programme was planned and implemented. For soil and water conservation the villagers came together and offered voluntary labour to facilitate the implementation of the watershed programme. For this the near by hill is covered with CCT (continuous contour trenches), loose boulder structure, earthen bund, earthen nala bund and check dam. And all this reduce the speed of rain water and thus give it more time to seep down, and also checks soil erosion. The seeping of water helps in increasing the ground water table, thus making more water available for the people of Hiware bazaar.

Mr. Pawar said that Hiware bazaar is just like any other village, the only difference is in the people of Hiware bazaar and their values. With Mr. Pawar came the five principles that changed the game rules:
* Charai bandi (Ban on free grazing)
* Kurhad bandi (Ban on cutting trees)
* Nasha bandi (Ban on liquor)
* Family planning
* Shramadan (Voluntary labour)

The trip to Hiware bazaar is very inspiring and interesting. To listen to Popat rao pawar and see the work he has done is very memorable. I have seen some Development programmes, but Hiware Bazaar is the showcase for all the right and good things that a man of conviction can do. Changing the village with a bad reputation and with little resource into a self sustaining model of development is a mighty task. The efforts spilled by Popat Rao Pawar to educate and to empower the villagers marks the hallmark of leadership. He comes across as a very well-informed person. His knowledge is much wider and deeper in scope. It was refreshing to listen to a man who is completely satisfied by the work he did and the life he has in contributing to the betterment of the people.

A visit to Dumpyard..

23 03 2005

Never did I ever thought of visiting a dump yard. Yes it do have my contribution, which I negligently throw away carefully, but its really the first time when we went to see the repercussions of the modern life. As a class studying Science, Technology and Ecology, we visited the Pune dump yard.

We checked the innumerable plastic and polythene lying on the soil. There is this huge landfill, which spanned around 20 acres. Its like a mountain of filth and garbage, our creative creation! The garbage is covered with glass, plastic, aluminum and other heavy metals, which are not degradable, by nature.

This garbage is located a little faraway from the city so that we don’t have to look at our creation and bear its effects. Still its only 20 kms faraway. How much away can you get out of it? The garbage is not going to go anyway. Its takes around 25000 years for it to start degrading, till then the water which passes through it gets into the ground water and its finally going to get back to us only.

We have seen a huge pool of water just down the mountain of landfill where the water is so polluted that you won’t even wish your enemy to die in it. The bougainvilleas that are growing by the side of garbage dump are very small plants with huge floweration. May be even the plant can’t tolerate the unholy conditions that its going against the natural process to age fast, quickening the life cycle. It’s screaming to end its life!

Concept of Waste.. If we look at the nature, there is no thing called waste. Nothing goes as waste in nature. Waste word itself seems like a misnomer.. An end output of one process goes as an input for the other, what a beautiful balanced system nature is. We brag of beautifully designed industries but does that anyway come near to the natural Design? The waste each industry generates are so toxic and harmful, and the way we dispose off it with utter negligence as landfill is a shame. In school, I read about bioreactors, waste management.. I saw nothing in action. Seems as if there is no end to my ignorance.

There are many people who are working on the landfill, people who are manning the trucks and the cranes. Along the side are kids who are scavenging for the empty plastics and glass bottles, trying to make something worthwhile of the endless dump pit. Just thoughts, what kind of life are we gifting to these young kids who represent the future generations.

It is just mind-boggling if I try to check the repercussions on the people who are working there. They are working in unhygenic conditions, conditions that we couldn’t even bear for 5 minutes. The psychological impact these kinds of conditions would have is even beyond my imagination. They must be having a very bad quality of life. Exposed to and tormented by these unruly conditions, they would get addicted to drugs and become prey to all kinds of diseases. Of all the ironies of life, these people do contribute to our GDP! What kind of life does the villagers, who had to live in nearby places of the dump?

Hurting the ecological balance.. Yup! That’s what we do.. If we look at the landfill, the nature tries to solve the problem by using bandicoots and rats, which can use this waste. But then, there won’t be any snakes to prey on them as snakes can’t survive that environment. So we are increasing an effect, which cant, be curtailed by the complementary effect of the nature. Soon the landfill is populated by innumerable rats, of which a single infected one can cause a wildfire of plague, which can effectively eradicate hundreds of people. Yes! Its true, what you give is what begets you..

Modern Inventions: Plastics.. Never seen much of them in villages, but yes we are doing our best to modernize. I read a lot of articles on the immortal plastic, how its hurting the other animals who consume it.. But always a visual is more powerful. The whole road and the dump is filled with plastic. A huge part of land is covered with nothing other than plastic. Plastic being an inorganic substance is not degradable by nature, and also it’s suffocating the land buy covering it making it die little by little. If I look at my life, it seems as if its invaded by plastics.. Even the keyboard on which I am typing. The packaging industry, which is so complex, the Tetrapak packaging which is not bio-degradable anyways, it’s supposed to be convenient, but does the convenience come at the cost of lives of others?

Solutions, Solutions.. The modern civilization has become so modernized.. We have excess of everything so we don’t even care less for the impact it has on others. As long as everything works for us, we are happy. No matter if our neighbors suffer. Doesn’t really bother if our future kids are hurt.. Am I really this selfish? Is really wealth means having everything in excess, or is it means being rich in true sense and having the ability to say enough? We devise centralized solutions for small problems, increasing the complexity.. Solutions which look like this garbage dump.. A little bit of commitment from everyone does help, is anyone game?

Makes me wonder, When are we going to stop treating the symptoms and addressing the core source of the problem (i.e., the way we live)?

A lovely Evening and a Bus ride!!!!

2 03 2005

Yesterday I went out with two of my good pals for a dinner treat. Actually it so happened that they were treating me. I don’t know the reason, but do you really need a reason for receiving a treat? We went to a good place and then later, being a little on the cranky side, we brought ice creams and watched the traffic on M.G.Road in Pune sitting on the steps of Canbank ATM. Later we hitched a ride from there to Deccan and it was absolute fun! Enjoying the bumpy ride always reminds me of my childhood where I had to travel a lot on bus to reach my Granny’s place.. The evening went quite blissful!

A display of Intent and Interest..

22 02 2005

We have a course this trimester called Indigenous Management, taught by our director Mr. Bhupatkar. As a part of this,I had to study the traditional copper ware industry in Pune. I paid two visits to the Paud Chowk and Manik Chowk in Pune and the findings are eyeopeners. They showed me, how the traditional enterprises stood the test of times and how the Indian artisans adapted their skills and talent to manufacture world class products. These traditional copper ware workers who used to manufacture water heaters, utensils used their skills to design contemporary articles like flower vases, decorative articles etc and they are also exporting it to other countries like Dubai, Holland defying the modern marketing fundas like promotions, advertising, sales rooted in a small region. Hats off to their fighter spirit!!

What interested me is that they are several families which are involved in this work since centuries and they carry their work with passion and pride. They are a real happier lot and their publicity happens through word of mouth. Guess their happiness lies in the quality of life they have and the interest they show in the work they do. Their intent to do something, their struggle to survive the changing times.. Really impressive!

In Companionship with Nature!

31 01 2005

Today is one of the most beautiful days of life. Though I say that happiness is a state of mind, the day went in quite well.. I have no words to express the exquisite joy I felt in experiencing the day. Morning I had a lovely walk in the Kamala Nehru Park and had a nice tea with my daily Daily. The day was picture perfect and quite pleasant. I experimented with Rajma and was just about to doze off when a friend of mine rang me up. We went to the Osho Theerth Park, which is otherwise known as the Naala Park. Wow! I have no words to describe the eternal bliss I felt being at the park. The songs of birds, the mild rumbling of trees and the flowing water…Never knew that a park could be so beautiful. It looked so natural and perfect. I just wondered how would the world look like if I find such scenic beauty everywhere instead of concrete jungles. How to describe the surreal experience of joy and love? Words fail me!