Saturday, September 30, 2017

Upcoming series

This year has been a great one for trips. I've been in a number of trips this year, If I start counting, there has been the Nainital trip that ended in the beginning of the year, then trip to Manali twice, then a trip to Vrindavan, then China, Rishikesh, and the recent one to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, in Katra, Jammu. The upcoming series I will be sharing these trips with you.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

मैं बरगद का पेड़

मैं बरगद का पेड़, खड़ा हूँ यहां पुश्तों से।  इंसानों की कई नस्लें देखी हैं मैंने, जाने कितने सावन बदलते देखे हैं, सदियाँ बीत गयी हैं यहां खड़े खड़े।  एक समय था जब मेरी छाव की ओट में गांव की चौपालें सजती थी, पंचायतों के कई अच्छे-बुरे फैसलों का गवाह रहा हूँ मैं, अनेकों सही-गलत फैसलों को चुप - चाप खड़े - खड़े सुना है मैंने। समय बदला, मेरी उम्र बढ़ी तो मेरी जटाओं ने मुझे संभाला, आखिर बुढ़ापा सबका आता है और बूढ़ा होने के बाद कोई भी सहारा ढूंढता है, जो मेरी जटाओं से मुझे मिला है। आखिर हूँ तो बरगद का पेड़ ही। मेरी विशाल टहनियों पर अनेकों झूले लटके देखे है मैंने, और इन झूलों पर अनेकों बच्चे झूल-झूल कर बड़े हुए हैं मेरे सामने ही, और एक बार जब बच्चे आते थे मेरे करीब, तो मानो मेरा बचपन लौट आता था, उनके झूलों का वजन उठाना मेरी विशाल शाखाओं के लिए बहुत बड़ी बात नहीं थी, अतः, इन बच्चों को झूलते देख मेरी भी शाखायें झूम उठती थी, फिर कुछ बच्चे ऐसे भी होते थे जिन्हे झूलों पर आनन्द न आता था, उन्हें तो मुझपर चढ़ने में मज़ा आता था, और मुझे भी इन बच्चों के करीब रहने का एक अच्छा मौका मिल जाता था।
समय और बदला अब मै बेहद बूढा हो चला हूँ ।  इंसान मुझे बूढ़ा बरगद कह कर पुकारते हैं, शायद, इसी वजह से अब मुझपर कोई झूले नहीं हैं। न ही कोई चौपालें लगती है, और न ही मेरी घनी छाँव के तले पंचायतें सजती हैं। बहुत अकेला - अकेला सा हो गया हूँ मै अब। अब मेरे तने के करीब, इंसान अपने पूजने वाले भगवानों की मूर्तियां फेंक कर चले जाते हैं। अब जा कर समझ आने लगा है की जब भगवान् की कोई औकात नहीं है - जो मूर्तियां यह इंसान इतने गर्व और प्रेम से ले कर आये थे, जिससे भगवान् का प्रतीक समझ कर पूजा की सालों तक, उस मूर्ती के पुराने पड़ते ही उसे बूढ़े बरगद के पास फेंक कर चले गए, तो मुझ जैसे बूढ़े बरगद की किसे ज़रूरत? आखिर इतना विशाल हो गया हूँ की इन इंसानों की तेज़ी से बढ़ती सुविधाओं की मांग की राह में रोड़ा बन रहा हूँ शायद। जो हज़ारों इंसानों को एक जगह से दूसरी जगह ले कर जायेगी। आखिर ऐसी महत्त्वपूर्ण चीज़ के सामने मेरी क्या औकात? आखिर मै कौन होता हूँ इंसान की प्रगति को रोकने वाला? आखिर मैं किसे कहाँ से कहाँ ले जाता हूँ, जो काम यहां बनने वाली रेल गाड़ी करेगी?
मै तो बस खड़ा हूँ यहाँ सदियों से एक ही जगह फैलता हुआ अपनी मौत का इंतज़ार करता उन पुराने दिनों को याद करता जब मेरी छाओं के इर्द गिर्द इन इंसानों के पूर्वजों की सारी ज़िन्दगी घूमती थी, रात को मै उनको आराम की नींद, दिन में झुलसा देने वाली गर्मी से आराम, तो, पूरे गांव को और राहगीरों को मेरी ठंडी छाव में बने कुएं से ठंडा मीठा जल मिलता था, पर अब वह सब इंसानों के लिए ज़रूरी चीज़ें कहाँ रह गयी हैं? कूआं तो कब का सूख गया है, तो राहगीर भी नहीं आते गर्मी के मौसम में कुएं का ठंडा पानी पीने और मेरी ठंडी छाव में कुछ देर आराम करने। आखिर मै एक बरगद का पेड़ ही तो हूँ। खड़ा हूँ यहाँ सदियों से, इंसानों की कई पुश्तें देखी हैं मैंने, अब इन्हें मेरी ज़रुरत नहीं है, सो, कल काट दिया जाऊँगा। क्योंकि मेरी जटाओं ने मुझे सहारा देने के लिए इन इंसानों की धरती पर कुछ ज़्यादा जगह ले रखी है।

मैं बरगद का पेड़!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Indoor Air Pollution - Getting rid of this menace

An important phenomena trending these days, and sufficiently so, even on online shopping sites is something called an air purifier. I bump upon one being advertised everytime I visit an online shopping site. Seeing something like this so often, I became interested in knowing what exactly is an air purifier and why is it required? I know the air outside is polluted, but why do I need one at my home? Is this really required? What exactly it purifies, since apparently the quality of air within my home is not as bad as one we see and read about everyday in news.
As I searched through the internet, I came to understand why almost every major consumer electronics brand is focusing on something like an air purifier. Appears what I was thinking was not correct. The air within my home is not as safe as I was expecting it to be. As I looked into this more, I came to understand what exactly is indoor air pollution, what are the common pollutants that I should be aware of, what are the health problems that are caused by these indoor pollutants and how can I keep my home safe of these indoor pollutants affecting my family's health.
So what exactly is indoor air pollution? We all know what pollution is? More often than not, we all must have heard and associated pollution to be an external problem. Air pollution in your city, water pollution of the rivers and so on. Coming to our homes, pollution that is within the confines of our homes is what indoor pollution is. I was shocked to learn that as early as in the year 1992, the World Bank identified indoor air pollution as one of the four most critical environmental problems being faced globally. One of the articles I read about this stated that this problem affects both rural and urban areas. While rural areas have a variety of different causes of air pollution, that include use of traditional sources of fuel including wood, charcoal and cow dung cakes. Other sources that contribute to indoor air pollution include agricultural activities, including storage of grains and livestock feed. Also, a shocking revelation that came up was the soil too was an important source of air pollution, as it naturally releases a gas called radon. A very critical air pollutant that is very strongly related to be Lung Cancer, being a radioactive noble gas. Other major pollutants include pesticides, tobacco smoking and asbestos among numerous others.
Urban areas are not very safe when it comes to indoor air pollution. While there are some common reasons, including tobacco smoking and often, asbestos, urban homes have a number of other causes of air pollution. These include pollutants like volatile organic compounds that originate from numerous solvents and chemicals used in the daily use products including deodorants and perfumes, hair sprays and cosmetics, paints and varnishes, air freshners, insecticides and such. Growth of molds and mildew during rainy seasons too are a cause of indoor pollution.
So how to get rid of this problem? Understanding the potential health problems that are there as a result of indoor air pollution, I sat down to find a solution. Found a few, and here are some starters to help everyone:
1. Clean the indoors regularly. This is something that can help reduce this problem to a large extent.
2. No Smoking Zone: Make your home a no smoking zone, if anyone does smoke there. You do not want passive smoking affect the health of your loved ones.
3. Introduce indoor houseplants that help purify air: Apart from giving your living room  a beautiful and fresh makeover, houseplants like garden mums, spider plant, dracaena, ficus/weeping fig, peace lily, snake plant, aloe vera can help you clean the air indoors and eliminate dozens of dangerous chemicals out of your home’s air.
4. Eliminate odours rather than hiding them: Your living room smells damp, and you don’t really like the smell there. What you do, reach out to that can of room freshner, and at the click of a button, you get pleasant smelling air running down your nose. That’s what you shouldn’t do. Just try to find out why your room smells that way, and try fix the root cause.
5. Get rid of that moisture: Molds growing within your house during, say, the rainy season are also a great cause of indoor air pollution. Just try to locate and eliminate the cause of this moisture seeping in and fix it.
While I looked on, I came across something called bags of charcoal, which, I knew was being used to purify water in a number of water purifiers. However this came to me as a surprise that charcoal can also help absorb dangerous fumes etc. from the air to make it clean. While looking for the charcoal bags, I bumped across a new product from Asian Paints called Royale Atmos, a product that is said to help purify indoor air. The product appears promising, since it contains activated charcoal. You can take a look on the advert here. To know more, you can check the site - https://www.asianpaints.com/atmos.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Picture of the day - September 13

Over the course of time, I have clicked and collected a lot of pictures from a number of outstation trips I've done in this year, any of which I haven't been able to post here. So, I think it's time I started posting those photos right here in my blog, for someone who might get inspired to take that camera out on the trip they've been long postponing.

Picture of the Tawi river, clicked somewhere near Jammu (Jammu & Kashmir, India)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Perfect weekend getaways - Manali

Reporting live from the snaky mountainous roads, somewhere in Himachal Pradesh, here I am again, taking​ another tour to enjoy the natural beauty of the Himalayas!
This time, it's Manali, the beautiful valley sitting in the lap of the myatic Himalayan mountains!
As I write this, it's 3:30 am IST, it's dark everywhere outside, with the distant mountainous landscape dotted with dimly lit white and yellow lights, indicating the ever-present human encroachment. While we pass through the snaky roads taking innumerable left and right turns, no-one but me and my camera, which is currently in the stand-by mode, know what we are missing. The green covered mountains, the numerous rivers and ravines that have worked upon these mountains over millennia to make what these are today, and possibly, still working on these, to further modify the landscape tor the coming generations. Though, I know most, if not all of these rivers and ravines, are on the verge of extinction. Why I am talking about these rivers and ravines? These, for me, are some of the most beautiful places, I for one, would like spending most of my time, while I do a road travel through these roads. Sometimes, as I fantasize about the stoppages I would've made, had I come doing a self drive through these roads, I think, I would need a lifetime in covering a small distance through these roads.
Anyways, getting back on the topic, the year of the outings, as I stated in one of the previous posts, while i was on another outing, is turning out to be a great year, with, the second outing of the year, already in progress, and another one already planned in the next month, this is turning  of information out to be a dream come true for me - me, my camera, and beautiful escapades where I could spend some quality time away from the daily hub-bub of our daily lives, hitting the office chair at ungodly hours of the day, often wanting you to wake up at odd hours, while the rest of your neighbours are sleeping, away from the worries of the world.
Today is day one of this outing,and I am already getting a good feeling about this trip, the only disappointment being the beauty enroute will be missed,, as both the times I 'll be traveling through these during night hours. The rivers flowing below in the valleys, the very dimly lit rivers just remind of how beautiful these could've been had I got a chance to watch these through during day time.
Anyways, I see some exciting stuff coming up here in this space in the next two days, so please keep an eye here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A great year went by, another great one ahead!

Last year, i.e. 2016 was a great year in terms of travel for me. I've already been going to some nearby places of interest in the beginning, however by the mid of the year, I got a chance to give a visit to one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimage sites of the country, that too during a time it's in its full glory. A couple of months later, did another outing with some colleagues, this time to a nearby POI. And again, at year end, I went on an outing, as I have already shared in the three previous posts.
Let me just give you a heads-up to what's coming up next, from ruins of Delhi Sultanate!


While the post comes up, you can give a try and identify the location.
See you soon with some more pictures from this marvelous monument.