Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Are you observing Earth Hour this Saturday?

This year's Earth Hour will be observed this Saturday, 28th March from 8.30 PM to 9.30 PM IST. All that needs to be done during this hour is to keep the lights and other electrical appliances switched off during this hour - at home, work place ... wherever possible. This would be our little contribution towards controlling global warming. I have signed up for it, so can you - here (for people in India) and here (for everywhere else). More information on earth hour is available here.

During this hour I am planning to have a candle-lit dinner on my balcony, what are your plans?

Update (28th Mar'09, 9.45 PM): The Earth Hour is officially over; I haven't switched on the lights in my home yet. I was on the roads for most part of this hour, so the candle-lit dinner did not happen. But I was glad to see many commercial and residential buildings in the city with minimal lighting - including my own apartment complex. None of the campus lighting (there are around 300/400 of them!) were switched on during this hour. Way to go, Bangalore!

Picture courtesy

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Holi .. Then and Now

Holi has always been my favorite celebration - mainly because it does not involve any religious rituals and secondly because you can play colors and have fun with complete strangers. This is exactly what we did this year at Colin's apartment. Since offices were open here in Bangalore on the day of Holi (11th March), the celebrations were held on the weekend prior to it - the 8th. And no one was complaining as long as it was fun. It was a fun Holi - playing with gulaal, being splashed with buckets full of water, dancing in groups to the tune of marjaani & desi girl, couple of breezers, hours of scrubbing ourseleves clean followed by poolside lunch with other residents.

The last Holi I had celebrated prior to this 3 years ago - I don't even remember what I was doing during Holi in the 2 years in-between! But the other Holi was equally fun which I had celebrated with Rohit, Neha & Chitta and which we played inside my house . We used everthing in sight - colors, ketchup, green & red chutneys and had turned the floor of my home into a slush of indistinguishable color.

All of us later scrubbed the floors for 2 hours, finishing two bottles of cleaning liquid and leaving the house cleaner than it originally was!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The First Step

All these years I have been one of those people who keep complaining about the system failure in India, about corruption and general apathy everywhere, about corrupt politicians and public servants. I have also been one of those people who have never voted in their entire life; to be precise about me - even after turning 18 over 15 years ago. The excuses (I thought of them as genuine reasons at that time, but in hindsight they really seem only excuses) I have had for not getting myself registered as a voter were many - I kept moving from one place to the other quite frequently (initially due to my dad's job and later due to my own studies and job), I was not home when the electoral staff came to enroll , the thought that all politicians are corrupt and what difference it would make if I have to choose between many bad candidates, and above all my phobia of government offices - I try to avoid going there unless it is absolutely necessary.

But the recent happenings in and around my beloved city Bangalore have made me sit up and introspect. Do we really deserve the kind of roads/drains/infrastructure (or the lack of them) that we have today? Do we, especially women, need to be told by some goon in the garb of a saviour of Indian culture what I should/should not wear or drink/not drink? Do people need to be arrested and kept in jail for days when their only crime was to go to a party to unwind? I definitely don't think so. And I definitely don't deserve a leader or head of state/country who does nothing except making long speeches, make empty promises and acquire wealth in kickbacks for the duration he/his party is in power.

So, as a first step - I submitted Form 6 at the electoral registration office to get enrolled as a voter. Even this small process wasn't very easy, but I managed to do it after making 2 rounds of the office (as we had not carried the address proof documents the first time). I hope they finish the rest of the formalities in time for me to vote in the upcoming general elections. And I promise to myself that I will always vote in future for the right candidate - by making an informed decision and without any bias. I also promise that I will never vote for a person with criminal background.
I have taken a small step towards being a responsible citizen of India today, and I feel happy about it. I sincerely wish I had done this many years ago ..