What do the figures indicate?

Pune is fortunate to have two rivers, the Mula and the Mutha. Yet the present condition of these rivers shows Punekars do not care at all for their natural wealth. 

An annual debate before Ganeshutsav has almost become a ritual as environment activists and local authorities urge people to immerse their Ganesh idols in specially built ‘houd’ and not in the river. Traditionally, the idol is supposed to be made out of ‘Shadu’ a kind of river mud which means the idols dissolves easily in water once immersed. There are umpteen workshops to help people make their own idol which can be easily immersed at home.

Yet many idols continue to be made with Plaster of Paris. These often do not dissolve in water and the idol that we have worshiped for 10 days suddenly becomes a ‘problem’. Here is a stark article in The Alternative about fate of Ganesha idols.

The river becomes almost a trickle as water and is often highly polluted

This year we reached the river early to immerse our idol. I was pleasantly surprised to find the entire area absolutely clean. I could see the bottom of the ‘houd’ and I was very happy to immerse our idol in its clean water.

It was possible to see the bottom of the ‘houd’

Yet an article in Maharashtra Times dated 10 Sep 2014 was very disheartening. It has published data which indicates that the number of idols immersed in the river in the Sep 2014 Ganeshutsav has actually increased y/y and the number of idols immersed in the ‘houd’ has reduced y/y. The article does not mention number of  idols immersed at home nor the total number of idols in the city. 

However if one considers only the figures available in the article then there seems to be shift towards immersing the Ganesha idol in the river, tanks, lakes and wells. 

Above figures for Sep 2014 repeated below with y/y figures in brackets. The figures in red are higher y/y:
Ghat, Nadipatra: 1 lakh 37 thousand 730 (1 lakh 11 thousand 24) 
Houd: 1 lakh 59 thousand 456 (1 lakh 20 thousand 365)
Tanks: 45118 (29095)
Canals: 38323 (56120)
Talav: 509 (359)
Wells: 1096 (805)

Why? Why? 
Lets hope the situation improves in 2015. 

Tree Remains (Wordless Wednesday)

Pune, Trees,

A large number of trees have been cut in Pune and other cities for development. What happens to them? Are they sold for firewood or to be used to make furniture etc? No one knows. Here is the root and stump of a an obviously old and big tree left over after it was cut.

Jealousy will take us no where

When exercising in a gym or in a group its quite likely to meet people
who can do more reps, lift heavier weights, or are more flexible. They can
be a source of inspiration or envy. The first is good to some extent as
it can get us to work harder and raise the level of our effort. However
jealousy will eventually be detrimental. It may cause us to attempt
exercises we cannot do and lead to injuries and loss of self esteem.

I have
encountered some men in their thirty’s who have hurt their shoulder
joints in trying to better some Bench-press.  Ligaments have been damaged
n backaches precipitated by doing unnecessarily strenuous  Squats or

Some of these have meant surgery, a long post-op rehabilitation program and loss of self pride, thinning of the wallet. 


Envy, jealousy

Bottom line: never compare yourself with others. Each of us has
unique capabilities and limits. Know your own and challenge yourself
within those. Jealousy is certainly not among the helpful emotions when exercising for fitness. 


Disclaimer: All
suggestions are general in nature. Readers are advised to exercise
caution before implementing them and seek expert advise about what is
suitable for their specific needs. 

The above image has been taken from Microsoft Clipart Gallery.

What is this life?

He walked down to the car, to the car, and walked into the hospital ER.
Never to walk out again.
Within a few minutes all was over

It was as if he just walked out of everybody’s lives…
A sudden void at every turn
A ‘chat’ with him would now be a ‘darshan‘ (दर्शन)
‘He’ was now a ‘body’
All in the span of a few minutes, the view changed.

What is Life and what comes after?
Where were we on the day before we were born? Where do we go from here?
When? That is the dreaded question none of us wants to ask but fears the most
Why? All of us have to move on – that much is certain from the moment of our birth.
How? Yet another question for which there are no answers…

Why not use 4Ws and 1H (Who, Where, What, When and How) to make the most of our moments on earth? Each of us has to find answers to these questions for ourselves.
Think about it…


After a long time, I read this article that really disturbed me. The Dec 26, 2011- Jan 09, 2012 issue of the Outlook magazine has several articles that describe ‘food trails’ in different regions. I have read several such ‘food’ travel articles online and in magazines but none was as stark as this one.

The article is entitled ‘Sweat of Shiva’s Back’ by Amita Bhaviskar and describes the food and life of Bhilala adivasis. Perish any thought of a romantic account of life in the jungles. Far from it. Having said that, at no point does the article deteriorate into a ‘sob story’ of their difficulties. In a simple stark manner, the author describes their food habits that are totally dictated by the lives they lead.

Initially the botanist in me was struck by their use of the Mahua flowers and its oil and liquor made from it. Then as the words sank in, the magnitude of their situation hit me.

A friend of mine spent some time at Melghat and her account of the conditions there was of abject malnutrition, illiteracy…

Despite tall claims of our esteemed economists, industrialists and the government of being an economic superpower in-waiting, our politicians continue to focus on the caste system for their own gains, female infanticide is still rampant, girls are ‘married’ off to banana trees or earthen pots prior to marriage for some obscure ‘dosha‘ in their horoscope as their mothers and relatives look on approvingly…. (I have never heard of the same proceedure for a prospective groom, are their horoscopes universally excellent and free of doshas?). Does this mean its the darkest before dawn or is it all just a mirage? I don’t know…

Its true that ours is a vast country of diverse geographies and people. One size will not apply to all. The cities see a 24X7 rat race for more money, a bigger job designation, a bigger loan (to keep up with the Jonas’ in terms of creature comforts) and a slowly bigger list of diseases… Some migrate abroad in search of a ‘better’ life.

All this while folk from our villages fed up of lack of income and wanting a ‘better’ lifestyle come to the cities in search of the proverbial pot of gold…

We have lived in some pretty remote and disturbed areas, experienced the ups and downs of soldierly life. Combined with my work with disadvantaged kids I thought I had developed a thick skin… I was wrong…

Take care..

And the Sun will shine…

Difficult as it is to say this, one has to accept that the present governance situation in India seems to have reached its nadir. What with one scam after another, soaring prices (to name just a few problems) the only people who seem to be doing well are politicians irrespective of which cap they don.

Yes, the media may go overboard about some issues but can they be blamed for the price rise? (read this: http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Pawar-blames-media-says-no-proposal-on-milk-price-rise/570153/). Some ministers have reportedly said the government lacks tools to control price rises (read this: http://www.rediff.com/business/slide-show/slide-show-1-govt-cannot-control-food-prices-accepts-finmin-adviser/20110106.htm).
Corruption, legal violation cases by big wigs languish in our courts.
So where does the common man go? Is this the pits? Do we as honest tax payers deserve this? Should we pay taxes at all? Do we really have democratic processes that represent ‘majority’ opinion or are some influential voters’ blocks taking the rest for a ride? The central government, and every state, municipal corporation and gram panchayat government represent not more than 35% of votes polled. So are our electoral systems truly giving the majority opinion the right to govern? We need to introspect and rethink.
Being the eternal optimist I would like to point to the 2010 Bihar elections. Bihar, the first among the so called BIMARU states, yet its people made a dramatic choice in their 2010. Fed up with corruption, absence of law and order they voted for progress. (read this: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/development-has-won-in-bihar-nitish-kumar/135747-37-64.html
Surely if some people in India can use the ballot to make an emphatic verdict about their preferences, the rest of us can follow? Agreed that there is still a while for elections but we must be sure to make an informed choice based on past performance and not promised results when we vote. We must sort wheat from chaff and learn to take ‘claims’ of so called administrative successes with tons of salt.
This is what people power and power of the ballot is all about.
Don’t despair people. Raise your voice. Think. Act.
And the Sun will shine…

Akshya Tritiya

Newspapers and TV channels are flooded with ads coaxing you to invest in gold coins on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya. Banks too are selling gold coins. Now everyone wants to take advantage of this day and many people do so with an eye on the future- invest in gold for a child’s marriage, for personal future needs, as an alternative to stocks/FDs etc.
This necessarily means we may want to sell the gold coins at a later date when the need arises.

So we can just walk back to the bank and sell back the gold coin for money. Right?

This article in Hindu Business Line (click here ) dated 14 May 2010 tells us about the pitfalls of buying such coins. When buying a gold coin from a bank, one has to pay a higher price than the market rate and at times a service charge as well. Apparently a bank may not buy them back or accept as collateral for a loan. Not all jewellers will pay you cash for it either- you may have to buy jewellery instead. Read the above article for more details.

So do your homework before investing in gold coins.
Happiness Always…