“Ye re Ye re pausa,
Tula deto paisa,
Paisa zhala khota,
Paus ala motha”
Vinay heard a mother, from his neighbourhood sing out this jingle to her child, as he walked past them in the early hours of a Sunday. It was 7 in a typical Pune morning, empty lanes marked by couple of morning joggers, few drowsy people dawdling in their verandas and the early birds picking up dailies. Returning from an hour long jog, fatigued & drained of body fluids, Vinay reached out for the fruit juice carton in his refrigerator.
“What! Not cold? What’s wrong?” he thought.
He looked around and discovered that electricity wasn’t there. “Gosh!” he sighed, picked the cane stool and walked to the veranda. He glanced through the newspapers and found a piece announcing additional load shedding. The dams around Pune had dried up, the rivers were no good, and water was now a prized commodity.
The effects of Global Warming are here to be seen, temperatures rising to levels that were imagined only in the deserts of Rajasthan a decade ago, are now a stark reality in the overflowing cities of India. The gradual deforestation by reckless expansion of cities has led rampant exploitation of natural resources. Cities that once thrived on rivers have now become their largest polluters. Take a look at the greatest cities that evolved on the fertile soil around rivers – London (on Thames), Paris (on Seine), Delhi (on Yamuna), Cairo (on Nile) and many more. It’s a no brain-er that the reason because of which human civilisation chose to live at a place, is now struggling for life, that largely a case in developing countries. It’s easy to allege as it’s apparent. The unchecked growth and turning of land to concrete shrubs, has pressurised the ecosystem to an extent that it has relented and put the onus on us act sensibly.
Monsoon imbalances and resultant droughts have shown last year on how Nature can affect the economics of the country. For a country like ours, whose economic and social life largely revolves around the monsoon, such climate changes are hard to cope up with. The Economic Survey of India for 2009-10 outlines that sub-normal monsoons added uncertainty to the economic situation post the recession year. So bad was the impact that it was classified worse since 1972, with a monsoon deficit estimated at 23% & the overall agricultural GDP fell by 0.2% compared to the 1.6% increase in the previous year. The double digit inflation in the second half of the financial year has been attributed to supply bottlenecks in agricultural produce caused due to the delayed & sub-normal monsoons. Once inflation sets in, it impacts other sectors as well.
Human Civilisation’ has largely evolved on capitalist and social norms, barely ecological. Right from the early dwellers to the colonial times to the modern ages, our social evolution is based on only one factor – a selfish nature of having things for ourselves. Little did we realise that we are a figment on this earth, but causing ecological imbalances that affect every other living species. Earth is not going to wait for us to take steps to lower temperatures, to reduce pollution, or to do anything “Green”. It is always in an evolutionary phase, constantly evolving to negate imbalances. It is we who should be worried about our future on this planet. We have to take steps that will enable us live better while we do minimum damage to the ecosystem. Cities need to be planned considering the ecological capacity of the place, smarter ways of generating and consuming power have to be developed, and transportation needs to be compatible to the ecology.
A thought flies my mind while I observe the bridges in Pune that the city could have been conceived in manner similar to Venice in Italy. A beautiful, well maintained river could have paved ways for river transportation. There could be boats that could take you from one place to another, via the river and its (bridges’) beautification could have had created Pune a distinct identity. Now, that’s a difficult scenario to imagine today as rivers not only stink but is home to water hyacinth facilitating mosquito growth.
For climate change is not a single handed activity, that one alone needs to resolve to act. If it was the case then the US would have done it by now. It is a concerted act by all citizens of this planet for mankind to live longer on this planet. Theories suggest that dinosaurs were wiped out this planet due to a meteor strike. I don’t know how long did it take for life to resume, but one of the most powerful creatures that ever lived on Earth, fell to the sudden changes in climate, caused by the meteor. This is a huge testimony to the power Mother Nature possesses, and can inflict upon us should we mess around. There are many ways to contribute to climate conservation, which I wont list out here, many of us know else Google it. The message that needs to be driven home is that the time is critical and resources scarce, that we need to wake up and take account.
Vinay was returning home after a demanding day, spent shopping with friends at the local mall. The intimidating heat had already taken its toll on him, evaporating every calorie of energy. One wouldn’t find a tired face smiling, but Vinay’s was. He saw up to the sky, and observed clouds gliding over the city’s skylines. It was soon overcast, supported by streaks of lightning flashes across the sky. He was just about to turn back in, that he saw his neighbour’s child run out to the play field, along with others from the building. And they were singing,
“Ye re Ye re pausa,
Tula deto paisa,
Paisa zhala khota
Paus ala motha”
The rain Gods blessed, and the smell of mud after the first rain invigorated everyone’s spirits. The first droplets of rain fell on happy faces, on muddy leaves, on dirty roads & on polluted airs. Dirt was gone, so was the torridity. The ambience was resplendent, it’s aura was audacious. The feeling was blissful, winsome in many ways.
Vinay returned to his flat, picked up a cup of coffee and sat in the verandah, savouring the moment, while Pink Floyd played on his iPod.