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Live and Express


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The Water Problem (Episode 2)

Recently I wrote about the looming water problem in India. At that time, all I had was questions on the enormity of the issue, and how we can tackle this. I made a bucket list of all the stuff that I can do, and I quickly followed up with a few people I knew on social media and otherwise, and the results were a bit comforting, although the efforts are long-drawn projects that need constant follow-ups.

I was deeply heartened to see that many people are actually working on the water already at various levels – creating awareness, conducting sessions, executing implementations to effectively use groundwater and rainwater, and coming up with innovations that can made radical improvements to the abilities to store water.

Two of such groups that I came across were The Rainwater Club and Bhungroo. Both of them are well-known in the water circles for their work. The Rainwater Club is doing their work mostly in Karnataka and Tamilnadu, while Bhungroo has projects all over the world, but head-quartered in Gujarat.

The Rainwater Club has modules to conduct trainings and sessions in the schools, so that awareness can be created among the children. It would be great to partner with them to conduct sessions at your schools, especially if you are a group of institutions or a chain of schools.

Bhungroo is all about implementation, you can reach out to them to implement their solution in the usually drought-hit areas of your state, to see if their solution would help the situation.

These two were great starts for me to do something about the areas that I know of, while I am talking to someone in Kerala to see if there’s a potential solution for their unique issue of land level being the same as sea level along the coast, and hence water cannot be stored underground!  I am also planning to be in touch with a unique project in south India, to partner with them for projects and training on water for school children.

I will keep you posted!

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International Yoga Day 2018

Warm wishes to all of you on the International Yoga Day 2018 !

Events are organized as reminders for something that need be remembered on a daily basis, probably every moment. The days that are celebrated every year are also reminders for us to incorporate Yoga into our daily life, so that we are in tune with the Universe.

I once asked a spiritual person why Yoga only for human beings. Animals don’t do Yoga, other creatures don’t do.  The answer was that only humans need to work to be in tune with what they aspire to be. With Yoga, you could be pretty much anything you want to be by constant striving. With other creatures such possibility does not exist, and they are fixed to be in the way they are, and there are no opportunities for them to change or transform.  But for humans, its possible. So, we should make use of the opportunity!

Somebody died in our family recently, and that made a distinct change in my attitude in being regular towards Yoga. When that person died, we could clearly see for ourselves that they are not their body (anymore), and we don’t know what happened to that person who kept walking, talking and doing so many stuff daily. It was shown very clearly to me that the life given to us is to find out that we are not just the body and the mind. There should be something more.

Having said that, being in a human body is absolutely important while we live, not just for the compassion that humans show unlike many other creatures, but also for the opportunity to do stuff that others can’t. One fever showed me what kind of dances I had to do with my body to make it okay; body is such a complicated system. So, it needs be maintained properly, and luckily the Yoga system that’s currently offered by many groups, is not that complicated at all – simple practices for great benefits.

As many success coaches say, regular regimes are important. Sticking to them as far as possible is important. So, if we care for our body, our breath, flexibility, agility, liveliness and all the goodies, it’s important to do Yoga daily. And a diet that won’t strain the body but make it malleable, strong and vibrant.

Our life expectancies have increased – people live till 90s very easily, thanks to the advances in medical sciences. It’s important that we be hale and healthy while we live for such long periods of time. It would be cruel to see our body suffer because of non-flexibility while it is still maintained by medicines. Thus it is important to do Yoga daily irrespective of the age.

Thanks for listening. Have a wonderful International Yoga Day, doing Yoga, today and every day!

 

 


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The Water Problem!

I was terribly shocked when on a fine morning this week, I saw the report from NITI Aayog about the impending water problem across India. In summary, it said that many states will run out of ground water by 2030.

This is very serious, and even more serious is the fact that around 30 cities in India will run out of water by 2020 (yes, you read that right; 2 years from now!).

It’s not like ‘Should I care? What can I do?’  It is more like ‘I got to do a thousand things that I can.’

Are you listening?

Alright, so here’s what I did. I picked up a sheet of paper and wrote down all the stuff that I can do. I am giving this here to be a starter or an inspiration for you to think of things that would work and make a difference:

1. Contact Indian organisations that are working in the field of primary and secondary education, as well as Indian organisations that work on public education, and make them create modules and syllabus that can be delivered to students and general public so that they are aware of how important water is and create awareness about the following topics:

  • Ground water restoration
  • Irrigation management
  • On-farm water use
  • Drinking water supply
  • Devising water policies

2. Strengthening the ways of predicting rains, such that general public can make arrangements to tap rain-water in whatever infrastructure they have wherever they live.

3. Try working with aerial experts to see if any additional data can be gleaned for point no. 2.

4. Creating awareness in colleges, so that the outgoing students can create products and software surrounding the issue. Bonus point: it creates jobs

5. Influencing the governments for implementation policies.

6. Contact on-the-ground organisations in various states to work on implementations in their states.

7. Work with organisations that already have a lot of reachability in remote areas (for example, population control organisations), and convince them to create awareness and educate their audiences.

What ideas do you have?  Feel free to rack your brains – because it’s you and your children who are also going to affected by this. The usual Indian apathy won’t help!

Thanks for listening.

 

 


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The undistracted time!

Recently I was having concentration problems. Unable to focus, unable to get anything done, too much to crunch…I was questioning myself ‘What’s going on! Where’s the guy who focuses on one thing at a time and does a great job?’

I guess everybody these days are going through this because of (1) options, (2) exposure, (3) information and (4) social media. In one of my earlier blogs, I wrote about how to handle information overload from social media by using streams facility offered by social media management tools.

This is really a very ‘disruptive’ society (no pun intended) that we live in, with loads to learn, and keep ourselves updated. One thing I figured is that there are multiple players in the same product space trying to compete to get your attention and get you to buy their product, and in that process, confuse you totally that you become numb and won’t take any action.

This trend has psychological effects too. I wrote about the effect of endless browsing in the social media platforms before. These kind of browsing makes you just depressed. Now researchers are asking not to just browse, and more specifically NOT to multitask, and focus on a single task at a time! I am just reminded about the number of browser tags that have open in my browser!

The issue has become so serious that there have been books written of late on how to stay focused! One of such books, whose Amazon summary I really liked is ‘Deep work’ by Cal Newport. I think this book nails the issue, and probably provides the apt solutions for handling the issue.  I just came across the book, when I was looking for books for success!

Well, that’s it for now. I hope the information is helpful to you. Let’s look forward for productive times and lots of success!

 


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On social media and channelizing the minds

Why social media for me :

It was one of those strenuous days in 2017. I had too much to do in 3 or 4 activities spread across the day.  I like focus, and that’s the way I have been for the past many years. I like channelizing my mind, body and my energies in a task. But then, there are some boring moments when you would like to just get off for a minute or two, wander your body and your mind, and then get back to the task.

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, et al) have been a cure (or a curse on how you see it).  That one of two minutes of wandering of the mind away from the task using social media extended to 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and before you know, it had consumed a full 43 minutes!

“Well, that’s not good”, I told myself. I decided to take a mental inventory of HOW the time is spent on social media. I sat down and wrote a diary of all the posts I read, I liked and shared, and just “browsing”.  Though it was just my break time that I spend on social media, I wanted to justify myself on how the time is spent, because it’s my precious breath and life after all, moment after moment, before I die!

My findings!

The notes I saw alarmed me. 89% of the time was just browsing post after post in Facebook and Twitter, without any focus, learning or practicing a skill.  A typical “browse” Facebook session contained a book advertisement from a book club, an advertisement on how to “opt-in” more customers to your blog site, a post in a school group asking whether this school is better or that, a post in a music group with a picture of a guy with a violin, a group post about the latest trend in western cinema, a post in a railway group about that fantastic engine….You get the drift.

A rattling mind and the consequences

If your mind travels this fast with no focus on a specific subject or related thinking, you know where you will get to – nowhere.  It not only puts your brain in an ever-shifting mode, it will strain your brain to no-end resulting in nervousness, a sense of loss, depression, anger and a deprived feeling!  Many studies have also shown the same.

Social media tools for streamlining

Social media tools that help you segregate topics as streams based on hashtags or keywords are helpful. It helps browse through the social media posts and organize your thoughts on one direction, learning a thing or two about a topic and participating in a discussion.  But many of us do not use those tools on a native basis, but login to the social media sites directly.   In this year, I have reminded myself to use these tools instead of logging into social media sites directly, and save myself of the mental stress!  If I ever wanted to take a 2-minute break, that should not be and won’t be on the social media sites, but a short walk, a visit to the restroom, a cup of water and then back to work again.

Not just the break time!

We all know the three things that are required to excel – Learn, Practice, Network.  A typical successful person’s time management has these components.  For all of these, accessing the Internet has become a necessity.  For learning and networking, social media has become important.  We just need be careful that our learning and networking time is used productively, not just during the break time, but during our work time also, and be conscious that our precious time is not wasted in endless, mindless browsing.

So…

I thought I would just share my thoughts on this, which I had been postponing for a while now. I wrote a Facebook post (there you go!) on this sometime back, but not sure how many people it reached, so here I am, writing a blog.  Hopefully it’s useful for you!
Thanks for listening!


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The 10 km walk!

I am uninitiated to fitness regimes. I am not a fitness freak. But I read a saying recently which said: “Exercise is not for living healthy, but dying healthy.” There could not be a truer truth than this! So, in order for me to be not a nuisance for my family and my social circle by being unhealthy, I decided to be healthy.

I am always motivated to walk.  I walk long distances without an issue. So, I decided that walking would be my exercise. I have heard that fast walking takes care of several things – maintaining the proper blood pressure, cholestrol,  blood sugar levels, giving exercise to muscles, etc.

I usually go for a long walk, which I was thinking to be 7.5 kms, but when I measured the distance using the Pedometer android app., I figured I was just doing 6.3 kms. As a coincidence, someone had posted their walk details on Twitter, so I was motivated to really do a 7.5 kms walk.

I used Google Map to mark the milestones, but I figured I could do more than 7.5 kms, if I reduce the speed a bit. So, I reduced my walking speed from my normal of 2.9 miles/hour to 2.7 miles/hour, and started.  I gave myself a toilet and water break after 4 kms, and then proceeded for the full swing after that.

I passed through several areas that I have never been before, and was excited to explore.
I also passed through an area which I always wanted to visit, which was a bonus! I got a bit confused in one location, and had to backtrack and that took some additional 10 minutes. But, I finished my walk successfully, and here are the stats.:

10.49292 kms, 555 kilocalories, 2 hours 25 minutes, 4.34523 kms/hour, 15,302 steps.

Somebody had asked a spiritual guru that they had a tummy and noone likes him, what should he do. For which the guru answered, ‘Why don’t you go for a 10 km walk?’ That answer had always being ringing in my mind, not because my pot belly is too much or something, but the stress that things have to be taken care in the way they have to be, and there is no magical fix.

I’m now pretty happy to know that I can do 10 kms.  I don’t want to increase it, but to maintain the habit of walking the same distance daily, because to me, habits are important than goals, as habits decide the character, and the destiny!

Thanks for reading!


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#India to beat #China in #Population by 2022; Child #Adoption process getting simpler

Life is a mixed bag.

Last week, two significant headlines hit the news. The first is about the estimate that the India Population is going to exceed China by 2022which is a bad news, as we had expected it to happen by 2028 earlier.  The other is about the child adoption process in India is getting faster, easier and transparentwhich is a good news, as more people including NRIs can adopt in a simpler way moving forward.

One is a problem, and other is a potential solution. While some even neglect to think that the child adoption is a potential solution to the population problem (and say that adoption is emotional, the child and parent should connect well, one cannot adopt ANY child, etc, which are all reasonable), many consider it as a viable solution.  Here is an example of a parent who thinks so.

The Central Adoption Resource Agency has created a database of children that are waiting for adoption, and it has linked the adoption agencies to the database.  This way quick access to children to be adopted is available to the agencies.  Potential parents can now register online for them to be considered.  The guidance will be effective by August 2015, is what the post says.

With these updates, the urban folks of India now have a choice.  We have written several blogs before encouraging urban parents to adopt and why.  Several things have changed from the past, and attitude of the young generation is changing too.  With limited resources that India has, population has to be kept under strict check, and adoption is one way out – to give life to an existing child rather than creating another which will add additional burden to the country – burden may be a strong word, but yes, that’s how it is – with population increasing 1.6% in India every year!