Exploiting Nature – Serial Losses or Collateral

By Bhuvi M

More than a year has passed by when flash flood drowned the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. It was the after effect of handful of greedy over public & ecological interests. Traversing backwards in memory here is spine chilling account:

Cloud bursts resulting in flash floods and landslides in Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gaurikund area of Uttarakhand state of India on 15th to 17th June 2013. Thousands of people have got hurt, pilgrims stranded, hundreds have lost their lives, residents rendered homeless, thousands missing. The means of livelihoods have been lost and there has been massive destruction to infrastructure and property. Otherwise one of the less developed states of country, such enormity of destruction pushes it ten times backward on the route of development. The pictures depict many of them have lost their life savings. For them standing up and let their life moving ahead will be an uphill task. Bigger chunk of revenue of this Himalayan state comes from tourists, pilgrims, orchards and forest produce. For lots of people staying in northern plains of India; locales in Uttarakhand & Himachal are weekend unwinding destinations.

We too had planned for a short trip to a quaint destination up hills very same weekend when the disaster struck. Mountains are enticing in rains with clouds and mist all over. It was nice to beat Delhi’s heat and eye soothing watching drenched greens. Scary was excessive of rains and dark clouds hovering very low on the mountains. One night stay at a cottage at Nathuakhan, a little ahead of Nainital in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand was both pleasant and scary.

532550_10151756720113140_56177164_n

We reached the destination a couple of hours late owing to en-route traffic jam. It had been raining in off and on for a couple of days there. As soon as we reached, heavy downpour started. We walked down in rain to meet a friend and see an ancient temple in the village. Returning to the cottage it was early set of evening and mist hovering all over the valley. It rained heavily all through the night. The wind blowing through the creeks sounded scary. On Sunday morning we saw dark clouds hovering too low on the mountains on north western side (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Uttarkashi falls on the this direction from Nainital). It was raining incessantly. Our plan was to stay, enjoy and leave around lunch time. Seeing the situation we decided to leave just after breakfast. It was clear if it continued raining for next twelve hours flash flood and land slide can happen and we may pose risk. While returning it continued raining only to stop intermittently. We came across a number of rivulets gushing down the mountains. A tributary of Ramganga which was dry a day back was full of water. The decision of leaving early was a wise one. All through the route we faced heavy down pour. Once returned, realized the catastrophe that had happened in Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gaurikund of Garhwal region. We still got a chance to get out of the area. Anyone could have been trapped in this calamity. It sends chills up the spine. Though none I know personally is stuck up in the situation but I’m a frequent traveler in the area. I was glued to news for updates and my heart bled for all those facing it.

Such event of cloud burst was natural but the effect of disaster was man made. Un-checked way of construction, mining, deforestation and interfering with nature had taken its toll. Personal greed of construction, mining mafia with political nexus had not paid any attention to save the eco-sensitive zones in hills. This flash flood swiping away buildings and villages was the result of man exploiting nature. Precious lives were lost and properties damaged. A war footing rescue was called for in inaccessible hilly terrain. National Disaster Response Force, Army, Air Force, ITBP and locals were engaged in rescue operation. The people who had survived the fury of nature had nightmares to narrate. Heart wrenching tales & pictures emerged with time. What was hampering the operation was tough terrain, at times rough weather, unchecked number of pilgrims & tourists uphills, scattered population all over the area.

This is not the only terrain where man has played with nature. Look around and each place has the same story to tell. Another serial loss waiting to happen.

Note: Day 4, Writing 101: Serially Lost by the Daily Post

Advertisements

Diary of “Not so Glamorous” Single Girl

By Bhuvi M

Recently, I came across series of articles titled “Diary of a Single Girl” in Times Life, (the sunday supplement of The Times of India)  and has been forced to think, “Is this the only picture of a single girl, who is a professional staying in a metro?”

The Times of India column portrays a single girl as objectified glamorous diva from the modeling world. She does everything her way without caring for the world and societal norms. I appreciate the attitude of living her life her way….but still I think, is this the only real picture of “Single Girl”…. probably not.

Moving away from the column; I observe there is another breed of single girl; not into such glamorous profession; the front end of fashion, movies, media, airlines, hotel etc. Thousands of those who stay in metro cities; work breaking their back nine to nine, camouflaged from public eye in the very same glamorous sectors, corporate, NGOs, hospital or teaching at a university.

She is the girl next-door of our colony. She is educated and takes back home a decent pay cheque every month. She is focused in her career and clear with objectives. She is loving, friendly, ordinary and intelligent. She may not care for the world but still respects & greets her neighborhood uncle and aunty with smile. She is will stand by you in despair.

She is not a diva. She is modern and traditional all rolled into one. She dresses contemporary, casual, traditional & conservative, as the situation demands. She is confident and knows to carry herself. Her mother taught her to be safe in metro so she will not befriend strangers at the drop of the hat. She doesn’t find dates easily; may be she likes to know a person before deciding to date him. She will never invite someone home whom she has just met in the conference. She thinks twice before indulging into anything that can pose risk to her and her family.

Her routine is ordinary from visiting gym, managing house in the morning, office during the day and kitchen in the evening. She attends professional conferences and parties in the evening. On weekends she indulges into her passions; either in her circle of friends or alone. These can be traveling, backpacking, painting, writing, attending literary shows and watching theatre, watching movies, cooking, shopping or designing. She meets her extended relatives and manages those relationships with care. This is the majority of the “Single Girl”.

She works hard and smart to build her career. She shares the family responsibility. She invests for her future. She waits till her parents find a groom for her or she is able to find someone herself. She may date someone after liking and plans to marry her. Quite often she misses the man and not sex, a man who is all hers. She is the one who makes a lovely wife, stong relationship and a beautiful home.

Does this sound interesting to the ordinary reader of the column “Diary of a Single Girl”? She is among us. We can easily relate to her. The cover page of her diary may be ordinary as is her personality. If you are lucky to get a chance to flip through the pages of her diary and so as of her life you will find her far more interesting, loaded with endless challenges than a diva’s …… because she is you and me. She is the one who adds a charm to our day-to-day life. She is our daughter, sister, friend and colleague who make our lives meaningful and interesting. Shall we get inside the dairy now….the question lies with the reader.