Saturday, 26 May, 2007

Work Less, Earn Less, Consume Less ...

‘It’s not a 9-5 job’ – Many so-called challenging jobs have this point in their profile. Of course, you’re paid hefty salaries, and naturally you are expected to put in long hours. Today, 18-hr days have become normal. Somebody I know asked her husband when he came home early one day, “What??? Have you lost your job???” Strange indeed are the ironies of human life! Why do you earn more, when you can’t enjoy it? But didn’t someone say,
"Enjoyment is relative?" Yes, but still …

I came across this article in – ‘Why working less is better for the globe’. It talks about the Americans’ dogged pursuit of fatter pay packets, how it indirectly chokes up our planet, and about a very small percentage of people raising their voice against this mad pursuit.

Excerpts from the article…
"We (Americans) now seem more determined than ever to work harder and produce more stuff, which creates a bizarre paradox: We are proudly breaking our backs to decrease the carrying capacity of the planet," says Conrad Schmidt, an internationally known social activist and founder of the Work Less Party, a Vancouver-based initiative aimed at moving to a 32-hour work week…

"As a society, we're working exponentially hard to decrease sustainability and it's making us miserable -- just look at how antidepressants are on the rise," he says. "In order to reduce our ecological footprint, we have to take working less very seriously."

Unsurprisingly, the United States is the world's largest polluter. Housing a mere 5 percent of the world's population, it accounts for 22 percent of its fossil fuel consumption, 50 percent of its solid waste, and, on average, each citizen consumes 53 times more goods than a person in China, according to the environmental nonprofit, Sierra Club.

"Materialism is driven by an underlying sense of insecurity,” says Kasser…“We don't know our neighbors and suffer from high divorce rates; our social safety nets have been dismantled; we have no mandatory overtime laws and minimal vacation. All these work to create an underlying sense of insecurity, and we need to break out of that cycle,” he says.

"If you want to protect the environment, you have to consume less, which means you have to produce less, and you have to work less. We have to keep the message positive -- our standard of living will improve hugely. I think people are starting to make the connection."

Read the full article here …

Aren’t we also going the same route? Work more, earn more, consume more…

So much talk about work-life balance… Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to make our passion double up as job too. And, many of us have forgotten about our original passions.

In many cases, what the US has achieved in a span of 10-15 years, India has bridged the gap in a few years. Similarly, will we bridge this gap also fast? Oh sure, we are fast catching up. :-)

Sunday, 13 May, 2007

Power Without Responsibility

A State Health Minister says, “I cannot be expected to know about the state of affairs in all the state-run hospitals.” A State Forest Minister says, “I cannot stop tree felling in all the reserved forests.”

These are the words of people who have been given power to protect and maintain a certain asset or service of the state. They have the power, but apparently they are not aware of their responsibilities.

In the first case, 23 infants died due to labour-room infection in the state-run SAT hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. A seemingly indifferent Health Minister, P K Sreemati, washed her hands off saying there were quite a few state-run hospitals, and she could not be responsible for what’s happening in all these hospitals.

I understand … But then, why is she the State Health Minister in the first place?

To quote the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Anbumani Ramdoss on the same issue, "This is a state issue and it's entirely the problem of the state government. The Kerala government will handle the issue. The incident happened in a state government hospital and health is a state issue."

Fine, then why should there be a Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare? May be he’ll take care of the Family Welfare part.

Check out the news here

In the second case, large-scale illegal tree felling in Assam’s reserved forests was reported by a news channel. When brought to the notice of the State Minister of Forest, he shamelessly declared in front of the camera that it is impossible to prevent such incidences. Great! Another case of ignorance or feigned ignorance of one’s responsibilities!

I can understand his plight. How can he take responsibility for such a vast forest area? Why don’t we divide it into parts and assign one minister for each?

Power comes with responsibility. There is no such thing as power without responsibility – or so I thought! :-)

Wednesday, 21 March, 2007

Mumbai, The Spittoon. Still I Love The City

How come Mumbaikar’s have so much saliva? It is more than that they could swallow, and so have to spit it out on a regular basis. So they do it left, right, and centre.

Forget civic sense and all those 'nonsense'. Even the people around do not matter. To spit is their right, and to get spat upon is our duty. You can expect it from anywhere, any time, anybody! This is something where you could find equality.

The rich will roll down their Porsches’ glass and spit. A Bharat Gas truck driver does the same. Of course, he can’t roll down any glass. But beware! He’s an elevated being capable of spraying you with those heavenly juices. One of my friends was fortunate enough to attain nirvana after such an incident.

Fully made-up, heavily bejewelled ladies? School kids? Your boss? Yes, everyone is in this with all their might. While walking on the road, they turn their heads and spit. ! Lucky, if you miss it by seconds or millimetres. While climbing the station stairs, they spit it to the step ahead. Not even turn the head. While waiting at the bus stop, they do it everywhere. You will get trained in the new game called ‘walking between spits’ or 'dodging the spit.'

Yes, these are the people who made Mumbai a big spittoon.

Is this simply, madly Mumbai? Still I love the city ...

It's more than two years since I came to Mumbai. I haven't been to the northern cities of India. Friends tell me that those cities are worse. Yuk! I don't want to go to there ...

Photo courtesy: According to this site, this warning board is in Mumbai Airport :-)

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