It is potable and not portable water…..

photoThis morning (December 28, 2013) I came across this headline in the Business Standard which stood out like a sore thumb. Portable water???? Gimme a break will ya? Potable water means water that is fit or suitable for drinking. The word portable means carried or moved with ease. So get a life proof readers. Spell check still can’t replace the human brain. Wake up copywriters.

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Festivals in India – Can’t we have them free of pollution?

ganesh_immersion

Let me admit, I am no saint. It is not that I don’t believe in God but I just don’t agree with this idea of blind faith, idol worship etc. Fine these are my thoughts so people who don’t like this concept please leave this post now.

My pet peeve has always been the noise we equate with festivities. Every time we have some celebration, we must have noise and by noise I mean LOUD noise which increases exponentially very year not to mention the raunchy film songs that blare away. Having lived bang opposite not 1 but 3 marriage halls since birth, I am always complaining about the noise levels. Added to that festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi going on these days, only add to the noise pollution levels.

Air pollution – Crackers – the bane of it all. I have convinced Kavya not to burst crackers and she hasn’t done that in the past 5 or 6 years or more. Proud of that Kavya. But then why do we have to make such an ostentatious show of wealth by bursting crackers? The noise is deafening and worse the smoke causes so many problems. As I write it is the last day of the Ganesh festival and today is the immersion day when the idols are taken to the sea for immersion. The smoke emanating from the crackers bursting has already caused a problem with my nose and I have been sneezing endlessly with a running nose and watering eyes. Mind it, I haven’t stepped out of the house since 2 pm. Wonder what pain it is causing to senior citizens and the ailing patients. Not everyone has the luxury of an air-conditioned room which in any case doesn’t warrant immunity from all the effects.

Water pollution – This probably is a killer during these days of Ganesh Chaturthi. Idols made of Plaster of Paris are immersed in the waters. These idols are painted of course so don’t know what harmful metals / chemicals are being passed on into the sea. Dumping of flowers, coconuts etc. into the sea along with threads / wires / other pieces of decoration. What terrible effects on the marine eco system! Unimaginable. The same lord who for the past 10 days is worshipped (or whatever you can call the all of the above) is then washed ashore and picked up and dumped. Last year I did venture to Shivaji Park with my camera but was surprised to see it cleaned up already and besides large signs mentioning no photography! So in the guise of festivities what are we doing? Running away from harsh realities?

Coming to my own home – I put my foot down some 10 or 15 years ago and said no more idol to be brought home. For a year we did not get the idol home but then as expected both my Mother and wifey ganged up against me (or should I use the word emotionally blackmail me) and next year it was back to usual. Just that now they say that they are getting “eco-friendly” idols. I honestly don’t trust the shop keepers who sell these so called “eco-friendly” idols. Who knows what goes inside? Maybe next year is time again for me to orchestrate some kind of a protest at home to stop this blind idol worship. I would rather have the amounts spent in feeding someone needy. And talking of feeding people, next to our Mahim office, yesterday evening I saw that they were feeding the needy. Very nice of them no doubt but what were they using? Stryofoam plates which is carcinogenic and would never degenerate for years to come. So what are the good Samaritans i.e. the organisers thinking? Leaves many questions unanswered.

Best is for me to stop this “eco-friendly” idol worship at home and do my bit for the environment. As it is bursting crackers is out for Kavya so she is already doing her bit for the environment.

Fire – Made an eventful Sunday

It sure was an eventful Sunday. I walked to Siddhivinayak in the morning and after breakfast I was sleeping on the sofa itself (It was raining in Australia and so I thought the match would be washed out). I woke up as there was some commotion and I saw Santosh (our man Friday) rushing towards the loft with a vessel filled with water. He was barely 3 feet away when I saw the fire and asked him to stop and not throw any water. Rushed there and first switched off the electrical mains and then got a flower-pot and gave him handfuls of the soil and asked him to throw it there. The ladies were paranoid and shouting at me that throw water and I was like no way. I will get another plant but no one is throwing water. After a lot of such throwing we finally saw the end of the fire and thick black smoke enveloping the two of us. Called our electrical contractor and told him the story. The plug connecting the storage water heater probably gave way and that led to the short-circuit and fire. The PVC conduit portion was melting too. Thank Lord Siddhivinayak for giving me the presence of mind to stop Santosh from throwing water else God knows what would have happened. The loft wall is common to the kitchen and on the other side of the wall we have the piped gas connection. All in all tense 20 minutes or so after which 2 hours of living without electricity and now will have to get this sorted out starting tomorrow with the water heater fellows.

As an aside, please always remember never to throw water on an electrical fire. The first step would be to switch off the mains and after that only try to extinguish the fire. Our mains was in the passage with the loft head on one side and the main switch board on the other. In hindsight if I would not have been able to switch off the mains, I would have to get the building mains switched off which was a tall order I know but in the interest of all that would have to be done. Luckily it was not so big a fire and we could stop it almost immediately. The funny thing is that none of the MCBs or RCCBs tripped despite having planned so much in detail. Any pointers to that? Must consult my electrical friends for throwing some light on that.

Jetlite – Crossing all limits of a low cost carrier

Writing from my flight from Rajkot to Mumbai and am flying Jetlite. Just asked the hostess for some water and she informed me that water is 20 Rs. after take off. This is really the limit. No one offered us water before take off nor did they inform us that post take off they would begin charging us and now I am being asked to cough up money!!!! I have flown a lot of LCCs (low cost carriers) but no one has ever made such an outrageous demand. Needless to say I have not paid Rs. 20. A 55 minute flight is not going to kill me.