Fundamental issues – Food!

When we pull out annual statistics of the amount of food / agriculture produce we are wasting and the number of people dying out of hunger / malnutrition, it leaves me wondering why we aren’t able to plug one another. Despite our success in production, transportation and storage technologies, how is it that they haven’t turned affordable and deployable. Government policies, innovative business models and even corporate social responsibility have not been able to fix our fundamental issue, food. To live in an ideal world situation is an unrealistic ambition, but, to shrink the existing gap is an approachable goal, isn’t it? Where does it start?

Let us begin to understand, why do we produce more? Some produce like cereals and pulses can be stored for years when the supply can minimize due to natural conditions ex drought, extreme rain, etc. Why should we produce more fruits, vegetables and meat? They perish faster and managing their waste is another problem altogether. At the same time we have depleted our resources like the rich soil and water with excess farming and poultry. How could we bring a balance in demand and supply?

Now, why doesn’t the produce reach everyone? Aren’t they affordable or do they get wasted due to transport and storage issues? Or in the name of quality and assurance ex. length of a banana, color of a fruit etc, does a lot of produce get wasted at an industrial sector? Why can’t technology help in computing existing data of excess nutritious produce and help it reach children, women and adults who are suffering from malnutrition?

While some people who could afford a nutritious meal are turning to dieting, a nutritious meal is still far from reach for the below poverty line. Why?           

Bookcase!

Our home in Bengaluru has a small burrow. This cellar has been my bedroom that I shared with my sister. Our room has hosted many things which have remained as memories tattooed in our mind. Before we were moved into this room it was used as a store room and you could imagine all the unwanted yet wanted. It’s a different story that the situation didn’t change much even after we moved.

There is an old iron trunk which I think was sent as a gift to my aunt for her wedding. The rusted piece holds bolts, nuts, screws, spanners of all sizes, a hammer, wires. I think our engineering drafters have gone in there too. My dad, he role plays a plumber, an electrician, an architect and what not. He uses his toolbox to fix any problems that comes around at home.

The summer heat in Bengaluru could crack open coconuts I believe. My mother found a place for coconuts and pumpkins in our beloved bedroom / store room. I’m sure she had hidden intentions in doing this. It placed an opportunity every morning for her to come down to pick up a coconut for cooking and she could use this reason to wake me up in her screechy voice. I remained like the pumpkin under my study table. I didn’t move an inch despite her extra efforts

At the end of our staircase was a bookcase. Just in case you’d trip down, you’d be swallowed by books. My uncle had a huge collection of books that he left behind and they were stacked up in this bookcase. He had a flair for reading up anything, so we had books from all genres. Some were what he bought and some were gifted to him by the author themselves. The shelves were keeping these books for many years.

There definitely is a beautiful feel when you hold a book, but, I’ve also adapted myself to reading from my kindle reader. It turns out that we don’t need a book case anymore. I miss our bookcase, but for books they’ve always remained. Some books I’ve read from last december to this june

We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Daring Greatly – Brene Brown

Life with no breaks – Nick Spalding

Every Day is a Holiday – George Mahood

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Black Vodka – Deborah Levy

Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy – Sadhguru

Brick Lane – Monica Ali

Reading Ashwin Sanghi’s The Sialkot Saga now.

A very special mother’s day

Hmm, mother’s day was around the corner. Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp were loaded with messages as emotional as it could get. Every mom is a super mom and very special in every way. This mother’s day was special too.

Our weekend’s include a walk to the close-by super market. Rain in the past weeks have made the plants lush with green. So the walk way trees, shrubs and creepers have grown dense. We stepped out for our regular walk and turned around the pavement. I continued my chatter with marido. After a few steps he pulled my hand to gesture a stop and waved me to look to my right. A few cubs of fox were playing. They look at us as we stare. We watch them for a while and move along thinking how amazingly a mother has chosen to bring her cubs under a dense shelter, probably to save them from rains. Despite their difficulties the cubs went on to play and make their mother happy in their world of joy.

London canals are habitat for many ducks and seagulls. Few months ago we saw a duck safeguarding her eggs on a raft. She battled the cold nights in all her strength and a few weeks later the yellow ducklings hatched out and began quacking for food. The father would dive into the water to fetch food and he’d promptly go back to feed the babies. We were wondering how long would it take for the ducklings to get into water and fetch food for themselves.  It took a few more weeks indeed. Recently we found them swimming in the waters to grab their piece of bread and it’s so amazing to have seen them being nurtured and grow.

Mothers sow their seeds of thoughts in their children and then beautifully encourage their children to discover this world.

Neeliah Nayaka

For holidays I’d travel to grand-ma’s home and that’d be our summer camp. Half of my summer camp would be in Thirthalli (dad’s native) and the other half in Udupi (mom’s native). The travel from Bangalore to our village ‘Patlamane’ was a tiring one with ten hours travel time. Our journey would start with a red coloured KSRTC bus from Bangalore to Shimoga. In the six hours journey I’d ask mom to buy me groundnuts, biscuits and chocolates. After some munch I’d stretch and sleep on mom and sister. Once we got off at Shimoga, we’d stop by at Thrupthi canteen to eat curd rice, one among the best curd rice I’ve had. The journey isn’t over yet, we still have a long way to cover, not distance wise but time wise. We’d have to take a bus from Shimoga to Thirthalli and then from Thirthalli to Ganapathikatte. Sometimes I’d feel travel sick and a few times that I’ve reached intact, I was supposed to run for 2km and send my cousins to mom and sister to help get our suitcases. There are two ways to reach home, one by the main road and another through our betel-nut farm. I’d take the farm road, because it’s fast and also I was scared of a pond on the main road. I’d run to grand-ma after, who would get up from her bed, smile at me and ask ‘ivaga bandhya’ (did you arrive now?). I’d say yes, then wait by her side and she would slowly pick a plastic cover under her pillow which would have my favourite orange candy. By then mom and sister would arrive and everyone gets into a melodious conversation. I’m lost in the talks and also in time now.

I’d slowly walk towards the entrance to see the vast betel-nut trees. I’d then step towards the cowshed. All the cows are munching their evening grass meal and I walk-in to speak with them. The shiny black cow standing next to the entrance is ‘Saraswathi’. Standing next to her is ‘Lakshmi’ and beside is her calf drinking milk. Lakshmi always delivers a male calf, always. The orange cow at the far corner is ‘Parvathi’. She usually uses her horns to shoo away unknowns. This cowshed has sheltered many cows in the 60 odd years, the names have changed but the stories have remained the same.

I walk near the wooden gate, pedestrians can walk by in the small opening and when a motorcycle or a four wheeler comes, someone has to slide the four wooden bars which are resting on a small pillar, to make way. I see thousands of jamun fruit on the pathway, they all are smashed and have oozed out purple liquid. I see my cousin’s jeep up the road and I run towards it. I see an old man by the jeep. He’s squatting and smoking ‘beedi’ (thin cigarette). He is wearing a shirt which I guess would have been white once, now it’s full of mud. He’s got a striped shorts and has put a towel on his shoulder. He’s got a curly hair and has cracked legs. I go near him and he throws his cigarette away. He smiles and I can see his broken tooth. He asks ‘Puttamma! chennagiddira?’ (little girl, are you doing good?). I smile back and show my broken tooth and tell him that I’m doing good.

Neeliah Nayaka, who is an essential part of my school summer holiday memories. So many jeep journeys with cousins and him, his infectious laughter, walking me up the hill to drop me at cousin’s place, his puppy face when doddamma (dad’s elder brother’s wife) would scold him for drinking and coming home, his silence, his tree climbing techniques and the wild fruits he’d bring me.

Joyful days, Joyful memories and Joyful Neeliah 🙂

Why do I do What I do?

Isn’t the first time I’m asking this question to myself.

I have some strange and some not so strange behaviors. Without a single miss everyday I talk about pets I’ve had. You know, like a pet obsession. They have been my best friends. They’ve petted me equally in our growing together years. Now, I have to talk about my next best friend, book. Books and authors have been my friends, my mentors and also sometimes my opponents. When I’m reading a book I immerse and I absorb the characters like a sponge. I can walk and talk like them until another book and a new set of characters play my psyche. Thankfully I’m not a big fan of sci-fi. Grabbing books have been super easy these days. I’ve turned into a thorough kindle girl, so easy and so handy. The idea of shopping turns me off these days. Also I’ve noticed, I’m very uncomfortable shopping while someone’s with me all along, strangely, I could purchase a wardrobe full in an hour when I’m all by myself. Some husbands would love to have such a wife, while, marido’s different, he wants to walk along the stores with me. Well, you see, unlike attracts. That reminds, I get attracted to problems like a magnet. I hardly can air difficulties or grievances. But, problem solving gives me a thrill and a purpose. These days, I’ve found myself a new hobby. It is to sit by for days watching a tree by my window. It’s coloured its leaves, shed them all, been standing strong in the cold winter, growing back into tiny green edges and now its all of green to sway happily in the wind.

I think.. only think.. I have deep sense for details and I could let go of it all in a click.

We drove by the giant mountains around California. Some were neon white covered with snow and some were standing bare with tinges of green grass and yellow wild flowers. We are so tiny in the vastness of this nature and yet we create so much complications around – politics, industrialisation, relationships, world trades and what not. They remained my vacation thoughts. In the US visit I realised we watch more of Trump bizarre than they do. As my routine commenced I got hooked to the French election story and its result with the victory of the youngest, Macaron. Then I went on an unf$*k your habitat mode and did some dumping and house clean up. It felt like a therapy, except that once a while marido was in a playful mood to create ripples in an otherwise meditative ambience.

I think.. and think.. I have a butterfly mind which wanders in its thoughts and makes me do what I do.

A lot of stories I’ve picked to read have been a re-read of history. Some discussions I have are on how to make the best of everyday. I often take opportunities to make strategies on business for future. Past, present and future take their chances in circles.

I think.. and also think.. adequate curiosity is the essence to add flavours to my life. It’s hard to make sense of it in bits, but I’m beginning to look for my patterns. Questioning with why, how and what are acting as my tools.

Cosmos, a story of space.

Have you ever been a sky observer? Such stellar activities happen high up in the air. I love the black curves of flying birds across a bright sunrise. They have always been behind the mountains of every drawing I made as a child.  A sunrise, flying birds, few mountains, many trees, a blue river and our little home beside. When you just start to think of living a life there, you can see this machine bird in your head. It’s an airplane, that’s made us travel the world with ease and comfort. In 90s when the airplane flew past our neighborhood, we would run out to take a glimpse and wave hands. It gave us thrill and left us amused. I wondered if there would be anyone up there who could see our tiny hands and wave back. I’m standing beside the tower that takes me to 103rd floor to put me in a glass balcony. Skyscrapers begin to look like vertical platform that operates messengers to move back and forth between the earth and sky. I get off and I’m wandering under the dark lost in the jungle of my own thoughts. I look up to see Orion, a constellation that I fell in love with. He hunts my thoughts and lets me explore. I’m swirling around in circles and racing through the sky to space to system to galaxy to web of galaxies and the universe. I have gained enormous energy. Slowly, I’m starting to feel heavy. I’m swallowed by a black hole and from nowhere I start dropping down at light years speed to wake up from a sweaty dream. I’m struggling to breathe my share of oxygen. We know that our atmosphere offering of oxygen has depleted over years. Maybe my DNA will pass on this information to my lineage in their genes. After many thousands or perhaps millions of years a new human is born with some of my gene strands who wouldn’t need oxygen anymore.

Space could be bright or very dark.  Space could make you light or very heavy. Space could be a question or it could give you an answer. It’s a knowledge house and is full of mysteries. It offers us many stories.

Ever want to watch an amazing series that can stimulate questions around life on earth and space mysteries? I recommend Cosmos, A Spacetime Odyssey and need I mention that I’m in love with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Sailing in the sea of my memories

The alarm kept buzzing and it took a few more snoozes before it was fully silenced. Mornings are a challenge themselves, while, winter mornings challenge you with a dark dare. I always thought birds recognized sunrise to wake up and that ain’t true, they shout at three in the middle of my sleep. I dragged myself to the kitchen to prepare my honey lime warm water and saw a pound of bread resting in a corner. I sail back in the sea of my memories.

My mother is busy working her way in the kitchen. She has draped a blue and red printed saree and sporting a maroon bindi on her forehead. She is making filter coffee for everyone in the house. She pours the decoction and adds the creamy milk to make it a glossy brown liquid that kick starts the day for most adults. I couldn’t see the coffee bubbling on the burner, I stood straight and barely reached the kitchen counter. I walk into the hallway and see my father in his white vest and dhothi, leaning in the sofa and reading every bit of news from the Kannada newspaper ‘prajavani’ delivered by a local boy in his cycle. I go to sit next to dad and continue to play with my semi-naked barbie doll. My sister is wearing her favorite light blue frock with white flower prints. She’s lying on the floor and scribbling words on a book with her new crayons. The black cat walks past us to enter our kitchen and continues to meow. She’s stayed outdoors all night wanting to hunt down rats of our neighborhood, but, she looks disappointed with her efforts. I leave the doll on the sofa and run behind her to the kitchen. As I try to hold her, she slips away to circle around my mother. She wants her dose of morning milk. The cat closes her eyes and licks all the droplets of milk from her bowl. I sit beside to pat her while she scratches her neck and continues to lick herself up. My mother asks me to keep a distance from the cat, she scares me that its hair would go to my tummy and result in a stomach ache. I give a deaf ear to her talk and continue to play with my black panther. She hands over a glass of milk and asks me to drink it quick. I’ve been waiting for this moment since morning and I ask her to give me slices of bread to eat along. She declines my request and says I’d be fussy and wouldn’t have my breakfast if I eat the bread now. My lips drop down and I make a crying face. She doesn’t budge and I begin to cry frantically which includes a choke that stops my inhalation. Now the cry has transformed into a shrill. Everyone in the house run to the kitchen and begin to worry. They put the bread on my palm and calm me down. I start to breathe, slow down my sob and focus on the piece of bread. My joy slowly returns and I feel accomplished. I’d won my game of bread. My sibling peeps behind my dad to watch this intense scene and probably wonders how her sister is born with a taste for bread. Maybe, only to realize that decades after this very sister moves into a country of bread and makes it her home, as if it were destined.

I can feel the happiness now and I break into a smile, while marido walks in and gives me a cheery good morning hug. I’m wearing a black shirt and a pink shorts. My hair’s all messy. Well I too begin to make some filter coffee.

and bread… I’ve saved them to eat along 🙂