Most non-Indian things about me

Recently, one of my favourite websites/apps has been Quora. I keep reading stories there and one of these threads was a nice one where people wrote about what was the most non-Indian things about them. So I thought of posting something similar here, instead of in Quora.

Race/Caste: I am completely race, caste, colour and religion blind. I believe in everyone living the life they want to live.

Food: I love foods from other cultures and try to eat different foods as much as possible. I also don’t eat the food traditionally cooked by my community all the time, I need to eat different food all the time.

Speech: I am more comfortable in English than in Indian languages. In fact, I usually speak to Indians here in English and only when I am super comfortable with them, do I start using Indian languages

Punctuality: I am very punctual everywhere. If I have to be someplace at a certain time, I am usually there 10-15 minutes before the scheduled time. If in exceptional circumstances, I become late, I always call or text the person I am meeting to let them know as much in advance as possible.

Etiquette: I always thank people for whatever they do for me. This includes my parents, husband, children and in fact anyone I come across during the day.

Clothes and Jewellery: I don’t buy Indian clothes each time I go to India or even when there’s an occasion. I don’t believe in spending thousands of rupees on clothes you would wear only a couple of times; I’d rather spend money on something I would wear again and again, even if it’s slightly more expensive. It’s the same with jewellery. I don’t like wearing jewellery and don’t even wear the traditional symbols of marriage that women in my community wear.

Cricket: Zero interest in cricket or any sport for that matter. I can’t remember the last time I actually saw a match and since here you need to pay through your nose for cable television, I don’t really see the need to spend that kind of money to watch a match!

There’s probably more, but this is all I can think of right now. I may update this post when I think of more things. In the meantime, do check out Quora’s thread (the link is in the beginning of the post)

 

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Poetry: The Fright

The Fright

I wake up and see nothingness
Feel flustered and breathless

My heart starts pumping so loud
That’s the same as feeling you are in a shroud

I toss my hands, feeling my way all around
My nose twitching, just like a bloodhound

Just when I thought all was lost, I had lost my mind
Just when I thought I had suddenly become blind

I realised I had slept with an eye mask all night
I realised what a fool I had been, had such a fright!

Spring is Here

spring-here-decorative-type-lettering-design-53494147

Spring is Here

There’s a new smell in the air
Trees, which were once bare,
Are now filled with the promise of new flair

Spring is in the air, the promise of summer not too far
The cooing of the birds, the welcoming of new babies

The bleakness of winter gives way to the lushness of spring
Because spring is the seasons’ king

I look forward to April each year
To welcome spring, to enjoy life and be here

Because I know that Spring is here!

Water: The Driving Force of all Nature

quote-the-wars-of-the-twenty-first-century-will-be-fought-over-water-ismail-serageldin-54-11-05

“The wars of the twenty-first century will be fought over water” – Ismail Serageldin

Water, the one thing which human beings can’t survive without for long. The natural resource which, for centuries we have taken for granted and abused mercilessly and one which is precariously close to depletion if we are not careful.

map_showing_global_physical_and_economic_water_scarcity_2006There is a global water crisis going on and challenges to government and non-governmental bodies trying to fix the situation include water scarcity, water pollution, inadequate water supply and the lack of sanitation for billions of people in less developed countries.

Water and related to it, sanitation is an essential human right and so to bring the world’s attention to this dire situation, so that our children and their children have access to a resource which is essential for the survival of the human race, 22 March has been designated as World Water Day.

waterday-logoWorld Water Day is an annual observance day on 22 March to highlight the importance of freshwater. It is also used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. World Water Day is celebrated around the world with a variety of events. These can be educational, theatrical, musical or lobbying in nature. The day can also include campaigns to raise money for water projects. The first World Water Day, designated by the United Nations, was commemorated in 1993.

UN-Water selects a theme for each year.The theme for 2018 is “Nature for Water” to encourage people to “look for the answer in nature”. Damaged ecosystems affect the quantity and quality of water available for human consumption. Today, 2.1 billion people live without safe drinking water at home; affecting their health, education and livelihoods. Sustainable Development Goal 6 commits the world to ensure that everyone has access to safe water by 2030, and includes targets for protecting the natural environment and reducing pollution.

The UN World Water Development Report is released each year around World Water Day.

Here in Singapore, most schools celebrate the day by teaching water conservation to the students. For example, some toilets are closed off and students are forced to use a limited number of toilets, or water force is severely curtailed. This is so they get how important water is.

watersavingOn our part, as individuals, we can also take small steps to help conserve water.

  1. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Don’t let all the water go down the drain while you brush! Turn off the tap after you wet your brush, and leave it off until it’s time to rinse.
  2. Turn off the tap while washing your hands. Do you need the water to run while you’re scrubbing your hands? Save a few litres of water and turn the tap off after you wet your hands until you need to rinse.
  3. Fix your leaks. Whether you go DIY or hire a plumber, fixing leaky taps and pipes can mean big water savings.
  4. Take shorter showers. Our shower heads can use as much as 15-20 litres of water per minute. Speed things up in the shower for some serious water savings.
  5. Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap. Collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables. Use it to water houseplants.

How do you conserve water? Please do comment and share your tips to save water so that we pass on a better earth to our children than what we inherited!

 

Here comes Spring….

 

On Tuesday, the plane of the Earth’s equator passed through the centre of the Sun’s disk. In other words, this heralded the coming of Spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere. This movement occurs twice a year, in March and September and on these days, it is said the day and night are of equal lengths. During the rest of the year, either day or night lasts a little longer, depending on where you are in the world, because of the Earth’s tilt and this is why it starts getting darker earlier as winter progresses. Living almost on the equator, for us, almost all days are like the equinox and most days we have roughly 12 hours of light, followed by 12 hours of dark.

But the spring equinox or as it’s called in Latin, the Vernal Equinox in the northern hemisphere, traditionally marks the start of spring in many cultures. It’s the time to throw off the covers of winter and look forward to the sun and the green of spring and summer, a time for new beginnings, births and a fresh new start at life.

A number of festivals take place around this time all over the world, dating back to ancient times. Ancient Christianity links the celebration with Easter when Jesus is believed to have died and then been reborn. The link with the vernal equinox is clear as it coincided with pagan celebrations of rebirth and renewal. The Mayan calendar is famed for its spring equinox rituals at the stone-stepped pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico. The pyramid, where human sacrifices once took place, is made in a way that a “snake of sunlight” moves down the steps on the day of the equinox.

In Spain, the time around the start of spring has traditionally been the planting season as the ground thaws and the daylight hours become longer so crops can grow. Japan celebrates both equinoxes with national holidays, as the days are seen as a time to worship ancestors.

Indians celebrate the advent of spring with the festival of colours, Holi which signifies good triumphing over evil by the throwing of colour and coloured water over each other.

In Iran, the New Year begins on the day of the equinox and is marked with the festival of Nowruz. The Parsi community has also brought over this festival with them and I did see messages in my school Whatsapp group chat wishing each other Happy Navroz (I went to a school which is operated by a Parsi trust and there were a good significant portion of Parsis in our school, I’ve written in detail about my alma mater previously).

Ireland celebrates St. Patricks Day in the middle of March each year, which is also a spring festival.

Other countries also celebrate the coming of spring in various ways and it’s quite fascinating to read how different we are, yet beneath all the differences we have (of race, language, religion and culture), we are all intrinsically the same! Food for thought right?

I’m going to leave you with these amazing videos and photos I found online. The first is a photo released by the American National Weather Service which showed how the earth looks like on the first day of Spring.

Spring

The short video below is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who celebrated the start to spring in the Northern Hemisphere with a stunning view of Earth from sunset to sunrise.