Oxy-Moron

What I am going to write about now is a actually a paradoxical situation, but I never leave an opportunity to use a bad pun!😉

Morons – that’s what they actually are.

With ‘they’, I mean people in authority, people who think they have a right to decide who gets what resources, and impact the lives of millions, and people who actually do, but are not responsible enough!

With what we do, we have to visit these tiny villages, sometimes located in the most mesmerizing locations! This little world of people has a world of it’s own problems. Here they are struggling to live. To live at least till the next moment, next day. When you visit them, you realize the whole futility of trying to find life somewhere else when we can’t even respect most of them here. Now. At this moment. Alive.

Last year I set out to go to a tiny place, near Kasara.

At the first glance, it was a breath-taking view! Wow. What more could one ask for! I mean people pay crazy amounts to go live in a place like this – be it only for 5 days! I was standing at one of hills surrounding Upper Vaitarna dam, and overlooking a village on another hill-top. What beauty!

But there was no road to get there. So we climbed down “our” hill, and climbed up the adjacent one! No connect, no roads was the just the beginning of their miseries. It did not hit me so hard till we actually reached the village, and oh my, what we saw was what I used to think was just a sure-shot formula for a successful movie! People had no water to drink. TO DRINK. Forget spa, Jacuzzi, have a bath, or even cook! Let us not even speak about water therapies! They did not have water to drink, when they were surrounded by a dam, that gives water about 200 km away! I cannot emphasize on this more!

Government is trolling them. In their face!

Can you see the little rocky trench? Can you see a little wet portion above the 3 buckets in the trench? So what actually is happening is, there a few drops of water coming out of those rocks – and this is “paani aaya” situation for them! This is how they fill water. Drop-by-drop. And can you see the queue of vessels? By the time even one fills up, we would have wasted 10 of those – just putting things in perspective!

We have heard this a lot. I mean I won’t say I haven’t seen millions of pictures (award-wining) or videos where people are struggling to fill their bucket. It doesn’t hit you so hard, till you don’t see it. For yourself. It was the saddest, the most helpless moment of my life for me. Very clichĂ©d,  but this was like a “Swades-moment” of my life.

I know for a reader like you, this will yet again be another story, heard from someone else-you will empathize with it, may be even agitate a little, but it will not make you think twice before the hot water shower bath! Still, on my end it is attempt to show the reality. And our so-very-efficient government!

You know what was worse? I came home and told about this to a few people, and the reaction I get is – “yeh toh kuch bhi nahi hai, waha toh aisa hai, yahaan toh waisa hai, aur woh toh sabse bura hai!”

Seriously?! Signing off before I can’t stop myself from adding another bad pun!

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Port-a-loo

Till about a few years back, Swachch Bharat was but a far-fetched dream. But the last couple of years, there is a rise in awareness about sanitation and a whole new wave of optimism around this topic has engulfed India!

More than half of 1.2 billion people in India live without toilets. They squat on roadsides, in agriculture fields or at railway tracks and defecate in the open. This, despite the Indian government spending close to Rs.1,250 billion on water and sanitation projects in the last 20 years.

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Illnesses that are a direct result of bad sanitation affect the quality of life
of millions of people around the world, especially children. A safe and clean toilet can be a stepping stone to a healthy life, greater human dignity, freedom, equality between women, men, girls and boys, and finally, a catalyst to the development of communities and countries.

INTENT:

To design a low-cost, light-weight, user-friendly, sustainable and
do-it-yourself toilet for quick installation to solve this urgent issue.

Basically, frombag

to

Untitled

LAYERS OF CONSTRUCTION:

use

This port-a-loo could be installed using any method of toilet construction – twin-pit, ecosans, ventilated improved pit toilets, etc.

FLEXIBILITY:
Depending on one’s budget and requirements, the material could be decided. Ranging from bamboo to cement sheets, any material could be fitted in these frames. Apart from villages and rural areas, these can also be used as mobile toilets for various camps and large gatherings. e.g.- Kumbh Mela, urgent dUntitledisaster-relief construction, etc.

Compost toilets are very cheap, sustainable and hygienic. They are the way ahead. This port-a-loo has been designed to help solve the urgent and ever-lasting sanitation issue in our country.

After all, we all have got to take care of our own shit!

The Act Of God

Of course, it is pun intended!

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This post is mainly a response to our last post. This is where we should actually be heading. And we believe it is absolutely not late to achieve this vision.

Let us follow the path shown by “God”, and make a substantial difference in our neighbourhood.  It is time that we get-over the frenzy of celebrities adopting villages, and take the plunge ourselves.

Let us all contribute, in whatever way we can, and change the face of our nation.

Let us all, as Gandhiji said it, “Be the change we want to see in this world.”

Where are we heading?

Newspapers are all talking about the government announcing construction of a new adventure park, to boost the tourism of the town. The radio is blaring of the sprawling new apartment schemes, with all the facilities one can fancy under the moon. The construction of a huge mall and multiplex on my way to office is the zillionth reminder of “development” in my town, even before I begin my day at work.

But is it really development?

If we still relate to that poem about open farms and chirping birds, if our children look at the stars in the sky and wonder if we are in a planetarium, if we share pictures and videos about the “simple” life before technology over WhatsApp, email or any platform, if all the running our kids do is while playing temple run, then we are certainly doing something wrong. Really wrong.

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Picture Courtesy – The Logical Indian

While forming various communities online and sharing a little too much of our space, we are fast forgetting to share the community spaces. With our cities growing at lightning speed, we are overlooking the planning and execution of spaces where cultural and social interaction and exchange is bought upon.

In fact, the residences in earlier times were, in themselves, a beautiful interface of private and community space. Be it the verandah houses of our gaothans, the central courtyard of our chawls, there was a hierarchy of private, semi-private, semi-public, and public spaces. Now we are confined to our little box, the doors of which open to the sight of another closed door, beyond which we travel from way underground to way up in the sky. This reflects in our towns, with the diminishing green covers, and lack of public places.

It is time we understand that public spaces are very important for a healthy community. India is developing very quickly. Having said that a very large part of the country is still waiting to be developed. It isn’t too late for us to take matters in our hands, and plan for more social spaces, and create better public facilities.

As a country, we need to stop relying on and wait for the government to do something, while we sit and blame them for our current predicament. We at U+ Collective think that that is very old school, and now we as residents of this country have equal responsibility of our neighbourhood, of conserving our mother earth, of taking care of our resources, and doing all of this ourselves.

How, some may ask? Well, the new CSR laws, for one, are actually a great opportunity to give back to the society what we have earned from it. If each of us take this one chance and make a worthwhile insert in our urban/rural scape, a lot can be achieved in less than 5 years, that hasn’t really been in the last few decades.