Tag Archives: life

Human wildlife conflicts: A complex problem

How would you react to a wild cheetah in your backyard or an elephant in your garden?

The rapidly growing human population and urbanisation has led to Human wildlife conflict (HWC) to its pinnacle. Human wildlife conflict (HWC) arises when animals cause a direct and reiterate threat to the safety or the livelihood of the people, leading to the persecution of that species.

These conflicts have posed a question that can human and wildlife coexist together? 

However, this is not a new storyline – the human and wildlife have coexisted for millennia but the situation is more frequent and aggressive than before. Becoming a global concern for conservation and development to go hands in hand. The need for development requires a lot of natural resources that put the lives and existence of many wildlife species into danger. 

HWC mostly affects large or carnivores from whom the humans feel threatened. Elephants, bears, big cats, primates, sharks, seals and many more. HWC also severely impacts the livelihoods, lives and security of the people from whom we ask to conserve the wildlife. There are many immense challenges around the HWC because the causes of these are very complex and poorly perceived. A single HWC has many socio-cultural, political and economical factors that need to be considered. From research and studies for a long time it has been clear that every HWC problem is different from the next and cannot be solved by the same methods used beforehand. Thus understanding the root cause of the conflict is much needed to mitigate the effect of such incidents. Efforts to address the situations without fully understanding the deep rooted causes and effects often leads to temporary solutions or worse exacerbate the situation in hand. 

HWC are substantially “human-human” conflicts as the heart of the conflict is between the different stakeholders. Sometimes there are several groups assessing different interests and needs. 

Even in some cases the success in species recovery has led to another HWC. For example where carnivores have recovered and expanded a huge population they pose a threat to villagers nearby and their livestocks. 

The reports by UNEP says that it is impossible to completely eradicate the HWCs but a systematic approach can be devised to minimise the effects of these conflicts. The policymakers have to devise policies that can reduce the conflicts and create an ecosystem of coexistence between people and animals. Such steps needed careful studies on prevention, mitigation, response and rehabiltalation with the apt support of the local communities and tribes. 

Discover your calling

One good time, I was leafing through the pages of the book ” Who will cry when you die”.A master piece book authored by ‘Robin Sharma’. His books are helping people around the world live great lives.

The very first lesson of the book struck a chord in me when I first read it. It read ‘Discover your calling’. By this time I was caught up & couldn’t resist myself going through the description of the lesson and amaze myself. And the description went like this:-

“When I was growing up, my father said something to me, I will never forget, ” Son, when you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that when you die the world cries while you rejoice.”

We live in an age when we have forgotten what life is all about. We can easily post a photo on Instagram and Facebook and read the comments and talk to unknown people, but we have trouble walking across the street to meet a new neighbor. At present almost every country have their own missiles which can target with pinpoint accuracy, but we have trouble keeping a family meeting in our home, hanging out with friends, visiting a library and reading books. We have lost touch with our humanity. We have lost touch with our purpose. We have lost sight of the things that matters the most. In this lesson he asks us to ponder over some questions:-

He says that one of the greatest lessons he has learned In his own life is that if we don’t act on life, life has a habit of acting on us. The days slip into weeks, weeks slup into months and the months slip into years. Pretty soon it’s all over and we are left with nothing more than a heart filled with over a life half lived. “What would we do if we could live our life over again? “

Before we answer to this question in deep sigh and say that “I’d like to be the person I could have been but never was. ” We need to find greater purpose of our life and invest our life in serving the humanity. We need make a lasting contribution through our work so that we can enjoy the journey of life before it is too late. We all have special talents that are just waiting to be engaged in a worthy pursuit. We are all here for some unique purpose, some noble objective that will allow us to manifest our highest human potential while we at the same time, add value to the lives around us. Finding our calling doesn’t mean we must leave the job we have now. It simply means we need to bring more of ourselves into our work and focus on the things we do best. It means we have to stop waiting for other people to make the changes we desire and as Mahatma Gandhi noted: “Be the change that you wish to see most in your world. “ And once you do, your life will change.

International Friendship Day

“True friends are never apart, may be in distance but never in heart.”

International Friendship Day is a day in several countries for celebrating friendship. It is celebrated on July 30 every year across the globe. The day is celebrated to mark the importance of friendships and friends in promoting peace in various cultures across the globe, to cherish friendship and value the people in our lives.

The idea of World Friendship Day was first proposed by Dr. Ramon Artemio Bracho in 1958 in Paraguay. He coined this term when he was having dinner with his friends in Puerto Pinasco. The dinner hosted by Dr. Ramon Artemio Bracho gave rise to the World Friendship Crusade, which is a foundation that encourages friendships across the world irrespective of race, color, religion, and ethnicity.  In 2011, the Friendship Crusade, on April 27, 2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared July 30 as official International Friendship Day. It was initially promoted by the greeting cards’ industry, evidence from social networking sites shows a revival of interest in the holiday that may have grown with the spread of the Internet, particularly in India, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. Mobile phones, digital communication, and social media have contributed to popularize the custom. It is also celebrated by exchanging gifts and planning outings with friends. In India, people celebrate this day by giving colorful friendship bands and flowers to each other.

Those who promote the holiday in South Asia attribute the tradition of dedicating a day in the honor of friends to have originated in the United States in 1935 but it actually dates back to 1919. The exchange of Friendship Day gifts like flowers, cards, and wrist bands is a popular tradition on this occasion.

Friendship Day celebrations occur on different dates in different countries. The first World Friendship Day was proposed for 30 July in 1958, by the World Friendship Crusade. On 27 April 2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 30 July as official International Friendship Day with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures, and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. However, several countries celebrate friendship day in before and after the UN-designated date. In India, Friendship Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of every August. In Nepal, Friendship day is celebrated on 30 July each year. In Oberlin, Ohio, Friendship Day is celebrated on 9 April each year.

“Friendship is the base of every relation. It is the golden thread that ties the heart of all the world.” 

According to the United Nations’ website, “Through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good.” The UN resolution places emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity. To mark the International Day of Friendship the UN encourages governments, international organizations, and civil society groups to hold events, activities, and initiatives that contribute to the efforts of the international community towards promoting a dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding, and reconciliation.

“Freindship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”

The power of “Now”

Life, a very adventurous journey has three divisions, present past and future. We all have only one life and we want to live it to the fullest and make the best out of it. In our life, we have to deal with the present, past, and future. Thus, we are often confused about which moment of life is more important and should be given maximum attention. Let us try to figure this out.

Looking into the past and future

We all tend to be far-sighted, thinking of future plans, future goals, etc. We work for our future, we save for our future, and we plan for our good future. We work hard to achieve our future goals. But, we are uncertain of our future. Yup, are you sure your future will come? No one knows. Thinking of the future and making plans according to is also important, but getting lost in these plans is not the correct way. Working in a way that misses out today and seems promising of a good future is where we are getting ditched because we will be investing in something that does not exist.

Past, on the other hand, is what we already created. It is impossible to change now what we have done 10 years ago. We can only learn from the past to improve our present and future. So, there is no point in living in the past. If we live in the past, we are stuck.

Live in present. But, why? 

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”

Think deeply and question again. Are there three divisions of time or is it only one? Are there past, present, and future or is it only present? Confused? It will be clear. 

Our present makes our past and our future. How? What we have today will become our past tomorrow. So, by living in the present, we create our past. By making our present beautiful, we create memories and by doing mistakes now, we create lessons to learn. Basically, it is possible to add what we want to add in our past. It is possible to create our past by designing our present in the way we want. We can also make our future in a similar manner. Whatever we do today will be reflected in our future. Whatever we want in the future, wherever we dream to stand in the future, it begins from the present. We have to work today only to reach where we want to be in the future. Our performance today decides what we will get in the future. If we want to get the best out of our life, we need to live in the present and give the best today, there is no other option.

“The present moment is the only moment available to us, and it is the door to all moments.”

“Now” is the happiness

The best and most important moment is now. It is not possible to grab it or hold it. What is possible is to enjoy it, make it the best by giving it the best and staying in that moment. Neither our past is bad, nor our future may be. It’s just certain instances of past that are bad or according to us and an imagined situation of future that may be overwhelming or fearful. But, the most precious moment is now. We need to enjoy it to the fullest. If we merge with the present we are truly living otherwise, we are dead. Living the present is happiness, it is the true pleasure. Make your each second beautiful. Embrace it.

The practice of gratitude

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Ekhart Tolle

Gratitude or gratefulness, is a feeling of appreciation felt by the recipient of kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity, towards the giver of such gifts. Gratitude turns what we already have into enough. It gives us a feeling of satisfaction and eternal peace. Gratitude is the best medicine, it heals one’s mind, body, and spirit, and it attracts more things to be grateful for.

Why do we need to practice gratitude?

“The struggle ends where gratitude begins”.

We all are surrounded by beautiful nature, we have our favorite people around us and we have enough food, clothes, and facilities. But, it is quite common that we take these things for granted. When we take things for granted, we are not satisfied with what we have and we strive to get something else, if we get it, then again we want something else, and we are never satisfied. Consider the present situation where we all are sitting at our respective houses. Earlier we could freely roam around, walk-in streets and parks, visit beautiful places, enjoy the fresh air and beauty of nature. But, we used to take all these for granted. We were really not grateful for the places around us, the beauty around us. But, now we realize its importance. The reality is that we always have enough of the resources around us for our survival. But, sadness drives in when we don’t appreciate what we have and take that for granted. Each one of us is living a life that is actually a dream life for a second person. So, just embrace it.

Imagine your life without the people around you, who are always there with you and support you. If you remove them from your life and think deeply, you will realize that they have a big role to play in your life which you never really thought about. The people around you are precious, value them, and be grateful to them that they are with you. Imagine a day without food, clothes, shoes, or air. If you do this exercise, you realize that you have enough of these things. Your desire to eat in a restaurant and to wear stylish clothes was really not that important. You get your food every day, you have clothes and shoes to wear. So, be thankful for what you have. Each and everything we get in our life, each and everything happening to us is very valuable to build us, to build our personality. Everything happens for a good reason. Being thankful for everything we get and for every event we come across gives us a satisfactory feeling, it eliminates negativity and makes our life more pleasurable. Saying thank you to another person pleases them and us too.

What do we get out of it?

A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles. The day you start practicing gratitude, it never ends. The more you express your gratitude for what you have, the more things you will have to express gratitude for. It gives you immense peace, happiness, and satisfaction. It rewires our brain and reduces stress. It boosts our immunity, improves relationships, and makes each day more beautiful. It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Gratitude is the most wonderful feeling. Once you start practicing it, there is no way back.

“Thank You ” is the best prayer anyone could say.

Maybe we all were ‘the same’

We have often heard the saying, “Everyone is unique”. But let’s try to question this. Is this really true? Okay, very much debatable! But, let’s proceed with it slowly.

We grow up in a society where we face comparison knowingly or unknowingly. No one can escape the trap of comparison. Comparison with a second person for grades, for projects, for skills, for the job, for salary, and whatnot. But, then we decide, or let’s say realize that this is not the correct way we are seeing things. We now understand that each of us is unique. Yes, it is true to some extent. We are unique in the way we think, in the way we perceive a situation, the talent we have, the skills we acquire, and the level of our creativity. But, this uniqueness is not out of birth, it is developed.

When we say each of us is different, we start imagining a situation, where we all have everything different. We think that the kind of situations we are in is less likely to be experienced by others or maybe, at least not at that point in time. Sometimes, we come across some difficult situations and we are stuck, we might feel low and might feel that we are the one who is stuck here, there are people out there with a very smooth and happy life with no difficult situation arising in their life. But, the thing is that life offers the same set of problems in each one’s life and the no. of problems with the same difficulty level is also the same. We all experience ‘the same‘. We all come across similar situations in our lives and then label them as “good” or “bad” according to our personal opinion. Now, we call them, good or bad experiences and then count the number of bad experiences we had, to classify our lives as a ‘happy life’ or ‘struggling life’.

To better understand, think of life as a game. We all are players of the same game. Initially, we don’t know whether we will find the game interesting or not but, we all need to start playing. Then, we proceed with playing the game. We all come across different levels of the game in order of increasing difficulty. Some are playing the game with great enthusiasm and interest, collecting a lot of gems, health/lives, and rewards, which will be helpful for them in coming levels. While some are going at the same pace with quite low enthusiasm, hardly collecting gems and lives, or they are stuck at a particular level. Those who have collected rewards and lives can now use these in the difficult levels of the game too, to easily clear that level. But, those who were not able to collect rewards are stuck there watching their fellow reaching higher levels. Some of those in the lower levels of the game can again try the previous levels and collect gems, learn the strategy, and move forward, while some of them are tired and can’t play the game more and they quit. This is how the game goes on.

So, we all are playing the same game. We all come across the same situations and the same difficulties. The thought that we are the one coming across the difficulties of life arises because we don’t have enough knowledge of others’ lives. We only see their lives from outside. We can say we know the points of each player in the game (it is there on the scoreboard), but what we actually don’t is the details, i.e. how much gems, lives, and rewards each of them have collected. We all started from the same point and proceeded along the same direction but eventually end up getting different results. The gems, lives, and rewards that we collected on our way and the attempt we made for it kept us making different from each other. So, if you look at those who reached the final level, they may have different skills and talents because of the way in which they proceeded but they have similar perceptions.

Balance life with balance

‘Balance’, a word, simple and easy to understand but yet difficult to put in reality. The most crucial thing for the smooth running of life is ‘to maintain balance’, balance in everything, the balance of emotions, the balance of relations, the balance of food, the balance of thoughts, the balance of exertions, and whatnot. As we grow, we discover that a mistake we did earlier in life was due to a lack of balance of certain things at that point in time. Any problem that we face can be solved if we are able to identify what all things need to be balanced to manage this problem. 

Life is all about maintaining a balance between various factors/parameters that govern our life. And this balance is unique for each individual, in the sense that the importance of various elements of one’s life is different for different people. No one can decide it for us that how much importance to give to certain things that to others to maintain a balance. The balance of various things of our life that we make depends on our priorities, our comfort, our boundaries, and our mind and heart. The balance of things for a perfect life for two different people can often be very different.

We can understand it in this manner: whenever we cook food, we add all the spices in some specified amount according to our taste depending on the level of spicy food we prefer. Also, we add salt according to taste. If we try to add more of any particular spices, let’s say red chili, then it may ruin the taste of food for us as we can’t eat that spicy. However, the same food can still be found yummy by some other person who loves to eat spicy and is comfortable with eating spicy food. The same is the case with adding more or less salt. Here salt and various spices are similar to the various important elements of our life.

A perfect balance is a solution to every problem. But the reality is, it is quite difficult to figure out what is a perfect balance for us, what will work for us. It is a process of self-learning and self-realization. We can learn this only after making some mistakes as we move forward in life. 

Let’s discuss some of these balance that we need in brief:

  1. The balance between various relations – We humans hold tons of relations in our entire life. It starts from the day we are born and it keeps on increasing as we grow. Each relation is important and can be maintained through proper balance.
  2. The balance of thoughts – We need to balance between positive and negative thoughts. Though it is said always to be positive and always think positively, it is not true. It is also important to have some negative thoughts. It helps us to make back-up plans, it makes us aware, it can also boost us sometimes. But, again, a balance between the two is important.
  3. The balance of emotions – We are humans and emotions are the gift we got that make us different from other creatures. Each human gets all types of experience. Even if you are a saint, you will find yourself getting angry. The thing is how you took your emotion and how you are managing it to bring the best out of you.
  4. The balance of food – We need a balanced diet to maintain good health. A balance of various nutrients namely, protein, carbohydrates, proteins, fibers, etc is important for a healthy lifestyle.
  5. The balance between work and home – Another important balance is the balance between work and home. Our work helps us to improve and grow and it keeps us focused, our home is our strength, it is our backbone and provides us emotional support. It is important to have a balance between the two.

So, the trick is to figure out the balance which will work for us in life and work with it. We should also understand that what might be a perfect balance for us today may not be a perfect balance for us tomorrow. So, it needs to be a bit flexible. We must realize that the small word ‘balance’ has a big importance for the smooth functioning of our lives.

MOTHER: THE TRUE WARRIOR

One-person on the frontline may have different names. When the entire universe bows down and love that person from the bottom of the heart, even if someone criticizes or tries to create rumors, still the word “mother” won’t fade away. The only person who loves without expecting anything in return, there’s nothing; comparatively, it’s priceless and cannot be quantified. She is the person who survives the aftermath of sequences of struggles in her entire life, beginning from discarded as a female child from birth itself.

A newborn in the caring hands of a mother.

Let us talk about the reality of a patriarchal society. Where the voices get suppressed, but now it’s reflected in the reports. According to the World Population 2020 Report released by UNPFA (United Nations Population Fund) conveys that in India, almost one-third of the total missing females in the world accounts for an estimated figure of 45.8 million people. The children below the age of 5 years, where one out of nine females foresees death due to early gender detection.

A girl child with this mother in a rural village in India.

This pandemic may heal nature, but not the people surviving in the nation, an increase in violence and discrimination is likely to be seen as a consequence of no income source. The practice of child marriage may have vanished, but there are still traces of such incidents where they tried to flout the laws. The technology may have been a boon, but when undauntedly used by the culprits to gender bias by ultrasound, it has crashed their compassion and dreams before it ignites.

A proud mother with her three daughters.

The developing countries are already trying to fight problems like reducing poverty, boosting literacy rate, abandoning illegal trade. Additionally, other matter of concern arises like child trafficking and drug abuse are acting as barriers to the roadmap to success. An abundant investment in terms of money as well as time from renowned leaders, influencers can save the lives of the hapless fate of being such a victim of unfortunate events.

One inspirational story I can share is about a small family where a baby girl enters their life. This incident may sound as a non-fictitious story, but in Mumbai, India, where after three years of marriage, god showers happiness as a unique member enters their life. A 32-year old father was happy to see his baby after ten days free of the contamination. The mother was a patient in the COVID ward in Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital. They are safe now and returned thanking the efforts taken by the hospital. These doctors and parents who abide by the guidelines do deserve appreciation rather than criticizing uselessly on the health system. The slow curve can take steady growth any day when we won’t be able to see each other, and the day isn’t too far.

Two mothers in a single frame. Such a beauty.

Even a mother can fall into depression; after all, she is a person like all of us. On a positive note, motherhood is seen over drugs while parenting their children. After testing it on rats, contributes the information in the research related to the infralimbic cortex, which is responsible for emotions, preferred the acceptance towards maternal behavior over other addictions. This action shows immense love for their offspring. We as a part of the nourishing society, we can pledge that we will never let their name die, and forever keeping her head upraised in pride.

Goa: The smallest state with magnificent surprises

Did you ever plan out for a vacation? If you’re in India, the first thought in your mind appears with yourself enjoying the beaches of Goa. But now, the lockdown restrictions are removed as of 2nd July 2020. If you can’t visit, don’t worry, being a Goan, I’ll take you on a virtual tour to the paradises in the state of Goa. Are you ready for the journey? Let’s go.

The foothills of Western Ghats in Goa

Imagine you are on the Hop On Hop Off Bus, a tourist double-decker bus initiative taken up by the Tourism Department of the state. I tell you the story about what is so unique here. Situated on the South-West of India with a beautiful coastline and people around 1.8 million are present in the area of 3702 sq.km. Being the smallest state of India, don’t go by numbers, it has surprises for you to fascinate with the flora, fauna and its natural biodiversity. Well, with two districts, Panaji is the capital where you will find the paintings of Mario Miranda on the walls of the Municipal Market.

A panoramic view of a beach in Goa

Okay, moving on further, don’t consider language as a barrier to communicate because English is also well-spoken with the national language Hindi. Still, the local languages most widely spoken are Konkani and Marathi. You may also find Portuguese influence in the monuments as well as in the cuisine. I’m sure you’ll be tasting out the mouth-watering food virtually too. The first thing in my mind is rice with fish curry made with love out of the Goan fishes freshly cooked, which are caught during the dawn.

Harvalem Waterfall, Sanquelim, Goa. Also, there are many natural springs present in the state.

Along with this, the famous Ross Omelet, which you will find at every street outlet and restaurant which is somewhat similar to Xacuti, but it’s a pork dish. Still, here it’s usually replaced with chicken or other vegetarian alternatives with local bread known as Pao. Other famous dishes here in Goa are Sorpotel, Vindaloo, along with some Feni, made from cashews or coconut, which may make you feel dizzy. After all, everyone usually comes here to enjoy the alcoholic drinks, but may put you in trouble if you drink them on the beaches. No problem if you’re a teetotaler; there are other alternatives.

The cruise boats with the construction of Atal Setu bridge in the background

We’re also flourished with one of the famous world heritage sites declared by UNESCO, Basilica of Bom Jesus. Also, there are other famous places like Fort Aguada, Se Catherdral, and even ancient temples like Sri Mahadeva Temple in Tambdi Surla and other religions like Jain do have their establishments. Nonetheless, to mention, the beaches of Calangute, Baga, Anjuna are some of them. Also, you can go trekking at Dudhsagar Falls. The nightlife, casinos, and cruises are to be enjoyed if you fall into that category. The lavished exotic hotels are ready to welcome you always; even the people of Goa are amicable.

A glimpse of Church of St. Cajetan, Goa Velha

Let me give you an example, Dr. Edwin Gomes, the head of the medicine department of the famous Goa Medical College (GMC). He has done an incredible job recently by showing his gratitude by hugging more than 190 patients in the hospital after they were treated and found negative for COVID-19. The tour has come to an end, and I hope you visit the state and enjoy the moments.

“Yoga – India’s Heritage”

India is known for its great culture and traditions, which are famous not only in the country but around the world. These have given humanity new definitions and ways to live life and the real way it should be lived. The ideologies and sayings from Mahabharata as well as obeying and respecting elders and every other person around us from Ramayana, teachings from Lord Buddha, and many more have been given by rich Indian culture. But along with the stability of mind and soul, our culture has given this world ways to remain fit and healthy also.Thus age old practice is widely known as yoga and India has been the place for its origin and it’s related study. Yoga is adopted as a way even science provided us the proves which has capability of providing health benefits. 

Yoga provides the best ways and rules which define the right way, right diet and right norms for any human to live life it’s meant to be. Yoga includes mantras, pranayama ( breathing exercises) and other physical activities which help humans to stay fit both internally as well as externally. Yoga provides every individual internal peace,removes all kinds of stresses, tension and pain and gives him/ her the knowledge of our older traditions and how our ancestors used to live with it. 

India is considered one of the best places to visit and perform the activities of yoga. Many people, every year travel distances around the world either to learn it and inculcate it in their lives or to learn and then bring the knowledge back to their places as trainers and teach there. Most of these yoga training centres and camps are concentrated near mountains and river places so as to give a touch of nature. Surrounding the beauty of nature, people live to perform these yoga exercises and activities, which bring them close to nature and feel every single part of it. Many places do offer free camps and workshops so as to increase the awareness of yoga and its benefits and motivate them to include it in their day to day routine. Also to celebrate the richness of it, we celebrate world yoga day on 21st of June every year. There are various programs and workshops which help people develop the knowledge of yoga and it’s enrichment in its activities. Any individual who wants to bring out peace and calmness in their life and also teach it to others as a trainer can learn it.

In today’s world where we see pain,stress, tension and various other social issues increasing, adulterants In Food , impure water and unclear minds, yoga provides an atmosphere for our brain to calm and helps to figure out best possible solutions at these tough times. It opens the doors of humans’ thinking abilities which not only helps to get better ideas and better approaches to find them. Yoga has proven to be a beneficial for humanity and following these activities and teaching we can bring the peace and freedom to actions along with spreading our age old traditions and culture around the world.