Sunday, August 12, 2007

How Green Is My Valley?

Disclaimer: The 'you' used in the post is generalized.

Next time that pathological egotist swaggers up to say-‘Is it hot or just me?’ be
sure to tell the dolt- “its global warming’. And while we are on that topic, we might as well do it properly. You have read about it before your EVS exams and heard about it while changing channels [Read: about global warming and not pathological egotists]. So for a change let’s see what it does and what it intends to do.

I was watching An Inconvenient Truth last week. By the end of the movie I positively hated myself for living in blissful apathy while cataclysmic changes are chocking our planet. For example take a look at the following two images I captured from the movie [no copyrights violated, I hope].

The trees, the sheet of ice and blossoms of wild flowers have disappeared like the emperor’s new clothes in the second flick and it didn’t even take four decades to reach that point of aridity. Did you say-‘how in the blue blazes?’. I am so glad you asked.

I work on the answer why don’t you take a look at these two pictures taken of the glaciers in Nepal:-

What you are witnessing through these pictures is the alarming phenomenon of glacier retreat. Except the ice caps and ice sheets of the Arctic and Antarctic, the total surface area of glaciers worldwide has decreased by 50% since the end of the 19th century. So as the earth becomes more of a frying pan, the glaciers on Andes, Alps, Himalayas, Rocky Mountains and North Cascades melt into oblivion. And if you are wondering what exactly that has to do with us, read this. The Himalayan glaciers that are the sources of Asia's biggest rivers - Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween and Yellow - could disappear by 2035 as temperatures rise. Approximately 2.4 billion people live in the drainage basin of the Himalayan Rivers. India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar could experience floods followed by droughts in coming decades. In India alone, the Ganges provides water for drinking and farming for more than 500 million people. Increased melting would cause greater flow for several decades, after which some areas of the most populated regions on Earth are likely to 'run out of water' as source glaciers are depleted.

This is not a threat, mister and if you think this is pointless sensationalizing of a nonexistent issue scroll back to the Kilimanjaro pictures. The ice cap has moved back like a receding hair line and only remains in patches-

As the Earth gets scorched by global warming, there is a concurrent acceleration in the rate of evaporation from the great water bodies. Because the world is a closed system, this will cause heavier rainfall and greater erosion. But in Africa this situation takes troublesome proportions since the mangrove forests which kept the soil in place, are being uprooted by man(un)kind. In vulnerable tropical areas like Africa this leads to desertification due to deforestation and its brunt falls on the biodiversity.

Analyze this. Polar bears are stranded on melting ice floe and consequently getting a one way ticket to Davy Jones's locker. This thawing habitat transliterates into major trouble for Emperor penguins, gyrfalcons and the rainbow trout. Seal pups are going hungry and starvation is becoming the Porcupine reindeer herd’s daily bread. Joining this jamboree of destruction is the thoughtless clearing of Ecosystems for biofuel expansion. But we are dealing with the algebra of reciprocality and the equation doesnt augur too well for the fine 'piece of work' that is man. Strange fluctuations in temperature? Changes in climatic [1][2]patterns?
Tropical storms on the hike? Health issues trolling us? What is the humanitarian impact of climate change?

Well, if I havent lost you yet, let me tell you this is the fag end of the post[ did you say-'mercifully'?]

Friday, August 10, 2007

1986-The Year of Reckoning

My pen bleeds tonight Henryk. The open fields of wheat and silence flicker past like surreal shadows as I retrace my steps back to where it all began. Back to that wrinkle in time when death became our constant keeper and its invisible footprints followed us like marked men. Alessandra went first, the child of the abandoned city and the women cried till their charcoaled eyes drew black streaks down their pallid faces. Then Alexei died during our flight to Ukraine and the children of chernobyl knew they were living on borrowed time.

Spring left Pripyat one April twenty years ago. Do you remember that explosion, Henryk and do you remember the bluish white line that seared the air in its quicksilver flight? It was a parched day and a burnt taste of metal enfolded us with the grip of vice. There were people on the road handing out iodine pills and with sharp tensed gestures asked us to stay indoors. But I walked by them not comprehending the ruckus or the presence of masked men washing the city streets. I walked by them watching the blind gypsy cradling the harmonica on the church steps while tracing the rise and fall of the blues with blind sight…

So, I am going back to my home. I think I can see its long winding paths and the wide eyed sunflowers peeping from window sills. Its proud buildings, the Ferris wheel and the pine forests. Maybe the photographs they print in the papers tell lies. Maybe the sad, vacant debris isn’t my land after all. I once met a woman who stared at the picture of an old dusty piano with tawny music sheets … silent tears running down her glassy eyes. 'Фортепьяно моей моего' she wispered to no one in perticular'они играли это на моей свадьбе'

Those were moments when even time hesitated to move on. It seemed to have stopped as the ghost town was evacuated. We were going to Ukraine. My brother, Alexei was dying, his own body betraying him and we could do nothing but watch in horror. The doctors had removed his diseased thyroid tissue and gave him some months to live. How life compels us to dream different dreams. We, who thought there will be time enough for everything, begged a stoic God for a few more minutes of togetherness. But when time finally took its leave, it took away with it familiar faces. . But you know you been tainted when you look at enlarging nodes on a friend’s neck or the handicapped body of your first born.

But hush, while I write such sad lines , the terminus approaches. Без перевода and may God be with you till we meet again.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Stolen Strawberries

The rain had filled the depressions made by my barefeet on the soft saturated earth. Drawing in the elusive smell of wet soil and stolen strawberries, I felt my way by touching the peeling trunks of ancient, cavernous trees and doused sleepy leaves. I had waited till silence had undulated over the house and my solitary escapade from it had became one with the night. I remember when I was younger, I would scrunch up underneath the young coriander tree and shake it's lithe branches. The raindrops would slide down it's parsley like leaves and fall on my face like tears that only angels can cry.

And I remember lying awake and listening to music wafting from the jukebox of a neighbour I had never met.
And I remember trying to understand shapes of the fleecy clouds swirling in the fluid firmament.
And I remember pressing the crushed petals of a roadside shiuli as dawn broke in the sleepy horizon.
And I remember looking longingly at a kaleidoscopic kite tearing the air in it's lonely flight.

And as the rain traced random meandering paths down my arms, I will remember tonight. A sliver of memory savouring of a moist moonlight and stolen strawberries.

Sans Souci

Madam, don't raise your brows if I talk to that tramp in the dappled shawl. Etching semicircles in the air with suspended toes and fingers contorting to grasp chords that can't waft within your protective walls...I am tired.

Lord knows that I had enough of pseudo non-conformists and consciously careless trainee hippes who quote Lorca, Morrison and Ginsberg. You have a fire burning between your fingers and when you speak the smoke twirls in patterns infinitely more interesting than what you have to say. And you look like an initiate to a cult...happy to be different...not knowing that the credo was to be indifferent.

So you think bohemians are the glamerous outcasts who watch as smoke rings dissolve into poetry and pain mutate into songs. You thought it was abandoned afternoons in blind alleys with mavericks who wisper in nicotine tinged tones. Street with hushed names where somnolent eyes can gather grace.

But you see the careening bodies later, lurching with delirium as demons thrash them around. You see the vacuous sockets later emptied of their piebald dreams. And do you see the indie artist rummaging his dead friend's pockets for his 'naked lunch'.

And does that frighten you, my friend? Or does that make you sad. It's not much, but I have tried to see this civilized world from dusty sidewalks while talking to fakirs selling copper rings. Walk barefoot on warm streets with naked street childrens or inhale time. Silhouette the taut sky or learn to live sans souci. Read verses and drink raindrops. You have watched that hand on the fretboard but hold it tomorrow when it lies limp.

But Lord knows, I had enough of trainee hippies for bohemianism was never about aping prototypes.