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Nov 20, 2011

Spraying Our Planet Dead?!...

     We all sweat and we all stink. And most of us innocently use deodorants or antiperspirants thinking all it does is help us stay hygienic and stink-free. But latest studies show that these products are not only harmful for human health but also to the entire environment.
     Most commercial antiperspirants contain aluminum in some form - it's the active ingredient to help reduce sweating. This aluminum has been demonstrated to cause DNA mutation, which is a precursor required for cancer; although whether antiperspirants can directly cause cancer is hotly debated(Even then, who would want to take the risk!!!).Aluminum can also present issues for people with impaired kidney function.
     In deodorants, Triclosan is often used as an ingredient. Tricloslan is a powerful anti-bacterial agent that cannot be filtered out during waste water treatment and of course, that's where most of it ends up. As Triclosan is toxic to algae, it can be a threat in waterways in terms of reducing food sources for creatures dependent on algae.
     Deodorants and antiperspirdants also constitute a large number of unnatural chemicals that are new to the environment. Hence, the natural processes can not bio-degrade such chemicals.
     While not all of these ingredients will be toxic to the environment as such; they all have to be created which can often be an energy and resource intensive process.Many of them will also be petrochemicals; having their roots in crude oil. Then there's the packaging and transport to consider! The list of why not to use deodorants is much longer than reasons to use, trust me!
     Deodorants also contain a large amount of aerosols (Don’t worry, I will explain). Aerosols are tiny particles that remain suspended in the air. Not only is there a human health factor affected, but weather and global climate are also influenced. In fact, aerosols have been blamed for changing the atmospheric energy balance and changing the global water cycle.
     Aerosols affect clouds, and the result is a more extreme precipitation pattern. This goes on to play a role in local water resources, but may also cause circulation changes. The knock-on effect deals another blow to the global climate.
     Aerosols reflect some of the sunlight before it reaches the surface. With less heat, less surface water evaporates to form clouds. The result is less precipitation. Now, while you may rejoice because you can put away that awkward umbrella, consider the next step. Aerosols also interfere with the formation of raindrops from cloud moisture. So the usual small clouds no longer produce small showers. Eventually, more water builds up in the cloud and rain ensues. Rather than a short-lived shower, the rain is more intense and erratic!

     Deodorants and antiperspirants do have quite an environmental impact and also pose a health risk(A little obvious now isn't it?). I hope maybe, just maybe this little "research piece" I wrote has opened a few eyes and closed a few deodorants from spraying our planet dead....

Jul 16, 2011

I Am My Own Angel...

    I am a teenager! And like all teenagers are expected to, even I have my sudden mood swings and "attitude problems". I most certainly won't make excuses for it, neither will I expect somebody to understand it. Being around people of all ages, I have the opportunity to observe them (my favourite past-time!) and in my little way to understand. Today I will share my thoughts and experiences of being a teenager! Hope others like me can find a friend in this and parents, teachers and adults can read this and try to understand us. All we need is a little patience!!!
     Throughout our childhood we are made to listen to stories about handsome princes, fairy god mothers and magical wands that always come to our rescue. We wait our whole lives in hopes that there just might be such fantastical things to make all the unwanted elements of our lives go away, but it is when you are a teenager and begin to see real life, that you finally realize there are no such things. Is it so wrong to cope up with such news that breaks our hearts? A little show of anger or a little "attitude problem" is probably just excuses to cover up our disappointment at learning about the truth.
     We will always find people who will love us, people who will care for us, but it is truly rare and painstakingly difficult to find people (or i would like to call them angels) who will go out of their way just to make you smile. Maybe a little optimism, a little hope and a lot of patience just might find you that angel, but until then don’t burden anyone else with that responsibility of being the answer for all your worries.
     We all look at our fathers, our mothers, our teachers or anybody else we look up to, to understand us! Maybe that is why all teenagers scream "You just never understand me". Maybe no one can be that angel, maybe we all have to be our own angels. But then again, they themselves are looking out for such angels. Don't mistake me, I am neither complaining nor blaming adults around the world. But I only hope my immature words might make a small difference in somebody’s life, like how it’s making a difference in mine. We all need to learn to be our own angels!
     Some people are born lucky, born into homes and families. Some are a little less lucky, they need to find these homes and families. But most of us have to build these homes and families ourselves. Work hard throughout our lives to build love, to build hope and to build lives that we can live happily in. I have come to believe that it is during your teenage you begin to learn this truth of life. I recently got a forward message from a friend that was sent as a joke, but I must say it meant a lot more. It went like this "Teenagers are the most misunderstood people. We are treated like little kids but are expected to act like mature adults".

      "My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought,
      As if life's business were a summer mood;
      As if all needful things would come unsought
      To genial faith, still rich in genial good;
      But how can He expect that others should
      Build for him, sow for him, and at his call
      Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all?"
                            ~Resolution and Independence,
                              William Wordsworth 

May 11, 2011

Blast From The Past

     I was out with my mom buying books today.I just love books!!!Coming out of a 3 storey book store, with the subtle scent of new books all around always makes me feel so contented for some reason........I came out to the parking lot with my mom and standing right next to our bike was my 3rd grade sir that I hadn't seen for a long time.I remembered him really well.Just a glance and I knew it was him!
     I saw him laughing and talking on the phone.I don't know if he remembered me after so many years, but he seemed to notice that I recognized him.I don't know if it was the anger swelling up or the anguish that I had forgotten so many years ago, but I certainly felt something!I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream and I know I certainly wished I could make him feel the pain he caused to me and God knows how many other girls in his life.
    I was little when he was my teacher and I admit I have the memory of a goldfish, but I could never forget him and I know I never will either.He is the kind of man who to the society seems like a "good and decent man" (if not an angel!) but to those few who see his true colours, he is an evil man (if not the devil himself!).The right word to describe what he did (trust me I'm trying my best to find a non-offensive word here) is Sexual Abuse!
     All these years I had read and heard about girls and women of all ages being molested, women at offices being sexually harassed and women sexually abused by their own family members, but I confess I didn't give it much thought.....until I saw the man who was my teacher standing a few feet away from me.I remember he didn't do anything too abusive with me, but I also remember he was removed from the school for his other serious attempts that finally came to light!I am not one of those girls who cries when her nail breaks or when her teachers yell at her, yet this blast from the past certainly took me by surprise........call it trauma call it a bad memory, no girl deserves to go through any of this!
     We all have the power to change this.....the power to stop cowardly men like him from destroying lives of many all over the world!All we need is the heart to stand up and do what is necessary.When your daughter or sister, however young, comes home and tells you about a "bad man", I beg you LISTEN TO HER!She might be telling the truth.If in case it turns out to be the truth please TELL THE POLICE!Men like him only belong behind bars.....away from our girls and women.
     In a conservative country like India, people often chose not to make it a "big issue".But, remember every guilty sex offender that is let go, abuses 20 more innocent girls before he is finally punished for his actions(In some cases like my sir, they are never punished!!!).I agree in some cases it seems just too hopeless........no way to come back from the pain, but there is always a light somewhere if you just look hard enough.I have posted a video(thanks to my dear sister for sharing it with me) to show there are people(I like to say angels) who are doing more than we can even imagine for issues like these.I hope it inspires a few souls reading my post.It is about a woman from Nepal called Anuradha Koirala, who helps women who are sexually abused and tortured......the video says it all.

     We all don't have the capability to do what she does, but we all have the capability to at least join in the cause and spread the message.Help protect the girls and women of our world, don't let them suffer with no voice to stand up for them.

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Mar 11, 2011

Tsunami Alert

"The biggest earthquake to hit Japan in 140 years struck the northeast coast on 11th march 2011, Friday, triggering a 10-meter tsunami that swept away everything in its path, including houses, cars and farm buildings on fire." This is the summary of basically what all news channels and online news portals have been flashing the whole day today.As I write this post the Tsunami is continuing its damage to several Japanese cities and over 20 countries are being warned of the possible Tsunami attack calculated to be just a few hours away.The earthquake was of 8.9 magnitude and the Tsunami waves were about 25 feet high!
     I know most of us have already heard all these facts and even digested it long back to go on with our daily routine lives.I mean we aren't in Japan and our country isn't going to be hit by the Tsunami any time soon either so nothing to be alarmed about.Its only Russia, Hawaii, Chile, Peru, Guatemala, Indonesia; a total of about 20 countries that have been warned that really need to worry.But, as long as our country isn't on the list, life goes on as normal after these headline reports!Is it so?......
    20 countries!!!!Lives in 20 countries devastated by just one natural event.Its during times like these that the feeling of one comes in my mind.And how the feeling of one???.....We live each day as individuals, working our way towards our individualistic goals, we say we belong to a certain gender, caste, creed, race or even a country(those few patriotic ones left!), but the fact is we all belong to this unpredictable little blue ball called the Earth.When we face such disasters, we face them together.No amount of intelligence, technologies or even astrological stars can save us from them(though we are in the continuing process of trying!).Then why are we still worried but the 'self'???Why haven't such gory images made us see the big picture???
   As the Japanese face the killer trembles and waves, it is not just the Japanese or even the warned 20 countries that is facing them, it is really us as humanity who are going through this ordeal together.We need to stand by each other because mother nature doesn't seem to be too happy with us.The recent news about floods, droughts, cyclones and now the earthquakes and Tsunamis has me wondering our efforts to reverse climate change hasn't been even close to enough!We started all this together ourselves, with all the 'industrialization', 'urbanization', 'development' and what not.We better face this together too!Its only time until our country is in the news with such headlines......

Feb 15, 2011

Kiss My Feet....

     "All Men Are Equal", whoever said this must have either been a true optimist, hoping this would be the custom of the society or just a blind man, unaware of the reality in the present world.Are all men really equal?The answer to this question I do not know, yet I wish that the man who said it would have actually been right.
     Recently I happened to meet a leader of a religious society.I had seen him once before and had heard a lot about him and the society.The list of activities and achievements include the usual trophies flaunted by most such religious societies.It is rather amusing how different religious men believe in different Gods and different customs(some not believing in God but in spirituality) but end up doing the same things for the people.All in all he was a revered man having many followers and students all over the world.And I was very much excited to meet a man of such accomplishments.
     My friend, who was a student at one of the society's schools, took me to him.As we entered the room filled with books and picture frames, I saw him sitting at his table with about 5 other men sitting in chairs in front of him waiting for his orders.I knew well enough to fold my hands as a sign of respect and say namaste with a big smile.But to my horror my friend bent down, got down on all his fours and touched the man's feet with his forehead(Maybe even kissed his feet, I did not see clearly in my state of shock).Everybody was staring at me probably expecting I would follow suit!(well, I did not!!!)
    The men in that room might have seen it as a sign of disrespect and rebel(As all teenagers are expected to be) but I know well how much respect I had for him in spite of not showing it in ways approved by them.But I still continued to smile and answered to all the religious man's questions.But now as I think back and ponder upon that episode I feel, was what I did really appropriate?Was I really being disrespectful ?
    What is it in the religious man that makes him above us all?It is for all to see the good that he has done and the thousand of smiles he has brought upon the needy, but at the end of the day isn't he also a human being just like everyone of us?He isn't a God to be deserving such treatment......I asked my friend these same questions and the reply I got was "The good that he has done we will never be able to achieve, so this is our way of showing respect".I agreed with most of it, yet the idea of bending down and kissing a man's feet will never gain my approval, a man of flesh and blood just like us......
     We all look different, dress different, worship different things, believe in different ideals and do different things.We are like the stripes of a zebra,no two are alike yet from afar all look like zebras only, don't they?None of us are the same yet we are all equal...Atleast that's what I believe and wish am not wrong to....