Why Diwali is so Noisy?

Diwali holds a special place in our lives. Undoubtedly it is the most important festival of Hindus all over the world. A festival of lights and a celebration of victory of good over evil. A celebration of home-coming and family time. There are many other associations as well and all of them make Diwali even more special for all people of our society.

One important ceremony of Diwali is burning crackers and we have loved it from years now. Infact all I remember of my childhood about diwali is the excitement to burn crackers. The more you burn, the more prosperous you look. That’s how it has worked all the time- the parents get it, kids love it.

We heard some groups in media pleading for not burning crackers for different reasons but all this never made much sense. How can we not burn crackers? Why not when we can afford it?

But all this changed this year. Our lovely daughter – Siddhi, who is a chatterbox all the time and is the most noisy person in our family went silent this Diwali. Infact this whole week has gone in a mood of terror. She is extremely scared of the noisy crackers, to such an extent that she even refused to see them!

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It was heartbreaking to see this as a tradition of years broke this time. We had some crackers in the house but didn’t burn anything. On Choti Diwali ( a day before Diwali) only she got so terrified that she got fever and nausea in the night. Our whole night went in consoling her that the crackers will not hurt her and we will protect her.

Siddhi who strongly believes that “Hanumaan ji” has given her special powers because she drinks milk-completely gave-up to the sound of crackers. Most of her Diwali was spent either hugging me or her mother or grandmother. After going through all this all that request from some groups to ban crackers started making sense.

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Burning cracker and firework may be a lot of fun for those who do it. But it also causes discomfort and terror to many others. I googled and realized that there are many others like Siddhi who have their biggest nightmare of the year – Diwali! Many kids cannot take the blasting sound of crackers. Many animals like Dogs, cats. Birds, etc have very hard time to adjust to all this. Infact many lose their life on the night of Diwali.

Added to the sound pollution another monster of Diwali is the Air pollution. It is seriously harmful, I read that the pollution level was at all times high this Diwali. Toxic particles, SO2 peak to dangerous levels on Diwali night in Delhi

We all felt the burning eyes yesterday night, imagine the kind of impact this polluted air will do to our lungs and small kids who have no option but to breathe the same air we are polluting. We can help with saying no to crackers from now on. At least our family will do it for sure, what started this year will continue now.

Siddhi asked this question yesterday, with tears in her eyes that, “Why Diwali is so Noisy?” because this festival was not that much fun for her. My request to all those who are reading my blog to support the cause of No-Crackers from next year onwards for all the people and kids out there for whom Diwali is not so much fun. Let’s make our Diwali not so noisy!

Please share if you know something similar or if you have celebrated Diwali in a different way this time.

Smartphone

रिश्तों के दृढ़ बंधन में कौन आ गया ?

देखा तो जाना हाथो में स्मार्ट फ़ोन आ गया।

शाम चाय पर होने वाली, वो बात रह गयी
गरमी के रातों वाली, मुलाक़ात रह गयी
चिट्ठी में आने वाला प्रेम, फ़ेल हो गया
छोटी सी बात पर भी अब ईमेल हो गया
क्या हो रहा है सामने? इसकी सुध नहि रहती
” पापा चलो ना घुमने !” बेटी, अब नहि कहती
घर के वातावरण में यह कैसा मौन आ गया ?
देखा तो जाना हाथो में स्मार्ट फ़ोन आ गया।
थे वो भी दिन जब ऐसा यहाँ हाल नहि था
हम थे सम्पन्न जब जेब में माल नहि था !
सब लोग अपनो से तब मिलने जाते थे
आते थे मित्र, हँसते थे, क़िस्से सुनाते थे
अब “Like” तो करते है, पर वो बात कहा है ?
“Group” में पड़े है सारे, मुलाक़ात कहा है ?
तकनीक का लगा मेला, या सन्नाटा छा गया ?
देखा तो जाना हाथो में स्मार्ट फ़ोन आ गया …

आरक्षण पर कविता

यह कैसी विडम्बना यह कैसा अत्याचार है?
जिसने की जी तोड़ पढ़ाई वह बैठा बेकार है

प्रतियोगिता के काल में कोटा क्यों बना दिया?
भारत की महान शिक्षा को छोटा क्यों बना दिया?
यह हमारी कमज़ोरी है या समाज का विकार है?

यह कैसी विडम्बना यह कैसा अत्याचार है?
जिसने की जी तोड़ पढ़ाई वह बैठा बेकार है

रचियता को नहीं मालूम इससे बनाने वाले क्या आकार है
अंधे हो जाते है नेता जब देखते कुर्शी साकार है
कोटे का होना हमारी स्वतंत्रता पर एक वार है

यह कैसी विडम्बना यह कैसा अत्याचार है?
जिसने की जी तोड़ पढ़ाई वह बैठा बेकार है

युवा वर्ग को कोटा नहीं अवसर मिलना चाहिए
जिसके अंदर क्षमता हो वह आगे बढ़ाना चाहिए
भीख में मिले मौके को लानत है धित्कार है..

यह कैसी विडम्बना यह कैसा अत्याचार है?
जिसने की जी तोड़ पढ़ाई वह बैठा बेकार है

 

 

againstres

I come under OBC category due to my cast, but I have never used the leverage of reservation because I felt that I am capable enough to make my career without it. I strongly condemn this politically motivated caste based reservation system in India.

3 Lessons from Dhoom 3 Movie

Dhoom 3 (Movie) came after a long wait from the stable of Aamir Khan, and with what a justification of talent, showmanship and stunt. The movie did great overall on box office and audience around the globe loved it. However this is not another Dhoom 3 review. While I went to see the movie with my family, I came out of Cinema hall thinking of some very interesting things from a team point of view. The movie has some hidden messages all the teams should learn and reflect. I find some examples from famous movies to work as effectively as any corporate story. Sharing 3 visible lessons from Dhoom 3 here. For those who have seen the movie it would be easier to relate to the movie scene examples, for others I will give a small brief of the scene I am referring to…

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Give Talent a Chance – in the first flashback scene, we see Aamir’s father, owner of “The Great Indian Circus”, begging in front of the bank representative to extend his lease and believe that they have something astounding to offer to the viewers. However the bank turns a cold shoulder to this request and ceases the Circus. This defeat leads to the suicide of Aamir’s father. While this is a movie script and they definitely wanted a strong reason for Aamir to turn the bad guy, it leaves an interesting thing for us to observe. Sometimes in our work we make some judgements to quickly, some leaders are in such a rush to succeed that they overlook the talent in the team. We miss to give enough opportunity to a talented resource as he failed to perform due to some reasons. While it is not the right strategy to keep the wrong person in the bus for long, as it can demotivate other performers. It gets very important for leaders to ensure they have given enough change of seats to get the right fit before asking the person to get down the bus.

Practice for Perfection – While we witnessed some jaw dropping stunts in the movie, there must be definitely some very able special effects guys behind it. It takes a lot of practice for even a stuntman to get it right, even when they have a battery of special effects. Practice comes out as a visible differentiator between average and awesome. This is such a visible fact, being reiterated from ages but still how simply we miss it sometimes. Many a times we find people around us come so unprepared. Be it meeting, reviews, client meeting or even social gathering for that matter. A visible take away from the movie is to never shy away from practice.

Give Time to Dreams – in the movie Aamir had a dream to bring the bank down, which was the reason for his father’s death. Though it’s quite a negative dream to have; however I call it a big dream, as bringing down a Bank is not a kid’s play. He gives it time, time till he grows big from a young child who just lost a father. He practices, he plans, and he waits with patience to let his dream come true. And finally one day he brings the bank down. If we look around us we will find many people with extraordinary dreams, but how many of us give it the time and effort needed and wait to see the dream come true. In this jet age, sometime we get to such a speed that we want everything to happen in a click. This leads to failure and disappointment in the shorter run leading to the cease of that dream forever. We can learn from the movie to let the dream live within us and give it enough time to realize.

Do you find some other learning from this movie or any other recent ones? Please share…

What’s Your Wet Weather Plan?

In my previous organization we conducted many corporate workshops every month, which kept us travelling all over the country quite often. While conducting a Great Workshop was a musRidgy4zrTt for us, preparing and planning for the event was equally important. So when we planned and designed the main activities for any workshop, we also made something called “A Wet Weather Plan”. It is a contingency plan if things don’t go our original planned way. For instance if it rains heavily then definitely the outdoor activities are not possible, so we planned actively for an alternative arrangement. The term ‘Wet Weather Plan’ came to us from our Singapore Headquarter, since it pours quite frequently there so planning an alternate for Rain is must there. However for us in India it was more of a replacement term for a contingency planning.

With more than 3 years of Adventure Learning experience, we had realized the importance of the ‘Wet Weather Planning’. It is believed that one constant law, which always works in our industry, is the Murphy’s Law – “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. So if you are not prepared for the unknown, it will certainly kill you. Rather I believe that a ‘Wet Weather Plan’ is necessary for almost all important things and events in our lives. A recent incident challenged us to the edge; our whole team was affected in someway in the sequence of events, which happened in 12 Hours. It’s imperative to share the story here…

It was just another workshop in Mumbai on 3rd September 2012; rather there were 2 workshops on the same day. One was a team-building workshop and another was negotiation skills workshop. But they were not at the same location; rather they were at 2 corners of the Business capital of India. So 4 of us started in the same flight from Delhi in morning and split in 2 groups, Me, Vishnu & Gopi headed for Team-building and Varun left for the Negotiation one. I was doing the team building with one fellow facilitator and one instructor at the client office quite near the Airport. Everything was going just according to the plan, since all the activities were indoors, we were not too much concerned about the weather outside. However I noticed that it was pouring outside constantly, rather all the 3 – 4 times I got an opportunity to peep outside the window, all what I saw is a constant heavy rainfall. Though we were completely occupied in the workshop, we never sensed what’s waiting for us. Well our workshop went great; we had a high-energy close and got lot of compliments from the client.

We packed up and came out of the conference room to head towards the airport. The plan was for me and Vishnu to come back to Delhi in 8.15 pm Flight for an Innovation workshop on the next Day and the remaining 2, Varun and Gopi to catch the 9.10 pm flight to head towards Chennai for a Senior Leadership workshop. The moment we stepped out of the conference building we faced the reality, it was Mumbai and it was raining non-stop for almost 12 hours now.

Floods1 So the complete town was almost on a freeze due to the waterlogging. What was only visible on the road from the lobby of the building was a traffic jam, which was not moving an inch. A sudden thought of the Rainfall Flooding of 2005 came to our mind, when torrential rains submerged the city for 24 hours killing around 5000 people. We had no idea what we are getting into; it was a situation of panic all around. People were stranded wherever they were; the Office lobby was a crowded place where everybody was trying to find a way to go home. To add to our horror we came to know that our cab didn’t turn up, looking at the traffic situation the cab driver completely gave up and informed us that he will not be able to make it to the pick up point before our flights, so we should do some alternate arrangement. But what should we do now? we called almost all Radio Taxis we know of but all turned down our request. Never felt so helpless and dependent on weather. However Varun got a cab from the other end of town but was almost certain that he will not be able to reach to the airport on time. Most horrifying was the thought of missing on the commitment of the workshops the next day. It was already 7.00 pm and me and my colleague Vishnu needed to get to the Airport latest by 7.30 to catch the Flight to Delhi. We 3 did a quick huddle to see what all we can do now for Delhi Workshop. One thought was that our colleague Sasi, who was the only person left in Delhi would do the Workshop alone the next day. However the format of our workshops makes it quite difficult for a single person to do it. We needed minimum of 2 Facilitators for an Innovation workshop. Then all of a sudden Vishnu took a wild call, to leave the entire luggage behind and try to reach Airport somehow. We agreed on it, and he rushed to get some transport to the Airport. He almost sprinted to a nearby Express Highway and incidentally met a workshop participant with a motorbike, hitchhiked to the Airport. To our delight the Flight was around 10 minutes late and Vishnu just made it on time. To our relief he got the boarding pass, though completely drenched. Here me and Gopi were still struggling to get some taxi or any alternative to reach airport for the Chennai Flight. I finally saw a small taxi waiting by the roadside with a passenger inside. It was a lady waiting for her next pickup by a friend, I requested her to wait in the office lobby, as we urgently need to get to the airport. She got convinced and we finally got a taxi to squeeze our luggage and ourselves inside somehow. Still the Murphy’s Law was at work and by the time we all reached Airport, it was too late for the Chennai Flight.

We shared the situation with the Airline and luckily we got reservation in the next 6.00 am morning Flight. I got a 11.00 am Flight to Delhi as well. So we headed for a nearby transit hotel to get some dinner and sleep after the long day with a wish that everything will be fine now. 2 Facilitators will take care of Delhi and 2 will take care of Chennai workshop. We had a good dinner and retired to bed to get up at 4.00 am in morning to reach airport by 4.30 am. We ensured this time to book a cab for airport drop in advance.

Well, the story is not over yet, next surprise came on the morning at 5.30 am when I got up hearing some sudden noise. It was Varun standing in front of my bed looking completely devastated and Gopi sitting upright on the bed almost frozen as somebody has asked him to turn ‘Statue’. I immediately realized the horror – that they were supposed to leave by 4.30 for the flight and it was already 5.30 am. Varun told me that the phone alarm never rang or never got heard. Whatever it was, our hotel room instantly turned into a war zone.

They had missed the flight AGAIN!

This time it was SLEEP not rain.

I jumped out of my bed to reach my laptop to see what is the available flight now. Varun was packing everything in panic and I saw Gopi still sitting in the same freeze frame as if he has seen a dead elephant on his bed. I almost screamed at him to get ready instantly, thankfully he heard me and came out of his frame.

Fortunately there was a flight at 7.00 am and they had precisely 18 minutes to reach airport to purchase the tickets and get a boarding pass. They ran for the cab and I was praying for us to get this flight at least. How could we not even get back to client this time to tell that we missed the flight Again.

Though our hotel was just 10 min drive from airport, but we were still too paranoid after last evening’s experience. After 12 minutes I got a call from Gopi that they have reached Airport and got the tickets.

Ohh what a relief, but then Gopi suddenly screamed..

”Sir, I left the camera bag in the hotel itself…!”

“Shit”

Now this was bad, as our workshop is incomplete without a still camera and a video camera. It’s a critical equipment.

This started a new chase, without wasting a second I jumped from my bed, picked the bag and rushed to the parking in my pajamas.

Got a cab and in next 10 minutes reached the Airport, just before my friend’s name was getting announced for departure.

In the evening on 4th, I was desperately waiting to get some news of the workshops. To our delight, both workshops were a hit and participants loved it, specially the Chennai One. We believed that with Murphy’s Law acting all around us there is some ‘Guardian Angel’, which takes care of the worse to happen, or maybe it’s destiny’s Wet Weather Plan.

Do share your Wet Weather Experiences in comment 🙂

-Alok

मेरा देश महान है.. (On Kargil War 1999)

छाती ठोक के केहता हु की मेरा देश महान है
बस कपड़े के बने तिरंगे में अमर प्राण है ।
छाती ठोक के ……………………….. महान है ॥
..
मौका अच्छा पाकर दुश्मन घुस आया घर के अन्दर
आया था सपने में की कश्मीर लेकर जायेगा
लौट के अपने मुल्क में वापिस इज्ज़त बहुत कमाएगा
बेचारे की किश्मत देखो कुदरत के क्या खेल किया
उसको ज़रा दिखाके लालच शेर के घर में भेज दिया
भूल गया था नादा की भारत में वीर जवान है
छाती ठोक के केहता हु की मेरा देश महान है।।
..
सौरभ* और उसके साथी कर गए एक अनोखा काम
वोह ना कभी भी मिट सकते, हो गए अमर है उनके नाम
हस्ते हस्ते उन वीरो ने अकल्पनीय सा दर्द सहा
टुकड़े टुकड़े होने पर भी मुह से होगा उफ़ न कहा
मर जाना पर कभी न झुकना यही हमारी शान है
छाती ठोक के केहता हु की मेरा देश महान है
..
माँ के ऊपर बन आई तो सबकी भोहे तन गयी
पर घुसपैठी दुश्मन की तो जान पर थी बन गयी
घर वालो का मोह न देखा, चल दिए सीमा पर जवान
हर देश में थोड़े हीरे होंगे, भारत है हीरो की खान
हम पर यु मिट जाने वाले, क्या यह ही भगवान् है ?
छाती ठोक के केहता हु की मेरा देश महान है ।
छाती ठोक के केहता हु की मेरा देश महान है ।।
..
..
* This is the refered to Lt. Saurabh Kalia, who with his team was abducted from the border and later there multilated bodies were returned to India from Pakistan.

Darakhth

ज़न्नत और कयामत के बीच, अब बस कुछ दरख्त खड़े है
वोह हमसे बड़े या हम उनसे बड़े है…

हमे आशिया देने को, कितने गुलशन तबाह हुए
हमारी किश्तिय खेने को, कितने घर कुरबा हुए
“होली”, “लोहड़ी” के नाम पे, कितने सपनो को राख किया
खेती के लालच में, पुरे जंगल को खाक किया

आज माज़रा यह है की, सांसो के भी लाले पड़े है
वोह हमसे बड़े या हम उनसे बड़े है…

दरख्तों में भी जान है, इसमें कोई शक नहीं
गर हम सब बीज नहीं बोते, तो काटने का भी हक नहीं
अब भी यह चीख नहीं सुनी, तो सब इस कत्ल का गुनाह लेंगे
अपने लापरवाही की बहुत बड़ी कीमत देंगे।

न जाने ज़मी के ज़हन में और कितने खंज़र जड़े है
वोह हमसे बड़े या हम उनसे बड़े है… .