The grass is greener on the other side!

Yesterday we met one of Priya’s neighbour, while we were going out. Nikhil said, “Long time, no see!” The neighbour said that he had been very busy with work and has a busy time until it starts snowing. He has one of his businesses of cleaning sprinkling systems. I wondered what that business is. He said, “Before it starts snowing, we go to our clients. Empty the sprinkler system, then blow compressed air through the system. By doing this, all the water in the sprinkler is thrown out of the system. Cleaning is done to avoid ice formation inside the system when the system is not used in winter.” In summer, the user can start using the system again.

It put my mind working and I thought how much unaware we are of many things done in the world. Nikhil later told me that even the regular water system also needs to be checked sometimes if the flow is irregular around autumn time. The system is bled during this period to remove airlocks if any! This checking cannot be obviously done once the winter sets in.

There could be many such preventive maintenance requirements which we don’t know. Or we know, but we don’t do it. In our homes, washbasins sometimes tend to get choked after usage. There is one small device readily available in the market. How many of us keep it at home?

The next image shows a filter in the system. How many of us get it regularly cleaned? By doing self-help stuff, we can avoid emergencies.

We are unaware of so many basic things that we run into unnecessary arguments sometimes. In many cities in India, we face water shortage due to deficient rains the previous year. Water supply to homes is available for a specific period during the day. In a society where I have a condo, there was a big fight going on WhatsApp about irresponsible behaviour of people. It was said that some people just don’t care and don’t bother about checking if all taps are closed before they leave for office. When the water supply is restarted in the evening, the water is wasted as it runs; people come home late from office. I explained to them that when the water system goes fully dry, the washers and springs in flush tanks tend to get stuck or damaged. When the water is restarted, the water can continue to flow without being used unless we act on it. Then the management team understood the problem and kept water supply on round the clock, but during certain times it was kept at low pressure.

I have noticed in Montreal, the sincerity of workers. There is work going on on our road. Just now (7 am) the temperature is 2 deg C, but all of the team started work at 7 am sharp. I have not seen this happen in many of our factories also, the so-called organised sector.

Some factors affecting lives in different countries don’t even come to our mind. I know of a friend who removed the snow from his car and was about to leave. But he received a work-related call and was talking on the phone almost for an hour. He came out the second time (it was snowing all the time), removed the snow again and drove away for work. People need to keep their car running for 20 to 30 minutes in winter before moving out, especially if parked in the uncovered area.

We see and enjoy the lovely photographs from Christmas time from many places with white snow in the background. It looks beautiful in the photos, but the snow cleaning in your territory is your job. I saw some homes having staircases from outside to reach home. During the winter, the snow gathered on the stairs is your responsibility; every day you are required to clean the snow accumulated on the stairs. If someone slips because of lack of cleaning, you can be sued!

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I used to live in Model Colony in Pune, during my younger days;  when it rained heavily, a lot of water used to flow down from the hills to our area and flood it. When the rain intensity would reduce, I would go out with my son Sachin, who was 5 or 6 years old then. We would simply clean the leaves that blocked the meshes on the drainage system, and flood would be gone in five minutes. I did it a couple of years back near my office building too with the same results. Honestly, it is no big deal. But the subject came to mind due to water logging issues in Pune recently. Nowadays the drain meshes are blocked by tree leaves as well as by plastic bags. Why can’t some volunteers do this in each area once the rain intensity reduces? I am not talking about the water deluge event that occurred due to cloud burst!

I understand that because of strict traffic rules, hefty fines and their implementation, traffic is generally well-disciplined in western countries. But I have not heard of such laws for pedestrians. But why are pedestrians equally disciplined in these countries? I rarely see them breaking the rules. My granddaughter Rhea (she will be six years old soon) asked me once why don’t we follow these rules in Pune? I had no answer!

Another issue we are not aware of about winter in these areas is clothing. We know that the layers help, thermals are essential. But I was not aware that the snow jackets are designed for different temperatures. In Montreal, temperatures can go down to -35 deg C! So, jackets also have their ranges. In most cases, those designed for – 15 to – 20 deg C are enough. But when the temperature falls further, you need to wear even better ones designed for the temperature of -40 deg C!

I have understood somethings about heating systems at home here. Some are gas-based, some use water heating, and others make use of Electricity for heating. I am, of course, not aware of more details of these systems. I am not likely to understand practical difficulties in these systems as I will not be here in winter.

Each zone, each region, even in one country like India, has very different weather. So, requirements, handling of the systems will be very different from area to area. Cold countries handle temperatures from 35/40 deg C to -35 deg C. Still they manage their systems well. I will tell you about the road repairs in Montreal. It can be handled only for six to seven months in any year before the snow! But this needs a lot of planning, preparation and readiness to handle work when the slot becomes available for repairs. (Potholes in Pune and Mumbai, Delhi?)

I will share one crucial knowledge I acquired. When any area is dug for repairs of utilities like electrical cables, water lines, gas pipes the agencies have the maps ready. They dig the area using normal excavator up to a safe depth. After that, Vacuum excavators are used. They loosen the soil in that area and suck it! So, the chances of damaging any of the pipes or cables become minimal. I do not see Vacuum Excavators being used in India. Maybe they are being used, but I have not seen them!

Friends life in any part of the world has its own issues. In India, we are lucky that for most of the year we have sunlight! Weather for the most times cannot be described as harsh. But what we lack is design, planning, execution and WILL!

Goodness is Godliness!

My friend Vivek sent me a video. I saw the video once and watched it so many times, that had it been a vinyl record, it would have worn out! I have shared that clip below and I am sure you will love it too!  

 

A couple of months back I had written a blog “Oh! My God!” It was about the things that happen in this world which are not under our control but under HIS control. But anytime I see something good, it always reminds me of God! I am almost an atheist. Atheist is a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God. By this definition, I am not an Atheist but I can be called 95% Atheist! I do believe that there is a super power in this world that can be called God. But I don’t believe in religious rituals. As a family if we go to a mandir, I feel nice when I go there. I have visited Churches, Gurudwaras, Dargahs. All these are pristine places and give me a feeling that I have reached near Him! But that does not mean that I must visit Mandirs frequently, perform the poojas and so on!  

But do we really have to go to these places of worship to be near Him? HE is there in everything, a stone, a pond, a river, a child! HE is there on the road, in the jungle, in the skies! HE is there in a beggar and in an animal. When he is everywhere why humans take so much efforts to reach HIM, by way of rituals and physically go to places of worship?  We are forced into this by the society in general; people are scared that something will go wrong if some rituals are not followed! People tend to wear their God on their sleeves! Why this is done? If HE is everywhere, you don’t have wear a cap or a shawl displaying HIS Name. Does someone not wearing something displaying HIS name a lesser follower or a bad person?  

I have observed that in most religions, the so-called God men make sure that people will feel that if they don’t meet HIM regularly in a Mandir or a church, don’t follow the rituals regularly, they are in for trouble! Most people do this out of fear. I am aware that some of us just feel nice, going to places of worship and they may do so. But this habit should not get converted into a ritual. One should not feel, “Oh I have not visited the mandir in last two weeks, something bad is going to happen!” Because in such cases, it becomes a ritual followed out of fear!  

I am writing more about Hinduism, because as a Hindu I know a little more about Hindu rituals than those of other religions. Be honest to yourself and think whether your heart was touched more by the video clip above or by some rituals you follow, most of the time blindly or because someone else does it. I feel that if your heart is in the right place, the video film will beat everything else most of the times. Look at the Godliness in the film. The child believes that there is God in this world; his mother beautifully supports that innocent idea. He is too young to follow any teachings. He might have just heard from his teachers and parents that there is God and he is good! The reverse side of the story is that for homeless woman getting something to eat and the love she received unconditionally cannot be anything else but an act of God! The beautiful end is when the child tells his mother, “I met God today, but God is a lady with a beautiful smile!” Similarly, the homeless lady tells her partner, ” I met God today but he was much younger than expected!” What a beautiful way of expressing!

Think of this small film and the story. A great meaning is hidden in this story! Ultimately what do all the religions teach you? They say that be happy, be generous, love unconditionally and do not expect returns for your good deeds. The religions also tell you that He always knows and sees what is happening in our lives; He acts when we are destined to be rescued or served! Both the child and the homeless do not expect anything else from the encounter! The matter of fact way in which both share their experience, the child with his mother and homeless lady with her partner is to be seen to be believed!  

Today is the Christmas eve; Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed most commonly on December 25, as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast. This is a Christian festival but the ritual followed in Christmas is one which teaches children from childhood, that Santa gives gifts for the good deeds that we perform throughout the year! Its a great way of teaching children to be good, all the time! In childhood it is great way of teaching goodness! Ultimately, Goodness is Godliness!  

Merry Christmas to all my friends and let us listen to HO HO HO from Santa Claus!