Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fear of flying

I am acrophobic or batophobic, that is, I am afraid of height or depth and this had always kept me away from the parapets and giant wheels. I still remember how every day I use to fight my fear while climbing the stairs to my classroom which was on the first floor; walking as close to the wall as possible because the veranda was narrow. All the time I had the feeling as if the building would tilt and I would fall, or maybe accidently I would slip and fall. I hate mirrored elevators and malls with glass boundries, though they look beautiful but they show me the depth and in my head the floor starts tilting and I start slipping towards the edge, for me it is horrifying.
In spite of living with this fear for all my life I loved my first air travel from Delhi to Banglore back in 2006. I liked the ripples inside my stomach when the plane took off and seeing the cars and building getting smaller within no time was breath taking. Clouds that always seemed 2D were infact huge 3D mountains, as of cotton, were awe inspiring and so were all the geographical figures from above. It was like viewing a large topographic sheet. To see some of the known and unknown places from above was amazing. Through out the journey I kept thanking the Wright brothers for inventing this terrific machine. Over all it was the journey of my life and I loved it's every bit from take off to landing and the fear of any kind was hid somewhere.
The fear came back with my first flight to the US in April 2008, on the screen when the position of the plane was shown just above the vast abyss of ocean with no sign of any land nearby the hidden phobia pricked me and surfaced once again but this time with a new name 'aviophobia' or 'aviatophobia', that is, the fear of flying. Hitting me hard were all sorts of death throes, what if .......what if......not even a land near by, monstrous sharkes, I can't even swim plus my darling little eigth months old boy with me............what if ? how will? Oh no GOD! HELP GOD. BLESS US GOD. Finally I started seeing the land and soon we landed safely but the fear always stayed because we were not here to stay for long and some day we will have to make a journey back to our sweet home.
During my over an year long stay there were a lot of air mishaps one of it taking place just few kilometers from my home when the Airbus A320 had to make an emergency landing on the freezing waters of Hudson, hopefully with no casualties the job of the pilot was commendable. But like those 155 everyone is not lucky as there were other accidents in which people were dead. After a long wait finally my husband, Vikas got a 3 weeks off from his office and we booked our tickets for a vacation to India. I was very excited, home and all my loved ones, I was eager for the reunion but these joyous feeling also got with them my fear of flying that always left me lamented.
To aggravate my fear came the news of Air France jet, from Brazil to Paris, missing with 228 people on board, later declared all dead. After few days some of the bodies were recovered with no clothes and multiple fractures. They say that the plane had entered a very heavy turbulence which caused the fortuity. Now I heard a similar case with the Qantas plane flying from Singapore to Perth carrying 313 people which suddenly climbed 300 ft and then abrutly nosedived; leaving 74 passengers with fractures, lacerations and spinal injuries. With just two days to fly I am in a bad state of mind just wishing to skip the journey some how or maybe to take some other means alas, there is no other way except by sea which is worse.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The monk who sold his Ferrari

Finally I finished reading the book and will recommend it to all. It's a must read. Though the author, Robin S. Sharma, has repeated many words many a times which makes reading a little boring, also after few pages the book starts getting a little dull but slowly as you will proceed you will start enjoying it. His repetition at times is intentional so that we would remember the main points, it's a kind of a revision of the older chapters. The way he has used a simple fable to memorise the points is commendable. It is full of messages for making your life beautiful. Books of such ilk should be read slowly, absorbing every line and taking the message that the book is giving only then will you get good results. Remember such books are not for enjoyment, they are meant for special purpose; self improvement.

Some of the quotes from the book are here;

When you control your thoughts, you control your mind. When you control your mind, you control your life. And once you reach a stage of being in total control of your life you become a master of your destiny.
Having the courage to say no to small things in life gives you the power to say yes to big things.
Laughter opens your heart and soothes your soul. No one should ever take life so seriously that they forget to laugh at themselves.
Act as if failure is impossible and your success will be assured.
The quality of your life will come to the quality of your contribution.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
Read it if you still have not, you will feel the positive vibes.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stop using plastic bags

"Americans throw away almost 100 billion plastic bags every year, and only one percent to three percent are ever recycled."

I read it some where and now living here I see it, plastic is so much in use here that I hate seeing them in my home now. One day of grocery shopping will end up giving you over a ten bags, so in a month you have more than 50 bags for sure; this is for a family of 2½, guess what a stock the bigger families would have? With no proper system for recycling, I had my cabinets stuffed with them. When new to the place I use to think that the trash taker takes care of the recycling part, wao! America what an efficient system. Good that though these people are using so much plastic but they have an efficient system to recycle it. Only when the trash takers took the card board and plastic cans but left my bundle of plastic bags that I realized the damage being done. I looked on the net for the recycling thing and got to know that Macy's, Stop and shop and some other participating stores collect them and give them for reuse or recycling. For my luck five minutes walk from my home takes me to Stop and shop where I shop for grocery and this was the place that had given me most of those bags. On my next visit I looked for the can earmarked for this purpose and there was one white trash can with just a few bags dumped into it. The ease with which people get them same should be the way of recycling. On the same visit I bought a reusable bag for me and I have stopped bringing plastic bags home no matter I bring my stuff bare in hand with people staring at the butter or bread I have bought. If I do not take reusable bags for shopping that is my mistake. I have bundled up all the bags all ready at home and will take them to the store on my next visit. Though tough but to save the earth we have to work, already it's too late.

Amongst myriad people just a handful doing this stuff will not help at all until the Government across the planet is ready to take giant steps toward this problem. Stop the manufacturing of plastic bags and other useless stuffs, if not manufactured how will they be used. States like Maharashtra have banned the use of plastic bags, the city is still working so why cannot other places follow the suit. Not alone plastics but there are a lot of issues that only Government can handle like deforestation, over catching of fishes, saving wild life, underground water level, rain water harvestation, use of solar and wind energy, cars and houses using mainly sun for energy, so much use or paper towels and aluminium foils and many more........they need to take out laws and people will follow it, they will have to and one day this all will came into our nature. But the greed for vote and money will not let them take this step because power is more important to them. If nations around the world are so worried about the environment, as they show they are, then why not they chalk out rules at once, what are they waiting for?
Everybody knows what a harm plastics do to the environment. Also everyone can feel the change in the weather every year around them. I do not think that even efficient recycling will help because every such process has a byproduct and I do not think that this process is free of harmful byproducts. The only way is to stop using them.

There was an interview of Daniel Goleman the writer of Ecologocal Intelligence in the Reader's Digest where he said, 'Remember: Industry and commerce developed basic processes when nobody knew or cared about ecological impacts. Today we do know and care.'. He also told that the ingredients in sunscreen washed off the swimmers have threatened 10% of the coral reef.

Time is running out, take quick steps.