Firdaus.

cornwall
(Cornwall, United Kingdom – July 13, 2016)

Of all the places that I have been, no places has captured my imagination as much as Cornwall did. Reminded me of a Farsi couplet written by Amir Khusrau, written sometime around the 13th-14th century –

Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast,
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast.

(English:If there is a paradise on earth,
It is this, it is this, it is this)

The oarsman.

The oarsman.
(Nainital, India – June 15, 2013)

I wish I lived my life like the oarsman

guiding my boat through the stream;

when I’d steer my way through troubles

however insurmountable they might seem;

Where every tug and pull at my oar

satisfies me of each little job well done;

and the end of each fulfilling day makes me

look forward to newer journeys under the sun.

Indictment

indictment
(Kolkata, India – June 15, 2014)

Of all myriad trappings offered by life

I am but a sentient aggregate

consumer of my own purveyance

A fickle result of complicity and strife

between my actions and my fate.

Yet, you relegate me to an image

in an evanescent meeting of chance

Naivete, or hubris I ask

when you subject me, as aliens gauge

my existence from your cursory glance?

 

A note of worry…

On a recent trip to Kanpur, India I woke up in the morning to see a layer of smog covering everything as far as the eye could see. It indeed felt unethical to ignore this.

smog-over-kanpur
(Kanpur, India – 5 November 2016)

However, what struck me most about this all was the nonchalance with which the people conducted themselves. I wondered if it was ignorance, helpless acceptance, or pure denial? My best guess was that if you randomly picked someone from the streets of Kanpur and inquired about why such a dire state of climate did not bother them, chances are that you were equally likely to get any of the answers. Like all other social situations, the truth is somewhere in between the extremities. And from what I have heard from friends from other developing countries, the story is not too different.

Now, I only had a passing interest in climate change before this trip. In fact, if you ask him nicely, Mark Zuckerberg could dig out a very public post written by the 21-year old me stating that the climate change had nothing to do with man-made activities (silly, I know!). But, this trip made me think more deeply, both from a humanistic as well as from public finance and public policy perspective.

The ground reality is that an average human being is primarily interested with doing his daily job and securing his financial future, irrespective of the impact of his actions on the future of his environment. Whether it is ethical or not is a matter of conjecture and not the topic of my interest. But what I am interested in, is the alignment between the aspirations of global policies with those of billions of workaday people across the world. And at the moment, from what I have seen, read and heard, there is a massive disconnect between the two.

Something needs to be done about it.

Disclaimer

All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and do not express the views of opinions of any of the organisations with which I may be associated.