Into the Wild (2007)

The real life story of an American hitchhiker, Christopher John McCandless brought onto the silver screen by Sean Penn. A guy who gives up everything and everyone in life to live for self, in a land devoid of fellow human habitation.

And just when I thought this was a one-off thing – of people going off on a trail to live life in the wild, I was wrong again. This came a surprise when I read the prelude, before I got into watching the movie. And 2 hours and some well needed wisdom later, I think I have the answers for the phenomenon. This could be seen as the western adaptation of Sanyasa. Though not an alien concept to India, the movie is still an eye opener for it makes you think deep and delve into the intricacies of our existence. Indeed a very good watch. And I hear the book is equally good too, though the lack of quality time to be devoted to reading makes me take the shortcut.  [4/5]


Happiness is never real, unless shared 

Christopher John McCandless   



You might also want to read about these people too:

  1. Carl McCunn (1946 – 1981) was an American wildlife photographer who became stranded in the Alaskan wilderness and eventually committed suicide when he ran out of supplies.
  2. Everett Ruess (March 28, 1914 – 1934?) was a young artist, poet and writer who explored nature including the High Sierra, California Coast and the deserts of the American southwest, invariably alone. His fate while traveling though a remote area of Utah has been a mystery for many years.
  3. Richard Louis “Dick” Proenneke (May 4, 1916–April 20, 2003) was a naturalist who lived alone in the high mountains of Alaska at a place called Twin Lakes. Living in a log cabin he constructed by hand, Proenneke made valuable recordings of both meteorological and natural data.

There are indeed guys with the same thought process | A reply to the young Indian woman

A couple of days back, I read this post on the Indian Homemaker’s blog where a girl had written to IHM with her queries about life, something which I thought was indeed very genuine. It goes like this:
An email from a young Indian woman who has seen her parents respect each other as equal partners.
I wanted to share an incidence with you and also what it means in the future, for young Indian women (and men). However, at the outset I would like to clear out something since it features my late maternal grandmother prominently. I loved her immensely and she did too. I know I was destined to spend time with her just a month before her demise, because she genuinely wanted to meet me.
My father since childhood always stressed that girls and boys are equal, each are unique and there are no grounds for differentiation between them. That’s why I have grown up questioning the status quo.
My mother ( C ), including her are 3 sisters ( A, B, C ) and two brothers( D, E ), in order of their ages. Now my B mashi got married before my mother, and within a year she had a daughter. A year later my mother had me. And my nani cried when she heard it, because “Ek aur beti” (’0ne more girl child’)I learnt about this fact as a kid, and it hit me hard because honestly my nani loved me. When I went over to her place………..
Read the full letter here.
It was a very genuine thought that had crossed the mind of the young Indian woman in the letter. Born into a family which treated her as equals (the best thing is that she fought for it, whenever she felt she had got a bad deal [*respect*] ) with a person of the opposite sex (which by the way is not very common in my part of the world), she was afraid whether she would find a guy who would treat her in the very same way, meaning sharing the same thought process as her. This reply to her, is in many ways the sentiment echoed by the average Indian man who would be very much willing to treat his woman in the same equal terms as himself, thus sharing the same thought process (I know there aren’t many, but still ).

Dear woman in the letter,

First up, thanks for bringing up this dilemma of yours into the forefront. You have echoed the sentiments of a very many number of women in this country, who have probably thought of this aspect at some point in life. As someone from the opposite sex who is a believer in equality and equal opportunities, I would like to tell you that there is indeed hope for people like us.

Though I must confess that I do represent only a minority of men who would want his woman to be treated equally well as he is. But then the fact remains that if you are patient enough and have the mind to stick by what you think is right for you, there is a good possibility that you will end up finding Mr.Right. It might mean having to deal with the pesky neighbors, nosey aunts among others, who might end up branding you as being “demanding and choosy”, but don’t you think life is worth the wait for the right man?

Having given you the bright side, I got to tell you one more aspect of it, namely the alternate view. The predicament that we are in, you might also be well advised not to keep your hopes very high on this. And I have my own reasons for saying this. I represent the opposite sex which has been accused of not living upto the expectations of the womenfolk in all universe (the converse is also a very well debated topic, but for many different reasons mostly). I do not have any explanations in my defence as to why many of my women friends who have recently been married, ended up coming out of it because they felt that the guy they got married to, was so much different from the guy who was in love with them a couple of years before they ended up in wedlock. Reasons, which I am not really proud of.

On the being single debate and its viability, ending up being single for the rest of your life is better than being married to the wrong person. If you thought that the fear of getting married to the wrong person was just a woman thing, you might be surprised to know that you are wrong. Again it comes to being a minority but then, there are men in this country who have the same fears as you have echoed here. And some of them have succumbed to the pressures and ended up with the wrong person, only either to struggle through the ordeal without any positives or to come out of the relationship, bruised and battered, with what was a horrible past.

Lastly, I just want to say one thing. I, for one, believe that I will never end up being with someone who is not even remotely compatible with me. I am seeing someone even now (someone I know for like 8 years, been in an in and out thing for like the last 2 and the like) as I write this letter, but it remains to be seen if she will end up being a part of my life. And that’s the thing about being of the same thought process (not gender equality as in your case but then, that should be a story for another day) and the fact that I will only listen to what my mind says about this and none else. So as you can see, it ain’t any piece of cake, but it is definitely worth the try. Because we have only one life and its always a comforting feeling to realize when you are old, that you have lived life thus far in your own terms rather than succumbing to the pressures of the people around you. I don’t know if I made things easier for you with this letter, but then you are not alone if that makes you feel any better.

Yours Sincerely,
The-minority-indian-man-who-is-a-preacher-of-equality-and-equal-opportunities.

On Administrative Procedures and Formalities

It’s amazing how things pertaining to administration work in Portugal. At least when you are coming from India where the smallest of things take a week to be a reality. Today, I had an appointment at the Portuguese Ministry of Justice complex, which houses the Department of Criminal Justice (Registo Criminal). I needed to visit the Campus de Justica for obtaining a certificate which would state that I had no criminal record liable to a conviction in Portugal, one of the prerequisites for a residence permit in the EU.
And as soon as I reached the justice campus, it weirdly resembled the typical IT parks that are beefing up the landscape in India. The buildings were posh, lush greenery, super awesome shades and all that you normally associate with a software park these days. And we entered the building and got into the counters in 5 minutes. The lady at the counter asked me for my visa, she entered the details to check into the database and voila, it was over!! She gave me a certificate in less than 5 minutes.
And, I fondly remembered how I went up to the Shaastri Bhavan, Madras not once, but twice for the same job and it took me 5 hours in the queue plus a further two weeks for the correspondence of the police certificate.
And far too many typos in the current article means I need to catch up with sleep. And that will follow the legend that is Moshe Ben Akiwa on video conference from Boston, which should start in an hour. Bye!

Guangzhou, China: Winning the future with BRT

In the first in a series of many-to-come reviews on Sustainable Transport, here is the story of Guangzhou, China. Guangzhou – for those who don’t know or haven’t yet heard of it, is the main city in the fastest growing economy, in the fastest growing province of the fastest growing country in this world for the last 30 years.And much of its success is due to its rapid strides in the field of sustainable urban transportation. So much so, that Guangzhou is the winner of the Sustainable Transport Award of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) for the year 2011.
The video below shares the success story of the Guangzhou Bus Rapid Transit project, one of the largest bus rapid transit systems in Asia. It also explains why the Guangzhou BRT is where it stands right now, at the top of the world in an effort towards sustainable transport and “winning the future”. India and also the many other developing countries, who are pinning on the Bus Rapid Transit for an answer towards sustainable transport needs to study the Guangzhou model in detail.

 

Guangzhou, China: "Winning the future" with BRT

In the first in a series of many-to-come reviews on Sustainable Transport, here is the story of Guangzhou, China. Guangzhou – for those who don’t know or haven’t yet heard of it, is the main city in the fastest growing economy, in the fastest growing province of the fastest growing country in this world for the last 30 years.And much of its success is due to its rapid strides in the field of sustainable urban transportation. So much so, that Guangzhou is the winner of the Sustainable Transport Award of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) for the year 2011.
The video below shares the success story of the Guangzhou Bus Rapid Transit project, one of the largest bus rapid transit systems in Asia. It also explains why the Guangzhou BRT is where it stands right now, at the top of the world in an effort towards sustainable transport and “winning the future”. India and also the many other developing countries, who are pinning on the Bus Rapid Transit for an answer towards sustainable transport needs to study the Guangzhou model in detail.