Monday, January 2, 2017

My Experience, Our Planet




Today the thought came of writing personal things from my own life while drawing inferences to the hell like conditions modern humans have created for themselves in parts of the world.

It has been mentioned in many earlier posts that while some parts of Earth are heaven-like, others are hell-like. The hellish conditions are not just because of nature but also those created by humans through wars, overcrowded cities, pollution of air and water and the overwhelming greed of a few who, with the help of lawmakers they are able to influence, suck large number of humans into grinding poverty, even a homeless life on the streets, in some of the richest and most exploitative countries of our world.

For the most part, my early life was spent in some of the most heaven-like parts, mostly in the Himalayas. In 1962, I came down for the first time to New Delhi where my mother had just finished building our first family home. The land had been provided by the government in exchange for some land the family had given up elsewhere and a loan was provided by the government to build a home.

With the grace of the Lord, I have been in good health most of my life, except for some episodes of hay fever and another of angina described next. My father, though a senior officer in the British Army first and later the Indian Army, did not have any savings because he was fond of flashy black cars and  much feasting and partying, a love he shared with my mother who loved to host all she could lay her eyes on as a guest.. We needed the loan to build a home. The area was under development then with lots of homes and roads being built around and the air was full of dust. The very first day we landed here, my eyes became red, nose started running and I was sneezing like crazy. It was a dust sponsored hay fever as I have figured out since. Fortunately, we did not hang around in this home long and the moment we left it for greener locales the hay fever disappeared.

Our family was obliged to rent out the newly built home so that we could pay back the loan on the property. In the meantime, the family had other grander homes to live in, provided as a service benefit to my dad. The family home of Delhi that we owned jointly, parents and brothers was a special home. One of the tenants was a lady called Mohini Giri whose father V V Giri stayed with her while in Delhi. Mr. V V Giri continued to stay in the home because he did extremely well in his political career while in it and considered it a blessed home. The address of this home was C-243 Defence Colony, New Delhi. He went on to become the President of India while here and it has been a matter of pride for me that our first owned home was one in which the President of India lived. He only stayed there for a day or two after that because as a President he was obliged to move to the Palatial Presidential Estate in New Delhi that was once built for the Governor General of British India.

Although, medical science talks a lot of pollen caused hay-fever, with the grace of the Lord that has not been a problem with me. I have lived in green forested areas of North America, India and other parts of the world and never suffered even a day of allergy from it. It was only on one occasion, when serving as a Professor at the University of Mosul in Iraq, when we went for a picnic to a forest near Mosul called Shalalat that my eyes swelled up and became red from allergy within half an hour of being in the forest. We had to rush out and taking a few pills of Avil the allergy subsided. The area must have had some unique pollen that I was allergic to. We were in a group and my wife and children were with me. No one else was affected similarly. Aside for this singular instance of allergy in a green area there has been none other through my life.

At that time, in 1987, Mosul on the banks of the River Tigris was a heavenly city as it seems to have been for five thousand years ever since Sumerian times except for brief wars and not the hell it has become since due to the unfortunate Iraq wars ever since USA and UK thought Iraq had WMDs. The country has been largely destroyed since. Hopefully none in USA is considering destroying other parts of the world based on alleged reports of Russian hacking next or as Hillary had promised to do by shooting down Russian planes in Syria just like those kids do at the games parlor.

While not suffering from allergy to pollen for the most part, I have had repeated occasions of suffering hay fever from dust through my life. The next period was during my graduation at the India Institute of Technology in Delhi in 1966-71, a dusty area at that time. I suffered numerous episodes of hay fever in that period that only disappeared when I moved to North America in 1974. Since that time, I went up and down between North America, other parts of the world and India several times because up to the age of 45, I just loved to travel across the world and found every excuse to arrange my professional assignments that way.

Between 1998 and 2001, I returned as a visiting Professor to the Indian Institute of Technology. Since the seventies, New Delhi has been greened and built much and dust levels have come down, therefore, during this time I did not suffer any dust allergy. However, something more insidious had happened to Delhi since. It has since become full of air pollution from vehicles and Industries. No one has been able to explain why those industries or people who work in them have to in the Capital city when there is enough room to house them elsewhere. My guess is that the ensuing pollution has clouded judgement of those who suffer that pollution.  Even in my earlier days whenever, I had traveled to very crowded and polluted parts of Delhi I had felt nauseas. Now that pollution was all over. Fortunately, The IIT has its own very green campus that is surrounded in parts by urban forests and I had accommodation on campus, therefore, I survived for some time by confining myself largely to the campus. But something worse was happening, the pollution was getting into my arteries and that led to angina by early 2001. Unlike hay fever, angina is not something that goes away in a day. It may require surgical intervention that I was never in favor of. It took a few years away from Delhi for me to get over this condition next...

As mentioned, I had lost the urge to travel well before the age of 50 but the urge for visiting green forests, mountains, and lakes of Himalayas has remained with me more or less as a permanent love and source of spiritual strength.. My favorite district in the Himalayas is Nainital and a visit to it requires passing through Delhi. Even brief stopovers in Delhi have been painful for me. On one such in 2007, I began to vomit in the cab that was driving me through crowded Delhi and only managed to save myself with the grace of God of being robbed of my belongings by a passing robber who often take advantage of such situations in crowded, crime infested cities of our world. It requires a human to be fully alert in order to protect oneself through this jungle of crime and filth that humans have created.

I feel saddened for the many millions who still continue to live in Delhi but draw solace from the fact that most humans may not be as sensitive to air pollution as some others like me. Yet children suffer and I suspect the government of India based in Delhi suffers too because there are times they come up with decisions that defy common sense. I find myself tweeting then in a hurry, some simple common sense to the Inspiring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his office, even as I did today morning, and as do many others from across the planet. At times a correction is made soon, but such corrections can be only few and far between. Because of this, in the main, it is not just those who live in Delhi that are affected but also one sixth of  humanity of the country and by extension the entire world to some extent,  by the actions of the government in Delhi, that is compromised by fighting its way through this pollution, a mind hazing,  life threatening, hell like condition that humans have created for themselves.

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