Engineering a New Way of Life

I have a confession to make. I stopped the newspaper subscription. Every morning I used to spend precious minutes to hours with the newspaper and my morning cuppa tea. But then I started dreading my favorite time of the day – another tragic headline. Ending the self-imposed torture I quit reading the papers. And I feel so much better and freer. Any news of any importance that I may have missed does come my way via some media or the other. And even if it doesn’t so what? It wasn’t as if I was going to change the world, was I?

But there is something I could do – I could spread some positivism instead of negativity. In fact, riding high on the successful completion of the A to Z Challenge last year, I had decided on the theme for the next year – A to Z of positive news. I had been collecting snippets for the challenge. But now I find I am too tied up to participate in the A to Z challenge. Yet happily enough, I stumbled upon We Are the World Blogfest which seeks to promote positive news.

Participants are expected to join in with a short piece every last Friday of the month. I thought it was a really cool idea and jumped at the chance to share and spread some of the good stuff that is happening and is worth knowing about. I hope you too will join in.

For my first bit of positive news I bring to you Sonam Wangchuk who inspired the movie 3 Idiots. An engineer, innovator, and an education reformist, he is all that is Phunsukh Wangdu (of 3 Idiots) and so much more. The movie has come and gone but Sonam Wangchuk continues to scale greater heights.

In November 2016, he was awarded the prestigious Rolex Award for Enterprise. Wangchuk helped farmers of Ladakh to overcome water shortages by tapping melting waters and building artificial glaciers, known as ice stupas. The ice stupa are almost two-stories high and can roughly store about 150,000 liters of winter stream water which is unwanted at the time. These stupas melt in the summer providing the much needed water to farmers when they need it the most. Brilliant and simple solution isnt it?

In addition, Wangchuk has successfully applied the ice stupa technique for disaster mitigation at high altitude glacier lakes. He has been invited by the Sikkim and Swiss government to counter the phenomenon of fast-melting glaciers.

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Photo shared by my brother who met Sonam Wangchuk in Ladakh last week

The Ice Stupa that won the international Rolex award of USD 1 million for innovation from among 3,200 entries worldwide. It also qualified for the tallest Ice Sculpture in the world for the Guinness Book of World Records, beating the previous Chinese record by more than 6 meters.

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Apart from this, Sonam Wangchuk has been working in Ladakh for over 20 years through his Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL). Working with the J and K government and like-minded friends, he rewrote the textbooks, retrained the teachers, took in failures and is now creating success stories out of them. You can watch his talk here.

He also designed the SECMOL campus that runs completely on solar energy and uses no fossil fuels for cooking, lighting or heating, even in Ladakhi winters when temperatures fall to minus 25C degrees. He wants to translate and transform not only school education but also higher education. Not only in Ladakh but for the whole world. To fund his dream he has donated his entire Rolex prize money as seed money and is looking to raise more funds. I could go on and on but I think it’s time to stop. If you like you can read more about him on the web. Just type in Sonam Wangchuk – a man who is truly inspiring.

I hope you enjoyed this bit of news and if you have a minute to spare, have a look at this heartwarming video.

Do share your views, opinions, suggestions and positive news. Thank you for reading 🙂

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SPF: The War Within

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Photo (c) Jules Paige

The War Within

Words 192

 Enough was enough.

She was too old for all this nonsense.

She couldn’t – wouldn’t take any more.

She would pack her bags today.

Her shoulders drooped.

But where would she go?

Her parents?

But they were staying with her brother – would she be welcome?

Where did she belong? Where was her home?

With her husband?

Her children?

Her parents?

Her feet dragged as she walked to meet her destiny.

The swirling waters called out to her.

This was home.

Her final resting place.

She eased down and sat with her legs dangling just above the water.

The waves lapped higher and higher, calling insistently.

She yearned to give in.

It would be so easy.

A soft bed.

A restful endless sleep.

Perhaps they would miss her, appreciate her – or perhaps not.

They would be too busy coping with her absence.

How could she be so selfish?

How had it come to this?

She had wanted to save the world.

And now she couldn’t save her family?

She stood up.

The waves weren’t calling her.

They were urging her to go back.

Not because they loved her.

But because she loved them.

***

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction – a story in 200 words or less. Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting it and Jules Paige for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

Thanks for reading. Would love to know your thoughts.

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 128

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Story Club # 9: Flash Back

Hello friends! As you perhaps may be knowing I have taken it upon myself to host (preferably co-host) a Story Club each month where we can pick up a short story and discuss it or simply enjoy it. March just whooshed by just as spring did. The sun is out all guns blazing and to make matters worse – no Story Club 😉

But don’t worry here we are with this month’s offering – with a little twist. No advance notice (there didn’t seem to be any takers as it is) plus we have a couple of really short but fun stories. I say ‘we’ because this time I managed to rope in a partner – Rekha. Multi-talented, she is a writer, artist, paints shoots and can leave you in splits. 😀 She suggested the idea of Akbar-Birbal stories and I for one, can’t get enough of their (or at least Birbal’s) antics.

Akbar, as you may know, was the Mughal ruler of India between 1560 -1605 AD. Akbar was illiterate – unhampered and unencumbered by education he was a visionary and tried to integrate and unite with the Hindu community. He patronized and promoted artists and men of exceptional talent in his court regardless of their religious affiliations – they are popularly known as the nine gems of Akbar’s court.

One of these nine gems was Birbal, the son of a poor Brahman of Trivikrampur. Though Birbal was initially inducted for his administrative skill, his wit and wisdom won Akbar’s heart and he became a close confidante and advisor of Akbar. There are countless stories of Birbal’s wit and he didn’t even spare the Emperor.

I have always found Akbar-Birbal stories entertaining and jumped at the idea of revisiting them and hopefully unearthing an unread story or two. And sure enough I found a couple which I hadn’t read before much to my delight (and secret chagrin – how could I have missed these stories!)

Anyhow before you vanish to Rekha’s blog here’s a couple of short stories.

Birbal’s Justice

Once a man sold his well to a farmer. But when the farmer went to draw the water from that well, the man blocked his path. He said, “As per the sale deed, the well is yours, not the water. So you have no right to draw water from the well.”

The farmer was naturally outraged and took the matter to Emperor Akbar.

Akbar promptly handed the case to Birbal.

Birbal called the man who sold the well to the farmer and asked him to justify his actions.

The man replied rather self-righteously, “But I sold the well to the farmer, not the water. He has no right on the water of the well.”

Birbal nodded and smiled. “I agree!” He turned to the farmer who was wringing his hands and asked, “By the way what is the rent of the well?”

“Rent?” they chorused.

“Yes. Rent for the well. Since the well is the farmer’s, you have to either pay rent to keep your water or take out your water from the well and keep it elsewhere.”

Outwitted, the man had no choice but to give in.

Didn’t this story have overtones of The Merchant of Venice? I wonder who inspired whom or perhaps they had their own ideas. Here’s another tiny one – this can be of help to us too 😉

Birbal escapes

One day a man accosted Birbal on the street and unburdened his myriad woes and ills.

“I’ve walked twenty miles to see you,” he ended his tragic story, “and everywhere people kept saying you were the most generous man in the country.”

It was not difficult for Birbal to guess that the man was going to ask him for money.

“Are you going back the same way?” Birbal asked.

“Yes,” said the man.

“Will you do me a favor?”

“Sure!” said the man. “What do you want me to do?”

“Please deny the rumor of my generosity.” Birbal walked away.
As I re-visited these stories, I couldn’t help but think these were probably the earliest version of flash fiction stories. I thought I had just chanced upon flash fiction when actually I have been reading them all my life! How interesting is that? A huge thank you to Rekha for being such a sport and coming through at such a short notice.

I hope you enjoyed these little stories. If you have any favorite Birbal story do share it! Let’s move to Rekha’s blog where she has created a lovely post complete with pictures – looks just like my comic book of yesteryears! And even better, she promises to post more such stories in the coming days.

But before you leave just a quick recap of the Story Club:

Rules are simple (and breakable) :

  1. Advance announcement of name of short story, one that is freely available on the net.
  1. Story maybe a folktale or in the local language. But an English translation should be freely available on the net. Or participant could post the translated version along with his or her review.
  1. Bloggers should post on their blog.
  1. The basic idea is to gain from each others rich heritage of literature and be able to understand a little bit more than before and of course have fun! 

    Anyone interested in hosting the next month’s Story Club? Please feel free to may email me at mysilverstreaks@gmail.com

    Look forward to reading from you – have a great day.

CB&W: G and H

Some photos for Cee’s weekly black and white photo challenge: G or H.

Gate

Won’t you step in through the gate? Come on in and take a stroll

Havelock

And take a stroll along the Radhanagar beach at Havelock Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

House arrestOr you could hop over to Ross Island to catch a glimpse of what it really means to be under House arrest 😉

Hippo

Let’s cut half way across the world to the Denmark zoo for some lessons on how to enjoy your meal. Can you see the sheer joy and bliss on his face? That’s the way to be – at one with the moment. Let the lookers look on!

Hide and seekBack home, I found a kitty playing hide and seek at a wedding venue. All those fishy smells…

GoodbyeTime to say goodbye 😉

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 127

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WPC: Green – The Color of Life

Green is such a wonderful color, so soothing and something I can never get enough of. At one point of time, all my dresses had something do with green. Now it’s all about blue and red 😉 This week, the Daily Post’s Weekly Challenge is about celebrating green – It IS easy being green!

Come join me on a green tour…

Woods
Somewhere in Denmark

“Do you have a personal mantra? Mine comes from a childhood song.
“Wherever I go the grass grows greener.” ― Richie Norton

Denmark
Again somewhere in Denmark

A green spire and a matching green dress 🙂

Park
Park in Delhi

Yellow, red and orange dot the greens

FortGreens own the ruins of the Golconda fort, Hyderabad.

DdnWhiled away many an idyllic childhood day traipsing up and down this stream near Dehradun.

PondiA final green feast – a boat ride through the picturesque Chunnambar backwaters, Puducherry, India.

Hope you liked – ciao until next time!

Do let me know you were here so that I may feast my eyes too 🙂

APWC: Spring

Spring came and went – pushed away by a relentless and impatient Sun. But it was a treat while it lasted. Have a look.

SpringQuite riot of colors isn’t it? This is one of my favorite pictures taken at a park in Delhi. What do you think?

In response to Nancy’s challenge: Spring

Just 4 Fun # 31

Hello everyone! Here we are at the beginning of another week which promises to be hot, hotter and hottest. The first bite of summer is the worst. And Delhi weather is possibly the worst. There’s hardly any space between winter and summer.

Enough of weather woes for today. Let’s look on the lighter side shall we?

Sometime ago I had shared a link of some priceless student bloopers. But perhaps you may have missed it. And it was pretty long. To give a brief update it is a collection of student answers to exam question and like someone said – the only time a student changes the course of history is during an exam 😀

So here I am with a chosen few 😉

Without the Greeks, we wouldn’t have history. Poor chap, I do feel for him

The Greeks invented three kinds of columns – Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. Excuse me, Doric is rather Greek to me.

They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. Hahaha, a likely story!

One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Intriguing…

Achilles appears in “The Illiad”, by Homer. Homer also wrote the “Oddity”, in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name. Distinctly odd

Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. He was probably hemmed in by his wife.

In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java.The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. He had me at biscuits 😀

The government of Athen was democratic because the people took the law into their own hands.Sounds pretty familiar

There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn’t climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. There you have the solution to wars – build higher mountains.

When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men. This guy is going to go places!

I think it’s time to switch topics before I forget whatever little history I know…

BindiThose who agree raise your hands! 😀

Cell

Well what about you? Are you a prisoner too?

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Here are some fun pics

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Isnt that cool? Hop over to Rekha’s blog for some more cool fun pics and you can browse her other blog for some fun posts too.

Okay, then see you soon. It’s time for my exercise

Treadmill

Hope you found something that you liked – none of which are mine by the way. I received all of them as forwards/shares and am just keeping the fun going.

Have a super week and don’t forget to have some fun as well 🙂

And do let me know your favorite – or better still post your own and leave me a link I will be along in just a bit.