Saturday, February 27, 2016

Love cosӨ

There is much to be learned in love and the art of loving. Always so much. 

The study and understanding of love is perhaps an unending process. The possibilities of loving in spite of and because of all that we endure in love astound me. Here are some things that in my experience stand out. Yes, I like physics.
Love is a living thing
Love is a living throbbing thing. A thunderstorm that rips lives in a second is alive and so are the bacteria in the soil that give the monsoon its mesmerizing scent. Love is alive inasmuch as we are alive in it and through it. It is in flux just like life. Wherever it stagnates, things start to ‘go bad’. Like a river its sacred duty is to rush along, sometimes slow sometimes fast – but move it must. Damming rivers is costing the Earth its lifeblood; damming hearts is costing us ours. 

Putting a dam on a river to get material gain be it energy or water – is a disaster to all things around. The upstream land is flooded, causing hundreds of hectares of land, trees, forests and communities to be submerged. Thousands of plants rot and decay to give off greenhouse gases. Silt that could have been fertile builds up swiftly from places far away and the dam becomes shallower and shallower till it loses its purpose. 

Downstream all things are parched. Fish die and the people face drought. Those most in need of life giving water die of thirst only because we want to divert that water to one specific place. So also love that is locked away to be extracted for a specific goal, destroys. The lover’s heart is an upstream deathbed of choking life and stifled emotions. The silt of past mistakes – an otherwise fertile source of experience – builds up serving no purpose until it fills up the dam. The whole of the parched love-starved world lies downstream.

Love is light
Love is universal and fundamentally inclusive – it is the very embodiment of inclusiveness.
There are certain basic physical quantities in Nature that have a peculiar characteristic of spreading out. These things like pressure and heat and radiation have a tendency to travel until they reach equilibrium. Light from the sun for example spreads out in all directions for ever until it reaches almost the same temperature as the universe – almost

Two things can be said of this – 1 The Earth thrives with a fraction of this light and yet it is not jealous that more than 99% of the sun’s love just goes away into the cold dark universe. Nor does the sun expect anything back from the Earth. He not only loves her unconditionally but also loves the whole of existence unconditionally. One of these cannot be separated from the other. The pop culture myth of romantic love being the greatest kind of love and our obsession with it is doomed to fail in misery because we try to separate these two things. In true love there is no I love “You”. There is no You

One either loves or one doesn’t. The object doesn’t matter; the object isn’t there (pun intended). The nature of relationships may be different for each receiver. There is life only on one planet even if the light reaches all planets. Yes that relationship is precious, wonderful, unique and special. Yes it doesn’t work to force the same kind of relationship with other planets. But to try and give all our love in to one relationship is a blunder. It is physically impossible to have the whole of the sun’s energy concentrated on to one Earth. Even if we could do that without burning the Earth, the Second Law tells us that the fallout impacts of making such a machine and keeping it running will cost a lot more than it gives. Trying to vie for ALL of the love and attention of one person will inevitably have a similar fallout and end in tremendous misery.

The 2nd thing is in that word, almost. When two bodies at different temperatures exchange heat, the cold body gets a little warmer and the hot one a little cooler. In case of a teeny tiny extremely hot body like the Sun at 5600K giving away heat to an immeasurably vast cold universe at 3K, the final temperature will not be the average of 5600 and 3, but will actually be unnoticeably greater than 3K. The Sun will be utterly spent in its light as it sets itself ablaze gloriously giving every last bit to everything without condition. The universe won’t get warmer by any appreciable amount, but the Sun doesn’t care. It doesn't even care if the universe cares. It is a true lover. 

Another peculiarity of these physical quantities is the lack of a negative side. Cold is only relatively less warm than warm. Temperature may be reduced right down to near absolute zero. Theoretically we may ascertain what that absolute zero is, as a number. But one thing that is impossible is to go below absolute zero. The same goes for pressure. A theoretical vacuum may be ascertained and reached, but no further. 

Taking from Prevost’s theory of heat exchange, Darkness also is a virtual concept – there is no such thing. Every object at all times gives out light – very little of which is visible to our eyes or our instruments. But it is there nonetheless. Darkness is the relative absence of visible light. In this sense darkness is in the eye of the beholder. The world is teeming with love unrecognized and unseen. It emanates out our every creature and fills the entire universe. But those not en-tuned will not see. Just like a bad or faulty instrument will not pick up a signal.

The sensitivity of any instrument is inversely related to its inertia. The easier it is to move, the more it will pick up. An accurate compass needle is light in weight – it moves swiftly to align with the magnetic field which then flows through it. A thermometer is filled with mercury, a substance that needs very little heat to raise its temperature – it doesn’t ask for too much heat to fill itself with before it starts conducting it onwards – in all directions. A sensitive person is likewise an excellent receptor and conductor of love. This can also be said of the ego, in case of meditation and conscious living. The smaller the ego, the more easily one’s will aligns with the will of the universe. And then magic happens.

The opposite of love
Consider love as a force. Perhaps like the one between two magnets. If one tries to pull two magnets apart, they resist quite strongly. So also they repel when one of them is flipped. Is this repulsion then the opposite of the former attraction? I think not. Repulsion - like attraction – is an interaction. It is an acknowledgement of the force or a communication coming from another entity. It is an induction of magnetic potential within one body in response to the magnetic field created by another.

Nickel alloy magnets can be extremely difficult and dangerous to take apart by hand. But there is a trick – to slide them apart rather than pulling them. Here we apply force in a direction perpendicular to that holding the magnets together.

The magnetic force will very strongly attract or repel in its direction. But in the perpendicular direction, it has no component. Thus love and hate go hand in hand as interactions along the same direction. Once we move away into the lifeless perpendicular of indifference however, this happens: 
LovecosӨ = 0

Love is like Gravity. Among the four(three) fundamental forces of Nature, gravity stands out in many respects. Three things especially. One – Gravity is the only force without a known negative side. Gravity does not repel. It only and only brings things together. Two – it is the only true long range force. That’s why gravity governs all motion at the scale of planets and stars and galaxies and galaxy clusters. 

The other forces like magnetic and nuclear forces, operate very strongly at smaller scales. At that scale they block out gravity and give us the false impression of being stronger than it. Yet this misconception is based on a false sense of the domain of these forces – not in space but in time.

When all is said and done, when all the lower levels of existence have sorted out their little attractions and repulsions that arise out of a temporary polarization of their orientations, gravity prevails. Likewise when we are done with our little separation of ideas and gender and relations and borders, love prevails – always bringing things together in the end (of a certain amount of space and time).

The wider our perspective in time and scale – the easier it is to live in love (not to mention in awe) and to avoid violence in thought and deed. Take our unsustainable practices for example. Once we think of the ambit of our short sighted actions both spatially as well as in time, choices become clear. Structural violence becomes suddenly as visible as torture in broad daylight. And we are filled compassion. It is only on the much smaller scale of thoughtless everyday living that we see differences.

Thirdly, Gravity is often considered not a separate force but a manifestation of the arrangement of mass in the universe. It underlines everything. A force most subtle and yet most powerful.  

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Entrepreneurship, business and other crap

This article is about Entrepreneurship in its contemporary form. It is NOT about the shamefully few examples of ecologically beneficial and socially equitable, effective problem solving or about the positive act of initiating change.

I read this on a website today, “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t. ”
Entrepreneurship is supposed to save us. Social entrepreneurship is supposed to save the planet. Taking initiative and starting your own business is supposed to make you stand out, prove that you’re better than all the other lazy people out there who just follow orders. This is the culture surrounding us these days. And it’s pathetic.

Until a few years ago (and even now in many places), technology was hailed as the great saviour. Give poor people a computer and they’ll be happy, developed and satisfied. Nuclear power will give us all the energy we could ever need. Cancer cures and the hydrogen car are just around the corner… they’ll make all our troubles go away.
Now people have realized the problem is deeper. So if machines can’t do it, maybe people can. How? Give them a small loan so they can prototype that little invention they always wanted to. Get the seed capital, iterate the design, and release the product to the market. Keep growing till you’re successful, whatever that means. There, life set. Money, respect, fame and material wealth – all yours if you have the determination to follow your gut and don’t give up.

Every age has men engaged in one or the other quest in order to prove their worth and gain respect in the society – the approval of other men. The concept of honour in this case, is a closed loop of bestowing appreciation between the individual and the collective, with no concern for anything beyond(either smaller or larger than) this two part system. Once there were warriors, priests and kings. Then scientists and finally the lamest most superficial of the lot – businessmen. 

The respect that we subconsciously associate with certain images is a tremendously powerful force. It’s a kind of heavy undercurrent to all our thought processes and social interaction. There was this simple experiment on a TV show recently, where a man goes around giving fake news to people in a mall. The first time, he dresses up in a suit and tie, plus a fake cameraman beside him. The next time he has a t shirt and jeans on, no camera. The difference in the people’s responses was so huge. Each and every person stopped, listened, thought and shared a carefully worded opinion on the crazy news story (Texas is becoming a new country), in the first instance. The second time, people didn’t come closer than 5ft, made faces and ridiculed our guy. 

This was maybe a funny example. But the effect is stark. Our mind automatically attributes a whole lot of respect to anyone wearing so called formal attire. Everyday we see people drastically change their behaviour in the company of strangers in business wear. The assumption here – that a person wearing shoes, a suit and tie is to be taken seriously, his/her words are to be believed, and (most importantly) going against anything he/she says must be seriously wrong - is rarely acknowledged, let alone spoken out.
Misplaced respect is a sickness of the world. The notion that businesses must be allowed to flourish and anyone who says otherwise is an ‘obstacle’ to the ‘smooth’ working of the economy, is a toxic thought processes. It disgusts me to no end. We run the whole world based on it. It is the reason we are force fed GM food, forced to breathe toxic air and drink water with heavy metals in it. The all encompassing, loving and nourishing Mother Nature is an obstacle in their smooth workings, apparently. Sick.

One of the fundamental differences in material flows in nature and in man made industry is that one is cyclical and the latter is linear. So in Nature, there are no raw materials and wastes. Everything is flowing and so everything is ONE in space as well as in time. There are no starting points until we label them as such, and no ends. In the linear business model however, there is a staring point; and since the economy is based on continuous growth there is no fixed end point assumed. It is a classic case of the fear of death, manifesting as a refusal to accept any scale that measures happiness from zero to ten(finite, contentment); and instead always going for zero to infinity. If one’s goal is defined as growth itself, there is no mathematical end point, but several ecological, social and physical ones. So the end is inevitable as always. But since we are uncomfortable with it, we invented a deathless entity called the corporation, the firm, the business. Mathematically and legally, it doesn’t die.

We are a global people obsessed with extremes. That godforsaken maggi HAD to come back. Our taste buds and far too numb for normal food. Anything in moderation isn’t good enough. Extremes are the only tangible options to us. So if one extreme is abhorred, feared and detested, the other must be loved, talked about, and glorified. Enter Entrepreneurship. As long as there are enough people starting businesses, there will be success and prosperity and those other few words that no one understands. YAWN. I don’t know if our civilization even deserves to be called adolescent. I mean children have more sense than this. Anyway, we are obsessed with starting businesses, just as we are obsessed with starting relationships. No one knows or wants to know how to maintain anything or, horror of horrors- gracefully end anything. 

I would love to see people actually come forward to say “I want to end a business!”. As Bertrand Russel says, far too much damage is done in the world by saying that work is virtuous. Business is not virtuous; indeed most businesses on Earth right now are the complete opposite. And no, this does not mean we can’t earn money or solve problems. A functional world existed before the concept of a deathless corporation, and shall exist once again, although differently. 

Entrepreneurship is not a new idea. It’s the shit of the last century packed in a new word. Don’t fall for it. Inventions are not needed to make the world better, nor is money or technology. You don’t need a lot of intelligence, any talent or gift or ability. A willingness to get your hands dirty is all there is. Or feet if you don’t have hands. Or if you don't have those also then just a mind that can communicate; or even one that wants to but can’t. Where there’s a will, things will happen. 

So the next time someone is introduced as a businessperson or entrepreneur, hold off the urge to give a damn. Pause your thoughts. Ask them what they do, get to know their story. Ask them the uncomfortable questions about how many people choke in Delhi or how many children work in sweatshops in order for them to be successful. Ask them what’s the point of wearing a suffocating suit, shoes and tie in a hot tropical country like India and then switching ON the AC because they feel extra hot. Slap them. Ok maybe not that. But you get the point.
Look for the ones with grace in their answers, compassion in their gaze, and patience in their voice. Look for God in the details.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

About me part 3

Somewhere between the pursuit of happiness and the evasion of suffering dawns a need for meaning and the realization of its non existence. An existential vacuum, the futility of oscillating between two extremes, a horrible claustrophobia that follows and is followed by the soul sucking death of curiosity.

But wait. There is still choice. When everything else is lost and nothing exists except utter ignorant darkness; there is choice. The perceptive cannot afford cowardice in thought. You may be misinterpreted for it, misunderstood. You may be hated for it, judged for it. Left for it. And you may suffer more than you ever thought you were capable of suffering, because of it.
But that's no reason not to tempt fate. Tempt it to screw your case completely. So you can watch it happen. Watch life happen. Watch your own will intermingle with the will of the universe to create the beautiful symphony, the instantaneous yet eternal experience called life. For isn't the reciprocal of infinity just an infinity of a different kind? Like Dirac's Delta. Or like a wave of light - Existing forever yet felt for a moment. In a moment. In the moment.

Polarize. Into the highest joy and the deepest suffering. At the same time. So you get to the kernel, to peace, to love - a love long thought mortally impossible, found only in the stories of enlightened souls, at the place where the boundary between the self and the non self fades away. Feel the world as an extension of yourself. As your own self. Like a first person and third person  view combined. See yourself, and see the world around. And when you see both, you see everything. You feel everything.

It is then that you touch the core of the universe - from its analog infinities to its binary deterministic certainties, to the quantum uncertainties that underline and connect the two. Touch it, feel it, tweak it, or merely take cognizance of its existence (all of which is the same).
See it, perceive it. Spend a moment and experience it. Predict it, get better at it. And when you're done predicting, change it. Make it better, make it worse. Make your own obstacles, watch yourself overcome them. Or fall. Be broken, pick up the pieces, and see yourself exist in spite of them. We are all humpty dumpties anyway. Make your own dementors. Nudge the snowball over the edge and watch it cascade down to destroy your world. That's all it takes, gravity - a little push. A little activation energy, to start an exponential chain reaction. Break your bones, break your head, break your heart - do it on your own terms. Feel the high that it gives. Watch yourself defeat fate, and get utterly defeated by it. Simultaneously.

So go ahead, avail of "the last of human freedoms", as Dr. Frankl puts it, and make a choice. In every breath, every moment. Because the perceptive cannot afford cowardice. And besides, it's no fun otherwise ;-)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lone trek to the hill-mountain

This little mountain-or large hill- is visible from my place in talegaon. An odd shape sticking out abruptly from the surrounding land. Unlike the other hills, this one doesn’t form the continuation of a range; it stands there all by itself, its contours smoothing out gradually without spreading to the nearby hills. I always thought fold mountains were formed in linear ranges, with the exception of a few individual blunt hills. But this one is sharp with a clear peak. Peculiar forces indeed that formed this little aberration of the earth. Enough geology though. The point is, this strange mountain always made me want to give it a visit.

So one day after lunch, I decided to head out and see how far it was. Since I had not really prepared for a trek, I packed a few things I thought could help- large knife, wooden stick, matchbox and some paper, plastic bags to keep stuff dry, extra pair of glasses and 2 phones; apart from the obvious food and a 1 litre water bottle. I couldn’t find my long rope so I hurried off with what I got my hands on- skipping rope and elastic clothesline. Big mistake.

Off I went, starting out at 13:30 down Ambi road which connects the old highway to Ambi village and all the new factories that have opened up there. It goes over a railway track and the river Indrayani- both of which run roughly WNW to east. The mountain is NE of my place, so once on the road I saw it a bit to my left, long way away. Standing over the railroad, I totally forgot about the river and decided to head straight toward the mountain. I crossed the open fields, coming upon goat jaws and buffalo skulls, 2 types of mushrooms, mostly thorny shrubs and loads of grass spread all over in tiny patches which made it appear dense and continuous from far away. The wind was strong as always, carrying with it sparse little drops of rain from the North West. I picked a power tower and a far away tree to form a straight line to the mountain, as a guide. As I went on following this line I came across some farms at the base of the tower. There I saw the river some way further and clapped a hand to my forehead. The return to the main road cost me some time and yet this wasn’t my last detour.

After crossing the river I was again tempted to go off road, straight to the mountain. The landscape on this side was awesome. Smooth dunes rising up and sloping down in the distance, into the remnants of a stream, only to rise again on the other side. The cloud shadow meant that that side had a misty blue shade to it, while the grass on my side glowed gold and green. Soon it was the opposite; and because the wind was so strong it meant these colours kept changing all the time. I thought this only happened on the ‘fields of pelennor’1, with Oscar winning visual effects. I went ahead to find a great depression in the ground which rose steadily into a dense forest which I had no intention of crossing. So I went back to the road that-to my dismay- continued way toward the east to be going anywhere near the mountain. I went off road again at the first chance and continued till I reached a fence and a mango plantation. The farmer told me there was a small off shoot from the main road that went north, straight past the mountain. I cut across to this road from the nearby green houses and was finally on my way, with about 1km left to go.

The detours had meant I had walked a total of 8kms instead of the otherwise 6.5km long path. Still I didn’t stop until I climbed up the gentler slope and rested on a rock I had seen from below. Walking straight for 2 hours, I had not eaten or sipped water since I had left home and so I took a 10min break here.

Point 2
Then I picked my things and looked up to plan a route. I was still considering going all the way up, but by the time I got to point 2, it was obvious that the way ahead was too difficult and time consuming. It was 16:00 and I wanted to get home before sun-down. By the time I went a bit further toward the right, something felt wrong. The terrain looked and felt very different the moment I started the descent. There was grass everywhere and only a few precious little rocks and even fewer reliable foot-holds. The gradient suddenly looked steep. I couldn’t go back the way I came, it looked too treacherous. Two fathoms below there was an overhang preceding a straight fall of I don’t know how many feet (around 20-25 from the figure it seems). So the only option was going sideways. Progress was very slow and each move was risky. Firm looking outcrops just gave way when I tried to grab them for support. A base rule for climbing is to have at least 3 points of support at all times and this was becoming increasingly scarce. Finally I reached point #3. Here I thought I was trapped. There were no foot holds, no rocks jutting out, and everything I stepped on was slippery. The only hold I had was where my feet were. With no hand supports, I could only stay there leaning back against the slope. This was impossible with my backpack on, so I removed it slowly and carried it in my left hand.

I moved a foot to the right somehow. My feet were firmly supported so I chanced leaving the slope to stand straighter. Just as I peeped down, a great gust of wind came from my right(left hand side in the photo). At once I leaned back again, my heart pounding. I looked up at the sinister peak and for the first time on a trek, I felt fear. There was nowhere to go and even the soil under my feet seemed unreliable now. . I stopped to think. To my left was the edge of a dry stream. I toyed with the idea of jumping across; the land on that side looked negotiable. But looks could be deceiving, and even a precisely executed jump would not come with the guarantee that I would land on something firm. The risk was to roll out of control for 10 feet and off the overhang, crash down and roll again, breaking god knows how many bones before I would come to a stop somewhere on the gentle slopes..’eventually’. And this was only the optimistic outcome of course. About 7 ft above me was a great rock the size of a small square room, with one corner sticking out, precariously supported on several small broken rocks. It just hung over there, spoiling any back up plan of mine to stay there until someone rescued me or something. I mean, what if it came lose at night, and crushed me in my dreams? I know, sounds ridiculous; but when you’re trapped alone on a place like that-literally ‘between a rock and a hard place’- then anything seems possible. The daredevil and the coward are both in your head, and there’s no telling which one’s right! Where do you go and what do you do? Do you move at all?

I started talking to myself to calm down. Then I started praying slowly. Rationality returned; I must make a plan; plan a route; route to go down. But there were no foot holds for 5 ft below my feet. “So hang somewhere! You’ve got rope!” “What? Skipping rope?! And hang it where?” Just then I saw a shrub sticking out beside me. I pulled on it to test it, and it felt just well rooted enough. Cursing myself for not searching for the long rope back home and feeling stupid, I pulled out the skipping rope. Looped it around the stem and chanced a pull. I pounded my heel into the damp soil a few inches below to make a foothold. I continued this way for a few feet. When the rope felt short, I tied a knot and slid it up to the root with the wooden stick, so the double rope now became single. How easy would it be if I was free of my bag, I thought! What if I flung it off the mountain and collected it later? Nah, the bag had my precious water and food, apart from other survival goodies. It would be fatal to let it go!

Wishes come true even in bad times though, especially in bad times I would say; so be careful what you wish for. I descended in that manner till I ran out of rope. The difficult part was far from over. In fact it would now be even harder as I didn’t have my rope to hang on any longer. Resentfully I let it go to help some other fool in need. The same problem resurfaced again though, and this time there wasn’t even a bush beside to rope up. So I pulled out my wooden stick. Without hoping for much, I dug the stick into the soil as vertically as possible. This would give the optimal resisting torque without the chance of the rope slipping over it(sorry for the geeky input but you see how vital it can be sometimes! :P). I pushed it as far as it went and looped the elastic clothesline over it, with the 2 hooks in my hand. Surprisingly, the stick supported the load. Grabbing the line firmly with one hand, I carried my bag in the other and continued my slow painful heel-digging descent. The elasticity of the rope made this very discomforting. I reached another thorny plant and rested my feet on it firmly. I recovered my line and stopped to think. The bag was making me unstable so I decided to hook it and carry it a few feet below me, using the elastic line.
Point 4
I hooked it and let it slide down slowly. Son of a gun stopped abruptly and made my line go slack. So I jerked the line and slip! The bag came free! I watched helplessly in slow motion as it tumbled crazily down and out of my sight off the overhang. I stood to peep but didn’t see it far below anywhere.

Now things were suddenly serious- too serious to come down one heel at a time like a scared sissy. I stuffed the line in my pocket and went to good old unsupported hand-and-foot climbing; I didn’t need the damn rope. This mountain was not above my skill! :P Quickly I stepped, taking each hold and niche with the confidence of master crane2 of kung fu panda fame. I came to better ground in no time and the red line became orange again. As you can see, I had come to the side, in the direction of point 2, so I could now see the path I thought my bag had tumbled down. I strained to see the slopes and plains below but there was no blue dot. I looked up and there it was! Stuck in a shrub some way to the left(below #4). I went there as fast as I could (horizontal orange line), picked up the bag, eager to have a sip of water for my now dry throat. But hell! The bottle wasn’t there. It must have tumbled out due to its weight and gone on. There was no point searching for it. And then again, less weight in the bag was precisely the reason it had got stuck and stopped! So I took it and continued along the now childishly easy terrain, winding my way back down and off the mountain.


Parched and tired, I hopelessly tried for a lift until one fellow with a Gandhi topi let me hop on to his bike and took me all the way to talegaon rly stn. Turns out he’s the ‘adhyaksha’ of the warkari group of Maval taluka. Told me he lives in the village on the other side on the mountain and asked me over for lunch the next time I came. I thanked him, took his card and left. Overall, it was quite the adventure I had in mind, and a lot that I didn’t!

1 Pelennor fields are where the battle of minas tirith takes place in the 3rd LOTR movie.

2 Kung Fu Panda has a short prequel “Secrets of the furious five”. Master Crane’s secret is Confidence.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Return of the Sparrow

I first thought of writing on this subject last year after reading an article in TOI about the disappearance of sparrows from the city. I kept an eye out for the little birds for a few days after that, and it looked like they had indeed gone away. That was till two months later. My exams were on and I had taken a break from studies to take a look around when I noticed a sparrow on the parapet. The tiny creature was soon joined by her mate and then they both flew away. I have hardly ever seen a sparrow in Thane since then.

I have been living in Talegaon for the past few days, enjoying my vacations in the midst of the scenic beauty and the cool weather. What is interesting is the abundance of sparrows here, along with healthy populations of at least five other kinds of bird(Don't ask me what they’re called, I don't know!). What's more, the birds look chubby and happy, chirping away all the time. So why is there a difference? Why are the birds leaving the city?

Now it is well known that amphibians are the most sensitive to environmental changes, as they depend on both the land and water to survive. Any change, like the salt concentration of the water or fluctuating temperatures, shows up directly in the change in the amphibian population of a particular region. Judging by the disappearance of the sparrows, small birds also seem to be strongly influenced by changes in their habitat. Environmentalists have already pointed out to us several of the factors responsible for this habitat change. They are, pollution of air and water, noise, temperature rise, telecomm tower radiation, and the sheer lack of space and food. Let's see how these correlate with the given scenario.

Thane is a crowded city, densely populated and highly polluted, just like every other place in and around Mumbai. Plus there’s the rising heat. The increase in the number of vehicles is primarily responsible for this, which in turn is due to the large human population. Talegaon is a village about 120 kms away from Mumbai. It is a clean, cool, and silent place. In terms of human habitation, it is still very young. There is a lot of greenery everywhere and only a small number of vehicles and industries The buildings are located far from one another, unlike in the city. This allows for free flow of air and easy dispersal of smoke as well as heat. Because the roads are narrow and surrounded by trees, local ‘hot spots’ are almost non-existent Thus the air remains cool and free of pollution. The abundance of plants and trees absorbs excessive noise to a certain extent. The number of telecomm towers is much smaller.

I think it is obvious why the sparrows have chosen the villages over the city. But this post is about the return of the sparrow. So how do we make that happen? We can’t move the buildings apart and make the roads narrow. We cannot reduce the number of factories. Yet there are many things that we can do. We can eliminate hot spots by planting trees in a planned manner in carefully selected locations, along roads and at important junctions. We can reduce the number of vehicles on the roads, by carpooling and cycling. In India, many people consider cycling as old fashioned and cheap, saying that you only use a bicycle if you can’t afford a motorbike or car. This mentality has to change. An excellent example of the implementation of this idea can be seen in Montreal, Canada, where they have used high-end technology to put in place a community bicycle renting system. Now we can’t afford that kind of technology here in Mumbai, but the good thing is that we don’t need to. Investing in a simple bicycle is a win-win choice for all, considering the benefits in health, economy, and environment protection. A bicycle is thrice as efficient as a car, causes zero pollution, and keeps you fit without spending a penny. It will be socially beneficial as well, since people will interact more openly as opposed to sitting in air-conditioned cars without sparing as much as a glance at each other or the world around them. The government can arrange for special bicycle lanes along main roads and encourage people to ride bikes, as is being done in Pune, another city where pollution is a major problem. Maybe they can tie up with a bicycle manufacturer to provide bikes to school- and college students at subsidised rates.

As far as noise pollution is concerned, the government is already taking many measures, though the authorities still seem too cowardly to accost political parties that organise fancy programs that play on late into the night and block all the traffic.

The number of telecomm towers must be strictly regulated. With the kind of competition that exists today between service providers, this problem is seldom accepted, let alone addressed. The density of these towers in an area must be kept below a limit. This limit in turn should be based on careful studies, undertaken not in the city, but in the villages, where the demand for connectivity is not so high as to compromise on the environment and yet not so low that you’d need to walk a mile to get network coverage.
But we can’t depend on the government to make changes; we know how slow those people work. There are so many things we can do at the individual level. I think if we make the city clean and cool again, the sparrows will come back.