Another Inspiring Article

The Two-Minute Solution to Coping With Disasters 


For someone who has spent most of his childhood in Uttarakhand and trekked through remote villages in the magnificent mountains of the Himalayas,I feel not just pain but also a sense of violation seeing the man-instigated natural disaster unfold in front of my eyes.

The region is on tethers,nature is wounded and thousands of army personnel are still battling the odds to ensure we dont lose innocent lives for decisions and actions on which we should have spent two minutes more.

Why is the question many are asking.Deforestation,human greed,exploitation of the poor,lack of education,mindless projects in the garb of development,lack of accountability for inaction any or all of these could be the reason(s) why we have lost so many lives.But whatever the alibi,it is sure to be forgotten soon.

Going by past trends,there will be pity,sympathy and blame-games followed by short-term memory loss,and soon,we will go ahead as if nothing had happened.

India is home to some of the oldest civilisations and we are proud of our heritage and history.But I wonder whether future generations will say this about us.Or will they see a generation utterly self-involved and selfish ?

Indians future will be secure only when Indians wake up to not just their rights but also their responsibilities.We need those extra two minutes more from each one of the billion Indians,every day,to think of Indians first.These two billion minutes we have each day could solve many problems and save many lives.These minutes hold the promise of changing mindsets where development will be viewed from the lens of inclusiveness and long-term sustainability.

When you throw plastic in the river,uproot a tree to plant it in your backyard,cut a tree to build a dream home in the hills,build roads from nowhere to nowhere,build dams to feed the unending hunger for urbanisation in the hills,do take those extra two minutes and think Indians first.When you travel and enjoy the beauty of Himalayas and stop to distribute toffees and not books to children,think those extra two minutes.When you see shops that sell tobacco and gutka coming up in every remote village but no medicine shop for miles,take those extra two minutes to think of our future.When you see empty school buildings with no teachers and children doing manual labour,remember,they are screaming for your two minutes.When you vote the next time,think hard for those extra two minutes.When you see deforestation and exploitation during your travels,ask for the road to the district officials and raise your voice in those two minutes.

I m not anti-development;the key is to ensure sustainable and environmentally sensitive development like the Amazon Region Protected Areas (Arpa) programme in Brazil and other state-led initiatives that have slowed down the Amazon deforestation and biodiversity hazards considerably with the involvement of local communities.As I write this piece,millions of Brazilians are on the street because they care.The Jasmine Revolution was caused because the common man cared.Indians are fighting against corruption as never before because we care.Now we need to care about the fine ecological balance given in trust to us by the previous generations.

As a young kid,these mountains and rivers were my family members,and the flora and fauna were part of my community.As the images of the vast devastation started flashing on TV screens,I thought of how we have let down these mountains,how we have abandoned the community and turned our backs to the responsibility.Now we will spend billions in rebuilding homes and in trying to reinstate the faith of people in our country,but what about nature,who will earn her respect and who will say we understand and care

I am a relentless optimist and believe that when we Indians decide to turn a corner,we are unstoppable.Thus,there is always hope if we look at this disaster as a reminder of the two minute responsibility we owe to our nature and biodiversity,cities and villages,humans and hills.Just two minutes every day in our own way.Think about it.My two minutes start now,and yours 

The writer is vice-chairman,HCL Technologies

Advertisements

A Newspaper Article

Pc0120500

Something which i felt like sharing in the blog

Dhruv Lakras courier firm delivers 25,000 packages every month by a deaf-only staff

You dont except pin drop silence at a courier office during peak business hours.But at Mirakle Couriers Churchgate headquarters,the only dominating sound is that of a whirring air-conditioner.Without exchanging a single word,its 49 staffers,all deaf,successfully deliver 25,000 packages a month within the city.Dhruv Lakra,its 32-year-old founder,who holds a degree in social entrepreneurship from SAID Business School,University of Oxford,stresses the difference between the deaf community and the hearing impaired.While the latter carry a hope of medical correction,the deaf have no choice but to resign to a life of silence.And yet,he doesnt approve of the term disabled for his colleagues.They are just differently abled, he says.They are great with operational work,good with directions and incredibly honest apt for the work they currently do.
After a job with financial management and advisory firm Merrill Lynch and a volunteering stint with Mumbai-based NGO DASRA,Lakra decided hed use the best lessons from both experiences to launch a socially-conscious business idea.Mirakle Couriers was born in 2009 with just two delivery boys.It now operates out of two branches (the other is at Bandra).
Remembering the incident that spun his life around,Lakra says,I was sitting in a BEST bus beside a boy who was looking restlessly out of the window.He was lost although the conductor was regularly announcing the next stop.I tried asking him what was wrong,but he didnt respond.Thats when it struck me that he was deaf.I helped him through handwritten notes,but I had come face-to-face with their everyday struggle.
Lakra decided hed come up with an entrepreneurship plan that would empower others like the boy.
And he sure has.Amarjeet Mistry,a confident middle-aged staffer communicates animatedly through sign language while Lakra interprets what he is saying: I was a carpenter and it was tough to make ends meet.How was I to fend for my family Things changed after landing this job.My daughter can speak English,you know!
While Mistry and his male colleagues manage delivery,the women,including Lata Upadhyay (name changed),operate the back office.Upadhyays parents were unwilling to let her work late hours.When Lakra learnt of this,he changed their schedule.We come in early and are back home before sunset, she says.I didnt want mere labourers.The idea is to get women with a difficult past to enjoy their work.They are my responsibility,so assigning them comfortable working hours keeps me at peace too, says Lakra,who learnt sign language as part of his field research.
In the absence of the spoken word,text messages have proved to be Mirakles lifeline.Its through SMSes that the staff effectively communicates and tracks deliveries.Their professional track record has helped bring in prestigious clients like Mahindra & Mahindra,Godrej & Boyce,the Aditya Birla Group and Under The Mango Tree.One staffer opens his eyes wide,and flays his arms to symbolise the fancy tall buildings they deliver packages to.
Its evident that Lakras idea is a hope for the community when he tells you he receives calls from eager parents looking for a suitable boy for their deaf daughters.It takes a while for me to explain that we are only Mirakle Couriers,not Mirakle matchmakers, Lakra smiles.