The adventurous descent

via Daily Prompt: Descend

      The word descend conjures up a mixed feeling of exhilaration and excitement.I vividly recall my trip to Gangtok in the state of Sikkim in India.Sikkim is one of the states of India,known for its natural scenic beauty and picturesque glaciers.We had planned a trip to the Nathu La pass  on the Indo-China border.After obtaining  security clearances we headed for the pass  in a jeep driven by a local experienced driver .The trip was indeed adventurous as we ascended to the pass surrounded by snow and glaciers and frozen lakes.We passed through a very undulating terrain and hair pin bends.

        After an enjoyable trip up the mountains,we started our descent towards late afternoon.While on our way back we got caught in a blizzard and the visibility became very poor.All of our team were indeed nervous and anxious as to whether we will be able to reach the base safe and sound.It was adventurous since our driver was the coolest person who kept assuring us that there was nothing to worry and that we were in safe hands.The innumerable hair-pin bends .at times blind ends and the thick blanket of snow would have deterred anyone.We all prayed for our safe descent.However despite all the gloominess our driver who was a Gorkha proved his mettle as a expert driver who could almost drive blinfolded in that route.It was as if he knew those trecherous routes like the back of his palm.It was a big relief for all of us when he brought us back safe and sound to Gangtok.We heaved a sigh of relief as we entered the town.We immensely thanked our driver friend and were full of praise for his driving skill and prowess and expressed our deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude for having made our trip memorable and adventurous.

Some pictures taken by the author at Gangtok and Nathu La Pass



Conserving water-a precious resource

              The life sustaining fluid – water-has come to occupy centrestage in the present times.Conserving water should receive the highest priority by individuals,governments and the society at large.Increased deforestation and urbanisation have taken a heavy toll on our water resources.The rapid depletion of water table has meant an increased focus on adopting ways and means of preventing loss of water.Some of the small but important steps that we can take are detailed below:

  1. A lot of water gets wasted during brushing and shaving.Turn off tap when not actually required.
  2. Do not use dishwasher unless very much required.
  3. Practice  conserving the use of water while washing vessels as also while swapping floors.Instruct, teach and supervise  domestic helps to do the same.Turn off taps when not in active use.
  4. Teach children the importance of conserving water in day to day activities.
  5. Change the bathroom fittings such as shower heads,faucets and taps which are not water efficient.Fix leaks.
  6. Practice rain water harvesting wherever possible.
  7. Ensure that overhead tanks and sumps do not overflow .Install water level controllers to automatically stop at the desired level.
  8. Avoid  washing cars at home with hose.Use recycled water if possible.better still go to a car wash.
  9. While serving water in glasses for drinking do not pour full .Use only as much as required.
  10. In washrooms flush with less,wherever possible.
  11. If using half load of clothes in washing machine,do not use the full load option.

At a macro level ,there is a paramount need to revive the dying lakes and rejuvenate the acquifers.We also need to urgently undertake efficient rain water harvesting and conservation methods.It would not be improper to state that water conservation should become an integral part of our lifestyle.

Water and sanitation have been declared as a fundamental right according to a UN General Assembly declaration of 2010,It has acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of human rights.In the Indian Constitution the right to water is not declared as a fundamental right.The right to life as per Article 21 however, is interpreted by the courts in several cases as encompassing the right to safe and potable drinking water and sanitation.

    It would be pertinent to recall the words of Mr Kofi Annan the ex- UN Secretary general that  “Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and therefore a basic human right.”It is to be hoped that all countries would take appropriate steps to make this dream a possibility.



Judicial overreach vs activism

     The judiciary constitutes  an important pillar of democracy apart from the legislature and the executive.In the Indian context,we have been witness to several interventions of the judiciary in matters pertaining to governance,  the rule of law as also environmental issues.Some of these interventions have nudged the executive into action.While it can be argued that judicial intervention is not necessary in a democratic set up,it has been seen that there has been  inaction and apathy in implementing executive action on the ground even on issues where the legislature has debated,discussed and passed the necessary legislation approving governmental action on these issues.It appears that without judicial interventions there would have been no action on the ground whatsoever.Under these circumstances the judiciary appears to be the only hope for the common man.

      Many bills have already received legislative approval by the parliament of the country.However the necessary executive action has been tardy and indifferent.The executive cannot be seen to trivialise important legislation by delaying tactics often on the most flimsy pretexts.

  In some cases there has been an overreach of the judiciary into what truly constitutes the domain of the executive.An alert and and agile executive sensitive to public sentiments must ensure that important pieces of legislative decision are quickly translated into executive action.There is an urgent need for judicial reforms.Some of the archaic laws need to be revisited and removed or modified in light of the contemporary realities brought about by societal transformation as also technological advances.As part of a global family our laws must keep pace with other countries of the world.While legislative and executive action are needed the real test would be to ensure effective implementation on the ground.Ultimately the law of the land should be supreme and must prevail.The debate over activism and overreach would cease to matter in an ideal scenario wherein the executive is sensitive and proactive, and good and effective governance is paramount.

                                                                                            Image courtesy