Saturday, November 11, 2017

Power of Few Good Words!

“Even in the best, the friendliest and simplest relations flattery or praise is necessary, just as grease is necessary to keep wheels turning”… Leo Tolstoy.

Do I need to introduce this name as his above quote is from his novel, War & Piece & I think some names got carved in not just English but world’s literature & Leo Tolstoy is one on the top of that list! Well why I recalled these words about praise because recently my college days room-mate Subodh celebrated his 50th birthday & though that was making me realize about my aging too, yet what was more exiting, he bought a Jaguar  on the occasion! Well, I have seen enough cars & even fleets of luxury cars yet when I remembered our college days together when budget was real tight & coming from a typical middle class family & reaching to this day does makes this Jaguar special & I wrote a letter to subodh about the same. His wife sheetal & subodh, both were too touched with my letter & both replied in wonderful words, especially shital, who said in today’s world where praise is not cheap, especially when no business is involved, your words made our day! It’s sheetal’s these words, which is main reason of my sharing; as really how often & how easily we criticize everything around. Take example of our day start, right from our new paper not coming on time to solar water is not hot enough to our driver coming late on duty to people not picking our calls to traffic delays to demonetization,  GST , our list of criticism is endless & it’s true with everyone. Tell me a person who doesn’t criticize anything or anybody in twenty four hours, even you can ask your own self how many times you kept name or criticize anything rather everything around in a day & then you will realize importance of praise or few good words!

The result is we have forgotten what magic our tongue or our fingers with pen (read key board) can do by using few good words, provided they have been shared from within & not just to gain something out of opposite person. And it’s not necessary that we should praise or say good things about some person only; on some morning stand in your balcony & look at the rising sun, we can admire the sun slowly brightening the horizon & can thank god for giving us such wonderful sight to start the day! Then we can smile at our family members & ask them to witness this beautiful sight & again thank god for making you able to share such small joys with your close ones; have you ever tried it? In our so called busy schedule what we have lost is being thankful or happy for so many good things happening around us because all we have been busy is in complaining or criticizing our own life. You want to take a trial, then ask any person around, how’s life? And see how many people answers back, “life is beautiful’!  Most people will list out numbers of problems they are facing & how their life is more stressful than others & how every other person around is troubling them with his or her incompetency or not being able to deliver what has been expected from him or her & so on! And this is applicable not only to our family or friends but at workplaces also, we have just forgotten the art of appreciating or praising because nobody does it with us & like a multiplying effect we give same criticism back to the world!

Here I will share a folk tale from Mahabharata; when education of Kauravas & Pandavas was complete their Guru Draunacharya gave a simple test to Yudhishthir, the eldest Pandav & Duryodhan, the eldest Kaurav. He gave both of them 100 coins & asked to give it to a person who is most good in nature & come back & tell him whom they have given the coins. At sun set time both Yudhisthir & Duryodhan came back with 100 coins intact, on this the Guru asked why they haven’t given the coins to any person? Duryodhan said, Guruji I met many people but didn’t found one single good person or were bad for some or other thing so I came back with coins as I found no one suitable to give him the coins. Then Guru looked at Yudhishthir (he was also known as Dharma), he sheepishly said Guruji, actually 100 coins were very less as I found every person better than the one I meet earlier so I couldn’t decide who was best & came back without giving coins to anybody, but tomorrow I will go with more coins I give to all as all were good persons!

I think this story says it all, it’s the way we look at the world, world appears to us. I don’t say there is nothing bad in the world but all I will say is if there is bad then there is good also & along with criticizing bad things we must learn to appreciate goodness around. To become like Yudhishthir is very unique & difficult but only way we can turn something bad in to good is by appreciating it, at the same time if we neglect or just keep naming then even the good will turn in badness! And when in our so called busy routine we don’t have time to utter few good words about some ones achievement then to find out time & write few words is out of imagination for many is a sad fact. In the era of FB & Whats-ap we share just forward & we are losing originality of our own good thoughts by not taking them to our lips or on paper, let’s try it & see how they can change the people! And problem is right from our childhood, from our parents to our teachers, all wants us to win the race of life by leaving others behind. But no one teaches us, race winning is important but how many hearts you win along is also equally important, because a true leader is not the one who goes ahead of all but a true leader is the one who takes all the team ahead along with himself. And this is possible only by acknowledging goodness around & in every individual! Below are the very words I wrote for my friends’ achievement, which is cause of my sharing & made my day in return!


10 11 17

Dear Subodh & Shital, your Jaguar!

"Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best"... Theodore Isaac Rubin.

Theodore Isaac Rubin is an American psychiatrist and author. Rubin is a past president of the American Institute for Psychoanalysis and the Karen Institute for Psychoanalysis. And in so wonderful words he has defined achievement relating it to happiness, no wonder he is not just a psychiatrist but a great human being too! Dear Subhya when I saw snap of yourself with Shital & your Jaguar on our college whats-ap group, these were the feelings which came to my mind as my mind zoomed past in our Wadnere hostel days & I remember YP Shinde has first got a TVS moped & entire hostel got down to have a look at it & everyone was asking him for one ride. And then another memory flash I saw, it’s our college's parking lot & we all used to come on our run down M-50 (not concrete but moped) or Lunas & boys like Kochar's & Behel’s used to zoom in with Nakhai Nedha on back seat with then latest Yamaha RX 100 or Suzukis & we just kept looking at them, though we were happy yet at that time secretly we all must have dreamed, some day we too will have such bike. At that time even our dreams were small like our world which was a 10' x 10' room sharing basis, our moped in which we could hardly fill one liter petrol at a time & we used to care about average of our moped & that's all, life was wonderful!

Time flew & we grow up by age, by work, by earnings also & now suddenly for many of us owning a car was no more a dream but a necessity & sure we all have at least one car with us; yet somewhere within, each of us was carrying that teen age college boy in dark blue trousers & sky blue shirt with tie around neck & dream of a bike, place of which now has been taken by a posh car, with passing years! Best part is not you bought Jaguar because you have that much money or earned that much money, best part is you kept that dream alive & achieved it & made it reality! Subhya we all have memories cherished of our first Luna or M 50's, sure you also  remember your KB 100 as well we all have pride in our first car, yet a boy coming from typical middle class, like most of us are & buying car like Jaguar which is status symbol for super riches of the society, man this is our reply to all those who looked down at us as gaothi town boys, yes we are not just at par with you but a step above & we have earned it not by inheritance from our parents but we earned it through our hard-work, knowledge, goodness & attitude; in a way we deserve this more than any of you guys! It’s said that some loans you carry for years & can repay however old you have grown & this feeling on me was like a debt & when I saw your snap on my cell, I felt today that debt has been re-payed & I am sure everyone on group must have felt so!

Best part is I am most happy for your parents as our kids may not feel the importance of this your achievement as they have been born or grown up seeing their parents well settled life style. But it’s our parents who understands how much our generation has been deprived from the luxuries of life, I repeat that doesn’t meant we were unhappy yet it’s our generation only which used to stand at JM road's shops windows & realizing the empty pockets never dared to went inside the shop & inquired the price of goods in the showcases, is equally true! So the pride in their eyes after looking for what you has achieved, I think must have been worth of your Jaguar. Here I share my personal memory, in entire engineering time my mother has kept her gold bangles in her school's co-operative bank to pay my hostel as well college fees as co lateral security for loan & during that all time in most of the functions she used to went without golden bangles. This I didn't even knew but few years back she told me casually this thing; so on her one birthday I took her to PNG Jeweler shop at Laxmi road  & asked to buy anything she liked there & man, the expressions on her face after listening my those words was my best ever return gift; I am sure your parents also has sacrificed on many fronts to make you reach this level & so we all have some story behind us! I think we all share these values as well live by them as our best asset & this is what makes your Jaguar more beautiful than any other Jaguars I have seen around, as no more it’s just a most luxurious sedan but its symbol of our journey to this date! 

Thanks dost making all of us happy by your achievement as that is what friendship meant, you feel happy with happiness of your friends & it makes you sad for any bad thing happens with your friends; may you keep rising high & keep making your friends proud & guys this may be first Jaguar but sure Subhya has lead the way & may we all follow the path is all I can pray for us!  

Three Cheers for Subhya & Shital !! 


Pandya

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U Tube link below..

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Three Years of Team CM & Real Estate!





“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government”…  Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. He later served as the third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Many of his quotes have become famous especially those which are commenting up on government rather its personalities like Jefferson who give meaning to the term government & on occasion of completing three years of our ruling government in Maharashtra, what better than his words I could have used! That way three years is very short span but then in our democracy every government gets five years only to prove their worth as these five years decide whether the same govt or new one will come in power & then suddenly three years seems a pretty big time span to perform. These are the days of marketing & who better than the govt itself needs marketing as our rulers’ does think we the voters are so dumb that we need to be told via every media, what our “Mai Baap Sarkar” has done for us (read for our better living). I think does it not a failure itself that if any visible change in life is there then it’s to be experienced & felt & not to be told via full page advertises in news paper, is what a smart common man will think! But then smart common man is endangered species in our society, is what our rulers thinks & they keep on bombarding us with advertises of the achievements of the govt by every possible means. Here again there are two sides of coin every ruling party’s minister or elected member will go on counting the list of good things done by the govt in these years at the same time every opposition party’s member will go on listing wrong doings the very govt has done. And then the new funda is asking celebrities in every field of society to ask what’s their opinion is about the govt & depending up on the position of that celebrity his or her version of govt’s performance changes. Mostly everybody speaks good or sugar coated criticism as no one wants to rub the ruling govt on wrong side especially when the names are from business fraternity & when its real estate then govt is always right is the first rule of the business & second rule of real estate is never forget the first rule!

And then anyways Punekar’s are famous for criticizing anything even if it good as well whenever asked to judge performance of someone we usually starts with what is wrong or what’s bad about the person, so I will start with good or positive things by the Hon CM & his team for our city (read for real estate in nut shell). First & foremost let’s understand that we live in an urban area when we consider Pune (PMC, Pimpri Chinchwad (PCMC) & PMRDA & both the depts’ which controls life in the city are, Urban Development i.e. UD & Home, which for common man is police & both these depts. Are directly headed by none other than CM. Obvious CM also knows importance of his role so he is Chief of PMRDA as it’s this region or area where maximum development is happening. So let’s have a look about pluses of team CM & main thing is CM finally cleared the DP i.e. development plan of PMC which was lingering nearly for ten years without any decision by earlier govt. Many won’t understand importance of this step but let’s imagine you have been asked to build a building but without any plan or drawings, will be able to build it & even if you do will that building will ever serve the purpose which was in your mind? Well, DP is like plan of the city& PMC is the person which is supposed to build that building, so imagine what would be future of this city without a proper plan in place! And full marks to CM for making the DP through, though there has been some gray areas like Biodiversity park on hill tops as well flood lines of rivers flowing through city yet we have something to work on is a fact. Then the formation of PMRDA itself is biggest step which CM did & not just formation but to make it in functioning also was possible only because of CM’s persistence because PMRDA covers nearly every land out of PMC & PCMC limit which surrounds PMC & PCMC making it most sought after location for real estate development & only hope for common man’s dream of owning home in & around Pune. Then there was follow-up for Metro & starting the groundwork of Metro happened in these three years which was one thing at the top of long pending wish list for Pune. Most important decision was taking lead for finalizing airport location & start working on the actual acquisition for the same, this is going to make a long term impact on entire Pune regions development as main drawback for so many years to make Pune on international map is we don’t have direct connectivity to most cities in the world. If airport gets completed in coming years then this one job itself will be enough as feather in the cap of Hon CM! Another contribution by CM’s team which went unnoticed though it is vital for Pune’s development is appointing young team of IAS officers at key positions like PMRDA as well PMPML, especially the later one. Let’s understand Metro is not going to solve the traffic problems of the city, PMPML i.e. PMT is the only master key for that & by appointing full time officer like Tukaram Mundhe at PMPML, CM sent a message that he is keen to strengthen public transport of city.

Then there were many decisions on the fronts of revenue as well UD which are vital for entire real estate, to name a few, allowing agriculture land over 20 acres area to residential at local level which was earlier a big headache to change the zone as well needed to go to Mantralay. This has helped to open up huge land bank which is like raw material for real estate. Also in PMC/PCMC limit there is no need to take separate NA permission from Collector was one demand of real estate from long which has been accepted & the GR has been issue about same. One thing is sure this govt understand importance of real estate’s role in development of the city but…

Let’s now see the “but side” of the coin named achievements in three years by CM’s team on city as well real estate front. Real estate is going through probably darkest patch & though GST, RERA, Demonetization are the reasons given by many but I personally feel it’s the poor marketing of all the real estate related policies which has driven away the investors as well real buyers from the market. At the same time its poor execution at local level of all good decisions which were taken by the Hon CM’s team, I think is the main cause of degradation of the entire real estate in city. Those who won’t like my conclusion then let’s analyze the scene on city’s infrastructure as well real estate governing bodies.

First of all the DP has been cleared but there has been many lacuna’s like no clear decision about Metro corridor development TDR  related issues i.e. premiums & consumption of such TDR, thus making entire central city’s development at hold as Metro route  covers most part of city. Also there is issue of deciding premium for paid FSI which State Govt wants 50% of revenue generated out of it & PMC isn’t ready to give it, the result is now the charges of paid FSI has been made 100%, means equal to prevailing land rate wherever such paid FSI will be utilized. It’s the joke as why someone will then buy such paid FSI if it’s at the cost of land itself & then how we are going to make homes affordable as if State Govt & PMC both wants to have their share from the development, just like a land lord! Then the DP has been finalized but no control on its execution as we have been declared as Smart City but the so called Smart suburb i.e. Baner, also is being deprived from basic things like water supply & roads. As a boss of UD there isn’t any move about giving targets to the local authorities for developing reservations as that’s need of the city as well citizens. There has to be a team at State level which will periodically monitor the execution of DP’s of not just Pune but of every major city in State. Civic infrastructure right from education to public health is a grave issue for a fast growing city like Pune & before the city buckles under the pressure of its own growth, CM has to act about it. Take example failed BRTS or of garbage depot, years came & went but we are unable to find the solution for place of new garbage depot neither satisfy residents of existing garbage depot’s surrounding village of Fursungi, making them every alternate month holding entire garbage collection of the city! On police front, we need better infrastructure for police force in the form of man power as well space & equipments for this man power. Creating a separate Police Commissionorete for PCMC is one long pending topic which is a must considering the growth of this area! As no city can be considered as Smart if it doesn’t have law & order in place!

With due respect to PMRDA’s functioning, biggest lacuna is in micro development of infrastructure fronts like roads, as right now everyone is clueless about who, when & how will be making the roads, right from the regional plan roads to internal roads. As presently the residents in most of PMRDA region are commuting to their homes literally “Ram Bharose” i.e. at the “Mercy of God”, in desi language!Things like water & other civic amenities will follow or water can be bought by tanker for time being (though water supply is grave aspect of future which needs to be addressed right from now) but why the roads are not being done, nobody can answer this aspect & Hon CM must look in to this aspect. Because even if after paying hefty premiums to the govt under the name of development charges, yet if the govt is not providing facilities as basic as roads, what’s the use of having govt in first place? Same is about announcement like, no need of getting NA order from Collector office when the project lays in the jurisdiction of sanctioning authority such as PMC or PCMC.  Indeed great moves to save the time delays as well ease of doing business for real estate but the said announcement seems to have gone to deaf ears as till now the rounds of Collector office for NA under the name of challan are on for the developers! Same is with fast track sanctions type announcements at various organizations, even the Single Window clearance is also a phrase & digitalization of 7/12 has failed miserably making developers surrender to Demy God named Talathi! And then there is cancer of illegal construction which is literally killing every town & city & all that govt (read UD) does is, regularize illegal construction up to latest possible date!

Lastly millions of people need their own home is a fact & let our “Mai Baap govt” understand that, to make their dream of affordable home possible first this home should be affordable to the builders as then only production of such homes will be a reality! This wish list for real estate can go on & on, though one thing is sure no one doubts CM’s sincerity & efforts yet the fact is, at the end like a studious student getting full marks in theory but failing in practical, thus final result of this Govt for first three years on the front of real estate is fail only! Let’s hope the course has two more years to complete & our student will improve & will be better in practical also, all best wishes for that is what I will say to conclude!



-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U Tube link below..

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
 (Click the links below)




http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

www.punecorporation.org

Think Green, Think Life

Monday, October 30, 2017

Wild Life Without Wild Lifers!






“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”... Steve Irwin.

Stephen Robert Irwin, nicknamed "The Crocodile Hunter", was an Australian zookeeper, conservationist and television personality; he is the man who made common people all around the world to love wild life by his exceptionnal shows on Nat Geo channel & what an irony that he met his death during shooting of one such show by Sting Ray fish! That's dedicating life for wild life conservation in true sense & its people like Steve whose death also has contributed to wild life conservation & that’s exactly his above words about making common man aware regarding wild life is what made me use his reference to start my sharing. Like some reality TV show come October & that’s new season for wild life in India as the parks reopens for tourism post monsoon & as I have already shared, forests in Central India are probably at their best, fresh with monsoons effect! Though I never need any reason to visit forests yet when the reason is doing my little bit for ground staff at forests then visiting forests become more beautiful as well meaningful. This time we provided 125 winters wear for Pench MP forest guides as well gate staff & 175 such for Tadoba guides as well gate staff. AT both ends the sweaters were handed over to the guides & gate staff in a small cozy function with help of respective officers at both parks!

Seeing the joy on the faces of guide & after hearing praise for my team for donating sweaters, speaking at both events I told to those men who are actual savers of the tiger, that it’s not big thing to give & it’s not donation but its sharing for us, & what I wanted to share is a feeling that in the tough job of saving the forests you are not alone! This sweater is like a memento which will tell you that your job is most important & someone outside the forests who lives in comforts of city life understands as well respect your job! Because if it’s difficult to save a tiger then it’s more difficult to show a tiger in the forest, as it’s the only intention with which most tourists visits forests & to stand to their expectation of showing a tiger is very difficult job which the forest guides has to do all year long, that’s the job of a guide in forests! And as I always said on one side entire wild life tourism of States like MP or Maharashtra or Karnataka is revolving around tiger sighting & then when the tourists comes to the forest, spends handsome amount as well time (this aspect will cover in detail) & if he or she don’t get to have a glimpse of tiger then how you are going to make this tourist like the forests, & then how you are going to support to conserve something which you haven’t liked in first place? 

Now coming to sighting (sighting is commonly used term for sighting of a tiger), I did nearly eleven safaris; seven at Pench MP & four at Tadoba, one safari is one round of forest which is in morning 6 am -10.30 am & in afternoon 3 pm -6 pm & in all eleven safaris all I got to see was a tiger cub crossing road, that’s all speaking about the sighting of tiger! Imagine the time, effort & costing involved & one has to wake up at 4.30 in morning to be at entry gate for morning safari. I have seen enough tigers by now & don’t visit forests just to see a tiger though the sight of those yellow & black stripes is always a welcome thing. What I wanted to put forward is harassment of the tourists (many my forest officer friends wont like the word harassment) in the name of tiger conservation. I don’t know who is at blame or fault or even my perception may be wrong but look at the hefty charges forest dept is applying per safari as well the other costs incurred such as gypsy charges & on the top of it getting a reservation for the safari & the procedures for entry in the park, you feel even getting in Pakistan is easier task! For e.g. take Pench praks entry seen, first you have to get online booking which gets full at the moment the booking is open. Then you need to be at the gate by 5 am even the gate opens at 6am because even you have got online booking done the verification process takes nearly an hour, god knows what the dept verifies when mostly all details can be done online itself! And then its double check at the gate also as even you get the entry form in print only after producing valid ID proof for each member of the safari yet again there is second gate where all these ID’s are checked by another official!

At Tadoba case is more stringent as every member in the gypsy has to make her or his hands up as the guard calls out for the name. Also system of allotting gypsy or guide is equally messy making drivers as well guides wait at the gate from 4.30 am in morning. The worst part is even if the online booking of a safari has been done on one name by paying full charges & in one safari six people can go, then all six the names should be confirmed only at the time of booking which is nearly three months in advance. Now when its students group then how can we assure names so early & behold, if you want to change the name or add some name at eleventh hour then you will have to pay Rs 1000 per name in addition to all the charges you have paid for safari! And then there are camera charges per camera as well guide charges on top of it, making wild life tourism only for super riches. Reason given by forest dept is tickets are black marketed by tour operators & sold at higher rates but then what about all the genuine tourists as well school kids trip organizers, why the majority has to suffer because of few wrong doers, is the question I will ask to the authorities? As we all have witnessed a black marketer finds ways even in this system as the one who is ready to pay premium he won’t mind paying even Rs 1000, to add the name but in the process its middle class which gets hit & deprived from seeing these forests is a bitter fact.  Then the entry rates have been increased nearly ten times in last ten years, one reason is because of Hon Supreme Court’s order, tourism has been restricted to only 20% of the forest area, causing curtailing of entry of gypsy’s by 80% & to cover these loss rates of entry has been increased by local authorities! Here I will ask, what is govt’s job, to make money or to assure this nature’s treasure gets available for every common citizen of this country? Same is with the charges applied for the safaris, why not all the National Parks in the country has one single charging system so it will be easy for the wild life tourists to plan their budgets as well trip. For e.g. take full day safari charges which varies with every park & not that it’s been doubled in just one year making forests accessible to only super riches of the country because a full day safari will cost nearly Rs 75,000 per day, imagine how many Indians can afford this amount! On this background, will like to share some information about USA’s national parks; there four national park’s entry permit costs just $80 which makes Rs 5600/- & this is for multiple entries valid for one year! Agreed USA is a rich country but they earn money from other avenues & not at the cost of depriving common citizen from nature conservation. High time our MOEF i.e. Ministry of Environment & Forests take cognizance of these facts & guide State Forest depts for doing needful.

When all the labyrinth of entry formalities are complete &  once you are in the park then the new sets of rules awaits for you, with due respect to forest dept’s intentions as well I too am a avid wild life lover yet lets understand, people come here to see wild life (read tiger & leopard) & we need to make policies by virtue of which the tourists will get to see what they want to see. As then only their interest in wild life will increase which is the key to make them aware about importance of wild life conservation. But the rules which welcomes us in the forests makes different story, speed limit is 20km/ hour, who designed it god knows! For instance you can’t get down the vehicle anywhere in the park even for nature’s call this I can understand considering safety of tourists from attack of wild animals. But there are no restrooms at all in many parks; rather in Pench park there is just one rest room at Alikatta (center point). When a tiger sighting is expected & if any tourist has to respond nature call then it’s at the cost of missing the tiger sighting as the poor fellow has to run back to a place where rest room is located! In my recent Tadoba trip similar incidence happened with none other than a Hon High court judge who missed tiger sighting because of nature call! I don’t say allow tourists to get down at anywhere in the park but at least we have numbers of forest guards residents all across the parks, why can’t we provide safe rest rooms to the tourists so they can enjoy their ride with some comfort?

One more issue is regulations (restriction is proper word) on the drivers as well guides. In Pench I came to know even on two way route you can’t take a U turn unless it’s a tiraha or chowk (a place where three or four roads meet). Means if a tiger or any photographic incident is happening behind your gypsy then you can U turn even keeping safe distance from the animal in sight but drive strait till you get a tiraha or chowk & then only turn back, ridiculous isn’t it? And then the latest development is all guides have been provided with GPS in their mobile to keep control on the speed of vehicle as well you are not supposed to stop more than fifteen minutes at place where tiger sighting is happening, is what few guides told me! And then ever changing routes as well blocking of the routes where tiger is being sighted regularly is one more popular game of forest dept or say park management. Also why we keep park close in monsoons; take example of main road of Tadoba which is in very good tarred condition, so let’s allow the tourists to use this road, which was open till last monsoon, but is suddenly closed from this season. Imagine with fear of getting fined as well getting banned in the minds of guides as well drivers, how they can show tourists the beauty of the forest with free mind, which is their main job! I am not in support of speeding of vehicles in any way but then the gypsy drivers also knows their responsibility while driving in park. Just look at the statistics in past & tell me a single incidence of accident of any wild animal in park due to tourist vehicle as every driver knows if such accident happens, that will be his last ride & that he can’t afford! Then why burden driver’s mind with GPS type gadgets, what are we running a park or a jail! All such things damages not just tourism but entire life cycle of thousands of people who are solely depending up on tourists as the gypsy drivers were practically on streets this monsoon for earning their wages due to park closer. And this is just one example, as with the reduction in numbers of safari permits as well high entry fees the only tourists which comes for here more than two or three safaris are from rich class & this has killed middle or lower budget hotels at all national park destinations across the country. Only the high end hotels are doing well which most people can’t afford. Rather we should try to keep open all our parks as much we can is what my opinion is because if we are not keeping people in & around forests comfortable by our tourism which is only way of earning for them, then these people are the best baits for poachers!

What are we heading at, is the question comes to my mind after experiencing above aspects of the national parks. As better here after we allow people to see a tiger or any wild life creature in the zoo only instead making visiting national parks so difficult that too after paying all possible charges. Agreed that forest dept’s intentions towards wild life conservation nobody doubts it’s the way which is a problem. We need to make every single person of this country understands importance of forests & contributes his or her best to conserve the wild life & for that we should make wild life accessible to every citizen as then only they will understand what to conserve!  As I mentioned I had eleven safaris without single tiger sighting yet I love forests & being in it but to reach this stage I have spent enough time & money in forests & has eyeful of tiger sightings in past. And it’s this exposure with forests which has taught me that being a wild lifer doesn’t mean just going to national parks, clicking snaps & uploading on FB & get likes; it’s what you do to conserve forests is what makes you a wild lifer.  I penned down my thoughts as somewhere someone in the system will think & act as that’s last hope for the common wild lifer as well for wild life in itself of this country!

Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Celebrating Wild Life Week; Where is Wild Life?






“Every creature was designed to serve a purpose. Learn from animals for they are there to teach you the way of life. There is a wealth of knowledge that is openly accessible in nature. Our ancestors knew this and embraced the natural cures found in the bosoms of the earth. Their classroom was nature. They studied the lessons to be learned from animals. Much of human behavior can be explained by watching the wild beasts around us. They are constantly teaching us things about ourselves and the way of the universe, but most people are too blind to watch and listen.” … Suzy Kassem.

Suzy Kassem is an American writer, poet, philosopher, and multi-faceted artist of Egyptian origin. The granddaughter of a well-known sage in 19th century Cairo, mysticism and wisdom run through her blood just as the water of the Nile flows through her veins. And her words about wildlife, shows her approach of learning from the nature, no wonder her words flow so easily & tells us about importance of nature in the form of wildlife! Actually come October & updates from my Facebook group’s like Sanctuary & Claw makes me aware that parks in Indian forests are open now & it’s time to visit wilds. Though one need not have to go all the time to national parks to be with wild life as where I stay i.e. Pune has ample of biodiversity around in the form of Western Ghats though no tiger sighting here as you get to see in Central India! Yet when you want to be with nature for learning even you terrace garden can teach you a lot is what I have observed. But again when something is very near to you then you often miss to see that thing, is exactly what happens with me when speaking about biodiversity around Pune. In my cabin at office I have a digital photo frame on which all my wild life captures keeps on rolling all day long, whenever I get tired of my concrete world I look at this frame & it takes me in the wilds. And it’s not just tiger sighting but some of the clicks brings back memories in wilds which made me learn not just about animals but even made me think about human behavior, here are few such…

1.    In Tadoba forest on a dusty noon as usual chasing for tiger & following alarm calls of chital, we saw a huge spider feeding on a grasshopper even bigger than it. My wild life friend Atul Dhamankar then showed us something unique, a small red spider on the back of bigger spider. No, it wasn’t spider’s cub but it was male spider which can met only when female spider is busy in feeding herself or else she will eat the male spider only! Nature is strange as this taught me how in nature, every specie finds its way out to survive!

2.  Then in one such round at kanha forest, we saw a herd of chital approaching water hole. It’s this time when the animals are most susceptible for getting hunted as their back is towards forest & nostrils submerged in water, so they can’t see the predators like tiger or leopard coming from rear. But nature has taught them what we the humans haven’t learnt; the leader of the herd watches the forest & the rest of the herd drinks & when they are finished then the leader i.e. a male chital goes for drinking water! What a leadership attitude & courage from a deer, as not that it can actually fight with tiger but at least he will see such danger & make aware his herd to run away, is what it must be thinking! This whole scene made me think about our leaders who wants to fill their pockets first & cares a hang about their followers empty stomach; well, we are real fools to accept such person as our leader in first place, is equally true!

3.  Best part in forest is when you stop at some place just to listen the forest sounds, mainly to check any alarm call for tiger & at such times the forest guide or gypsy driver which are mostly natives from surrounding of the forest, share their stories about forest & their encounters with many funny situations in forest as well their beliefs or say superstitions which are very common among the tribes around the forest. One such is sloth bear tickles the man if it caught any in the forest & then rip of its face so that the man won’t be able to identify the sloth bear! Very funny indeed not for the persons who has lost their eyes & damaged their face for ever due to slot bear attacks & which makes sloth bear most feared animal in the wilds. Fact is sloth bear has very sharp & long nails to dig in termite houses & eat termites; as well it has very poor eye sight but a strong sense of smell. So when accidently it meets any man in the forest (which mostly are forest labors), when a sloth bear stands on its hinder legs  the it stood taller than average human height & if it just swings its paw as act of defense which exactly hits at the face of unfortunate person standing right in-front of the sloth bear. And just one swing at your face is enough to tear all the flesh from your face as human skin is too soft for those sharp nails which can dig in termite home!

4.  The comes one more story how the tiger hunt the monkeys which are expert on climbing up high on trees & tiger due to its heavy structure cant climb on the tree like the leopards does. Monkeys as we all know are curious lot & that does make them land in danger often. Whenever a  group of monkeys sees  a tiger they starts shouting in a very different sound, it’s more like scratching than their normal hoop hoop! At the same time they start looking down & their eyes follow all the time the tiger & its movement. The tiger knows this & starts circling the tree on which the group of monkeys is looking down & instead leaving that area, which monkeys can easily do from the top of the trees, the monkeys also starts rolling their eyes & neck to cover the tiger movements around the tree & one of the monkey faints due this movement of eyes & falls down & then becomes food for the alert tiger below! Though no one has actually seen this happening but tiger’s strategy does make sense & that teaches us even if we are unable to master some skill, like the tiger doesn’t know to climb on the tree yet he can achieve the kill of a monkey which sits high up!

5. The on one such ride in Bandhawagad forest our guide took us at a lake & told us to watch around. It was quite noon in forest & clear blue sky & suddenly a flock of bats came & started hovering above the water-body. One by one the bats started diving towards the surface of water body, first I thought they are hunting fish which was new to me but the guide asked, “sir aapne kabhi socha hai bat pani kaise pita hai?” i.e. how a bat must be drinking water? I accepted I have never thought & then it hit me, how difficult it must be for a bird to drink water which can’t even stand on its leg! So the bats were not hunting fish but they were drinking water in flying mode as that’s the only way they can drink water! So many times we see some phenomenon in nature around us & don’t just bother about it! From my childhood I am fascinated by bats, which were a normal sight after sun down in the sky. But now the poor specie is getting driven away from the towns & cities as even after sun down we have flood lights & honking of millions of vehicles that keeps the bats at bay as well pollution & in addition our passion for fire crackers, all this is helping to make bats extinct & then we hardly have clean water bodies left in the city where the bats can drink from, while its flying! But then who cares if some night flying mammal bird if we don’t get to see, as who has time to look at its flight from whatsap, FB & thousands of channel on TV while its dark outside!

6. One such interesting specie, with loads of myths around is wild dogs, called as Whistling Hunters also, because of their unique way of communication. Many won’t know but wild dogs which live by packs (wild hunters like dogs, jackals in group are called as pack whether as deer in group is called as herd) are most feared animal in the Indian forests, even tiger keeps distance from them, such is respect for their hunting skills! And the wild dogs don’t bark but they communicate with each other by soft whistle, a very rare way for dogs as they are very less studied specie till recent. Wild dogs are a classic example of “size doesn’t matter but performance does”. As they take on much bigger prey like Sambhar deer just by persistent chasing it & don’t give up till the prey fall down with sheer exhaustion & then eat it alive as they can’t kill the prey in one go like tiger or leopard does! I have been lucky to witness a wild dog’s chase by myself in pench forest. A poor chital was running from pack of wild dogs & jumped in a lake for survival. The wild dog’s pack literally circled the lake & blocked chital’s way of coming out of water. Poor chital gave up swimming after one hour of effort & then the dogs entered water & killed the chital. They were with all the patience & confident that the chital will give up!  This is what we should learn from wild dogs; never give up attitude till you achieve what you are after! But this wonderful specie is under threat of getting extinct as because of their size’s limitation & the way they hunt, they need lot of forest to survive & that is something we are fast encroaching on. Loss of habitats is main cause of many animals getting extinct & each of us should do our best to keep wild animal’s homes intact!

Forest is full of such stories & like one famous paint companies tag line, “har ghar kuch kahata hai” (every home has a story to tell), on the same line we can say, “Each specie has some story to tell” in the forest. Not just that but every day brings more such stories in forest that is why a forest is ever alive! It’s not just tiger sightings but such stories of which you also can be a witness, is what makes forests interesting & our life too! But for that we should not forget our responsibility along as every day we read some or other specie has vanished forever. On the occasion of Wild Life Week which is celebrated in October, I came across an article in a news paper with a heading, “Have you seen them?” It was featuring animals which were common sight few decades back around towns but now they are not being seen even in reserved forests & the sole reason is loss of their habitat due to our greed for building more of our homes, offices, roads, factories, malls & IT parks! 

Friends, as we work for making our comfortable homes, we must work for other specie’s homes (read forests) also, or else one day all we will be left with is just stories of wild dogs & sloth bears, whereas the heroes of such stories will be long gone forever from this planet! And just by celebrating some Wild Life Week & giving advertises in new paper we won’t be able to save forests as well wild dogs like species but we need to understand what we are going to miss, if every single wild species gets extinct; as well we need to control our needs which are actually greed! Instead planning our so called Smart Cities lets first plan for Smart Forests & then plan our cities around them, that’s the only hope for wild life & as we consider ourselves Smartest Specie, we are solely responsible to make wild life survive!

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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