Brugge or Bruges trip

Walking in the streets of Belgium and rowing in the canals of Bruges make me realize how important history is for Europeans. Even the cities bombed during the World War have rebuilt their cities in the way it had been for centuries before the wars. Even in cities where there are new constructions, residents have tried hard to give it the same look and feel as the historical buildings. Not only has this reinforced the visual delight of living in history rather than making the entire city look like a concrete jungle.
India also has several historical structures that are older and more majestic than what is seen abroad. However I still don’t know of any city where walking on the old city gives the same pleasure. Most of the old city have so crowded and have narrow streets that navigating there without the threat of being stuck in the traffic jam or your pocket being picked. The sanitation level of the older sections of Indian cities are low and often the streets don’t have sufficient sunlight, fresh air or even clean. The smell alone can drive people away.
The solution Indian government has adopted is to evacuate people from the ancient structures in the same of preserving these structures or public safety. In several areas government has even torn down the sections of our heritage in the name of modernization and infrastructure. However why can’t our antique buildings and their inhabitants co-exist the same way they do elsewhere?


Environment Awareness

I had the fortune of visiting some of the beaches of the Mediterranean. The water is so clear that one can count his toenails while swimming. As compared to that in Mumbai, the sea water is so polluted that it could be easily labeled as a Bio-Hazard zone.

Yet whenever we talk about pollution India and China always shift the blame to the western world. They claim that the developed world produce majority of the greenhouse gasses. The per-capita quantity of waste and pollutants generated by a citizen in American or Europe far exceeds that produced in the developing world. However the paradox is that still the environment is far more polluted in India than outside.

There can be only 2 possible reasons that seem viable to me. Firstly because of lack of proper handling and recycling facilities the same quantity of effluents, sewage and solid waste generated in a developed nation ends up being much more toxic than it is in the developing world.

Secondly there is lack of awareness. I was amazed that in South Korea, when I accidently thrashed a plastic cup in the wrong waste bin, my Korean friend actually went inside the garbage to retrieve it. I don’t think I can see the same kind of dedication in any of my Indian friend. While it is natural to see people segregating their waste into proper bins so that they could be recycled, in India expecting that people use the dustbins is too much to ask. Net result is that even if in Indian street we produce only 1 plastic bag as waste, it will eventually end up inside one of the drain pipes, clog it and create a mess. While in Spain sea surfers don’t even use a soap/shower gel while taking the shower on the seaside, lest that will pollute the sea.