Gardening the Bhutanese Way

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Destiny Unfathomable

“The most beautiful and considerate woman she is”, would remark everyone. Tall and blond with her exquisite eyes placed perfectly in place on her flawless face, wearing the intricately woven and immaculately sewn dress, would she look extraordinarily heart thrilling to every eye that caught a glimpse of her at the tshechu. Her movement as swift as a gentle breeze would bring every spectator to a halt. People couldn't resist but avert their heads towards her direction rather than the blessing mask dances, and so unflinching would their gaze be at her mesmerizing eyes.

The faintest of her voice would melt others heart.  The very first sight of her would set into motion a queer sensation in every man. Something in her instilled in them that she was the one that they wanted to be with for their lifetime. How notorious a man may be, he would behave himself in quest of her love. They would chase her like a hound in search of meat.  Yet none of their chase was worth it. She was audacious enough to utter, “I’m sorry, I am not destined to be one”.

The proposals were incessant, the pleadings were non-stop and the chases for fragrance were innumerable as the bud stretched its petals under the radiance of the sun. Yet she was as firm her roots held her. Neither did she swing in the direction of the wind nor did she fall for the glistening moonlight.

But what could have stopped her when the right hand picked her up from the garden to be preserved for the rest of her life. She couldn't help but let him hold her close to his heart, embrace and plant a gentle kiss on her showy petals. Her fragrance healed the slightest of his injuries and her beauty mesmerized him. At the same time, she couldn't resist but enjoyed the reverie of caressing and loving nature.

No sooner did they open the first page of their romance than a grim raided her. She was at her village to witness the consecration ceremony of her family house. It was one of those rare moments to be cherished with all the family members gathered under the same roof. To her utter astonishment, she felt her nerves weaken and her legs giving up. She would coil herself beneath her blanket in sheer pain that radiated all over her body.

The unusual and incessant blood loss couldn't be mistaken for the monthly menstrual cycle. Yet her family suspected of her having aborted her child and was less considerate. She wept and agonized in the seclusion of her own heart in her little isolated room. Some men still visited her though only at the cost of their embarrassment.

An old woman asked candidly, “People say that your sister was infected with HIV/AIDS after having slept with a minister. They say that the minister was however able to afford treatment but she became the victim. Is that so?” Such words could the savage people utter.

All the skeptics were overruled only when she was diagnosed with ‘Leukemia’, the dreadful blood cancer. She was rushed for treatment in Bangalore. The effect of chemotherapy has rendered her so feeble and emaciated and bald was she from the excessive hair loss.

The hand that picked the scented flower from its exquisite garden failed to foresee the unfathomable destiny awaiting them. A sudden gust of gale blew from nowhere and he lost hold of the precious possession in his hand. It disappeared amid the ghastly turbulence, never to be found again. All that remained was her epitaph.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Food Safety & Security

 As the indiscriminate use of synthetic chemicals is at the rage of augmentation, the concern of food security and ecological balance has become a major issue. Besides sustainable production, it is equally important to maintain food hygiene and safety both at the time of consumption as well as production.

Pesticides are not only the solution to pest problems but often they are the causes of the problems themselves. The incessant use of chemicals would not only lead to chemical residue problems in soils and deteriorate soil health, but also lead to the development of resistant strains of pests.

Not only that, insect resurgence, the sudden or abnormal increase in pest population is a common phenomenon often following a pesticide application.  Secondary pest outbreak is also a notable ill-effect. More than anything, it kills the natural enemies and thereby disrupts the ecological balance.

In addition to that, certain chemicals being highly liposoluble can accumulate in the adipose tissues of animals. Human beings are not an exception as there are several incidences of casualties. The Minimata disease of Mercuric poisoning in Japan, the hydrogen cyanide poisoning in Bihar case, the Arsenical poisonings are so evidential. The biomaccumulation and biomagnification of toxic chemical residues would prove highly lethal to living organisms.

The book entitled, “Silent Spring”, by Rachel Carson depicts the extent of harm the use of pesticides have inflicted. The lethal effect of the large scale application of DDT pesticide in pest control has deprived the valley of its usual cacophony and the blissful tunes of the spring birds and has made it as silent as a dead valley.

Nevertheless, nature has in store its own set of natural enemies of every pest or pathogen. It is equipped with its self- regulatory or its own balance mechanism to maintain the natural ecosystem. The so called predators and parasitoids has been identified, mass multiplied, and released on inoculative or inundative basis. This is a recent development in the field of horticulture.

For example, the beautiful ladybird beetles that we often spot strolling up and down the leaves are nothing but in keen search of their prey. They are predaceous on almost all Lepidpteran insects, the most destructive order infesting a number of horticultural crops. Befriend them, carry them to the laboratory, mass multiply and release them into the infested field or gift them to farmers in need for they are none but farmer’s friends.

They would be more than happy to carry out the task entrusted to them. I can assure you that they will perform their task so efficiently and host specifically without demanding for wages in return. In fact, the expenses incurred on the purchase of pesticides and labor charges can also be curtailed.

Another set of organisms called parasitoids can also be employed for the same task. They depend on their hosts for completing only a certain stages of their life cycle. For instance, Trichogramma brasiliensis, an egg parasitoid, deposits its eggs on the host and its progeny emerge from the host egg. A larval parasitoid, Bracon hebator, deposits eggs on host larva and its later instars emerge from host larva.  Pupal parasitoid, Brachymeria nosotoi, is yet another such example.

In addition to that, entomopathogenic fungi, Trichoderma viride, can be formulated with talc powder and carboxy methyl. The formulation can be dried in the sun, grinded and the resultant powder is packed and supplied to farmers. This affords effective biological control against a number of fungal pathogens.

All these are a few classical examples of biological control amongst the existing innumerable list. The potentiality of these could be exploited by the horticulturists and agriculturists and subsequently employed in biocontrol. Indeed, they have a role to bridge the gap between research findings and the practical utility in the field for farmers. If this is done, our sole objective of ensuring a safer and healthier food, and the globe in which we dwell a happier and a better place to live in is achieved.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lover's Love

Lover’s love is the one,
That seals the door
 Of all other love in life.

The fulgurant  rage of all
Would it extinguish
With the blink of an eye.

She would carol away
With the sweetest melody,
To be in accord with her lover.

So omnipotent is his love,
That it can enlighten
Her world with unprecedented happiness.

From the first blush of dawn
Till the closing of the twilight,
There wasn’t a moment with him off her mind.

The very thought of her belongingness
Would let her sing at the pitch of her lungs,
And her spirit would fly high amid the fleecy clouds.

Yet nothing could shatter
The fervent hopes of her
Than the slightest whim in the course of his love.

The state of his ill-health or misfortune
Would have her plunged
Into the whirlpool of depression.

Even a tinge of his ill treatment
Would have her heart stung
By the poisonous of all snakes.

For love is as endless as the heavenly firmament,
As boundless as Buddha’s compassion,
As dimensionless as the mysterious island,
What can compensate a lover’s love?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Seldom known Value

Would you be the water
To meet my evaporation and transpiration demand?
For your existence is my life,
Would you flow towards me always?

Lest you fail to descend from the firmament above
Or crawl up from the earth beneath,
Or creep around my roots from elsewhere
I would still strive to survive.

I would exert myself into physiological resistance.
I would close my stomata partially,
But still wait with the radiance of hope
Of you coming to quench my thirst.

My leaves may droop
The sequel would be nothing
But the abrupt seizure of my growth.
Yet, I am determined to wait.

Hoping that you won’t let me
Go to the extent of my cells becoming flaccid,
I would await your arrival
Until my stomata couldn’t resist the permanent wilting point.

But would you still be flippant?
Would you let the petals of my love to shed?
Let the foliage of my feelings to wilt?
Let the pride of my petioles to droop?

Would you let the fruits of my desire to drop?
Let the unopened bud of my exuberance to wither?
Let the roots of my hope to dry?
Let the bark of my emotions to split?

Would you let the waves of my love
With the highest amplitude of all
And the magnitude immeasurable
To ebb in the distance?

A day when you wet my soil of existence
With all the brooks of the world,
Would be the very day
When I can absorb none.

Neither your words of commiseration
Or your rueful moan
Nor your agony of forlornly cries,
Would spring me back to life then.
All that would remain would be my epitaph.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Role of youth in International Peace and Harmony

It’s often said, “The youth of today are the future of tomorrow”. Indeed, the destiny of a nation or world as a whole is vested in the youth. Youth are the youngsters, if guided properly, can change the course of the world, lead it through the mysterious path and reach it to the enlightened world of Global Peace and Harmony.
They have the capability of extensive thinking, hard struggle, innovativeness and advancement. Moreover, they have an open mind, a mindset incredibly adaptable for changes- both good and bad.
In addition to that, they are the young energetic minds with great thirst for truth, knowledge, and ideas. Their grasping power is in par with the water absorbing capacity of cotton. They are enthusiastic, apprehensive, and curious and are always ready to learn or experience new things unlike the adults and the old ones.
To achieve the broad and complex concept of Global Peace and Harmony is not as easy and simple as swallowing a lump of food or a gulp of water. For peace, which may be described as complete absence of physical and structural violence and presence of human rights and justice, to prevail in the world, the first and foremost thing is to inculcate the sense of peace and harmony at individual level.  For instance, a building without proper foundation may be built only for it to be collapsed.
In fact, it is the mindset, the attitude, behavioral, moral and intellectual aspects of an individual that will have a direct impact on peace and harmony at society level. It is what we call as grass root level of organization required in bringing positive and the desired social changes that in turn will contribute to peace at national and ultimately at international level.
Also, the role of youth is now being recognized by the United Nations and other international agencies as critical in establishing long term stability, and producing effective results.
Nevertheless, the potentialities that the youth possess and the rights endowed upon them don’t acknowledge them to exercise their act of will or misuse their inner strength and freedom. For freedom comes with responsibility, so does the youth have a role to shoulder in international peace and harmony which may be enlisted as follows;
v  Building cultural respect and reconciliation.
v  Cultivation of inner peace within an individual.
v  Dismantling the culture of war and eradication of violence for it is nothing but an avoidable, malicious act of physical force which will inflict harm on others.
v  Living in harmony with our natural ecosystem.
v  Living in harmony with justice and compassion.
v  Promotion of human rights and responsibilities.
It is well understood that the youth have a diverse and a vital role. The mere statement of this is not well enough. The sole purpose and essence of it would be lost if we fail to allude as to how to implement the strategies to bring in positive social changes. It is equally important that we find means to inculcate the desired mindset, attitude and moral values in youth so as to set the goal directed behavior in them into the wheel of motion. The inclusion of following strategies may be suggested;

v  Developing an understanding and convention of oneness of humanity and expressing this belief through action.
v  Striving and working for a systematic eradication of all forms of prejudices and discrimination.
v  By commitment to education in totality or providing education for the wholesome development of an individual.
v  Emphasis and promotion of peace education programs as education can be regarded as a platform where peace can be built.
v  Conducting awareness campaigns on the essentiality of peace and the principles of great leaders like Gandhi.
v  Youth employment and empowerment without which the whole idea would be in vain.
v  Education through sports like the Olympic ideals and its dream of peace.
v  Emphasis on meditation and dialogues as they are must for inner peace and resolving problems non-violently.
v  Cultural exchange programs like the Asian Pacific Children’s Convention where I have taken part as Junior Ambassador along with Peace Ambassadors. It’s being held in Japan every year with its mission to strengthen global networks and a better understanding of different cultures.

The inclusion of youth in peace building brings vibrancy, values, skills and behaviors conducive for fostering global harmony and social justice. If given proper guidance, they are the juveniles with utmost potentiality to sow the seeds of hard work, good mannerism, attitude, mindset, values and skills to yield the fruit of success, social justice and global peace.