The simplicity of Life…

Few years back, I used to visit my grandparents who used to stay in a village in India. My grandfather was the most educated person in the village ( he was a Civil Engineer who had graduated back in 1950’s) and hence was the most respected elderly person in the village. I feel extremely sad he is no more today, and may his soul rest in peace in heaven.

But those days were different in around 2011-12, even just 8-9 years back in India. I was persuing my Engineering studies and during summer time, I used to travel with my Mom to visit my grandparents. The roads in the village were unpaved, and blackouts were frequent ( Rather, having steady supply of electricity was rare). My grandpa had retired from Govt service, after having supervised as Deputy Chief Engineer over many construction projects, including famous dams like Koyna dam, Ujni dam and Bhatsa dam in India.

He was practicing agriculture in his ancestral village, and he had quite a few cows and buffaloes. He hired few men from the village to work on the farms. There was no advanced machinery for agriculture, like tractors. The region had dry climate, and hence, most of the agriculture was dependent on the monsoon rains. Even though the govt had dig a canal, but the water in the canal often was over-used/ mismanaged and hence dried up frequently.

There was no television in our village house. As electricity was infrequent, having a television did not really matter. My grandma only had a radio which she used to listen to songs and daily news broadcast. But there was no scarcity of good and healthy food. I remember, she used to milk the cows in early morning, and then she used that fresh and healthy milk for the daily use to make tea, coffee or other dairy products like butter and ghee. The vegetables were obtained from the farms directly, either planted by my grandpa or some neighbours. Even fruits like mangoes, grapes were never purchased from outside the village, all were grown in the village itself. The lunch and dinner often had roti, or bhakri (a bread made from jowar), curd milk, peanut chatni ( grind peanuts with masala’s), raw onions, rice, daal( lentils) and vegetables. All this made a perfect lifestyle with healthy food consumption.

After all the daily chores, we used to sit in the frontyard and talk a lot about all the family affairs, or I used to tell about my college experiences, or even what’s new in the world. There was no internet, no whatsapp, no facebook, no twitter back then. Atleast it hadn’t reached the villages. Leave aside the noise of social media, many of the houses even did not have a smart phone. Recently, I heard that it is difficult to find even a single house which does not have a smartphone or even a facebook account nowadays.

Life was simple back then, and I simply loved it. Whenever I visited the village, I used to feel so relaxed from all the hustle and bustle of the city life. There seemed to be no stress, no deadlines, and no tensions in life there. After all that was not needed. Life used to be easy going, and people lived a stable life. Their needs were less, and hence, the greed was also less. The food was healthy, air was pure, and society respected that way of living. I used to woke up using the nature’s alarm of hens clucking. The house was designed in such a way that the rays of morning sunlight used to enter our bedroom through ‘zaroka’ or roof top window. Where can we find this ambience these days, especially in cities?

Later in life, I did a lot of globetrotting, like moving to USA, seeing the luxurious New York, staying in some of the finest places on earth. But never ever I could find that calm and serene environment, that stable life, those kind hearted people in any other part of the world, that which is close to my heart..

I really miss that life, that ambience, those good and simple village people. Just in the span of a decade, it seems that life has changed like never before. Those days had all the simplicity of life, and only those who have experienced it in their life, will understand the value of those gone days….

© Abhishek Karadkar and abhiknotes.com, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Abhishek Karadkar and abhiknotes.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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One Year After Covid-19…

It’s been a year since Covid-19 got escalated into an pandemic in 2020. If we ask anyone about how has the year been for them, I am sure no one would answer it affirmatively. Maybe with the only exception of billionaires and Tech firms whose wealth almost doubled or even grew several times more during the pandemic. After all, these businessmen have mastered the art of making profit even during crisis, be it artificial like 2007 subprime crisis in America, or natural like Covid-19.

The last year saw the world turn upside down. Hardly can we find any industry or sector which remained unaffected. The lockdowns shut down the businesses, wiped out the small startups, ended the tourism and hospitality industry, started the laborious ‘Work from Home’ culture, even ‘Study Online’ over On-campus classes, and skyrocketed the demand for online tech services, be it amazon, zomato, swiggy, facebook and many more. Enough has been written and talked about the after effects of the pandemic in our life.

And this has continued till date. Even though the vaccines have arrived and however, they might be mismanaged or delayed for rollout, the hopes amongst the people have risen that soon, things will get better. Experts are saying that things will get back to normal. But the real question remains, Is it really going to be normal again?

Let me highlight my own experience of both the worlds when I was in the United States. I like to call the two worlds, as BC and AC. That stands for ‘Before Covid’, and ‘After Covid’. Funny it may sound, but we simply cannot deny the fact that our world has indeed changed to such a large extent. I had been working for an Energy Management company before moving back to India in Sep 2020. My work involved substantial amount of traveling to customer sites, where our customers included Energy companies all over the USA. I got to travel to quite a few places like Pennsylvania, St Louis, Colorado, Minneapolis, Florida, Illinois and Georgia. Traveling for business by flights, staying in some of the finest hotels, renting posh cars, sight seeing after work, eating food in famous restaurants ( often a different restaurant or some international cuisine), all this was a part of business trip. And we also worked hard in office during office hours. All such perks which come along with such business trips, were all paid at the company’s expense. For a 25 year old guy, who had never been to America before, this is the one of the best American experience he could get, isn’t it?

But then Covid-19 happened. And everything changed overnight. Our customer site visits or business trips all were cancelled, that means no staying in nice hotels, or parties. The business continues through work from home. The networking which we used to have with the customers and guiding their tech teams for efficient deployment solutions all became virtual using Teams, or similar video conferencing calls. The field experience through such business trips, the networking with the clients, the real world experience which helped me to become matured and even business savvy, all simply disappeared. Work just became work from home, and it just ended up as ‘All work and no play’

And then as Covid-19 became worse, things also took a downward spiral. I had to come back to India for visa issues, and also having some family responsibilities. And later I joined a new company in India. But I heard from my previous company colleagues that the Covid has impacted this industry so much, that mass firings have become a common thing. The revenues have plunged, and the customers are no longer interested in signing new contracts. The work from home has become the new work standard not only to stay away from the virus, but also it serves as a cheap work option. As the business continues, no longer is the need to travel to meet customers, or even get a field experience. The companies have not only accepted the ‘work from home’ culture but also promotes it for saving expenses. This is understandable from accounting point of view, but for a business which depends on in-person trainings, networking and gaining and sharing of knowledge from field visits, this will have long term implications on the business. And this pandemic has affected this industry, such that it has changed the way I worked prior to Covid. Learning new skills, and being prepared for an uncertain work is the new norm.

I am sure not only in energy business, but many other professions like banking, movie industry, performing arts, tourism, hospitality, aviation, sales, retail and many more have seen dramatic change in work pattern. The long established rules of delivering work has been changed. Because after all, not all work can be done from home or remotely. A pilot needs in-flight experience and cannot be replaced by simulation. A tourist guide cannot perform his work through some video conferencing, and neither can a theatre artist. This is one of the biggest change in human history.

Its been one year after Covid started, and for me, its been more than 6 months, since I have returned back to India. Having seen both the pre-Covid and post-Covid world, it seems a big change in work culture, networking, travels, and in personal life as well. There are pros and cons , and it would be too early to say that this change is bad. Maybe we have to adjust to the new change, and even change the statusquo. The work from home might stay for sometime, and the future might remain uncertain for coming days. Its as if like nature is testing our patience, and we have to continue with our strengths, and keep the hope alive.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - UNODC ROMENA Updates

© Abhishek Karadkar and abhiknotes.com, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Abhishek Karadkar and abhiknotes.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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