A lot has happened in the past one year – earthquakes, shootings, massacres, currency dips, flights disappearing, flights crashing, flights being shot down, ISIS and ISIL became a big deal; a lot has happened in the past one year – water was confirmed to exist on Mars, diseases were eradicated, same-sex marriage was legalized ( in countries and in parts of some countries ), early human fossils were found, cheap reusable space travel became an almost reality, the world also signed a global climate change pact to reduce carbon emissions; and also royal kids were born and festivals were celebrated, closer back home it was a good year for our country – laws were passed, numerous bilateral agreements were signed, we were the fastest growing economy of the year amongst many other notable achievements.
My 2015 was special in its own way – there were many learnings in areas both personal and professional. I met a lot of wonderful and amazing and different people in the past one year, people who were crazy, people who were disturbed, people who needed help. And then, I also met people who were helping other people, who were making a difference, who were solving interesting practical problems ( I am working with such people right now), who were a little too young to be facing the harsh realities of life and I also met people who were old and experienced and were using that experience to make life of others around them better.
I am going to be speaking about two such people in this article. The first is a professor from IIT Delhi. I took one of his courses in rural development in my fourth year. Now, the lectures for this particular course were held at 9:00 am in the winter months. Morning lectures at 9:00 in Delhi winters! This course did not even have any attendance restrictions, meaning, you could skip the lectures and it would have no effect whatsoever on your grades ( and well, as it is, and as most of us know it is, yet I should state, in sync with popular opinion – the majority registers, studies and scores just for grades ) . So, you would think that the classroom would be empty but well, since I have spoken so much about it, you also know what I am about to tell you, the classroom’s for this particular professor’s course had record breaking attendances! Every single person attended the lecture. That is how good sir was.
Now last year, sir, Mr. Vijayaraghavan M Chariar along with a bunch of kids from my college, did something which has revolutionized the way sewage is treated in our country. A billion plus Indians generating so much waste, it is a problem which needs to be tackled and which is currently being tackled in a rather unsustainable way. Chariar Sir and his team of students have created a waterless urinal technology which, as the name suggests, does not require water to clean urinals. Here is a little more about them in their own words –
Conventional water flush urinals use approx 4 ltrs of water for flushing. This figure goes upto 10-15 ltr when a toilet pan with flush is used for urinating.
Water used for flushing urine increases volume of sewage generated in cities.
Use of hard water for flushing urine leads to scale formation that causes blockage in the drains.
Dampness in urinals offers favourable environment for microbes & air-borne infections.
High nitrates and phosphorous levels are found in sewage which can be reduced if urine is separated from sewage for productive use such as agricultural & industrial purposes.
I think the most fascinating part about this project is how they are using science to solve a problem which is affecting almost every strata of our society. They say wars are going to be fought over water in the future. Sir is just doing his bit in delaying these wars.
The second person who was full of surprises was a cool well dressed young man who hung around a cafe I frequented. We used to sit at different tables, he was always around with his friends, I was always there with mine. We eventually began talking after a couple of weeks. Now the curious thing about him was that I would never see him around on weekends, which was odd, since weekends are off for most people.
It was during a random walk on a weekend in the Hauz Khas Park that I saw what this man and his group of friends were upto. They ran an NGO, Bring a Change Foundation, and every weekend they would gather in the Hauz Khas Park and teach, play and feed poor kids from the area. Below are a few pictures of these young men with the kids –
It is so inspiring the work these young men are doing, they are a pretty chilled out bunch, they like to hang out at cool places, socialize, they know how to party, they are pretty well off and yet they have a sense of social responsibility and they are doing in their bit in making the society a better place to live. It is so touching, and heart warming and I am so glad I got a chance to spend time with these wonderful motivated people are doing. And they are so young! It is brilliant!!
I have met a lot of other wonderful people in the past year both in real and virtual life but I think the above two stand out in the way they are making a difference in/to the world. If you are reading this I can only ask you to check out the work they are doing. Links have been embedded above. You will be moved, touched and inspired for sure.