A future “Malir River-Basin Dam”?

(Photo credit- https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Malir-River-Basin-MRB_fig1_325475799)

August 12, 2019

Last week I had written about recycling & harvesting rain water (https://dinshawavari.com/2019/08/08/and-the-rains-are-upon-us/).  Then we faced rains in Karachi which I have not seen in decades.  The “natural” effect of this was the massive misinformation & incorrect (some genuinely mistaken) social media warnings & alerts on the effects of the rains in Karachi. 

One post in particular, on the flooding of Malir River, got me thinking.  At the outset, let me clarify that these are my personal views and I hope it doesn’t lead to controversy …

               Water flowing down Sindh province makes its way into Malir River, which generally lays dry through the year.  It’s only when we have sudden rains or this current set of rains when it fills up, and in the latter case, overflowed too.

               The major sources of Karachi’s water are the Hub dam, Keenjhar lake & Haleji lake.

Why don’t we “DAM” up the Malir River Basin within Karachi’s limits?  Why let the precious rain water go to waste, into the Arabian Sea?  If Karachi is seeing its own effects of climate change and our soothsayers predict more of this to come, let’s channelize that water into a massive & natural reservoir down Malir River.  A dam in the middle of the City will also become its own, inbuilt tourist attraction (just like Nasser Dam is in Egypt).  It’s just a matter of finessing this future dam as the main structural setup is already in place.

There will NOT be any negative environmental effects – in fact it will save water; be a positive social change for the people of Karachi through tourism; it will control the environmental pollutants currently flowing into the Malir River. There will be other benefits!

Do you water experts out there agree to this- or a variation of this idea?

(Photo credit- Samaa TV)

…AND THE RAINS ARE UPON US …

August 8, 2019

rainwater harvesting.jpg

(Photo credit- https://www.instructables.com/id/20-Rainwater-Catchment-System-No-Gutters-Required/)

Ironically, in March, I had blogged https://dinshawavari.com/2019/03/25/water-water-everywhere-but-not-a-drop-to-drink/.

… and now the rains are upon us and we don’t have any catchment system.

Karachi is facing proper monsoon rains for the first time in decades.  It’s a good thing too – it cleans up the city; there is more greenery; the temperature drops; and life is so much more pleasant; and the three major reservoirs supplying water to our City get filled.

What is lacking are individual CATCHMENT systems.  Each building can easily have their own rainwater harvesting systems – it doesn’t have to be expensive.  After the last set of “rains” a few weeks back (though our rains are nothing compared to what India and Bangladesh have to go through during their monsoons and cyclone seasons ☹) I started reading up on rainwater harvesting systems.  In our part of the world, Tamil Nadu leads the way!  Brazil, Singapore & Australia are other successful examples.

Just as an example, when reading this website http://www.oas.org/usde/publications/unit/oea59e/ch10.htm, I realized the cost and process of making a catchment system is not prohibitive or unreasonable.  It can even work effectively with a simple tarpaulin.

There is a great need for our Government to lead the way in promoting private households, buildings and tall rises to try to catch and reuse rainwater – the WATER IS FREE PEOPLE … we just need to capture this very very scarce resource and utilize it for non-drinking purposes.

(Here’s another article- https://outdoortroop.com/how-to-capture-and-store-enough-rainwater-for-your-cabin/).

rainwater catchment

(Photo credit-  https://radio.krcb.org/post/rainwater-catchment-systems)

 

 

“Fate Will Take What Fate Will Have”- William Somerset Maugham

June 6, 2019

Death

(Image source- https://www.wired.com/story/giving-open-source-projects-life-after-a-developers-death/)

People say there are only two finite things in this World- however, I believe there’s only one … DEATH.  Many of you may not agree but I do believe DEATH is the only certainty in the whole world.  Everything else is your destiny … and what you make of your life.

William Somerset Maugham’s last play, “Sheppey”, tells the story of Sheppey, an hairdresser, who believes he is a lucky man.  Maugham ends the play with an old Arabic Fable, where “DEATH” visits Sheppey; and in reply to Sheppey, tells the story of a merchant in Baghdad trying to escape death.  (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheppey_(play)).  Jeffrey Archer’s very first chapter, titled “Death Speaks” in his book “To Cut a Long Story Short”, requotes this very Fable.

Whatever our life and however good or evil we’ve lived it, in the end we just cannot escape the ONE certainty life has in store for us – our own DEATH.

We may be terminally sick, a building may fall on us, die in a war or an earthquake swallows us – nothing is by accident.  This was our fate, with the time and place written.

The only measure of comfort we may be able to get out of this certainty is how we die – the more violent, harder or painful may very well be a factor of how we lived our life.

So next time someone “good” dies – whether at a young or old age – I will try not to blame the so-called “cause” of the death or go in for a “blame game”; but look introspectively and try to reconcile that the person’s time had arrived.  Don’t blame yourself, nor the opposite person, nor the circumstances surrounding his death – this was meant to happen, at the time it happened and in the place it happened.

That’s all there is to it!

 

What’s the Time Please!?

(Photo credit- https://www.labmanager.com/leadership-and-staffing/2015/10/time-management-101#.XOZlwogzZnK)

May 30, 2019

Time Notes

In the 1980s, my two friends – #Shahrukh & #Shahveer – and I decided we’ll be on time for every party.  Guess what happened … we were the only three there at the appointed time!  What a riot … even the hosts weren’t around.

On average, we only have 657,000 hours in our lifetime – so why WHY NOT MANAGE TIME BETTER!?

Amongst my many idiosyncrasies, I hate being late and I hate waiting for latecomers – I get irritated; it vexes me (I love that term 😊); and it truly gets under my skin.

A close relative has an uncanny ability of turning up at a party just when the food is coming out or a minute earlier.  There has NEVER been a time when he has to wait for the food 😊.

Another close relative just cannot be at an appointment on time – even for his departing flight!  The one time I decided to trick him into going earlier by saying the flight was leaving 30 minutes earlier, was the only time he got to the airport on time … and the flight was delayed!  IRONY!!!

So what can one do-

  • Try putting your watch forward 15 minutes? However, your internal clock will smarten up almost immediately and you’ll know you have the additional 15 minutes available- and you’re back to square one;
  • You can have your partner nag the hell out of you to get out in time;
  • Your secretary can keep calling to pester you to go on time:

… OR, you can realize you only had 657,000 hours available (on average) in your lifetime – before the reaper comes calling – so make the most of it and DON’T BE LATE!

(Incidentally, we couldn’t fight the party system and Shahrukh, Shahveer & I were forced to (in the words of others) stop this ‘ridiculous’ behavior! 😊).

 

“Karachi, thy name is Charity”!

April 17, 2019

Blog Harmony in Helping Hands

Karachiites have a fantastic appetite for philanthropy; and many times, it’s not advertised – these are the true “unsung heroes” of the day!

HARMONY IN HELPING HANDS is an informal group started by Rashna Gazder and which includes her piano pupils and guest performers.

Having a large group of budding & talented pianists, she realised she could use their talent alongwith her own in encouraging genuine causes in Pakistan.

As a group, they not only raise funds with concerts but also visit institutions regularly during and after the fundraiser.  As a teacher, she was keen to instill the desire of “giving back” – to give love and care to the less fortunate – in her students.

Rashna’s husband Percy and two sons – Dr. Darayus & Dr. Noshirwan – work very hard behind the scenes in supporting her rehearsals and donation drives, in spite of their own busy work & college schedules.

In all these recitals, Darayus complements each music performance with a befitting & individual video display.  In fact, it was Darayus who quoted “…true charity is the desire to be useful to others with no thought of recompense”… now that’s true charity!

Even the guest performers – the likes of Azad Iqbal, Terence Joseph and Janelle Dias, to name but just a few – give their unflinching time and energies for each practice session, which starts months in advance of the final recital.

Not to leave out her piano pupils, who put in all the extra work, time and energies in spite of their own school classes, schedules and exams!

Harmony in Helping Hands has helped LRBT Eye Hospitals, Chitral Children’s Education Fund, Indus Hospital Children’s Cancer Ward, ABSA (The School And College For The Deaf) and The Parsi General Hospital.

Harmony in Helping Hands … truly, THY Name is Charity!

Blog Harmony in Helping Hands 1

“BEAM ME UP SCOTTY!”

(Title catchphrase from the original television show & film series “Star Trek”)

Beam me up Scotty 2.jpg

April 1, 2019

What’s worse than having a hangover but isn’t an hangover ?  A 27 hour travel to Vancouver and then add 4 hours for the return journey.  I wish it had been a hangover instead!

We traveled from Karachi to Doha- so that’s 3 hours; with a 3 hour wait in Doha.  We then had a 15½ hour journey to Los Angeles.  That was followed by a 3 hour wait.  Finally, another 3 hour journey to Vancouver… 27 HOURS!

Returning was exactly the same- except we had to add 2 more hours for the wait in Los Angeles; and 2 more hours for the wait in Doha… 31 HOURS!

Being in Economy didn’t really help either!

I just read an article that the Spaceship X type of programs will eventually result in an half hour journey between Dubai & London – can’t wait for that to happen!

Till then, I wish star Trek’s transporter was actually there- we could simply be across the world with a simple “beam me up… Scotty”!

Beam me up Scotty.jpg

(Images courtesy- http://walter-russell.com/beam-me-up-scotty/ & https://seekingalpha.com/article/4134953-beam-scotty)

Water, water everywhere … but not a drop to drink!

March 24, 2019

water water everywhere

Recently there has been a lot of news about South Africa (Cape Town actually) running out of water soon.

I believe Pakistan – and Karachi especially – is almost in the same boat- international organizations have repeatedly been warning us about the impending water shortage, as soon as the coming decade.

There are many many articles on water saving but the government cannot do this on its own- we as citizens have to help out too.

Some basic water saving techniques which can PRACTICALLY be instituted are –

  1. Like Hawaii, the government should create water catchment areas for rain water – especially in Punjab and KP provinces;
  2. Water faucets can and should be changed to modern fittings/devices which save water. I saw a very very interesting concept at https://www.alteredcompany.com/ . Their water aerators/nozzles give a mist – they claim 98% water saving – giving you the same cleaning effects but at a fraction of the water wastage.
  3. Implement recycling “domestic” water for kitchen & clothes washing and things like swimming pools;
  4. Implement “Waste” water (from WC’s and urinals) recycling for gardens and exterior washings (can be used for washing cars, external patios, etc). Admiral Khawar showed us a fantastic recycling concept the Navy has started at Karsaz – I don’t see why can’t implement the same too;
  5. Mini DAMS is a must – starting from the north of Pakistan’s main rivers to as far south as possible, so that our fresh water does not drain into the sea and is instead used productively.  Some provinces have concerns that water from such dams would not be used equitably – but if Pakistan & India’s Indus Water Treaty of 1960 can withstand the “test of time”, I’m sure our own provinces can also reach a comprehensive, equitable & binding agreement;
  6. Implement drip irrigation for all our gardens and plants – if the Middle East countries can successfully operate such systems, it should be even easier for us to do!
  7. Tied to this, all water for gardening should be done after sunset;
  8. Domestic staff HAVE to be taught to conserve water (for that matter all our utilities);
  9. Let’s go back to school – literally – and immediately start teaching water saving to all nursery, kindergarten and primary school children!

What are your thoughts- how else can we PRACTICALLY help ourselves and how can the Government help us?

(Title courtesy “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge ; Photo courtesy of “Quotesbuddy.com”)