Category Archives: The Free Press Journal

Appy to Date? Not Actually!

The article was published in The Free Press Journal, Mumbai, edition dated May 22, 2022.
https://www.freepressjournal.in/weekend/how-single-women-are-navigating-the-world-of-online-dating

In some measure, Dhruv Sehgal’s I Love Thane in Amazon Prime’s latest anthology Modern Love Mumbai is a cautionary tale on the trappings of a dating app, its trials and tribulations and the emotional toll it takes on a person when things don’t go as ‘planned’. The 34-year-old protagonist, landscape architect Saiba, played by Masaba Gupta, is caught in the dating app loop, spending a lot of time and energy hopeful about finding love just by swiping right. Her expectations from a prospective date are different, and she fails to find the perfect match in the app universe. The emotionally excruciating process gives her self-doubt and humiliation in abundance, as she admits in one scene, but then she starts the grind all over again in the hope of finding that elusive love and Mr Right. On one of her Date Zero, where she meets a hotshot startup founder whom she had never met in person before starts listing out the must-have qualities in the prospective life partner. His long monologue is greeted with her blank, bleak stare. The camera zooms in to capture the disappointment in Saiba’s gaze and matches it with that of another woman sitting a few tables away and out on a date as well; the women exchange a glance of blighted hope, equally let down by their respective dates. The fleeting moment elucidates the dating app plot that often makes one feel like a square peg in a round hole, with many misses before that one hit.     

(The frames that tell the story… from I Love Thane in Modern Love Mumbai, currently streaming on Amazon Prime.)

A drippy medical fad?

The article was published on April 17, 2022, in the weekend edition.
https://www.freepressjournal.in/weekend/iv-lounges-all-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-medical-fad

National Safe Motherhood Day 2022: Maternal health matters

National Safe Motherhood Day Special carried in The Free Press Journal on April 10, 2022.
https://www.freepressjournal.in/weekend/national-safe-motherhood-day-maternal-mortality-rate-all-you-need-to-know-about-the-fall-the-cause-and-the-reason

Oasis of Hope

World Water Day special for The Free Press Journal published on March 20, 2022.
https://www.freepressjournal.in/weekend/world-water-day-spotlighting-a-few-warriors-who-are-creating-abundance-in-scarcity

The Ecofeminist Warrior

The ethos of Padma Shri recipient Shyam Sunder Paliwal’s life revolves around water, daughter and trees. A resident of Rajsamund district in Rajasthan, Paliwal is the architect of the Piplantri Model that hinges on water conservation, environment protection and saving the girl child.

“It was not too long ago that the district was known as a hub of marble mining. When I took over as Sarpanch of Piplantari, I found that the water here was severely contaminated. The poor sex ratio was another worry. The winds of change began to blow when we started an initiative to plant 111 saplings to celebrate the birth of a girl child across the villages, nurture and help the tree thrive. Slowly, the rural communities had realised that the trees that would grow from these humble efforts would help the environment in more than one way. Simultaneously, we started water conservation efforts like building small check dams,” says Paliwal, founder of Kiran Nidhi Sansthan, a grassroots organisation committed to rural development. 

Padma Shri Shyam Sunder Paliwal

His initiative brought about a visible social change and helped water and environmental conservation in Piplantari. More than three lakh trees have been planted here in the last ten years, and the water level has increased to 50 feet from 500 feet. “It is heartening to see my penance bear fruits. It has been a long and arduous journey spread over the last two decades. We never dithered but stayed put, instilled confidence in the people and won their trust to do this wonder here. It was possible because the community came forward and pitched its support to these initiatives for tree plantation, water conservation and saving the girl child,” he says.

But the work is far from over. The much-celebrated water warrior’s Piplantari Model is the perfect medium to convey the message to others, and many Panchayats and village heads are following in his footsteps.    

He will continue his work on these three fronts all around the desert state and elsewhere in the country because it is an ongoing process. “There can never be enough of these measures to save the environment from climate change. We need to do more, all the more,” he emphasises.

 

More here: https://www.freepressjournal.in/weekend/world-water-day-spotlighting-a-few-warriors-who-are-creating-abundance-in-scarcity

The Green Giant of Nagaur

Nagaur farmer Himmata Ram Bhambhu a.k.a. ‘Registan ke Ratna Ram’ was felicitated with Padma Shri for his enviable contribution to the environment. He adores and reveres trees and has so far planted five and a half lakh saplings in desert areas of Rajasthan, using ingenious ways to water and see them grow into green giants.      

Bhambhu fondly recalls how his grandmother once made him plant a Peepal sapling and sowed a noble thought in his impressionable mind that eventually shaped his life. “She made me realise that humans could live at the most for 100, but trees live for hundreds of years. The thought stayed with me. Over the past five decades, I have been on a sapling planting spree in Rajasthan, and almost all of them have grown into green giants dotting Nagaur and other places in the desert state. They are my real wealth,” he says. 

Hon’ble President of India Ramnath Kovind felicitated Nagaur farmer Himmata Ram Bhambhu with Padma Shri for Social Work (Environment) in 2020.

The district is home to India’s largest salt lake, Sambhar Lake and so Bhambhu had an onerous task at hand – overcome the problem of saltwater that could foil his green plan. He devised ways to counter it, and chose trees that could withstand water scarcity in the arid state. 

He bought six acres of land in Harima village near Nagaur in 1999 and over the years, planted 11 thousand saplings, and today that patch of land has turned into a lush green forest and is the abode of hundreds of animals and birds. “Nagaur experiment proves that plants can grow in saltwater. We carried water from elsewhere, mixed it with saltwater to nurture this forest. Watering these saplings was a task in itself, but totally worth it. Our successful experiment here proves it. There are all kinds of trees in this forest, and what better than trees for rainwater harvesting. These are the biggest oxygen generators,” he adds.

Himmata Ram Bhambhu

Currently, the septuagenarian is in mission mode to plant five lakh more saplings by 2030 in the state. “I look at the 7 Js – jal (water), jungle (forest), jameen (land), jeev (animals), jaivik (organic farming), jalvayu (climate change), and jansankhya (population) – as the major standpoints of my green plan because each are inter-related,” he highlights.

https://www.freepressjournal.in/weekend/world-water-day-spotlighting-a-few-warriors-who-are-creating-abundance-in-scarcity

Love is Love

“If it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts,” wrote Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina. Love is one complex emotion that has different definitions for different people. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, we delved deep into the love of all kinds, types and hues to explore what the four-letter word means to different people, and in the process, discovered an all-new vocabulary to define LOVE. Every great love starts with a great story, and that’s what connects Rekha and Jameel. If falling in love seemed next to impossible for Rachit, Sapna was determined, and that’s why their love is different. Gazala and Ahmed have evolved over the years, and love is both sweet, sour and spicy for them. For Nimisha and Rohini, love is an unsaid commitment to be with each other, while Manish Gaekwad is still waiting for love to come his way. It means selfless service for Vimla Kaul and giving for Tunisha. It is comforting for Anil and Kritika Rao and evergreen for widow Divya Juyal. But Love is Love for all.

Valentine’s Day special for The Free Press Journal.
https://www.freepressjournal.in/weekend/love-is-love-this-valentines-day-lets-take-a-look-at-love-in-all-its-hues

February 8: Together for a better internet

Keeping children safe online is a challenge for most parents, but it is needed now more than before because their world is mostly online. Ahead of Safer Internet Day, we look at the concerns, risks and possible ways to beat the challenges of this growing conundrum.
The article was published in The Free Press Journal, Mumbai, on February 6, 2022.
https://www.freepressjournal.in/weekend/safer-internet-day-heres-how-parents-can-make-the-online-world-a-safe-place-for-their-children