Sunday, March 04, 2012

Getting in Touch with Reality ... Real Nature

We spend so much time online these days. We are online through our computers/laptops, tablets, mobiles etc and the more time we spend online, less we spend with our near and dear ones, the less time we spend with Nature (in fact, it would not be wrong to say that we spend no time at all with nature).
That is yet another reason when we are surprised and astounded by nature and its beauty when we encounter it once in a while (by chance, that is). The vibrant and colorful evening sky which we see by chance as we leave our office before darkness, the sea breeze and the breaking of the sea waves which we see when we chance upon the sea shore, the blast of greenery we see in a garden we might visit by chance again (we usually end up going to the mall over the weekend, not a garden) … all these sights and experiences leave us spell bound.
It should not be that way. These should be part of our everyday life. These natural beauties should be something we should get so much used to that we begin to take them for granted. These should not be rare but in abundance. But, alas … our urban lives and associated lifestyle leaves no room for nature.
I fondly remember days from my childhood (school days) when we would spend time playing outside the house, play in the garden with greenery around. Yes, the city did not have too much green cover but we did indeed go out and play in gardens. Families would go out to Chowpatty / Juhu beach over the weekend. We would sit with grandma every evening on the terrace and enjoy the fantastic and vibrant evening sky. We were much closer to nature than we are today.
Today, not only we don't have time for interacting with nature but we end up spending our weekends in the movie theatres and malls which take us further away from nature. We seek nature in jungle themed restaurants and so called 'nature resorts'. Think about the last you willingly and joyfully got wet in the rains. We get wet when we are caught in rains. We no longer run into the open when it rains (the way we used to when were kids). Instead, we opt for rain-dance in resorts which have sprinklers for artificial rains.
 In January this year, I visited my native place in Rajasthan. I was carrying my laptop, my tablet and of course my mobile phone. I expected work will come up and I would be connecting to office email a couple of times every day and might even need to have a few over-seas conference calls.
Well … fortunately / unfortunately … I was not able to do anything of that sort. The first thing which happened was that I forgot to carry my mobile charger and it was not easy to find a Samsung charger in my village home nor did I find it with my few neighbors.
The next thing that happened was my tablet was not connecting to Internet since the sim card I was using was unable to catch even the faintest bar of signal. Frequent power-cuts and fluctuating power meant that I was not risking connecting my laptop either.
So for all practical purposes, I was of-live for 3 full days that I spent in my native home. Not even mobile connectivity. And boy, what an experience it was.
The first day I was slightly worried and even iterated. Thinking about what might have happened and landed in my company email box. What all mails would have come to my Gmail.  What all I missed on FB and Twitter. And so on …
I spent part of the day visiting a couple of temples in my village … realizing that my small village had 11 Jain Temples and my grandfather was part of the village committee which was responsible for renovating all these temples. I am sure I would have skipped visiting these temples had I been online. I would have stayed back while my parents would have gone temple-hopping.
The second day, I was saner. I did not feel irritated or impatient about being offline. I woke up early and witnessed the Sun rise. While I was enjoying the sun rise, I realized that I had NOT enjoyed the sunrise in its full glory for ages. Maybe more than 15 years. It was an awesome experience. The next thing I got involved was washing clothes. Yes, I joined my dad in washing clothes with our bare hands (no washing machine in our native home). It was quite an experience. I have no words to describe the feeling. Next was the  heating of water on fire for bath. Putting the wooden sticks and twigs together for the fire. It was like an adventure camp.
And that is when I realized that the so called nature camp service providers provide nothing but the pure rural life experience which we have got out of touch staying in our high rise towers in the city.
The rest of the day, me and my brother explored our village and saw so many things. We noticed the various animals on the streets … pigs, dogs, cats, donkeys, cows, buffalos and a few others I couldn't really name. I am sure I would have seen then in my earlier visits to my village but I had really noticed them only that day. Usually, we keep ourselves busy on the mobile or the tablet or something else and miss out on these little beauties of nature.
At night I noticed the sky while we slept out in the open. The sky out there is FULL of stars. Literally thousands of them. If you are reading this post at night, go out and have a look at the sky and if you are in a city, I am sure you would have to struggle to locate even a few stars. In rural areas, the night sky is a treat to watch. Soooo many stars out there in the sky. Its almost unreal. So surreal.  
The third day was a breeze. I was enjoying. I was positively free from stress and was feeling so much light in mind and body. I felt more connected to nature around. A feeling that is so rare and special that it cannot be described in words.
I also realized why my best friend was always so fascinated by her mountain hiking trips to the Himalayas and other places. I knew what I was experiencing was just 10% of what she would experience.  

When I came back (to the city and office and work and online world), I realized that the world had not fallen apart, office work had not stopped, nor the clients were heavily inconvenienced by my absence. None of the emails in my mailbox had a deadline that was a last minute and required my immediate action (not just asap, but as soon as received)
I realized that we often feel compelled to be online; even though it would do good to be offline at times.
I would suggest you experiment it. Go off0line for 24 hours. No mobiles, no internet. Just You and things that REALLY matter to you. Family or Nature or a book you would love to read (and has been on the reading to-do for ages) … just plan it and go offline.
Take the chance to get in touch with Nature. Your Nature.

--- This post was inspired by Kissan : ) surprised.
Actually, this post was inspired by the Kissan run contest on … The contest was about a 100% real experience in life ... and this was one the most recent 'real' experiences that I had had.


  1. Yeah you are right...even I feel that its good for us If we leave all these gadgets for atleast once in a I must say that you are lucky that your mobile ,your tablet were not in the working condition at that you enjoyed a lot.....isn't it?

  2. @SEEMA - It was pretty awesome. I enjoyed it a lot and look forward to being 'offline' again for 3 days next week during my Gujarat trip. No FB, No twitter ... :) Mobile will be on though :)