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Changing Challenges of Today
By Lancy Fernandes

January 19, 2013

It's 2013 now. Isn’t the world today different from what it was a year back? The past is history. Every year we say goodbye to one year and welcome another, just as we did the year before. But does anything affect our way of living? Do we remain as we were? Do we devise a strategical change, a different way in our approach to life so that our goal in life, if any, works out better?
 
For some the Doomsday (Dec 21) fever might have kept them on their toes. Life has automated like ATM. The New Year is the end of one, and the first day of the rest of our life.
 
I remember a youth who made a worthwhile resolution a year back on New Year day. He said, “I wish to seek God in prayer, to serve His people with a smile and face suffering in my life and win it.” Today what we lack is goodwill. Shouldn’t we too think of a fruitful way of moving forward to the next year? Have we not come across some changing challenges of today?

 
Challenges or dilemmas before us?

1) Speed of Life:
 
Today’s world is governed by speed. Everyone seems to think that he or she is busy. Have we thought of enjoying what we like doing, be it office work, going out with kids etc? Have we found time to think of making time for everything we enjoy most?
 
Yes, to relish life we need to slow down the pace of life. We can find pleasure in what we do only if we get used to the speed you’re not used to. I mean, can we walk for 20 mins at half the speed at which we normally walk? We must control life. Workload of life must not control us. We must make it a point to smile often.

2) Perfection vs happiness:
 
Western world values wealth, computer technology, individualism and religion. We Indians value family, religion, respect for elders, honesty and hospitality. Today most of us are not satisfied with what we have. We wish to buy the latest things. We are slowly forgetting our values and acquiring western values.
 
Quantity above quality is the talk of the day. Look at the IT sector. They expect quantity of work. Employees have to work overtime which can lead to depression, being dejected, frustrated. But no one thinks of the side effects of over working. Neither do we complain because we think work is more important than satisfaction.

3) Creativity vs tradition

A little bit of creativity in the way of living can bring a change around. Most times we think of creativity only in our office or workplace, not at our homes. We Indians worry about tradition rather than the changing times. Superstitions overpower us to follow traditional practices like the made snana and age–old poojas which are irrelevant and inadequate.

4) Diminishing social consciousness:

Why is Bangalore facing garbage crisis? It is because of the lack of social responsibility of citizens. We think others must do the work. We seem to be content doing little to segregate waste. We don’t wish to take risk to change the waste management system. But what is alarming is that we start criticizing without letting our hands do some work. Taking risks is more important than worrying about managing risks. We need to develop our social consciousness. Otherswise evertthing will be in a mess soon.

5) Fairness
 
The difference between the functioning of corporate concern and the NGO’s is that the corporate world works round the clock giving last priority to fairness. But the NGO’s give first priority to fairness.
 
Over the centuries India was known for honesty and hospitality. Today we live as if it is a difficult principle to follow. Profit is important to know the measure of efficiency. But it must not be the sole purpose. Cut throat business leads to devalue basic ethics. Money is the focus above getting our jobs done.

6) Disappearing values and ethics:

“Less of values add more to life,” seems to be the slogan of today. Have we become romantic Indians? Politicians reflect only what society thinks.

How can we expect good leaders when good people don’t take leadership?

7) Parenting: Most parents would agree that todays children are not easy to be trained or corrected. Parents hardly have time for kids. There are less guidance and motivation and too many gadgets. Kids like too little or not too much accompaniment in study. Broken families, single child parents have only worsened the bond of unity and love.

8) Ethics in media:
 
Today media has lost its goals. Rapes, assaults, murders, celebrity issues get prominence than core issues of our nation. Sometimes there is no balance in the news coverage these days. There is rarely a channel that people can rely on. At times only one headline takes about 15 minutes.

Sting operations have gone to another extreme, even to the point of defaming an organization or institution without adequate and actual facts. The recent case of Dengue deaths in Sophia High school, suicide in St. Joseph’s Indian High school were blown out of proportion. Sexual assault in St Mary’s school made headlines, since it appears to be a Christian Institution, which actually happened to be headed by a hindu. The sole purpose of coverage looked like to defame the Christian institutions that are prominent in the city. Today’s channels often do not portray truth. They present truth as falsehood and vice versa.

9) Relationships:
 
This is greatest challenge of all. Why is there so much dissatisfaction and depression today? More people are prone to divorce and breakup. This is because people today tend to equate love with lust. They fail to distinguish between the two.
 
Most of us find it difficult to differentiate between what we have and what we imagine we have. “Happiness is about what you already have” says Linda Blair.
 
The mobile ad on TV’s says “You deserve better.” Therefore we have come to believe that the better is outside of us. Another ad says, “There’s a whole world out therewaiting for you. If you are not comfortable, change.” One in every 5 people are not happy in marriage.

 
Conclusion:
 
So how do we move on? Some challenges need to be addressed individually. Life teaches us lessons every minute. We can become Solomon’s in our daily lives by being aware and adventurous. Small changes that one makes in one’s life can make a difference to the environment. A little drop counts. Ex: Closing the tap while brushing teeth. We will realize the benefit of it only if we happen to be in a place where water is scarce.
 
As regards the challenges in larger society, we need a collective will to make things happen this year. Do we like to be called educated class? India Against Corruption (IAC) was a wonderful movement. Now we have begun the agitation of India against Rapists (IAR). Are’t there inspirational individuals who can give us hope?
 
Yes, Anita Ahuja started ‘Conserve India’ to train ragpickers to help her in waste management process. She says, “I know rag pickers don’t know anything till you teach them. I found that once they are trained they learn the skill quickly, for they feel counted and respected.”
 
What about Mr Anand Kumar from Bihar, a Mathematics teacher who gave up his coaching classes to begin ‘Super 30’ a programme to train poor but talented students to crack IIT JEE? He decided one day to be a teacher with a difference.
 
Dhruv Lakra who started Mirakle Couriers, employed only deaf people, not because he could not get anyone else, he just wanted to give dignity to the less privileged.
 
If only everyone can think this way and do something before leaving this earth! Then why don’t we seriously consider about the right of voting honestly, so that our hope of a better India comes true? It is said, politicians wish that people sober so that votebank keeps scam parties going.
 
If each of us can make up our mind to influence the world around us through our service the world can be better. Our society has given each one of us many things till date. Very few decide to do something for society. It is high time we think of giving something worthwhile back to society as an individuals and as a small locaility. We just need to be creative and be local in our approach. Some have done it by quitting their job. Others do it while in job.
 
Silence is no longer golden. We must stop politicians speaking of their promises and manifestos, and make them work. But for change to happen we need to shed our prejudices. By and large we Indians are prejudiced. If one were to go around any city asking how many think our country will progress, most will not be optimistic.
 
Let’s make our life count. Can we not become entrepreneurs in our own way? Cleanliness must be our culture. Democracy is not power in a few hands. We must show that it is of the people, by the people and for the people by enforcing development. Harish Hande went out of his way to light up rural India with SELCO solar system. He says, “We just made the choice to give energy to the lives of the poor rather than shape their lives.” Why can’t we think of making a special contribution to society this year? Let us enrgise ourselves before transferring energy into the lives of simple people.
Let us try to bring joy into the lives of atleast three dispised people in my locality or those that come to my doorstep

 

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Comments on this article
Jessie D'sa, Udupi / JeddahTuesday, January 22, 2013
Mr. Lancy, really felt nice to read this wonderful article. You have nicely explained reality of today's artificial life. Olden days, no one had money but they had peace of mind, happiness and unity. But today, every one has money and all the luxury but no one has peace of mind. Every day we run after some new things and we forget to enjoy with what we already have.
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John DSouza, MangaloreSunday, January 20, 2013
Running at speed is fine, but at what cost and what is the purpose?
We are running fast with the support of revolutionized electronic media, mobile technology and information technology. Its encouragement with extra speed and cheap rate, it makes us just run, without deciding the right direction.
In the meantime, our millions of vehicles on roads, (which are trying to outnumber population like mobiles), run with expensive fuel cost, releasing health hazardous air pollution and peace disturbing sound pollution, just to face competition and comparison.
We run them with a tortoise style, which is slow and steady since the introduction automobile engine. After comparing the great achievement in communication sector, now it is essential for us to have concept change, in our vehicles movement, with the introduction of rabbit/kangaroo style, for amazing benefits and incredible solutions and hence to have a revolutionary change in land transport sector.
Comment on this message

A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.Sunday, January 20, 2013
Happy to read your article after a very longt time touching a reality of life. Everybody is running too fast while slowing down greatly on values-ethics-purpose and real goals of life.The runners don't know now, in which direction they are running and for what purpose in life?
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