Skip to main content

Shramdaan, and a Visit

Antarctica: 24.11.2007

This morning it was 'shramdaan'. We, all Maitrians, were divided into various teams for cleaning operations. Basically, it was dismantling of some disused structures, garbage segregation for burning, incinerating, and some for shipping back to India for final disposal. It was mind-boggling to see how much waste and garbage we produce. And how much garbage is collected over time to maintain us and this station. So many things could be very well reused, like wooden boxes of quality wood, but were all sent into burning container or incinerator. Transporting them back to India for reuse would be very very expensive. In the name of science and exploration, how much exploitation of Antarctic continent Man is causing is perhaps unbelievable.

Fortunately, there are only 27 nations and maximum of 800-900 people at given time staying in Antarctica, so damage right now is limited. But with increasing commercial and scientific interest in Antarctica, more facilities and equipments to survive here being available easily, and increasing tourism, there is likely to be increasing human presence here. Though, as a lay person I think that the environment and ecology of Antarctica is perhaps not fragile.

This afternoon we had visitors from Russia. These 8 of them are on a 3-day sponsored visit. They are on a very interesting visit: going around the earth traveling thru the equator, and then going around 0 degree meridian. It means that they will go from pole to pole during night time only and then again so that the entire journey is during day time. They are coming from North Pole and will end their journey there. They are studying the impact of all this on the human mind and body, and make some astronomical studies. So I asked the lady who was astronomist if she will prove the ancient Indian philosophy that stars and planets influence human destiny. She had visited many places in India and Tibet. She mentioned Roerich, and then we talked about Roerich, Manali, Devika Rani and Bangalore. None could fathom what we were talking about.

Weather report: Max 2.6 C, Min -7 C, Minimum wind chill temp -26 C. Today is Purnima, it is 9 pm and the Sun is just getting down behind the ice shelf. But the full moon won't shine as it would in Delhi. It will be there in the sky but with no chandani at all. The bright full moon from the confines of the home makes all the troubles of living in Delhi worthwhile.

Comments

Renu said…
Dear Sudhirji,
It is wonderful to read about your fascinating experiences!Makes me feel I am there myself....seems like heaven itself!I admired your comments about the Purnima night and your conversations about Roerich and Devika Rani. You are getting great food there. Do cooks accompany the team? Hope you have a good stay. Best wishes, Renu Kishore

Popular posts from this blog

TREK TO VALLEY OF FLOWERS AND HEMKUND SAHIB

When I told my family and friends that I wanted to trek to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib this August, everyone thought I was just crazy. Besides Delhi, the rain gods had been relentless over Uttarakhand too causing road breaches at multiple sites in various hill towns. There were landslides everywhere and traffic to all the well known pilgrimage centres of Badri Nath, Kedar Nath, Gangotri and Yamunotri were getting cut off from rest of the country every now and then. The group I was trying to assemble had fallen through. But to do justice to the Valley of Flowers, one has to trek there in the month of August only when the entire valley is at its best bloom. So finally, I enquired at the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd (www.gmvnl.com) if they had any vacancy for its weekly tour to Valley of Flowers – Hemkund Sahib – Badri Nath. Of course, they did not have any for the month of August. However, I was banking on some cancellations hoping some people might not like to venture on this…

Chopta - Tungnath - Chandrashila Trek

Five days of holidays in the beginning of October was god-sent for many people to make a beeline into their favourite destinations; we too planned to make best of this golden opportunity, since it does not happen very often that one gets constellation of holidays falling together. If I have to plan, what better place than go for a quick visit to the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Chopta and Tungnath had been in my mind for a long time. I made enquiries and found this was a doable trip in five days. Vasu, after some hesitation, agreed to accompany me, and then I asked Shariff, who approved the plan (of course, after consulting Malini) without hestitation. What bothered me was the road condition. After last year’s devastation due to fury of floods in Uttarakhand, esp, in the region of Kedarnath, I was a little wary, since Chopta and Tungnath fall in the close vicinity of Kedarnath; afterall, Tungnath is one of five Kedar temples. I contacted GMVN’s offices in Rishikesh and other places to ge…

How to Reach Antarctica?

Traditionally, Indian Scientific Expeditions to Antarctica have been sailing by ship from Goa to reach Antarctica in 3-4 weeks time via Mauritius stopping there for 2-3 days. During its journey it would cross equator and have all the thrills and excitement of a ship cruise. There would be plethora of marine life to see including whales, dolphins, seals etc. The most thrilling, exciting and perhaps anxiety filled time would come when ship enters latitude of 40 degrees south till 55 degrees when it would go rocking and pitching. The ship takes 4-5 days to cross this ‘villainous and roaring forties’, and is very difficult time due to certain risks and severe sea sickness. It is the area of mixing of waters of Indian Ocean and Antarctica. After crossing this, the ship would enter cold water and then the frozen sea with icebergs, ice-sheath, fast ice, packed ice etc.
Lately, the Indian Expeditions have been doing the entire journey partly by air and ship. The team would fly to Johannesburg…