My Story

It does not start with when I was born.
But it starts when I was Reborn.
And that was several times

“Looking-back” is not necessarily a leisurely exercise and definitely not an unproductive workout. It produces number of lessons that enable one to ‘look forward’. More than that it helps me to resurrect.
Yes, this site is the story of those resurrections that I underwent. And yes, you guessed right….it has not yet finished!
The most transformative ‘looking-back’ exercise which totally changed my way thinking took place on December 1972 in the dark and silent space, 29,000 kilometres above our planet’s surface. Harrison Schmitt, one of the three crew members of the Apollo 17 spacecraft on its way to the Moon, took a photograph of the full wholesome earth. Never before such a clear image was captured. That became one of the most reproduced images in history. The time was 4.09 PM in India. The image of fully illuminated Earth with flashlight of Sun from backside, it was the mega-opportunity for the crew of Apollo 17 to click in the dark of the space.
It took several days for NASA to publish that image, popularly called as ‘Blue Marble”, for the word to see. When I saw it, I was on working as an engineer in my first job in Tata Chemicals, in the town called Mithapur. The township of Mithapur was situated right on the tip of the cock-looking part of the western India called as Saurashtra. It was visible in that image of Blue Marble. I was taken aback by that image of the full, wholesome Earth that looked full of frailty, vulnerability, and isolation amid the vast expanse of space.
Interestingly, The Stockholm conference on Human Environment, the first ever deliberations by the world leaders on interaction between humans and our planet’s environment, had just taken place in June 1972. I linked those deliberations in Stockholm Conference to that image of fragile Earth. I underwent the resurrection.
20 years from then, in 1992, the world witnessed another momentous gathering of the Head of the States of most of the countries around the globe at Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. For the first time so many heads of the state came together under the banner of United Nations to prepare and launch the Blueprint called ‘Agenda 21’ to chart out the actions for new Millennium, 21st century, that was still 8 years away.
I was in Paris precisely at that time, busy in preparing and launching another blueprint called ‘OzonAction’. That action plan was for protecting the world from fast depleting life-shield around the planet i.e. Stratospheric Ozone Layer. That job was to be accomplished within the 18 years starting from 1992.
The need of the blueprint of the OzonAction was the direct result of the global Multilateral Environmental Agreement called the Montreal Protocol. It called for the elimination of the Ozone Depleting Chemicals, or Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) as popularly known. The Montreal Protocol stated that by 2010 production and consumption of most of the man-made ODS had to be halted.
That was the year I had joined United Nations Environment Programme leaving corporate business career in India behind me. I was chemical engineer from IIT Bombay by qualification and had risen to corporate management level. It was quantum shift and continental rift in my career. I moved from national corporate business management to global environmental management and from Indian sub-continent to Western Europe-France.
Long range planning that I was used to employ in corporate business in India came handy while working in the international agency like United Nations to implement the Montreal Protocol. Agenda 21 and the OzonAction under the Montreal Protocol were in fact the planning documents that included the strategic long-range planning for the management of a global company called ‘Earth Limited’!
That was the time when the global cold-war was ending, and global warming-war was taking birth. I realized that there are many holes, not only ozone hole, in the global equity and global development in managing the natural resources. Having seen the Board room wars in the private sector, the stark realization of much wider and deeper conflicts among business and between the nations, mainly arising of the inequalities, became evident to me.
National borders still remain the major cause of conflicts. But what crosses national borders like rivers, trade in environmental sensitive commodities, air pollution, black carbon, ozone layer, climate change are equally important causes for the clashes at the board rooms of ‘Earth Limited’ i.e. United Nations. Deforestation and desertification were not only threatening the survival of the human race, but they were making the ‘Earth Limited’ bankrupt with fast depleting nature, cultures and the future.
Nearly 20 years forward, when I ended my mission in United Nations in 2011, my task of ozone layer protection was accomplished. Production and consumption of the most Ozone Depleting Chemicals were eliminated exactly as per the time-schedule. That was the demonstration of what collective actions by the countries could achieve given the scientific evidence and common sense.
My journey of ‘next-resurrection’ began after that resounding global success. I realised that world did succeed in saving the ozone layer and in avoiding the world that ‘ we did not want’ , but we could have done better by engaging the communities of youth in the university-campus, women in their house-holds, famers in their agricultural-fields, poor in their hatched-houses to accelerate the actions towards ‘ future we want’ .
So, I decided to continue my walk like a global nomad.
Let me take you to a flash-back. My that nomadic journey, in fact, had begun in 1950s in the stark rural area in India, where the water had to be fetched from river a km away and light in the night was available only in kerosene lanterns. I was living in the mud house without a concrete slab and any touch of cement. The two room house was rented by my parents to hold 6 of us . I walked a km to daily to reach to the primary school and studied sitting on the floor.
Many people of my age who now occupy the high positions in India also went through similar situation and hardship. It never occurred to me to attract the sympathy by describing such apparently miserable conditions to get applause for my achievements and accolade in my later life. The reason is simple, I never considered my childhood conditions to be hard, nor full of suffering and definitely not deprived of the human joys. Lessons I learnt, ‘looking back’ at that life, became my treasure and the capital to invest in my future life.
Looking back, those were the days, full of struggle, aspirations and hopes. Adversity, I think, is not only mother of invention but a father of thinking differently and grandmother of serendipity. My primary education was in small village of Vaduj. For secondary education, I moved to another small town of Rahimatpur as a company to my aging grandmother. Interestingly, while my mother who took her children under her wings in that muddy house of the village of Vaduj where she was primary teacher, my illiterate grandmother in small village of Rahimatpur helped me to get ‘differently educated’ for secondary education. My grandmother herself had gone through even tougher times. Her stories themselves were full of ‘looking-back’ exercises. I then started loving her nostalgia not for my daydreaming, but for dreaming for my future with restlessness. In the huge ancestral house of Rahimatpur, we were only two residing there. My grandmother and me.
When she took me under her wings, I was resurrected. Reinvention, recreation and reimagination became my new traits and tracks. Definition of my ‘dream’ then was not as something that I get in sleep but that does not allow me to sleep.
Realising my restlessness my uncle took me to Mumbai- Bombay those days-for further secondary education. There my journey took further ascents. I was among top-50 of the state level Secondary School Examination and then cracked national level IIT entrance examination to enter into that ‘out-of-the world’ experience of IIT.
It is said that “Put Harvard, MIT and Princeton together, and you begin to get an idea of the status of IIT in India. That was yet another trajectory for me leading to yet another resurrection.
This web site is full of the impact of those trajectories. These are the cyber pages of journey of resurrections.
From very peculiar rowdy and rough local rural Marathi language to Imperial Oxford English, and then to stylish and smooth French, from the green campus of IIT Bombay to crusty salt fields of Tatas, from profit-hungry business and industry to peace making United Nations, from the causes of the problems to the tenets of the solutions, from making of chemicals to phase out of those lingering and persistent man made pollutants and finally from the dusty soil to sky-high stratosphere , it is a journey of nomad that has no destination.

This web site is the reflection of that journey. It is :

Epitaph of the past.

Epitome of the future.

Episode of the transformation.

Would it be Epilogue of the ‘Earth Limited’? I leave it to you, my friends. Do send me feedback on what you think.