Monday, May 23, 2016

       "Sangharsh, a special day with special children: reflections on some special FUNDAMENTALS"

We are born in a particular region under a set of preset labels that tend to define us and the life that we are going to lead till we develop some aspects of critical thinking or at least till we think so and then we become activists, yes most of us, though everyone‟s style may not be as aggressive as the latest blue eyed boys of our media and society. That said, however, the fact remains that we too try to rewrite/overwrite the lines. Some of us become hardcore followers while some choose to be rebels, hardcore and aggressive in mind if not so much in actions. Lines: lines that define and divide us, lines that judge and blame everyone except the people in their circle. Lines that confuse us and our notions about humanity and kindness… Left vs right, communal vs secular, men vs women, religion, social class, caste, ethnicity, race, tribe, etc etc. The high-profile, high-cost attempts by communal (irrespective of whether left or right) activists to hoist their own party flags, flags that typically disassociate their followers from others. Anti or pro(nothing in between), the lines are clear cut and getting sharper day by day. A paradox in itself, I feel; that people with grey intentions expect the society to be either black or white. Obviously, what‟s what is for you to decide? The funny thing is, the definition of the word „communal‟ is something extremely opposite to what‟s happening around us and by us as one globally family. “A communal society is one in which everyone lives and works together and property and possessions are shared rather than being owned by a particular person”; yeah I know this definition is too utopian in today‟s world but sadly people still fall prey to this herd mentality, irrespective of the invisible labels stuck on their foreheads since the software of the mind is already corrupted by radical superficial ideologies. Ideologies propagated by the self proclaimed messiahs, craving for nothing but power leading to an atmosphere of needless anxiety and chaos. However, the funnier (actually sad) part is that no one cares when you or your family suddenly faces some real tough calamity. All the so called saviors of the community go into a state of amnesia immediately. It‟s nothing but a number game, rising out of insecurity leading to a fixation to false identity. The roots of communalism are fast shifting though not merely attached to partition or prevalent terrorism but more to do with deep-rooted caste (un)consciousness, pun intended. Sadly, most anti-caste campaigns have exclusively addressed the atrocities of those above but conveniently missed the caste supremacy towards those below by the very same sub group.

OKEY! Now coming back to what triggered these thoughts in my mind? So, recently I was invited as a guest to attend the “Annual day function” of Sangharsh, a centre for children and adolescents with disabilities, run by Sahyog (an initiative of Chehak Trust).Let me give you some brief about Sangharsh, since such initiatives are rarely covered by media who survive on sensationalization rather than sensitization. Sangharsh was set up in the Jari Mari (Andheri-Kurla) community in May 2003 to encourage an inclusive view of education and support community based rehabilitation work. This centre caters to children and adolescents (between 3-18 years) who have, or are at risk of, developmental disabilities: learning disabilities, hearing impairment, mild mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, and orthopedic disabilities. The centre was relocated to Narayan Nagar (Ghatkopar West) in 2011. So what was so special about their Annual day???? Everything, everything including the children... The event occurred inside a „Gurudwara‟ and majority of parents from mixed communities and varied background sat and applauded their children‟s performance and skills and abilities with eyes full of tears; tears of pain and joy, tears of struggle and success. A Maulana talking about being liberal, not just talking but walking the talk too… A mother proud of her special daughter, feeling euphoric since her girl can write her own name now… A sense of satisfaction equivalent to any other „ordinary‟ parent when his/her ward secures an admission into an IIT/ an IIM may be. The children looked fresh and enthusiastic and for a change I saw a set of people defying all sorts of differentiating labels. Years of hard work, hard work as a team, a team that has consciously chosen to break the pseudo norms and customs of a traditional rigid society have really paid off, I feel. A special thanks to Ms. Sonal Gandhi and Ms. Surabhi Ramachandran for putting their heart into selflessly volunteering at Sangharsh. Also, special thanks to Ms. Ruvina Fernandes for her encouragement and support. Ms. Manisha Naik; in my brief discussion with you I felt that you are really a good mentor. Your entire team‟s commitment is commendable. For a moment I thought, where will these parents go if there is no such support??? I still have no answers… Minim Charitable Foundation is so very proud to be associated with an initiative such as Sahyog Sangharsh that cuts across all the superficial lines and tags created by us as a society. An effort to genuinely understand the hardships and routine struggles of such children and their parents and to support them with most educational and developmental (rather than superficial communal support) needs is really a significant and stupendous task. “Sahyog aims to create a secular, progressive and empowering space, which enables young people to make this vision a reality”, you are really moving ahead in this direction of your vision. Can we all for a moment just ponder upon this and at least imagine how the society actually can be if we shed these invisible labels that are as immortal as we are????

Monday, August 17, 2015

“Always is not Forever”

We make mistakes (read errors). At times, Epic shit happens, completely unknowingly…. We all fail at something at some-point of our life, MOST OF US DO……. We judge a person wrongly and pay for it. We trust a person and feel betrayed…sometimes others may feel betrayed due to our certain decisions/actions…. The Road Goes On though……….Life goes onnn….whether we may like it or not…….. time passes away……but sometimes we still feel trapped in the past….d past dat we may view as a big mistake and regret the consequences… d way our present has been shaped up!!!
At one point we feel exhausted and tired…………… we feel we have reached a dead end….but as they say it’s not the end, infact it’s just a bend. “Always is not Forever”…………… is this very point where we have to understand that “Always is not Forever”. What do I mean by this? I simply mean that our past mistakes don’t define us, they can actually refine us………As Robert Kennedy once said, “Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.” How is it possible??? Expand your comfort zone…..yes, just expand it, no need to jump outta it J Sounds crazy??? But that’s d real hidden secret… just like our potential we are most times unaware of the flexible (yes stretchable) boundaries….of our comfort zone…….. Recognize the pattern that leads to same juncture, same thoughts and same results always…but at the same time remember that what has happened in the past always doesn’t necessarily have to repeat forever. ONCE you identify the faulty pattern, work on it (Break it) and modify it for better results. U will be amazed once u realize that at this stage unlearning (most challenging) some hard-wired facts (not easy) of your life will come to your rescue. As mentioned earlier, we all need to unlearn to expand our comfort zone and test its flexibility that has become rigid due to some hardwired experiences. but it’s time to let go…..not the experiences/ memories but the bitterness attached to it….it’s time to forgive…… it’s time to not tell d story but sell the story….yes sell the story to our own self….let it be the biggest blockbuster of ur life… has all d ingredients- action, emotion, passion, drama, humour, yes….all of it and much much more, if you view it as an outsider/ as an audience. Forgiving will not only make you strong but it will also make you ready to unlearn. You can’t unlearn if u r unforgiving….. The point is to turn discontent into action “now”. If you have been facing any problem, ignoring them will not make them disappear. Instead use the friction they produce to intensify your feelings until you put yourself on a new path in a new direction and new obviously doesn’t have to be right. But you will surely be rewarded for venturing out. and then be ready to fail if u r so desperate to succeed…those failures will create a path towards your Goal!!! As Samuel Beckett says, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better” 

P.S: As a professional social worker, I have always preferred working with youth. Actually, I find myself charged up and comfortable while amongst them. It makes me feel, as if I am back to my early 20’s. Hence the fixation may be. However, in May I was surprised to get an offer from Doorstep School (NGO). I was asked to take interactive Life-skills sessions for the tribal kids residing in SGNP and Aarey colony of Mumbai. The age group is 5th – 9th std. I was both, happy and nervous. I was happy to get this novel opportunity but nervous because I had never ever ventured into something like this. But, I somehow prepared myself for the challenge. I categorized my fear into 2 distinct types of fears. First, fear to perform and second fear of failure. To be frank, fear to perform still persists but fear of failure is no more. The children have accepted me and that’s my biggest success of the project, I guess J

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

“From being drifted to being driven”

  Stressed and stretched or stretched and stressed??? Whatever is ur answer….First, tell yourself, multitasking is a myth & doing more than one thing at a time makes you less productive. So, here I have a few tips for those who are willing 2 explore n experiment:
A.     Goals: Living a Life w/o a goal is like filling a bottle with a hole.First define yourself & only then define your Goals that align with your personality. Improvise, rather than wasting efforts on improving the past since we just can’t do that, past is passed... Know yourself. Know what you’re looking for before you expect someone else to help you in the search for it.  Find out your madness and then give method to it…
B.     Desire to succeed > fear of Failure:
"Your biggest break most times comes from quitting at the right time. Being at the right place at the right time can only happen when you keep moving towards N.O. i.e. Next Opportunity”.  Respect the effort and treat failure as a worthwhile experience needed to grow and succeed.  Tenacity and Hunger to WIN always trumps Talent in the longer run… & the acronym W.I.N.  also stands for “What’s Important Now”. Stay away from the -“If Only” Syndrome. I’ll elaborate on the “If Only” Syndrome in my next blog, but right now read it as excuses that we give our-self for not doing what we need to do.  
C.     Overcome fear: One Force responsible for making someone fearless??? Love, care, passion, compassion, commitment, conditioning, empathy, devotion, dedication??? PAIN
My pain overcame my fear & now I am trying to transform it into Kindness through my actions, work-Life!!! That’s the most obvious path according to me, as Levoy says, 'People won't pursue their callings until the fear of doing so is finally exceeded by the pain of not doing so.' I have found this to be very true….my pain overcame my fear…..
Change is painful, transition is painful, especially when completely unexpected since we are completely unprepared to embrace the uncertainty. . . But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don't belong. But, “Never rush into a new beginning prematurely”. However, remember the golden rule: “When u stop chasing the wrong things, u give the right things a chance to catch u”. Most of us believe God is almighty. But I believe that we make him almighty with our actions…–
Our pain and struggle defines our success and refines us......... Rock bottom becomes the solid foundation to rebuild & restart life.
Finally, Be Grateful, Honest & Humble but don’t be a doormat; say no to guilt & pity and release yourself from the traps of unnecessary baggage of regrets, remorse and shame.
  3 cyclic phases of Life:
                            i .  Accident- Event/ tragedy/ unknown fear/ nightmare coming true/ anything sudden
                           ii.  Denial- “I have a control”? Oh, really? Ask urslf…  Accept it, u don’t have complete control over everything - so plzzzzzz let go wats not in ur control!!!
                           iii.  “END": "Every ending is a new beginning”- Embrace it & get ur control back on things that are actually in ur hands!

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ― Albert Einstein
Be a good Lisder. Most people do not listen to understand; they just hear to reply (and I too sometimes do the same)…many a times on an auto pilot mode. Good Listeners are Good Leaders….
Once you've found your own voice, the choice to expand your influence, to increase your contribution, is the choice to inspire others to find their voice. Inspire means to breathe life into another -Stephen Covey.  

And, your definition of yourself, your dreams, and your goals may modify either due to achievement or boredom- no problem! Shed your skin- While you set your goals and plan ur blueprint, remember to be flexible and open-minded. Emerging circumstances might derail you from your track and even make your destination seem remote or inaccessible. Develop the pragmatism and resilience you need to change tracks, get back on course or set your-self another goal.  “Out of perfection nothing can be made. Every process involves breaking something up.” — Joseph Campbell i.e. just start/restart wherever you are with whatever you have. Continue Exploring & Learning…..Be childlike & when a few stupid or insecure people criticize u, treat it as a first sign of success J
Don’t Dissolve through Selfishness…. instead, Evolve through Empathy- & Inspire…..

Friday, June 22, 2012

Greedy people are the Lifeline of our Society/ World!

What if I say greed is good- greed to lend a hand to the poor, greed to accomplish the best for our society, community, nation and entire human race, greed to empower the susceptible, frail and marginalized sections of our society, greed to fortify the downtrodden, oppressed and underprivileged, greed to serve the sick, ailing, and elderly and the disabled? Greed to emancipate- the wounded souls! Greed to accumulate pain, sorrow and sufferings and then letting them go is the Eventual Endeavour (E2 J) of all humans. Hence we are Spiritual beings with human experiences! Such greed is better than the ambition that the Rich and Powerful possess.
              Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin,Sachin Tendulkar, Lata Mangeshkar, Bachendri Pal, Kalpana Chawla, Dr. Baba Saheb Ambekar, -  Just one unsatisfied desire led these unique souls to set them on an extra ordinary voyage of their life!!! All of them had one thing in common- Greed to do Good in their respective professions- the paths chosen by them w/o any attempts to exploit/ corrupt anyone deliberately! Hence, greed if it’s emerging from Good Intentions and for Good Actions is Good Greed or rather better than ambitions!
         Hitler, Kasaab, Mussolini, Alexander, Duryodhan, Ravana, Politicians like Sharad Pawar, Karunanidhi, A Raja, Suresh Kalmadi,Vilasrao Deshmikh, Kripashankar Singh and Business People like Ketan Parekh, Ramalinga Raju  And the recent example of Rajat Gupta ruined, exploited and sucked up all the resources not just from our society but entire humanity for their selfish personal gains. Ambition to amass and accumulate reserves and property of entire humanity is worse than any greed can ever be! Ambition to reach the top by trampling on the dead bodies of innocent ones, ambition to capture authority, political power and funds by betraying your near and dear ones, Ambition to manipulate a person to satisfy your lust, Ambition leading to destruction is thousand times worse than greediness!!!  Access to excess is the real root cause of such radical disparity existing in our society.  Drastic ambitions,aspiration, goals, aims, visions, objectives, targets, desires, hopes, etc though having positive connotations will lead to  permanent and irreversible damage of our society if they emerge from negative/destructive intentions! Things themselves are not dreadful– it’s the excessive longing and clinging or fixation for them, the feeling of dependence for self worth on materials rather than human qualities, traits and empathic emotions screws us up.  Chasing every desire for temporary cheap thrills ruins everything.  And ultimately we go through burnt if not death, death of not mere physical body but death of our soul when compassion is ripped of due to our never ending hunger that one unsatisfied desire that many of us are not in aware of !!!
               We tend to forget the fact that “True Relationships and family and friends” strengthen us more than an arsenal of clothing, accessories, luxuries, ornaments or latest gadgets!!!!
             A diplomat once said, “It’s amazing! Half of the Rich and Powerful sleep with the other half………..
lols  You might be wondering why have I interchanged the Words Greed and Ambition, right???? That’s precisely because that’s how it is these days!!! The result of the ever over-hyped RAT-RACE of the 21st Century…………….smiley

             (i)Pune ; a 15-year-old murdered by friends for Rs 50,000 , (ii)the ever mysterious Aarushi Murder case and now (iii)the murders of Arun Tikku and Karan Kakkad and the Simran Sood and Vijay Palande puzzle with Gautam Vora’s involvement in suicide of Former supermodel Viveka Babajee.- Just a few of the tons of  Headlines flooding our Newspapers daily!!!!

                                       Paisa, Politics, Power Have Replaced Prayer, Persistence And Patience!!!

We are occupied with covetousness!!!

            Passion to help people with Compassion is perceived as a crime and hence the word greed whereas ambition to grow (filthy rich) by exploiting the poor, innocent and powerless is the in thing, what an irony!!!
               This is not the first time that we are brazen-out with these concerns that counterfeit a weakening predicament, but perhaps the time has come to deal with them rather than just putting them under the carpet as usual! Just one unsatisfied desire is stronger than any other satisfaction! So, please find it but don’t run behind the illusion created by materialism is my genuine request to one and all!!!
    "We need to EVOLVE and not DISSOLVE"-Shabana Navani.
 To shed some more light on this I am sharing some excerpts from Chetan Bhagat’s Article,smiley

The Great Indian Social Network:  The corporate czars we celebrate are second or third-generation tycoons who run huge empires comprising dozens of unrelated businesses. Traditional management theory will wonder how a company can be in food, telecom, power, construction and finance, all at the same time. However, in India such conglomerates thrive. The promoters of these companies have the required skill, which is navigating the Indian government maze. Whether it is obtaining permission to open a power plant, or to convert agricultural land for commercial purposes, or to obtain licenses to open a bank or sell liquor – our top business promoters can get all this done, something ordinary Indians would never be able to. This is why they are able to make billions. We load them with awards, rank them on lists and treat them as role models for the young. In reality, they are hardly icons. They have milked an unfair system for their personal benefit, taking opportunities that belonged to the young on a level-playing field. Indian companies make money from rent-seeking behavior, creating artificial barriers of access to regulators; thereby depriving our startups of wealth-generating opportunities. In reality, they are no heroes. They are the opposite of cool, and despite their billions, they are, in what is known in youthful parlance, as 'losers'. For if they are not losers, why have they never raised their voice against government corruption? Our corporates don't think twice before creating a cartel to fleece customers. Yet, they never have a cartel to take a stand against corrupt politicians. They scream about the Radia tapes being leaked but do not reflect on their disgusting content. None of our blue chips have the capability to invent technology like the cell phone but being opportunists, they jumped at the chance of making money in spectrum allocation. International investors already know this, and while they see India's potential, they understand that the Indian corporate-political nexus is actually keeping India poor, not making it rich. So, we as individuals have to stop admiring and glorifying the parasitic billionaires of India. They may not be technically doing anything illegal, but there is definitely nothing cool about using connections to get something that you couldn't have if there were fair competition. We should not be celebrating money, consumption and power. We should be celebrating innovation and entrepreneurship.  Yes, these businessmen employ some of us, and we have seen increased affluence amongst some Indians. Maybe we have a million rich Indians now. It isn't enough. With the right business environment, India can be a dramatically different place, offering a better life to not just a few, but all of us. After all, to modify a dialogue from the film, "You know what's cooler than a million rich Indians? A billion rich Indians."

Friday, March 30, 2012

Let’s get out of the resent mode and get into the present mode!!!

  Thoughts, Change, Empowerment, Attitude of Gratitude, etc. etc

             Don't wait until you can do it perfectly, or exactly, just do something. That's the polar opposite of my usual train of thought.
             Our thoughts are powerful. How to overcome negative thoughts??? How do I improve my performance/ productivity???? How to channelize our energies positively????  Such sundry questions keep on irritating us on frequent basis, right????
             Today I was feeling very ‘low’ n 'defeated', I was challenged to think about what I want to be, instead of what I am not. So, I pondered on my thoughts for a moment. I thought of all things I want to be, and it was incredible to note the amount of energy that simply flooded through me when I stopped focusing on what I wasn't (feeling well, to start with) and started thinking about what I want (to be healthy, to start with). I honestly felt more awake, less sick, and more hopeful.
            While we don't control which thoughts float in and out of our consciousness, we can control which ones we allow    to stay in there and occupy our mind- as predominant thoughts/ energies. That, I think, is where our power of self belief comes in. There is, quite simply, no way to send these thoughts packing without utilizing our power of Intuition +Instinct and Positive Attitude cum Approach (Mindset Reprogramming).
It's a pretty frightening time in our world's economic history. All around us, people are losing their jobs, killing others / committing suicide. Corruption and Crime is on a rampage. Older folks are putting off retirement out of necessity. Younger ones are feeling lost and insecure. The election has brought out the usual nasty rhetoric. There is not a lot of hope among the masses.
               Now, we could focus on that. Or we can remember the value of Gratitude- 'Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – it’s this very moment, the power of NOW! Think about things, the relationships you have and not about what you don’t have. Just count your Blessings!!!
              How about this? From now on, tell to yourself, make a pact with yourself that from today onwards I will pray only positively. Frequent Re-affirmation is the key here according to me. Instead of what I don't want, I will ask for what I do. Instead of noticing the failures, the stupidity, the negative, I'll give thanks for those things that lead me to my goal. A free country (isn't it awesome that we can have dialogue in public?); a prosperous community (isn't it so cool that we all have food on our table and there are so many generous people sharing their wealth?); a bright future (Our present promises to enable us to achieve a better future). Ok, it might sound clichéd to most of us. But………Still, why not? What is there, really, to lose? After all, anything worth doing is worth doing poorly as long as we are not procrastinating, lols. So let’s get out of the resent mode and get into the present mode!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Life is too short ...........................n the world is Big enuf!

I have lost faith in most people. I do have a few people in my life that are genuine, and I feel very blessed to know them. But in general, I find that too many people are disappointments. People who use the words "friend" and "love" loosely! People who cannot be counted on, People who betray others for their own personal gain. I am, and have always been a genuine person. It is disheartening. I never tell someone that I love them if I don't feel it. To do so is deceitful, hurtful and just plain wrong. I have had someone tell me they love me, only to turn around and hurt me so deeply that I wanted to die. I have also had people in my life that called me friend, yet weren't a friend in return. I just don't understand how or why humans can be this way. I have a tough exterior to protect myself from such, but I am very (probably overly) sensitive under that shell. When I let someone in, it is by choice. When that someone abuses my inner being, they are cast out and not allowed back in. I have to say, that the casting out is painful because I let so few in. I lose pieces of myself every time.
However, Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you i.e. Energy Vampires! If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make space for you. There will be no agitation or argument or unnecessary conflict. Never ever force yourself on someone who continuously overlooks your worth. Remember, it’s not the ones that stand by your side when you’re at your best..........   but the ones who stand besides you when you’re at your worst are your truest friends and rarest jewels!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Accidental Reflections of My Mind---E 5 – Events, Emotions, Experiences, Expressions, Exposure and Expectations!!!!

All E’s ( Emotions, Experiences, Expressions, Exposure and Expectations) may differ from individual to individual though the first E i.e. Event might  Exactly be the same!!   Today  Morning's Auto ride led me to some thoughts which are as follows :
           Some relationships in our life are just like that between an auto driver and his passenger. The passenger calls the   Auto Driver and then lets him know about his/her preferred destination. The driver then takes the passenger to that destination and leaves him/her over there and then leaves that place immediately!!! They both share the same route till the passenger reaches his/her destination but then the passenger leaves the auto once he/she reaches the destination. Similarly, even we are at some point of our life either the passenger or the Auto-driver………..dats a fact of Life though it may sound bitter (when the emotions are up and in your face to the point where your energy body feels soggy) if we are in the position of the driver and get attached to the passenger. Why is it that some of our favorite and most exciting experiences with others can often lead to us feeling drained or craving attention? Often the answer is that you’re hung over…emotionally that is!!! We might feel empty and alone. Are craving for attention? Feel anxious, hurried and stressed! Lose your motivation to be healthy (mentally and physically). Experience a feeling of excitement quickly replaced by feeling lost!!!!
I felt anxious, isolated, depressed, insecure, angry and completely sad. It's an emotional hangover and I am sure many of you might have at some point of your Life or might experience it in future!!!! 
As with anything, the first time something happens, it catches you off guard. The second and third times it happens you recognize the feeling and start to notice a pattern. Then after another experience or two you have enough data to study it, learn from it and modify your actions. An emotional hangover is no different.
The last thing you’ll want to do when feeing un-resourceful is try to change your state. Do it anyway. Be happy being alone for a while. The path to improvement often starts with experiencing, followed by understanding and finishing with action. The cure is to “unlearn your programming”!!!
     Realize that the world is insane. So much around us is warped, tilted, twirled, mediated and distorted. People who are vastly intelligent, fiercely creative, spiritually centered and socially aware are often dismissed as "nobodies," while people with nothing more than physical beauty, pockets full of money or loud voices are exalted as "kings." The more sensitive a person you are, the more likely you are to feel trampled in this loony bin of a world in which we live.
    Vow to be more particular about with whom you share your spirit and spend your time. The Bible tells not to cast our pearls before swine. If you find that the same people leave you feeling emotionally beaten and battered again and again, perhaps it's time to eliminate those people from your life.
  Regardless of what remedy you choose, trust your intuition about what you’re feeling, and why! Be aware of moving forward- the next time you find yourself in a situation that is likely to cause an emotional hangover, get out!!! AFTERALL I THINK THAT GETTING OUT IS MUCH MUCH BETTER AFTER GETTING LOST, LOLS :)