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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Unlocking the Door of Freedom

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Look around yourself when you are on a traffic signal. What do you see? Amongst the sea of vehicles, we can find many street children who are devoid of any future - selling knickknacks, begging or wandering on the roads. We all pour oodles of sympathy, but the truth is most of us lack the vision to do something constructive for these children. Children, whose future is bleak and directionless. There are times when I am overwhelmed by such sights. There is an urge within me to do my bit - sponsor a child’s education, contribute to a #scholarship or teach such children for free; and be a part of their magical transformation. Sadly, I am not able to contribute much.

Our country has the largest number of illiterate adults in the world, which makes me wonder - we have to do all in our power to change the course of future. We have to educate our children in order to grow as a country. We need to do something ‘out of the box’ to bring education closer to those who can’t afford it. And, make education fun and more interesting so that it attracts those who run away from it. Only then we can change those statistics in our favor in times to come. It sounds like an uphill task, but believe me, it’s very much possible.

Few days back I stumbled upon this inspiring Do Right story of Varanasi Boat School. In the sacred city of Varanasi, which is flocked by saints and devotees with equal fervor, there is a man who is doing the noble task of educating street kids. Ajeet Singh, who runs an NGO Guria is giving direction to children who wander aimlessly on the ghats of Ganga. In this unique Boat School, they are providing education to these children. However, the education is not limited to mere textbooks, it is expanded to a range of activities - from drawing to computers. These children are not forced to attend, rather I was happily surprised when I watched them narrating the ‘list of things’ they feel would make their boat school better. The level of participation and their exuberance speaks volumes about this wonderful initiative. They are given an ideal learning environment to grow, with a promise of a bright future that would open the doors of freedom for them.

“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom - George Washington Carver”

Like all the initiatives, even the Varanasi Boat School is in need of funds to add more facilities - more books, notebooks, computers, games and writing supplies. My husband contributed to this great cause last week. A big applause for this initiative and their journey of doing right.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

To him, with love...

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After our marriage, we moved to Bangalore. We lived there for a little over nine months. I was new to the city and I loved every bit of it - weather, food and the IT crowd. As a newly wedded couple, the only thing we missed was our families, especially on important days. We got married in April and it was our Engagement Anniversary in August. Since we had no close friends and family there, we thought of skipping the celebrations. I remember vividly, it was drizzling in the morning that day and weather was perfect. My husband went to office and half-heartedly we discussed going out for dinner on phone. ‘Let’s just go for dinner at least’, he said. I don’t know what struck me from that phone conversation, but I felt like doing something special for him - nothing fancy, just create a special memory for that day.

With no plans in mind, I took out my wallet and went shopping. I randomly bought balloons to go with the color scheme of our rented apartment, some floating candles from a cute little shop in Indira Nagar and bought a nice yellow bouquet. But, what’s a celebration without a cake? Since it was a last minute idea, there was no time to order the cake. I bought a simple pineapple sheet cake available at a nearby bakery. After shopping, I rushed back home to decorate. When I was done decorating, I realized I didn’t buy any gift for him. It was already 5:30 and there was no time to rush to the Mall. Then, I did what I do best in times of stress - I wrote this poem for him.

Love so gratifying, love so profound,
Love at its height, love, I found.
It was the season, it was May,
Air spoke of love, it was raining every day.
Stars didn’t come, they went out to romance,
Clouds sheltered them, showing their stance.
Morning schemed passion, evening was on fire,
Sensed like everything brimmed with desire.
Should I say or else keep quiet?
For my Man will laugh on my plight.
It happened in summers, I loudly say,
I fell in love on a may day.

When he came home, he was pleasantly surprised and he just smiled and smiled endlessly. I gifted him that bouquet and poem. He was ecstatic, I could see it on his face. Later, we cut the cake, which by the way was yummy and we took a few pictures to capture the celebrations. It is one of the most cherished days of our lives.

Balloons, candles and flowers

Pineapple Sheet Cake for Anniversary

Afterwards, when I shared it with one of my friends, she made a beautiful hand-made frame for the poem, which we kept on our bedside later on. That frame reminds us of our first engagement anniversary after marriage and many happy things associated with it. I simply love it. 

Poem displayed on a hand-made frame on right hand side

Life is all about creating moments and enjoying the little things in life. I just did what my heart said - it was nothing big but it just made his day and created a special memory for both of us.

*I am participating in the #DilKiDealOnSnapdeal activity at BlogAdda in association with SnapDeal.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Empowering Women in the Workplace

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I’ve met so many successful women in my life - entrepreneurs, corporate heads, writers, models and successful homemakers. Yes, who says success is associated with money only? Managing any aspect of life with finesse is a benchmark of success. Isn’t it? When we talk about women, I feel #EveryWomanIsALeader - juggling between many activities, giving more than 100% of their capabilities and inspiring everyone around them to excel.


And, women these days are breaking the shell and reaching the areas where their presence was not registered earlier. It fills my heart with pride, but sadly, even after acknowledging and lauding her achievements, not much is done to encourage women. We pass judgements - Don’t you think she is neglecting her family for her career? She got promoted because she is close to her boss… such remarks are made without bothering to understand a woman’s hard work and dedication. If we want men to outdo others in any field, we must stop passing such remarks and start encouraging them. And such a work must start by providing a conducive environment - a family should support a female in pursuing her dreams and an organization should have facilities and rules to further this cause.


To empower female employees in the true sense, first, there should be no gender bias. I’ve witnessed that no matter what people say, men tend to treat female employees with certain reservations. I was once refrained from organizing a meeting in a five-star, as running and coordinating with so many parties is a male's job. Even when I started my business, I was not taken seriously as I was a young girl in a male dominated business. We need to shed this mentality, work is not gender based. Here in the US, I see women driving buses at late hours. We need such a progress in India too. With this, I think, comes the point of safety. We need to make sure that women feel safe. But that is quite debatable, sometimes we overdo the concern of safety. I read a status few months back where one of my friends was not allowed to work late and complete her assignment as there was no male present in the office. It was her company’s policy of male accompanying a female in company’s cab back home. Now, this kind of safety is pretty restrictive. Rather than fostering growth, it is putting chains on our freedom, flexibility to work and compete with our counterparts.

As far as working for a single woman is concerned it is slightly easier, but when a woman gets married, she has added responsibilities. In our country, where taking care of our families is ingrained in us, I feel the flexibility of working hours will surely go a long way in boosting female participation in all organizations. Booming BPO industry is a proof of it. Lastly, but not the least, every organization must have a Mentor Program for female employees. It would help them to channelize their strengths, to assist them in a tough career phase and guiding them to progress. A good mentor program can change the way women are perceived in an organization. Also, it will help in resolving any issues at work that a woman faces with her colleagues and her bosses. As the saying goes - women don’t leave companies, they leave their bosses. Such a program will have many advantages, both for the female employees and the organization itself.


If we can provide a conducive environment to growth to women in our organizations, I am very sure we will have many more Women Leaders who can bring positive changes and with this our society can grow in leaps and bounds.
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If you have an opinion to share, do take part in ‘Women in Leadership’ contest held by www.shethepeople.tv where the winner gets an all expense paid trip to an exciting destination. You can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Image Source - Here and Here

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