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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Women Welcome Wello

Source: Google Images
There are people who react to others pain by feeling sorry and compassionate, a next set of people do not even realize the pain of others at the first place. But then there is a small chunk of people who walk miles ahead of merely realizing the pain but also work towards alleviating the pain and making lives comfortable for millions.

We all have seen images of rural Rajasthan women carrying water pots over their heads to miles down their home. Some of us have even been luckier to see those burdened women with direct eyes. But seldom do we realize the trouble and pain experienced by them. A nation that is technologically competent enough to produce its own indigenous Radars, Aircrafts and advance Missiles fails to think anything creative to bring a sigh of relief to those poor rural girls. We have no issues in seeing them like that.

The Plight :

A majority of us don't think twice before turning on a faucet and seeing potable water pour out. But for an estimated one billion people around the world, the reality is very different. In many regions, lack of access to safe water requires daily treks of several miles in search of a viable source of water — a task that often falls to the women and young girls of a village.Many women in dry regions of Rajasthan and other states of India spend their one fourth of the day in carrying water over their head to look after their domestic needs. Men go to work and women are destined with the rigorous task of accumulating water for the family. They often carry vessels of water that weigh more than 20 kgs over their head and walk miles before they reach home.They make several such trips over a day. The prolonged task over a period of time results in Spinal cord problems, backaches and serious posture disorders. The young girls are forced to quit schools in order to make water available at home.

Women with an Answer:

When Cynthia Koenig, from New York, realized that one in six people lack reliable access to water she wanted to do something about it. Koenig calls herself a social entrepreneur, a new breed of entrepreneur who has innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems and still desires to make a profit. And indeed she is a social entrepreneur for having a philanthropic angle to her business aspirations. For having her growth in the growth of millions of needful and tormented people. She felt the pain of our own rural women with much more intensity and seriousness. With her sheer conviction and philanthropic approach, she designed a product that  changed the lives of millions of women in India and across the world

 Watch her great story @Cynthiya Koenig Inspiring video

"Wello Water Wheel" the innovative product that won millions of hearts for its usability and simplification of work. Isn't that the very reason we use technology for ? To make work easier and more convenient. Wello exactly does that. Its a Water wheel drum with 50 Ltrs capacity to transport water by towing instead of lifting. Thus making the task of water accumulation and transportation as easier and as convenient as possible. Its hygienic and at the same time very affordable for the rural masses. By giving people easier access to potable water, the WaterWheel frees up valuable time and there by eradicates barriers that prevent children from going to school and empowers women to engage in more productive activities. Water Wheel has given women  extra time which they can choose to spend  on activities that can boost family income, education, health, and wellbeing. 

This Business module is a phenomenal example of philanthropic Business. We don't need to sacrifice our comforts and wealth in order to add happiness in the lives of poor and underprivileged. Even smart Business Sense to attend to people s problem and providing them with an innovative economical solution can generate huge profits and blessings together.  This is symbiotic business,  this is Social entrepreneurship. Kudos to Wello and Cynthia Koenig. Thank you for being a great source of inspiration and a good human being above that.

This post is dedicated to Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rain Me... Oh ! Rain.

Receding the sunshine and covering till horizon.
You come to make an umbrella of Rain.
You cheat days of its brightness
And tell them secrets 
to make nights out of days.

You tempt me enough to drench                
Your water when flows
Takes all the flaws away
from Body mind and souls.

With droplets that flow down my lips
is sweet, pure and cold.
A promise to return the waters
you borrowed  as told

Standing on the porch 
I rejoice the tradition of rain
Tik tok Tip Top
Your Magic never goes in Vain.

Thank You Monsoon I am enjoying the tradition of Rain...making excuses to touch you and excuses to sip hot cups of tea.

Images: Google Images.
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Road to Exhilaration -- The Drive of Five.

Thank you Ambi Pur for giving me an opportunity to share an eternal road trip of my life.

Teach India campaign by Times of India Group gave a blissful opportunity to many middle class educated people to realise their dream of teaching the underprivileged. We are born and then brought up by parents with elaborated educational degrees to grab the best jobs of the world. Eventually when we start earning handsome salaries we realise the importance of education and also the hidden reason why our parents sacrificed their happiness and murdered many of our own happiness in dictating and stressing upon the importance of Education. Not even a year at job and you come to a position where you can apply for a car loan with an EMI that is more than twice the monthly salary of a labourer. Then surely education proves it mettle.

As I was working with a firm that was located at a remote corner of Rajasthan State I could not get connected with the campaign through the designated NGOs. But Teach India impelled me to think in this direction of sharing knowledge with the underprivileged children and adults. So though I was not a part of this campaign but i was very much a part of this noble thought of sharing. When I proposed this idea to some of my peers at work place they too got interested. So with the grace of God and support of all like-minded people, we decided to teach a group of four children who were studying in a nearby government school. Nathu, Jagan, Irshaad and Shyam were the four boys who decided to come to our residence on weekend mornings to learn school subjects but English in particular. My office friends too were very keen on teaching the boys.  The boys were also very touched by this gesture and showed a remarkable improvement in their studies. We teach them spoken English and demonstrate physics laws through simple examples and experiments.
We eagerly looked forward to those Weekends when the boys would come to our place for studying. We used to plan in advance for the content to be taught based on the assessment of their capabilities. The hard work started being reciprocated by the students. It gave us a lot of self  satisfaction and made our stay worth at a place where life was tough and banal.

        Months passed and we developed a strong bonding. A bonding of love, knowledge and sharing. These four kids made my stay at the place meaningful and worth. Staying at a place so  secluded and out of civilisation irritated me to the core. But now things were different and those four kids were the lone reason for that. Elated and excited I asked them one Sunday morning if i could fulfil any of their wishes. Irshaad was pensive so he said they would tell me after the class was over for the day. After a small discussion the boys said they wanted to see Independence Day Parade. I happily asked them to come home on 15 Aug to watch the parade on my TV set. The boys laughed and said, "We want to see it live and being there in Delhi." 

You want to see the parade in Delhi ? I was shocked. 
"Ok i need to work out with my  Boss before I say a final yes to you guys".... was my reply.

I got the permission from my Boss. Rather he was so delighted to know my plan that he offered me his TATA Safari. Now that is magic. If i think good in my mind the world too will conspire to do good to me. It is so reflective. If you seek happiness for others, Universe too will seek happiness for you and my boss was a part of that Universe. 

The day after was 15 Aug and we were at a remote village Kankaria near Alwar. It was roughly a four hours drive. So i picked up the boys from their home and assured their parents that we would be back by 16 Aug morning. The boys got hot dinner packed from home for the journey.                
                         In short, we were a group of Super Five (including me) having a TATA Safari and home cooked countryside dinner. As it was August, the evening was a fine invitation to drive our way to Delhi to see one of the most spectacular events of our country "The Independence Day Celebration".  The breeze was refreshing and was in tandem with the energy of theses Kids.  Driving on SH- 25 highway i had many more reasons to be happy. I had never seen these kids so happy before, I saw the happiness in the eyes of their poor parents and last but not the least that if not for these kids I would have never seen Independence Day Parade live right in front of my eyes.  We travelled a couple of hours playing Antakshari (popular bollywood song game) and telling jokes. The time passed like a song in itself. We stopped at a beautiful place that showed  the setting down of crimson sun on the horizon. It felt as if everything was washed in the colour of saffron. We clicked photographs as it was an amazing place to click some memorable shots. Something that I could share with my own kids in future. We decided to do our dinner at this same place. I have a great love for homemade food. The dinner was awesome. Irshaad s Ammi Biryani took me to paradise with in seconds. 
At about 7: 30 pm we started again for the remaining part of the journey and by 8: 30 pm we were sitting in the coziness of our company s guest house. Morning was going to be a history in the lives  for these kids. For them it was more than a dream. And for me it was the truest dream i was living.   


15 Aug 11: The Independence Day Parade presentation filled our lungs with air of patriotism. We were breathing India and living India. An India that is free, independent and potential. The fly past by the Mighty Indian Air Force aircraft left the kids with mouths wide open. The thrill was visible. The parade came to an end. It was time to enjoy the capital city. I took them to Saket DLF Select City Walk to show them the Mall culture. We hopped in into  Pizza hut and had a sumptuous lunch. To avoid traffic we parked our car at the guest house and used Delhi metro instead. The day came to an end and we were tired to death. Morning we had to start on our way back home. Delhi, the Pizza, the Metro Train and the Mall were all the first time things in the lifes of these kids. I was happy because God chose me to add that colour into their life. I was grateful to Him.

The dream day came to an end but the memories of the day is ever lasting and eternal. That was by far the Best Road Trip  of my life.   

This post is exclusively written for the "Perfect Road Trip" contest by Ambi Pur at Indiblogger.

Note: During these times i realised that the method of teaching in an expensive urban school is very different from that of a rural school. The infrastructure and lack of well trained teachers is a serious matter of concern. Its simple - How many of our topper colleagues would have applied for a post as a teacher in a Govt. School ? Answer is None. And that is quite natural too. We cannot expect this to happen in the next two decades too. We were educated so that we lead a life of luxury and comfort and being a Govt teacher doesn't fits that bill.

Pragmatically, we cannot expect such acts of benevolence in common. But we all can aim   atleast dedicating 2 to 3 hrs a week for teaching the underprivileged children. Our 2 hrs a week can add colours to someone's life. Knowledge is the greatest gift one can share. Lets do our part in teaching and educating the needful. An Educated India is a prosperous India.

Image Source: Google Images.
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Saturday, July 13, 2013

That Night.. I saw, I Learnt.

The relentless winters of North India was at its pinnacle. I was somewhere crossing MP region to reach New Delhi Railway Station the following morning. A berth in 3AC class of Bangalore Express was the least i wanted for a comfortable sleep at night in the train. But my unplanned journey at short notice only landed me in a non-AC Sleeper class compartment. The windows of the train never closed completely to their capacities making room for the cruel cold waves to run inside and make the coach a freezer. The opening of doors at frequent stations only added to my woes. It was the coldest journey i was ever making. 

                                                         At an unknown small station i got down off the train to find a hot cup of tea  to warm my palms at the least. I could nt find the name of the railway Station because it was too foggy and the night was  jet dark. With Gods grace i found the usual Chaiwala ( Tea vendor ) and comforted myself with the heavenly sips. As i returned back to my coach i saw a poor old couple wearing rags, sitting on footboard area of the coach near the toilets. They did not have adequate clothing for the chilly night. Probably they did not even have a ticket. I saw them shivering with their jaws vibrating due to cold. Late in their seventies, they had lost physical strength, faith and the necessary body fat to stand the weather. The sight was pathetic and one would need a lot of ill - guts to ignore humanity and reach for his seat. I was no better human being, so i bought two cups of tea for the couple and left them for my seat. 
Opposite to my berth were two Afghani men in their early twenties. They were huge and handsome due to the genes they carried. In the short conversation that our cabin counterparts shared with them, I learnt that they came to India for a tour and were on their way back to Kabul via Delhi.  As i reached back to my berth he asked me if the tea vendor was still around. One of them went out to get the tea.  

Late in the Night
                          I woke up after an hour of sleep due to the sudden switching on of cabin lights. It was the TTE ( Ticket checker). What i saw then was a complete shocking scene. The old couple i saw sitting near the toilet were sitting on Afghani s berth. The Afghani fellows were sitting at the corner and had offered their complete berth to the poor old couple. They got so emotional on seeing them in that circumstances that they could not afford to sleep happily inside the coach. So they decided to part away their comfort for the poor old couple. The old man was very happy now as the old woman was feeling better and warm. He had his eyes filled with tears at the generosity shown by two men from other land. Something they cannot imagine from people of their own country. The Afghanis too were moist in their eyes to see the plight of the couple and their poverty. And here it was me who couldn't stop few drops of tears from my own eyes. It touched me, it taught me and it taught many others in that coach to have mercy and emotions for poor, for the needful,for the age, for the plight. The Ticket Checker  though knew it was his duty to pull out the ticketless old couple out of the train but walked out in complete silence. He chose to take his moral call this time. 

I am sharing what 'I Saw and I Learnt' at in association with
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