Have you tried telling the truth?

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I have been watching a television series called House M.D. since 3 months now. This series is about an anti-social doctor who has great diagnostic skills which he exercises with the help of his crack team of doctors. His wits and ability to do whatever it takes for solving puzzling cases is what maintains the audience’s interest. The fact that he has only half a muscle in his right leg establishes the anti-social behavior and tendency to lie. The real catch here is that he is not only good at lying but also good at reading people. This helps him in getting the truth out of his patients with help of several tricks and traps. This truth may or may not play a role in the diagnosis but it does change the lives of his patients altogether.

So, have you tried telling the ugly truth; or are you waiting to be bedridden for someone like Doctor House to reveal it? What I would like to mention here is that the truth may not give direct results always, but it does have long term benefits against the lie. One simple example I want to share is that of the vegetable market. Following is the narrative:

Me: “How much for these apples?”

Vendor: “70 rupees per kilogram.”

Me: “Last week I bought 1 kg for 60, can you give me the same deal?”

Vendor: “Sorry, these are more fresh”

While making the purchase for 1 kg of apples I handed over a 100 rupee note and he returned me 4 notes of ten. After counting, I realized that he gave me one extra note and gave it back.

That was the little satisfaction of truth which made me feel good about it. Though this may seem quite trivial, I have seen people lying about such things as well. For instance, if I would have simply accepted that extra note to satisfy my urge of getting the apples at the desired price, it would have left a little stain on my soul.

Again, there are examples of people who lied about millions of rupees without feeling any remorse. But that does not justify lying. Just try and imagine a world where everyone is lying to you with the most despicable agenda. How would you feel when not just the strangers but the people whom you trust the most, lie to you?
And this is something that is already happening. So how do we maintain trust? The only answer is, by not lying. Watch this video about a girl who goes on a trip with her friends after lying to her father. Though she managed to fool him, she simply could not enjoy the trip until she told the truth.

You don’t need to rely on blog posts like this to face the moments of truth. Try to face it everyday when you look at yourself in the mirror by asking just one question, “Have you tried telling the truth?”

What is #Movember?

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November – or #Movember, as it’s increasingly known – today came to an end, and for almost 5 million around the world this means one thing: time to shave off the charity facial hair.

MovemberThe Movember Foundation is the leading global organization committed to changing the face of men’s health. They achieve this by challenging men to grow moustaches during Movember (the month formerly known as November) to spark conversation and raise funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems. Watch this video to learn more:

So if you are reading this and if you appreciate the effort made by me and my fellow men, please donate by clicking https://www.movember.com/ca/donate/payment/member_id/11860033/

A healthy child makes a happy home

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The 3 musketeers

Our children can’t just block their senses

I have been volunteering with different NGOs in my country and the one thing that I have learned over the years is that a healthy child makes a happy home. We all must have heard a story or two about the love of parents for their children, but seldom do we talk or write about the happiness that children bring to their parents and other grown ups around them.

The most befitting example to prove this “theory” is that the number of volunteers who visit slum areas or shelter homes to teach the children, has always been increasing. Even if we keep aside the numbers, each and every volunteer’s basic reason for showing up was to experience the happiness that only these children could provide. I have felt it myself when I could easily forget all my worries while teaching the children in shelter homes and slums. Their purity of thoughts and innocent acts, win away your heart in no time.

While on one hand they make us happy, if we get attached to them (which we always do), this source of happiness gets replaced by source of worries, when they fall ill. And this is not just true for their parents, but also some volunteers who cannot stop themselves from thinking about the whereabouts of their student who didn’t show up.

This is the main reason that along with education we keep thriving towards the goal of having better health care facilities in slum areas. We had set up a few health camps by inviting doctors who gave sessions on topics like hygiene and healthy habits. It was beautiful to see how different NGOs who have expertise in their own domains, could work together to create an outstanding result. After organizing a few camps, we soon realized that the increase in awareness is not only required for children, but their parents as well. And that is when we started following the “each home”, instead of “each kid” approach. This meant that our efforts were now targeted towards individual families instead of individual kids; which allowed us to club our ideas into a series of actions that further ensured the overall development of a family.
Because these children are our future, we need to make sure that while we try to educate them, they are also kept safe from health problems that often arise due to simple lack of awareness. Educating parents made sure that diseases like malaria can be stopped from spreading by following the rules and guidelines which were set by these people unanimously.

The most promising results in this field were shown by an organization called DIR which has been working to improve the health conditions by helping pregnant women right till the time their children started going to school. From keeping a weekly record of the mother’s and child’s health data like weight and body mass index, they were able to identify the problems and provide timely solutions which were cheap and often included home made remedies. Today if you visit the slum in which they started working a few years ago, you will find a center which now even provides primary education and job opportunities for housewives. They have managed to bring down the infant mortality rate significantly.

All these examples simply state one fact, the best way to keep a family happy is to keep its children healthy. You can not expect these children to learn or show interest in activities when they are sick. You can not expect a father to work with a piece of mind if he knows that he needs to get back home sooner to take care of his sick kid. You can not expect a mother to cook or take care of house chores with excellence if she is broken from inside. You can not expect a volunteer to teach kids and get good results in a slum where 80 percent of children are malnutrition-ed.

P.S.: This post was inspired by Dabur Chyawanprash blogging contest.

Ring the bell

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One person adds up to one million but the change doesn’t stop with that million, there are billions out there who are yet to change. But before we conclude that we need the change, let us speculate the present conditions.

In the metropolitan city of Delhi women don’t feel safe as they are told every day how vulnerable they are. It’s not that the news channels are exaggerating the issue but in reality the women feel unsafe. Some won’t start a conversation with a stranger even when they are in dire need. All they can expect is terror and violence and some have already started learning self defense. I chose the example of Delhi because it is the city where most incidents have occurred in the recent past. But the problem is not just with one city, it is everywhere. The following pictures were clicked in Sector 17 Chandigarh when a candle march protest was held after Delhi gang rape.

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Image

Man is called a social animal, but sometimes I fear that we are not social any more. Even animals have a sense of faith which has been observed and proven. (You can learn about it at mother nature work) Then why has man become so unfaithful? Why a daughter can’t trust her own father? Why a girl has to feel like an object put on display?

There is no one single answer to these questions. All these things are inter-related and we need to find a solution which works for all. Whether it be Delhi or Patna, girl or boy, young or old, we need to make sure that the change effects everyone everywhere.

We can start with common habits. The advertisement industry has got more creative and can inculcate good behavior by using themes like following:

A girl has been feeling low all day and her parents take her to a social gathering even though she has got no interest. They pick up their neighbors and drive to their destination. They all did their chit-chat on the way while the girl sat silent. As all are excited about the party they quickly get off while the girl is sitting alone on the back seat, feeling weird. Just then a boy who was traveling along, opens the door for her with a smile on his face. The girl can’t stop herself from smiling. The sense of importance and respect given by the boy, changes her mood and the moment she gets off the car she is ready to party.
“A gentleman would always treat women with respect.”

This can be an ad for men’s wear or the car itself. (I am not sure)

Already we have people with great ideas which resulted into ads like these:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc8ZbVcdHpg

Another one:

The most basic thing we can do is to give respect to women. Reading the news-paper and calling names to the culprits, to the government and to the mother land is not going to solve anything. We need to think because we have been given the power to think, we need to act because we have been given the courage to act and we we need to be strong because the dark side has always got more heads. A simple example would be the way war heroes are being treated in Bengal: War heroes or rape victims?. If only the society (that is us), would understand the very basic norm of humanity we all can solve the problem for sure. Let alone humanity, the basic sagacity can save us from such disasters. God has given us a brain, the instrument that made us the master of our planet. Why not use it constructively?

All I can say for now is that we all have some good and some bad inside us. There are also parts of our country where women are treated with utmost respect. There are people who have died for such causes and are relentlessly fighting for the right. We all need to bring the change together and we all need to play our parts by understanding the problem and making our decisions accordingly. If you are reading this article, then you are definitely acquainted with the problem. The change that I have been talking about starts with you. If you can make sure that all women in your family are treated with respect, then you have brought the change. If you can make sure that you will stop or report any incident of wrongdoing without making any excuses, then you have brought the change. If you can make sure that you would think about the severity of the problem and ways in which it can be solved, then you have brought the change.

There is hope and there is light, we just need to reach the other end of the tunnel.

Girl lighting candle

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk6Bi23Q7-E]

Going green on MTB

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Bike

I have always loved the concept of mountain biking and with the increasing concern for environment, green biking has become popular.

Today while chatting with a colleague at I.T. park I came to know that he has been using an MTB to commute to the office. I had noticed a few more cyclists in Chandigarh before but I hadn’t got a chance to commune with any. After learning the gear shifts, I had a quick test ride in the parking lot and got amazed with its performance. The disc brakes were good enough to perform a rookie stoppie which prompted my idea of buying an MTB. Though I am not a fan of roadster bikes, if you give me a proper MTB I might even ditch my motorcycle. I won’t just be saving my fuel money but would also become a part of  the green family of futurists without letting go of my passion for thrill.

P.S.: As I have just started off with my professional life, I would like to plan more before investing.

How talented the underprivileged kids are?

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Pic with the kids

I always believed that kids are supposed to be naggy and spending time with them means dealing with their cries and piss. But this notion got completely changed when I volunteered for Aashayein foundation with the help of Vidwan.
Me and my senior Mr. Ashish Batra met at Sri Sri Bal Vidyalaya primary school for underprivileged kids situated near the BSNL exchange in RDC, Ghaziabad. He debriefed me about the cultural fest called “Khushi Ke Rang” we were supposed to organize. As we had only 2 days to prepare the head mistress was kind of charged up on us, but I later realized that it was just her way of getting the work done fast. While she continued to hasten us, we maintained our cool and took care of all the arrangements one by one. The children had already prepared some of the performances which included songs, western and cultural dances. We analyzed their performances and decided the schedule so.

I got so mixed up with the kids that I started teaching them some dance steps by myself. It was an amazing experience as they were very obedient and worked hard until they got it right.  Just while I was showing them one of the masculine steps, a boy did a cart wheel right out of the blue. I was stunned because he was hardly 7 years old. Soon I realized that there was not just one but about 10 boys who could easily do this stunt flawlessly. To the addition of my amazement a girl did a cart wheel and then 2 more showcased this skill. Watching these little kids do it so easily, I thought that India has really got some talent.

On the day of event, about 12 more volunteers came to the school to become a part of the fest. Each volunteer was assigned about 5 kids with whom they interacted and helped them during the drawing competition. We were dazzled by the marvelous drawings that these kids were making with utmost brilliance. All the drawing material was provided to the kids which was later donated to the school.

The kids were filled with joy and were very anxious to perform on the stage. After all the performances, the stage was declared open for dance. The kids who couldn’t perform earlier were patiently waiting for this moment and grabbed the opportunity in no time. The volunteers were also dragged on stage by the kids who were eager to copy each of their steps. Lunch and drinks were then distributed as the kids made a disciplined row on their own.
Another example of such discipline was noticed by me when one of the kids spilled his lunch. Normally a kid of that age would start crying or just start playing with it. But instead he got up, brought a broom and cleaned the mess on his own. I guess the hardships in their lives teach them to rely on themselves. This incident touched my heart and made me more sure about staying involved with the social work. Just imagine what these kids can do if only their basic requirements are fulfilled.

All in all this was a wonderful experience and I loved spending time with the kids. 🙂

Just watched a poignant movie: “Lajja” | Women ARE suffering

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Lajja Movie poster

It is actually difficult to feel proud to be an Indian, after realizing that such injustice is still going on here. Women have been ill-treated in our country since ages and even when we have a lady president today, the situation of women is still deplorable. Of course this is not just about one country but this movie is based on ills related to India.

Well, some movies can really make you feel different. This one called “Lajja” by “Raj Kumar Santoshi” is a poignant movie which can affect your soul if you try to understand it the right way. I watched it on television from the scene where Madhuri Dixit was playing the role of ‘Sita‘ in a ‘Ramayan’ play. The dialogues that were delivered by her when ‘Ram’ challenged her chastity were efficacious.

For those who have some idea of Ramayan, as per the script ‘Sita’ was supposed to walk on fire (Agnee Pareeksha) to prove that she was pure. In this movie however, she oppugns him by asking, ‘Why should she be the one to be doubted?”. She even claims that Ram had not done anything great by defeating ‘Rawan’ because she already defeated him (Rawan) in his own land called “Ashok Vatika“. And if she would have turned herself in, there wouldn’t be any respect or honor left for Ram to claim now. When Ram’s brother Lakshman tries to interfere, she remonstrates by saying that this was all his fault. If he wouldn’t have messed with ‘Surpanakha‘ (Rawan’s sister), none of this would have ever happened. She tries to explain that she had only lived by reciting her husband’s name and endured all the sufferings to be with him again. But she was disappointed to learn that the person she left everything for, didn’t trust her. By seeing that Ram did not understand her, she even asks him to walk along on the fire, because he too has been alone by himself for this period, and the doubt of virtue applied on him as well.  By this time, the audience got violent and the play had to be ceased.

The next day, there were mobs outside the theatre screaming that this girl (who played the role of ‘Sita’) was a slut and belonged to an asylum. When she was walking towards the ambulance, she gets assaulted and loses her to-be-born baby.

There are many more tragic events that are portrayed in this movie; All summing up the fact that women have been treated like refuse, and their rights have been crushed in the name of the so-called culture, religion and honor.

I say damn the culture that says that a woman can’t get remarried once she is widowed. I decline the religion which says that a woman who gets pregnant before marriage is a slut. I discard the honor that allows hypocrites to kill women who want to marry by their will.

It’s true that even today there are villages in India where female foeticide is performed openly. It’s true that a boy is sent to the school while a girl is married off even before she enters teenage.
Let alone the villages, even well-educated families are following dowry system as if it was a custom to brag about.

What kind of future can we expect if this goes on like this?

Ask yourself, search your soul and do something about it!

We can’t just be institutionalized into this bunkum. And if you want a clearer picture of what I am talking about, zoom into this:



To check-in to this movie visit:
http://getglue.com/movies/lajja/raj_santoshi

Read about female foeticide in India at:
http://www.sikhspectrum.com/052006/foeticide.htm

Chris Medina- What are words

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Squidoo

Click to visit the squidoo lens

A post dedicated to Chris Medina’s song: “What are words” and the story that makes this song even more special.

This is not just about the song but the love that is behind it. The power that gave Chris the courage to try consistently without loosing hope.

Chris Medina’s song “What are words” is not just another song.  This song actually represents his love for his fiance Juliana Ramos.
She got into an accident on 2nd october 2009 which nearly killed her and since then she has been trying to relearn the most basic of tasks with the help of her family and Chris.
She needs help of people around her even for walking, feeding and communicating. It is like the most horrible thing that one can go through and some consider it as even worse than death.

No matter how insuperable this may seem, Chris has always been with her holding her hand when she needs him most.

To empathize the things that Chris have done and what he and others related to his girl have been trying to do earnestly since such a long time, do have a look at this squidoo lens: http://www.squidoo.com/whatarewords

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nQY4dIxY1H4]

Squidoo Lens

Click to visit the lens/dedicated web-page


If you would like to know more about Chris and Juliana, follow these links:


ForJuliana.org
To know about the current situation of Juliana, visit this ForJuliana.org
There you will find the latest videos and blog posts from her mother about her recovery and what else has been going on in her life. There are many posts telling the story of Juliana and her family which includes Chris of course.

Facebook Group
You can join the group called “For Juliana” on facebook to pass on your wishes to her and keep track of her progress.

Chris’s story on MTV
MTV.COM features Chris’s story in their own way.

Chris on Facebook
The official Facebook page maintained by Chris

Chris on Twitter
Chris’s official twitter profile


P.S.: I also came across a kind of related story from Bhutan:
http://www.monutamang.com/2011/10/to-my-prince.html

Murder of Junko Furuta

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A 1988-89 incident in which a Japanese girl,Junko Furuta (古田順子 Furuta Junko), 16 at that time, was not just murdered but was tortured to an extent that is un-imaginable.

I came across this photograph today:
junko-furuta-the-girl-who-went-through-44-days-of-torture

and when I googled the story, I read the complete account on wikipedia which told, how those four hard-hearted brutes gang-raped her not just with their own bodies but with an assortment of foreign objects as well.

If you read the complete story at MostAmazingNews, you will surely think that such guys could not just be humans.

While I was going through the reference link of wikipedia article, I came across the japantimes page that told how the guy called Kamisaku who was one of the murderers only went through 8 years of prison. Even later in May 2004 he ended up wounding a male acquaintance. The girl’s parents were totally dismayed by the sentences received by the killers.

Though the names of these criminals were not to be revealed coz they were juveniles, a weekly magazine Shūkan Bunshun reported their real names, saying that “human rights aren’t needed for such animals.”

You can also watch the related videos on youtube!

reference links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Junko_Furuta
http://www.mostamazingnews.com/stories/real-life-story-of-junko-furuta-the-girl-who-went-through-44-days-of-torture/1907

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?nn20040729a3.htm

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD75635ABADA5D41C

Letter to #IromSharmila (You are truly an Iron lady with a conscientious decision)

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Irom Sharmila Chanu

JN Hospital Security Ward

Porompat, Imphal – 795005

Manipur

Email: writetosharmila@gmail.com, writetosharmila@hotmail.com

Sub: You are truly an Iron lady with a conscientious decision

I came across your story when I was going through my friend’s updates on social network facebook. It was a picture of yours, annotated with the text telling about ignorance among people regarding your effort. As I was one of those ignorant people, it made me read about AFSPA and the powers it gives to the armed forces. Just after reading the three main points I could figure that this act can certainly violate the human rights.

This act empowers unlimited powers to Security personals to

  1. Fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law” against “assembly of five or more persons” or possession of deadly weapons.
  2. To arrest without a warrant and with the use of “necessary” force anyone who has committed certain offenses or is suspected of having done so
  3. To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests.

Thus after getting a fair idea about the act, I started reading about your strike. I learned that it started after November 2, 2000, in Malom, Manipur, when ten civilians were allegedly shot and killed by the Assam Rifles.

Though the powers have been given in order to bring back normality in disturbed areas, it has rather been permitting torture, forced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions; as stated by the human rights groups.

It was surprising and abominable to discover that you have been regularly released and re-arrested every year and police has been using nasogastric intubation (force-feeding through nose) forcibly. It is also said that you have been deprived of the basic amenities like internet connection. The stifling and self forgetful existence that you have chosen for yourself is surely a work of an “Iron lady”.

I am sorry about your circumstances and I wish things get better soon. I wonder what force has given you the power to carry out a decade long hunger strike, but now I can see it fluctuating in the activities that have been going on recently. The Save Sharmila campaign has organized various events like street awareness program, cycle rally, signature campaign etc.

It’s good to know that you have got international support as well and people like HM Queen Elizabeth II have written letters to you. This makes me feel even more anxious because, when even the people from outer states are able to understand the situation why haven’t anything been done about it till now.

Right now I am not sure whether the AFSPA should be completely repealed or not, because it has been stated that this might lead to disturbances; but a check should certainly be kept on the activities of armed forces.

Rather, the act can be altered and thus allow prosecution of those officials who go beyond their line of duty. I mean to say that the following line could be emitted from the act to make it more humane:

“– No prosecution, suit or other legal proceeding shall be instituted against any person in respect of anything done or purported to be done in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.”

Maybe, being a resident of a calm place like Delhi is affecting my thoughts, but this is what I think at my level of cognizance.

May your appeal be heard and acted upon.

Kushal Ashok

Student at Punjabi University

REFERENCES:

Articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irom_Sharmila

http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/one-indians-decade-long-hunger-strike

http://www.theweekendleader.com/Crusade/684/Iron-lady.html

http://www.repealafspa.blogspot.com/

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-07-05/guwahati/29738700_1_irom-sharmila-military-act-kongpal-kongkham-leikai

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2506988.ece

Facebook Pages:

https://www.facebook.com/SaveSharmilaCampaign/
https://www.facebook.com/iromsharmila

Facebook Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/savesharmilacampaign/

Picture that initiated my thought:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2048969225507&set=a.1541642102646.2070495.1282747233

Twitter: ( Hashtag: #IromSharmila )

https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23IromSharmila%20

About AFSPA:
http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/armed_forces_special_powers_act1958.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armed_Forces_(Special_Powers)_Act,_1958