Encouraging fitness and Fostering collaboration : CL Srijan – Olympics 2017

Health, fitness, stamina, endurance, speed, alacrity are paramount for any individual’s excellence and fostering of team spirit, belonging, oneness, collaboration in the process of realizing the greater vision is the key to organizational excellence.

The Annual Olympic Srijan holds a mirror to each one to take stock of personal health and team health parameters. Here, I managed to capture a few glimpses to stitch into one short film. Enjoy.

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SPIC MACAY : An inward transformational journey; A Cultural Immersion – Convention 2017

I am very fortunate to undertake the soulful inward journeys laced with the culture pilgrimage of SPIC MACAY every year, all through. For every ambassador of Indian and world culture it has been a very enriching one as always. Here I captured the essence of the pilgrimage 2017, SPIC MACAY international convention 2017 held at IIT Delhi recently. You can check the visual captures, in still form, at my FLICKR stream

The Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi, inaugurating the International convention 2017, in his inimitable style of eloquence, pays tribute to the movement of SPIC MACAY and also to the founder of the movement, Dr. Kiran Seth. Beseeches the youth to embrace the spirit and purpose of the movement.

The following short video documentary, in five parts, captures the essence of the conventions, the daily schedule followed, the spirit of volunteerism, the passionate facilitation by gurus who have dedicated their lives for the cause of artforms, the earnest desire of every participant to assimilate, imbibe and live the spirit as well as the art forms, as much as they can.

The week long convention is an endeavour to instill the discipline and have a sublime control of ones own life and expose every participant to the mysticism of arts and culture.

The days start at 4am with YOGA, then shramdan to keep our environment clean and tidy, then after a break of an hour for morning ablutions, commences with the intensives. Every participant will undergo an intensive to gain deeper understanding of an art form works with a Guru for seven days, four hours a day. The afternoons after the lunch is devoted the exposing every participant to a variety of genre like not limited to music and dance but also theatre, choir music, folk music and dance, puppetry etc. The evenings are devoted to classical music and dance performances.
Enjoy watching!



The last day is all about sharing the learning during the week gone by, in every art form. .Here are a few of the showcasing I have been able to capture at a couple of venues. I apologize for not being able to cover all the five centres of performances.


Come participate and contribute to the propagation of art forms and the spread of the spirit of brotherhood and composite culture. UNITY in Diversity.

H H Dalai Lama – ‘Love and Compassion make all the difference’

It has always been a pleasure contributing to the spaces where children observe, introspect, participate, engage, discuss, debate and learn. One such movement that I have been part of as a volunteer, contributor and advisor has been ITIHAAS, an endeavor by a team of strong-willed and highly capable youth lead by Smita Vats and Shivani, has been doing a yeoman service for over 15 years now, in the space of Heritage Education for children. The movement now addresses children and institutions in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh while children from across the country travel to these states to soak in and also learn the heritage of our rich, composite nation.

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There are many initiatives by ITIHAAS, year around, that engage the children, schools and the entire education community not only through their walks but also through facilitation of research in literature, music, traditions, livelihoods that are integral to Heritage.

As part of the latest initiative, first in the series of Changemakers talk, His Holiness Dalai Lama delivered the ITIHAAS ANNUAL ADDRESS to the school fraternity… What an interaction, it was !!  Always a pleasure listening to His Holiness. It was a wonderful opportunity to interact with him too. Just observing him silently is good enough to absorb so much about purposefulness towards humanity…

As he was addressing the children, teachers and education community, laced with his inimitable humour, I made it point to tweet whatever I could gather. Here I collate my tweets and share for posterity. Each of the points that he shares are invaluable –

  • Every #child receiving #love, affection, hugs of #parents in #childhood, will grow to be a confident and compassionate adult
  • we, generation of 20th century created a lot of problems, your gen of 21st century, has to solve. Solve Disagreement by talking
  • Young generation, #brothers and #sisters, think how to build a happy and compassionate world, through education and learning
  • Through warm heartedness you will be able to resolve every issue in the world; love, forgiveness will help you to bring peace
  • Anger brings violence; conflicts need to be solved through dialogue; love others and respect them to facilitate. Create peace
  • Non violence, peaceful dialogue by you will create a peaceful and happy family, society and world228
  • #Secular #education needs to include moral #values, ethics; value of warm heartedness makes the difference to humanity
  • fear is part of human being; I train my mind through analytical #meditation; analyse the source of anger; you will solve
  • Positivity begets positivity, creates peace; work towards eliminating negativity; Ahimsa and Karuna can solve all problems
  • without inner #peace we cannot develop world peace? #Trust & #affection will beget happiness & peace at home and society
  • As an youngster, I can contribute to solving every problem with my small actions with awareness; environmental issues, example
  • People’s movement – I must think, I must talk, I must work – our vision, on sharing, can gather mass to bring change
  • All religions, all traditions talk of love, harmony. #India needs to take lead in promoting tolerance, forgiveness and peace
  • Different #religions may have different approaches for different people, but the final purpose is #oneness and #love
  • Be a kind-hearted and #compassionate person. #Education needs to just contribute for this one purpose. That is the basic value
  • I never saw my mother angry. Not just me, she cared for every child ….First teacher of love and compassion is my mother
  • Every teacher has responsibility towards every child.Yr love helps every child understand whatever U impart. Infuses Happiness
  • Secret of my youth. 9 hrs of sleep and rest of 15 hours with peaceful thoughts. Have healthy mind. Smile adds to handsomeness

He also interacted with students by taking their questions and responding. I shall get the complete video across soon…

I have not done justice to this event if I do not speak about the Live painting by Artist Vilas Nayak that mesmerized His Holiness The Dalai Lama Dalai Lama. I consciously did not do, as I felt I need to write a separate story on it. I shall.

 

Acceptance

I came across this beautiful note on acceptance, that reminded me of soulfulness.. thought of sharing and having in my notes here.

When we don’t accept an undesired event, it becomes *Anger*;
when we accept it, it becomes *Tolerance.*

When we don’t accept uncertainty,
it becomes *Fear*;
when we accept it,
it becomes *Adventure.*

When we don’t accept other’s bad behaviour towards us,
it becomes *Hatred;*
when we accept it,
it becomes *Forgiveness.*

When we don’t accept other’s Success, it becomes *Jealousy;* when we accept it,
it becomes *Inspiration.*

Acceptance is the key to handling life well.
……… Have a beautiful day.

9/11 Gander Story : Welcoming with open arms…gratitude !

This inspiring story that came my way on WhatsApp touched me immensely. I did some research before blogging for eternity, by borrowing relevant photographs from the web. The copyright holders kindly pardon me.

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Here is an amazing story from a flight attendant on *Delta Flight 15*, written following *9/11*. [This operation is called YELLOW RIBBON by GANDER people. A video story, very moving, at the end of the post here]

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic.

All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that “All Business” look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta’s main office in Atlanta and simply read, “All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination.”

No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, New Foundland.

He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately — no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request.

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While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.

We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander , New Foundland, to have it checked out.

We promised to give more information after landing in Gander .. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that’s nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM …. that’s 11:00 AM EST.

There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the US.

After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason.”

Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the US. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put.

The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the aircrafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane.

In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were US commercial jets.

Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC.

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Kent Kobersteen, former Director of Photography of National Geographic
“The pictures are by Robert Clark, and were shot from the window of his studio in Brooklyn. Others shot the second plane hitting the tower, but I think there are elements in Clark’s photographs that make them special. To me the wider shots not only give context to the tragedy, but also portray the normalcy of the day in every respect except at the Towers. I generally prefer tighter shots, but in this case I think the overall context of Manhattan makes a stronger image. And, the fact that Clark shot the pictures from his studio indicates how the events of 9/11 literally hit home. I find these images very compellingÑin fact, whenever I see them they force me to study them in great detail.”

People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada . Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.

Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm.

We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.

We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning.

Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.

Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing.

And they were true to their word.

Fortunately we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.

About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.

After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander!

 

We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the US airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while.

We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.

Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the “plane people.” We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.

Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days.

What we found out was incredible…..

  1. Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers.
  2. Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up
  3. ALL the high school students were required to volunteer theirtime to take care of the “guests.”
  4. 150910153746_gander_canada_hospitalidad_624x351_gandertownhall_nocredit
  5. 150910154013_gander_canada_hospitalidad_624x351_gandertownhall_nocredit
  6. Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged.
  7. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.
  8. Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility.There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.
  9. communicating from School computer centre
  10. Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered “Excursion” trips.
  11. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests.
  12. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.
  13. homecooked food
  14. Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft.

In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.

Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully.

It was absolutely incredible.

When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.

Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.

And then a very unusual thing happened.

One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this time was different. I said “of course” and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days.

He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers.

He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.

“He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte.

He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!

“The gentleman, a MD from Virginia , promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.

As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.

“I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a faraway place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them.

It reminds me how much good there is in the world.”

“In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today’s world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good people in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward.

*This is one of those stories that need to be shared. Please do so…*

Here is the in depth story by NBC on the enormity of challenges that Gander took upon itself. This video appeared a good decade later. It is a moving and overwhelming story. I was in tears, watching.


A very inspiring narration of what every human being and community can really do, if only we wish to. Why wait for an adversity, can we do a small way every day!

Coffee on wall — A conscience-awakening story from Anonymous !

I came across this story, when someone shared. I felt, ‘hey, what an idea’, awakening my conscience…hence sharing

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I sat with my friend in a well-known coffee shop in a neighbouring town of Venice (Italy), the city of lights and water.

As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat at an empty table beside us. He called the waiter and placed his order saying – ‘Two cups of coffee, one of them there on the wall.’ We heard this order with rather interest and observed that he was served with one cup of coffee but he paid for two. As soon as he left, the waiter pasted a piece of paper on the wall saying ‘A Cup of Coffee’.

While we were still there, two other men entered and ordered three cups of coffee, two on the table and one on the wall. They had the two cups of coffee but paid for three and left. This time also, the waiter did the same; he pasted a piece of paper on the wall saying, ‘A Cup of Coffee’.

It was something unique and perplexing for us. We finished our coffee, paid the bill and left. After a few days, we had a chance to go to this coffee shop again.

 
While we were enjoying our coffee, a man poorly dressed entered. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said, ‘One cup of coffee from the wall’. The waiter served coffee to this man with the customary respect and dignity. The man had his coffee and left without paying.

 
We were amazed to watch all this, as the waiter took off a piece of paper from the wall and threw it in the dust bin. Now it was no surprise for us – the matter was very clear.

 
The great respect for the needy shown by the inhabitants of this town made our eyes swell up in tears.

 
Ponder upon the need of what this man wanted….. He enters the coffee shop without having to lower his self-esteem…he has no need to ask for a free cup of coffee…without asking or knowing about the one who is giving this cup of coffee to him. He only looked at the wall, placed an order for himself, enjoyed his coffee and left.

 
Probably the most beautiful wall you may ever see anywhere….!!!

 
It is what makes us human…….
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After going through this story, as usual I was curious to check if there is any video on youtube about this venice café. To my surprise, I found three videos from different parts of the world, promoted by different big brands that is dramatization of this story……

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 
How I wished, the brands themselves did a ‘coffee on the wall’ order as often, than waiting for someone to order one!! Will they ever do?

 
How about introducing ‘a plate of idli or puri on the wall or even better, Vada Pao on the wall’ in every road side restaurant or eatery, whenever we visit one.

CAN WE ALL CREATE, an ‘ON THE WALL’ MOVEMENT? That will be more beneficial! Sure we can do it.

Re-igniting the youth – LAMP Fellowships – gain insights into Indian Policy Making and Parliamentary System

A couple of things that really struck me during the Aam Aadmi Party’s ascendancy in the political space recently are –
 
A. Politics is getting to be more democratized, in the sense, youth, in general, is considering politics as a very challenging and potential career; They are looking at it as a means to bring about the change that they wish to see in the policies that can impact the society and the life of larger public;
 
B. Youth is keen to make the difference; They are not bystanders and they want to contribute and not lament. From that sense, volunteerism has again come to the fore in the last 4-5 years – India’s Action against Corruption (IAC) and the AAP movement that emerged from there, in the wake of political parties challenging the IAC to bring the change by joining politics.
 
This significant outlook has emerged once again after almost half a century of indifference, especially among the Indian youth. When I was thinking about it, I felt perhaps the 1960s -70s -80s, laid emphasis on being self-reliant and the Indian youth chased careers, and most of the developments happened because of this shift the Indian youth made then, and they went on to make telling contributions in both national and international scenarios.
 
With liberalization of 1991, the global outlook that the last generation gained over that last 2-3 decades, has enabled them to pass on to the subsequent generation, a spirit of exploration – within and without – to really know what this generation wants to do in life. So, I see, a great deal of opportunities open for the youth. One of the exciting possibilities that help youth to explore the nation, is through the eyes of the Indian Parliamentarians via PRS’ LAMP Fellowships. Take a look here.
 
 

About the LAMP Fellowship (from the site)

The Legislative Assistants to Members of Parliament (LAMP) Fellowship was conceptualized by PRS to create a platform for young Indians to engage with policy making at the national level. The LAMP Fellowship started on a pilot basis in 2010 in collaboration with the Constitution Club of India.
 
The LAMP Fellowship provides an opportunity for young Indians to be mentored by a Member of Parliament. The LAMP Fellows work full time with the assigned MP for a period of eleven months, from the beginning of the Monsoon session to the end of the Budget session of Parliament. Throughout the eleven months, the LAMP Fellow works closely with the MP, providing extensive research support for his/her parliamentary work.
 
Typically, LAMP Fellows could find themselves researching topics as diverse as defence, food security, environment, economics and foreign affairs. Though the primary role of a LAMP Fellow is to support an MP’s Parliamentary work, Fellows also have an opportunity to get exposed to constituency related matters. Forty fellows are selected every year in the last two years, from the earlier 12. Under the Fellowship, Fellows will also engage with policy makers and experts from diverse sectors through participation in workshops on important policy and development issue that the country faces today.
 
This program has opened immense career opportunities for each of the fellows. Several LAMP Fellows have pursued advanced degrees in political science, public policy, and media/communications. Others have chosen to work in areas such as political consulting, public relations, and the development sector. Some Fellows have continued to support the work of other MPs. Many of these fellows have their eyes set on taking their leap into active politics, which certainly bodes well for a young nation like India.

Visit LAMP Fellowships on PRS Website
 
Just believe in yourself, the world will be at your feet – Swami Vivekananda.

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