Child, the mentor of every parent : Mallika, mine

I have been deferring writing for some time. Every day brings forth so much, worth penning an article a day. Lazy or I can say misplaced priorities, I must say about myself.

Yesterday was a very eventful and memorable day for me! All thanks to our lovely daughter Mallika. She was awarded the scholarship in school for her meritorious work and excellence in Music, through her middle-school, classes 6-8, at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, her school. Music is one of those intelligence that is not so common as maths and sciences, still we usually look down upon. Thankfully at our home, it is appreciated. The right brain enriches the left brain effectiveness and we invest significant time to facilitate the right.

Collecting the scholarship from eminent public servant, Mr. Lakhan Mehrotra formerly Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Government of India

Here are a couple of favourite compositions of the school. The school has many a music album to its credit. Mallika features in the choir..

Yes, over the last six months there has been a concern with her performance in other subjects, especially Maths and Sciences. Mallika is brilliant there too, but interest and passion is lacking. I have been running with her a little more purposefully to infuse the passion. I always feel bad if one does not perform to ones potential. I am sure she would realize hers soon.

What made me introspect more is one more episode that happened last night. We have been talking to Mallika about a great opportunity in a fellowship, Counter Speech Fellowship, that aims to expose a very young mind to a variety of perspectives, especially in the world that is getting influenced by the proliferation of Social Media. We have been having talks with Mallika about her inclinations and engaging interactions over Social Media, both overt and covert, in the last few months. We felt, some of them are not only unproductive but energy sapping and rendering her ineffective.

It was Oct 31st, the last date to fill the form for the Scholarship and time 8pm. When we went through the form, we realized it demands introspection and expression of oneself, not only in words but also she has to design a poster. Mallika was revising for her weekly test scheduled this morning. We spoke to Mallika, whether she would still like to fill the long form for the fellowship. She said she wants to. I just spoke to her broadly about the purpose of the questions and went to my room. She filled the form and did everything to be submitted before she called me to show. I said, if she is happy, just submit. It was almost 11pm.

And this morning I saw a copy of the form that came my way from the fellowship office. When I went through, I felt so inspired by Mallika’s expression, I am still overwhelmed. CHILD IS A MENTOR OF PARENT, Mallika mine. I felt like expressing. Here insights into what our young darling is blossoming into.

What excites you about the Counter Speech Fellowship?

The mind of an adolescent is always a tumultuous one, the heart is one that is often unexpressed and the thoughts are always confused ones. Many feel alone, unsure and weak. Many around us , harm those weaker than themselves to feel powerful. Many seem to feel eyes judgemental eyes on them even in an empty corridor. We are surrounded by individuals who frequently use the term “depressed” to describe their state of mind. People think its a joke and that it is okay to put somebody under a term that is not a very friendly one, something that may be racist ,sexist ,casteist or any other term which makes one feel low and discouraged. A lot of our ideas are influenced by the internet, which may or may not be giving our thoughts the right shape and direction. One always feels the need to be guarded and protected.This is the time of discovering oneself and of self-realisation . People should realize that it is NOT okay to close your eyes and take it or see someone else take it. Your voice, can make a difference.

As I see it, the counter speech fellowship is an opportunity to voice my opinions and engage with others who are my age and who believe that these same set of problems should be tackled. I want to know more about Bullying, Body Positivity, Mental Well being, Embracing Diversity, Safe Spaces Online and Violent Extremism and learn better ways of making people aware of these issues .
This is why the Counter speech fellowship excites me.

Have you held any leadership position at school or outside of it? Tell us about some life lessons from that experience.

Yes, I have held a leadership position before. I have been elected as the representative of my class at school (Sardar Patel Vidyalaya) quite a few times.
Something I learnt while I was a class representative was that, all people are very very different. We all have our own set of likes and dislikes. You cannot control somebody ( it makes them rebel) and you should not take such condescending behaviour either . Everybody’s idea of an ideal individual differs. It is important to respect other’s thoughts as well as have your own opinions which one should have the courage to express. This is what, in my opinion , can make us better. I also think that one can be a good leader only when one listens to other opinions and learns to accommodate others.

The themes for the 2017 Fellowship are: Bullying, Body Positivity, Mental Wellbeing, Embracing Diversity, Creating Safe Spaces Online and Countering Violent Extremism. Tell us about a personal experience that makes you passionate about one or more of these themes.

I come from a modest middle class family. Ever since I was young, I have been taught to share, to include people , to always be open to learning. As a family we travel widely and try to experience and interact with new places and people.

I have attended various workshops on a variety of topics and am interested in the performing arts (I am trained Bharatanatyam dancer, a Carnatic music vocalist and a theatre person).

All my experiences have given me memories which I will cherish forever. But would it have been as memorable if it weren’t for the people? Would it possible to learn so many new things from new places and to gather such experiences randomly?
The beauty of life is in differences. In different cultures, traditions, thoughts , ideas and lives. Differences make our life more exciting , they give us something new to learn, to behold, to try , to explore.
It is funny , that one would feel more at home with their warm and friendly neighbour than a relative who appears to be cold. Relations are made not pre-decided. Diversity should be celebrated. A canvas is more beautiful when it has many colours. 🙂

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What a clarity in the young mind. So much we can facilitate to help her blossom. I shall commit more of myself to facilitate both Mallika and Svwara, along with Indira. God bless every young mind. Love.

Will add videos to this, as and when I find time.

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Purpose, Passion, Perseverance – Inspiring Chaiwala, Laxman Rao, an author !

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.

Why sleep is very important for the body to be alive and kicking – Insights from true stories

I am usually sleepy by 10 pm and struggle to keep my eyes open, all the more when I am at the wheels! My wife Indira calls umpteen number of times, if I am driving beyond 10 pm, to make sure that I get out of the car. She also complains that I am a party-pooper, as I hit the bed early, when all others are getting into the mood. So is the case, when I excuse myself from any get-together with ‘sleep’ as the reason!

In fact, I came out of a near death accident once, while driving alone in the countryside and slept off at the wheel, only to find my Scorpio air-borne and then landing in a thud in the paddy fields by the side of a national highway. I only know how I survived and came out of it.

I am usually sleepy by 10pm and try to hit the bed, but I find myself up and awake in 4-5 hours, rearing to go by 3am. During my student days, even at IIM, I used to head to the library at 3am while the whole campus is heading back to their dens. I took pride in only ‘4-5 hours’ sleep that I needed….

…. Until my brother, Dr. Parameswaran, passed me this story of Late Sri Ranjan Das [From: DR.N Siva (Senior Cardiologist)]. I did a little research to put this together, for myself and for many others who need to respond and change.

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Here is the story of Ranjan Das, then CEO and MD of SAP-Indian subcontinent, one of the youngest CEOs in India then. I found this short clip by NDTV..

Ranjan shares that working out regularly, eating healthy and catching plenty of sleep are important for the physical well-being of every human being! He goes on to say, that he does well on the first two, but the third one is the scarcity…

Ranjan, unfortunately died after a massive cardiac arrest in Mumbai in Oct 2009.

What killed Ranjan Das?

He was very active in sports, was a fitness freak and a marathon runner.

After his workout, he collapsed with a massive heart attack and died. He is survived by his wife and two very young kids. It was certainly a wake-up call for corporate India. However, it was even more disastrous for runners.

The question arises as to why an exceptionally active, athletic person succumbed to a heart attack at 42 years of age.

What is the real reason?

Everyone missed out a small line in the reports that Ranjan used to manage with 4-5 hours of sleep. In the above interview clip of Ranjan on NDTV in the program ‘Boss’ day out’, Ranjan Das himself admitted that he sleeps less and would love to get more sleep.

Short sleep duration

Young people (25-49 years of age) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less. Individuals who sleep less than 5 hours a night have a 3-fold increased risk of heart attacks.

  • Just one night of sleep loss increases very toxic substances in body such as Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (CRP). They also cause cancer, arthritis and heart disease.
  • Sleeping for <=5 hours per night leads to 39% increase in heart disease. Sleeping for <=6 hours per night leads to 8% increase in heart disease.

What is ideal sleep?

In brief, sleep is composed of two stages: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM. The former helps in mental consolidation while the latter helps in physical repair and rebuilding.

  • No wonder when one wakes up with an alarm clock after 5-6 hours of sleep, he/she is mentally irritable throughout the day (lack of REM sleep).
  • And if somebody has slept for less than 5 hours, the body is in a complete physical mess (lack of non-REM sleep), the person is tired throughout the day and immunity is way down.

In conclusion:

Barring stress control, Ranjan Das did everything right: eating proper food, exercising, maintaining proper weight. But he missed getting proper and adequate sleep, minimum 7 hours. That killed him.

We are playing with fire if we are sleeping less than 7 hours, even if we have low stress.

Do not set your alarm clock under 7 hours.

Ranjan Das is not alone. Do Share it with all the Good People In your Life..

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Enough of this ‘ego-boosting’ stuff, I resolve to sleep at least 7 hours. Let me relax more. You too respond, for yourself and your family…

Ten LEADERSHIP reinforcements for my journey of life, from “Sirf #AAP” Elections of Delhi, 2015

Let us realize our potential and help others to realize!

Let us realize our potential and help every one around us to realize theirs! – graphic, courtesy world wide web!

The compelling verdict that the world is witnessing today in the Delhi elections, wherein @Arvindkejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party trounced, the ‘perceived to be invincible’ @narendramodi and #BJP, made me relive the last 18 months – from the run up to last Delhi elections, the coronation of @narendramodi, the Loksabha elections, the last nine months of Modi as PM of India, this Delhi elections and now the results.

I introspected at the intentions, the behaviour, the compulsions, the actions and the outcomes, and thought of the fundamental tenets that are integral to my own journey, and of course for any leadership. I thought of reminding myself, and reinforcing these values that are very dear to me –

  1. Every human being is special and has unique strengths. I will continue to be a good observer, learner and incorporate every good behavour and practice in my journey. Being a good human being is of utmost importance.
  2. I will always talk positive, infuse energy, contribute to and facilitate each and every person around me. I will talk to the concerned person, directly and share my thoughts and feelings, rather than sharing with someone else.
  3. I will convert the positive energy in every individual to create a compelling force for growth and prosperity of communities and nation.
  4. I will focus on developmental agenda to enable – myself, my family, my team, my community, my nation – to excel. Will create the agenda with active participation of every member thus involved.
  5. I will be constructive on challenges that everyone around is facing and make sure that we all together work in overcoming them.
  6. I will respect every faith and every community; we together will create a nation and a world of immense possibilities, immense value for generations to come.
  7. I will work towards identifying leadership potential from within the organization; support, empower and enable the concerned to realize that potential.
  8. My endeavour will always be to empower the team, to keep the morale high to conquer the impossible!
  9. I will always encourage and promote criticism; each and every critique is a pointer for me to introspect and become a better human being.
  10. I will remain humble, whatever I achieve. I will constantly strive to be better. I have so much more within me to realize – the potential is infinite.

Looking forward to an exciting journey ahead, of realizing that infinite potential within and that of the nation! Jai Hind!

Is INDIA going through a process of cleansing?

“I wish influential people including yourself and Satya Narayanan take the initiative to do something with regards to the rapes in india. Please consider this a humble request ! Teach your students this one extra lesson, I am willing to pitch in if needed”

-Geeta, a childhood family friend, who is based in chicago, US, commented on FB..

My response was…

Indeed, each one of us when we address youth we talk about thinking, aiming and doing things that are positive and that takes one towards excellence….realization of potential..

Secondly, the rape issues are coming out because of greater awareness and consciousness…. like the way you are feeling and sharing, every one is feeling and venting the anguish and desire to contribute for the change…the power of social media is immense…it is mobilizing opinions and expressions…for good

Thirdly, the issue, as one of my friends who lives in Europe shared, is no different across the world. It is all about evolution of human being in a social context. India is going through a phase of cleansing perhaps…..

what do you think?

No dream is big, if you really chase it purposefully and passionately – Three Inspiring stories from India’s hinterland!

While the whole world is enjoying the summer vacations in the months of May and June, it is usually a testing time for the youth passing out of class XII – the tension of admissions – which college, which course? It certainly happens to all those that have not yet zeroed on what they want to do in life!

When I look at the chaos the DU admissions are in, I feel even worse for these youngsters and their families! But there are a few from this class of 2014, who by now have created headlines and have grabbed their coveted badge for life. One such badge, in Indian context is an entry into IIT!

Purpose, Passion, Perseverance

Purpose, Passion, Perseverance

In the last one week I came across three inspiring stories about youngsters, who despite all odds, are on the path to glory; Incidentally there are two sets of twins and also a boy who is considered too young to even know what IIT is all about. Yes, they have made it to the hallooed portals!

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Jalandhar : Sumit and Amit, had secured 809th and 2014th All India ranks respectively this year in IIT-JEE, and they had secured 1800 and 1600 ranks last year, but could not join the prestigious institution as they failed to arrange the Rs. 80,000 deposit required towards admission.

Several readers have come forward to help the twin brothers who cracked the prestigious IIT-JEE exam twice in a row but failed to finance their college education.

Read the full story here –
http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/city-others/helping-hands-for-the-poor-brothers-who-cracked-iit-jee-twice/

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Mumbai : With a collective income of around Rs 17,000 per month and a cramped 150 square foot room in Bhiwandi’s slums for their home, life for the Yadav family has been tough. But it looks all set to change. Their 18-year-old twins — Ram and Shyam Yadav — have cleared the coveted IIT-JEE exam with 267 and 1,816 ranks respectively in the OBC section. With a brother who earns Rs 9,000/- supporting his father to help these youngsters realize their dreams, they chose to make it happen with the dint of their hard work in the last two years!

The full story here –
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/two-iit-from-a-150-sq-ft-room-in-bhiwandi/

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Patna: A 14-year-old from Bihar’s Rohtas district has cracked this year’s prestigious Indian Institute of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE).

Shivanand, the son of a farmer, passed his class 12 exam this year with 93.4 percent, and got special permission to sit for the IIT-JEE, the results of which were declared last week. He secured 2,587 rank.

The full story :
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/farmer-s-son-14-years-old-cracks-iit-jee-544844

Each of these youngsters prove that – No dream is big, if you really chase it purposefully and passionately.

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