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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“Widen your horizons, build a well-rounded personality” – S K Munjal exhorts the youth at CL’s Career Junction

Career Junction @ constitution club, New DelhiSri S K Munjal, Vice-chair, Hero motorcorp, extolling the youth at Career Junction

INDIA is a very very interesting place to be today
– Every govt has done better than the previous one

– When we got independence, we called ourselves socialist democratic country, with market economy; very unusual and one of its kind
– It was a bipolar world, founders of non- aligned movement
– It address the needs of people and meets the needs of people
– We followed five year plan, borrowed from then USSR

– Everything was licensed, where, even quantity to be produced was also mentioned
– efficiency was penalized; greater production was penalized
– industry created liaising; how to get license, and how not to allow others from getting it
– monopolistic markets formed
– quality, consistency, choice, etc customer had no choice
– in 60-70s .. 2% GDP growth rate…Hindu growth rate
– Historically, a couple of hundred years ago, we were growing at 20% china grew at 30%

– Soon, India will be the single largest, in population
– we need to find an employment for 12-15 million people year on year for next 20 years
– We run a school in Ludhiana, for children of industrial workers, all come from UP, Bihar
– we are encouraging people to bring families, so that children get educated
– in the last year 12 in the top 50 of the state, last to last year state topper
– I am sharing this coz, if not for such opportunities, these would have never been benefitted

– if one of you becomes an entrepreneur, you will create jobs; imagine what one can do
– Now 8 year olds, 11-12 year olds are becoming entrepreneurs
– education gives added advantage

– We are trying to build a university that will be nursery for world leaders
– We bring in leaders and corporates to create learning experiences

– A large part of our economy comes from services
– Manufacturing is 16%
– Agriculture creates less and less jobs, we need tech, systems and process to make it better
– We are the largest producer of veg, milk, ….
– We are low on yield
– 54% of population still dependent on agriculture

– Every manufacturing job creates, 6 services jobs… Whole host of activities get created
– If we are to grow in every sense, it is expected that in real terms 3rd largest economy in 13 years
– Opportunities are immense
– there are areas within manufacturing that are large multipliers
– the policies on infrastructure creation can make a huge difference
– You create industrial complexes, suppliers, institutions…..entrepreneurs..
– Auto motive complex attracts ancillaries, suppliers
– In the US – steel, auto motives, home were in the order…..
– Example – 107 companies produces stuff for home infra
– Lack of infra, red tape, corruption are putting India down

– One of the recommendations made is to change interfaces between govt and industry, govt and people
– Get rid off all human human interaction. Get technology for interface…
– Please only looks at the best and better it; look at the country and better it …
– starting the companies..let us better Singapore; Law, better than Malaysia..
– you should be able to go and settle anywhere in the country

– plan your work, work your plan
– have passion, you can cover all the handicaps
– if you are driven by passion, no time limits
– today ministers are working overtime
– ‘why should not we be a 20 trillion dollar economy’ – Modi said; very inspiring, a profound statement
– biggest problems gives best opportunities

– infra is the biggest problems…..largest conceived Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor
– high speed rail network corridor….100 Kim’s of industrial belt, smart cities
– smart cities are planned cities
– we have created only 5 cities in 60 years, china has built Over 100
– these cities will have tech, energy, food, logistics, places and work close, efficient mass transport system; water management systems… Clusters
– 7 seven smart cities have been signed
– modeled after Tokyo-Osaka corridor
– kol- Amritsar, Bangalore-chennai
– airports, highways
– waterways

– find opportunity for yourselves
– Abraham Lincoln failed so many times before becoming the President of the US
– Sunil Mittal failed seven times,….look at their perseverance,
– Sunil changed every model to become the best model in the world..

– You experiment with life..take sensible risks
– do not take wild gamble, take smart gamble
– opportunities in the new economy are new
– ecommerce companies valued higher than retail companies
– tech and communication is breaking all the barriers
– we are servicing the world
– we have opportunities; are literally all around us
– food processing, transportation; water, education, financial education
– SIP – saving and investment plan is an interesting

– 16% of world’s gold is in India lying idle??? if we can convert an instrument in making this financial opportunity
– world class companies have huge percentage of Indians
– never teach any one the answers, always ask them questions, so they go to find answers

– widen your horizons.. Learn about liberal arts, humanities
– Work towards lateral thinking, well balanced and well-rounded personality.

Wishing you all the very best.

Dargah Nizamuddin : A soulful journey within!

As part of my journey of life, I endeavor to contribute to movements and organizations in the spaces of education and culture, which are close to my heart, due to the impact they can leave on the values and character of an individual. One such organization that I mentor, facilitate and contribute to is ITIHAAS. ITIHAAS works with school going children predominantly taking them through heritage walks that awaken the sense of social responsibility in them. It helps children in understanding their current context with a perspective of past and future.

Recently a large delegation of about 50+ historians and curators from the museums of the US were visiting India and ITIHAAS was chosen to take this delegation on a heritage walk to help them understand the secular fabric of our nation. ITIHAAS took them to Nizamuddin Dargah, final resting place of Sufi saint Kwaza Nizamuddin Aulia, which is a place of worship that attracts followers of all faiths. Though India as a nation allows individuals to follow their own faith and also respect other faiths, not many would venture to step into the wsrohipping places of other faiths. This walk of historians from the US generated curiosity in me and I decided to join them on the walk.

I managed to capture elements from that walk, and stitched a short delightful video. Here is one for you.

You would have noticed a delegation of 175 brethren from our neighboring Pakistan in the Dargah premises, actively interacting, singing and dancing. It was heart-warming to meet them and interact with them. Hope both nations will throw open their borders for free flow of each other’s citizens.

The US delegation was in awe of the place and the walk. India with a written history that dates back to over 10000 years, for sure, can wow a nation that is just a 400 years old!

I was glad that I made it to the walk.

SreeniOnRoad features, Incredible India!’s awe-inspiring Ellora caves (700 AD)

Awe inspiring and Jaw dropping, simply said! Every visit to these magnificent monolith caves inspires me and goads me to dwell much deeper within! What a human being can make if only one believes in his ideas and pursues it with all his vigour.

  • How was it possible to create such a large cluster of cave architectural marvels in 700AD?
  • How was it conceived? How the thought of chiseling from the top to the bottom must have occurred?
  • How could they imagine creating a cave hall measuring 55m X 36m?

I shot a few short clips with my ipad and did a simple edit and uploaded it on Youtube with an intention of including in this article. Then I realized that there are many beautiful videos already on youtube, in a few of which it has been assumed that such a creation 2000-1500 years ago is not humanely possible and it has to be only a creation of aliens. I have included a few videos in the end!

for the complete story with amazing photo-spreads head to sreenionroad

Sreeni’s humble journey – In Media, Books, publications, collaborations

I feel very elated and humbled at the same time, looking back at my journey as an edupreneur (educationist + entrepreneur) in the last eighteen years. This journey took me to many countries in the world, met many inspiring personalities, gave opportunity to create new businesses, initiate new endeavours that would facilitate thousands of children and youth realize their dreams, yet the most important thing has been that of discovering many more dimensions of my own journey of infinity (discovering the infinite potential within).

Ever since I returned to Delhi in 2008 after a five year stint abroad and then setting up schools in Hyderabad and Indore, I seriously started working on my passions – performing arts, fine arts, introspecting and writing, facilitating passionate artists who need support, apart from motivating youth to excel and young parents on parenting, creating exciting learning environments. I am inspired by all near and dear who have changed their gears in multiple-areas – brothers, Satya in Urdu poetry and lyrics, Param in holistic healing; My colleagues at Career Launcher : Shivku, GP, Nikhil, Sujit have been role models in many ways for their steadfastness in the endeavours they espouse; My friends who have created their own enterprises, eminent personalities and artists who are excelling in their passions have also been prodding me unbeknown to them. When I was taking stock of the outcome of these endeavours, I feel really charged and motivated to change the gears to do so much more.

The outcomes of this passionate journey has been varied, unexpectedly – publishing of my work in media, books magazines, online portals; invitations to programs, workshops on various media; eminent personalities co-opting me in their work and so on. I thought of showcasing it as a way of keeping myself motivated, apart from being a source of inspiration for many more who wish to excel. This reiterates my thought that, “If I am passionate about my work and dedicatedly persevere then the world will conspire to make it much more meaningful; and take me to places that I have never known.”

The most unexpected of the outcomes has been featuring in a book, “Young Leaders Success Code,” published by National HRD network and IMI. This chapter, dedicated to my leadership style, traces my journey from childhood to 2011…


Book - Young leaders Success Code - features R.SreenivasanBook - Young leaders Success Code - features R.SreenivasanBook - Young leaders Success Code - features R.SreenivasanBook - Young leaders Success Code - features R.SreenivasanBook - Young leaders Success Code - features R.Sreenivasan

Media – Both electronic and print have been kind enough to co-opt me, invite me to be a speaker or panelist on various programmes that address the needs of youth : Education, Careers, Parenting; Also covering my motivational tours and workshops – ‘Dream It, Do It’; ‘Think Big, Start Small’

Sreeni on GeNext on DD, April 30, 2011, 1:30pmSreeni in DD News Charcha mein Sept 03, 2011Find the leader and winner in your child - Motivational sessionEarly Childhood Education - School Leadership Conference2013 posters of Dream It, Do It! tour across the country

As I kept traveling around the world, my constant companion ‘the camera’ did enable me to capture India and the world in its kaleidoscopic spirit and colors; These splendid captures have attracted many publishers to embellish their works across the media – books, magazines, online-works etc from adorning their covers to centre-spreads!

– coffee table book by Ministry of External affairs – “The India Idea” dedicated to Indian Innovation spirit
– Three coffee table travel books published by Parragon on Jaisalmer, Rajasthan and golden triangle
– The cover of a book by Cambridge University Press
– Special issues of Femina; IIMB Alumni magazine
– Penguin’s best five – ‘India – A portrait through your lens’
– Overseas : Online magazines and their offline publications in Singapore (STORM); French publication – Linternaute; Las Vegas city guide

The India Idea – BookThe India Idea – BookThe Golden Triangle - Travel Guide features Sreeni's imagesJaisalmerRajasthan, the land of colors - Travel guidCambridge university press features Sreeni's photo on the cover of the book Devotion and Dissent in Indian HistoryLiving in Two Worlds - Femina Anniversary Issue 2011Living in Two Worlds - Femina Anniversary Issue 2011IIMB Alumni Magazine covers SPANDANIIMB Alumni Magazine covers SPANDANFrench website features my holi photos - LinternautePenguin India : 'India: A Portrait Through Your Lens' - Best 5

My passionate pursuit of performing arts – in front of and also behind the camera – yielded such a rich collection that, in 2013, I initiated my own dance photography exhibition and world dance festival, SPANDAN, that coincides with world dance day; and my annual SPANDAN calendar of Dance – a tribute to Indian dance forms emerged… glad to see the second year taking off in a very auspicious note. I owe my sincere gratitude to India Habitat Centre for being my hospitality partner for my annual exhibition and dance festival. My humble salutations to every artist who has allowed me, encouraged me to capture their performances and participated in my dance endeavours.

SPANDAN in FIRST CITYCalendars 2014 - Spandan and AIDSSpandan Calendar of Dance  - A tribute to Indian Dance Forms 2014Spandan Calendar of Dance  - A tribute to Indian Dance Forms 2014Blogged select captures

I am indebted to many eminent critiques and writers, movements like SPIC MACAY, SRISTI for co-opting me to capture their work and contribute to their cause, and also for embellishing their work in dailies and magazines…

Celebrating selfless service - THE HINDU - June 28, Three photosMedia : SPIC MACAY Coverages feature my photosSPIC MACAY 25th National Convention, in MediaSPIC MACAY 25th National Convention, in MediaMedia : SPIC MACAY Coverages feature my photos
Media : SPIC MACAY Coverages feature my photosSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK SurathkalSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK SurathkalSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK SurathkalSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK SurathkalSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK Surathkal

Books, publications and Media, a set on Flickr.

In offing, in early 2014 : A couple of books on Indian Classical Dance forms, embellished with my photo-captures, by

a. An eminent dance critique of our country, who is a SNA Awardee and regular columnist,
b. A brilliant young dancer, SNA Yuva puraskar awardee, with an eminent culture ambassador.
c. SPANDAN dance festival and photography exhibition in April

Third in the series : Travel guide on Rajasthan, the land of colors captured by sreeni

This book is third in the series of Travel guides of this year that feature quite a few images from my vast captures of colorful Rajasthan. Here is the link on FLICKR to The collection of my captures from the length and breadth of Rajasthan

Rajasthan, the land of colors - Travel guid

This book is a handy tool to convince your friends that Rajasthan is one of the most beautiful and exotic travel destinations ever. It’s not all about camels, though there are camel safaris and camel fairs galore. Rajasthan, the land of kings; an arid land tamed by a valorous people. It is the land of Rajputs, a people quick to take offence and generous with forgiveness. Their annals are written in blood and fire and every grain of sand has been drenched in blood at least once. The people are attired in all colours and hues of a rainbow, fluorescent colours being favoured for turbans. Their ghagra-cholis have beautiful applique patterns, a flash of glass here, a bead there. Jewellery and tattoos are sported by men and women alike. Most men take pride in their lustrous moustaches and beards, combed with great care. It is the sturdy forts, airy palaces, lavish havelis and the vitality of the people that still attract tourists by the hordes.

If you happen to be in a book store, just pick this up and browse; you will love the vivid, colorful spreads…

Sreeni’s resplendent captures in the Travel Book : Jaisalmer, the golden city

Jaisalmer, the golden city

This book, by parragon publishing, is meant for armchair traveller and globetrotter alike. Stunning pictures transport you to the Golden Fort. It stands high upon a hill, painstakingly built and fought over by Bhati Rajputs. It has the distinction of being one of the few living forts in the world.

Within the Fort stands the palace of the erstwhile rulers and a number of Jain and Hindu temples with extensively carved interiors. The narrow lanes within the Fort throb with life, young artists dancing with castanets; ravanhattas laid against the golden wall accompanied by an artist playing some long lost tune; roof top cafes promising an amazing view of the city, and myriad handicrafts displayed on the walls; all awaiting a tourist’s eye.

In the burgeoning city outside are the havelis of old with overhanging balconies and extensively carved facades. Within, all is plush and leisurely, evidence of a prosperity derived from businesses overseas.

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Jaisalmer, the “Golden City”, is located on the westernmost frontier of India in the state of Rajasthan. Close to the border with Pakistan, the city is known for its proximity to the Thar Desert.

Desert Safari in the sand dunes of Jaisalmer is an unforgettable experience.

The city is dominated by the Jaisalmer Fort. Unlike most forts in India, the Jaisalmer Fort is a living fort. There are shops, hotels, age old havelis (homes) inside the fort area.

This set on my FLICKR covers extensively the ships of desert, Camel safaris, the life inside the fort and Havelis. I am sure you too will love it.

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Incredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful Jaisalmer
Incredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful Jaisalmer
Incredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful Jaisalmer
Incredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful Jaisalmer
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