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

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BEACON ON THE BAY OF BENGAL – My photos and The STORM, singapore story on Odisha

I am reproducing the Odisha Story with my photographs as it appears on Storm’s Blog – http://www.storm.sg/blog/-/blogs/beacon-on-the-bay-of-bengal

I had earlier written an article with the scanned pages of the mag’s printed version – https://swamanthan.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/magazine-storm-singapore-sreenis-curates-the-photostory-on-odisha/

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While the major Indian cities have continued along predictable business pathways, there has been a rise of opportunities in less obvious areas. The state of Odisha, on the Bay of Bengal on India’s east coast has seen a spike in business arising from its wealth of natural resources. The state has large volumes of coal, iron ore, bauxite and chromite. It also has close to 500km of coastline, much of it white and sandy.

Photo: R. Sreenivasan

For the longest time, the state was languishing as a backwater, getting by on its historic claim to fame as the place Emperor Ashoka embraced non-violence and sparked his interest in spreading Buddhist philosophy. That was in 261BC.  More recently, in the mid-1990s, Odisha roused itself and was quick off the blocks to make the most of the Indian economic reforms. It privatised the electricity business, and welcomed foreign investment in the rising steel and minerals businesses, and other infrastructure projects. The positive effects of this shift have seen the state move into a cash positive situation. Aided by stable local government with a strong view on economic development, Odisha is pushing to entice foreign investment, which must surely be aided by the weakening Rupee. B.K. Patnaik, the former Chief Secretary of Odisha, talks to STORM about the opportunities that exist for those seeking new ventures.

Photo: Devasis Sarangi  – Modern sculptures bring fresh perspective to Odisha’s historic ways.

STORM: What are the investment opportunities in Odisha? B.K. PATNAIK: Odisha has been growing faster than the national average in the past 10 years, with Rs6 trillion in capital-intensive investments. Now we are looking at how to make better use of this industrialisation that has come to the state. We are looking at downstream industries — clusters around aluminium and stainless steel plants —like building materials, automotive components. Tata has a plant, and Toyota will be making 70 million tons of steel. Just outside the capital, Bhubaneswar, we are developing InfoValley, an industrial estate dedicated to IT software processing and electronic hardware manufacturing. InfoValley is a greenfield project, and we have a computer applications tower with space earmarked for businesses that wish to start up immediately with a view for expansion.

Photo: R. Sreenivasan  – The state has a long history connected with Buddhism and Bhubaneswar is often called the temple city of India.

The other area we are putting our trust in is tourism. We would like to showcase our virgin, natural beaches. We are developing a property just outside Puri for high-end tourism. It will also have a golf course and villas, which will be offered to investors. Between Puri and Konark we are developing an aquarium and amusement park. There are a few other sites for beach tourism. We are also strong on eco tourism: Chilika Lake, the biggest brackish water lake in Asia, has tremendous bio-diversity, including dolphins, and attracts more than a million birds from Siberia; the mangrove forest at Bhitarkanika is a crocodile sanctuary; while Similipal National Park, about five hours’ drive from Bhubaneswar, is a national tiger reserve.

Photo: R. Sreenivasan – The state has a long history connected with Buddhism and Bhubaneswar is often called the temple city of India.

We are also going to promote tourism around Buddhism. Odisha has a long history connected with Buddhism. The Kalinga War turned Emperor Ashoka into a Buddhist, and he was responsible for spreading the religion out of India. Bhubaneswar is often referred to as a temple city of India, with a population that is predominantly Hindu.

Photo: Devasis Sarangi – Bhubaneswar’s new airport will help link the state to foreign interests.

STORM: How well networked in Odisha in terms of transportation? PATNAIK: Bhubaneswar is connected with all the metros of India. It has an international airport, and with all the industrialisation and tourism, we expect a lot of passenger traffic growth. All the flights out of Bhubaneswar are full as it is. So, too, the trains. There are direct links to Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Coimbature.

At the moment the bulk of the 1.5 million tourists tend to be domestic. It has not attracted international tourists because it lacked the necessary international connectivity. Still, most of the hotels are enjoying good occupancy, and we are looking to attract global hospitality brands. The infrastructure is ready, and land rates in Odisha are cheap. Our initial offer is for three- and four-star developments, with 99-year leases.

Photo: R. Sreenivasan – Odisha looks to a colourful future.

STORM: Is what’s happening in Odisha indicative of what’s happening n India? PATNAIK: Yes and no. When India was growing at 8% we were growing at 8.5 or 9%. Odisha’s special advantages are in its mineral resources and political stability. Although these mineral deposits were identified centuries ago, it’s only since 2003, when the market conditions were favourable, that the government took proactive steps to attract investment. Odisha was considered one of the poorest states of the country before. We are now narrowing that gap and would like to be one of the leading states of the country in the next 10 years. We want to be a beacon for Eastern India.

If I have a son….: Mahima Saigal

A good friend of mine, Mahima, an avid dancer and trained actress from NY, is very good at expressing her deep thoughts in the form of poetry. I found her expression of anguish translating into this thought provoking verses – If I have son… – a very meaningful one for all.

You can connect with Mahima on facebook

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If I have a son

there are many things

I will make him learn

 

I’ll remind him I’m tougher than his father

For it’s a fact well known that women are

emotionally and mentally much more stronger

 

The power to give birth rests only with us women

It requires this overwhelming courage and stamina

which no man on God’s Green Earth could summon.

If I have a son…

 

I’ll teach him about the laws of nature,

the vital role of women; their functions and

how we are not some poor submissive creature

 

If I have a son I’ll teach him how to be a respectful boy

I’ll buy him gifts and items butwill

warn him that a girl can never ever be his Toy

 

If I have a son I’ll tell him; there are limits to your fun

He’ll be given lessons on chivalry, courtesy. Plus

Respect for Women will be central to his education

 

I’ll warn him never to ogle, jeer and stare

Because if he’s caught doing so

I’ll guarantee his entry into the intensive care

 

I’ll set some rules and regulations for him to follow

I would rather be a Hitler Mom

than let my son be the reason behind a girl’s sorrow

 

If I have a son

I’ll ensure words that degrade or insult women

are eliminated and exhumed from his lexicon

 

I shall refrain myself from treating him like a King

and will try my level best to keep his ears away

from the satanic verses of Mr. Honey Singh

 

I’ll teach him- ‘You must never make a girl cry,

A girl can be shy sometimes but if she says NO to you

you better not turn belligerent and ruthlessly ask her why.

 

Most of all I’ll teach my son to be a good human being

the one who considers women as equals, respects them

and is unlike the monsters the world is currently seeing.

 

The Statesman – Points to Ponder column by Sreeni

In The Statesman’s Point to Ponder column, sreeni talks about how to effectively utilize your time in summers. It gives insights into effective planning of Career and Life, and activities that you can be part of to build your career.

 

The Statesman Column - Points to Ponder
The Statesman Column – Points to Ponder

 

The Hindu – quotes from my write up on Emotional Intelligence

 

Emotional intelligence - The Hindu Column
Emotional intelligence – The Hindu Column

 

I posted the answered detailed questionnaire, a couple of posts ago. Here is the link to the article / questionnaire

Sreeni’s Brij Holi Photo Feature on popular French Portal – Linternaute.com

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a message on my account from a journalist in France, Julien Achard. Julien had gone through my Brij Holi photos and was keen on writing a story about it using the photos. I just gave my acceptance and in a weeks time this photo feature appeared. Technology makes life easier.

Graduating Class with the faculty and Chief Guest Deep Kalra

For more photos from the Holi series Vasu.. on Flickr.

To check out all the photos in the series, you may click on the above link to peruse on flickr. If you are really keen on photos with story you would love to visit my Photo and travel blog – Sreeniviews.wordpress.com

Interaction with an enlightened Autorickshaw driver, Fakhruddin Iliyas!

Enlightened Autorikshaw driver, Fakhruddin Ilyas Mohammad

Enlightened Autorikshaw driver, Fakhruddin Ilyas Mohammad

Feb 12, 2012: It has been a wonderful day at Bangalore. The daylong BBC (b-school boot camp) engagement with brilliant youngsters who are keen to excel in life and also the hour-long stirring session with the IIM call-getters in the evening energized me immensely.

The intensity of the 10 hours of action, that transports youngsters to the world of self-belief is what I really enjoy, day after day.  When they walk out, each one has glint in his eyes, spring in his gait and the confidence in his voice. The day is worth all the effort. It is a way of self-actualization for me.

I had not bargained for a greater surprise that was yet to come at the fag-end of the day. The interaction with Sheikh Fakhruddin Iliyas Mohammad, the entrepreneurial auto rickshaw driver, was an eye-opener.  I am recalling the interaction to the best of my abilities –

As the auto starts to move after I boarded,

Sfi – sir u speak a very good Hindi, you don’t seem to be from here.

Rs – Though my roots are from Kerala, spent my childhood in Hyderabad.

Sufi – acha, Hyderabad people speak good Urdu

Rs – I am not sure about every one, but my Hindi has been honed in north as I have been based there since 1983

Sfi – main wahi samjha, you must be from north. Main Saath saal muscat, Oman mein tha and I realized that your Hindi is very sophisticated, like so many who were in muscat, that had come from Delhi

rs – main bhi yeh sonchoon ki aapki Hindi itni bhadiya kaise? I too was wondering how your Hindi is so good?

Sfi –  hahahaha

Rs. How was your stay in Oman? People who go to gulf usually do not come back

Sfi – I learnt a lot about myself and the world there. What makes one succeed in life. It really changed my life. But, I did not like my stay there at all. It is inhuman

Rs. That is the reason I asked. I spent a few years running business in gulf. I did research about the labour who go from here and their challenges. I have written articles on the issue

sfi – zindagi wahan bather hai! Log yahan se kya sochke jaate hain, wahan jake kya banta  hai.. Idar zameen  bech  ke jata hai aadmi. Puri family, gaon aatha hai, mala pehnatein  hain, airport main Bharaat ke Saath chodte hain. (life is very bad there. People go there thinking what not, and what he becomes there.. He sells land and home, takes loans..entire family and village comes in a celebration mood, the person in garlands…)

Unko lagta hai ki iske gulf Jaane se saari family ki sudhaar hone walihai.  Woh gulf mein sheikh ki tarah rahnewala hai, aur bahut paise bananewala hai. Wey nahin jantehain ki usey Bali ka bakra banadiya hai…
(they all are thinking that his going to gulf is going to transform the family. He is going to be there like an oil sheikh, making a lot of money. They never realize that he is being garlanded and sent to the gallows)

The middlemen are making fool of every one. They Plant stories about prosperity and push families to part with everything to send a member to gulf.

I would not advise even my enemy to go to gulf. The life is very harsh and you get paid peanuts. The cost of living is too high.  You never manage to save anything. I started a mechanics shop with an arabi as my sponsor, the business is given in his name. I work hard to earn my livelihood, while the arab takes away the cream. It took me seven years to trying to come out of my debt and I made sure i came back the moment the king announced amnesty to all visa violators. People told me that this is a great opportunity to exit the country

Ladies who go there as housemaids, I only know what they go through. The Arabi leaves them with no chance, with his  retinue of mistresses and slaves. One maid came to me asking me to rescue. I ran away from there. You cannot afford to be at the receiving end off these arabis.

Rs – Indians live in inhuman conditions, with over a dozen people crammed in a small room. Their belongings can be seen on the attic outside the balconies, as there is no room inside. Most of the non-construction workers, who do not work in an organised business,  are illegally living, trying all the time to avoid the law. In the process, they are royally taken for a ride.

SFi – I can vividly recall every day, as if it happened yesterday, though it has been almost ten years since I came back. Though I am riding an auto ever since I came back, I feel like a king here. I work whenever I want, relax whenever I want. I am my own boss.

In my last 10 years of riding auto, I have not come across a person like you. You have been giving me so much respect and talking, valuing my story and taking so much interest in them. I like your way. Most people who get in, avoid talking even when you are very courteous. They do not treat us like human beings.

Rs – the most important thing in life is to be a good human being. That is the basic necessity. If you are good, everything else gets taken care of.

SFI – you are so right. Have you ever been to a government hospital? You should if you have not.

Rs – yes, I have been to many a times. I feel what you want to say..

SFI –
I took a family elder who was not keeping well and got her admitted. I had stayed there for a couple of days. Rich and poor, all are praying for the well being of their family members. No distinction. In fact in the corridor, the rich who might have never bothered about us, keep coming asking me to pray for their well being. Everyone becomes naked when he goes back to god. Nothing matters. Only your deeds remain.

Have you ever been to a shamshaanghaat (burial ground)? That is the place that you get the greatest peace.

Rs – yes. Nothing else goes with you on your last journey. People just recall all your good deeds.

Sfi – people are worse than animals, most of the times. I recall an ad where they showed people interactions and then superimposed a dog, pig, donkey etc based on the way they were talking. It was very apt. I used to think how people become animals before becoming humans.

All faiths tell the same thing – truth, honesty and being humane are the basic qualities to have. We all read and pray from all holy books, but never follow the tenets.

Rs – the way you speak, you should write a book. You can narrate you story. It will be a fascinating one. You can do it on the Internet too. You will be an inspiration for many who are in the gulf and also to those who came back. They all will add their experiences.

SFI – I have been thinking about it. After talking to you , I am very motivated. I will do it and send you the story.  Kindly give me your visiting card.

I will check your website, you must be having one.

Rs – here is the card. Here is my website on the card. Kindly have a look and write your story. It has been a pleasure interacting with you. Loved the wonderful time. Thanks.

Sfi – thanks sir. You have been a wonderful person to talk to.

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