Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rapists are Made in Schools!

Years ago, on a wintery January evening, we were in our school bus on our way back home from an annual picnic.  I was in my 9th grade. It was already late in the evening and the sun had gone down; but not the spirits. The entire bus was bursting with noise, realizing that it was the last few hours of a well-deserved picnic day.

Many boys and girls as usual were standing and dancing and shouting and mostly having fun.

Meanwhile, when everything looked fun and happy, the lights went off for a few brief moments and up went a roar of excited noises again. But when the lights were back, one of the girls was seen sobbing with her face buried in her palms. She had been groped in those brief seconds. The entire thing had been a setup and the girl was already marked out way before. I knew who the boys were. The puny I remained silent. The girl remained silent. The next day in school was business as usual.

After all these years, when I recollect that incident, a chill goes down my spine. It was only 9th class and these were my batch mates who were already practiced molesters. (Some of them are in my Facebook today and probably reading this.)

During that time, I wasn’t quite able to make sense of all of that. I thought of them then as “bad” boys. I also thought that such acts were normal for bad boys to do. But years later, when I introspect today, the trend was symptomatic of a dangerous society in the making. They weren’t just “bad” boys. They represented dangerous seeds sown into our very society. And there were other boys being sucked into it unwittingly.

These boys projected the macho gang, the brave hearts, the noisy and the boisterous ones. I too for a long time was sold to that image. My feeble personality then and a weakling that I was, desired somewhere to be like them. To be able to talk like them, walk like them with that air of nonchalance and gay abandon; to be able to bully the “good” boys and see terror in their eyes. They portrayed an enormous strength to my weak unsure eyes.

I also for sure have witnessed young boys of the same ilk stationed in busy malls and shopping centers tracking women, violating them quickly and escaping into the very crowd. This would be their favorite evening pass time and they would high-five each other on every successful attempt.

They were so immersed in this debauched act that their nervous smiles defied all innocence of their age.

Rapists aren’t constructed among regular people just out of the blue. It takes years to manufacture one. They are a work in progress over the years having let off with many such violations while growing up. And when the opportunity presents, their character, hardened by years of digressions reveals itself with beastly glory.

Each time a young boy utters a maaki or a behenki, he is a work in progress. Don’t kid me that uttering such mouthfuls is innocuous. Each utterance is cementing the portrayal of the idea of a woman in his mind, especially when you name a mother and a sister in your expletive. I for one learnt all my expletives from my school and so did everyone else.

The malaise is symptomatic in these “little” things that are left unchecked around us and manifests in the ultimate violation of women, called rape.

-Ravi Kumar

Read more...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Little Chintu Series 2: The Fag

Two eggs and a packet of slice bread. That was what, as part of his daily morning ritual, Chintu had to get from the neighborhood kirana shop. Sometimes, Chintu’s mom added a match box or a packet of salt to that list, when needed.



With tousled hair, striped pyjamas and rubber slippers on, Chintu would walk out of the gates dreamily. As much as he hated to wake up early, he had begun to look forward to this imposed morning walk on pretext of running an errand. The wonders of an active morning would slowly creep into his still sleepy eyes till it aroused them completely.



”Two eggs, one bread slice; two eggs one bread slice; two eggs one bread slice…”, Chintu would murmur all his way to the shop to prevent forgetting the items. If the provisions were more, Chintu’s mom would list them on a piece of paper and shove it in his shirt pocket. However, for two eggs and a packet of slice bread, she trusted his memory.



He would be so conscious of not loosing the trail of the items in his mind that even when the friendly neighbor aunty would wish him good morning, he would turn to her and nod, uttering, “two eggs one bread slice”. On the way though, he wouldn’t miss playing with the wild touch-me-not bushes in front of Madhu aunty’s house till he was sure he tickled them all to sleep. He would then cross Rohan’s house and pat his pet dog tethered at the gates. This became the pattern of his daily walk to the kirana shop.



And then, after many days there was a change to this pattern. Occasionally, a few blocks away from his house, Chintu observed a skinny man perched on the rails of his balcony, puffing smoke from his mouth, holding a white burning thing between his fingers. This exercise of putting fire into mouth and blowing out smoke fascinated Chintu beyond bounds. After the man was done, he would throw the glowing remains of the thing on the road. Chintu often crossed the man’s house in anticipation of catching him in this mysterious smoke-bellowing action.



On one such day while crossing the man's house, the glowing thing flew right in front of him and landed at his feet. Chintu’s eyes lit up at the sight. He sensed adventure and his heart beat raced to the point that he could hear them thumping. He crouched to the ground for a closer inspection at the burning entity. After dwelling on it for a while, he picked the stub with hands quivering, surveyed on both sides of the road, and when he was convinced no one was looking, brought it to his lips and used all his force to take a deep drag. Chintu wouldn’t know to let the smoke out.


Read more...

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Chintu Series 1: New Bata Shoes


Hunched forward with his face cupped by his joined palms, Chintu stared at his new shoes with a glow of admiration in his eyes. The jet black shoes glistened under the tube-light of the drawing room. The smell of the fresh leather was heady. The laces of the shoes were taut with its ends taped with firm sheaths. The curves of the leather were as natural and smooth as the sand dunes in a desert. A closer inspection against the light revealed a speck of dust at the right hand side of the sole. Chintu immediately wiped it off with his sleeves.



How much had he hated his old shoes that had been subjected to numerous incisions and stitches by the old cobbler near the temple gate, each time the seams cracked or the sole peeled off. His numerous appeals to his parents to get a new pair of shoes had fallen on deaf ears. They always thought they were good for few more weeks. It was only when he visited his grandparents this summer that his grandpa took him to the new Bata shoe shop in one of the rabbit warren streets of Berhampur, his native. Chintu remembered how special he felt when the attendant had carefully held his feet for measurements and asked if he was comfortable with the fitting. He had walked across the shop floor and each time his steps left ground contact, it emitted a tearing sound—a trait typical to any new leather shoe. Chintu remembered giggling each time his shoes made that funny sound.



Little Chintu’s trance was jolted asudden by his mom’s shriek who summoned him for dinner. He wrapped the shoes neatly into the Bata carton box, placed it carefully in the shoe stand and joined his parents for dinner. Before retiring to bed, Chintu jubilantly marked a “1” in his notebook. Next day like all other days, he didn’t want to get up early. When all efforts to wake him up went futile, his mom whispered something into his ears. At once, he threw open his bed sheet, sprang out of his bed and ran to his new shoes, singing, “today is day zero, today is day zero…”. The shoes looked more beautiful to him today for he was to finally wear them to school this day. It’s been three weeks of summer vacation and Chintu had been impatiently counting days in reverse and marking in his note book that started with count ,‘20’. He went to his notebook, quickly marked a ‘0’ and flung the notebook in air.



When mom tried helping with his laces, he shooed her away. He wished to tie them all by himself. He struggled but managed to get it right the third time. With a smile that meant triumph, he stood up. His gait had an extra spring that day, his chest little bloated, and his height a little taller. He bid his parents bye and walked awkwardly towards the school gate, trying to avoid getting folds on his shoes.

Read more...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Car




She was bright, she was gleaming; she was hot, she was teeming. She stood there with an assured confidence and a mild arrogance that only added to her charm. The red satin ribbons wrapped around her taut body made her look virgin and inviting like an unopened gift. And it was inviting for sure—passersby stopping to gaze at her briefly, which from a distance seemed like a look of admiration or approval. She was certainly an eye candy to behold. She was our new car. We were proud – and neighbors envious.

For a middle class family in India, owning their first car is symbolic in a way which states that “they have arrived”. It symbolizes a move up in the social ladder. It is about finally achieving a status, which millions of middle class Indian families aspire to.

The usual sniffy car owned inhabitants of your apartment who may have unwittingly been patronizing to you all these days, now welcome you to their clan, albeit reluctantly. After all, who would want to dilute one’s privileged status. And not just that; a new car’s arrival makes their car look older. So, their approval too is laden with a tinge of envy. You also observe that you are being invited by them for tea a little too often—a glowing indicator that you are now one of them.


The move however is not without its share of awkwardness and clumsiness in the beginning for the new car owner. Firstly, adjusting to this newly acquired social status, asks of him to act and behave in a particular way. There is something about the body language of a car owner that is so upwardly mobile. The men dropping their kids early morning to the bus stand with shorts looks so stylish. Whereas, wearing shorts on a scooter looks stupid. The ease with which they don their sun glasses while driving seems very natural and uber cool on them. All in all, there is an element of “richness” about the car owners that the non car owners do not possess.

The clumsiness hits a new car owner in the initial days in his effort to fit in. He is in a dilemma whether to wear shades driving a car. He is concerned it may look pretentious. It may also look condescending to other non car owners of his apartment. He then concedes; there is no need to show off. And a moment later he justifies himself against it thinking; it doesn’t matter as long as I remain nice and sensitive to everyone. And thus plays a whirlwind of emotions in his mind on how to project the right social behavior; a confusion only a sanctimonious Indian middle class would bear to have.

It takes months for him to be at ease with himself and his self proclaimed exalted social status.
And then one fine day sipping his early morning coffee, his eyes catch a glint through the edge of his window curtains. He looks on and sees a beaming new car, ribbon wrapped standing beside his own car. He feels an ache pierce through his heart.
--------------------------0----------------------------

Read more...

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Fading Light


The folds on her skin are like mild ripples in a pond, her face wizened yet radiating a soft glow. Her eyes devoid of any expression most of the time stare blankly to the ceiling, while awake. Eyes, that have seen 96 years of her life pass by; gives me a shudder at the mere thought of it. There is something about the human eye that nature lends more value. Unlike every other part of a human body that degenerates with time, eyes retain its vigour till death—I mean the look of it. And grandma’s eyes had that vigour--jet black and shining.


She either sleeps or stares the whole day lying on her wooden cot. There is no other activity her feeble body can withstand. Day after day she follows the same pattern. What does she stare at? What does she think about? Does she wonder for how many more days she has to keep lying like a log or does she reminisce her past?


Prod her to smile and she promptly reveals her gums that has lost most of her teeth with child-like alacrity. That smile looks ridiculous, more like demented. Demented for sure, as much of her intelligence and memory has parted ways with her. My eyes fall on the black and white framed picture of hers standing along with her husband; a picture of her prime years. The sprightly young woman in her cotton sari stood strutting her authoritative self , a majestic half smile playing in her lips that seems to be telling a story. A story of the days of her yore, when she ruled her household and held the purse strings of one of the wealthiest families in the village, Gangapur(in southern Orissa). Days that had commanded veneration from the lowly village folks; the land tillers, farmers, the vegetable and fish sellers who use to stop by at her verandah almost every day to bask under her patronage before setting for work. The newly wedded brides to her sons who tended to her respectfully dared not tumult the equilibrium of her household traditions without her consent. She held the seat of authority for years altogether for her family.


Today, this reduced and feeble frame lying on the cot in the corner room of my house, beaten with age isn’t remotely a pale reflection of her past. Her vacuous eyes devoid of life suddenly lit up at the prospect of my presence. Notwithstanding her long bouts of loneliness, how much she craves for a human presence near her, someone who would listen to her slurring incomprehensible speech, someone whom she could touch and caress with love.

She constantly reminds me of the transience of the youth and the realization that old age unlike a new born, draws sympathy more than love. The young ones tend to the old with a scared sense of moral duty, a lurking realization that they too will pass through this phase and they too will need to be taken care of. And if you believed in the cycle of Karma, you better took care of your senile parents.


Though the whole world talks about ageing gracefully, there is nothing graceful about being a helpless vegetable encroaching a considerable space in your children’s lives; an inconvenience they have to be put up with till you perish. How would you see eye to eye to your tending child the day you reach that stage of incontinence and wet your bed the first time. Your dignity that day would depend upon how your child looks back at you; with love or disgust? And let me tell you more often than not, it is disgust poorly masqueraded. And you die that very moment long before your body does.


Everything is eventual.

Read more...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Lamp did Light




I completed reading 'When the Lamp is Lit' yesterday, the first book I could lay my hands on of Ruskin Bond. It is a collection of his autobiographical sketches and stories and it gave me a friendly and assuring company in my to and fro train journey to my hometown. This was the first time ever I was reading Ruskin and as they say a book more often than not reveals the soul of a writer, "When the Lamp is Lit" does just exactly that. It demystifies the legend of Ruskin Bond with gay abandon.

Lot has been talked about simplicity that reflect both in Ruskin's lifestyle and writings and I don't want to harp more into that. However, by the time I turned the last page of the book, my heart had sworn allegiance to this master craftsman who teaches the world why simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. He reminds me of an age old adage, "We don't need more. We need to get rid of more."


His gift for humor was at his best exhibited in the chapter, "Life with Uncle Ken". I couldn't contain my laughs while I was reading the story, much to the puzzlement of my fellow passengers in my compartment. Ruskin shares little anecdotes of the lazy Uncle Ken who fends himself off by staying at his many sisters family taking turns after every few months. The funniest one for me is the story of mistaken identity, where uncle Ken is made to play a local cricket tournament being mistaken for a famous English cricketer and he manages to gather crowd's applause for a fluke four that runs off his pad. Uncle Ken had never held a bat before.



The humorous Ruskin turns solemn in the title chapter, aptly put in the end, "When the Lamp is Lit". It is here that he dispenses nuggets of his writerly wisdom that is distilled from his persevering years as a writer. Any budding writer worth his salt, must read this chapter to elevate his vocation to a higher plane. I devoured and relished whatever he had to say here. Ruskin asserts on the importance of humility, and busts the myths associated with true happiness derived through one's vocation.

A paragraph from the chapter:

"Why is humility so hard to come by? Most religions teach the wisdom of humility, but who listens? We all know that life is finite, that human civilization, for what it's worth, is self-limiting. And yet the most educated of men will strut about their little world like actors on stage; they assume the mantle of immortals, deluding themselves into thinking they are indispensable, until eventually they join all those other indispensables who have reached perfection in the form of dust or ashes. Happiness is an elusive state of mind, not to be gained by clumsy pursuit. It is given to those who do not sue for it: to be unconcerned about a desired good is probably the only way to possess it."

Words that are redolent with worldly experience.

Ruskin draws inspiration from Emily Bronte's life whose masterpiece, "Wuthering Heights" is a phenomenon till date and is widely taught in universities across the globe. He attributes Emily's success to her indifference to wealth, fame, and personal comfort, an antithesis to today's world of high powered literary agents and media hype.

He talks about scores of good writers who work in their own language and "plough their lonely furrow" without entertaining an agent or media blitz. Their lonely journey survives all storms of despair and grief because they believe "pen, in honest and gifted hands, is mightier than the grave."


He signs off the last chapter with the words, "Dear Reader, may you have the wisdom to be simple, and the humor to be happy."


If not for anything you must read the book for these two chapters.


Read more...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A year that was in one word, kaleidoscopic

2nd September 2009, I took a blind leap into the sphere of the unknown. I chucked off my secure and high paying job to pursue things that I wanted to. The irony was that I wasn't sure what exactly I wanted to do. The year ends this August again. It had been a very difficult decision and a silly one at that, atleast my parents thought so. Yes silly, because I couldn’t make much money, not remotely close to what I was making before. But still, last year was a glorious year for me, the most happening and reinvigorating one till now, which I am sure no corporate engagement would have given me. I attempt to list out in this post all that was special and happening for me:

  • I joined as a business analyst in a rural marketing firm. A designation that sounded cooler than technical writer. How much I had craved for a designation like that.
  • I traveled extensively through the length and breadth of rural Andhra, Karnataka and Maharashtra. I got to see real India through my eyes. Lived in villages, participated in their customs and rituals.
  • Rural marketing also allowed me to see some exotic tourist destinations like the Western Ghats, Jog Falls, Ajanta Ellora caves etc.
  • I delivered presentations to the CXO’s of top telecom majors like Vodafone, Airtel, Uninor.
  • I almost single handedly organized a summit on Rural Marketing in association with the Economic Times at Taj Krishna, Hyderabad. Hobnobbed with the who’s who in the industry like heads of Nokia, telecom majors, automobile majors, FMCG majors etc.
  • I helped start Bhubaneswar Toastmasters Club.

  • I donned the role of a lecturer for Business communication for Reliance Sparta and delivered talks at around a dozen engineering and MBA colleges in Hyderabad.
  • I along with Apurv Mishra founded the Futures Conference, Orissa. I presented a road map to Orissa’s future in front of 50 young entrepreneurs handpicked from across the state. The Futures Conference received rave reviews in the press and I too got a mention in the Economic Times.
  • I honed my skills as a personal branding enthusiast and delivered a series of talks across many cities: o I delivered a personal branding workshop at KIIT Universityo I was invited to deliver a talk at Goa International Center, Goa.
  • I spoke at the Futures Conference, Orissa
  • I Spoke at CA, Hyderabad
  • I conducted a Creative Writing Workshop at Hyderabad at Manohar Hotel. We had invited popular authors Raksha Bharadia and Bishwanath Ghosh to conduct the workshop.
  • I gave my first press interview in Goa to The Herald.
  • I was featured in Make Sense video.

    Asian Tour - India - Rural Development w/ Ravi from christian vanizette on Vimeo.

  • I was invited in a radio show as a guest RJ. I co-hosted the entire show for an hour. One of my beautiful memories.
  • I was mentioned in 5 major newspapers: o Economic Times o Indian Express o The Herald o Jagran City Plus
  • I also participated in the promotional video for Personal Branding in a professional studio. I was part of the entire shoot, dubbing and editing; an exhilarating experience again.
  • I was part of a concept summer camp for Live More for kids in Bhubaneswar.
  • I worked closely with Siva Cotipalli, a TED fellow who is the founder of Dhanax. I helped him initiate his rural marketing vertical for his organization.
  • I also helped in the content strategy of a young political party, Jago party.
  • I started Project Oar
  • I received an invite from popular author Onyeka Nwulue to Nigeria to deliver a series of talks to the youth across Nigerian universities on a youth exchange program.
  • I started my first independent content consultancy services for startups in technology sector. I worked for some very innovative companies like Aquilonis, Patent and a US based company. There is no bigger satisfaction than receving a sincere compliment from your client on your work delivered. Also I received my first freelancing income during a painful monetary crisis. The satisfaction of earning independent freelance income cant match to any amount of corporate salary.
  • I went to my ex campus CA, Hyderabad to deliver a speech for its demo meet. This was a fulfilling experience for me because I had initiated the process of setting up Toastmasters at CA.
  • The icing on the cake was my trip to France. I was invited by Gemalto, a global leader in digital security to consult on business opportunities for them in rural markets in India. It was my first Europe tour and fun filled one at that. (It deserves a separate blog post) .
  • I got free pass to attend the world famous Lift Conference and I got to interact with Sam Pitroda.
  • I met and made friends with a string of interesting people along the way:
  • Sam Pitroda
  • Onyeka
  • Klaus
  • Siva Cotipalli
  • Clement
  • Marc gemeto
  • Christian and Romain
  • Raksha Bharadia, author
  • Bishwanath Ghosh, author
It was an year full of great learning and experience. I say great learning because with all my years of experience in IT sector, I was too distant and naïve towards the realities of the world. In this year, I witnessed first hand the sly and machivellian way the business runs. Witnessed the dirty world of business closely where corruption and crime were rampant. This was a year that left me disillusioned and I began to question the sanctity of business. That is why I consider this year an year of great learning because I learnt the lessons the hard way. Today after this one year of adventure or misadventure(as per my parents) I go back to where I came from; back to the IT industry. But with whatever I acheieved in this one year, I feel proud of what I have done. I firmly believe that I cudnt have done all that I did if I was in my previous job. I also realized one thing very strongly and is reaffirmed in me that is life is all about the journey, not the destination. Make this journey beautiful.

Read more...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Build Yourself a Great Story: Jeff Bezos Inspirational Speech




I was working at a financial firm in New York City with a bunch of very smart people, and I had a brilliant boss that I much admired. I went to my boss and told him I wanted to start a company selling books on the Internet. He took me on a long walk in Central Park, listened carefully to me, and finally said, "That sounds like a really good idea, but it would be an even better idea for someone who didn't already have a good job." That logic made some sense to me, and he convinced me to think about it for 48 hours before making a final decision. Seen in that light, it really was a difficult choice, but ultimately, I decided I had to give it a shot. I didn't think I'd regret trying and failing. And I suspected I would always be haunted by a decision to not try at all. After much consideration, I took the less safe path to follow my passion, and I'm proud of that choice.


Tomorrow, in a very real sense, your life -- the life you author from scratch on your own -- begins.

  • How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?
  • Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
  • Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
  • Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
  • Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
  • Will you bluff it out when you're wrong, or will you apologize?
  • Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
  • Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
  • When it's tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
  • Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
  • Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?

I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story. Thank you and good luck!




Read more...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Project Oar launched!


Dear friends,

We are humbled with this overwhelming support you all have showered by agreeing to become part of this anti dowry campaign. We received more than 100 submission through the Anti Dowry form embedded in my blog.

Now, the intent needs to be translated to action. We are proud to say that we are launching this campaign on Facebook as PROJECT OAR. If you are wondering what's with the name, then let me remind you that the genesis of the movement was started because of a certain culprit, Mr Rao. And since we did not want to malign his reputation forever, we reversed the name to Project Oar instead of Project Rao. Also OAR is more symbolic. Oar means a stick/propeller that helps a boat cross the river. And Project Oar too has a wide river to cross. The mission is huge and the responsibility too is large. And I am sure if we all join hands together, we could bring in a large social change for the better. You begin by becoming an official member of this project called Project Rao Taskforce.

Our tasks as of now would be to:

  • Join the Facebook campaign in the group, http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=826#!/group.php?gid=132535166769564&ref=mf
  • Spread the word across to as many friends as possible.
  • We need two representative for Project Oar in each city in India. So if you are interested to become a volunteer for this noble initiative Project Oar, write to us at projectoar1@gmail.com
  • We need someone to design the logo for the campaign. We will publish credits for all your efforts.
What is Project Oar' strategy?

After all these years of societal development, this crime of treating women as commodity still exists. We realised that the legal form of action hasn't worked. Only societal boycott and embarrassment can help curb this menace.
The plan is to record people's complains about any dowry demands across the country in Facebook/website.

We would then publish the address of the culprit in this public domain after a fair verification process.

People going though the address can then send torn chappals to that address. I hope this fear and societal embarrassment will bring down the number of dowry cases in the country.

Power of youth:

Friends, sometimes I am saddened that the youth of today do not have a say in such stark issues around them. Your blood must boil to see any form of injustice meted out in the society. Indifference towards a crime is a bigger crime committed than being a direct party to the crime. I sincerely feel, if someone is not part of the solution, he is part of the problem.

"Never underestimate the power of a small but committed group of people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." – Margaret Mead

Driven with the mission to curb this dowry menace, I bid adieu for now. Waiting for your earnest reply.

If you want to join the Project Oar Taskforce, join


For further enquiries, write to us at projectoar1@gmail.com


Registered people till now:

Registered people till now:

  1. Sunayana Bangalore
  2. Anshuman Swain Auckland, NZ
  3. Shanthi S Bangalore
  4. Amit M Bangalore
  5. Dr J Swain Secunderabad
  6. Spandan Mishra Bhubaneswar
  7. Uttiya Das Bangalore
  8. Oishik Bagchi Gandhinagar
  9. Rohith Ganguly Ananthapur
  10. Swati Bhubaneswar
  11. Dinesh Sahu Bhubaneswar
  12. Naveen Bangalore
  13. Nivedita Bishwal Melbourne,Australia
  14. yash Auckland,NZ
  15. isha gwalior
  16. Ruchi Mumbai
  17. Mayuresh K Bangalore
  18. Jishnu Thrissur
  19. Naveen Gwalior
  20. Anwesa Bhubaneswar
  21. gopesh AHMEDABAD
  22. Sruthi Haripad
  23. Aghoshlal Nakulan Kollam,Kerala
  24. Varsha Hyderabad
  25. Thryza Dow Mumbai
  26. Madhukar BR Bangalore
  27. Ramkumar P Salem
  28. Swetansu Mohapatra Goa
  29. Varrun Ramani Chennai
  30. satabdee biswal hyderabad
  31. Shweta Hyderabad
  32. Preeti Pooja Bhubaneswar
  33. Aditya Mani Jha Ranchi
  34. akash salim trivandrum
  35. Midhunlal G Kannur, Kerala
  36. Bijoy Prakash Mumbai
  37. Jazarine Calicut
  38. Kasturi Baral Cuttack
  39. Sarada rivandrum
  40. Vasundhara Bangalore
  41. Krishnakumar D Coimbatore
  42. pria chennai
  43. Biji Bangalore
  44. Deepa Dutt Bangalore
  45. Ranjan Kumar das Bangalore
  46. Divya Thrissur
  47. Nivedita Hyderabad
  48. Kuntal Sen Kolkata
  49. Lawrence Aloysius Thrissur, Kerala

Read more...

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Open Letter: Shame on You

Mr XYZ,

I am Ravi Kumar and I had the misfortune of visiting your house with regards to my sister's marriage proposal yesterday.


I am writing this e-mail to hopefully make you realise of the kind of huge blot and shame you are for the society.

You had sent us a neatly prepared bio-data for your son, which said you wanted, " a good educated family background". Today I will teach you what a "good educated family" can do when they meet such disgusting people with criminal mindset.

We too had mentioned that we are looking for a family with integrity, but you either did not understand what integrity means or comfortably choose to avoid that.

First let me remind you of the crime you committed and be categorical on your statements made:

  • You demanded shamelessly should I say, cash worth of 10 lakhs, a 4 wheeler, gold worth 1.5 lakh; furniture etc ; as if you and your family are crippled for the rest of you life.
  • You also stated some ridicolous conditions like for every lakh of cash paid, you would gift a tola of gold to my sister as if the gold was going out of your house.
  • What put me in utter disbelief is the statement you made just before dowry discussions began. When my father asked your expectations you said, "you show us your cards first and then we will show our cards". This was sickening. Your statement in no way demonstrated that you are going to engage in an eternal and pious matrimonial alliance. Your words were stinking of gambling match.
  • You also said that you incurred heavy expenses in your sons education especially when he was staying away from home. I never knew you were waiting for this day to recover your losses through your daughter in law.
  • You also said to my parents that they too have a son. And so have a scope to earn in dowry as well. I will invite you to my marriage for you to see how much dowry would I accept.
  • You said you have many other parties willing to offer you much more than what you asked us. This shows your insensitivity towards this alliance and our family.
It is shameful that you yourself are in a respectful position in a reputed Navratna organization, NALCO.

How on earth did you assume that a "good educated family background" would heed to this nonsense. My whole family was seething in anger. But anger is not enough for a "good educated family". The anger should be followed with action so that next time you dont dare invite a "good educated family" for an alliance.

We have been taught that giving or asking dowry is a criminal offence under IPC 498A. I hope you too are aware of it.

You mentioned your bridal requirement as : slim, fair and good looking. Who do you think you are and what makes you think you deserve the best in the world. And why do you think you can make any condescending demands. Your son is only a software engineer, an instance of a new wave of high paying white color labourers. And also as if your son is a sleek pack of God sent alpha male. I wouldnt want to make any personal remarks against him because you tactfully asked him to leave the discussion when it actually mattered. So, I am not sure if he is party to this crime.

My sister too is an engineer from the same college that your son passed out from. And she too is pursuing her MBA just as your son.

You also raised numerous questions on the credibility of a HR professional. My only point is why on earth did you waste so much of our time, money and effort on discussing all that when the sole criterion of your consideration was MONEY.

What I can't believe is you yourself are in a reputed public organization.
Me and my sister are launching an anti dowry campaign on a national scale. And I am involving Dewanga Association(our community) to be a part of this campaign.

Now be ready to face the consequence.

The day you feel sorry for your actions, let us know. We will try to save you from this ignominy.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear friends,

I am a first hand witness to this dastardly act of dowry demand. And my education and value system would be worthless if I would just be a silent victim to this crime. What turned out a revelation for me is that this practice is rampant within modern educated families in cities. Forget what is happening in villages.
I am angry not just with this family but with every family that commits this crime. Why do you think in India, there is so much of disparity in male/female sex ratio? It is because female infanticide is rampant in all bloody clinics in cities, right under our nose. I have a friend who is a doctor and she was emotionally blackmailed to deliver a girl child, when medical science clearly proves that a woman has no role to play in the deciding the sex of child.

We have just started a facebook community and purchasing a domain for a website. The plan is to record people's complains about any dowry demands across the country in facebook/website. We would then publish the address of the culprit in this domain with a fair verification process.

People going though the address can then send torn chappals to that address.

I hope with this fear and embarrassment there will be a drop in dowry cases. I feel this is more effective that legal and police cases. This would be a movement/revolution by the people. Please participate in the campaign by filling up the form below:


Registered people till now:

  1. Sunayana Bangalore
  2. Anshuman Swain Auckland, NZ
  3. Shanthi S Bangalore
  4. Amit M Bangalore
  5. Dr J Swain Secunderabad
  6. Spandan Mishra Bhubaneswar
  7. Uttiya Das Bangalore
  8. Oishik Bagchi Gandhinagar
  9. Rohith Ganguly Ananthapur
  10. Swati Bhubaneswar
  11. Dinesh Sahu Bhubaneswar
  12. Naveen Bangalore
  13. Nivedita Bishwal Melbourne,Australia
  14. yash Auckland,NZ
  15. isha gwalior
  16. Ruchi Mumbai
  17. Mayuresh K Bangalore
  18. Jishnu Thrissur
  19. Naveen Gwalior
  20. Anwesa Bhubaneswar
  21. gopesh AHMEDABAD
  22. Sruthi Haripad
  23. Aghoshlal Nakulan Kollam,Kerala
  24. Varsha Hyderabad
  25. Thryza Dow Mumbai
  26. Madhukar BR Bangalore
  27. Ramkumar P Salem
  28. Swetansu Mohapatra Goa
  29. Varrun Ramani Chennai
  30. satabdee biswal hyderabad
  31. Shweta Hyderabad
  32. Preeti Pooja Bhubaneswar
  33. Aditya Mani Jha Ranchi
  34. akash salim trivandrum
  35. Midhunlal G Kannur, Kerala
  36. Bijoy Prakash Mumbai
  37. Jazarine Calicut
  38. Kasturi Baral Cuttack
  39. Sarada rivandrum
  40. Vasundhara Bangalore
  41. Krishnakumar D Coimbatore
  42. pria chennai
  43. Biji Bangalore
  44. Deepa Dutt Bangalore
  45. Ranjan Kumar das Bangalore
  46. Divya Thrissur
  47. Nivedita Hyderabad
  48. Kuntal Sen Kolkata
  49. Lawrence Aloysius Thrissur, Kerala

Read more...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Futures Conference


Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Orissa
18th April , 2010

Intention:
Today we are witnessing a surge of critical challenges facing our state “Orissa”. There is a pressing need for innovative solutions to a range of problems in the fields of health, education, agriculture, technology, and environmental sustainability. The solutions exist, but implementation requires the next generation of leaders to talk & interact.
We plan to fill the gap through interactive scenario* techniques session, where the young entrepreneurs & creatives will shape the future.
There will be many beneficiaries of such an interaction, but the greatest impact would be fostering seeds of change: entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology.

Background:
Futures Conference is drawing inspiration and guidance from the overwhelming success of a six-week innovation program from the Deutsche Telekom sponsored organization, Palomar5 based in Berlin , Germany (http://palomar5.org). Apurv Mishra, from Palomar5 will be coordinating the event in Bhubaneswar.
Also , MakeSense ( France ) will be sending their representatives Christian Vanizette & Romain Raguin to facilitate the program.

Outreach:
Beside the 40 Entrepreneurs & Creatives attending the event, we will also live stream the event through web. Thus, involve thousands of youngsters in the entire session. Also post-conference, the entire Scenario Sheets & Brainstorms shall be made public. The observations and deliberations of the sharpest young minds in Orissa are going to be assimilated and tabled as fodder for further research.

Program Schedule :
1. Introduction & TalkToMeBubbles to foster the creative mood.
2. Keynote by MakeSense Co-founders : Christian Vanizette & Romain Raguin will be delivering inspiring stories of the change agents around, the unsung heroes who are making a difference to the world through their own inspiring ways.
3. Fetcha-Kucha Wall & Snacks ( Visual Stimulation ) : Passion is inspired by vision. Vision is powered by images. Let’s give images a chance to give flight to imagination. Imagination that is not limited by lifeless words, but by images with soul and stories. Each story as vivid as they ought to be.
4. Keynote by Apurv Mishra : Inventor turned Entrepreneur from Orissa , now part of Palomar5 ( Berlin ) delivers on micro manufacturing and open technology that can act as a change agent for Orissa’s growth
5. Kushal Nahata on starting embedded technology firm based in Orissa “Roboticwares”.
6. Ravi Kumar on Futures Orissa ; the next game-changing development oppurtunity in the state.
7. SCENARIO PLANNING by Apurv Mishra ( MAIN EVENT )

It is a strategic tool used to map out future contexts. The tool consists of an axis made of driving forces in society & economy. This axis becomes a positioning model allowing for navigation and habitation. We will begin with an interactive Trend analysis to open a brainstorm on driving forces. The groups focused on their respective topics begin harvesting images and concepts. Each scenario will have 4 different outcomes. Within each quadrant the groups are asked to inhabit the world with a character, the stories that arise give insights on the future we see.

Link : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scenario_planning
8. Presentation & Launch of Scenarios by the entrepreneurs.
9. Networking Dinner


Team
Apurv Mishra :
19 yrs , Social Entrepreneur/Inventor attended Nobel Prize Ceremony 2009 & Nobel Festivities and honored with SIYSS SEABORG Award from the Nobel Foundation .For the 1st Time Indian Sub-continent has been represented in such a forum since inception of SIYSS in 1976 and was awarded a diploma.
Apurv founded Innovator Factor Foundation in 2006 as spin-off from Intel's Initiatives at Indianapolis http://download.intel.com/education/isef/profiles/ISEF_CaseStudy.pdf . Also one of his inventions 'Glabenator' earned him the President of India's National Technology Award 2006 for the best technological innovation for the physically challenged. He has won several international awards including ISEF Grand Award - Indianapolis 2006, AVASC International Award 2006, Palomar5 Resident ( BMW ) at Berlin , TED Fellow ( San Fransisco ), CSIR Invention Award 2004, Infosys Young Achiever's Award 2007, and recently SIYSS Award to attend the Nobel Prize Ceremony 2009 at Stockholm. Also he has been widely talked about, CES 2009 Keynote by Intel Chairman( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doDQ2iQ_L_k ), BBC World, UNO'S World Intellectual Property Organization Magazine. He consults several NGOs like Kachile Foundation in Ivory Coast, HealthNovations in Boston & Ecamp Israel to name a few. http://www.apurvmishra.com


Ravi Kumar :
Ravi Kumar is a marketing consultant/business head for GoRural India, a rural marketing consultancy firm. He works extensively in the field of rural marketing creating brand awareness for corporates in the rural market.
He has worked for more than 8 years as a technical and business communicator in organizations like HCL Technologies, Siemens, Sun Microsystems and CA.

Read more...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Look for signs!



It shouldn’t come to you as a surprise if I say, what we become ultimately in life is an extrapolation of what we were as kids.

Though I agree many people metamorphose into different individuals vis a vis what they were when they were kids, I would like to keep my faith on my introductory statement.

The fact remains that each one of us is wired differently. And each one of us has his own passions and strengths concealed within, deep within. And the best thing is that these passions and strengths are manifested time and again fitfully from early childhood. Sadly, most of us fail to read these signs and the bud that is eagerly wanting to bloom is nipped with apathy and ignorance. Instead of fomenting the early signs, the natural tendencies are curbed to a silent and sad death.

I have a few classic examples of people around me that drive this point to the hilt. Let me share with you my most favorite.

Manju, a tentative and unsure 18 year old girl 5 years back was a distant cousin of my friend Sanjay. Sanjay’s father had adopted Manju considering her parents modest means of survival. Manju was given a decent familial atmosphere and a decent schooling. But there seemed to be a problem. Manju kept failing in her subjects. No amount of personal coaching helped Manju better her scores. Manju barely passed her exams to inch forward. She just couldn’t study. Already burdened under her uncle’s patronage, she was unable to extricate herself from the ignominy she was subjecting herself and her family. She began to help the family more in their domestic work to feel valued. Her foster parents thought it better to get her married; a practical and natural option under the circumstances. Manju would be only 18 then. Sanjay somehow wasn’t able to take this decision on his stride. He started looking for signs. Signs that would help him lead her out of the darkness. To his relief, Sanjay found that Manju’s heart lay in painting. She had a natural eye for design. He got her admitted to Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Bhubaneswar and she began responding favorably. He began to observe the erstwhile hidden glow in her eyes; the glow of self worth and esteem.

The long lost confidence masked under her meek demeanor suddenly opened up. A self branded ‘black sheep’ till now amongst her more talented and able cousins, this self revelation was like a volcano waiting to erupt. Sanjay kept doing his bit bombarding her with the necessary moral boost. He equipped her with all modern skills of design and arts: animation, 3d, cartooning etc.

Manju ‘s work soon started getting attention in town. She began featuring in art galleries. After her BFA, Manju got through a premium design company in Bangalore with a pay package that would put any fresh engineer to shame.

Last week she was interviewed for a position in London, by a digital graphics company that worked with the Oscar winning movie, Avatar
.

I can’t help but salute the spirit of Manju (who calls me Ravi Bhaiya) and most importantly his brother Sanjay who looked for the signs in her. If it werent for him, Manju would have been killed today in spirit and in mind, resigned as a domestic homemaker in some remote village in Bihar.


Do you ever feel clogged, suffocated, chained to your job and circumstances that you never wanted to be in first place? If yes, then it could be that your natural inclinations while you were young were shortchanged for a more socially acceptable option. Your may not have till now reconciled to that arrangement till now.

In all probability, if you have been a victim of pursuing a forced choice in life, you might met out the same injustice to your younger siblings or kids. Promise yourself you won’t let that happen. Instead, look for signs in them. Let the bud bloom like Manju.

Read more...

Monday, March 08, 2010

The importance of white spaces



I read about white spaces the first time in Subroto Bagchi’s book, The Professional. It said, “In printed matter of a book, white space denotes emptiness or spaces between words so that we can read characters that form the word and a group of words that form a sentence. In professional lives, white space is a train or a bus ride to work, it is the time waiting outside a client’s office, the time spent on long flights. We have all been given huge white spaces in life”

Earlier all my usual free spaces were consumed by deliberate cramming of work; either poring into a book or scribbling down thoughts to paper. In short, forcing myself into a seemingly productive activity. But then lately, I have begun to realize the importance of enjoying non-activity sometimes.

Observing the results of non activity closely I have realized something. Non activity most of the time is more productive. Using non active time consciously to think improves the quality of thoughts. With clinical practice, your thoughts become more creative in time. It would soon be a pleasant self revelation for you to know that you could become so creative. But the fact is you do not become creative; creativity was always with you. You only helped unearth it.

No wonder Newton and Archimedes achieved zenith of their creative genius at their most non active moments. One was day dreaming under the apple tree; the other basking in the hot water tub of his bathroom.

White spaces also improve the quality of your life. Reflecting and contemplating on your actions improves your self awareness. Narayanmurthy of Infosys before resigning to bed spends a couple of minutes replaying the entire day in his mind’s eye to look for instances where he would have behaved or acted inappropriately. This practice of self correction everyday is immensely useful for self development.

Earlier I would be guilty of wasting such white spaces and hence cram it with things I felt were more productive. Now with this self revelation I glow with the prospect of having so many white spaces in life. Be it waiting at the reception to meet a client, standing in a bank’s queue, waiting for a person to arrive etc.

Last week on my way to Aurangabad from Ellora caves on bus we had to cross a ghat road after sun set. But due to a blockade, the bus had to wait for 6 long hours in that mountain road. I boarded down the bus in the pitch darkness. The villages deep below the hill were shimmering with little lights. After a while I lied down at the embankment of the road with my head up towards the sky. What I saw up were millions of stars twinkling, with varied sizes and intensity. The sky was clear as glass. At this height I was so close to them. I sky gazed for the rest of the night. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of life. A gift of a beautiful white space presented on a black night.

White spaces also enable you to engage in self talk. I have seen people who cant stand being alone even for a brief period. Their hands would soon work their way to their phone pad and dial a random friend. Spending time with yourself and self talking is so important because your consciousness gets programmed during these moments. Your soul metamorphoses during these precious minutes. These are the moments where you get those little knocks and nudges that shapes you. It is like a potter tapping a half baked pot to perfect its roundedness. We too get rounded during these moments.


Read more...

Saturday, March 06, 2010

No arms! No legs! No worries!

Read more...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Experience variety


It was during the first week of joining my engineering college. An exciting period of my life where I experienced my new found freedom and a false sense of adulthood. I began looking forward to every approaching day in college with childlike curiosity. The anticipation of the unknown, a heady mix of fear and excitement kept the mind happily agitated. Fear and excitement of being ragged in college. We all grow up hearing about the thing called ragging through stories; some true, some made up. But the college management had dealt strongly on ragging and we freshers were shielded from the seniors with war like tactical strategy. I was sorely disappointed. How much had I looked forward to this day to experience what ragging was like once in my life. All the months of curious anticipation that rose to a crescendo was now going to end as a damp squib. I resented at the thought of it. I wanted to experience ragging first hand. I wanted to have stories in my life that I could share with my kids when they grew up; stories of my ragging experience. I decided not to heed the instructions and jump into the enemy camp. So with a fake air of confidence, head held high, collar unbuttoned, sleeves folded, I walked alone to the canteen infested with seniors. The details of what ensued isn’t necessary for this post but the dressing down that I received in the canteen will remain etched in my memories forever. And I asked for it for the sake of experience. ;)


This might not be an ideal way of experiencing life, but that’s how I am. I don’t know since when, but I always believed that experiencing life closely in all its vagaries is important for self growth. And I don’t just mean only experiences that come your way, but experiences that you deliberately create and bump into. I have listed out certain advantages of looking for deliberate experiences in life:


Don’t fall into a pattern:

One should never fall into a pattern in life is what I had always heard and wanted to believe in. So I consciously sought variety in life even when I wasn’t comfortable with it.In my brief career of 7 years, I have worked in 5 different states Gurgaon, Faridabad, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad. Having worked in the IT sector for 7 years, I did an about turn to work in the arena of rural marketing. My work requires to travel hinterland of India and helps corporates set their brands there. A loner as a person, working in so many states with varied organizations, helped me open up and become adaptable. Today fitting in is not a problem for me.If you always take the same road, how will you ever find anything new

Enhances quality of life:

An year back, I picked up my backpack and left for the Himalayas alone for 15 days. My idea of travelling alone to the Himalayas stemmed up from this very thought of experiencing life. Surrendering yourself to the mighty mountains alone could be a life enhancing experience. I have tried to persuade the Gorkhas in Mana village to allow me to stay at their place overnite and they have reluctantly agreed.Has it had an effect on me? I think it should have. I am not sure. May be that will manifest itself subtly in some way tomorrow. During my Himalayan trip, I remember my tour guide Rajneesh talk about a Malaysian woman who along with her two year old baby stayed at a cave in the deep Garhwal mountains for a month. After a month both the mother and her daughter looked disheveled and rugged. She often comes there every year for such adventure.


Multidimensional life:

I have worked in some of the biggest companies in the world like Siemens, Sun Microsystems and CA. Today I work with a small startup that isn’t even a speck compared to where I have worked before. But whereas the work was unidimensional in my previous organization, the work in my current organization is ad hoc. It is maddening like a whirlpool. There is nothing to fall back upon. There is no one to give you instructions. There is no one to listen to your issues. The only fact is, work needs to be done. Period. Buck stops at you. But with all this, there is so much to learn.Today with my new field of work, I stay engaged. I keep looking for ways to delight my clients. I realized how important smiling is in my day to day interactions. I realized to keep my ego in check. I meet difficult people every day. I learn different ways of interacting with different people; how to convince, cajole, coerce, placate etc. I learn to look at things from others’ perspective for the first time in life. Today, I do not have an issue in interacting smoothly with a tribal farmer in a remote village in Nasik or delivering a presentation to the COO of my fortune 100 client. In short the experience makes you well rounded and the growth as a person is fulfilling.


Removes fear and discomfort:

The only way to dispel fear is to attack it head on. My fear of facing a crowd was gradually won over when I decided to tackle it head on. I joined Toastmasters. I kept failing. I kept faltering. I deliberately jumped in to host little events in my office or other public forums. It gradually became my comfort zone to the point that I started receiving compliments for my presentations.


Childlike curiosity:

Making a conscious effort to experience life keeps alive the child within. And it is very important again or self growth. I remember visiting Papakondulu in Andhra Pradesh with a big contingent. The trip was a launch ride on the mighty Godavari cutting across beautiful mountains called Papikondulu. While there were many of us observing the enchanting waters and hills of the beautiful Godavari, there were some who played cards all through the journey. On their way back it was them who complained how pathetic the place was. But to me and many others Papikondulu was one of the beautiful places in India. To appreciate beauty you ought to observe the experience . Your eyes should twinkle with child like curiosity. Only then you would be able to find more colors in the world than what meets the eye.Experience More. Live More. Because you live just once.

Read more...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Poetic Justice



Year 2002, Oct:
A lanky young boy with an unsure demeanor walked in the campus of KIIT, an engineering college in Bhubaneswar. But he was starry eyed dreaming of doing silly little things. One of the things he did was publish an inter campus magazine called Akanksha in his 3rd year . He was the chief editor then.

On the magazine unveiling ceremony, which was attended by more than 200 students at the open air amphitheatre, he was asked to address the gathering. Never before had he spoken in public. He was given a rousing welcome and called onto stage. With pride swelling his chest he walked onto the stage and felt the world at his feet. With heart thumping, adrenaline pumping, how much he had craved for a moment like this. He walked through the stretch of the stage and faced the mike. And then he looked at the audience for the first time. It looked like a sea of heads each one poring on him. The two hundred odd people looked like two million.


He went blank and stared at the sea with horror. Blood drained out of him. Time was suspended for eternity. His mind raced. He fell silent for half a minute. So was the audience. And soon the whole crowd cheered with applause. An applaud that was meant to boost him. He mumbled ‘sorry’ and walked out of the stage. The heaviest steps he had ever taken in life. Steps of shame and disgrace. Back stage he let out a loud shriek and cried like a kid. An honorable moment had turned into a moment of ignominy. He was heart broken. He was crushed.


Year 2010, Feb
Venue was the same campus of KIIT. The crowd had gathered again to listen to him. This time they had paid to listen to him. This time he didn’t fall silent. This time he didn’t go blank. This time the audience cheered not out of sympathy, but out of approval.
The boy had redeemed himself of the ignominy after 7 years.

The boy was me. And I am proud.


Read more...

About This Blog

About This Blog

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP