Saturday, April 18, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Did I tell you I have re-joined Toastmasters?
I had joined a club in my previous company in 2006. I gave my first two speeches within a month. My audience totally loved me. After the first one, I was ecstatic. After the second one, I thought if I am so good already, why do I need to do this? I switched jobs after my second speech, and never joined the new one until 3 weeks ago. I went back because I wanted to finish all such initiatives that I started with a lot of enthusiasm, but quit halfway out of boredom.
I am glad I went back. I am having a lot of fun. The various topics under discussion really stir up the brain cells that have settled down lately to think only about work and home. It is definitely good for the brain, the confidence, the variety of thoughts, the challenge!
I attended the area level International Speech Contest hosted by my club today.
The title of this post is the title of the winning speech at the contest.
It was about the speaker's sister: mother of 10, grandmother of 24, who decided one fine day that she wanted to start running! She wanted to run everyday. That is it. Just run, no other goal related to time or distance. After she did it for a month, she decided to run every single day for a year! Once she achieved that, she wanted to run a marathon. She took a year preparing for it, and won the first marathon she ran! She participated in marathons all over the country, and one day decided that she wanted to run the Boston Marathon. No mean feat this one! Yes, of course, she did it!
It started with one small goal of wanting to run. Nowhere in the picture was the Boston Marathon! Yet, that is where it led!
The speech got me thinking about the way I dealt with personal projects. They all start with lofty dreams. I have dreamt of being a fashion designer, a writer, a social worker, a singer, a dancer, a winner of this very speech contest where I was among the audience! While I had more than the basic talent needed for all these things, I never understood the power of humble beginnings! I just wanted to be at the top while I was still eyeing the bottom rung. While I had a flair for a wide variety of things, I never understood the importance of focusing on just one of them at a time! My head was always full of more ideas than I had the time and energy for. The result was that I achieved nothing significant! The result was anxiety and a sense of helplessness that there is so much that I can do, yet nothing that I am actually doing!
What a revelation that speech was! I started thinking about all that I wanted to do, why I wanted to do it, how it fit into the bigger picture of my life. Thoughts churned, and I started to see things more clearly. I was able to categorize tasks into must-do, can-do, and einhhh…why bother!
The things that bubbled up to the top were:
• Social work
The more thought I put into this, the more I realized that they can all be connected!
I now have just one goal of my own that I feel really good about.
Wish me luck!
Monday, April 6, 2009
I am re-posting this hoping to get some more people to pitch in. Project WHY needs your help! I received a touching letter from AnouDidi this morning:
It has been a long time since I wrote and it is after some thought that I pick up my virtual pen again. It is not that you have not been on my mind. I often think about each one of you who have made pwhy possible. It is true that one often wrote when in need as that is human nature! On the other hand I also knew that many of you dropped by the site or the blog and thus got all the news about pwhy.
I must admit that the past few months have been smooth sailing thus lulling us into a deceptive comfort zone. We reached the magic figure of 1K without much ado and once again the children did us proud. We had our anxious moments be it Manu's health, or a little boy's dreams shattered but somehow weathered the storms. We had our huge moments too be it the surgery of a little scarred face or the miracle that made it possible for us to send our little proteges to boarding school.
Yes we lived exhilarating times and somehow did not realise that some promised had not been kept. Hence we were totally taken aback when we realised that our funds had dwindled. Today we do not have money to pay our monthly commitments.
Before you wonder how we got to this situation let me explain our funding pattern. We have solid commitments for about 60% of our needs, the rest has to be raised ad hoc. A slip on my part or an unexpected payment (like the one time of the boarding school) and we find ourselves in the lurch!
We need your sustained help, a small amount that you would send us on a regular basis. Is that asking too much? I do not know. All I can tell you is that that tiny amount may help a child remain in school, or help a challenged child smile or another get the urgent medical help it needs.
Love and blessings
Going with the Christmas spirit, and for a cause VERY close to my heart, I urge you to help the kids that call Project WHY their shelter, their playground, their home and hearth! What is project WHY you say?
It is a non-profit organization based in Delhi helping out slum kids of Delhi and their families, in any which way possible. Yawwnnn...you go, yet another non-profit. Here me out, please, before letting out that yawn.
This is not just another non-profit organization. This one is special. Anou has made it special! They get NO support from the government or any other institute. Their teachers are from WITHIN THE COMMUNITY! Anou is known as the lady who made a sweeper into a teacher. Most of the teachers at their school are slum dwellers, with a minimum education of 8th grade. So the benefits are reaching every where! Everyone earns and learns with dignity!
They now have over 600 children and run two early education programs, one prep class, four primary and one secondary after school support programs, a day care and life skills program for 20 children with disabilities as well as a computer center.
Anou is indeed leading a revolution at the grassroots level. The primary charter for the organization is education support and life skill enhancement of slum children and their families. But believe me, they do more than that. They have helped a lot of these kids get life saving surgeries and other medical, financial and emotional help. They have helped get them out of the streets and into a classroom. Off the foot path and into a home! They help wherever they can, and NO ONE is every turned away.
I was introduced to this project through a comment on a friend's blog. She had written a poem promoting education for one and all. And someone had pointed her to this blog by Anouradha Bakshi, the director and founder of Project WHY. I dropped by, and have been doing so everyday now, even have Anouradha as a Facebook friend.
The poem by my friend was beautiful, but the blog is a private one, so I cannot share it here. (Ella, I am talking about you, dear!)
Anou's blog is a window into the lives of these children, the difficulties they face with so much courage, the basic rights that they have to fight for, the smiles on their bright little faces which are so innocent, and so unfortunate! And so much talent and potential! The stories Anou puts up are heart-wrenching, because the little ones face so many adversities, and at the same time they are heart-warming because the kids are not alone! pWHY is there for them!
Project WHY has started another initiative called Planet WHY. This is also a very very special undertaking. I will let you take a journey to that planet yourself and explore it with your own eyes. It is truly a world of its own.
I can go on and on about the project and the little angels. But now...lets get down to business, shall we? :D
I ask you to donate Just One Rupee A Day to Project WHY. What is this?
It is an initiative of pWHY where they make it possible for even the poorest in India to contribute and make a difference. It is only Rs. 365 a year. Less than what you would spend on a decent dinner. Less than a movie for your family at that multiplex. Less than a pair of shoes!
Think about the difference it is going to make! I hear a lot of fellow bloggers "wanting to make a difference". Here is your chance! And this here is a proof of how it is going to help us build a better India! Anou Didi approached a child who would otherwise have gone on to become a goonda, and turned him towards studying, towards a better life.
This is real! This is effective! And Anou Didi is there to take it further. I have so much faith in the project because of the faith she has in the kids!
So once again, I urge all of you to donate Just One Rupee A Day. And maybe take a step further and donate Just One Rupee A Day for each earning member of your family. The kids deserve this! India deserves this!
Here's a link to donate pWHY via paypal.
And here is a link to other other ways you can donate.
Merry Christmas everyone :) Lets spread some cheer, shall we?