Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Facebook Surprise : Poona Company !

Poona Company Cover

This is a follow-up to Poona Company : Good News which was a Blogpost
published two years ago. In that post I raved about an internationally-loved novel
by Farrukh Dhondy who attended the same school as I did and then went
on to write about his experiences growing up in our mutual hometown of
Poona/Pune in India.  I bemoaned the lack of availability of the novel even
on but since then things have changed, as I discovered.

A Facebook Group for the Bishops' School of which I am an Admin resulted
in some great contacts who shared the same loyalty and feelings to our old
Alma Mater, and fostered a new brotherhood with people I had never met,
now residing far from the old stomping grounds.  And from one of those strangers
who now works independently came a wonderful anonymous
gift in the form of the book I was so longing to read, arriving via U.K Royal Mail
with no Sender's address or info. Of course I did a bit of checking and zeroed in
on the anonymous donor but I never thanked him till now. I can never thank him
enough for opening my eyes once again to the kindness of strangers,  and for the
untold joy I experienced in reading a novel not just of my hometown but my 'hood,
my street. The experiences of the author were so vivid as to make me feel
I was back with my childhood friends and the colorful local characters. There was
schoolboy mischief, adolescent curiosity, trickery, bribery, caning, bullying and more
that unfolded as college days and adulthood brough the novel to its conclusion.

Salman Rushdie's comment on the book cover says, 'a beautiful collection, 
full of affection and an extremely funny book' and I have to agree 100%.

So.....a BIG Thank You to Hiten and Facebook for creating this meaningful moment 
in my life ! And believe me, there are other Facebook moments like this, so stay tuned !

Get the Book at Amazon now before it sells out again :

Poona Company (Lions)

Also available to purchase on Amazon Kindle 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Man Behind the Manav Sadhna Project

As the Founder of an Indian NGO Manav Sadhna, Jayesh Patel, a.k.a. Jayesh Bhai (Bhai=Brother) 
walks the slums of Ahmedabad as a perfect example of Living Service. He's a simple, unassuming
type of man who had to be coaxed to speak on camera, and his strong native Indian-accented English 
could explain his reluctance. The producers had to include sub-titles for this video even though
the conversation took place in English, but once he agreed to speak for the camera, Jayesh was 
tireless in his desire to share his passion for his project. And we are all the more fortunate.......

This inspiring film is provided with many thanks to LINK, part of The Global Oneness Project 
series that travels worldwide asking people from a variety of disciplines whose work is grounded in 
"oneness" or world interconnectedness, for their stories and insights.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Giving Birth Alone from One.Org

From my Inbox today........ I had to act today

Giving birth alone

From: "Awatif Altayib,"
To: Fred Miller

Dear Fred,

When I went into labor with my first child at age 16, my delivery was extremely long
and difficult. There were no doctors or midwives in my Sudanese village and the
closest hospital was 9 hours away. After 2 days of obstructed labor, the decision was
finally made to take me to the doctor. My baby did not survive the journey, and I
developed complications that took 2 surgeries and 12 years to fix.

It's time to make sure that no future mother has to share a similar story. Join me in
asking the G8 to commit to recruiting 3.5 million healthcare workers when they meet next week.
Let’s make sure no mother ever has to give birth alone.

Petition text:
As part of a comprehensive plan to save mothers, infants and children, please ensure the G8
commits to training an additional 3.5 million healthcare workers by 2015 at the upcoming G8
meeting in Canada.

Unfortunately, my tale is a common one in Sudan. But I've seen what a difference more healthcare
workers can make. I am now one of many trained midwives in my village and I’ve dedicated my life to
sharing my story and helping other mothers like me.
Will you help by adding your name?

It could mean the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of women and children
around the world. My work isn’t always easy – I often travel long distances and must leave my family
for weeks at a time to make sure that mothers can safely deliver a healthy baby. But I'm determined to
help women not suffer the same fate that I did—and it's my sincere hope that you will help, too.

Thank you,

Awatif Altayib, ONE member

Subject: 3.5 million healthworkers

On June 25, the G8 countries will meet in Canada to sign onto a new initiative to help women and
children in the developing world. I just signed a petition asking the G8 to commit to recruiting and
training 3.5 million healthworkers as part of this initiative.

Each year, 8.8 million children and 300,000 women still die from preventable illness, childbirth and
pregnancy, and in many places these deaths could be prevented simply by giving these women
the support of a trained community healthworker. No mother about to give birth, or caring for a
sick child, should be without support. Please join me by signing the petition here:



An article from: International Midwifery 


The Himalayan Project : from LINK TV

Once in a while I come across Hip-Hop lyrics that are not your average, run-of-the-mill
bombs that rely on thumping beats in the back and humping bootays in the front....or
vice versa.....thumping bootays in the front and humping....those lyrics that just seem
to speak directly to me, the old-skool lover of poetry, chord changes and patterns and
melodic intricacies.

This time I was surfing through the Music updates on LINK when my eye
caught the groovy collaboration of Rainman, of Chinese origin, and Chee Malabar,
a South Indian - two friends now based in the USA, who perform at clubs, festivals,
school and college campuses all over as The Himalayan Project.
Watch the 'exotic' video below and then try to digest the fitting lyrics that hit me hard
after that. Enjoy and share !


Lyrics to Postcards From Paradise :
I was raised in a cosmopolitan spot, caught amidst the politics of men
Where we sit, shit, frolic in dirt, smoke chronic herb and wish for things
Picture rickshaws, gaudy with yellow and black trimmings
Three wheels hydroplane, against the gravel
Through overcrowded gullies, swellin' like pregnant bellies
With monsoon rains, corrugated iron roofs, sway in the violent winds
The sediment stinks, like rotten lettuce left since spring
My ethnic settlements, evidence, decadence lives
Brown folks nude playing, bathin' shittin' drinkin' prayin'
Layin' In the same puddle, riddled with mosquitoes, the size of bald eagles
Breedin' malaria, no vaccine, ain't no quinine
We deep inside hysteria, outside of history
On the fray, lost as a paisley patterned teardrop
In the Arabian sea, off the coast of Bombay

Something like love, something like hope
Something like beautiful, something I wrote
But postcards from paradise rarely sent to me
Postcards from paradise weren't meant for me [x2]

Songs play, Ghulam Ali's urdu ghazals wailin'
from a pastry shop, Buzzing with flies, over stale things
a sepia hued veil slips over the sky
'Allah U-Akbar' a cleric's voice cries
atop the dome from a moghul influenced minaret
across the street from a temple where drums beat to shiva's steps
Upanishad texts, holy men in tunics bless
The destitute, prostitues, what's the cost of truth?
A lucid clear eyed prophet sits on my stoop
His brown hair locked in a basket like strands of joot
The man's a mute, it's a wonder his mandibles move
Hurling curses, reciting verses, they say he sensed a feud
Of Hindu's murderin' Muslims and vice-a-versa
Diego, my neighbor, got his neck slit with a sickle
In the name of a sacred purge, yeah
Later that summer, my cityside was swept with murder
Religious fervor

Something like love, something like hope
Something like beautiful, something I wrote
But postcards from paradise rarely sent to me
Postcards from paradise weren't meant for me [x2]

So two gods can't live in the same alley, side by side
Religious riots, firebrands scar a black night
Flashback to a past life
Fatehgunj Housing sphere's overlooking thatch and shoddy made dung huts
Shantytowns sprout then, stick out like gout
Politicians talkin' 'bout 'forward progress NOW'
So these beautiful folks had their huts burned to the ground
But genius lies in all things simplified
They'd take cow shit, mixed it with grass, a few twigs
Exposed to the sun, it hardened once plastered to a few bricks
Add some sweat and you have a makeshift apartment
Follow the stark stench of humans, fume and disease
Where my peoples get by simply on ritual beliefs
It's steeped deep in what the british did before they flee
Left more than just English literature, cricket, whiskey and tea
Psychological damage, famines, but we managed
Cause even a rose grows through cracks of concrete
And a lotus floats hope in the stream of the ganges
There's love here, but hate too, for that you can blame karma
And nah, we just ain't Deepak Chopra and our famed martyr
So why would you wanna travel any place farther
You can come-leave-reassured, your world's a safe harbor
So here it is, the picturesque postcard you chase after
Complete with Taj Mahal's, camels and snake charmers
[ Postcards From Paradise Lyrics on ]

The Project
The Project 

Bridge Techniques 
Bridge Techniques 

Monday, June 07, 2010

In Remembrance of a Friend

From my Inbox :

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense,
who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old
he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: 

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain; 
- Why the early bird gets the worm; 
- Life isn't always fair, and
- Maybe it was my fault. 

Common Sense 
lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more
than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing
regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with
sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for
using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly
student, only worsened his condition. 

Common Sense 
lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job
that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. 

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent
to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform
parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. 

Common Sense 
lost the will to live as the churches became businesses;
and criminals received better treatment than their victims. 

Common Sense 
took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from
a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. 

Common Sense 
finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to
realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap,
and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. 

Common Sense 
was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust,
by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son,

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers :
I Know My Rights 
I Want It Now 
Someone Else Is To Blame 
I'm A Victim 

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and
do nothing.

Common Sense (American Classics Series)

 Common Sense (American Classics Series)