Winds of Change…!!!

“Another world is not only possible, she’s on the way and, on a quiet day, if you listen very carefully you can hear her breathe.”

                                                                                                –Arundhati Roy

“But why don’t you join the school?” Krishna asked the small girl. “Because I have to help my mother with the household work and graze the goats in the morning”, she replied.

“If you are willing you will accomplish whatever you want irrespective of obstacles” Krishna smiled and said. She started reflecting on the years gone by.

Krishna had a very normal childhood. Born in a poor family in Assam, life had been tough since childhood. Her father had left their family under the pretext of searching for work soon after Krishna was born and never returned. Her mother, Kaveri would wash utensils in other houses earning barely enough to meet their expenses. Due to these experiences since early childhood, Krishna somehow found it difficult to trust people specially men.

Krishna was fond of studying and aspired to join the school when she would see Babu’s sons going to study. She fought all odds to study at the village Primary School. Those days it used to be a boy’s only school.

“If you don’t teach, how will I learn” she had asked the school headmaster. Krishna was the first girl to be admitted to the village primary school. She would get up early morning help her mother with the household chores. She had to walk several miles to reach the school. Her grit and determination made it seem effortless for her. She would take tuitions for Babu’s kids in the evening. She even topped in her school!

Krishna easily managed to secure a scholarship for her post-graduation. She even picked up a part time job in the evenings to send money to her mother for supporting the family expenses. She would stretch herself to study and finish her assignments late in the night.

Krishna would have limited dresses for herself, rarely go out with friends or spend on herself; but she always wore her confidence, would go out the way to help others and spend on things that they need. Ravi, her batchmate was always in awe of her resilience. He had also proposed Krishna on the last day of college. She politely declined it as she had her eyes set on her goals. Ravi went to US to pursue his Master’s in Business Administration. He, however, continued to be in touch and helped Krishna secure a grant from a leading foundation in US to help provide infrastructure, study kits and internet-based learning for the school children.

Krishna now heads the school she had difficulty getting admission to. Thought she had the best offers during Campus placements; she chose to be back to her roots to bring about the change she had dreamt of during her early childhood. Even on a busy day, she makes sure to take out an hour each day to teach the Life Skills to small children. She likes kids who are inquisitive and encourages them to ask questions. She wants each girl to rise and shine. Her mother also encourages other parents to support education of the girl child.

Fighting all odds, she carved a way for herself. Krishna successfully changed the stereotypical representation of lives of females in the village. You can often hear her telling the students “New opportunities and new way of life is within grasp. We should quieten the chatter in the head to be able to hear the inner voice…!!!”

And other children in the village too are learning to live their dreams 😊

Earth and Us… !!!

Once upon a time there was a planet called “Earth”
Where people were happy and living in mirth

Then came “greed” leading to disruptive innovation
Which in the long run was harmful for any Nation

Year 2020 didn’t start on a good note
First the Aussie fires then Corona virus

There was lot of fear and uncertainty
Only thing that could save humans was positivity

While the Earth closed itself for repairs
There came “Hope” and “Power of Prayers”

Giving a big lesson to the humanity
Let’s support each other during this calamity… !!!

A Second Chance… !!!

Arun was a workaholic who hardly spent time with his family and friends. He would always say “I have no time”. He aspired to become the President of the Company sooner than the Company norms and swamped himself with only one thing-WORK. Riya his wife would often ask “Are the kids only my responsibility?”. Hurt by his constant absence she had over the years grown used to it.

Arun barely slept that night. He tossed and turned, as the mistakes of last 10 years played over in his mind. Life had changed in the last six months since his wife was diagnosed with Cancer. As he embraced the past with remembrance and future with unlikely longing, his earnest desire was to get a second chance to spend some more time with his loved ones.

Arun took Ria to the States for her treatment. His childhood friend Adish and his wife Smriti made sure that the kids were taken care of in their parent’s absence. While the pain of Chemo was something she had to bear alone, his constant support and presence made her emotionally strong to handle this trauma. It was a long battle for Ria and Arun.  Finally, doctors gave the good news that cancer had gone into remission. Arun was relieved and cried uncontrollably like a child. He was thankful to God for the second chance life had given him.

As they packed their bags Arun assured Riya that she would have his back. He promised to live a balanced life and not ignore the important people in his life besides work.

Arun had missed the promotion because of his absence from work, still he had no qualms. He had now learnt to treasure the relationships over material possessions. Kids were happy to see their father around more often something which used to be a rare phenomenon. He carved out time for improving his social connections.

Sometimes a second chance is what we long for in our relationships. And not all are lucky to get that chance. So, respect and value people and relationships before it’s too late. As they say second chances are not given to make things right. But are given to prove that we could be better even after we fall…!!!

Trip to Nallamalai

We recently went to Nallamalai Jungle Camp during Sankranti holidays. It is 302 kms from Hyderabad and a good weekend getaway.  It a nearly six hours drive from Hyderabad (including halt). You can stop over at the Food Pyramid which is a good option and nearly halfway through the journey. If you start early from Hyderabad, you can reach the property around lunch time.

Nallamalai Jungle Camp at Bairluty is a community-based eco-tourism initiative which was started in 2017. The main aim of the camp is to elicit local support for wildlife, to impart conservation education to the visitors and to empower the local communities improving their livelihoods. Bairluty is a tribal village in Atmakur mandal of Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh. This is one of the eco-tourism projects initiated by AP Tourism and a nice weekend getaway from Hyderabad. It is among the three locations of eco-tourism programmes initiated by Andhra Pradesh Government in Nagarjunasagar – Srisailam Tiger Reserve, the other two being Thummalabailu and Pacherla. Most of the area is hilly terrain with plateaus, Ridges, Gorges and Deep valleys which support tropical mixed dry deciduous and moist deciduous forests with an under growth of bamboo and grass.

There are two accommodation options at Bairulty- Cottage and Tents. While the tented cottages are made of cloth, the dressing and washrooms are made of bricks. Rest of the amenities are same for both the options. It is a clean and nicely maintained property with some nice photo points inside and a gazebo to sit and relax in the evening. Though the food spread is not much to talk about, they do prepare it fresh and serve with love and care 😊. The only thing you need to be careful of is to keep the rooms locked all the time as there are lot of monkeys. Though they do not harm anyone, they are always on the lookout for food items.

We wanted to keep the evening relaxed, so we went to a water body nearby to enjoy the walk by the bund, see sunset and relax on the shore watching the water waves move across the large water body.

The Morning Safari

The next day morning we went for safari. It started around 7:15 a.m. It is a two-hour safari.

Sitting in an enclosed vehicle to see the animals in the open makes an interesting role reversal. The anticipation of being able to site a tiger is what keeps you (especially the kids 😊) going patiently during the safari. Though we were not lucky to see the apex predator, we could see its pug marks as he would have surely crossed that area some time back. We did spot the eagle, samba deer, spotted deer, peacock, black wild boar and a snake.

Towards the end of the safari they do take you to a viewpoint where you can witness the changing landscape-grasslands, dense forest, water hole and check dams. The view is surely breath-taking.

Sangameshwara Temple

We decided to visit the Sangameswara temple after breakfast. It is 46 Kms from the property and takes nearly 1.5 hours one side. We crossed few villages and it felt nice to see development reaching smaller places. Sangameshwara temple is a Hindu temple in the Kurnool district. It is located near Muchumarri at the confluence of the Krishna and Bhavanasi rivers, in the foreshore of the Srisailam reservoir, where it is submerged for part of the time, surfacing when the water level recedes to a sufficient degree. It was first submerged after the Srisailam Dam was constructed in 1981, and first surfaced in 2003.

The submerged temple’s wooden Lingam, Sangameswaram, is believed to have been installed by Dharmaraja, the eldest of the Pandavas, after their visit to Srisailam Mallikarjuna temple. We were not able to see it as water level falls only towards end of summer and before rains kick in The temple is considered a place of religious sanctity due to being built at the confluence of seven rivers and remain visible for two months. (Bhavanasi, Krishna River and five rivers that merge into it beforehand, namely, Veni, TungaBhadra, Bheemarathi and Malapaharini).

Dr. YSR Smruti Vanam

It is a majestic memorial park built in the memory of late Chief Minster YSR on the site where the helicopter had crashed. It is roughly 15 kms from the Jungle Camp and roughly half an hour drive. It has a 20 ft statue of YSR made by sculptor Shivaprasad with his trademark raised hand waiving to the people. It has various theme gardens like neem – a personal favourite of YSR, fragrance garden, ‘Pavitra Vanam’ of 108 sacred plants, butterfly shaped garden with 150 species of carefully chosen plants to attract butterflies, etc.

We checked out next day morning. It was a refreshing change for everyone away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The Lunchbox… !!!

Tara always had the privilege of getting “homemade dabba”. She never valued it and would often be lured by the school canteen food where some of her friends would often eat.

“Why can’t I also eat at the Canteen like my friends” she would often complain to her mom.

Tara became a working mother. Though there was nothing forcing her to do all this and few days she would wake up tired from last day’s exhaustion, she would still pack home lunch for her daughter.

Tara was beginning to value the importance of Lunchbox given by a mother…!!!

Ma

When I was a little girl, I always used to wonder

Does my mother have a secret magic wand?

How else she does everything with so much ease

And be comforting to us like a fresh breeze

When I became a mother, I inherited her superpowers

I could suddenly manage more and work for long hours

Ma for me means tolerance and grace personified

She is someone whom I truly idolize

Ma for my kids is a gift of God

Pretty much everything they would ever want….!!!

Smart Phones-The New Devil

I had a dentist appointment for my younger son few days back. While we were waiting for our turn, my son asked me a question which left me thinking “Mamma, why are all the parents busy with their phones?”

Smartphones have become a constant companion for almost everyone these days. Ever wondered why? In a study conducted by the Pew Research Centre nearly 50% of the adults stated, “they couldn’t live without their phones”. According to researchers’ humans are wired to connect with others and smartphones makes this easier, at least in giving mental comfort. In earlier days close relationships with small network of family and friends which used to be based on trust and co-operation was easier. This could be possible as people used to disclose personal information about themselves and were responsive to others. These days Smartphones provide the immediate and constant access to messaging, easier to disclose personal information with instant access to social media. The give us the comfort of being easily accessible all the time. First thing people check in the morning is our phones. We do make sure to carry our phone before stepping out of the house.

People feel the need for other’s validation/likes as soon as something is posted on social media.

In another study (of over 3000 people using smartphones) nearly 82 percent reported frequent disturbance on in person interactions by virtue of the phones” (source-Internet). We all have experienced the frustration when trying to tell something important to someone who is fully engrossed in his screen. In fact, many a times, we have also behaved in this manner as well. These moments can lead to the person feeling unimportant, ignored, annoyed etc. It also affects our relationship with the other person knowingly or unknowingly.

The best present we can give someone is to BE PRESENT (in the moment with them) when they want to share something with us.

The outcome of the above studies can be summarised in the below line:

“WHEN THE PHONE WAS TIED WITH A WIRE HUMANS WERE FREE”

Excessive use of smartphones can consume users time and engage for a considerable amount of time without any value add. Smartphones, if not used smartly, can result in getting lost in the technology mindlessly.

  • Social connections are very important and good for us. In fact, they outsmart the smartphones any given day.
  • The quality of close relationships is very important for our life.
  • Good relationships protect our brains-we just have to make an effort in investing in the relationships we value or where we are being valued.

The amount of time we spend on our phones if only we are able to spend on our relationships the outcome would be totally different and have a positive impact on our lives.

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