Right to education for every child..Malala and more!

As I was watching Malala Yousafzai’s interview on the Daily Show last week I couldn’t believe that a 17 year old was keep-calm-and-give-every-child-a-right-to-education-4 making so much of a difference by voicing out for education. I do remember reading about her when she won the Noble Peace Prize but somehow it never registered in me that she was so young. As I watched the trailer of ‘He named me Malala‘ and the figures discussed by her, I was reminded yet again that there are millions of people in this world who have no basic education. Who have absolutely no knowledge of the outside world. There are 66 million girls around the world who are out of school.

One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”- Malala Yousafzai

She calls herself an ordinary girl who has launched this campaign with extraordinary zeal. As ordinary people who are not seventeen and definitely better educated than millions, can we make a difference? I think we definitely can and in any small way that we can contribute. I have spoken to many who say “Oh! I wish I could do something about it.” I wish to be part of a social change in some way. There are innumerable ways to be a part of this cause. All you need to do is take an effort and google search or just keep reading…

Children are those beings who are bright, enthusiastic and can make a huge difference in this world. The joy of seeing a child open a book and look at the pictures wide-eyed or attempt to read, ask questions you cannot answer, ask any mom and she will tell you that there is no greater joy than watching her child read. Why not give that joy to every mom? The joy and tears of happiness is multifold in an illiterate mother who sees her child getting education.

Having been a facilitator for under-privileged kids for the organization called BHUMI. I got to see the struggles of children who were denied or given sub par education when they were younger and also the success stories over time when they were given the opportunity to learn better . But it is one of the most challenging things in every society when a sliver go ahead to invent complex gadgets or plan trips to Mars while a (pretty big) slice are still struggling with basic math in their teenage years.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education (RTE) act of 2009 made India one of the very few countries in the world to make education a right of every child. Section 12(1)c of the act guarantees 25% reservation for children of backward and economically sections of the society free education in private schools. (Source: http://bhumi.org.in/rte/). Not many are aware to take advantage of it. Please visit the page to know more details and spread the word to parents of children who deserve free education.

Every small effort will count, if you live in India and wish to be a volunteer to help this cause please sign up here.

Edu-cater is yet another initiative who are trying to engage in providing better quality of education to children. They are working to unite various educators and education enthusiasts from all over the globe to come up with ideas to set up healthy environments in schools and also initiating fun-based and activity-based education.  They are currently trying to set-up ‘Mini-Libraries’ in rural schools and communities to get children to read. Please like their facebook page to know more https://www.facebook.com/facilitatingisfun and also contribute your ideas. This is another initiative that I have been following and which I believe is going to make a difference in the quality of education in the coming years.

 #SariforEducation is an another initiative started by a dear blogger friend of min. She has identified two organizations to exclusively help girl children be educated in India. Anyone living in the United States can contribute to it. The concept being you save a dollar or two every time you wear a Sari and contribute the same for this cause. But regardless everyone is invited to sign up or like the page on Facebook and extend support. Please read more about this initiative here (http://mschutzpah.com/sariforeducation/about-sari-for-education/) and extend your support.

I have endorsed only those initiatives with whom I have worked with or which I have followed. If you know any other organizations or initiatives related to this post, please share them below . Thanks!


Having conversations- a hobby in life!

“Hey!” she said. A young girl , maybe early 20s with an oval face , beautiful features and a friendly smile. “Are you going to New York City?” she asked me. I was on the train and she was sitting across me. “No, I am going to get off at the airport. Flying to the west coast for the long weekend.” I replied. “Oh wow! That must be exciting. I am going to the city” Over the next few minutes I knew that she was graduating and was starting a job at Wall Street and before that she has a one way ticket to London and all she knew was she is going on a world trip with no agenda for a month. AND that she was on her way to get her lip pierced in NYC.  I instantly felt good to have had the conversation with her. Young, ambitious and yet genuinely charming. These people add a dash of spice in my train rides.

I started thinking about when I started talking to strangers on a train or anywhere. It started back in India where long train journeys are a norm and usually you befriend the people beside you. The conversations revolve around the journey, food, family etc. In fact, my uncle actually visited a person in Europe whom he had befriended on a train ride in India. SO you never know where these conversations lead to. There is always the fear of befriending wrong people or having someone chew your head by talking. But c’mon its all in the game!                                                                                                                      wpid-wp-1434137151731.jpeg

As I went to the airport and got on plane I was thinking who was going to be sitting next to me. I  met a couple who were from the same city as I and who had infact bought idlis with podi ( Steamed rice cakes with chilly powder) and curd rice for dinner, making me feel nostalgic. That was a standard train food during journeys in India. They spoke to me about the place I grew up and classical Indian music and many other things I related to. It reduced the brutality of the six-hour flight. And on my return flight the guy next to me started discussing with me about the book I was reading. We had different takes on it and it was indeed an interesting conversation.

My love for conversation has never ceased, even if the conversation is just analyzing modern art (about which I have absolutely no idea about), football (oh! I am a very good listerner on that!)  or just gossip with my bffs. I feel talking is a therapy (for me!), makes me get my thoughts out and helps churn more. I search for people to have good conversations. Those who can think, those who can interpret the world in their own way and those who have passion to interact with people. Even if they have different opinions, I always appreciate a good discussion. It makes you feel good and you end up learning new things. You are lucky when you have a conversation with a good listener a.k.a one who doesn’t go on and on only about his or her passion and cares to listen to you as well.

A downside of it being when you start having good conversations you tend to move away from mundane ones. I feel like my tolerance for useless (gossips don’t count!), non-intellectual ones tiring.  And I have heard this from my co-conversationalists as well. There is only so much small-talk you can have especially when you are craving for more. And such people develop an inability to read in between lines or understand sarcasm/indirect talk etc when you lose touch . Oh well! Again, its all in the game.

My person:  And I should mention here my close friend and roommate whom I miss (well..she got married and moved. I don’t like you M! :-/) One of the best conversationalists. She can talk about art, philosophy, psychology, movies, series and even gossip(!) passionately. I heart you D 🙂

So what is your take on conversations and who is a conversationalist you miss?

Relationship advice..maybe?

I recently initiated a discussion on my Facebook page about protecting ourselves from domestic abuse. Coming from a country where arranged marriage is a norm and it still being a fiercely patriarchal society I question the freedom (esp. females but concerns both genders) people have in making decisions about their life partner. Many Indians are still made to marry people they hardly know solely selected by family background, looks and wealth. Many separate due to incompatibility and abuse. Many stay in an abusive relationship due to fear of family name and to avoid shame. Ofcourse, there are always two sides to a coin and so are there couples who separate after finding a partner of their own choice or cases where people become abusive or change over time and end up being incompatible. But this is specifically to outline a few basic pointers to be followed by a more domestic abuse related one.

A compilation of various advice from my friends. Big thanks to everyone who had contributed to this discussion 🙂

Warning: This post is for open-minded people!

I don’t believe in Marriage(the legal thing!) to establish a relationship. Marriage is just another step in a relationship and a reason to have a great party called the Wedding. 😀  So these pointers are for a stable relationship and of course to make the legal bond more pleasant/easy maybe(!). So please feel free to interchange the words Marriage and Relationship wherever you prefer.

1. Matrimonial/Dating profile: Marriage is complicated and so is finding the right person. Someone who is really interested in finding the right person would take an effort to state what they want explicitly. Try to find such kinds. I personally would stay away from people who would judge someone solely in terms of their skin color, height or career. Isn’t it shallow to ask for a tall, slim, fair beautiful girl? Or Tall,dark, handsome guy with a six-figure salary? or what does traditional but modern even mean? Anyways, doesn’t life have more to it? So take your chances. My personal favorite is when a guy wants a “Strong and independent woman” 😉 It says a LOT about the guy. Again, descriptions can be deceptive as well so talk, meet before you judge or make a decision.

P.S. Stating that someone wants a fair or handsome person is not an explicit deal.

2. Long courtship:  Many who contributed to the discussion supported a long engagement or a long courtship. A friend once told me “You don’t have to get married unless you want to legally bear a child with the guy.” It did make some sense to me and maybe it would for many. So wait, enjoy your courtship and also use that time to observe the other person without prejudice ( or “blind love”) . Be yourself and create many opportunities to make the person be at ease as well. E.g. Hiding certain habits or baggage have proven to have caused rifts. So take all the time you need before you make the big decision.

3. Know yourself and face reality: Unless you know who you are you cannot decide whom you want. So spend time with yourself to understand yourself and what kind of a relationship you want to be in. Learn, unlearn and relearn. I used to believe I am going to marry the first person I date. Unfortunately, that isn’t life. It is ideal and it does happen to many but be ready to explore till you find the right one. Be ready to dive in and face everything a relationship has to offer. Learn to identify fixable and unfixable things.

4. Marry a friend: Another high-scorer. Or I would say become a friend before getting into any relationship, be it by dating or by formal sources. Make friends with the other person. Being friends is being yourself, being silly, being open about your relationships and being non-judgmental. If the other person becomes your best friend then you are one of the lucky ones, We do have friend-zoned issues in the present century which we hope to solve soon 😀

5. Relationship is a continuous effort: Before telling people about abuse and separation I do want to say that relationship is not a granted deal. Do not take it easy. It shouldn’t be hard or strenuous but remember that it is a continuous effort.To achieve that, a foundation of trust and honesty is to be established with the love. A sense of trust that whatever happens I am there. Everyday is a new beginning. A relationship beyond anything you have with anybody else in this world. A person to share your body and soul.

I want to be in a relationship with a person even after twenty-thirty years from now FOR the person. Not because we had children, not because we don’t have a choice, not because my family expects me to but for the companionship which cannot be sought from another.

To be continued..

As always.. I am open to discussions. Tell me if you agree, disagree or what topics you would want me to touch upon 🙂

Because my bff said only cute cats get most clicks and likes 😛