The road to a better life passes through books. #WATWB

The road to a better life passes through books. #WATWB

Ludhiana, the industrial centre of Punjab, India, has some really large-hearted labourers, whose sole dream is to entice their children to read. With the only desire to see their children educated, the migrant labourers of Ludhiana, themselves earning no more than Rs. 10,000/ per month, have contributed towards creating a library.

The library is just a small room where a total of 30 children can be accommodated at a time. Not only is this a library, but also a place where they learn to read Hindi and Punjabi.

WIth parents, most of who haven’t studied past the VIII grade, these children have found a haven in this little library. The labourers, who contributed Rs. 100 to Rs. 5000 towards building this place, have received no help from the Government.

Belonging to the low income group didn’t deter their spirits and they came together for their children . The library is active between 4 pm to  7 pm and has a volunteer teacher coming over to help the children learn to read. An effort that has not gone waste as the children love going there and making new friends as well as learning to read.

Do read the entire story here.

We Are The World Blogfest

This is the 19th post of the ‘We Are The World Blogfest’, where we bring for you heartwarming stories about real-life heroes from around the world;  stories that show love, humanity and brotherhood in a world that can often seem full of negativity and hatred.

The co-hosts this month are:

Damyanti Biswas,  

Shilpa Garg

Eric Lahti

Inderpreet Uppal

Peter Nena

Do join in with such human news stories that  you may come across and help spread hope and positivity  on social media using the WATWB hashtag. 

 

With brave wings she flies — Project WHY.

With brave wings she flies — Project WHY.


Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Women are the backbone of the family, the strength of the nation and the flag-bearers of the change we wish to see around us. And, it is, therefore, no surprise when you read about women who not only faced the adversities in Life, but fought their battles singlehandedly and rescued themselves and their families.

Sharing today the story of one such woman, who, when faced with dreadful circumstances in her life, put her fears aside and fought to not only solve the problems but also make a change in the quality of life for herself and her family.

Meet RENU KAROTIA — The Sewing Teacher.

Six years ago, when Renu Karotia joined the Project WHY Sewing Circle, her husband had lost his job due to a work accident, her family had lost their home and incurred huge debts.

After joining the Project WHY sewing class, she started taking small jobs at home. She then grew into the role of the sewing teacher and began taking pride in her students.

She is now paying back her debts and knows that she holds the key to her future, Her children study at the after-school support classes run by Project WHY.

WHAT IS PROJECT WHY?

Project WHY is a flagship program of Sri Ram Goburdhun Charitable Trust, that provides educational support to underprivileged children, This after-school support program goes beyond academics, to include life skills and all-around development.

Project WHY also runs vocational skill programs for women from underprivileged homes. Every year, this nonprofit reaches out to 1200 children and 160 women.

Since 2007, over a 1000 women have been trained at the Project WHY Sewing Circle.

WHAT IS NEEDED

Today Renu, the sewing teacher, is looking at developing the skills of her students through a six-month programme. This will enable them to find employment in the garment industry.

To this end, Project WHY needs the following:

Iron 1000/-

Interlocking machine 4400/-

Pico machine 5600/-

Ironing board 2000/-

Cutting table 4000/-

6-month salary for Renu 60,000/-

WHY YOU SHOULD DONATE

Women are true agents of change and helping them find the means to earn a livelihood goes a long way in transforming the lives of their families. At Project WHY, Renu and her students not only practice sewing but also learn to read and write. When women are empowered, domestic violence drops and the next generations gain access to better education.

Read the story of Project WHY at www.projectwhy.org

If you are donating from India, your donation is 50% tax deductible under section 80G, and the entire account would be put up on the project WHY website once the amount is raised.

Join the Project WHY family by supporting Renu so she can help women like herself. No amount is too small and every little bit would help make Renu’s dreams become a reality!

So, go ahead and make a difference in someone’s Life. You never know how your help could change a person’s destiny!

Donate here

Love,

SHILPA…

Habits make you.

Habits make you.

It’s the first day of a brand new month, and a good day as any, to begin something new. So, why not do something that I have been trying to work on, but failing successfully for so long now?  My mind was as wide awake last night at 1 am, as it is at 8 am, as I lay in bed, ruminating on the need for something new, something different.

My Geminian nerves get restless if something new and exciting isn’t happening every now and then. I get bored with the little things in life. No, I don’t cast away those boring little things, I just push them to some far corner of my mind and look for something to replace them with; something that challenges me, makes me work hard and changes me in its own little way.

So, as I lay thinking about this much-needed change I wished to bring, a line from an Instagram post flashed in my mind. A blogger friend, Vasantha Vivek shared it–a digital detox tip:

“Stay away from your mobile before 9 am & after 9 pm everyday.

 

These words just popped out of nowhere last night and I almost sat up! Now, that is the kind of change I needed! Since the longest time, I have been trying to break this particular habit of mine, but in vain. I would just give up after a week, or so, and then repent. But, what good was all that repentance when I wasn’t doing anything about it?

So, last night, I decided, that, this is it, enough is enough.  This is what’s been bothering me, and I am going to get it out of my system, altogether. How wonderful it felt! And, today being the 1st of a new month, I felt I needed something new to feel good about.  A good change that would, definitely, help me.

So, today, my phone stayed far away from me till 9 am and after 9 pm and also in between.

Do you wish to know how well I succeeded?

Today, I finished my chores before the usual time.

I finished writing a new article.

I worked on a blog post for the next week and prepared a Pinterest image for the same.

I began reading a new motivational book.

And, finally, my eyes felt less tired as I did not strain them by staring mindlessly at my phone.

So, thank you, Vasantha, if you are reading this!

 

Life was really so much more peaceful and less distracting before these damned smart phones invaded our world, isn’t it? And, we, the idiots, just let ourselves get all carried away, and now, look where it’s landed us!

But, as I said, any day is a good day to break an old habit and work on forming a new one.

TIPS TO FORM A NEW HABIT:

1. Think about the one habit you really wish to change.

2. Write it down in your journal.

3. On a page, write the date you decide on beginning the change. 

4. Mark the date that comes 21 days later (a habit normally takes 21 days to change).

5. Make conscious efforts to make sure you follow the change you have decided upon.

6. Make an entry in your journal everyday about how you fared.

7. Be mindful about how you behave, the activities that you do.

8. At the end of a week, see if there is any improvement. If there is, reward yourself to motivate yourself to keep going.

9. At the end of 21 days, see if you have been successful in breaking the habit for good.

10. Celebrate your victory!

 

 

It does need a lot of work, and patience, to keep working on yourself so that that old, annoying habit doesn’t return and ruin things for us.

I plan on working on it, working on myself and coming back a month later to read this post and write a new one about how I kept my word to myself, so, help me God!

it takes about 21 days to form a new habit. I plan on waiting for 31 days to see how well I succeed. I know, I will succeed!  I quit drinking coffee! Yup, it’s been more than a month now, and it feels so good!

So, do visit Metanoia on the 1st of next month to see if I do succeed!

Do you wish to join me in bringing about a little change in yourself? Maybe something similar to what I have decided–changing the relationship we have with our stupid phones?  Do let me know and we will work towards it, one day at a time, one step at a time. 

Love,

SHILPA..

 

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It is difficult changing old habits. But, it helps to form new ones for the sake of your health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three quotes I live by.

Three quotes I live by.

Life teaches us stuff when we are least expecting it. And, it is at such times that quotes come to our rescue, to reassure us that this is, indeed, Life and it is best to accept it as it is, along with all of its idiosyncrasies. These words of wisdom give us light when we find ourselves in the dark, and show us the way forward.

There are some quotes that resonate with me, instantly, and make me realise a few truths about Life. Of course, every quote I read speaks to me, but, there are some that, I feel, are tailor-made for me, especially when I come across them at some specific juncture in Life.

Sharing today, three of those that are now a part of my daily self-talk that I give myself as the day begins. Well, two of them, actually. I am yet to inculcate the third one. I mean, it does make the rounds of my mind on a regular basis, but I am yet to give it the respect it deserves!

 

QUOTES TO LIVE BY

This is the number one quote on my list since some time now. For every time I slip back into the past or fast forward into the unknown future, these words echo in my mind and bring me back to the present–the present moment, the only moment we have with us.

We are forever losing ourselves in either the past or the future–revisiting some beautiful memories from the days gone by or planning for a future that’s really a mirage. Rarely do we make efforts to live in the here and the now–the present.

I realised how the amount of stress and anxiety reduced once I began practicing it, you know–living in the moment. Whatever happened in the past is dead and gone, and the future is still on the distant horizon, a moment that’s still to come. So, why not concentrate on this  moment and give it my very best?

Saves me a lot of heartache, time and energy, too.

 

NOTHING IS PERMANENT

Now, this is the number one fact of Life…of every aspect of Life. Nothing, however big or small, significant or insignificant, is constant in this Universe. Everything– from the seasons, to the days, to people, to feelings, to phases– is transitory, ever-changing.

Be it good, bad or ugly, if  it’s here today, it will be gone tomorrow! That’s the rule of our Universe, and the sooner we realise it and accept it, the better for us. Don’t you think?

So, let go! Let go of the grudges, the anger, the hatred, the bitterness, the fear and the anxiety. It’s really of no use to you; it only poisons the heart and wears you down.  At the same time, soak in the good moments, for some day they will be gone, too. And,  give your best during the difficult moments, for they are the ones that teach us so much about the world and about Life.

And, don’t stress. Whatever’s here today, won’t last. I promise.

 

EXPECT LESS.

Isn’t it true?

Actually, we all know and understand this one perfectly well, yet we invest all of our energy in creating a mountain of expectations from people, from Life, and then despair over everything that doesn’t turn out as we expect.

I came across this really cool quote on expectations..

“What screws up most in Life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.”

This one is something I really need to work on. Really! In spite of knowing fully well that neither people nor situations will turn out the way I want them to, I hope against hope and look forward to stuff happening as per my imagination. And, then, when it doesn’t, I find myself crying in a corner.

Stupid me!

But it’s never too late to begin afresh and I can always turn over a new leaf, for I am a work in progress.

We all are!

So, starting today, I hope to expect less from others and more from myself, because I know my strengths, my limitations and my potential. Let’s see how soon I learn.

 

How about you? What are the quotes you live by? Do share.

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

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Words of wisdom.

 

 

 

 

From my bookshelf, June’18 – Inspirational & Slice of Life books.

From my bookshelf, June’18 – Inspirational & Slice of Life books.

This month, I read two brilliantly written books:

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

 

 

Let’s begin with-

Big Magic‘.

Books that INSPIRE
Image courtesy: GOOGLE

First of all, I would like to thank my dear dear friend, Shailaja Vishwanath, for gifting me this precious gem. It’s now my Bible, for Life; for everything that I decide to do in my Life, be it writing, art, or just living. Thank you, my darling!

A quote on the back cover perfectly describes the author as someone to be considered as  “One’s personal life coach.” For, that’s just how I felt as I pored over every word in the book–as if it had been written just for me. As if Ms. Gilbert knew the story of my Life and wanted to reach out to me and share with me pearls of wisdom full of empathy, warmth and humour that came from her own experience, and from people she looked up to.

This book is for each one of us “creative people”, as in, not just writers, artists, singers, et al, but every person who lives on this planet. According to Ms. Gilbert, each one of us is a creative person, for living life is being creative, isn’t it?

But, often times, it’s the fear of living life to its fullest that holds us back. Our self-doubt, self-disgust, self-judgement and our crushing sense of self-protection keeps us from creative living. Unless and until we don’t believe that we are entitled to at least try, we will not be able to create anything interesting out of our Life.  And, these are her words.

I could as well quote the entire book in this review. Such is the power of, and truth in, her words. I am aware, as are you,  of the fear, the failure, the rejection, our ego, all of which stand in our way, hindering our progress.

Will we succeed? Will our work be appreciated by others? Will we find satisfaction from what we do? A hundred doubts crowd our mind, getting into our way even before we begin on the journey. And, this is where Big Magic helps us in learning to focus on enjoying the journey more than meditating upon the rewards. It’s just this message that Ms. Gilbert has attempted to send across through this book.

I would recommend this book to each one of you. And, to read it well. It not only inspires you to create, it inspires you to live, the way we are supposed to.

Sharing some quotes from the book:

Learning how to endure your disappointment and frustration is part of the job of a creative person. Handling your frustration is a fundamental aspect of the work. Frustration is not an interruption of your process; frustration is the process.

“If you dare to create something and put it out there, after all, it may accidentally stir up a response. That’s the natural order of Life: the eternal inhale and exhale of action and reaction. But, you are definitely not in charge of the reaction–even when that reaction is flat-out bizarre.”

Keep moving, keep going. Whatever you do, try not to dwell too long on your failures. You don’t need to conduct autopsies on your disasters. You don’t need to know what anything means.”

I hope these quotes spoke to you, the way they did to me; motivated you to keep going on the path you have chosen for yourself, rekindling in you the fire that threatens to die down each time the ghost of fear rears its ugly head.

Do pick up the book. I know you won’t part ways with it, ever.

 

The Help.

Books that speak of Life
Image courtesy: GOOGLE

This is a story about the African Americans working in white households during the early 1960s. It’s set in Jackson, Mississippi, but has a Universal appeal. It could very well belong to India, where every other household employs a domestic help, who comes from the lower strata of our society.

Aibileen Clark, Minny Jackson and Skeeter (Eugenia Phelan) are the narrators, each with her own unique Life story.

Aibileen Clark is the maid who cares for a little one belonging to the Leefolt family. Minny is another maid, and a friend of Aibileen, who speaks her mind, fearlessly, which results in her losing her jobs. And, Skeeter is the daughter of a white family who owns a cotton farm outside Jackson, and someone who had been very close to her maid, Constantine.

It’s the story of Skeeter befriending the coloured maids in an attempt to investigate the disappearance of her own maid, Constantine. And, it’s during their conversations, that she comes up with an idea. She gets them to share their stories with the world and let the world have a glimpse of the life they live, serving the white households.

The maids care for the children, cook, clean and almost give their entire lives to their white employers, but fail to gain their trust and respect. Going through the pages of this book is like being shown the mirror. Do we trust and respect our domestic help? Do we treat them like family for all they do for us?

Many of us may, but most of us would think twice before trusting them with our house keys, or even allowing them to use our washrooms, isn’t it? Of course, there’s the trust issue when it comes to handing them our house keys, but feeding them, or helping them in their personal crisis is, I believe, something we can do…but rarely do so!

It’s the story of how we all could use a little more kindness when dealing with people who give up their all to serve the privileged ones. A little more understanding of their situation and dealing humanely with those who have been dealt a rough hand in Life, and yet strive to live with dignity and honesty.

Every character comes to life from the very first page. Aibileen, Minny, their employers and the little children in their care. The narration is crisp and the characters so true to life, you feel like a part of the cast, as if the story unfolds right in front of your eyes and you wish you could speak up on behalf of the coloured community!

Do pick up this book, as well. It’s one of those unputdownable books you wish could go on, forever!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

RECOMMENDED READING.