The lone warrior: Breaking barriers between soldiers and civilians

Another inspiring article which i read in the newspaper and felt , it is more than worthy enough for the world to know about it . Its worth a read . 

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Kargil 2013: The guns have been quiet for more than a decade now; but there is one woman whose voice echoes through the Valley—Anuradha Prabhudesai. Rama Sreekant met 

“Thodi si mein wife hoon, thodi si mein nani hoon, lekin pehle Hindustani hoon,” says 57-year-old Anuradha Prabhudesai, an ex-banker, whose story dates back to August 2004 when she was holidaying in Ladakh with her husband and friends.

Anuradha was ambling along the roads of Drass, drinking in the friendliness of the locals and the soldiers in a war-ravaged town, when she first spotted an army caption that read, ‘I only regret that I have but one life to lay down for the country.’ Intrigued, she stopped an army Khansama to enquire what had happened there. He in turn, unassumingly asked, “aapko pata nahi, yahan toh haazerein laashein giri thi?” That was Anuradha’s moment of introspection.

She pondered about her comfortable life back in Mumbai, the brief news about Kargil (in 1999) and the pseudo-patriotism she wore in her heart. Moved by what she heard, Anuradha, along with her friend Vikram Joshi, took an oath at Vijay Stambh (War Memorial in Kargil) to bring to light the sacrifices made by the Kargil soldiers and to visit Kargil for the next five years.

Back from the trip, Anuradha wrote several letters to army officials seeking permission to visit them during Raksha Bandhan in 2005. After some initial resistance, Colonel Jha finally conceded. The mission was possible but the trail ahead tough.

Driving through rough roads from Manali to Sarchu and finally into Leh, all seemed worth it when, after tying rakhis and distributing homemade food, the soldiers expressed, “Aap jo pyaar dete ho rakhi ke zariye, woh hosla deta hai ladne ke liye.” The bond strengthened when she returned in 2006 with a group of 36 girls.

Mission Possible
Anuradha has visited Kargil 14 times in the last ten years, and her work has been cherished by the army. She has published more than 400 copies of Hindi poems authored by her and several booklets on the Kargil martyrs. “As Indians, we do not know the names of the Paramveer awardees of our country but we know the names of new-born kids of movie stars, film award winners, etc. Where are we heading as a nation?,” asks Anuradha, who is the only civilian and only woman with access to all the regiments in the

Kargil region.

Having lived up to her five-year oath, in 2009, when Anuradha expressed her uncertainty to continue the mission to Brigadier Pal, he simply ordered, “Continue the good work.”

Subsequently, Anuradha formed the Lakshya Foundation with an objective to instill a spirit of patriotism in the youth.

In her journey so far, she has travelled to Ladakh with 450 civilians giving them first-hand experience of army life, delivered 105 lectures across schools and arranged get-togethers of army wives and war widows. Fondly called ma’am, maasi and ma, by the soldiers, Anuradha’s role in their lives kept expanding. On 26th July 2011, she received a memento from Lt Gn Dastane for boosting the morale of the soldiers and bridging the gap between civilians and soldiers.

This memento, she says, is life’s best gift to her.

Giving Back
Anuradha’s work for the soldiers through the Lakshya foundation has grown multifold. Their first activity was ‘Diwali with Soldiers’—an initiative to distribute sweets to the families of the soldiers. “Aaj kal insaniyat ki kami hai. It’s all about me, my family, my job,” she says voicing her pain.

Sharing several anecdotes of the lives of soldiers, who stay put at an altitude of 18,000 ft in bone-chilling conditions for several weeks, Anuradha urges, “If you meet a soldier, give him respect and love. That’s all he needs.”

Taking a leaf from the lives of the soldiers, Anuradha has evolved as a human being—less temperamental, more disciplined, calm and collected, with a better sense of time.

She has reoriented her life to a different compass. Now, 26th July, Army Day, is incomplete without Anuradha and Lakshya Foundation. Leading two lives—one of a middle-class, hard-working wife and another of a woman who is a beacon of hope for our soldiers, in January 2012, Anuradha quit her job, “I wanted to work for my country,” she says.

Anuradha persists in her efforts to break the barriers between soldiers and civilians. She believes her mission will be accomplished when every Indian dedicates five years of his or her life to the country.  That would be a truly patriotic India.

 

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A Tearful Sound

Tears

Life is running smooth
Standing legs on local train ,
Commuters crowd at each station
I hum with my music play each day
The wind gushes makes me calm
Clinging to the rod , I observe my city
That day was like any other day
But
A stranger standing besides me
was sobbing silently .
At first I thought , she had a cold
The cold never stopped ,
I looked at the lady , she was expecting
At second I though , she had a hormonal outbreak
The hormones never stopped
Reluctant to the core , I never managed to ask her sufferings
The tearful sound still wonders a ‘why’ to my ear
I wish if she wouldn’t have mind my interfere……

 

 

Debate Enthusiasts II

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It all comes down to education !!!!! . I was in dire state whether to write about this debate or not . May be because  it is too opinionated or may be it might sound controversial  to the readers . Or as they say you need to handle such issues delicately. But controversies never arise if the things are delicate . The reason behind my love for news debates are they explore you to a real audience and the atrocities they had to face through their life(more social ones)…And there are many young lively audience who are willing to raise their voice in the name of justice.

The debate was in short about the right age of consent to get married , considering Child Marriage as a social issue in India. As the age are biased (18 yrs for girls and 21 for boys  )…why the disparity..?? .What about today’s generation where they don’t mind pre-marital sex??? How is the society taking this?  Is it against the law…How much of personal laws should be taken into account? ..why sex education is so important for today’s generation? Again as we have various religions , according to each act(Hindu , Muslim , Christian)…the opinions differ.

UN reported as 47% girls are married under 18 in India . With the ’18’ number becoming a hot topic . ’25’ number also arose (eligibility to drink) and Javed Akhtar pointing out ’18’ as a number for right to vote and right to marriage but ’25’ as a number to contest elections ?…Why So ??

 As I am more interested in live audience Barkha Dutt comes up with : This one was one of the few which highlights the scenario :

The woman was forced to marry at the age of 14 . She was tortured  for bearing a girl child. She took the decision to leave the husband at a certain stage. Raised her children solely through great difficulties. Now the interesting part comes…she aspired to become a civil servant but was denied to sit for the exams for being the child bride….Supreme court  till date upholds her case.

The best line told by one of the panel members after they heard the story was : This is not a rare case but having the courage to come out of it is a rare case.

Sometimes I think what is it I am trying to prove by writing such article. What is that I want that the audience to know. Is it that injustice continues to prevail in the country?  Is it that I am trying to raise my voice through writing or what? The why’s still continues to linger.

In the whole opinionated debate where few panels looked like(Hear me !!!Hear me!!!)…It was the public who came up with an appropriate conclusion . That such laws should be left in the hand of  the victimized . As at the end ‘We the People’ can only come up with the issues , politicians will continue to rant their ideologies , lawyers would be stuck with the verdict and Government’s ruffle ultimately stalls the progress. ….And yes It all comes down to education . 

LEAN IN – SHERYL SANDBERG

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I am an avid newspaper reader. Long time back a very nice motivational article had come in the Economic Times with headlines-“Build Your Skills…Not Your Resume” , quoted by Sheryl Sandberg . In a niche it summed up the some leadership quotes and stuff. Till date whenever I feel low I go through that article .(I feel everyone should have something like this , it can be anything a book, a movie etc which will keep us optimistic). Anyway coming back to the point . After reading the book I realized that some of the points were from her book LEAN IN-SHERYL SANDBERG .

I was going through a low life (infact I am now a bit) and this book has turned out to be a savior . It has been a long time when I had read any book at one stretch . (Nowadays that’s more possible with sitcoms seasons) . It took me two nights with some interruptions to read the ebook. And the second I finished I ran to grab a copy from the crossword .(I got to have its hard copy )…something technology can never give (cuddle and doze off with).

I have never been a lover of non-fiction . I love to read management articles but books not much. Back then I have tried with Jack Welch ,Malcolm Gladwell etc but just couldn’t complete it …(Sorry no offence) The only book I remember finishing was The monk who sold his Ferrari. …Anyway again coming back to the point. I thought reading again would help me in writing the review in better way. But in each read ended up highlighting different quotes . …(So got more confused). I have never written a book review and this book left me pondering from where should I start if I want to . Because its difficult to leave anything . …(You ought to read the book). Still Here I start.

                          It’s a sort of women centric book with women issues . At times quite humorous. It highlights why women progress gets stalled in the corporate world and why men still run the world . Its not exactly her autobiography but a blend of her past work personal experiences, self-analysis of the public speeches given by her and other short accounts. Many statistical data’s are presented. They are more with concerned to US country . But India stats were frequently mentioned. (Hello There INDIANS did you know….

In India 11% seats in parliament are held by women.

A Meager 4% of the fortune 500 CEO’s are women .

Indian women hold 5% of director ships among the 100 companies listed on the BSE. 11% of the top 240 Indian companies had female CEO’s

In India about 13% of children live with one parent , usually a mother

In India , women do more work than ten times as much child care and nearly thirty times as much housework as men.

Each title of the book is a very apt and reasons out beautifully. She has tried to explain how work-life balance can be achieved without making any career sacrifices(especially women) and how equal parenting can lead to successful life. The book each man and woman should read it …(Highly recommended by me). The wisdom attained is insurmountable. Many critics have retorted and tagged it feminist , gender-issue based book ….I am like common dude have you read the book properly?? – when revealed the definition of feminism as

A feminism is someone who believes in social ,political and economic equality of the sexes” the stats increased from 24% to 65% .

Don’t we all are then? . There are many other quotes which gives you a wise laugh

LIKE – “Legendary investor Warren Buffet has stated generously that one of the reasons for his great success was that he was competing with only half of the population” OR another one

Where everyone of us are fraud and Fake it till you feel it strategy helps at times.

OR

The one where a women revealed something like this – “I shouldn’t confess it publicly but she puts her children to sleep in their school clothes to save 15 minutes of precious minutes in the morning.”

OR

Its heartbreaking to think one woman holding another back. There is special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.

The best one – Heidi/Howard case study of HBS …(People who don’t know this please read it on the net).

The (OR’s) continue with many other wise and inspirational quotes. …May be it will turn out as one of my new blog post. …(So read the book people) . Like I said before I have never written a book review and probably at the end I suck at it.   My intention behind it was to make this book known to as many people as I can . But I realized something – my tvhookedfigures have turned out to be in major number woman . ….I can’t help it .

I am waiting for Benedict alias Sherlock to return.

World’s Most Powerful Women

When in need of motivation, I back on inspirational quotes , inspirational people or an article read in the newspaper . The image of Forbes list of Most Powerful Women caught an eye and as it is said Rest is History…..NO!!!!!!!!!!! Its not, it just got converted to a blog post (lol) .

I took few random quotes (quoted) by them,from the net and presented here . Hope someone else might get motivated.2
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Debate Enthusiasts

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After watching many ongoing political debates in India , I have always enjoyed watching offbeat but complex social issues bought up by shows like ‘We the People’ or  ‘Big Fight’ .

 Wedlock to Deadlock was one among such debates which I thoroughly enjoyed watching . Should 50% marital rights be given to the women during the time of Divorce ? What about the inherited property ? The debate started off lightly with several issues coming out . Barkha Dutt as usual had chosen an excellent debate panel . 

Divorce in a country like India has always been  considered a dreadful word . A social stigma !!!!

Several issues were discussed by the panel members starting from where women had helped the husband financially and was left penniless during the divorce, to the lawyers coming up with cases where a divorce couple are a part of joint family , so how the parting of the money should be considered? , Many interesting cases arose from audience panel : Where the women was beaten and thrown out of the house when pregnant (a girl child issue) , on the counter view a man being falsely accused in (attempt to  murder charges , dowry…etc ) by the wife when he decided to part ,due to incompatibility. The wife then becoming a U.S citizen and demanding alimony and not allowing the father to meet their daughter. Another audience asking why a simple communication won’t suffice and why the state is given so much power. Divorce finally been considered a tamasha in India  where they get locked up in litigation .

India being a land of villages , rural population is often neglected in such issues , to start something from scratch, leaving the husband , is difficult for rural women .The focus also shifted to equal rights and towards woman empowerment  and children to be considered a priority .  Solutions to make a women more self-reliant was discussed upon. Be it urban or rural-the livelihood and time frame of the marriage holds an important stake . If women are able to start-up on own then she should ….(it marks the beginning of self-reliance) , at the same time job opportunities should be provided to less fortunate .

Jaya Jaitley one of the panel members ended with a positive note  by telling : We should go into making strong marriages along with strong laws .

The amendments in laws are must . But a country with such diversity in all aspects , including divorce cases , which law would really equalize the matter ? That’s a big question to ponder upon .

People can share their thoughts and reviews  !!!!!!!!