Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back with a Bang!!

After a short break, Toybank Bangalore is back in action !!

With the Children's Day around the corner, we at Toybank definitely won't be idle this month :). We have decided to bring more smiles to the children in Bangalore by celebrating Children's Day with them!

So join us at these events happening this week:
(1) Children's Day with kids of Balajothi Centre for the Disabled - Benson Town.
Date : 14th November 2007
Time: 9.30 AM onwards ( around 2-3 hours)

If you wish to drop in and make it more special, here's the address -
Balajothi Centre for the Disabled
# 25, 2nd main, S.K.Garden
Benson Town, Bangalore – 560046

For landmark please contact the Director Mr. J.M. Balaraj at 23541940 or 9341907162.

(2) Inauguration of a new Makkala Jagriti learning centre in partnership with Dept. of Women & Child Development, Govt. of Karnataka.

Toybank is giving away toys to Makkala Jagriti's new learning centre this Saturday. These toys will go to the 'toy space' at the centre.

What are you waiting for!??

If you want to donate a toy and make this Children's Day a special one to a child or if you have any queries or suggestions, please write to us mail-bangalore@toybank.co.in

Watch out for this space for more events and activities happening at Toybank!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Toybank featured in Sattva's Anniversary Issue

Check out for Toybank being featured in Sattva's Anniversary Issue -

Also check out Sattva's anniversary issue on Nextbillion.net, which is a website of New York-based World Resources Institute.

In their Anniversary issue you'll find:

* National Youth Foundation, an organization for youth, who
work on bringing youth NGOs together on a common platform.
* Jain College's highly innovative community radio program.
* Nitin Rao, 21-year old Sattvic Celebrity talks about how
for-profit social initiatives are the way of the future
* Aaditeshwar from the Waterloo University, Ontario, guest
columnist on building low cost rural networks to reach thousands.
* A very interesting look at the Rajinikanth fans association
and the community initiatives they carry out under the
superstar's banner.
* Meet the faces behind Sattva in team sketches and the
founder introduction page.
* Messages for Sattva from the readers.

If you want to know more about people behind the making of Sattva and their ideas visit ITIHAS

Monday, October 08, 2007

Civilization Love Clash!??

Guess it's just one more example of what I posted a few days back. As Wafa Sultan puts it, "The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions or a clash of civilizations...It’s a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another that belongs to the 21st century".

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Screening Toys for Lead!

"Toymaker Fisher Price is to recall almost one and a half million Chinese-made toys over fears that their paint contains too much lead"

This news hit the world close to 2 months back with
Fisher Price, a subsidiary of US toy giant Mattel Inc, announcing on 2 August that it would be recalling some of Lee Der's [Mattel's sub-contractor] Chinese-made toys, affecting 83 product-types sold around the world.

Consumers all over started to worry as many of these toys were either already sold or ready to be sold in the markets. Mattel has apologized for the same and has promised to intensify their testing standards. Mattel has also answered few basic quests and given safety recall facts on its site.

While all this was in my mind for a few days now, I stumbled upon a google ad on my blog which directed me to a page on Niton.com

Niton has devised a product - a
Handheld NITON x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, which provides quick and easy screening of toys and other consumer goods for lead, cadmium, mercury and other toxic metals. Niton has a distributor in India. Find the contact info here.

Lets assume that you've now tested your child's toys. I
n future whenever you buy a toy how would you identify and make sure if your child's toy contains lead? Here are some tips I found which might be useful for parents to have a check if their child is in a no-danger zone while playing with a toy.

Check out for -
  • Dull, grey-looking metal.
  • Pieces that seem heavy for their size.
  • If you rub a piece of jewelry against a sheet of paper and it leaves a grey line, it's probably made of lead.
  • Bright colors, especially orange and red.
  • Soft plastics, as lead is used as a stabilizer to help keep the plastic soft.
Find more information and tips here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Toys, Toys and MORE Toys!

You have to check out these pics to believe what an awesome toy collection drive we had today at Raheja Residency!

Toybank thanks -

  • all those people who spent some time to dig their wardrobes for some toys which their kids would have thrown away long back!
  • all those moms who got their kids along to our stall, and when their kids started feeling sad about giving their toys away, they consoled them saying "beta, you promised me that you'll give these toys, now other children will play with them".
  • people who have now moved out of Raheja, but still came all the way to give toys after getting an email on the Raheja group.
  • Friends and volunteers who managed to get the carton boxes, stationery, packaging tape in place for this drive.
Thanks everyone!!

Soft toys - cho cute!

Toddler toys!

I have to still figure out what this one is!

We've skaters too!

Toybank stall... no one's there though... he he he :)

Educational toys!

Friday, September 21, 2007

So here we come...

Join us for the 2nd toy collection drive in Bangalore this weekend!

Date and Time: 22nd Sept, 10 AM - 1 PM
Venue - Club House, Raheja Residency, Koramangala 3rd Block, Bangalore

You can help Toybank -

  • To arrange a Toy Collection Drive in your neighborhood, schools, apartments, corporate offices.
  • As Volunteers in collecting the toys, segregating them according to different age groups of the children and also in gift-wrapping them.
  • In "helping us find their lost childhood" and in spreading the word around.
For any queries and suggestions, write to us at mail-bangalore@toybank.co.in
Also Join Toybank at

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Idol worship or idle worship or ideal worship?

I came across a thought-provoking post in my organization's discussion board which happens to be a forwarded email. Posting the same here. I am not able to get the pictures from the forward posted here, so will give you just the "irony".

IDOL worship? Or IDLE worship? Or IDEAL worship?

The plight of Ganesha a day after immersion...!

Would you like your Gods bulldozed like garbage?
Left to rot for scavengers to feast... ?

Would you like your Gods to be maimed? Desecrated? Dumped?

And you create a hue and cry when some statue in your city gets ‘desecrated’?

You burn down buses and call for bandhs?

Was that statue a GOD?


Is this GOD only a Statue?

You decide.

Wake Up!

Recently I had read about the various ways to prevent environmental pollution, to save earth which is already suffocating because of the deeds we humans have done and are doing.

I feel instead of looking at what are the ways of a doing a Visarjan so that it doesn't cause any environmental menace, I would rather try to look at the contradictory views people have in the society we live in. People in India don't mind leaving their God away into the waters causing all kinds of environmental hazards to the water-bodies everywhere. If asked, they'd say "it's Visarjan! After few days of worshiping Ganesha, god has to be immersed!

Ask the same people how they feel when their gods get bulldozed like garbage, you wouldn't find anybody answering!! But when they find someone break their Gods down elsewhere; they make such a BIG fuss about things. Ya, because it's normal people who have done that, but in the former case it's just the Municipality officials doing their JOB!

Can't forget to quote the "burning down of a Chennai-bound bus" on Hosur Road in Bangalore 2 days back, just because TamiNadu CM Karunanidhi made a statement about the God Rama's existence. He didn't go break down any God anywhere, so why was the bus burnt down then?? 2 innocent people were charred to death because of this disgusting act! Should we call such people Hooligans or mere idiots who themselves don't know what they are doing?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ram ram :)

Saturday, 8th of September - Yet another memorable day!

I will always remember this day for loads of happiness, life, excitement, josh and high doses of energy around me!

Thanks to the kids from Asha Kirana Nele -
angels with beaming eyes!

We reached the venue near Gottigere, Bannerghatta Road well before the scheduled time, met up with the staff at Nele. With in 5-10 mins the little ones marched into their home with heavy school bags. We waited for all of them to come back from school so that we could start off our Teacher's Day toy distribution event for Toybank. Trust me, I couldn't wait any longer!

Center in-charge, A S Patil was telling us that the identified kids are brought to the Nele Home and they are given a 3 month bridge course to help them get used to going to school. And later, they are admitted into a school. We were so happy when we heard that this Govt School was right beside the home.

By 11 30, all the kids were back from school. We had an 'Intro Please' game with all the kids. We asked them to say their name, class in which they are studying and yes, along with this we asked them to sing a song or give us a dance performance. What happened next? You should have been there with us to enjoy all that what happened after that!!

My visits to NGOs in the past had me see an average of 60% of the kids who are very enthu and energetic but still there's always this remaining 40% group which remains shy and reserved! But how can ALL the kids at Nele be superrrrrrr talented, superrrrrrrrr smart, full of discipline and have a lot of cultural values which exactly mirrors Nele's vision statement!

Also I observed a very nice thing that all the smaller kids in the home greet all the elder ones when they meet each other.

We had told the kids not to repeat any song in the “Intro Please”. And guess what… there were 32 kids and each one sang us a different song!! Even if any of the kids sang a song which was already sung and we stopped them, they didn’t back out!! They went ahead and sang us a brand new poem/song. 2 groups gave us dance performances for songs about the nation and the state.

Only one kid sang “Anisuthide yaako indu” from Mungaaru Male, a recent blockbuster in Kannada Film Industry and one sang from Sivaji – a Tamil blockbuster. This took us by surprise coz these were the only “film songs” the kids sang, rest all of them being Kannada poems taught to them in school.

We had planned a 2 hour event with the kids, but seeing their immense talent and excitement we pushed it close to 3 hours as we wanted all children to get a chance to showcase their talent. We didn’t have to plan any games and organize any fun activities. We were already having so much of FUN! There was absolutely no need to plan any more games to entertain the kids.

After the Intro Please, we distributed chocolates to the kids and then happened the 2ndtoy distribution event” for Toybank. We gave around 30 toys to the home which included soft toys, kitchen toys, cars, bikes, etc.

There are these other toys, something we have termed the ‘teacher toys:) which we give it to the teachers/care-takers at an NGO, so that they make all the kids play/use them for group games. Nele had a play space, now it'll have a 'toy space'. All these toys will now go to the 'toy space' in Asha Kirana Nele where all kids can play with them.

The kids went on to dedicate a song to their teachers at Nele giving them all the respect they deserve!

It was wrap-up time… we started bidding bye to all the tiny tots at Nele. Suddenly 5 kids came up to me and held my hands and said...

akka neevu nam jote bandu oota maadi…ondu sari banni…banni akka… [“Sis come and have lunch with us…just one time…please come sis”].

I was happy, excited and yes speechless! :).

I am sure all the people who know me the best want me to stay ‘speechless’ all the time :P. Jokes apart…this emotion can never be expressed in just a few words!

Few seconds later I came out of my world of happiness, I told them that definitely I’ll join them another time. I am sure that’ll happen very soon! :)

After a quick 'say cheeeeeeeeeeese' photo session, the children bid us goodbye and at Nele you wouldn’t hear a ‘bye’ from anyone…it's ‘ram ram:)))

Catch glimpses of the event here :)

Friday, September 07, 2007

This time it's 'Nele' !

After the superb start of its Bangalore Chapter with MakkalaJagriti last month, Toybank is back with a bang! Toybank has its 2nd distribution event this Saturday, this time with kids from ‘Nele’.

Here's a little trivia about Nele for you-

For many children in India, streets are their homes. In Bangalore there are more than 80000 children picking rags and living on roadsides. Here's an organization 'Nele' which has experimented on a humble idea of providing a shelter and nurturing the growth of the child at the same time inculcating cultural values in these children. Nele seeks to help children help themselves. Nele's vision is to ensure physical, mental and moral soundness and well-being of the homeless children.

So what does Nele do to achieve its vision -

Nele identifies street children, rag pickers and neglected children and bring them to its home. Nele has five homes - Narendra Nele for boys and Nivedita Nele for girls, and also 3 more homes Namma Mane, Asha Kirana and Nele Premanjali. These homes provide food, shelter, education and health supervision.

Also Nele,

  • Arranges for formal education and related needs
  • It facilitates training in skills, crafts and arts.
  • Counsels families
  • Creates awareness on consequences of smoking, alcoholism and drugs

This Teacher's Day we plan to bring smiles to kids from Asha Kirana Nele and make it a memorable day for them and am sure it'd be an unforgettable day for all of us too!

If you are from Bangalore and want to donate toys or If you have any queries about Toybank, write to us at mail-bangalore@toybank.co.in

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Eureka! I found it...

All I could think of was...

'I read that in the TOI newspaper on a Sunday after 25th of Aug or I'd say precisely a day after Kilikili's event. I must somehow find it'.

Having this thought on my mind I have been doing a lot of digging into the pile of newspapers which is in the corner of my room. But couldn't find this newspaper there, though Aug 26th is like less than 2 weeks back!

But all thanks to 'www', I found what I wanted on the TOI website. I have never had a chance to visit this site before because I generally check the bbc or ibnlive from office for sometime in the morning. And when am back home, I hardly check any news on the net coz I manage to watch the important ones on TV.

Oh...! Oops didn't I still tell u what I found? :D .. Here u go...

"The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions or a clash of civilizations...It’s a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another that belongs to the 21st century"

I don't know why I was searching for this for more than a week now. I still don't know. I am just happy that I found it!!

I'd read the complete article 10 days back, but these 2 lines made my mind get lost in thoughts. It may be because I could relate things that have been happening recently with me and around me...with just these 2 lines.

I'm happy I found it! Eureka!! :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Keerthana and Blessy

So here I come with the latest update of the event held today...

It was another fun-filled day for so many kids and volunteers. The atmosphere was full of everyone wanting to give something, but no one was aware that everyone will have so much to 'take away' at the end of the event :).. a second event with Kilikili couldn't have been better than this!

I reached the venue "Coles Park, Fraser Town" with my brother Pavan who's the newest kid on the block..to have joined me on my weekend programmes with a few organizations :) ...like Toybank and Kilikili.

I met up with all the volunteers whom I'd seen around 2 months back at the first event and had so much fun with, they were amazing last time... But today morning, for me all of this looked like the first event had happened just a week back or so!

We had a "registration team" which registers literally everyone coming to the event viz kids from various schools, volunteers, parents, care-takers and the teachers. Also there are steering committee members and guests too. So the first thing I did was to "register" myself by filling up a volunteer-profile form. Though my details has been with Kilikili for more than 3 months now, it was fun doing it again :).

While I was doing all the "hi-how r u doing-what's up" conversations with many of my friends from the previous event, kids from Goodwill Girls' High School arrived and few mins later the kids from Jyoti Seva - the latter a school for children who are visually impaired, arrived.
Within no time, kids from APD - Association of People with Disability also joined us. I was thinking it's going to be one rocking event today!

In the first event we had children from 4 schools, but the objective for the first event was "to make play accessible" even for the kids with disabilities. But like I've mentioned in my previous post Kilikili also aims to lay foundations for a more inclusive society where kids are not discriminated on the basis of their abilities.

Working on the same lines, we grouped a kid from Jyothi Seva or APD with a kid from Goodwill and a volunteer to help them out in using the play space at Coles Park. I was paired up with Keerthana, everyone's favourite kid from the last event and Blessy from Goodwill.

So when me and Blessy started off by helping Keerthana play her fav "swing" in the park, in the next 1 hour, I could see Blessy take so much care of her, helped her play the swing-slide- basketball-swing over and over and am sure she enjoyed every bit of it. That was the idea of the second event today.

We wanted the students from Goodwill to play with the kids with disabilities and hence make them realize the importance of play in their lives and how much they enjoy playing... and also let them understand how important it is to welcome them into the society with open arms.

Thanks to Kilikili and thanks to Kavitha for letting us be part of such an important issue of the society we live in and also for giving us an opportunity to do what all of us would love to do - play with the kids!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Here are the Updates...

Kilikili has its second event scheduled for the 25th of this month. So we had a volunteer orientation programme on the 18th as a prerequisite for the main event on 25th, to help all the volunteers at Kilikili understand the different kinds of disabilities in children and also to put them at ease in handling special kids.

Volunteer Speak:

Suhas, one of the volunteers with Tech Mahindra Foundation says, “Just to hear about the objective and intent of Kilikili (aiming at making more play spaces special-kids-compatible) was more than inspiring. It brings about a lovely atmosphere- these kids get to become more comfortable and interact more with the rest of the society; and the normal world gets to embrace these little hearts and interact with more awareness.

It is even more encouraging to see folks from various walks of life and a wide range of age groups; all gather and volunteer with amazing determination and ideas, towards making world a better and easier place for the special little ones!!”

If you wish to donate towards this organization, we have coupons of Rs.50 and Rs.100 available for Kilikili. You can contact Kavitha - 98807 42028. [kilikili.uap@gmail.com].

Toybank had its first ever toy distribution event in Bangalore with Makkala Jagriti on 18th of August. Shweta Gopalachari, one of the founders of Toybank joined all the volunteers for this event from Mumbai.

NGO Speak:

Geetika from Makkala Jagriti says,

“After the distribution, I heard all kinds of noises from outside the centre. I ran out to check what that was, only to find a kid playing a ‘mom’s role’ with the toy gifted to her, she was patting the toy like a kid and talking continuously with it without giving a break. I couldn’t stop laughing”.

Also the money donated by some of the employees from Tech Mahindra was used in contribution (like gifting stationery items to the children along with the toys...gift wrapping the toys to make the kids feel important and special).

What are you waiting for??? - Go back home, hunt your house, wardrobes, shelves - you might end up finding few toys or games which have been lying there for ages now!!

Donate these to us and be the reason to smile for so many little ones!

Toys in good condition are welcomed at Toybank. If you or any your friends have toys, give them to us. We'll wrap them up as gifts and reach these toys to those tiny little hands!!

If you are from Bangalore and want to donate toys or If you have any queries about Toybank, write to us at mail-bangalore@toybank.co.in

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Double Dhamaka!

It's time to have loads of fun again!!

After Kilikili's 1st event on 30Th Of June.. I was eagerly waiting for a second one...

Here you go...Kilikili has its second event scheduled for the 25Th of this month!!
Also there's a volunteer orientation programme on the 18Th to help all the volunteers at Kilikili understand the different kinds of disabilities in children and the importance "PLAY" plays in their lives.

Kilikili aims to create play spaces that will be accessible to all children, regardless of their ability and thus help in laying the foundations of a more inclusive society, that does not discriminate or exclude on the basis of ability.

Last time we had kids from APD [Assocaition of People with Disability], AWWA ASHA, Asha Kiran and Snehalaya play in Coles Park, Fraser Town, Bangalore
. Kids enjoyed and were thrilled to use the new equipments in place!!

If this is not enough... this August has more in store to explore !!

has launched its Bangalore Chapter now!

Toybank had the first toy collection drive with Tech Mahindra Foundation a couple of weeks back.The collected toys have been segregated according to the age groups of children and gift-wrapped.

These toys are waiting to be gifted to those tony little hands and that's not all!

This 18Th, Toybank Bangalore is all set to have its first toy distribution event with MakkalaJagriti. Makkala Jagriti is an NGO in Bangalore working with underprivileged children in the area of education.
Having had a volunteer stint with Toybank in Mumbai for over an year, I couldn't have asked for more!

I am all excited and looking forward to this double dhamaka :)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Kilikili's awareness programme - Part II

Like I'd promised in my previous post, let me tell you more about the awareness programme I was part of.

I had just then finished distributing the handouts to the people in Coles Park for Kilikili's event, when I heard someone call my name out. That was Vinod, an active and enthusiastic volunteer for Kilikili and my companion for the awareness programme, who has LOADS of energy even in his sixties!!

We greeted each other and started our second task for the day.

- Our first visit was to a shop "Indira darshini" which is on the other side of the road at the Coles Park’s small gate. We met the man at the cash counter and introduced ourselves. I must admire Vinod's attitude to take this up so professionally. And I liked it because I felt so happy working for this good cause!

Vinod: "Sir, I am Vinod. We are volunteers from Kilikili which works for making public parks accessible for differently abled kids......" I joined the conversation to talk to the shopkeeper in Kannada.

Shopkeeper: "Please don't waste my time. Don't beat around the bush. Come to the point. What do you want??”

I was totally disappointed at his rude statement and his attitude towards the cause. I couldn't stop myself from giving it back 'like always'...

Me: "Sir, we have not come here to waste your time. We are trying to educate you about the facility given to disabled kids in Coles Park and how you can spread the word. Even we have come here taking some time out from our work schedules for a good cause. In case you don't want to donate, it's OK. But don't ask us not to beat around the bush because we AREN'T doing that ".

I was just too disappointed with this kind of a start. But Vinod never let our spirits die down through out the evening. He did try to urge that man to do some kind of a donation for the cause but the man went on to say that "I am not the manager here. Please come when he's around"!!

I didn't find one reason to get back to that place again.

I wasn't disappointed because that guy didn't contribute, but yes I felt bad that he didn't care to listen to what we had to say. I would have been more than happy if he at least helped us in spreading the word.

Well, we moved on to the next shop. We went into a mobile phone shop. We introduced ourselves. The shopkeeper was a guy in his late twenties. He asked us for more info and also we showed him our brochures and gave him the handout as well.

He was too happy to help us and donated a generous 100 bucks. Believe me I was not even close to being this happy when I got my first salary which was 8.5K!!

We have got the coupon books of 50 and 100 each done for Kilikili as part of the fund raising programme. These books also let us take down the contact details of the person who's donating and we were so happy to receive our first donation :).

Yes that did lift my spirits up because this guy showed so much interest in what we spoke and was happy being part of the cause himself.

Then we went on to visit small shops, departmental stores, small hotels and a diagnostic centre too and people in most of these were really not keen in listening to us and gave us one same "excuse" for not contributing -

"Our manager/proprietor isn't around. He has gone out. Please come tomorrow."

But still, we made a cool 620 bucks in just about an hour and a half!! :)

Well I have to mention one very important thing here. The entire amount which we collected was donated by men who are in their mid twenties and mid thirties...

This was seriously some food for thought. These were men who were educated, in their youth, who were patient enough to listen to us during their peak business hours, enthusiastic to ask us for handouts or brochures and who promised that they would "spread the word" :)

I mentioned this to Vinod when we almost reached our last shop for that day. He said "hey smart observation! All the old men did refuse to even listen to us and also they kept asking us to come tomorrow!!"

He was excited with this thought and asked the guy from the near by tyre shop about the same thing, the guy had just then finished donating us a generous 50 bucks,

"Sir, we shouldn't worry about what the old people think or say when it comes to understanding a good cause like this. It's definitely the youth in India which will take it to greater heights."

Well, on that note let me thank Kilikili for such a beautiful day on the 30th of June! All of us truly had loads of fun!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Some things in Life... which I'll always do - Event with Kilikili Part I

Some things in Life...I always wished and wanted to do, which I'll always do and would want to do!

Let me introduce you to my world of 'community service' through this post and the ones which would follow. I have never blogged about my activities with the Community Service Group of the organization I work for. It's also called Angel Eyes :).

I have been working for this group from 2 years, while I was in Mumbai and now in Bangalore too. May be I always thought such things are sweeter in memories :) and hence I never tried to put it out onto my blog.

But I think NOW is the time I should be sharing my experiences here and should be letting my thoughts out so that people who would bump into this blog can relate to things they have seen/felt/experienced and together we can work on larger things in life...

I work for an organization called 'Kilikili' - this actually is a kind of sound associated with the kids' laughter in Kannada. Kilikili is an NGO in Bangalore which works for making public parks accessible for differently abled kids. The first thing you'd see on its Homepage -

"How come we never see a child with a disability in a public park?"

I'd say, we hardly see 'any' kid play in the public parks. Kids these days are glued more to TV sets, computers or mostly video games, play stations and other gadgets in town!!

When I first heard about Kilikili, I was very impressed with it's very objective and ideas. I thought it was amazing.

After a training session on different disabilities in kids and a few follow-up meetings, all the volunteers at Kilikili were eagerly waiting for the BIG day on 30th of June coz this day was the official launch for Kilikili with one park in Fraser Town - "Coles Park" going LIVE with the new equipments installed for the special kids to play in the park and also with the old ones repaired too!!

Just before the event, I and a fellow volunteer decided to go for an awareness programme in the vicinity of the Coles Park. This also included collecting any donations for the NGO from the people in the area.

27th June

I left office early along with hand-outs and landed at Coles Park at 4 30 PM, it was good weather in the evening with chill breeze in the park and tiny leaves from the trees dropping gently onto the ground. I thought this evening was a perfect start and so I started off my awareness program for Kilikili!

I had assigned 2 tasks for myself that day.

(1) To educate the people coming to the park about Kilikili and the equipment that was going to be installed for kids with disabilities in the park and to provide them with the handouts about the event.

(2)To educate the people outside the park along with a fellow volunteer, mostly small shops, hotels in the vicinity and see if donations pour in for Kilikili.

I'll speak about my first task in this post now.

Meeting people in the park was a good learning experience and I'd like to mention few conversations I'd with the people there.

- The first person whom I spoke to was an old woman who was busy reading mantras and shlokas from a book. I apologized to her for disturbing and went ahead to tell her what Kilikili was about and invited her to the event. She smiled, heard what I said and told me If she meets any disabled kid, she'd let the parents know about the new equipment in Coles Park.

Now that was a good start I thought...

- I reached the skating area in the park where these equipments were going to be installed before 30th. What made me happy was, I saw young moms and dads who'd come to drop their kids for the Summer Skating Camp, coz now I got more people to whom I could speak to about Kilikili and educate them on the same :)

- I met many young moms mostly :) which is typical coz "dad's out for work" you see :). But I did meet a middle-aged man who had got both his kids there for their skating classes. I spoke to him about Kilikili and told him the company I work for supports the same. He then said, "I work for Intel and you guys are doing a good job. I'll surely let parents of any disabled kid know about the same".

- Standing at the small gate where you'd enter into the skating area, I was busy waiting for more parents to drop in. Just then, the watchman at the gate came up to me and asked me "Madam, what's this all about?" I told him about Kilikili and instantly he smiled and said "Oh yeah, I know about this. I heard that the equipment will be installed tomorrow. Give me few handouts. I'll distribute them to more people before the event." :)

Sir, I really admired you for that. Thanks for volunteering!

- I also met a sweet young couple who sat there on the bench beside the fence of skating area. They were so patient to listen to me and were really happy with the idea! They said they'd let people know about it too!

- While all the incidents I have mentioned above made me so happy and encouraged/inspired me, there were also few others moments which pissed me off! I met few annoying people too. There was a middle aged mom posing off with her camcorder standing outside the fence, shooting the video of her kid skating. She came and sat down on a bench there, after the video session. Few minutes later, I went to her and spoke..

Me: "Excuse me Madam, I am Swetha. I work for an organization called Kilikili. Can you see the kids play there in the slides and wings? There are these special kids who can't really access the same. And Kilikili will be installing new equipment for the same. In case you know any differently abled kid in your vicinity, please let them know"

Before I could complete this, she interrupted me with an expression "Do I care?" on her face and with a chewing gum in her mouth,

She said: "There's NO disabled kid in my vicinity" and turned her face off.

I couldn't stop myself from giving it back to her. Immediately I added,

Me: "It's great to know that there are no disabled kids in your area. That's exactly what we wish to see and hear from everyone some day."

All in all, it was one amazing learning experience for me because this was the first time I'd ever gone on an awareness programme educating people about this NGO which wants every child to PLAY without any discrimination!

In the next few posts to come...you can read more about the event on 30th June and the interesting things that we encountered in our awareness programme outside Coles Park.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Save Net Radio!

I like listening to Yahoo! Music LAUNCHcast once in a few days when I am all joshed up to listen to some new English tracks. Tried doing that on my Messenger today and guess what I got to see..

"LAUNCHCast and other webcasters are silent today.
Go to www.savenetradio.org for more information."

Well I was curious to know what this was all about..

Few months back the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) of USA which looks into sound recording royalties paid by Internet radio services increased Internet radio's royalty rates. Even after Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) requested CRB to reduce the royalty rates, CRB has moved on to multiply it further!

Internet radio Industry has started to grow and such ruling will definitely lead to the Internet radio services going bankrupt and they will surely stop webcasting if this royalty rate is not reduced back again.

"the wonderful diversity of Internet radio is enjoyed by tens of millions of Americans and provides promotional and royalty opportunities to independent labels and artists that are not available to them on broadcast radio. What you may not know is that in just the last year Internet radio listening jumped dramatically, from 45 million listeners per month to 72 million listeners each month."

So what does SaveNetRadio do to fight against this?

The SaveNetRadio has been formed to represent every webcaster, every Net Radio listener, and every artist who enjoys and benefits from Internet radio Industry.

Click here for more info!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

And the unpleasant ...

And for many others... it is an unpleasant day !

A pleasant surprise is in store for you!

This is what "Today's fortune" on my orkut profile had to say yesterday!

"A pleasant surprise is in store for you"

From past 10 days.. I had started feeling the heat and yeah.. Muscat was definitely gearing up for its Summer 2007!

I kept hearing stories about how worse summers can get in Muscat with soaring temperatures in April, May and June.. and the 'Extreme' and 'Dangerous' tags mentioned on this page can really bother you!

Only 'worse' was about to come!

But...to everyone's surprise, rains lashed the city early this morning... and Muscat is all flooded on 18th March!!And on my way to office...I did manage to take a few pics on my mobile.

It's still gloomy and raining outside... definitely the time for a cup of chai and some deep-fried pakodas :) !

And moreover...the weather forecast for the week lets you heave a sigh of relief.

After this not-at-all-expected 'pleasant surprise', I was curious enough to know what my fortune for 'today' looked like :)

and here it goes!

Today's fortune:
You have an unusual equipment for success, use it properly


So why don't you also tell me what 'that unusual equipment' is !!!

May be I should wait and find that out in tomorrow's "Today's fortune"!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Let Go! Should I or Shouldn't I? Have I or Haven't I?

After a stomach-filling chat-eating session just an hour before dinner, it was quite obvious that I'd not have my dinner. I came back to my flat, freshened up, spent an hour at the cyber cafe and then there I was back in my den again!

I was surfing through the few channels available or I would say watchable! because most of the channels available would be the Mallu or the Arabic ones, both of which I can't understand...and a movie just began in one of them..

The star cast of the movie looked very interesting and it didn't let me turn off the TV and get into my bed...

The movie was "Nurse Betty".. Renée Zellweger playing the title role and it also had Morgan Freeman! So I thought it should be worth watching and went on to watch it...The movie has Morgan Freeman and his son Chris Rock chasing Renee, while she's chasing her dream to see her favorite actor of a soap she loves.. suitably called 'Reason To Love'

One day when she's watching her favorite show and is fully engrossed in it...her husband gets killed in the same house with her having absolutely no clue about it. She later witnesses that gruesome incident when she goes out to check the weird noises she heard while watching her show and there begins the story..

Betty gets into a traumatized state where all she remembers is her fav star who she thinks is her "ex-fiancé' and her romantic dream about seeing him and takes her car out and starts off her journey to meet him!

While on the other side of the movie, Freeman and Chris Rock start chasing Betty because the drugs they wanted to pick up from her husband are in that car which Betty has taken out for her long journey!

This is a movie worth watching.. and the story takes its twists and turns as it moves on and that's left for you to explore..

After the movie was over, I was still thinking about Renee's character "Betty".. I thought there was a Betty in me…I've come across few things or people in my life, which or whom I don't let go!
Betty always dreamt that her fav actor was supposed to be "with her" all the time and moreover she thought they were engaged!..huh !... which was of course not the reality..

Like Betty, everyone of us would have things, relationships, people, moments which we never want to let go out of our lives and try hard to stay in a world which doesn't exist!
I did read about the art of letting go in one of my friend's blog.

It's definitely true that I could relate to the post I've mentioned above…

I remember, I had this beautiful red skirt with tiny hearts all over which my dad got for me when I was 11 or 12 for my cousin's wedding…I wore it and every time I did, I loved wearing it…
It was lying there in my wardrobe for few years…And one day during my graduation, when I came home for a vacation from hostel…I didn't find it there!
For a moment, I couldn't digest the fact that " it isn’t here anymore??!!" and I ran to my mom… only to find out she gave it away to someone…guess to my maid's daughter…

While it made much sense to my mom that if I am not wearing that skirt I loved anymore, it's good to give it away to someone who'd wear it!
But for me, it took sometime for the news to sink in…and let it go!

This was just one of those "infinite" examples…and I am sure every one will have similar examples to quote…
All the greeting cards which I got for New Year/ Birthday, f'ship bands I got on the Friendship Day, pictures of Shahrukh and Sachin I collected for so many years…which eventually went on to become a BIG collage…and yeah.. it hung there in my room at the hostel for years!, Shahrukh's wallpaper on my desktop!...And the LIST goes on….

Do they mean something to me NOW?!!

Well...Have I let them go or Haven’t I yet??

And when it comes to relationships and people, it’s the same story again! History repeats!
It's so important sometimes to let them go because holding them back will create more problems to you and the person involved and the "relationship" ….

Though I know this, many a times I still think Should I or Shouldn't I?!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ridiculous is the way this world works!!!

She was so excited the day she met me before leaving...

My friend Priya told me that she'd be going home for a week's time...and was enthu about having a great time back home with her family and friends...

A week flew by and she was back here...but with all that excitement lost in her face... and all the josh locked up somewhere...

She was now telling me about the hardest times she went through handling the most difficult moments of her life so far...

It's been quite sometime now..And she had started realizing that she'd finally arrived at the MOST WEIRD phase of her life.. She was initially finding it almost impossible to digest the fact that she'll now need to step into a "NEW" world with a "PARTNER" into an institution which is unfortunately termed "MARRIAGE"!!!

I am sure almost every Indian girl will go through this difficult phase of her life... where she has a 1000 questions in her mind...driving her crazy day in and day out... and nobody around to answer these...and she'd be left with no choice...but to enter into this so called institution of Marriage... with all the questions unanswered...!!

She was telling me how things were definitely going to change... for good or bad.... which she has absolutely no clue about...

The first question she wanted just anyone to answer was... "Is this change required in my Life NOW?? Am I not happy the way I am...??

It'd taken her 24 years to build this beautiful web of relationships around her... And it's so difficult for anyone who's built this web of relationships around oneself...to come out and force yourself to enter into a TOTALLY NEW one now... !!!

Someone had once said "Change is the only constant thing in Life"…I'd say it's definitely EASIER SAID THAN DONE!!!

And she's now worried about handling the situation where she feels that... she's entered into a A World Turned Upside Down…She still can't believe if this is the same world she lived in all these days....

On the other side were Priya's parents...who felt it's "NOW" the time... that Priya got married...to the "RIGHT" guy... and begin the new phase of her life...!!

I was just thinking if there was any Indian girl who'd "HAPPILY" let all her relationships which she has built up for 24 years now, to take a back seat and get into "MARRIAGE" which the Indian society describes it funnily enough...as the "most sacred thing ever" ...

And more surprisingly...get into MARRIAGE with someone she's known "THE LEAST" all her life...

Isn't this ridiculous?