Sr No. 208 The Friendly Guide to Periods for Girls, Menstrupedia, the comic book.

 

Sr No. 208

 

The Friendly Guide to Periods for Girls, Menstrupedia, the comic book.

 

I happened to come across this comic book, Menstrupdia, thanks to a radio host friend Anita. She knew I am writing a book on inspiring women and sent me, and my co-author, Laila, an invite to a book launch in which I discovered this gem, a wonderfully fun and informative book created by Aditi Gupta http://menstrupedia.com/blog/

 

This, posted below, was our first rural workshop to educate girls about menstruation, with the help of a ‘comic’ book, Menstrupedia, through storytelling.

 

When we began to buy and distribute these comic books for schools in Mumbai, underprivileged schools, and reached out to people to help us reach such schools, it was Dhwani Doshi who was the first one to reach out to us. She volunteered to take these workshops to some schools within her reach. She has a nose for ‘education’ and on reading about the nature of this informative and myth bursting book she immediately saw the potential in educating girls not as fortunate as herself in knowing what girls and women need to be told/know about menstruation.

 

I had meant to reach out to urban schools in Mumbai, however, Dhwani took it far beyond my own limitations. Thanks to Dhwani, the book has opened up a path forward…not just for her but many girls and schools she reached out to. She briefed the teachers and the girls on how to hold the interactive session with their students with the aid of this book in print and digital form. After which they will list down the gynecological issues the girls face.

 

The English copy of the book handed over by Dhwani to Ms. Reyna Rupani of The School Of Life, a NGO in Juhu Versova Link Road. And through the Rotary Club of Mumbai Coastline Dhwani reached out to a school at Raigad, rural Maharashtra. The photos below are from the Zilla Parishad School at Raigad. Thank you Dhwani.

This was also possible because of the books being donated by Picto Writ. Thank you very much, Picto.

 

And thank you to Priyanka and Advait too, donors of these books that we have distributed to a school and NGO in Pune, run ny Mukul Madhav Foundation, http://www.mmpc.in/

who has gone on to purchase 50-60 copies to distribute to 50-60 rural schools that they cater to in Maharashtra, the initiative being led by Rita Chhabria. Rita has taken a GIANT step forward in this initiative and has told her medical team and professional educators to include boys during these workshops, because it’s not just a ‘men’s’ issue. The first person I know who has thought of including boys in these workshops. Great! Women have always been an integral part of our souls, and boys must be sensitized to this subject at an early age, it will make us men more sensitive beings, I too believe. We will share the feedback we receive from Mukul Madhav’s rural workshops with you in a few weeks, so that we all can get more sensitized to an ‘issue’ that should concern us MEN too.

 

Some people may think, that giving their money for any worthy cause is charity. So is the giving of your time. Money has a immense value, however, time is invaluable. Thanks to people like Dhwani who offer/volunteer their emotions and time to any worthy cause.

#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶

 

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Sr No 207; A little joy goes a long way.

 

Sr no 207
 
“A little joy goes a long way.”
 
Sai (9) has Cerebral Palsy; he is studying in the 3rd standard at ADAPT school, Bandra. He lives at Mahim with his parents.
 
Sai has a speech impairment, but, the people who live with him, and his teachers, can understand every word he speaks. His legs are too weak to carry him ably, so he crawls to get around. He receives regular physiotherapy at ADAPT school to strengthen his limbs.
 
As Sai is growing older and a little bigger, a little heavier, it is becoming difficult to carry him around. His parents reached out for assistance in buying a wheelchair for him. His mother is a graduate and was once a working woman, however, because Sai needed full-time care, she left her job and is a homemaker and full-time caregiver. She is amongst the many strongest women I’ve met.
 
Sai is just like us. If you snatch the TV remote from his hands, he gets very upset. And when he is happy, he crawls all over the house in excitement! A little joy goes a long way. His favorite sweet is KINDER JOY Chocolate Candy.
 
Sai is just like us. He has a dream. He wants to work in an office with a laptop. However, for Sai’s parents, their ambition, dream and goal for Sai is – TO MAKE HIM WALK ON HIS OWN LEGS!, without any instrument or human support.
 
At the moment, his siblings are big supports too, they pitch in to take care of him and to play with him. His biggest asset is, his paternal grandmother.
 
I asked Sai’s mother about some of the challenges parents and family of a differently abled child face… so that we ‘abled’ people may learn from those not as fortunate as us…… she said ….. “…. we have so much support from my husband’s parents, to bring up this child, that I have realised emotional and spiritual strength from our family and friends, and our own emotional strength, is far more important than our financial strength.
Thank you for helping us buy this wheelchair, however, I will make it redundant one day, because, it is my ambition, our family’s collective ambition, that I will make Sai walk on his own two feet someday, one day! For sure!”
 
Yes, we can manage with a little less money but we all need a lot of love. Lots.
I know of a relatve who needs such care, it made me realise the importance of family and friends who you feel you will need someday to pitch in, with just their emotional support. When you feel pulled down, beieve me – even a phone call to hear your friend or relative makes you feel you will see this through.
It also makes you realise there are only a handful of people you can really count on, call randomly just to hear their voice, and that makes you stronger emotionally and more independent. It also makes you more astute in choosing who you choose to spend most of your time and emotions on.
 
Such support from family and a few friends is also a kind of ‘immense-wealth’ we need to nurture, and we could achieve that if we will be there for some others before expecting them to be there for us. It’s often about giving before receiving.
 
Thank you Picto Writ and NS for buying this wheel chair for Sai. His parents contributed nearly one third towards it. Thank you Health Care Equipments, Vile Parle, for giving them a good discount and service on their purchase of this wheelchair.
 
And we bought him Kinder Joy too,because a little joy goes a very long way.
 
#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶
 
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#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

Sr No. 206; “…. then she broke into the most magnificent and bright pearls of laughter, which reflected the little girl in her.”

 

Sr. No. 206

Geeta (30) (Visually impaired, aka blind)

Geeta lives at Wadala with her family. She is the youngest child, and her siblings are married except her. Her father was a watchman, but due to ill health he is unable to work now. Her mother works as a healthcare caretaker and the sole breadwinner.

 

Geeta is still dependent on her mother for her education and living expenses, and she has never asked her sister and two brothers for financial support. She is fiercely independent and proud to be the most educated person in her family!

 

Geeta is a graduate of sociology and is currently studying for her MA, through correspondence from an institution in Nasik.  I asked her, ‘why did she choose to study sociology, and what does she like about the subject of her choice?’

 

Geeta replied, “I like sociology, as it helps me understand society better. You know, everyone is dealing with some problem, so, I should not live life thinking ‘Oh my problem/s is a ‘problem’ and the only person in the world who has problems is me….’ We must try and alleviate society’s problems too, and not just think or worry about our own. After all, society means ‘collective living’.”

 

Geeta’s mission/ambition: “I want to be a Professor.”

She lectures as a temporary teacher at a college in Mumbai when their regular teachers go on leave, and she has been teaching on and off since two years.

 

I asked Geeta, “If you get sight right now, medically or magically, what would  you love to see first and right away!?”

She replied, “The stars in a night sky.”

…. And then Geeta broke into the most magnificent and bright pearls of laughter, which reflected the little girl in her with very big and beautiful dreams. I was so gal that we chose to assist her in our tiny way for her computer literacy education.

 

When I asked her for her permission to take her photo and share it, she said, happily, “… yes, but wait, let me put on my cool sun shades!”

 

Thank you dear Akshita, Ankita, Priyanka, Suman, Ritu, Amit/Priyanka, Niraj, Minnie, Brijesh, Sabira, Laila, Siddharth, me 😊 for assisting yet another visually impaired person receive a government (and corporate world) recognized certification in computer literacy.

 

(The government recognised MS-CIT ‘computer training’ course for visually impaired is conducted at The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Tardeo. (www.mkcl.org/msciti / http://mscit.mkcl.org/index.php/course-syllabus)

 

#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶

 

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Sr 205; When the cane is your Best Friend.

Sachin jan 18 2018

 

Sr No 205

 

Sachin (Visually impaired, aka blind)

 

Sachin lives in Dharavi, Mumbai, and is currently doing a government certified MS CIT course in Computer Literacy. When Sachin was a child, he had partial sight, but an eye operation to rectify an alleged retina flaw went perhaps wrong and he lost sight since then.

 

Sachin lost his father many years ago in a car accident; and his brother too last year, also in a car accident. His brother was the only earning member in the family. He lives with his mother and sister and both are earning members of his family. His sister works too, in a factory in Dharavi that sells processed sea food.

 

Sachin’s best friend is his white cane. He navigates the world with her.

 

I asked him, “What if your white walking cane get’s lost? Or wants to get lost…. Leave you….? What will you do?”

Sachin replied, “Even if my cane wants to get lost or leave me, I will not let go of her. She is always with me.”

 

Best friend. It reminded me of my dad’s advise to me, “BEFORE YOU CAN BE A BEST FRIEND TO ANYONE, FIRST BE ONE TO YOURSELF, DON’T LET YOURSELF DOWN, ONLY THEN CAN SOMEONE SEE IN YOU THEIR BEST FRIEND.” and he would make us hear the song very often, particularly on Sundays and holiday trips travelling in our car, to reinforce his belief: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PPL8Tgt4jM

 

Would you take better care of yourself
Would you be kinder to yourself
Would you be more forgiving of your human imperfections
If you realized your best friend was yourself.

 

Who is always with you everywhere
Who is on your side when others are unfair
And tell me, who will never let you down in any situation
Who will always see you get your share.

 

And that’s why I am a best friend to myself
And I take me out whenever I feel low
And I make my life as happy as a best friend would
I’m as nice to me as anyone I know.

 

And that’s why I am a best friend to myself
And I take me out whenever I feel low
And I make my life as happy as a best friend would
I’m as nice to me as anyone I know.

 

I asked Sachin what is his ambition, or career goal, and he said, “I want to do a course of a masseur”

 

I have friends who told me that the best body massages they have received have been given to them by the visually impaired. There is one centre in Mumbai that employs visually impaired masseurs (https://www.thebetterindia.com/31909/discriminated-unemployed-visually-impaired-masseurs-mumbai-joanita-metta-spa/ ) because their sense of touch is far more sensitive and tender and firm than many sighted people. Because they navigate their world with their ears, hands and fingers.

 

Thank you dear Akshita, Ankita, Priyanka, Suman, Ritu, Amit/Priyanka, Niraj, Minnie, Brijesh, Sabira, Laila, Siddharth, me 😊 for assisting yet another visually impaired person receive a government (and corporate world) recognized certification in computer literacy.

(We may even assist Sachin in completing the masseur course, I will let you know if we do that.)

 

We believe, that by helping the differently abled, however tiny be our ways of assistance, we will understand better not just their needs but also help us understand abled humans, social life and our world in which digital technology is going to play a bigger and bigger role. And so, our role in the lives of the differently abled should increase correspondingly.

 

(The government recognised MS-CIT ‘computer training’ course for visually impaired is conducted at The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Tardeo: http://www.mkcl.org/msciti)

 

#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶

 

#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:

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Sr No. 204 The courier boy who shoulders responsibility.

santosh tawde

Sr No 204

Santosh (Courier of mail)

Santosh lives with his widowed mother in Nerul. After his father passed away, when he as in junior college, he had to stop his education after the 12th standard and begin working to support his family.

He is from Rajapur/Ratnagiri and arrived in Mumbai in 2008 for better livelihood prospects.

After his father passed away, Santosh took up this job with a courier company based in Mumbai, and has been working with them since then, nearly 9 years. From his salary he provides for his mother and has paid for his own graduation and his own house at Nerul.
He completed his graduation by correspondence course from Mumbai University while he was doing the courier job. He plans to study further. Hearing him speak, I thought about my own formal education background.

I had a wealthy father and many luxuries and yet I did not complete my graduation. I am a second year Computer Engineering (Mumbai University) drop out. However, it was because, in hindsight I realised, I chose to study a subject not meant for me. I chose to study engineering influenced by my peers and immediate group of friends who had chosen to study medicine and engineering.

(Before that, I had wanted to join the Indian Air Force, and I did apply, but I was one year over age when I did so I could not join the National Defence Academy. It was after that set back, that I got confused about my career choice, and chose a subject not suited to me.) I do wish I was as clear as Santosh, and had chosen to graduate in the arts, filmmaking.

However, no regrets, because every single good and erroneous decision has brought me to a fine stage in my life where I feel a sense of fulfilment often and happy sometimes, along with feeling fear, disappointments, failures, now and then.

Returning to Santosh, after his father passed away he paid off some debts of their family. Now he has to pay back the loan he has taken for his own house at Nerul. He has planned to get married after he clears his house-loan in about two to three years. Santosh is a man who shoulders responsibility well.

Having his own bicycle will assist him travel longer distances in a shorter time and carry large boxes.

I asked him what he thinks about Mumbai, being an ‘outsider’ here once upon a time. He said, “Mumbai is a place of good opportunities. A person who is willing to work hard in this city will certainly find a good livelihood.”

Thank you Vishal Chhabra and Meghna Mirgnani for assisting Santosh in buying a bicycle. Santosh contributed one third it’s cost.

Thank you Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) of Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) for the good service & discount.

#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶
https://twitter.com/RakBak16

#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:
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#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

Vishal Chhabra Meghna Mirgnani

Sr. No. 203 – I made a mistake when I met Mohammad. Will tell you about it. Read on….

Mohammad Iqbal Khan Jan 1 2017
Sr. no. 203
 
Iqbal Mohamad Khan (Visually impaired, aka blind; Jobless)
 
I made a mistake when I met Mohammad. Will tell you about it. Read on….
 
Seven years ago, he lost his eyesight within a few weeks when he suffered from Cerebral atrophy / It is a common feature of many of the diseases that affect the brain. It can happen to anyone. Anyone.
 
Mohammad was working as a Videographer (Cameraman) with Bloomberg channel then. After he lost eyesight in both eyes within a few months seven years ago, Bloomberg paid for his medical rehabilitation and healthcare. His wife abandoned him soon after, and re-married someone else. His own family looked after him thereafter, but after a few years they too told him he must now manage on his own as they have their own family to support financially.
 
He was of the opinion that he should not and cannot blame them for abandoning, not supporting him forever, or for longer, after all it is really challenging or impossible for most people to look after someone for so long and or forever. He needs to find a job as soon as possible, before he loses hope completely.
 
Jobless, homeless and penniless, Mohammad has been provided temporary shelter by some religious institution, or religious person, I am not really sure, but I know a stranger he approached for help has allowed him to live with him or their religious institution.
 
Mohammad Iqbal is doing this computer literacy course because he believes it can help him navigate the largely digital world that we have become, and thus help him secure his first job after his world went completely dark seven years ago. Now that he cannot operate the camera anymore, and is nearly 45 years old and jobless, he needs to update at least his digital skills and that may help him land a job that can return to him at least his financial independence.
 
Thank you Akshita, Ankita, Priyanka, Ishani, Suman, Ritu, Amit, Niraj, Minnie, Ameya, Manjari, Brijesh (and myself) for assisting yet another visually impaired person receive a government and corporate world recognized certification in computer literacy.
 
I made a mistake when I met Mohammad. After we finished our conversation, as I was leaving the institute’s library I was lost in my own fears – “… what if someday I lose my eye sight and all those who I love and know abandon me…”
 
I did not see that Mohammad had put his arm out to shake my hand. It was the computer lab professional Sonal who told me politely “Sir, he wishes to shake your hand and say thank you.” I felt I was the blind one here, insensitive to not having seeing our beneficiary’s gratitude. I was walking away without giving him the opportunity to acknowledge his gratitude beyond a verbal thanks. It is a lesson to me that I must wait to shake the hand of every single person we assist hereafter. Akshita, Ankita, Priyanka, Ishani, Suman, Ritu, Amit, Niraj, Minnie, Ameya, Manjari, Brijesh, I shook his hand warmly on all your behalf. When I had met him a few minutes ago, his hand had felt cold. Maybe because it was January 1st, a cold winter afternoon. But now it felt warm.
 
Ankita. I learnt a lesson when I met him, something that I noticed you did when you had met visually impaired Devaka, you had reached out and held her hand before we left. It’s so important that we acknowledge their acknowledgement of us.
 
I posted a black and white photo of our beneficiary, because that’s how it must be for some visually impaied people, without color.
 
(Brief history of our tiny endeavor:
 
My 12 friends and I decided to assist two visually impaired adults achieve ‘computers and online-world literacy’ by paying their course fees for the same every quarter. We hope to assist two more students when their next batch begins after three months, and do this for one year from Nov 2107 to Oct 2018.
 
We believe, that by helping the differently abled, however tiny be our ways of assistance, we will understand better not just their needs but also help us understand abled humans, social life and our world in which digital technology is going to play a bigger and bigger role. And so, our role in the lives of the differently abled should increase correspondingly.
 
We are simply hoping the tiny assistance we are providing them will help the visually impaired secure better livelihood opportunities, including more secure jobs with the government that offers provident fund, pension etc. Also, it will give them the sense of ‘…. someone cares for us.’- that by itself is a big motivator.
 
The government recognised MS-CIT ‘computer training’ course for visually impaired is conducted at The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Tardeo: http://www.mkcl.org/msciti
 
Thanks to my acquaintance in the UK, Herminder Kaur, we found out that unequal access to information technology (computers and the internet) and the online world brings about unequal participation of the differently abled and the visually impaired. A computer literacy certification program, particularly one recognized by the government of India, can certainly help the less privileged in our country, especially the visually impaired (blind), have some more power over their perceived shortcomings, circumstances, disabilities.
 
They only needed help to live in their immediate surroundings. Now, the differently abled need our assistance to even access even the online-world. So, the need for more equal access to the internet, the world online, is becoming more and more important for differently abled people who are already facing challenges of social exclusion and the issue is being treated as ‘a civil rights issue’ in the developed and developing world.
 
Adds Herminder Kaur, “In the West, as more and more services move online, there is a need to recognise how people with disabilities are unable to access or use these services and therefore how this results in double exclusion – offline and online. By recognising the issue as a right – we can appreciate that it is essential for service and technology providers and regulators to do more to ensure every citizen is an equal participant/user of the medium.”)
 
#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶
 
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A story of not just a 9 years ‘young’ kid … worthy of sharing on Christmas.

25659948_10155835799623213_8908378643960786658_n

A story of not just a 9 years ‘young’ kid … worthy of sharing on Christmas.

Vivek walks his mom Gayatri – holding her hand as close as we held our favorite toy, and as adults hold our wealth and or virtues.

To play with her, like we played with our mates in open spaces, Vivek makes her run holding her arm, even in closed spaces like their home or at a restaurant, even when she needs his help to go to the washbasin after having her meals.

He laughs aloud at nothing, to make her very curious about what has amused him so much, just so he can amuse her and make her laugh or smile. Its just yet another way of how he entertains her every now and then.

To irritate her, again just for fun, he switches off her cell phone’s ‘talk back’ function, something she is heavily dependent on. That is the only time his mom gets angry at him, yet, forgives her constant playmate every time.

When the network of her cell phone is weak, in a windowless space shut by walls and doors, without being asked to Vivek will hold the doors ajar for better network range when she has to make an important phone call.

When she meets people for the first time, he does not miss a word of their conversation – because he is her self appointed and most willing day and night security service.

He leads her fingers to the hot drinks slowly, so she should not burn her fingers on touching them, and directs them to all the food items placed in front of her at a restaurant so she knows what’s where.

Because, his mom, Gayatri, is visually impaired, aka blind. And he does it all without being told.

I thought, Vivek is indeed a 9 years ‘old’ kid. Not 9 years young. A gift and a blessing to his family.

#HappyChristmas

Sr No 202 – I think of my mother when I am in financial trouble.

202 Mohammad tea IMG_1463

Sr No 202

Mohammad Babul Aalam (Tea Seller)

Mohammad lives at Bandra East. He is the only child of his parents who live in UP. He migrated to Mumbai eight years ago for better livelihood prospects. He has done many kinds of odd jobs since then, also been a daily wages worker at various construction sites, until the construction industry went into a slump two years ago.

Thereafter, Mohammad was unable to find daily wages work on a regular basis, and decided to sell tea in the Bandra Reclamation and Band Stand areas, on foot. He walks around these areas to sell his tea from a hot flask and paper cups.

He was missing a bicycle to carry a heater (with burning charcoals in a stove fitted on the bicycle’s carrier, to heat a hot-flask kind of kettle that kept cooked tea warm) for his tea to remain hot enough for his customers after he left home. He had to walk with hot tea in a flask from his home In Bandra East to West and that long journey makes his tea warm. Moreover, with a bicycle he can cover a larger area and thus earn more customers.

On meeting Mohammaed, speaking to him for a while about his circumstances we recommended him to one of my cyclist acquaintances, Kavita Jhingan; she prompltly roped in Gaurav Bedi and even more promptly responded with “Let’s get this tea seller a new bicycle! :)” Such an enthu soul, I thought.

Mohammad was willing to contribute half the cost of the new bicycle, Kavita and Gaurav got him a brand new one.

I know that most often the bond between the only child and his/her mother is very strong. I asked Mohammad, when does he miss his mother the most…?

He replied, “… Maa ki yaad toh aati hi hai, roz, aur jab main bahot takleef mein hota hoon, tab. Jab mere jeb mein paise nahi hote, toh main sochta hoon ki agar mere paas paise nahi honge toh main apne bhoode maa baap ko kya bhejoonga? Woh guzara kaise karenge, mere paison ke bina? Humare paas roz khaane ke paise hain, lekin, jab koi bimaar padh jaata hai paison ki kami tab bahot zyada mehsoos hoti hai.”

(I think of my mother when I am in financial trouble. The days I am unable to earn daily wages, I wonder what will happen to my family if I do not earn a regular income. They are dependent on me, their only child. It is not that they do not have enough to eat three meals, however, if any one of us gets sick that is when we fall short of money to even pay the doctor his fees of Rs 500-600 including medicines.”)

Ride on bro, hope our little gift for your livelihood prospects goes a long way to warm not just your tea, but innumerable souls this winter and beyond. And our salute to your sense of duty towards your aging parents.

Metting a tea seller reminds me of a verse from an old book:

“The price for this tea is anything from a hundred in gold to a half sen.

If you want to drink free, that’s all right too. I’m only sorry I can’t let you have it for less.”

― Baisao, The Old Tea Seller: Life and Zen Poetry in 18th Century Kyoto.

Thank you Kavita and Gaurav for responding prompltly.

Thank you Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) of Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) for the good service & discount.

#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶

#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:

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WordPress https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1