The Unsung Hero Of India #1

imageAnand Kumar was born in Patna, Bihar and attended a Hindi Medium School where he developed an enormous passion for Mathematics

Mr Kumar lost his father at a young age & his family suffered financial troubles henceforth. The family was solely dependent on his mother’s earnings.

He delivered home made papads (Crispy Indian snack) to shops and homes on his bicycle. Meanwhile, in 1992, he founded Ramanujam School of Mathematics where anyone could join without paying a penny & attend math camps

In 1994, his dreams came true and he was offered an education in Cambridge and Sheffield universities. Regrettably, lack of financial resources did not permit him to pursue his further education.

But the unflinching Anand did not loose hope and converted his club and camp into a coaching institute for competitive exams.
He also created the Super 30 programme to provide free education to the 30 talented students from financially poor backgrounds, for he knew that financial problems should not deter talent from achieving great heights.

The initiative provides free coaching, boarding and accommodation to the 30 talented children, chosen by Mr Anand and exclusively trained for the IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) JEE (Joint Entrance Exam) exam.

The initiative gets funds from the money earned by Anand from his coaching institute where he teaches about 500 students per batch, three times a week for 2.5 hours each.

The money earned is directed towards the Super 30 programme. The results of his 30 students have indeed been extremely impressive.

Founded in 2003, 18 students made it to IIT, whereas in 2004, the number rose to 22. 26 students were selected in 2006 and 28 got into IIT in 2007. In 2008 and 2009, 30 out of 30 students made it to IIT! (The difficulty level of JEE Exams are very high!)

Mr Anand Kumar has been a speaker at Atlanta, where he delivered a fantastic lecture in the annual conference organized by the American Mathematics Society and the Mathematics Association of America.

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He also contributed to the widely popular journals from the U.K., The Mathematical Gazette and the Mathematics Spectrum, and Parabola published in Australia.

Mr Kumar now aspires to establish schools for the poor and financially backward students so that their talent does not dwindle with time.
In fact, Discovery Channel had once featured a programme on Super 30. The New York Times has also written about Anand Kumar.

A Truly Humble & a Great Man, Indeed!

A Workaholic’s Ultimate Guide To Travel Benefits!

imageA Workaholic’s Ultimate Guide To Travel Benefits

 

It’s the holiday season and you’re ultimately bestowed with the much required time-off. This means that before you, lay the following two phenomenal options: either you opt for a holiday abroad to unwind yourself and spend quality time with your unattended and overlooked family members and kinfolk OR you prefer to work diligently. Now, if you find yourself favourably disposed towards the latter, either you are a hard-worker who yearns for more spadework just because you relish your job OR you are a workaholic who has an inner-compulsion to labour persistently, in order to make yourself feel more worthy and productive.
Unfortunately, absolute adherence to work may offer hindrance to one’s professional and personal obligations. Workaholism is synonymous to ‘need-perfectionism-at-work’ which at times, can make you immensely restless and even stagnate your well-being. Research has uncovered that workaholics habitually skip their meals, are often stressed out and more irritable than their ‘non-workaholic’ counterparts, subsequently resulting in counter productivity, depression, burnouts and negative impact on relationships.
Remember, workaholics- overworking does not has its pluses. Besides, it kills your efficiency at work and affects you health. Calm your adrenaline-rushes by settling on a time-off. During the brief ‘time of rest’, prevent yourself from immersing in thoughts related to work. Keep your smartphones, pagers, emails and laptops at bay and travel!
Albeit there are several other alternatives to Travel during recreation time, here are a handful of points attesting the advantages of travel over other activities (let’s reattain our work-life balance!) :
1. Travelling abroad, that is, not only breaks the monotony of self-same experiences of the life we dwell in, but also brings about drastic changes in our lifestyle choices.

2. Travelling make us more sensitive and open to unalike yet enchanting cultures and traditions of the various colours of humanity. If you become culturally more sensitive, you’re more likely to develop better business relations with clients belonging to different countries (so profitable!). Besides, travelling to fascinating places boosts ones creative energy and reduces stress, a much needed tonic to calm a workaholic’s knackered soul!

3. Travelling brings you more close to your kins and farther away from your hectic professional life. Result: It bolsters your personal relationships. You get the glorious opportunity to savour the real beauty of the world around you, rather than indulging in ten cups of black coffee to mollify your trembling soul for another important presentation.

 

4. Moreover, Travelling affects your professional life too, but in a fruitful manner. A detailed study conducted by Ernst & Young accounting firm unveiled that for each extra ten hours an employee utilised in a vacation, his/her performance review became 8 percent higher the next year. Travelling charges your mental battery which was earlier exhausted. A nine year study claimed that annually travelling reduces the risk of death from any cause, specially heart related diseases. Brain health is finely maintained when travelling becomes one of the top priorities in your life.

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Photo courtesy: thestorypedia
Now that you are well apprised of the benefits of travelling, as a workaholic, you need to keep in mind:

Ø To prevent yourself from scanning emails and over-planning your travel journey. Workaholics always want things to be under control but at times, your only job is to just keep swimming against the enormous and troublesome waves. Those waves are not in control of you. Go easy (it can be difficult, but nothing is impossible).
Ø To hire a travel agent who can lend his proficiency and offer cheap yet pleasant deals, packages and flights. This would minimise your stress and unnecessary tension regarding the planning and execution of your time off in an effective manner.
Ø Travelling during time off, especially for workaholics, is a ‘once in a blue moon’ opportunity which should be relished thoroughly. The excessive weight of your baggage should not be an impediment to your incredible travel experiences. To travel light, connect to Uni Baggage, a low-cost delivery network that would collect your heavy luggage and deliver them to you when you arrive at your desired station. Available for both students and non-students, Uni Baggage provides an excellent alternative to the expensive baggage fees on airlines or train journeys.

An incredible travel experience can give a workaholic a new lease on life! So de-stress and rejuvenate yourself and plunge into the heavenly experiences of travelling.

Temple Prostitution: The Terrible Face Of Humanity!

As her trembling soul waited for the next man to enter her forlorn life through that dingy door, she raised a question to God: Why am I used like a toy? My body is served to quench the thirst of sadistic men, no one looks beneath this body. That girl of eight, ten years back did not know what the daughter of a devadasi (temple prostitute) was destined to be, until that fateful day when she was sent to the brothel and undressed by a man 30 years older to her, for a mere ₹200.

God, do I not deserve a life of dignity and respect? My swollen eyes, wounded forehead because of the constant thrashing (by the devilish men for reasons unknown to my anguished soul) and my bruised back does not remind your fellow children of what the true meaning of humanity is? Am I not a human? Do I not have feelings and emotions?

A Modern Day Fairy Tale

imageA Modern Day Fairy Tale

Hideous. Ghastly. Hateful.
The words dominated her mind as she glanced at the mirror. Her world was clearly shattered. Her vividly imaginative mind allowed her to believe that the mirror was taunting her for her looks and questioning her beauty. She shut her eyes tightly, for she wasn’t in fear of the world but herself. Thoughts about her failed marriage and its aftermath petrified her soul to such an extent that she broke down.
There were no birds on the window seal to lend their wonderful voices and weave a song to calm her horrified soul. No mice to bring in some comical touch to her life’s dreary story. She dreamt of a Prince Charming but her Prince’s charm was a mere disillusion. She uttered a yelp to her Godmother, for she wanted the magic of life to be back, so that she could be the same shimmering herself that she used to be six months ago.
All of a sudden, she realised something. Her conscience hit upon her so hard that she remained still for another hour. Then, the most unexpected situation occurred. She stood up, gaped with astonishment as she took a look at her disfigured face, which was once as beautiful and blissful as it could ever be, until the attack of sulphuric acid which left her with one eye blinded and epithelial cells of the skin, lifeless. But, enough is enough.
Neither was she a damsel nor in distress, anymore. She couldn’t be a lifeless log floating in the river of life with its aim being nothing.
‘I’m beautiful. The most glamorous girl I’ve ever known. How does it matter to me what the mirror says about the beauty which is only virtual, far from the real. I no longer wait for my knight in shining armour to enter into the scene as a saviour and shield me from the criticism I may have to face. I-am-my-own-true-hero. I’m bold and unsuspiciously stunning. And I need not prove that to someone else.’
For the very first time, she could see herself smiling, that curve on her face sparkled like a gem. She had made up her mind to live, live for the sake of herself and her family which loves her way too much, irrespective of the drastic change(albeit virtual).

She finally found her own Charming hero who would love her because of the precious inner beauty which no one could ever steal from her, the wonderful Godmother who would guide her through her struggles, the birds and mice who would dance in jolly when she would attain the success she’s striving for. All of them were right in front of her, as she gazed at the mirror with a novel aspiration.

~Anshika M Jhamb

Your True Belonging!

Your True Belonging!

Have a genuine look at yourself and your environment. What do you conclude after surveying the whole of you and the settings?
Well, the books which are kept on the shelf are mine, the curtains blocking the radiant rays of the sun are mine, the television belongs to me and surely the chair on which I’m seated is rightfully my property. So much so, even this body which I ill treat is mine! (Don’t feel offended, I’m only referring to that major part of the Homo sapiens population who love to shower hatred on their bodies, in different ways though).
Now that you agree to what I say, I would like to share with you one of the most satisfying quotes I’ve come across lately. It is from an incredible soul who goes by the name of Thich Nath Hanh:

“My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand”

Accurate to the core. The quote mentioned above is applicable to all the beings dwelling in the 21st century and especially to the ones who are determined to live a blissful and healthy life.
The only thing that truly belongs to you and shows itself to people first are your actions and how you react to any person’s action. Not even your mortal body will accompany you to the journey after death, it will solely be your pure soul and the actions that you performed (pure or impure) while you took the journey on this mortally alive planet. Believe me, the way you are with people and other living creatures truly defines your attitude towards yourself and consequently the universe’s attitude towards you!
Be good. Be kind. Be childlike. And be gleeful so that the people around you take delight in the warmth of your charismatic aura. Give good, Receive the best and don’t think of the rest!

Another Mother Teresa In Making

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Image courtesy: http://en.akshy.org/akshy/our-team/

After a tiring day from the school, I rush back to my home. ‘How can someone like school?’ I ponder on this thought when my mother opens the main door. ‘Another attack on our valiant soldiers in Uri’ she despondently asserts.
For the past one week, our media has been portraying all sorts of news regarding the Uri attack and its aftermath. “Why doesn’t the neighbouring country concede its participation in this gruesome event? Should the Pakistani artists be banned in India? Is another war inevitable!?” And all of these discussions are the talk of the town in the country across the border too.
My heart bleeds for the martyred soldiers and the voice inside me revolts against this brutal episode. Where is this world heading to? Shouldn’t we provide aid to the families of these heavenly soldiers financially as well as emotionally instead of commencing a Twitter War with the citizens of the neighbouring country?

Another thought disturbs my disconsolated mind:

why the news channels only support the negatives of the world while overshadowing the positive ones? As my thoughts horrify me even more, my soul tries to find solace on the internet to know if humanity still exists.

I come across two truly wonderful souls who reclaim my faith in humanity- the gorgeous Mother Teresa who deserves to be a popular figure and Raquel Mason Palomeque, The one who is actually following Mother Teresa’s footsteps.

This Spanish woman has taken massive efforts to change the lives of the Dalit children in Bihar for the past 10 years!

Dalits in India are the members of the lowest caste who’ve been mistreated at every phase in the course of our country’s history. Only few courageous people have tried to alter the norms set by the ruthless society, and Ms Raquel is one of them. The Dalit community in Bihar was suffering and its children were deprived of the basic education and sufficient healthcare. Ms Raquel, who’d already fallen in love with the country’s sublime culture by that time, took the decision to return to Spain to collect funds for these beautiful yet hapless children of God.

Just like Mother Teresa, she decided that she’ll make her life more useful to others. In the year 2008, She quit her job in Spain and sold her house to compensate for her expenses and left for India. She opened up Akshy Educational Centre and Kamal School, where currently about 220 children are being taught. You’ll be surprised to know that half the seats in the school are reserved for girls!
She strongly believes that education will provide them with instruments to stand up for their views, ideas and ask for their rights as Indian Citizens.

We need souls like Mother Teresa and Raquel who aspire to diminish the negativity of this world! Come, let’s become one!
To know more about her mission, you can visit her website: http://en.akshy.org
My gratitude to: ‘The Better India’ newsletter that inspires me by helping me connect with beautiful people like Raquel Mason Palomeque!

ThinkAboveHorizon

Am I Enough?

 

We all are different. Whether it be our physical characteristics or personalities. We all are unique and wonderful in our own ways. Do you accept this very fact?

I do. But I usually fall into this mighty trap which I’m certain you have fallen into too. (Like a dozen times)
‘She is prettier that I am’, ‘he got better grades than me’, ‘she owns more than what my son does’ or even worse than all of these- ‘he has a better life than mine!’
Quit comparing yourself with others. Quit your trivial competition with others who you think are far better than you. That’s the very first step of paramount importance for leading a truly gleeful life. Remember this: They aren’t the perfectionists, they do lack the talent in areas where you shine and sparkle like a gem.

By competing with others, comparing your own essence with theirs and coveting what they have that you don’t simply leads to a destructible and melancholic life. By doing so you’re simply degrading your own esteem. You’re indirectly declaring to yourself that- ‘I’m not enough!’

The best and the most deserving person to be competed with is none other that you! Compete with yourself, so that the tomorrow’s ‘you’ is more wise, intelligent and beautiful than the yesterday’s ‘you’.
Someone has rightly said, ‘A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms’
Be that flower and spread your tantalising aroma to the world!