Teaching the Importance of Saving

What is the best form of social work done till date by you? You have fed a hungry stomach, you have taught a child in need, you have given some clothes to poor, you have also helped some financially…..Yes, there is rarely a person who has not done one or all of the above. The satisfaction of helping a fellow human in need is not comparable to any other.

 

We always come across views which state that instead of helping with money make people self-reliant, let them earn on their own and be self-sufficient. We all know the merit of being self-sufficient but can seldom contribute in good measure to achieve this. But there are several organizations and people selflessly doing just that making people self-sufficient and empowered.

 

However, how many are really devoting time to look at letting this income last. They earn and they spend and there is hardly any penny saved for another day. I came across this inspiring venture by MetLife Foundation and Sesame Workshop in India (SWI); they are trying to make sure everyone saves little by little. SWI is also behind the hugely successful initiative of Galli Galli Sim Sim (the Indian adaptation of Sesame Street), which has kids glued to their infotainment segment and episodes. The new initiative is again an Indian adaptation of the global programme “Dream, Save, Do: Financial Empowerment for Families”. This is a unique global initiative on financial inclusion and empowerment for children in the age group of 3-8 years and their caregivers. The initiative has an apt and catchy name:

“Sapna, Bachat, Udaan: Aarthik Bal, Har Parivar ka Haq.”

 

Various Workshops are conducted at Harsh Vihar, Shahdara, New Delhi.  SWI assembles young inquisitive minds and engage them for Mobile Community Viewings(MCVs). SWI has converted a vegetable cart into a mobile TV, which travels to each street of the selected area calling out for children to watch educational and entertaining videos on financial literacy. The kids gather around the TV for the MCV.

 

The event is followed by workshops. During the workshops, facilitators engage children in activities like making your own piggy bank and other activities related to saving and sharing.

 

 

  • The MCVs and workshops aim to improve the knowledge, language and strategies on financial literacy thereby increasing the dialogue between parents and children
  • These activities provide valuable knowledge about financial literacy and help both the parents and children to inculcate the concepts of sharing, saving, delayed gratification
  • Partners of SWI will reach 50,000 children during the course of the project; currently they are starting the workshops with 5000 children

children-with-their-gullaks-attending-workshops-at-the-sapna-bachat-udaan-programme

 

Financial Security is a major concern area for economically weaker sections. In case of any emergency they are caught completely unawares and the struggle begins for them. Because of this initiative SWI and Metlife are not aiming for immediate smiles but long term gains for the families.

 

The all too familiar Muppets from Galli Galli Sim Sim are used in presentations. Children can identify with those immediately and have already started to fill up their gullaks.

 

The childhood friend our own piggy bank which we have always used for splurging on chocolates and toys. The money saved which we thought is for buying many more is the key for fulfilling the basic requirements of these children and their families. Next time when you put a coin in your gullak  say a little prayer for these little angels. May they find enough for an emergency and may hey never need to use it for this purpose.

 

You can get involved with this mission and contribute in your own way too. Visit http://www.sesameworkshopindia.org/press-releases/sesame-workshop-and-metlife-foundation-launch-sapna-bachat-udaan-a-financial-empowerment-programme-for-families-in-jharkhand/ for more details and volunteering tips. Help a cause in bringing about the change.

 

Other useful links:

http://www.sesameworkshopindia.org/

https://www.metlife.com/metlife-foundation/index.html

 

 

 

 

In the Light of Darkness

In the Light of Darkness…the title of the book says it all…does it not? A story of hope and beauty…reminding us of the cycle of a beautiful day after a dark dark night…..a cycle that ensures positivity wins.

Radhika’s book lives up to the Title and by the end of the book you know…no matter how down or out you feel…there will be a brighter tomorrow and no matter how insignificant words of our well-wishers seem…they have an inspiring and beautiful note for you.

I have read the author’s work previously and know her strength lies in painting the pictures beautifully before your eyes. Her descriptions and narratives make you feel that you are watching a movie and can actually see the setting. I loved the scenic Bydore and feel I am just back from a vacation after being a witness to a series of events. On this note I would like to suggest her to delve a little more on the how the characters look…though looks, I know are superficial, but that would just complete a movie in my mind.

The beauty of the book is the intertwined lives of the characters, the way they stand with each other at all times and the beautiful words that narrate all of the above. I wished I had friends like the protagonists have in the book. Friends who stand by you, grow with you, argue with you yet ensure you get the best out of life. Even the supporting characters in the book have a way of making a positive lasting impression on your mind.

A few lines about the cover. It is so apt for this story…the sapling, the lock which also looks like a mug…the blue gate and the moss over it…. while reading the book, I turned over to the cover page many times to marvel over, how it conveys so much!

Writing reviews is not just my thing…..I am scared I will give out the story or would be critical…or give unnecessary inputs….but this book made me write one so you can imagine how good it is….Go ahead and soak in this beauty….The story is slightly predictable…yes…but the way it is worded and written makes it for a compelling read.  Do grab your copy and fall in love….get the light in your dark corners…

You can get your copy at:

http://www.amazon.in/Light-Darkness-Radhika-Maira-Tabrez/dp/9385854178/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472788595&sr=8-1&keywords=in+the+light+of+darkness

 

 

 

Letter from an Ordinary Mother

Office Canteen
14-Aug-2016

Dear Perfecummy,
Hope this letter finds you in the pink of your holiday project’s cover. I know I have taken too long to write to you and my sincere apologies for the delay. I know the late submission may cost me grade A from your side but please consider this effort as my earnest one and give me extra bonus if possible for neat handwriting. I know I know this is typed on a lousy laptop and not a Mac book, but still I used MS word and should be given credit for being at least not too technologically challenged.
You keep giving me tips on parenting and I swear I try to apply them. In fact, I try to learn from you by observing you too. Well only last PTM when you sat ahead of me for a good 45 minutes and discussed best practices for learning vocabulary, math tables and scoring well in NTSTE. I took mental note of what all can be discussed when my turn came. But alas when it was my turn the teacher started with “ this boy is the naughtiest one…he is never on is seat…look at his handwriting…he speaks in Hindi….he….” needless to say by the time she finished her 5 minute monologue, I just glared at my son. Both husband and I promised to “work on him” and left. Of course later just outside the classroom while my boy took off with his friends chasing them and being playful; husband and I did not waste time on blaming each other for another red faced PTM. Husband was also quick to point out how impeccably dressed you and your brood were while we looked as we were in the society park for leisure.
When I surveyed the class projects displayed I could see a well bound pink file artistically and tastefully done and immediately knew it was yours. My own attempt after being up all night was not only pale but the sheets were also not found together. God knows what happened in transit, it looked better when I made it.
I remember the last time we met and you advised me to get my son for Cricket coaching in the evening, guitar in the afternoon and tuitions in the slot left in between. I did try that and it worked for a total of two days. On day 3 my son was back to Doremon in afternoon, society kabaddi in evening and homework done in the car next morning while going to school. I so wish I had children who listened to me! I mean how do you manage to do it? I really admire the way you manage this. The discipline and manners your children show is impeccable. I remember the last birthday party where my own was pushing, shoving and fighting to poke finger in the perfectly made cake and running amok for the return gift. While I saw your children sitting nicely at tables eating and accepting anything with a polite thank you.
You yourself are yummy mummy while your children are new age “Shravan Kumars”. How I wish I can be like you….I want you to write a book which delineates these steps in detail. If I have the next child (you advise me a lot on the benefits of having at least two children); I shall certainly start him/her on steps written by you.
Hoping things are great at the Sports Academy and the Spell Bee Club. Waiting for your letter with tips you so generously give always.
Your (trying to be) friend,
Averagummy
P.S.: Could you WhatsApp me Class work of 11 Aug and also the Unit Test Dates?

Bam-Booz-eled

Beep-Beep…buzzed the cellphone! She jumped at the opportunity to break away from the conversation which was borderline heated…. she was about to enter into a big argument with the husband on placement of Water Pitcher as per Vastu….

The message on the phone, a forward; turned out to be a well-timed one.

Whiskey is for drinking; Water is for fighting over! – Mark twain

With renewed energy about her fight over water, she went over to him and said how beneficial it would be to place water in north-east side.

‘It gets morning sun’s rays that lead ….’

Beep-Beep….it was his phone this time…

‘Hey listen to this:

Whiskey is for drinking; Water is for fighting over!

Such great words. Let’s actually get more whiskey for us. Water we can keep anywhere…in any case it may lead to a fight. I will be back soon.’

Needless to say; most often than not Technology is a boon:

  • One gets less time to fight
  • People read the same quotation and don’t have to share silly jokes between themselves
  • Each one sees a situation with their own perspective; and lastly
  • You can stock up on your Whiskey

A Different Independence Day

This year’s independence day was such a charm. Morning it was Flag Hoisting in the residential complex and entertaining patriotic performances by the talented kids. I also participated in a Treasure Hunt I could not crack but it gave a good workout with all the running around. When I was home after the workout I looked up the last date of SALE to kill the evening time. But in time a newly made but great friend reminded me of better things to do.

A cool and compassionate gang from the society had decided to join the RobinHood Army Gurgaon Chapter in their drive to complete #Mission500K. #Mission500K is a drive to feed half a million people a meal better than they have daily; both in India and Pakistan. Since last full week the enthusiastic Robins had managed to gather, not only staples and cookies but toys and clothes in abundance from the generous donors of our complex. All I had to do was just be there for the distribution.

So there were packets equivalent to a single meal for a family all neatly, hygienically packed. We had Rice, Wheat Flour, Semolina, Lentils, Rajma and Chholey and also Ghee, Oil. For the little ones we had Chocolates, Milk, Biscuits and Juices etc. We closed on a strategy of how to go about it and started. First time on any such drive I was just hoping the process is smooth and quick.

As we neared the first cluster and our caravan stopped, I saw anxious faces. Some making a beeline in anticipation others just curious of what is going to happen next. As the expert “Robins” briefed them about our intent, I saw people cautiously yet earnestly trying to be the part of the mission. Enthusiastic little ones were the first to come up and easiest to manage. They queued up and accepted the biscuits and juices with excitement and gratitude. The faces lit up on first sip and the brightness never left till the time I was a witness. The adults when handed over a packet smiled, a manageable lot and disciplined to my surprise.

We covered 3 to 4 clusters and I could collect positivity from each place. In fact the drive and supplies ended too quick and I wanted the evening to be longer!

A meal that we take for granted; a meal our children so many times turn down as distasteful or ordinary, a meal prepared and left on the table, that we forgo just to eat out….the worth of such meals we do not understand…and on the other side when that very meal is received by a person in need, the experience through theirs is entirely enriching. Next time around I have leant to value all my meals  and if I have surplus, I am not waiting for it to become leftover, just to be thrown away. I am taking it to a person who will value it. What a “take away”(pun intended) 🙂

You can get going by joining the Robinhood Army Gurgaon Chapter here: https://www.facebook.com/RHA-Gurgaon-Chapter-1693576714194379/

And read about Robinhood Army here: http://robinhoodarmy.com/

Mission500K: http://robinhoodarmy.com/mission500k/

Qayamat se Qayamat tak

Quit fighting my dear Thakurs! If there is any Rajput/Thakur movie made the premise will always be family feud. Two Thakur families daughter of one either runs away or is not able to marry the boy from other resulting in years and years of animosity. Qayamat Se Qayamat tak is no different in this matter; Aamir and Juhi; the youth of feuding families these two want to end the curse. That they are in love with each other is a another coincidence in all similar movies.

So what makes this movie special? It was different because of the actors it gave us. Fresh faces of the lead actors, their innocence and the efforts puts behind it. You cannot help but admire the effort they put to make the movie memorable. The movie has melodious songs and a tear drop is guaranteed at the end. This one is for remembering good old times.

 

 

 

Padosan

Perfect film for lifting your spirits! This one entertains, entertains…entertains. Sunil Dutt takes up a non-conventional role and a villager get up and does justice. As Bhola he is so naïve and charming. (Watch his  Mujhe Jeene Do for a contrast!)

Saira Banu is beautiful. When she croons Bhai Battur; in the bathtub she is super sexy. She leaves no  stone unturned  to make Bhola jealous of Masterji. She is the center of attraction in the film and her casting is justified.

Kishore Kumar when not playing the hero goes extra mile and that is the beauty of Padosan (and Pyaar Kiye Jaa). When he sings…

‘Meri pyaari Bindu…meri bholi Bindu…meri matheri bindu…meri sindoori bindu…’ it entertainment par excellence.

Mehmood with his getup of Masterji and his ‘Ek Chatur Naar…’ keeps you in splits. The face-off between masterji and Bhola is well crafted and gives you some cult classics. After all it is Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar. Manna Dey is a delight in this film!

The story is a little different too where Mama and Bhanja both want to marry the same girl.

Padosan is worth your time…as many times you watch it.

‘Ghoda…chatur…ghoda chatur….’

 

Omkara

Othello is adapted and is handled beautifully by Vishal Bhardwaj. Vishal has a solid understanding of treatment such films need. He gets the pulse right and does not let go of the audience interest. And if he is involved in the film’s music then you get a winner.

Ajay Devgan, lets his eyes do the talking. Not a big fan of his action movies I was impressed first with him in Zakhm. He restored my faith in ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ and then sealed the deal with Omkara. A man in love cursed by the girl’s father; he is powerful enough to usurp a dynasty but weak to succumb to hearsay. Ajay delivers a power packed performance and you feel for the guy.

Kareena Kapoor as the misfit Desdemona with Othello; looks her part. She is beautiful and headstrong and wears a color that compliments her character and looks…white mostly in the film.

Konkana, Bipasha and Vivek do justice to their roles but it is Saif Ali Khan who takes the cake. Ishwar, addressed as langda due to his limp, is spiteful and dark. His inferiority complex, coupled with his insecurity make the film’s narrative crisp. He plots, he seethes, he kills and smiles all like a true actor. Saif found his calling with this film!(Not to mention he even had THE Desdemona in real life later).

I know ‘Bidi jalaile …’ is the famous and acclaimed one and one cannot get enough of Bipasha; but my favorite is ‘Zubaan pe Laaga…’ What a song!  When Rekha sings ‘Raat bhar chhhana chhana re…’ hear her out…she is awesome.

Ah but for kamar and kamarbandhs; there would have not been any wars….

 

Nadiya ke Paar (1982)

New movies can be made on old stories, some may outdo the old ones too…but I love originals always. I will never take credit from Madhuri Dixit for what she did to Hum Aapke Hain Kaun; I am in fact one of her fans and would have reviewed Mrityudand had ‘M’ not been booked for Smita. If you can fall in love with simplicity and Bhojpuri you will love this movie, if you cannot; watch it and fall in love.

This film also scores as actors become characters. Sachin remained untapped in hindi films due to his innocent looks that typecast him for only some roles. He can deliver with ease and in Satte Pe Satta he clearly outshines Amitabh.  He speaks slowly at times and is like a machine gun when exited, he reminds me of Kaka (Rajesh Khanna) when he delivers his dialogues.

The movie belongs to him…Sadhna Singh as Gunja is powerful…but Chandan stays with you.

Chandan falls in love with his Bhauji’s sister and little pranks they play on each other blossoms into love. In trying times though love is to be sacrificed for duty and new relationships should be forged with grace and ease. The mind understands …ah but for the heart…

The songs of the movie are beautiful….hummable and are overflowing with simplicity.

‘Kaun disa me leke chala re…’ is one and ‘Sachi kahe tohre…’ is the other.

Watch the song ‘Jogi ji dheerey dheerey’ to get the idea of village holi fun. Yes men and women were supposed to play holi separately unlike ‘dushman bhi gale mil jate hain …’ in other film villages.

This film is sweet and an apt window to the village life in North India.

Mirch Masala

My hands were twitching to write about this film. It wins over Manthan(the other competitor) for various reasons; two main ones  being:

1) Awaaz – I am a big fan of voice modulation. And this one offers more than Smita Patil and Naseer, it has Suresh Oberoi. If there is anything that guy can outdo others in, it is dialogues and then Raj Babbar…killer. If you hear them speak ever in any film you watch next, you will know what I mean.  Not to forget Om Puri and Deepti Naval…all dubbing experts

2) Climax- While Manthan is predictable, Mirch Masala keeps you riveted.

Coming to the movie, a pre independence movie; Subedar ruled the villages. Not as evil as the British, they meant well partly….you can catch that in Naseer’s eyes ever so subtly in the scenes. His gramophone keeps him loved even with his tyrannical ways .He carries his moustache and Jodhpuri Safas and pants with style. The lust for Sonbai borders on love and that makes this role absolutely praiseworthy.

Om Puri as the old gatekeeper of a different religion brings in the right balance in this film. He loves the women as his own sisters and daughters and takes the bullet for them. The ONLY man in the village to stand against the system. An impactful performance considering the duration of his role.

Smita Patil can lend justice to all such roles so I am too small to write anything about this actress. She is the best and a success story for all those who keep crying hoarse about Bollywood’s fixation for skin color and for those heroines who were dusky till like yesterday and are almost white today!

My Trivia: I have been associated with a village till date. I have lived there too. Women will NEVER wear backless choli even in the confines of their bedroom. Some creative liberties should be overlooked!

Mirch Masala is one cool movie. It does not shout about feminism from roof tops or ‘expects’ things from society, it preaches taking things into your hands, standing united and finding a solution. Womenfolk let’s do that; be there for each other…it helps.