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Where: Shenoy Nursing Home,Secunderabad
When: 1986, October 29th
Who: This is me. Yes, Jussri. Since I’ve always posted pics of others here I thought, this article would be the best only if I put in my pic.

I post a lot of pictures of random people and scenes on my website. I like to spread goodness around me. These days I meet a lot of people who often ask me if I am a photographer. Well my answer would be a yes-no. I have forever used photography as a medium to attract people to read my scribbles. Alongside in life I developed a love to capture other people smiling. That is how I ended up taking assignments. But if you ask me who am I?

I am a qualified Physical Therapist working towards contributing back to the field in my little way. Photography and writing help me spread the good things that I was brought up with.In two days from now, my parents celebrate their birthdays which are on May 9th and 10th :)[Yeah yeah, both are Taurus(eans) πŸ™‚ ]. This post would be the only best gift I can give to them. Having talked about the ‘ Why’ part of this write up, I will now move to the ‘what’ part of it.

Every time we rushed home to complain that the teacher caned us bad,my mother’s standard question round was the first wall to hit. I swear to God I have never hated anyone more than my mother all those years. At times I felt she enjoyed making us feel bad.She would start her conversation like this.

“Nuvvem chesaavo cheppu” ( First tell me what did you do)
Well, it was difficult to hide facts from her.
“Memedho arusthonte kopam lo kottindhi sister( Yeah, yeah we were yelling and sister caned us[I studied in a catholic convent and we called our teachers Sisters(nuns)]

Then she would start her reverse engineered explanation for the entire situation. You are three kids for me at home to take care. I still find it difficult to manage you. How can sister make 60 students quite in 45 minutes?
I think it is justified she caned you guys!
Justification for the caning done!
No more arguments your honour.
And we disperse. This was the order of our life all through out our schooling.
Everytime there was a complaint from us, my mom went back to the root of the issue. Looking for the cause.

Fast forward many many years and I am in my General Medicine lecture. Day 1. Dr Joshi. A veteran general medicine specialist from our hospital was taking our first class.
Two things he spoke that day have remained in my mind forever.

1. Developing an inquisitive mind.
2. Believing that every problem/obstacle had a cause for it at a grass root level.

20 years of listening to those two lines and a professor telling you the same point in a medical school!
I really needed a break from listening to the same stuff every where i went. Looks like every one has same mothers like mine. But having been through medical school, surfacing out of a hell hole with minimal scarring, fighting my way through tough situations in life, I can never thank my mother enough for teaching me my basics right.

In these days of arm chair activists and anti-arm chair activists, I want to send out a plea.
Look with in yourself. Are you doing absolutely the best thing right now?
Are you able to show the strength of your character in testing times?(by not giving into temptations and short cut ways to success and wealth)
Can you say a No to yourself and strike a balance in the temper times?

Well, when I was tested, I asked myself these questions.More precisely,I was taught to ask myself these questions.I have always been this, ‘ drops of water make an ocean’ kind of activist for social causes. For all of you who are bugged by the over motivational videos and shows that keep cropping up around you every once in a while:
Stop watching television
Pick a hobby
Make a to-do list
Appreciate little things
Spend time with the elders in your family , let them tell you stories from their life
Count numbers when you are angry.

I never liked growing up under the iron hand rule of my parents. Today I absolutely cherish those moments. Today I am glad I grew under their parenting.

For all the challenges I faced,I surfaced unscathed because I was taught one best thing right.

Problems are mere situations and the solutions are right within them if you look at the roots, routes and causes.
Here’s thanking my parents for giving me an excellent up bringing. I thank God for letting me be your daughter folks πŸ™‚ Have an awesome year ahead.

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of Roots, Routes and Causes

I am a qualified Physical Therapist working towards contributing back to the field in my little way. Photography and writing help me spread the good things that I was brought up with.In two days from now, my parents celebrate their birthdays which are on May 9th and 10th :)[Yeah yeah, both are Taurus(eans) πŸ™‚ ]. This post would be the only best thing gift I can give to them. Having talked about the ‘ Why’ part of this write up, I will now move to the ‘what’ part of it.

Every time we rushed home to complain that the teacher caned us bad,my mother’s standard question round was the first wall to hit. I swear to God I have never hated anyone more than my mother all those years. At times I felt she enjoyed making us feel bad.She would start her conversation like this.

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Facing the Book

Where have I been all these days?
I was making myself eligible to write this piece πŸ™‚

Why this today?
Because this issue kicked me out of my scribble slumber today.

Do I think this is going to be of use?
Yes. I know there will be atleast a 50 people I know who will benefit out of what I write here.

I will first ask you five questions

1. Take the computer/smart phone/laptop and lock them in a room. Done that, have you got something useful to do with your time? Do you have a way of enjoying life away from social networking and e-mails?

If the answer to the above question is a Yes and you have a list of things that can make you feel peaceful and happy about yourself, don’t go ahead to finish reading this article. It is not for you.

If your answer to that question is a No, then, get a bottle of juice/lassi/buttermilk and finish reading this article.Yeah I say so because it is summer in most of the places from where I have readers πŸ˜‰

2. Do you face trouble striking a conversation in a new group or when meeting relatives after a long time(despite being ‘socially’ very active with them all the prior days)?
3. Do you get depressed if your electronic gadgets like laptops or smart phones are lost or not working?
4. Can’t you focus on your work (which doesnt involve a work laptop) without thinking about social networking and emails?
5. Do you have more than ten people in your networking space who are total strangers?

If Yes is the answer to the above questions,you need serious help.

In the last five years I have met many people who are so unbelievably ‘active’ on social networking and are such passive souls when it came to making a real conversation in person. The trend has got worse in the last one year with the flood of smart phones into India.

Last month, when my computer conked I definitely did get upset because all those people whose wonderful smiling images I captured , would have to wait for don’t know how many days for me to publish their images here. Yes, I do have a smart phone which kept me in loop with work emails and messages from family and friends. But I took it as a wonderful opportunity to explore other creative things like crochet, nail art, easter egg painting, handmade bookmarks, greeting cards, thank you notes and working with natural dyes. The list is endless. Apart from work, books got lot of my attention too

After a month of less computer and social networking, I am rich with lot of pretty stuff around me which make my home more colourful and creative.

When I was a kid, scrap meant useless stuff. Now a days scrap is so important that you could skip your dinner to go read, analyse and scrap back on time.So much for scrap huh!
Walls were meant to protect and surround buildings. Now a days it’s all about, block, clock, filter, highlight and hide.
Tweets were cute chirping of birds and no 140 letters of a language revolving around one person’s temper and tantrums.

If I start quoting examples of all those posts I have seen on my social networking, wordpress would need new servers. But one is particularly worth mentioning.

I was the lucky kid who lived in the nineties something kind of posts did rounds for quite a few days. The irony was that people shared, commented, debated over these posts without almost even understanding what was being said there.
Well I don’t think asking someone to read what they share is a crime these days!

Well, since I am no marriage counselor or family problems related therapist or a psychologist, I have a few requests to make to the people who think they need help.

Unless you are absolutely alone in this world which is a 99.99% impossibility,

Keep your electronic gadgets away.
Hike a hill( will tell you how bad your heart and lungs have got after all the years of networking)
Look at alternative ways to use your time.
Spend time with family(solves half of the disturbances in your life which make you psuedo network so much that you are lost in the network totally).
Depend less on manual labour at home [while (if) you are jabbing away opinions and debates online].
Make a patch of organic kitchen garden in your home. It’s absolutely therapeutic.
Take a membership in a local library. Don’t borrow books to home. Make it a point to sit and read at the library itself.
Look around yourself and clean the mess in your life and room with physical and mental means at all costs.
Have wounded relations and communications around you? Give them ‘you’. Not your social networking/e-mails or messages with weird sounding back ground music.

Having done all that perfectly if you still feel you are addicted, you know whom to scribble to or please feel free to go and seek medical help because it is not perfect to be perfectly addicted to something which is absolutely materialistic and virtual at the same time.

If you feel better keeping ‘networking’ out of your everyday life for a major part, then bingo!

Happiness will say, I’m here to stay! πŸ™‚

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Love and Luck

Yeah I know! Long time no see πŸ™‚
This is no Valentines Day special, nor am I eating chocolates and counting rose petals πŸ™‚

Clicked this at the Boston Harbour, Summer , 2011. When I shot this, I was amazed at how much they were in Love. I have been looking at this photograph for almost 8 months now trying to frame a few words.Always fell short of words. Today brought these words to my head πŸ™‚

When you spend your time in the company of wonderful humans who can,

Laugh without rules,
And give without blues,
Life becomes a ride worth driving,
And Love happens to be a boon worth sharing.

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NIDIA 8

This article connects two locations and a lot of people.The general rule I have for myself and this blog is to avoid taking names of people and places as much as I can. So there wont be many details in this one πŸ™‚

A month ago or so, I missed getting into international headlines by may be a few inches. May be they would have read something like, Graduate student from India killed in a road crash. Fast forward few weeks, come across the world to the east and I meet with a road traffic accident. I don’t fancy describing the way I fell and the details.They are really not joy spreading things to write about. But my life definitely flashed across my mind. I thought God! this is it! Am dead! Crashing into a side walk at one of the busiest junctions of a city, definitely wasn’t the most pleasurable thing.

Standing on a busy road with blood all over my feet and bruises all across my joints, I felt strong! For the intensity with which I fell, I was to surely die. But I didn’t. When I was able to reach the hospital and I sat in the casualty room , I was beaming with joy to have survived it. But once the excitement of survival died, I realized how horrible the pain was.

One nurse goes about with the typical first aid measures. In comes another to take down my details. There is a lady standing close by to my bed, attending to her elderly mother in law on the next bed. The nurse asked me a series of questions. I told her I am a physical therapist. The minute this lady heard me mention it, she sprang to her feet and came by my bed. She began asking me how I fell and then moved on to explain her problem to me. She was about 50 years old and from the way she explained her problem, I understood she had heel pain. The nurse was working on my foot and I go on talking to her about her problem and what could give her relief. Fifteen minutes later I am fit to leave to home and this lady pats my head and tells me that she was trying to keep me busy! Her heel pain is celebrating it’s fifth anniversary this month and like it’s commonly said, ” A veteran patient is better than an experienced doctor!” She knew quite a lot about her problem. I remember her smiling at me when I was telling her how to feel better! Now I understand why she was smiling at me πŸ™‚

Her presence of mind in trying to make me feel comfortable in pain and her warm smile left me dumbstruck.She patted my head affectionately and left. She didn’t erase my pain. She just comforted me in my pain by the best way she could. I never asked her name. I don’t think I will ever see her. But she will always be around in my life with the wonderful example she set for caring and affection. May be another, Maria who I might never see in my life again.

I have heard life and death being discussed quite a lot before. There are too many opinions, theories and reasons that are given when it comes to death. Theories and opinions apart, the minute I was able to stand up, pick up my phone and call my people, I realized one thing which I will remember for the rest of my life.

To count my blessings and thank my people who pray for me each day. Ask me to name the God they pray to! I don’t think I have any names to give. They believe in goodness of human life and in counting their blessings when kindness crosses their lives. They believe in smiling at each pain and saying this is God’s will to make them strong. I gather my strength from them, and lead my life by the examples they’ve set for me.

Some incidents are the most humbling experiences in the world. In the span of two months, I have experienced two such incidents. And when my life flashed in front of me, it was worth all the watching πŸ™‚

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NIDIA 5: Just Justice

Just Justice…
Another common aspect of human life I found between India and the US of A
Place: Aboard Qatar Airways bound homewards.
I was going home to India.
My seat was one of the two corner one’s in the flight’s economy class. I definitely wasn’t enthusiastic about making a conversation with anyone. I was going home to begin college after an extremely awesome vacation.

The man sitting next to me was holding a diplomat’s passport (Ya I know because I kept staring into some forms he was filling :p) from India and that excited me for a second but I didn’t want to initiate a conversation (not sure why now).

Later on, we started talking about who, when , where from stuff about each other. Then I know this man is a judge from one of the high courts of in Southern India. I was looking for help in those days regarding education law in Indian colleges. So the discussion naturally steered towards the law and the process. He patiently answered a lot of my questions. I am telling you people have to be double careful once they say, “Oh yeah! you can ask me questions,” to me.

Washington Dulles- Qatar, was like a 14 hour flight and we spoke at length for about 8 hours , napping for a few minutes now and then. He was amazed at the way I argued on how I had every right to fight for my right to a discrimination free education. He was equally disappointed that I never tried it to be a lawyer and he asked me the reasons for it(I clearly knew one thing.Everyone who can argue/debate well cannot make a good lawyer.But I didn’t want to answer his question right away). On the days when I debated with my father I remember the exact times when he would get up from the conversation, look at me, shake his head and laugh out saying, “You are good at arguing your point, I still don’t agree with your arguement, hope it helps you someday!” and he would just leave with a smile from there.

My paternal grand father worked as a staff member in a court for about many years and he knew quite a lot about the judicial branch of the government. He always compared the judicial system to a vegetable called “Nethi Beerakaaya” ( exact translation can mean, Ghee Ridge Gourd). He never said this to me directly but I heard it from my father who always heard the reference from his dad. Β He would always say , if you go looking for ghee in a vegetable which goes by it’s name, it necessarily need not mean you have to find ghee in it. He compared the Judicial system to that vegetable by commonly using a phrase in Telugu

“Nethi Beerakaayalo entha neyyi undho, nyaayasthaanallo anthe nyaayam undhi ”

(The amount of ghee you find in this ridge gourd is equal to the amount of justice available in the judicial system)

When I said this to this judge who was sitting next to me, he was just smiling. He said my grand father was absolutely right. I had an answer for his question of why I never wanted to be a lawyer. To answer his question, I asked him another one. I asked him how would he judge a custody battle case of a 4 year old child. With heart or with mind?

He was quick in saying he would never let his heart work at his work place. He had my answer. I can never work with my heart away from the work I do Β and lawyers can never let their emotions play a major role in their job.So I simply was never cut for it. While my parents always did argue with (they still do) me on the demerits of me using my heart at work, I sense that it is that ability that makes me the person that I am.

What made me write about this was not to criticize any professional’s work from the judicial system or else where. I usually try not to write immediately on issues of social sensitivity or crime because they are of no benefit to the victims who suffered in that particular crime. But ask me why do I even write about them? Then I say I write because I wanted to voice my opinion on it but while also not just reacting to the news, rather responding to it after a lot of thought. And I found things move in such a shockingly similar fashion any where in the world when it came to ‘law’ and ‘justice’. Boundaries or borders, caste or colour, education or opulence, nothing changes anything about them. Everything still functions the same way.

A couple of weeks ago here in the US there was this trial for the murder case of a child which was discussed a lot by the print and electronic media. The jury acquitted the mother after several months of trial.

The end of the day scene was the lady was getting dumped with lots of offers to write a book about her entire ‘struggle’ through it. May be no one knows the exact truth or may be someone does. But the child is dead and that’s the truth. She died helplessly and today her mother is making money out of her death.
Who is to be blamed for all this?
The government?
The judicial system?
The police ?
I say the PEOPLE.
All those people who made money out of the entire thing and all those people who will buy her book and let her make more money.

Does this happen only in USA? No it happens everywhere. Every single day. What can we do? Think sensibly and support only the deserving ones. Believing in the change and being the change is the first step towards progress. I never read a single article about her on any website. Neither did I ‘google’ the case. May be just one person not reading about her wouldn’t make much difference. But I believe there are millions of people like me who share the same opinion and did the same. And am glad she is not contesting elections or getting into public service like it commonly happens in our nation. At least in this country, people like these, stay in the money market and make money. To go seeking justice in a system well rigged to fail the truth is not foolishness. One person trying it can fail once. But many people trying to do the same will set in motion a process that will someday change the system. Until then, all we can do is persist and persevere.

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