Mark Your Diaries – SHEROES Summit 2013 is here


Sheroes-Logo

Aug 23, 2013, New Delhi: Fleximoms (www.fleximoms.in) presents the SHEROES Summit (www.sheroessummit.com) – India’s largest OpportunityScape for Women.

The theme of the SHEROES Summit 2013 is ‘Creating Shared Value’ – for Indian women and businesses.

As women professionals choose from a range of career choices,entrepreneurial, flexible jobs or going back to work with large companies – it is imperative for businesses and women professionals to find sustainable shared value.

The dates for the SHEROES Summit are:

  • Mumbai August 30, 2013
  • New Delhi on September 6, 2013
  • Bangalore on September 27, 2013

The SHEROES Summit brings together stakeholders in context of women and work – CEO’s, business owners, women professionals, career coaches, entrepreneurs and women professionals across stages of life. The SHEROES Summit 2013 celebrates choices women make for themselves and making them work for them.

The SHEROES Summit connects businesses face-to-face with a wide range of women professionals. The Summit is an opportunity for women and companies to network and spot trends.

On the offer at the SHEROES Summit are sessions on Personal Motivation, CEO Track, Entrepreneurial Track, Industry Trends with CEO’s and horizon-gazing of opportunities. These include a wide range of first ever programs and opportunities, that some of the companies are introducing at the SHEROES Summit.

A diverse set of speakers will share perspective at the Summit. These include -DebjaniGhosh, Managing Director, South Asia, Intel Corporation, AnandLunia, Founder, India Quotient, PrashantBhaskar, Founder PlugHR, RakeshShukla, Founder, The Writers Block, Pearl Uppal, Founder 5ideas, Harshal Shah, Director Marketing, AegonReligare, RashmiBansal, Author, Entrepreneur, Ansoo Gupta, CEO Pinstorm, NavyugMahnot, Founder, CEO, QAI India, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, CEO, One97 and PayTM, DeepaShenoy, CEO, Lumiere Solutions and Kris Nair, Founder FusedCow.

The SHEROES Summit connects the top female talent with organizations who seek to create value by building gender-balanced businesses, reduce attrition and allied costs, improve profits and do social good. The Summit is backed up some of the leading organizations including PayTM, AegonReligare, Philips and Monster.

One can find more details about the Summit at www.sheroessummit.com

Or send us a tweet at @sheroesindia or leave us a message at www.facebook.com/sheroesindia

Phone:

Pallavy: +91-9818318196

Aparna: +91-9910911006

About

The SHEROES Summit believes in possibilities that lie ahead of us as gender balance and sustainable value become core to our work and life. SHEROES believes in making our choices work for us. SHEROES Summit is convened by Applied Life Pvt Ltd, based in New Delhi. 

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By phoneixrising Posted in SHEROES

Behind the Beautiful Forevers-Katherine Boo: Review


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This is one of those books that will probably leave you devastated. After you are done reading, you will think about it for long. It is a well-known fact- Mumbai slums are ghastly, life is grim in those garbage strewn makeshift houses of the not so fortunate. Turning the pages of this impeccably done book, you experience an upsurge of emotions, you are angry, instigated, bewildered, disturbed, all at the same time.

Boo spent three years among the residents of the Annawadi slum, a sprawling, cockeyed settlement of more than 300 tin-roof huts and shacks in the shadow of Mumbai’s International Airport. Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a result of thorough investigation and research. There are times when you hope that Boo made up the story but unfortunately what the books tells is the grotesque truth.

Abdul, an enterprising young Muslim Annawadian, the only major earner of his family, makes a living out of sorting garbage. He along with sister and father is convicted in a crime that was never committed by them. What comes next for this family is a despairing tale of court trails, the mother Zehrunisa has to face the apathy of government officials and police. She pays of a major chunk of their lifetime earnings in bribes to get the three bailed out.

Asha- is upcoming and undeclared slumlord, she comes from the rural Maharashtra with dreams to fly higher than the sky.With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter—Annawadi’s “most-everything girl“-Manju—will soon become its first female college graduate. Asha finds her niche in political corruption and is successful in her ultimate endeavor.

Boo tragically showcases the end of many young lives in the slum, Manju’s best friend, Meena consumed rat poison, so did Sanjay, a young man beaten up by police. Very often dead bodies are discovered near the slum, nobody cares who they are, nobody identifies those bodies. Diseases like Tuberculosis are stated as the causes of these deaths. The truth remains unknown.

Behind the beautiful forevers is a spectacular work of reportage and gives the most illuminating insight in the lives of India’s poor, their ambitions, their struggles and sacrifices. Apart from being the a good work of reporting, Boos also tells the story incredibly well.

“A decent life was the train that hadn’t hit you, the slumlord you hadn’t offended, the malaria you hadn’t caught”

There is a lot to digest after finishing this, Boo puts everything very emphatically, a must read for anyone who cares about the slums and its dwellers around the country.

And the Mountains Echoed: Review


Khalid Hoseinni’s books generally have a similar drift, they begin in pre-war Afghanistan, the protagonists are young guileless kids. The war happens and they are separated and years later they meet to find something amiss. Same goes with ‘And the mountains echoed’, it is the story of families, cousins, siblings but mainly delves around the story of two siblings Pari and Abdullah.

The book opens with their early lives, the three live in a small village in rural Afghanistan and travel to Kabul, where Pari is sold to a rich childless couple . Abdullah’s world is torn apart, he adored his little sister, it was gut wrenching, the pain of a brother who loses his sibling.
From this grievous beginning the story advances into modern Afghanistan, America, Paris and Greece. Unlike his previous books, Hosseini paints a different  picture in ‘And the mountains echoed’, each chapter is an extension of the last, with new characters somehow related to the characters in the previous chapter.
In his signature style, Hosseini, tugs the heart strings of his readers, the book is gripping and a fast read. He has mastered the art of story-telling impeccably. He weaves the wand on his words beautifully.
“A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later.”

 

The book moves timely, as readers can reflect on Afghanistan at a time of fading American military involvement. It has a lot of characters, the reader might get lost or confused as Hosseini transits from story of one to another. This can be a bit confusing and the only reason the book gets 4 out 5 from me.

And the mountains echoed is beautifully written and is moving like his earlier works. Highly recommended read for this summer. Lay your hands on this if you are an avid reader.

This was originally published in The EP!C Magazine

Why I don’t like Superhero movies


When I tell people I don’t like watching superhero movies, they gape and stare at me as if I told them I was Spiderman’s girlfriend. What’s wrong with not liking Ironman, Superman, Batman or any of the insanely divine men from the planet that doesn’t exist? Wait a second, these igneous super beings do not exist either.

It is bizarre to follow and adulate  superheroes. People, ‘full-fledged grown-ups’ I know talk as if these guys were real. They idolize Ironman for creating iron suits, many lamented the fact, he destroyed them all in the last movie. Fine guys, get a grip! What is the big deal?

Nowhere in future will a hero be born after being bitten by a spider. I agree, technology used in these movies can floor anyone.  Holography, real time and the flying vehicles are plausible but flying men or men flinging spider webs is just beyond me. We can witness these stupendous technologies outside of Superhero movies.

Alright, I agree, I was one of the madcaps who secretly hoped to receive her Hogwarts letter at eleven or wanted to have flying dragons like Eragon or maybe even wanted a ride in the Batmobile. I did love the first two editions of Ironman when they came and even the earlier Spidey movies.

But there is an extent to which we can watch and take in such fantasy. These stories are surreal and unconvincing. We create superheroes to solve the problems we otherwise cannot.

And if you claim to learn life lessons from Superheroes, well then fellows, you can get the same lessons from the people who exist in the real world, not some fiction land existing in the brain of a highly imaginative being.

If you want to watch the movies for the effects and technology, then probably you should because no other genre has the same elements. But I would any day prefer watching something like Armageddon or Deep Impact over a Man of Steel.

Fine, now all you superhero boot-lickers can begin reprimanding me and my taste in movies, which I bet according to you all is crummy. Bring it on fellas!

Nanital-The Lake District


I was in this beautiful hill station earlier this year. As promised I couldn’t do a blogpost but here is picture post of Nanital. I am no photographer, so don’t look for quality in the pictures, just enjoy the beauty of the place.

Somewhere on the way

Somewhere on the way

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The Candle Shop. Nanital is popular for its candles.

The Candle Shop. Nanital is popular for its candles.

The candle factory from inside. It takes 4-5 days to make one candle.

The candle factory from inside. It takes 4-5 days to make one candle.

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And the man who painstakingly makes all the candles.

Wait for the cable car.

Wait for the cable car.

The Lake

The Lake

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A shop sold these wood crafts in the Tibet Market.

This little guy seems to have scared me.

This little guy seems to have scared me.

Got this picture from the cable car, a kid sleeping on the roof.

Got this picture from the cable car, a kid sleeping on the roof.

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Books, Poverty and Exams


This is a random rant post because I am bored and boring. I have a lot to write about, but can’t think of a single thing at a time. So I will squeeze it all here and confuse you too. Because I am confused, I don’t know why but I am. Exams are around the corner, I need to study for university exams, entrance exams and for GRE. 

I have to study, that’s what I remind myself every hour, but when I try studying, I get distracted by more interesting books in my room. I am reading Poor Economics, Siddartha and Beyond the Wall all at the same time. Siddartha is at the initial stages and I am sure a lot of you know about it so I will skip that.

Poor economics is my first read on economics, I picked it up because it said “for anyone who cares about the world poverty.” When I am half done with that book, I am wondering what are the solutions to get rid of poverty all across the world. It seems like an impossible task. Poor people are poor sometimes because of choice, and even if they want to they can’t escape the vicious circle of poverty, Abhijit V Banerjee, calls it the poverty trap. If you are interested in poverty and want to know what are the economics of poor, this book is highly recommended. Although I hope by the end there are some solutions to poverty. 

Beyond the wall:Writing a Path through Palestine is a tiny book by Bidisha, a writer, critic and TV and radio broadcaster. She ventures into refugee camps in the West Bank. She writes about the unheard voices and their misery in Israel. Bidisha amplifies the voices of the Palestinian people in this book and lends them her own considerable strength. 

Another book I kind of find interesting is my ATM( asynchronous transfer mode) book. Networking is an interesting part of computer engineering. Although writing exams ruins the fun and makes it boring. 

Moving over books, I had a miserable debate two days back, I was to talk against internet.I managed to put across a lot of points but my team didn’t make it. How in the world are we supposed to consider internet a curse? I can’t think of a life without internet, it is like my lifeline. I am online 24/7, I check my mail in sleep. Anyhow, I detest losing in debates but I curse the organizers for the pathetic topic they imposed on us.

Probably that is all for now. I have a pending post on my trip to Nanital, will put it up soon. Also I am really kicked about something but I think I cannot mention it right now. So fellows, brace yourself for something legendary. Coming up soon!!

 

Jim Corbett National Park


You are in a jungle and see a massive Tusker in your path, with thumping footsteps it is coming in your direction and when you try to move away from its path, the car makes too much noise because it has no silencer. The Tusker gets aggressive, starts trumpeting, you realize all the safe zones are taken by other safaris and it is still walking in your direction. What will you do? The people around me started screaming, freaking out the safari driver even more and he in turn took a wrong turn, we were nearly face to face with the Tusker. Fortunately after five minutes of skipped heartbeats and screaming from a few of us, the Tusker decided to be nice and went back into the woods.

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Jim Corbett happens to be the oldest national park in India, it was named after hunter-turned-conservationist Jim Corbett, he played a major role in establishing the park. Spread over 520.8 km2. area of hills, river belts, marshy depressions, grass lands and large lake, Corbett is home to 110 tree species, 50 species of mammals, 580 bird species and 25 reptile species. The endangered Bengal tiger of India resides here.

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We decided to go Jim Corbett in March, it was surprisingly hot there for that time of the year, after a long wait for a safari we got an open jeep with no silencer, in the beginning the idea of going in a car with no silencer seemed exciting. Then our driver told us, the sound of the jeep would attract a lot of animals towards us, that made it even more thrilling although a little scary as well.

For the initial one hour nothing much happened, we spotted nothing except peacocks. The guide kept on telling us to be patient and we kept on losing it. When on a safari, passengers are requested to be extremely calm and talk only when necessary, they cannot get down anywhere in the middle. But there came a point where there was a huge tree house with the most amazing view from the top. We got down there and throughout I was hoping to come across a tiger there but to my disappointment we came across none.

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After two hours of coming across only monkeys, langoors, one spotted deer, one elephant hidden in bushes and numerous peacocks we took a lunch break. We were disappointed but still hopeful to spot a tiger. Just as we finished the lunch a family of three came in screaming ecstatically, they had spotted two tigers at a point we had left sometime back. We were now even more desperate to sight a tiger and furious for missing out on it by a mere 5-10 minutes.

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We were moving on like before, urging the guide to take us in the direction where tigers lurk the most. He like before was asking us to be patient, suddenly the road forked in two directions. One seemed longer and other shorter, the driver took the shorter turn but then one of my friends asked him to take the other turn, which was not a very smooth path. And that is where our safari took a u-turn and got thrilling. After five minutes on that path we came across a male and a female deer. The male deer was magnificent with its antlers. The guide told us, the antlers are velvety until the mating season, as soon as the mating period begins the deer starts rubbing and scratching them against hard surfaces to make them coarse and rough.

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Suddenly someone pointed to our left and to our astonishment we saw a tiger chasing a deer at the speed of lightning. They zipped past us even before we could realize what was happening. It is now a proven fact, road not taken is always the most exciting, adventurous and thrilling path. Hail, Robert Frost.

Just when the safari was about to end we came across our Tusker, the one that gave us goosebumps and made the ride worth every minute we spent on it. By the time we left that place the weather was pleasant and the ride on the open jeep with no silencer made it just perfect. There is something amazing in traveling in open vehicles. Here are some more pictures:

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That tiger was spotted by my friend in the other safari.

That tiger was spotted by my friend in the other safari.

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What is wrong with the Education System?


Indian education system has always been somewhat twisted, it has major drawbacks. No amount of changes like CCE and whatever has been coming up since I left school in 2008 will do it any good. I might not be an expert but when I judge from a student’s eye, I know something is horribly wrong with this system. Why do I say this? I will slowly and steadily unfurl my reasons in this post.

I will narrate an incident which I happen to remember from the time when I was a naive second grader. My teacher had given the class an essay titled “My Daily Routine”, she had dictated us that essay, and we were to narrate the same  essay in the class. The kids who spoke before me, quoted the exact words of the teacher’s essay. When my turn came I probably thought it was cool to throw in some facts from my own routine, so instead of being a parrot I decided to narrate my own version of the essay. Lo and behold!! I had gone horribly wrong, in thinking it was cool to have my own version. The class laughed, the teacher ridiculed and that is where the creativity of a seven year old died. I was too young to understand, there was nothing wrong in being differing from the crowd. Until and unless you are right there is absolutely nothing WRONG! I could not, despite wanting to, differ from the teacher, I wasn’t wrong, it was something very small but the teacher refused to accept something that was original.

Another incident, this one more vivid from the faded pages of my memory. Fast forward to second grade to ninth. Again an English class, we were reading the famous and now my favorite poem, The Road not Taken by Robert Frost. The teacher raised a question,           ” how many of you will follow the road not taken?” I raised my arm up high, sure my class-mates would do the same, I looked around. To my utter disbelief I was the solitary one who dared to prefer the road not taken. The bigger shock came when the teacher thought it was always a better idea to take the road more traveled upon rather than treading on the so called road not taken. She had totally killed the essence of the poem. This time again the teacher had discouraged her pupils from being creative.

These are just two examples I can recall but they are more than enough to be alibis of the fact that Indian Education system curbs creativity. There is no room for creativity, it was and will always be the greatest promoter of rote learning. I know there will be a lot of fingers raised when I state that, but folks one odd student from each school cannot change this fact. The majority is still running in the rat race trying to bell the cat. I don’t know how CCE works, but I see no change. All I gather from the few respected educators, my mother being one of them, the entire situation is the same with little change.

If I am in touch with school education anymore, it is because of my mother, a veteran in this area, the things she tells me about her students are somewhat disheartening. They are not empathetic towards each other or the society, they call each other names, differentiate each other on the basis of skin color. Most of this is not new, we have probably all done that but why can’t we change it? What good is it learning math when you make fun of the kid from economically weaker section in your class? If instead of helping  a classmate with a physical disability you jeer at him, what use is your education? The kids have forgotten their moral values and the educators their duty to inculcate those values in them.

Before asking these young people to pick up books and teaching them the alphabets we need to first teach them how to be humane, education is certainly important but while imparting education we mustn’t forget the basics like the need to respect fellow human beings. This is where the system goes wrong, it focuses on rote learning, scores and competition. I think there are many other factors where the system might be wrong but right now these two things need an immediate change. The fire in creative minds should never be doused and the students should not be just taught from the books but should be given some real life lessons. I strongly believe if we need a better country to live in, a country with a bright future, creative minds and empathetic leaders we need to revolutionize the education system.

The Liebester Award goes to…


the-liebster-awardI was quite infrequent in December and January when it came to blogging. This month I decided to begin a new blog and work on it seriously. A week later I was nominated for this award thanks to Flames of Thoughts. It came as a pleasant surprise.

Now something about this award:

  •  Liebster means you love some fellow blogger’s work and want to appreciate it by this gesture.
  • You have to post 11 things about yourself, after you get the nominations.
  • You have to answer 11 questions, asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • You have to nominate 11 other bloggers having less than 200 followers, like you were nominated.
  • Notify your nominations candidates by commenting on their blogs.
  • Post Liebster’s picture on your post as a gesture of acceptance.

Here are the 11 random things about me:

1) I love driving, especially on highways and at night.

2) I cannot stand people who gossip, hate gossiping myself, absolutely abhor double faced people and generally confront them.

3) I can live on pepsi, cheese and chocolates. Pepsi is like dope to me, it energizes me instantaneously and chocolate should generally be plain or dark, no caramel. I used to love snickers but got bored of it.

4) I am practical in most of the situations but an idealist when it comes to relationships.

5) I don’t like Math at all, not even a bit but somehow I always have to do it. Whenever I think I have gotten rid of it it comes back to me.

6) I am a little scared of driving a two-wheelers but when it comes to riding the pillion, I love it, even more so when the weather is pleasant or it is cold. Nothing feels like the cold winter chill when you are riding on a two-wheeler, it is just amazing.

7) I like being around water bodies, beaches, lakes, dam, anything and everything even swimming pool. They are always calm, serene and relaxing. Reason why Sukhna lake is my favorite spot in Chandigarh. I can never get bored of going there.

8) Well this is kind of obvious, I love my mom the most.

9) I absolutely hate quarrels whether it is me quarreling or people around me.

10) I am not a huge talker, prefer listening and if it is a senseless conversation I am probably not even listening.

11) Lately, I have been forgetting things too much. I go to the grocers and forget what I was there for, I don’t remember where I keep things, so yeah I have a bad memory.

Now the eleven answers to Flames of thoughts questions:

1)  What would you do if there wouldn’t be any water on earth?
Look for  a substitute or go on a journey to discover a planet with water.

2) What is one thing that makes you sick, but you still do it?
Can’t really think of anything. Attend classes maybe? I always get a headache when I try to listen to the professors.

3) What if your blog gets a ‘Simply stupid award’?
Does that exist? I will probably tell my friends, who generally think I am not stupid and crazy like they are.

4) What is the most amazing abuse anyone has ever given you?
You are an absolute bitch, I thanked the person who said this.

5) What is your idea of world after 100 years?
Complete chaos.

6)What will happen if you become the President of your country for rest of your life?
There are a million things I can think of, littering will be banned in this country, stricter laws, immense security for women. This is just a few things. This question can be answered in a complete post.

7) What was the most embarrassing situation you ever faced?
My friends were at subway and we fell short of money to pay and had no way of going back home or college.

8) What will  happen if one day God tells you that you are Devil on earth?
Being an atheist, I wonder if god will ever ask me that question.

9) Who was your first crush or infatuation?
Some guy in my chemistry class.

10) What will you say if one day Obama visits your home and tells you- “Kid! We need you. Now pull your pants up and pack your bags?
Do as instructed, it is Obama, after all.

11) If you were asked to slap one person, who would that be?
Depends on when I am asked, it could be anyone who is being atrocious at that point of time.

Here are my nominations, some of them might have more than 200 followers, nominating them because I follow and like them:

a) The Inside Poison.

b) INNERDIALECT

c) Parwatisingari’s Weblog

d) The Lid is lifted

e) Screwed nuts and bolts

f) Prairie Wind

g) Rants

h) Mad woman in The Attic

i) Silent confessions

j) Welcome home to the Sanitarium

k) Living in an asylum

And finally my 11 questions:

a) What does blogging mean to you?

b) One thing that you can’t do but cannot stop yourself from doing it.

c) If given a chance to go in past, what era would you  choose?

d) Who is your current crush?

e) What would you like to change about India?

f) If there is one person that you are okay with killing or getting killed, who would that be?

g) If you could write a book what would it be about?

h) Who is that one person you can do anything for and why?

i) One country or place you are dying to go to?

j) Is there any law you would like to be abolished? If yes, which one?

k) Being a blogger, how do you reach out to people and keep your readers engaged?

By phoneixrising Posted in Awards

For the love of Music


Music is something that can bind people. Everyone listens to music, you can have endless conversations on music, about music or just sing songs together. I can talk about music with everyone, from my aunts, uncles, grandparents to my friends. One of my best friends became my friend because we sat together in a bus and eventually got talking about our playlists. She was the only one in college who had heard one of my favorite songs, although can’t remember which one.

So for the love of music I decided I’d share my tracks on the blog every now and then. I would love my readers my readers to share their favorite tracks. Add me on last.fm. And for now here the few of the tracks I am hooked to right now.

1) 3 Rounds and a sound-Blind Pilot

I recently stumbled upon this band, and have fallen in love with their songs, but this one is my favorite. This is the title song of their debut album. Blind Pilot is an Indie Folk band.

Blooming up from the ground
Three rounds and a sound
Like whispering you know me
You know me

2) I’ve got this friend-The Civil wars

This is a beautiful song,  I assume this song is about two narrator’s expressing their feelings for each other, under the facade that they are discussing the romantic potential of their two friends. I love how the two are presented as incredibly guarded, “Holding onto her heart like it’s a little secret“. It has a nice melody and ring to it.

Oh, if the right one came
If the right one came along
Oh, if the right one came, along

3) Rivers and Roads-The Head and the Heart

Rivers and roads can make anyone cry. Listen to it for yourself. Also I really like the video for this. This song somehow makes me think what life will be like after one year when I graduate and leave college and with my brother in a far away state already even more so.

 

A year from now we’ll all be gone
All our friends will move away
And they’re going to better places
But our friends will be gone away

That’s all for now, hoping to know what you are listening to.