• 03 May
    Oyindrila Basu

    Lakshmi Agarwal-within me lies the strength

    lakshmi agarwal

    When you are frantically looking out for brands like #DollarClub or #LuxCozy, hoping that the best among them, will make you ‘fit’ or ‘rough and tough’, or even better one can give you your best ‘luck’, then you are just grossly wrong. 

    Nothing is tougher than the toughness of your mind. It may not be visible from your attire, but slowly grows within you, and develops into a strong personality.

    Mental strength refers to a collection of attributes which helps a person survive through the gravest of life events.

    Mental tenacity makes a person more resilient to emotional conditions. It acts as a shield against the hardships of life, or we can say, that, we cannot control what comes to us, but we can control as how to react to them.

    Lakshmi Agarwal, a survivor of acid attack has been listed among 13 brave Indian women, whose fight changed the system. She continues to be an inspiration for everyone, who requires mental strength and agility.

    She loved music and dance, but her first day of music lesson, in April 2005, is marked as ‘doom’s day’ because it has changed the course of her life. A stalker, double her age, bathed her in acid, because she refused his advances, and that not only deformed her appearance, but also her existential situations.

    She has had seven operations so far and needs many more. But she never laid back for a day. She has been a part of several campaigns, since then, starting with one, that was for regulations on sale of acid (she had to take 27000 signatures for the petition). But music has laid back for her.

    Eight months back, a beautiful child is born to her, and 10 years after the incident, she is reconsidering music. Her child is her solace today. But it has been a difficult journey.

    “My incident had taken a toll on my family’s life, but they had never complained. My father was my biggest strength. He was the one who told me to file the PIL in the Supreme Court in 2006 (which resulted in a change in the law governing the sale of acid). Without him, I felt bereft,” she says.

    She also unfolds, how each day in the hospital would be a moment of apprehension, and how she would try hard to get a glimpse of herself in the bowl of water which the nurse brought for her.

    “Laxmi was quite apprehensive in the beginning about how Pihu would react to her. But I tell her she’s such a brave person and has done so much to bring attention to the cause and to help other survivors that Pihu will be proud to have her as her mother. Pihu is growing up among brave women. Hopefully, she will not need to be taught about empathy. She will imbibe it on her own,” says her husband, Alok Dixit declares proudly.

    Laxmi was bothered that her looks would scare her child, but when she takes her in arms, her fears disappear, and a new strength emerges.

    She's the director of Chhanv Foundation that helps other survivors of acid attacks, and is also a TV show host. Laxmi received a 2014 International Women of Courage award by US First Lady Michelle Obama. She was also chosen as the NDTV Indian of the Year. Her achievements do not end here. Her determination has saved many acid attack survivors, and helped them get justice.

    Recently Viva N Diva apparel brand has chosen Laxmi, as the brand ambassador, for their #FaceOfCourage campaign, which is a revolutionary step in the fashion world. May be its true, that “what does not break you, makes you stronger”.

    Mental strength is a habitual development, which one nurtures and grows within self. Sometimes, survival from a bad incident develops this strength within you, sometimes you have to create it as a survival strategy for yourself.

    • A strong person stands bravely at the face of adversity. Controlling your emotions is the main criteria. It is a process, a habit that you develop, not to be vulnerable to situations that can hurt you.

     

    • A person with mental strength, learns from his mistakes, never mourns on the after effects of a wrong decision or misfortune, but takes it as a lesson and experience for future actions.

     

    • It is important to set your expectations right. Do not expect much with soaring dreams and high hopes in the mind. Life can bring you surprises, which can give you joy suddenly, but if you expect too much and unrealistically, then unfulfilled dreams can leave you shattered.

     

    • Find a motivation for self-development. It can be a good book, music, goal for achievement or may be just a cup of coffee on a lazy evening. You should know what you are living for.

     

    • Be thankful for what you have rather than brood over what you don’t, or cannot have.

     

    • Yoga and meditation increases concentration and mental stability, and a strong person, always practice them for self-improvement, so that he turns into a more rational and sensible person.

     

    • Mental toughness comes with small physical wins, like giving up your lust for chocolates and fatty foods, or keeping your self-promise of not smoking for 3 consecutive days, or continues workouts for a month and alike. When you can forgo some relaxations, you build up a tough body, but what automatically comes in, is a tough mind.

     

    Mental toughness makes a person more consistent, determined, and firm. It gives him/her integrity and strength to complete what proposed. A mentally strong person has clear vision and firm opinion. And the positive qualities gradually add up to build a mind which is stronger than any #Fevicol adhesive pasting. This strength of mind is within you, and you don’t need to find or derive it from elsewhere, and it always supports you in distress and tough times.

  • 02 May
    Oyindrila Basu

    Mother’s Feelings For A Difficult Child.

    difficult child

    Pranav: Mom please play with me, I am bored.

    Mom: Please give me a moment, I am speaking to cashier uncle, let me finish the deposit and the formalities, then we can play outside in the nearby part.

    Pranav: No, I want game right now.

    2 minutes passed without a word from both ends.  Pranav rushed towards the clerical desk, picked up the glass of water and poured it on his mother. This happened last morning in the local national bank of our town. Is this normal? I wondered. Is he just trying to be evil? If so, why? I felt pain for the struggling mother, who could not say a word in shame and insult.

    I decided to write a note to the Pranav, I do not know though whether it will reach him.

    “Dear Pranav,

    You are not simple; you are not common; you are not obedient; you are different; you are difficult.

    But in order to prove yourself as different, have you ever thought how your mother would be feeling!

    She tries hard to teach you the importance of sorry; she tries hard each day to socialize you.

    She fails to understand what is going on in your mind; why are you into rebellion and it is not her fault. She is a different person and your thoughts cannot reach her by telepathy.

    Sometimes she is too angry and upset together at your behaviour but she refuses to give up on you because you are her Pranav and she loves you. Even if you choose to be the murderer of her soul, she cannot forget you as her own.

    Sometimes she is too embarrassed to face the world because of you, like I am sure she has been yesterday. She feels she should die because she has given birth to you, but ultimately you win and her motherly feeling overpowers her momentary emotional distress. Again she starts viewing her future in you; once again she is proud of you; once again she appreciates you.

    Your insults and backfires are heart breaking. She is tormented and crooked from inside when you slam the door on her face and deny each and every request she makes.

    She is slayed again when you refuse her homemade dinner to some crispy fried chicken or pizza with your friends, but she never expresses her despair because she values your wish and your independence, however, do you ever thank her for that?

    Her sacrifices are uncountable, maybe she at times repents quitting her flourishing career because she had to prioritize her family and you, but she tries to keep herself happy thinking that she at least has you. Do you feel grateful for her commitment?

    Your complains are endless but what she wants is a good future for you. Parenting is not an easy task; please don’t make things difficult for your mom; try appreciating her efforts.

    You have a fire within you which symbolizes sheer potential; utilize your stubborn attitude in gaining a successful and purposeful goal; do not let the fire consume you or your mother.

    She is concerned about you, afraid for you every moment. Instead of shaming her try and be her friend. A word of appreciation is lot more precious than gold to her. She is living in you; you are a part of her. Use your energies positively so that she is proud to have you and not otherwise. If you rebel in the wrong direction every time, you are actually killing her every moment, because the part of her in you is getting distorted.

    Your dilemmas and delusions will naturally make you irritated, but share them with your mom, rather than venting them on her. Remember, she is not your maid servant or baby sitter; she is your friend and adviser for life.

    I hope my advices will help you realize your mother’s plight with you and may be that will somehow correct your attitude towards life and your mother.

    Your mother loves you and she understands you, now it is your turn to understand her.

    Take care.

    Yours faithfully,

    An unknown friend and wellwisher."

    Image source

     

  • 30 Apr
    Mandavi Pandey

    Harmonizing words

    girl writing and listening

    The first thing I loved more intensely than my parents wasn’t a doll or toy or a thing of comfort. It was a book. Everything else in my life seemed to me in-transient. The book was the first thing that was mine, now & forever. Even when the edges frayed & the paper wore thin, the story would live on inside me.
    It wasn’t the story itself that I loved, but the words in it. These words were permanently ascribed to paper, each word standing the test of time; and yet their meaning for me changed as I changed. I loved how the words sounded in my head as I read them & how each word sounded, tripping across my tongue. More importantly, I loved how the words made me feel for something or someone who wasn’t real, but not really imaginary…at least not to me.
    As I read more books, more stories, I became voracious. I wanted to read them all. I wanted to hear every story, every word. I spent hours in the library finding new books, new authors & new words to read & fall in love with. I wanted to read, but more importantly, I realized that I wanted to write. I wanted to live permanently in someone else’s mind. I wanted them to read the words I wrote & feel them. I wanted to write words that would cross someone’s lips & leave them grinning, or make them see something that they were previously oblivious to. I wanted to find the secret to writing words so perfectly put together, that one sentence would evoke a light the reader never knew existed within them.
    So, I began to write. My matter seemed so mundane at first, that other people would read it & smile. No…not smile…they’d ‘smirk’. Either that or they’d look at me like I was a precious little angel, who needed shallow praises & useless affections.
    Then I fell in love again, & this time, I fell in love with music. I fell in love with the words of the music. I didn’t care about the popularity or brand names of the artists. I listened to musicians who made music for themselves…not to please others. I can distinguish between those kinds of musicians & the ones who’re in it for money, because the latter are never able to give me a sense of pleasure when I listen to them.
    Music, in a lot of ways, is exactly like writing. The symphony of words & notes has to blend together in such a precise manner, that the audience is able to appreciate it as a whole. They’re both very abstract puzzles; it has to look exactly right to the mind. When you read/sing /play them, it has to hit you in the gut. That’s what makes any piece compelling.
    You may be wondering what relevance this article has to psychology. Well, for starters, combining words and music can be very therapeutic. It can be used to cure depression, help patients with epilepsy and can also be combined to cure dyslexia. Moreover, the combination of words and music is, to me, the ultimate source of happiness because it sets your soul free from the shackles of daily life.
    I would like to conclude with this quote by Bob Marley, “One good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

    Written by Pritha Banerjee (Intern at eWellness Expert)

  • 23 Apr
    Oyindrila Basu

    Honda - The Cog-Live Your Dreams With Self Belief

    honda accord

    “When you find yourself in the thickness of pursuing a goal or dream, stop only to rest. Momentum builds success.” ----  Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

    Dreams! We all have dreams. Some are big; some are little. But when we can live our dreams, that day our success is marked.

    The #Cog by Honda Accord is possibly the best ever example, of how small efforts or events coagulate in a chain reaction to create something which is a huge dream. 

    In 2002 Honda Motor Company was the number-three Japanese automobile manufacturer in the world, behind Toyota and Nissan.

    While Honda’s automobile sales in Japan and the United States were considered strong, sales in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe were thought to be weak, even though automobile production in the United Kingdom had been ongoing for a decade.

    Further, Honda vehicle sales had been declining in these regions since 1998. As a solution, they contracted with the Wieden+Kennedy ad agency and asked them to formulate an advertising campaign which could directly promote "The Power of Dreams" launched in 2002, And the results were right there.

    The chain interaction of small efforts to create a huge Accord hit the buyers as well as the automobile market; the ad became so popular, that Honda almost changed the landscape of advertisements. Hence, when you believe in your dreams, you can gradually work with small steps towards it.

     

    Many people presume that dreams are unrealistic and that is why the name given to big ambitions as a dream (which can never come true). However, those who strive towards making their dream come true are winners.

    Achievement is pride but dreaming is love and life itself.

    If you don’t have a big dream, you don’t have a goal and life becomes stagnant there.

    There is no point of living if there is nothing unachieved that you are craving for.

    There should be the hunger which will give you the determination to go on.

    There will be a lot of difficulties in the path of achieving what you really want to. There will be hardships, breakdowns, mishaps and personal loses but nothing should stop you from rising from the ashes.

    As Shannon L. Alder said 

    1. If you don’t believe the impossible can happen, then you are right.

    2. When you feel like you are less than others, then you are right.

    3. When you believe what you have and how you were raised keeps you from having everything you ever dreamed of, you are right. 

    4. When you believe your mistakes can’t be undone, you are right.

    5. When you feel this is the best it is going to get, you are right.

    6. When you think someone will never change or rise above their brokenness, you are WRONG!” 

    Beliefs make up your life. You have to believe that you are able; nothing is impossible.

    Some are satisfied with the ordinary life that is going on; but some want to turn it into something extraordinary and they are successful.

     

     “Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.” Ross Perot

    May be you are not quite far off. You may be near achievement of your dream, but you have to fight till the end.

    Your dream should be wholesome so that the hunger is big and that will help you attain an indomitable spirit to fight against all odds.

    Failure is not an issue; you learn from it to get better. A mismanaged attempt should not pull you back, in fact, your will power should be strengthened further with a failed movement.

    Once you can live your dream, you can claim that the life was really worth living.

  • 12 Apr
    Oyindrila Basu

    'Ki & Ka' Have Equal Roles In Making Up A Good Home, A Good Relationship And A Good Society.

    ki and ka arjun kapoor

     

    http://www.idiva.com/news-relationships/new-age-indian-bride-who-cant-cook-and-clean/33629

    I begin my argument with reference to the above article which I was going through today. I have been reading through the comments below, and I really feel that each of them is telling the truth. The article I don't think intends to humiliate women who are good cooks, however, consequentially it does so. In today's era, we cannot write with one-biased attitude. A glorification of an office-going women as against a cook in the kitchen, will no longer be considered highly feminist and empowering. Cooking is an art, and those women or men who love to do it are great 'artists', (no wonder chefs are one of the highest paid professionals) and when you include this art in making a good home, it is equally worthy of making money for survival. Hence a woman who is making aloo-mutter is not wasting her life in the sweats of kitchen, she is actually mastering a great art. And of course, the feeling of getting appreciated by your family is a great experience. But yes, it is true that society has never appreciated the efforts of a good housewife, but have urged her to be one, by mastering domesticity, and the above article is doing nothing better than our society. I agree with the article on one point; if you do not want to learn something, societal call shouldn't force you for it; not everybody should learn everything. Very true. However, be it a man or a woman, everybody should have their hands on household necessities, because you never know when you need to do it yourself. And homemade food is always healthier and tastier (if well made) than outside food, if husband or wife can cook, hence it is always better to learn something new (even American nutritional departments advice taking homemade food, if you have an option). But again it is a matter of choice. If you want to learn cooking and household works, you will be independent of your maid-concept, if you don't want to learn, you don't like it, then you should not do it.

    But one question to the writer of the above linked article: Will you accept a husband who is not professionally successful and doesn't even want to be so???


    Watched Ki & Ka by R. Balki, at AMC Methuen 20, USA, yesterday, and really liked the concept of putting equivalent emphasis and importance to each role, that of a breadwinner and a homemaker. Kareena and Arjun played their roles with exceptional individualism; There is nothing wrong if a woman is ambitious, there is nothing wrong if a woman chooses his career over child bearing as a married lady, there is no harm if a woman chooses to be successful in corporate field and a man in the house. However, the unusual factor was not that a husband is doing household work; there are various unusual factors in the movie which helps correct our prejorative notions on a man's role and a woman's role in a household. 

     

    1. Arjun Kapoor disdains the idea that if a woman is not ambitious and chooses to be a housewife means "woh ghar pe baithi hai", no, she is not sitting at home, in fact, giving more of physical labour to make a home worth living for a normal man.

    2. The husband doesn't feel he does something great by supporting his wife. He wants to be free of competition, and hence loves his job as a cook and homemaker.

    3. The tussle is not between man and woman; the conflict is between the breadwinner and the financially dependent homemaker. Socially, whoever earns the money in the family, is the hero, and enjoys the limelight, no-one appreciates the efforts of the home-maker, (the above referred article is no-way different from our general propaganda) Ki & Ka navigates this simple, but apparently invisible fact and also takes a step ahead to correct it, by giving importance to the house husband as well, thus, also exposing the reality that breadwinner does feel jealous of his/her dependent homemaker, though it is not right to be so, independent of gender.

    4. Also breaks the stereotype that there can be a working woman, but no non-working man. It is worth appreciating how Kia sets an assertive and appreciative example by accepting a man and loving him for what he is, irrespective of his money or social status.

    Coming back to the referred article. As I said, it is always good to have some experience with household work for your self safety, irrespective of gender. Foreign do not encourage maids or labour of that kind, and there are places like Norway, Nordic where you do not get ready-made foods as well so easily. Then?However, I cook, I write good articles, I read books on various subjects including religious literacy, I work professionally as a writer, proof reader and reviewer, and I believe being an expert in Chinese and Italian cuisines doesn't diminish my wisdom, as I continue to have healthy political, social and literary arguments with my husband. It is not obvious that everybody should know everything, but it is obvious that you need food to live, and clean the bed and the house to survive, and you cannot deny it, so no comparison with learning household works and other skills like MBA, dance or photography.

    Image source