Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Mindful Consumption Conclave from EWIT @ 10 Jul 2019 Held at Madras Boat Club


Mindful Consumption Conclave curated by EWIT held on 10 Jul 2019 at Madras Boat Club:

Mindful Consumption of Resources

Today, we are in the era, where our Natural Resources are fast depleting and the world is grappling with the climate change and its consequences.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. SDG 12 speaks about “Ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns”

WHY, HOW and WHEN need to be brainstormed, to create an effective and implementable framework on sustainable consumption, stop waste levels along production and supply chains and create an environmentally sound management of these resources.   

EWIT brought in experts to talk on this this most important SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL in par with the United National SDGs

Mindful Digital Consumption

In addition, we also covered mindful digital consumption. The deep penetration of social digital in our lives, everything under the surveillance of camera phones and videos, excessive usage of digital resources and creating of e-waste that would soon become a curse to the world.  How can we ensure a balanced Digital Consumption approach that will protect our generations from an excessive usage of the digital content? 

Our panel spoke on:

1.      Framework on sustainable consumption of natural resources
2.      Mindful Digital Consumption
 Speakers

1.      Mr. Arun Krishnamurthy, Founder, EFI
2.      Dr. Vidya Durai, Director, BNY Mellon
3.      Mr. Santhosh T, Vels University
4.      Mr. Manikandan T, Director for Digital Apps and Games Services, Amazon
Moderator:
Mr. Vijay Anand, Founder CEO, The Startup Centre





The evening started with Nirmala Gopalakrishnan, President of EWIT welcoming the Gathering and giving a brief introduction on EWIT and its vision and work.    Treasurer and Program curator Umasree Raghunath gave a briefing on the need for this Environment based Conclave on Mindful consumption and introduced the eminent Panel for the evening. 

Moderator Vijay Anand set the stage with starting the discussion on the Conscious Consumption Changes needed in environmental framework

Environmental Crusader Arun Krishnamurthy – Founder of EFI explained on the need to understand the 2 terms - Anthropocene and legion.    Which basically talks about the human impact on nature and the chemical waste generated

The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.  (Meaning from internet)

Arun emphasised on the need to understand social research statistics and fact that people are consuming more than what cannot degrade.  Awareness to reduce waste must begin within the local communities. 

Student Representative Santhosh gave an emotional but factual detail from the student perspective.  How the society is today behind the star rating process and aggregate the quality of work.     He said that smart phones are the most poisonous toys we are giving our children today.   It does not end there.  The availability of data and phones for every child not only results in excessive data consumption but also create e-waste that this Earth cannot handle.  He expressed deep anguish on the waste of time and lack of human interaction.  Every smile, tear and fear are now expressed only in emojis than in human expressions.  The digitalization despite having visual teaching aids etc is constraining people from having real time experience.  

He revealed the research details that 14 Million tonnes of e-waste generated in 2018 out of which 50% are personal devices like phones and computers and only 20% of this is properly recycled.     Unfortunately, India is in the 5th place in e-waster producers in the world.   By 2020, these numbers will be alarmingly increase filling up our land, space and sea.    He explained how the inactive satellites and expired vehicles are left behind in space with no technology to get back from space.   All this will have considerable impact in environment.  1.5% only is equipped today to manage e-waste.  Which is a very alarming statistic.

Manikandan T, Director from Amazon who became the key speaker having to answer consumer-based audience expressive various viewpoints, he managed it extremely well, composed and keep up to the values of being a responsible consumer and a strong corporate leader.    He suggested 3 Key Ways to address this:

1.      Drive awareness on Reducing Waste
2.      Moderation of Policies - like electricity bills based on consumption slabs
He explained how every non-living thing will become living thing with artificial intelligence playing its role soon.   Everything will become intelligent
3.      Drive Innovation to simplify Human life and address burning issues. 

Academician and Director of BNY Mellon Technology, Dr. Vidya Durai emphasised the need for Corporate being houses that drive responsible businesses.    She cited examples of how they adopted 3 villages after 2015 Floods and reconverted the village which used to be called as Vellam Konda agaram even today from inundation and making the water bodies manage excessive water after rains.  Creating community kitchens and water rejuvenation where the corporate worked with SMEs who have expert knowledge on managing the eco system.

She explained the need for collaboration and synergy between all entities, NGOs like EFI, Corporates and Government authorities.    She also highlighted how the 2% CSR funding is making a change in the way the Corporates are responding towards social responsibility.

Moderator moved the discussion on the Plastic Ban.    Vidya went on her strong views on the need for Comprehensive efforts to take this plastic ban to real effect.   Synergy between Government, NGOs and Corporates along with the citizens being responsible is the key to success.  Even then achieving 100% is a distant dream.  If we don’t ban packaging of chips like LAYS in plastic covers and our groceries still coming in plastic packets and milk supplied in plastic covers.      Abundance is a curse than Scarcity.

Arun explained how this policy on Plastic ban was designed by experts after months of research and study, and to please everyone involved and the list of what is included and what is not. and to keep up with the standards of the Global Political Framework on Environment required.  And there is a dire need to stick to the environment norms too and Government set up to be made in the optimal resource areas.   The key is the consumption consumer choices that are made.  Human beings to think beyond the business and abide by the cultural and value systems that guide our consumer behaviours.  

We need to localize cultural changes -   go back to roots of using mango leaves and banana trees torans instead of balloons and plastic flowers.   Use Palm tree products and improve composite bins in the communities.   We are so used to blaming the system and others instead of making the changes from ourselves.   There is no social divide of rich/poor, educated/illiterate, male/female, religion, caste, creed, the responsibility of mindful consumption lies with everyone.   WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGES HERE and NO ONE ELSE

Vidya informed on the work done by PIST (Association of IITian) that work towards responsible environment behaviours.     Arun informed on the Himalayan task of work done by EFI currently where they must clear 64 water bodies before 10 Oct.

Arun called out for ‘TREAT YOUR BODY and PLANET THE SAME WAY’.   He explained the need to have the focus on 3 Key Areas
·       WASTE
·       WATER
·       WILDLIFE
He said that bodies like EWIT can organizing ‘Bird Watching’, ‘experimentation with waste’ – like collecting samples of the waste in the bottle and keeping it in the table near the TVs.   He explained how these experiments worked wonders in schools like APL Global in creating environment awareness.   The small things like throwing waste only in the bins in the schools.

As a final note, Mani explained the need for three things….
1.      Make Environmentally Friendly consumer behaviour part of life- Make Habitual Life
2.      Make Punishments stronger to create fear of doing wrong
3.      Inculcate behavioural changes that need to be brought in only by creating awareness

Vidya mentioned on the need to classification of our digital consumption under 5 headings:
Classify on what we do:
1.      Infotoxication
2.      Consumption
3.      Interaction – Limited
4.      Participation Levels
5.      Education
These will result in Actualization of creating self-esteem, cognizant of where we are, what we are and inculcate values in our present and future generations

Human behaviour on Planet can be classified into 1:9: 90 as per Arun.  Which means
1% thinks on its own
9% process the information available
90% are innocent followers

There is need to create a happy mindsets as happy minds explores and evolves.  This will help in creating experiences that are excessive or obsessive consumption behaviours.  
The final tag line with which this conclave ended was

Time to SAVE YOURSELF.  ……Planet Saves It selves. 

The conclave ended with thanking the Panel and Vote of Thanks by Vice President of EWIT- Bhanurekha Condur.    EWIT members were happy to have curated this event that had a combination of technology and the need of the hour to have mindfulness in our consumption behaviours.   The main reason why EWIT took this up is that IT/ITES sector is the largest sector utilizing and excessive usage of the available resources today and this awareness and insights was very important.  

-           Written by Umasree Raghunath. 




















Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Open Letter to Honourable Minister Sri. S. P. Velumani - Municipal Administration and Water Supply Minister of Tamil Nadu

Respected & Honourable Sri Velumani Sir,

As a Citizen of Chennai, I am not only surprised but shocked to see your interview to the Media yesterday.    Your statement that the 'Water Crisis' in Chennai is a rumour is unfortunately biggest humour coming from a Minister of your stature.    We understand and appreciate the measure taken by you and your esteemed Government of Tamil Nadu.   But kindly also look beyond your posh Ministerial Bungalows and Homes, that will never have the scarcity that will scare you as you wake up every morning.

Dear Sir,  I may not be super intellectual citizen, but definitely not a fool who will believe in the fabricated media news or every whatsapp forward.   The brutal truth is that I am a citizen who is for sure effected by the Water Scarcity in the city and I will tell you my own example. 

I live in a colony which is just adjacent to 'Meteorological Department Meenambakkam,  few kilometers from Chennai Airport,  less than a kilometer from the Metro Station and GST Road and 200 meters away from Nanganallur Railway Station.   Ironically, the owners of the colony were mostly retired Municipal Employees and Teachers.   The fact is that we diligently pay for the metro water taxes, respecting the law of the land and even kept quite when the Water Tax bill multiplied 4 times this year.  But for a fact, that it has been more than 2 years that our Colony has got the Metro Water.   Palar vandhu pallla varudangal agivithathu sir!

Today, the ground water is dried up.  Our motors happily send us Air and don't respond.  200 feet bore-wells are too much strained.  The local hotels Trident and Radisson have borewells measuring more than 500 Feet,  don't know how much we will brutally rip our Mother Earth.    House Wells are a thing of the past!  We have them to showcase our next generations that we once had them abundantly.   Rain Water Harvesting is done in every house.  Unfortunately Rain Gods show no mercy in our city!

Last couple of weeks, we have been victims of unscrupulous business but they are our God's now.  Yes, the local freelance Water Tank Water Sellers!   Initially we were paying Rs.700 for 2000 liters last year, this year, it started with 1200 for 2000 liters and went up to Rs 1700 and yesterday, we had to shell out Rs 2300/- for 2000 liters of Water.  The man who distributes contributes it to his side of sober story of going far beyond Vandalur, in the midnight and standing in queue to get his share of water and then paying touts in uniform couple of hundreds before he reaches us!  We can't blame him.  For now, he is our God.  Or else, we have no water for cooking, washing and sadly even for washrooms!

My metro water booking made online on 4 June is yet to come!  Don't even know when it will come and will ease our situation...today is 18 June....

I appreciate you talking about mindful consumption!   But was the Government Mindful after the 2015 floods when we had to let gallons of water to the Sea.  Why were steps not taken to keep our water bodies ready to preserve the same?   Why are lakes and water beds given for construction and who approved this?   

Sir, I work for an IT Company.  Working from home is a privilege some enjoy due to certain obligations like ill health,  post maternity care and odd shifts.   But the IT companies working in the OMR asking employees to work from home is a TRUTH.  It is not a Rumour!  Please check the facts

If the situation is not scary, why are the Metro Railway Stations Bathrooms closed for Public and kept the board saying 'No Water'?  May be you should take the train once sir!  Anyway our other bus stands and local railway stations don't even have toilets..so forget about the water problem!

Coming to the special services your Department is providing in this hour of need.   Sending Water Tankers.  Absolutely divine call of duty and appreciate it.  However,  do you know what time they come?   Have you taken your car and went around 2 am in the morning...That's when people in Triplicane, Royapettah, T. Nagar, Nanganallur, Pammal, Mount,  Porur, Sowcarpet,  Saidapet and Mylapore and all areas queue up around the tankers to get the water.   And it is the same case in most of the places.   Many times they come at 12 noon or 3 pm, where most of us are at work!  They don't have a pattern or timing that they follow and we don't blame them.  Just telling you our part of the story!

Next, are you even aware that they charge you somewhere between Rs.10 to Rs 15 per pot as they come to distribute ...the Road adjacent to our colony, which has mostly daily wage labourers living...and they/we shell out Rs 100- 200 for 10-20 pots of water every 4th or 5th day when they get a chance to get water when the tanker comes...but  if this is Government Distribution System..why is not free or who is taking this money?

My Recommendation dear Minister,  please for a week,  let us swap our houses.  My home is comfortable to live, except that you have to wait for the water tanker... and I will be in your home to feel what you felt when you gave that press statement yesterday. 

Nextly, please put up Water Bunks - Like Petrol Pumps...we will pay what ever nominal charges government asks and buy it in for our consumption.   No taxes, no water tanks, no questions asked.   You supply for our demand ....

I now know that our Social Teacher was wrong when she taught us in school that natural resources like, water, air , mountains are Free.  Probably today, they are the most costliest commodities in the world.   If at all the next World war comes, it will start because of consumable water scarcity!

Thank you dear Minister...I am not sure if you will get to read this..but if you do, kindly do something for us - ordinary Chennai Citizens before this city becomes another Cape Town...atleast Cape Town revived with the best practices and now out of the situation..but with a 1.5 crores of population, it is not easy for Chennai to come out of this...unless you show mercy or Rain Gods do!

Thank you

Umasree Raghunath

Other Links for your reference

https://www.thequint.com/news/environment/chennai-water-crisis
https://www.ndtv.com/topic/water-crisis
https://factly.in/drinking-water-availability-india-how-far-rural-indian-travels-everyday-fetch-drinking-water/
https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/tamil-nadu-water-crisis-chennai-all-you-need-to-know-1550915-2019-06-18
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-48672330
https://www.livemint.com/news/india/chennai-hotels-battle-severe-water-crisis-1560830100325.html

And lot more if you do a bit of factual analysis..I am sure your team can help with that!

Chennai - Pic taken from Internet




Friday, June 14, 2019

What all you can see in Chennai ? Visiting Chennai's Iconic spots in a day!

When I had three of my close buddies from Romania and Phillipines visited us in March this year, I had to plan a bit to show case Chennai to them in the shortest time possible.  This homework not only worked like a charm, but also made me reinvent my own city.  I never would have otherwise done this going around all this places in a day, with a spillover the outskirts the following day.

Discovering Chennai in a day!

Staying closer to Airport, probably, I have taken the best route possible.

1.  Officers Training Academy, St. Thomas Mount ( From outside) and Madras War Cemetry in Butt Road


2.  St. Thomas Mount National Shrine  Church ( Up the St.Thomas Hills) - Chennai City View




3.  Valluvar Kottam 



4.  Madras Literary Society 



5.  Chennai Egmore Museum & National Art Gallery
6.   Museum Theatre




7.  Higginbottams and Pompuhar Showroom  (Mount Road and with LIC)



8.  Lunch at Amilies Poes Garden

Image result for amelies cafe poes garden

9.  Vivekanandar House - ICE House


10.  Madras University - Senate Hall ( Chennai Binnelle was on and hence Senate Hall was open for Public)


11.  Victory War Memorial
12.  Fort St. George and Fort Museum



13.  Chennai Harbour  and Port Trust & Nappier Bridge




14.  Iconic Central Railway Station and Rippon Building 



15.  Anna Samadhi & MGR Memorial ( Now with Jayalalitha Memorial and Kalaignar Memorial)



16.  Marina Beach Water Front -  Labour Statue and Gandhi Statue



17.  Lighthouse  ( We went to the 9th floor for aerial view of the city)



18.  Ramakrishna Mutt Mylapore
19.  Kapaleshwar Temple 



20.  Asthalakshmi Temple and Annai Velankani Church Besant Nagar



21.  Santhome Basillca
22.  Palavakkam Beach




Day 2-  If you have time! ( Little stretching out of the City)

1.  Madhya Kailash Temple Adyar 

Image result for madhya kailash temple

2.  Prestigious IIT Chennai and Rajbhavan Road - Gandhi Mandapam & Guidy National Park/Snake park & Theosophical Society 



3. Dakshin Chitra 



4. Crocodile Bank and VGP Kingdom



5.  Cholamandalam Artistic Village
6.  Kannathur Jaganatha Temple



7.  Muttukadu Lake & Boating




Day 3  - It you still have time left!

1.  Shopping in T. Nagar ( to enjoy the madness) and Sowcarpet (for the best deals and street food)
2.  Loads of malls the city has to offer
3.  Choki Dhanni ( a hard tried replication of Rajasthan)
4.  Queensland - if you enjoy theme parks
5.  MGM and VGP Universal Kingdom ( Klick Art musuem for crazy pictures ) and new Acquarium
6.  Wild Tribe Ranch ( If you love bit of hot day adventures and outdoors)
7.  Lots and Lots of Temples ( Be it any religion of your faith or interest - Chennai is abundant)
8.  Kalaskhetra (If you want to see the traditional dance forms of Tamil Nadu)
9.  Loads of Sabhas that offer Theatre, Drama, Classical and Western Music,  Cultural Programme)
10.  No shortage for Dining and Drinks and Yes, Disco too!
11.  Silent book reading in Iconic Connemera Library or well designed Anna Centenary Library

Enjoy Chennai!  Discover the City that has got lots to offer.   Be it traditions, art, culture,  temples, churches, beaches, food & fun....Chennai is a City to live and enjoy.  It is a city that lives and let's those who embraces it live in peace and harmony.   Chennai is not just a city of buildings and infrastructure, it is a city of inate emotions...absolute humanness and wonderful people.    Love You Chennai...You are always my Madras !  Nalla Madras!    








Sunday, June 9, 2019

Dummies Drama - Veezhven Endru Ninaithayo - A viewer's Review

Dummies Drama's Presented - Veezhven Endru Ninaithayo  drama today at Narada Gana Sabha.  As theater enthusiast and Dummies Drama's ardent followers, Raghu and I decided to make it for the drama after a relaxed Sunday afternoon. 

One word - 'Brilliant'  and Second Words -'Thought Provoking'.

Honestly, DD is one troupe of people who never disappoint you.   Strong in the subjects they choose, depth in the dialogues they deliver,  humour and wit in the life's real events that unfold,  artists who make you feel like you know them for ages and the entire stage coordination that shows the amount of practice and hardwork they put behind every Tamil Play.    If you want to enjoy Tamil Theater to its fullest, please do go for their drama's and they for sure gets interwine beautifully in your life somewhere or the other. 

Veezhven Endru Ninaithayo ( Do you think I will fall down?)  is such a emotional drama that makes you feel glued for the full 1.5 hours and for few minutes after the curtains down at the end as well.     



Many a times, Raghu and I wait for Sridhar sir to come on stage, for we are his die hard fans after watching 'Pratibhimbam' where he played the role of PM Narendra Modi.  But today,  Sreevothsan sir did not even give us a chance to think of Sridhar sir missing in the play.   Sreevothsan effortlessly played the role of the Protogonist Shantaram.    Shantaram is a reflection of each one of us when we face adversity in life, especially when we know that the end is inevitable.  The strong message of 'Life is how you take it'...sinks in you slowly and deeply as you keep watching the play. 

I am now repeatedly thinking if I should play a spoil sport and disclose the story line here, for those who want to go and watch it in the coming days or should I just review how I felt....as a theater lover, this play gave me something, I never thought of.   Prepare 'Bucket List!'.

Brief jist of the story-line!

Protogonist Shantaram finds out that he is suffering from Cancer and is probably in the final stages.  He ends up in a dilemma whether to go for the painful process of the treatment, share it with the family and make them unhappy and spend his remaining days in hospital and treatment or if he has to just let the treatment go,  manage it with painkillers and live life happily for whatever days he is left with.    After a deep self-introspection with his friend 'Raghava'...he decides to keep this a secret from his family.   He goes on to prepare a bucket list initially which were more of unrealistic dreams - like visiting Seven Wonders of the World, or atleast Niagara Falls, visiting all temples before his end comes.   Later on, on his advice from his friend Raghava, he rewrites his bucket list which is more realistic with things like 'spending time with his father,'. growing a mustache, ' planning for finances for his family',  'making food for his wife one day',  visiting all his friends and relatives, ' apologizing to all the people who he could have hurt in the past',  and bucket list no 7 of having a inner urge to meet his beloved lover Chitra whom he last met 25 years ago. 

The drama unfolds on how Shantaram starts achieving his bucketlist items,  a subtle love story  that tells us that 'Love can never be past tense', and it is only how maturely we understand it and keep it alive, to keep the spark of life and go on.    The drama shows intense scenes of family happiness, how casually dialogues create sparking thoughts in his daughter,  how his wife reads through pain in his eyes,  how a father poignantly clearly states that Shantaram can do what ever he wants and makes him happy and not just for looks...how a son calmly does his duties and adheres to his father's wish of taking care of his ailing friend...and how his ex-love Chitra strikes a balance between her love story and her present husband and their life together.    One dialogue that got maximum applause was between Chitra and Shantaram -  when she tells him that she told about their love story to her husband, and when Shantaram tells that 'how much ever a wife is understanding, this is one thing that never a man should tell his wife!'....clap clap clap!  And the true love he has for his wife when he wants her to be with him in the next life as well....                   

Finally, when it is time and Shantaram understands that most of his bucket list is now fulfilled, and final one is to go to Kasi..in search of Salvation...the play reveals the real identity of his friend...and his inner-self.   I think most of us need many a time, need to sit in silence and speak to yourself, to bring in the right conclusion from the conflicting thoughts and people and situations around us!

Three Cheers to  the amazing artists.   The role played by Shantaram's wife needs a special mention.   She did give her best.  The style of her saree draping and body manners made her have a strong resemblance to Nirmala Sitaraman....and her dialogues delivery and acting was really good.   Nithya as Shantaram's lover Chitra carries herself very easily.   Having seen her in many of DD's plays before, she was not a surprise in terms of dialogues or acting and she keeps up her space with ease.   The artists who played the role of his children were also very good.   Though for few scenes, the doctor, the company director,  the father,  Chitra's husband,  nephew characters lived upto the expectations.   The actor who played the role of Raghava - the self image of Shantaram did give his best and surely was in par with Sreevothsan.  The back stage coordination was flawless.

Music, Lights,  Make-up and Prompts were are well thought off and the technical team did their usual best as part of any other DD Plays.

Thank you Dummies Drama's for giving us a very heart-touching theater experiences time and again.  May your tribe increase, may you entertain us more and may your success become wide-spread.  God bless!


Long live Theater....and May the Creative juices keep flowing to enthrall our audiences for long!









UnSung Heroes: D. Annalakshmi - A Paraplegic Wheel Chair Marathoner who braves all odds!

D.  Annalakshmi, fondly called as Annam is a young woman who has complete zeal to life.   She is looking forward to making her own imprints in the world of marathons and shortput throw.   She is seen happily quoting Deepa Malik as inspiration and wanting to achieve something for her country.   
Annalakshmi is the first woman in Chennai to complete a 10K marathon on her manual wheel chair without support.  She is now winning several accolades on her participation in several marathon events in Chennai.   She also been part of the inclusion activities and helping students of NIFT to show case their talents by bringing in inclusive clothing.

How did Annalakshmi became a Paraplegic?   Was she born disabled?

NO.  Unfortunately, the truth is that a botched up surgery made a young girl disabled for life.   In the year 2001, she complained of severe leg pain and went to doctors, who suspected a tumour in her leg.  Without proper investigations or scans, she was referred for a surgery in Government Hospital, where she believed in the doctors and went under the knife, only to be awaken to the fact that both her legs are gone paralyzed and she became paraplegic with movements lost hip down.  The GH doctors and administration panicked and destroyed all the medical reports of her surgery and records without which she could not even take up a legal battle and with a family living with poverty, she had no choice but to grieve on her destiny and lose hope

How does she manage her life?   Is her family able to help her?

Very difficult.  For almost 7-8 years post surgery,  she was completely bed ridden.  She had no hope, and felt completely lost in life.   She did not understand why this happened to her in life.  She found getting down the bed, going to washroom,  wearing clothes, managing physical changes as a woman, managing periods,  managing bedsores or possible damages to the skin, that does not heal fast without blood circulation,  life suddenly changed overnight for her. 

She is blessed with absolutely dedicated parents,  who were torn by the financial challenges and meagre earnings.   Her sisters and brother stood as support physically.   However, as the years went by, the economical burden was too high with no financial support from any government or any thing.    Her family did everything possible to put her to ease.  However, the financial conditions were so tiring that left the parents in tears.    Today Annalakshmi tells us that she has to take care of her ill aged parents, where her father in on dialysis for 3 years and still works between the errands to hospital.   Mother's eyes dwelled in tears as she showed us the only picture of Annam where she was standing prior to 2001.    I felt a lump in my throat.  This girl can never stand in her life, because some doctor botched up her surgery for no reason .

What are her moments of courage, how did she defy all odds and exhibit this braveheart?

Annalakshmi did try to end her life many times.   Her failed attempts of suicide only gave her a sense  of some purpose.  Just few seconds before she lit the fire after dousing herself in kerosene, she heard a voice within her to stop.   She felt that God surely had a reason on why she have this life.  She decided to fight back the odds.

This sudden realization to life live meaningfully, made her get up with courage and start thinking at the positive side of life.   She started pursuing her education again.   Went on to do her BBA with extreme struggle and complete the same in flying colours.   She decided to tame her body to push to do the wheel chair marathon and her joy knew no bounds when she finished her first 10 kms Wheel chair marathon.   Today she works in the HR department of a company in Ambattur.

Her Achievements defying odds!

Participated 10 Km Marathon (Wheel chair) organised by the Wipro Chennai Marathon December 10 2014.
First person in India to do 10 km on wheel chair without assistance who has in injured spine.
First Prize in Shot Put Competition conducted by Tamil Nadu differently Abled Federation Charitable Trust
Won competitions AGAPA REHABILITATION CENTRE ELECTION 18TH June 2017(First Prize)
Tamil Nadu Para Sports State Championship held at Sports  Development -26th to 28th January 2018-Madurai (Discus Throw Second place) (And Javelin Throw Third place)

Tamil Nadu Differently Abled  Federation Charitable Trust 17th State Level Sports Meet for the differently Abled  Persons -10th February -2018 (100 MTS Wheel chair race  Second Prize) And (Shot Put First Prize)

Her Dreams now!

1.  To complete 21 kms in Wheel Chair Marathon 
2.  To represent India in Para-Olympic Sports and win prizes in Shot Put and Javelin Throw
3.  To financial support and take care of her aged parents.
4.  Share her story and inspire atleast 2 disabled women in life to look forward and not end life.

How do I know her?

Couple of years back, she came to NIFT where my daughter Aishwarya and her friends designed a ready to wear saree for her as part of their Ability Foundation Competition.  From that day, my daughter kept on talking about this girl.  Last year, when Anna Lakshmi wanted to search for a job and take up work, she needed a mobility vehicle.    Bank loan was given for the actual cost of the vehicle, however, the accessories that need for a physically challenged person had to be done on her own cost and thats where we pitched in and got the vehicle ready by giving her the financial assistance and from there our god-daughter relationship started with her.

Her Crusade will continue:

1.  To spread the message that disability of mind is bigger than the physical disability
2.   To empower women with spinal cord injury to not give up hope and start living life positively
3.  Creating more awareness and thrive for creating more accessible India for Wheel-Chair bound

Raghu and I left their home in Redhills last night, with a mixed feelings after giving her the new wheel chair.   We felt so heavy in heart and same time felt so happy to see such a compassion and warmth and positivist in this brave-heart.  Thanks to my blogger friend Guru for sponsoring the Wheel Chair and also to my friends in Inner Wheel for support to get her scooter ready.