STAR OF THE DAY
What you aspire can be achieved

Aug
22

zombiechicken

I got a nomination for the Zombie Chicken:  I owe it to Rebecca Anne Emrich, a notable writer from Canada. Any amount of thanks is less for this honor Rebecca!

The Details:
The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

My Nominations Are:

  • Rebeccasbook: Rebecca Anne Emrich – a notable writer from Canada – shares a treasure of information with us on writing, publishing and printing. Thanks Rebecca for being so kind to let us learn from your experience.
  • Bobbytalkscinema: Bobby Singh’s movie reviews on Hindi films and his knowledge about Hollywood cinema will bring you across movies one should see before dying
  • Igiveyou: JP brings to the fore unsung heroes of our society… a truly commendable job.
  • Doosraredux: Dileep Premchandran – a notable cricket writer working for cricinfo…I envy his knowledge.

I hope you all enjoy the Zombie Chicken, it is yours to enjoy and pass on! You can nominate your favorite five blogs/sites and pass on this award to them. I thank the readers of this blog and above all the ‘Stars’ featured on this site, without whom this recognition would not have been possible.

Aug
19

Joginder SinghFrom crawling due to polio as a 10-year-old to a national-level weightlifter at the age of 23, the story of Joginder Singh is there for every differently-abled person to emulate.

Joginder started his workout regime when he was 13, ignoring all the advice cum warnings of his near and dear ones. “I used to tell him that his legs were weak and he shouldn’t take any risk as he had barely started walking after nine surgeries,” says his mother Jaswant Kaur.

Very few knew what Joginder had in my mind when he started working out. Having experienced the anguish of polio disability, he wanted to bring smiles on the faces of similar individuals. To fulfill his desire, he opened up a gymnasium – Workout Wonders – in January 2009 in New Delhi, India, to provide an opportunity to the differently-able to work out free of charge, while he charges from others to maintain his dream project.

Not only does he allow free use of the facility to the differently-abled, he also trains them for body-building competitions. “You should first show the muscles of your right arm as a surprise and then flaunt the triceps of the other arm. Do this with a disarming smile,” he instructs.

Joginder takes the support of crutches to walk but that doesn’t stop him from driving his “customized” car using a hand-operated rod to control the accelerator and brake pedals. His fortitude does rub off to others, as in the case of Amarjeet Singh, one of the polio-affected contestants, who saw Joginder at an arm-wrestling championship and got inspired to follow in his footsteps. “That was the time when I aimed to become as macho as him,” says Amarjeet.

An alumnus of the SGTB Khalsa College of Delhi University, Joginder helps physically-disabled students at the time of college admissions every year. He lends a helping hand to those students in completing admission formalities and choosing the right college for themselves.

Joginder’s hardships have not yet ended. To fund his dream project, he took a loan that needs to be repaid. Besides, he is the one who feeds his entire family. A government job is what he aspires to get to ease off his financial burden.

Evidently, he is a tough nut and not ready to give in to adversity. Nowadays, he is preparing himself for the trials of Asian Games in 2010. God bless our ‘Star of the Day’!

Jul
25

Laxman RaoIf you ever happen to step on the pavement outside the building of Hindi Bhawan near ITO in New Delhi, India, you might give a passer’s look to a roadside tea-seller called Laxman Rao. What might coax you to look over your shoulder is the stack of books neatly placed alongside his stove. “What are these books here for?” you might ask yourself. Of course, they are meant to be sold but what’s more noteworthy is the name of the author in print on the covers. All those are penned by Laxman Rao, the tea-seller.

This middle-aged man has contributed 20 books to Hindi literature, spanning over 37 years. “I have been sitting outside Hindi Bhawan for 15 years now but have never been invited to any literary function there,” says Rao in an ironical tone. The author lays before us his pity by saying that the Delhi’s writing fraternity knows him more as a chaiwala than a writer.

With his treasure lying bare beside him, Laxman Rao tells us about the rare feat he achieved recently by way of his latest novel titled Renu. It was read by none other than the President of India, Pratibha Patil, who got so impressed that she sent an invitation for the writer to come and meet her at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The twinkle in Rao’s eyes was evident as he narrated the honor bestowed upon him. “Unse milkar aaj mere kaam to recognition mil gayee (my work got recognition today after meeting her), he said ecstatically. He thanked the efforts of a group of intellectuals called Vidharbha Mitra Mandal who presented his work to the President.

He forayed into writing as an 18-year-old, when he wrote his first novel, Ramdas. It was based on a true story of a boy who drowned in the river in his village and sold 2,200 copies. However, it was not before he had to toil hard after landing in Delhi in 1975 from Maharashtra’s Taregaon Dashasar village. He worked as a laborer and did dishes at local restaurants before setting up his roadside tea stall. All this while, he kept pursuing his BA degree from the Delhi University.

Since his first novel, he has touched topics related to politics, social issues, people and life in general. “Most people can’t believe that a chaiwala can write books. Initially I could not even find publishers,” laments Rao. That, however, didn’t hold him back. He set up his own publication called Bhartiya Sahitya Kala Prakashan and published 8 of his 20 books, with four more ready to go to press. “You don’t need a decorated office. Just compile your work and give it in any press for printing. Publishers have started coming forward now but I can handle everything myself,” Rao says with determination writ large over his face. What more, he markets his work himself, cycling to schools and colleges in and around Delhi besides selling his work alongside his tea stall.  

Although his first love is writing, it’s the tea he sells that runs his family. He is there at 9 in the morning every day and leaves for home at 9 in the evening, with earnings anywhere between Rs. 100 and Rs. 150 daily. However, he made sure that his two sons didn’t get robbed off the gift of education. The elder one, Hitesh, studies chartered accountancy and the younger one is completing his graduation.

While there is nothing that can match the efforts and fortitude of Laxman Rao, it surely is a lesson for those who feel aggrieved due to lack of opportunity and resources. We can write our own destiny, as did this ‘Star of the Day’.

Jul
06

During years when there is a youthful spring in one’s stride, Jyoti Saini – crippled with polio for life – felt isolated from her age group and depressed with inferiority complex. Now at 35 years old, she is a figure of inspiration, making sure that the disabled don’t have to go through the trauma like she had to.   

She was a toddler when the lightning struck in the form of an infected injection. “I was born a healthy child in Ahmedabad and even started walking when I was one-and-a-half-year-old but I developed a fever and the doctor administered me an injection infected with polio. I was completely paralysed and was able to gain mobility only after several physiotherapy sessions and rehabilitation but my lower limbs never recovered,” narrates Jyoti.

Jyoti went through arduous times but had a strong heart inside. Parents’ support is something such children look up to and she was never short of that. She completed her masters in computer science but God seemed to have written a different script for her.

Her life took a destined turn when she landed up at an NGO working with differently abled children. “I joined the NGO to teach computer basic and professional courses to disabled children from rural villages. What struck me the most was their enthusiasm and courage to move on with life despite the difficulties they faced due to their disabilities. That’s when I realised what my calling was. I counselled disabled girls who are the worst affected,” she said. Her job involved gathering data related to employment and legislation problems faced by disabled and then fighting for their rights.

Her moment of truth arrived in 2003 when Mobility International in USA conducted a leadership programme for women with disability and she was invited to be part of it. Since then, it has been a story of success and service to the society. A Heinz fellowship for a year in Pittsburgh in 2005 for a masters programme in rehab and disability is a testimony to that. “During that course, I was introduced to assistive technology and how it can be used to increase the functional capabilities of the disabled.”

On her return to India, she joined hands with Institute of Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC). She heads the Department of Assistive Technology there. “Initially I went into depression when I joined the centre. I realised how parents of young children having cervical paralysis also suffered with a false hope that their kids will walk out of the centre but I found strength in the famous saying – ‘I stopped complaining about not having shoes when I saw a man with no feet.’ It is now the motto of my life.”

The work Jyoti does and her attitude towards it has left me in awe of this selfless soul. She has received an invitation to address the audience at UNESCO’s Leadership Programme at the University of Connecticut in the US in August and share her experience at a global stage.

At the end, I find it hard to find words of praise parallel to the work done by this magnanimous ‘Star of the Day.’