PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – ABILASHA


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Most of the good things in my life are sweet accidents. Destiny has always been kind to me despite the occasional glimpses of chaos. But Abilasha’s story was different. It all started with the sentence below. I dream of a day when disability would no longer be considered a curse, and the people who are differently abled would be given a chance to have a normal shot at life, just like the others.

After a long time I saw someone speaking my own language.  We live in a world where people are constantly obsessed with perfection. Is it possible for the special ones to co-exist ? Frankly I don’t know the answer but in Abilasha I saw a spirit filled with conviction and hope. A  spirit with a never say die attitude. It was time to merge two story lines into one single plot for ours was a common dream but first I had to connect the dots and that meant meeting her in person.

But the big question was how?  Luckily destiny intervened again and VOICES OF THE UNHEARD happened.  And I am glad it did for I realized she wasn’t alone and neither was I. There were many out there who shared the same passion.  We were all in this together.

There are times in life when you need a hand to show you the way to your destination. Luckily it was the hand of a young prodigy. A mere thank you won’t suffice for the way she’s touched my life. But I guess for now that will do. There’s a long way to go and let’s make a difference together one step at a time. 

PS : Our first meet was almost a freeze frame moment. “You are Chetna’s friend Sir ? She queries. I almost blurt out the truth. I want to say “Oh yes I am. But you are the reason I am here. An autograph please”. But a simple Yes was the answer that came out. Perhaps that’s what happens when a fan meets his Superstar. 

 

 

 

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PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – RICHA SINGH


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I have been blogging for 4 years now. Four long years.  I blogged without a pattern or a vision. The posts were random and I didn’t care about the numbers either. The numbers didn’t make sense to me until I met the face behind the Philosopher’s stone.

I still vividly remember my first glimpse of the Philosopher’s stone. It was during my first and only A-Z campaign a couple years ago. I bumped into it in my quest for personal stories. Stories which would act as a trigger point for my campaign. I finished the campaign with ease. Mission accomplished and it was goodbye to Philosopher’s Stone. Of course I did come back whenever I needed a reference point to write personal stories or whenever I had to move away from my everyday routine. But I wasn’t a regular follower.

Cut to 2016 and there’s an announcement for a Blog Chatter session in Chennai. I must admit it didn’t interest me at first but my bestie was persistent. You can never say no when it’s Gayatri Aptekar. So I signed up with reluctance. Even if the session didn’t work out for me atleast I would get to meet the person who transformed Philospher’s stone into what it is today.

1oth July 2016 – OMG I just handed the reins of a lazy Sunday Morning to someone else. I cursed myself until I reached the specified location. Where exactly is Karya Space ?  The urge to turn back gets stronger and stronger  But I guess the session was destined for me. I move up the building and we greet each other. So this is the ever vibrant Richa Singh

” Maybe I will sit for an hour and leave citing prior commitments”. I say to myself as the session begins. But what happened thereafter startled me. I was hooked within the first 10 minutes. And I was in a trance for the next four hours. I have been addressed by speakers and eminent personalities before. But no one has ever shaken my ideals like she did. I realized what I have been missing despite blogging for 4 years. She spoke in a language which resonated with me. Every action point put forth was feasible and actionable. It is not everyday you come across a person who can translate their vision into words that can be understood.  Richa did that with admirable ease in those four hours. I was glad that I attended the session.

Forget having an organized blogging schedule I have never been an organized person before. Schedules were alien to me. For the very first time in my life there is a conscious effort to be organized, to blog with a definite pattern and I do know it will pay off in the long run.

These were my exact words to my bestie after the session ended ” Richa is a rare being. I wish there were enough clones like her, personalities who could transform people’s life with their passion and vision”.

Best wishes for all your future endeavours.

 

 

 

 

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – NANDHITHA HARIHARAN


 

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It’s been a while. A very long break from the inspiration series. Nandhitha in more ways than one is the right choice for a re-start. A travel back in time to Ganga Bharani’s book reading session yet again. Our first meeting starts off with a small introductory note. First meets do not always reveal too much.

But every single day after that first meet has been a pleasant surprise. It is not very often that you come across a person who can hide profound thoughts beneath a warm genuine smile. When she does speak her mind through her words the reader is enticed into a world of reflection

At times I wonder how she does it. Not everyone can break down complex thoughts into simple words. It’s a rare skill. There will be some take away for everyone who reads.

I am a very huge fan of her re-assuring smile. It has made my day more than once. Her sensibilities and her age are an epic mismatch  I pause to think where I was at the exact same point in my life. I was just a wandering soul struck in the middle of nowhere.

And trust me it takes a lot of courage to encourage a nobody like me. She’s done that constantly over the past few months reminding me constantly of my uniqueness. It just lifts me up for the entire day.

She’s my favorite heroine too. Don’t get me wrong. We don’t step into each other’s personal space so when I wrote the hashtag series. I had absolutely no reference point except how I viewed her from my mind’s eye. I relished each word that I wrote and finished the entire character sketch in a single afternoon. The series is yet to see the light of the day. But someday hopefully in the form of a book.

She’s good at chopping words too. People who have worked with her have only words of praise for her editorial skills. When it is your chance to stand at the podium. I hope to be among the audience clapping for you like a mad fan. It’s been an honour knowing you. Best wishes.

PS: I would love to be the person to pen your life when the time is right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHENNAI BOOK FAIR 2016


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The Chennai Book Fair – An irresistible annual book feast for someone like me.  I have been a regular visitor for the past 5 year. It’s an Annual Book Fair organized in Chennai by the Book Sellers and Publishers Association of South India ( BAPASI ). The Chennai Book Fair is the Second Largest Book Fair in the country with a collection of over 700 titles. There can be no better sight for a book lover than seeing all your favorite titles in one place.

Every year it has been the same routine walking from stall to stall hunting for rare classics. The sweat doesn’t matter. It’s one of those days when the other senses are almost invisible as the two pair eyes go into auto search mode looking for rare titles hidden among the pile of books. As you start adding to your collection you almost prepare yourself for the inevitable – An angry stare from Mom. I can read her mind What about the unread pile of books at home ?”. My eyes plead and she lets me have my way for one day. It’s just one of those days when nothing else matters.

If you feel tired while hunting for books no worries. There’s an assortment of food and delicacies to satisfy the foodie in you. It’s much cheaper than your regular eat outs.

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This year was different. The regular book – scan routine wasn’t there as my legs started going into over drive mode and came to a stop at Stall 442.  Our book – AFTER THE FLOODS – A joint effort by the Bloggers of the Chennai Bloggers club.  My first published work. There was a sense of pride and fulfillment for getting an Anthology is no mean feat. A big fat thank you to all the wonderful souls of the bloggers club who made it possible. 

 

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As if that wasn’t enough getting my copy signed by Neeya Naana Gopinath Sir and Manushyaputhiran Sir was a perfect icing on the cake. No I don’t endorse their ideologies but if such lives are inspiring if you can actually understand their journey.  If seeing someone in a wheelchair talk energetically about books doesn’t motivate you. I don’t know what will.

If you are a book lover this Annual book Fair is highly recommended. If you aren’t into books a book fair is the perfect way to start your reading journey. It will help you travel to places you have never seen before. Your own imaginary world filled with happiness. .

PS : The only minus point – Lack of Parking Space.

 

 

 

 

TO BRAGADEESH WITH LOVE


 

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There were a lot of queries as to who Bragadeesh is ever since I highlighted his book cover on my wall. My honest answer – ” I don’t know”. But I will try to pen down what he means to me. I fell in love with his persona the very first I met him at Ganga Bharani’s book launch. I have heard stories of enigmatic personalities before but Prasanna was living proof of the same. I always get the feeling that there’s more to him than what he reveals. It’s a good trait though. In this day and age where people conveniently wear masks to sprint their way to the top it was refreshing to see someone stay true to himself even if it meant staying aloof.

And then came the Inspiration post. I read with a smile on my face. It reminded me of someone I knew.  The post revealed an unknown facet of Bragadeesh.  The transformation was fascinating. I still re-read that post whenever I life tests me.

We have met a few times since the book reading session. But I had absolutely no idea that he would have pivotal role to play helping me be a part of the CBC anthology.  In more ways than one I am a very reluctant writer and I don’t write more than 2 or 3 paragraphs for a single topic. But there was a small but persistent nudge from Prasanna which left me with absolutely no choice but to move out of my comfort zone. And suddenly I transformed into that little kid preparing for the examinations at the last minutes. I wrote for 2 hours at a stretch until my fingers could no longer move.

I guess he would have encouraged everyone else the same way but to me it was a very important gesture. A gesture which meant I could finally see my name on a book. My first step towards a bigger dream.

I owe a big fat thank you to both Bragadeesh and Raji. But Raji’s part is a separate story. Two wonderful souls I will always remember with a tinge of gratitude no matter how much further life takes me. But for now good luck BP. Best wishes for the journey ahead. I LOVE YOU MAN. 

 

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – MAHESH LAKSHMANAN


 

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I still remember the events that happened before I hit the friend request button. I was a little skeptical as always before a mutual friend brushed aside my worries. “Go ahead. He’s a genuine soul. You won’t regret”.

It’s been a while since we have known each other and I am glad he’s an inspiring part of my life. There are times when I lose faith in the old school values of the heart. But every time I feel like giving up Mahesh stands tall as a constant reminder.

He gives so much without expecting much in return. A genuine pat on the back for every well written article, words of comfort when life hits you heart, a warm smile to share your success. He showed all of us that giving can be a contagious habit.

I sometimes wonder if he belongs to an alien race. How can someone be so good in this big bad world? But I guess exceptions do happen.

Happy Birthday Mahesh. Keep lighting up our lives with your words of appreciation. We all love you.

ART- ery – A UNIQUE BLEND OF COLOURFUL EXPRESSIONS


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Many a times following our passion remains a distant dream. Minu Marie Mathew the brain behind ART- ery – a person who has converted her passion into a successful business model.  ART- ery is a brand which specializes in Fashion Jewellery.

A Jewel can signify many things. To some it might merely be an ornament or an accessory. To others it might be an expensive addition to their collection.  ART- ery as a brand celebrates the uniqueness within every woman. The Jewels are designed with focus on individual styles and preferences. 

Handpicking an Art-ery jewel has it’s own unique perks. You can choose a jewel which matches with your personality.  You have a wide range which leaves you with more choices and the best part is you don’t have to burn your pockets to pick something you like.

So what are waiting for?  Have a glimpse of all their products, pick your choice and flaunt it. 

 

These are the platforms where you can have a glimpse of Art-ery’s products.

Facebook – www.facebook.com/ShopARTery

Craftsvilla  – www.craftsvilla.com/shopartery

Instagram  –  https://i.instagram.com/shopartery/

Blog – http://shopartery.tumblr.com/

website – www.art-ery.in

 

 

 

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – SHARADA VIJAY


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It is not very often that you find a person who juggles so many passions with ease. Sharada – the humour queen, the chatterbox, the writer. At times I wonder if there is anything this girl cannot do. Oh wait there is one thing she cannot keep her lips sealed for more than a minute. 

My first introduction to the Amy Poehler of CBC was just days before her first stand up comedy act. I guess this is called the Almighty’s sense of timing. I just left her a small note wishing her the best for the gig. Our friendship began with that tiny good luck wish.

She was a puzzle atleast to me. As always I wasn’t sure. The usual doubts that creep in at the beginning of every friendship haunted me again. She surprised and startled me. It is not very often that people warm up to me without knowing my back story but here was someone who has willingly volunteered to be a lovely part of my life. I was desperately searching for the missing piece of the puzzle.

Beyond the daily dose of humour and our everyday conversations my heart still yearned for answers. One fine day she opens up with her own story.  A story which touched my soul. I realized we had a strong common connection. We were both survivors striving to make a difference. 

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It is often said that people with a terrific sense of humour often have untold stories within that helps them re-discover themselves as comedians and comediennes. Sharada is a wonderful example on how to transform beyond life’s hard struggles.

She has a wonderful page too – Soul Scribbles filled with stories that will stir your soul and make you fall in love again.

I am eagerly waiting for her first book MAKEIT2 . Best wishes for the journey ahead.

HAPPIE BIRTHDAY TUSHTI BHATIA


 

 

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Where should I begin? Would a simple birthday wish suffice?  I don’t think so.  When our friendship began neither of us had any idea that the impact would be so profound.

The fact that we are at the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as age is concerned didn’t matter at all. In fact that helped us complement each other. She’s a bundle of ideas.  At times I wonder if she ever sleeps. Perhaps she would be reviewing books even in her dreams.

Her warmth is contagious too.  Perhaps her inherent goodness helped us form a lovely bond. She’s still a caterpillar. I wish to see her transform into a lovely butterfly.

Happie Birthday my Princess. You are struck with me for life.

PS: I am still a better writer and reviewer than you are 🙂

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TEACHERS WHO INSPIRE ME PART 1- SHANTHAKUMARI M’AM


 

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Every Teachers day is a wonderful reminder that there is someone out there still striving to make a difference. Teaching is probably the only profession where touching lives is a daily habit.

I travel back to my PSGIM, the place which gave me so many fond memories. A place which is also synonymous with my own personal struggle for an identity.  Beyond the daily learning and fun – filled hostel moments there was something which was constantly bothering me

I struggled to fit in with my own peer group and the only way out was wearing a mask. It was not long before the mask suck me in. I pretended and did things which I am not very proud of.

And then Shanthakumari M’am happened.  She was one of the few who believed that I would be an achiever someday. Her boundless energy and commitment still inspires me.

When you reach the top a lot of people would be willing to tag along. But those who stand by your uniqueness during your lonely periods of struggle are the ones who matter the most. She was one of them.

I am a writer, a reviewer and a soon to be published author too (My first book will be out on my next birthday). All of this would not have been possible without her faith in my abilities. 

Continue inspiring people M’am. We love your passion.

I use this opportunity to thank everyone who played a part in shaping my life