Wednesday, January 15, 2014

IndiChange - MILAAP in Bangalore

IndiChange is known for bringing up some very potential issues with a simple solution. This time Indiblogger organized its meet on 15 December 2013 in Bangalore at Microsoft Research India Labs Pvt. Ltd. and the name for this meeting was MILAAP. It literally means unity. I reached the venue almost half an hour late searching for this lab in the corners of the city. I entered there half soaked in sweat asking for the way to Indimeet. As I entered, I was authenticated as Surbhi with a badge stuck to my arm. The venue was jam-packed with over 100 bloggers along with me crouching at the last seat.

My IndiChange Badge
It was my first Indiblogger meeting. I was pleased by the ambience and suave aura. The organizers were pretty cool quickly making us drop our corporate garb and bringing out the social animal out of us. The rockstar video of Anoop- the Zombie and Nihal's birthday celebration made everyone at ease.

Soon the introduction round began with a timer running on the screen. Speaking about yourself for 60 seconds seemed a herculean task to many including me too.  


We were asked to describe our wish for a better world in just one word. While most of us wished for a secure, happy and peaceful world, some thought out of the box and came up with very good ideas wafting an air of change in the room.

The real agenda of this Indiblogger meeting was discussing about MILAAP and carrying out Hope Project.

Milaap is a mission driven company changing the way people fund and impact communities in need. Every day, they connect hundreds of hardworking borrowers looking to start a small business, pay for education, install better facilities in their households, and more - with people around the world willing to lend and rally their friends and family with as little as Rs. 500 ($25).
The Hope Project

The Hope Project is a campaign that aims to inspire urban masses towards empowering rural women entrepreneurs through small contributions. What makes this project special is that the women in this case are ex-Devadasis and the possibility of self-reliance is a ray of fierce hope for them. Within the Devadasi system, young girls are “married” to the temple goddess. This merciless practice, though illegal, still exists in small towns of India. 

Milaap is trying to change their lives in the best and only way that we know - empower the people to empower them! The Hope Project seeks to shed some myths about this practice and invites small loans for the micro enterprises of these women. With these small loans, the women can set up small businesses and escape from this cycle of hopelessness.
The Brave Akka
A real Devadasi came up to share her journey so far with all of us. It was really shocking to listen to the ruthlessness faced by her. She appreciated the efforts of Milaap and encouragement she received to move on in her life. Today she is out of this evil system and helping other women like her to come out of this puddle and lead an independent life. We all pledged to blow the wave of change through our voices.


It was the time for some fun. Anoop asked to form groups, actually weird groups each with one member wearing a collar-shirt, one round-shirt and the rest I dont remember. The challenge was to arrange the pieces, solve the puzzle, identify the lady and answer a few questions. All the teams were set into action. Arranging the pieces, eyes, nose, grass, walls, windows... huffff , a tough job but yeah! my team made it and we were amongst the winners. Soon after that we all headed for the high tea. The table discussions over snacks, listening to fellow bloggers, getting to know more about the ground realities was altogether an amazing experience.

                                                             Lady in the Puzzle

The meeting ended with a photosession round. All bloggers with a confident ray of hope dispersed to carry the journey forward.

The Changemaker IndiBloggers


Milaap helps the individuals with micro finances. It aims at increasing opportunities and self-empowering the individuals.
Aims of Milaap

Success Stories


Be a Changemaker

You can also contribute to this social cause just with a click. It's very simple and secure.You are assured that your money is being used for the betterment of someone. You are paid the entire sum back within time and this is how you are called a Changemaker.



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Recharge Life with Recharged Hair


Rapunzel had long, strong, recharged hair. All say it's a fairy tale. No one can have such recharged hair. But I'm also no less than a fairy. She had long hair to keep the witch young. So I too thought of some fairy tale reasons to recharge my life with my recharged tresses.

1. To recharge my laptop


Whenever power goes off, my laptop starts taking last breaths. I have lots of important work to do like meeting the deadline of contests like this, dropping mails to Santa everyday, edit photographs, bully the juniors with e-assignments, chat with friends and many more. Huff!!!! I'm so busy to tell you the long list. So with my perfect recharged hair, I will recharge the dying battery of my laptop just like Rapunzel's magical hair and finish off the long list easily. I think perhaps my hair will soon be declared as the alternate source of power.

2. To get my mobile recharged


The market is flooded with smart appliances. I came to know that soon a 'smart recharge' facility will be available to customers like me. Since I have smart recharged hair, so I will just need to show the network providers my lovely tresses and they will recharge my mobile phone. Yuhuuuuuu!!!! Now I can talk to anyone and everyone till my balance zeroes and again get my smart phone recharged with smart top-up with my smart recharged hair.

3. To save my cycle from getting punctured                    

I daily have to travel through the thickets to reach my institute and in the way the bicycle tyre deflates most of the times. But since I have silky tresses, I will put all my hair in front and sweep the way for prickly stones and spines which puncture the tyre. I'll save more pennies now. Yeah!!!!!

4. To slap the goons with my super -powered tresses


My strong recharged hair are powerful enough to make me a Supergirl. Now if I'll find any of the goons bullying either me or my friends then I'll smash them hard with my super strong recharged hair. A single strand of my strong hair will make them run away. 

5. To recharge my bank account


As I said above, this is the era of smart people, so I just came to know from Raghuram Rajan that RBI is soon going to launch a 'smart policy'. This smart policy will be introduced for the welfare of smart yet poor people like me. According to it, every month the leading hair care brands like Sunsilk will credit 10% of their monthly profits into the bank accounts of people having strong recharged hair. They will do so because they will make common-smart people their gully-celebrities publicizing their brand in every corner of the country. I'm so happy that I'm one of the eligible smart Rapunzel. 

¡Salud! JJJ

This post is written for a contest by Sunsilk in association with Indiblogger.

Off-Beat REAL Cinema

This post won the Miss Lovely Contest organized by Blogadda.

                               Cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out.
Martin Scorsese 
Cinema is the most powerful tool for conveying the latent issues or messages which people are afraid of talking freely. Cinema is not purely about entertainment but breaking the lull of sleeping masses. Cinema is not all about peppy dialogues but breaking the mum over potential termite- issues which are eating the inside of our society. Cinema is not all about zippy grooves and swaying hips but taking a stand in unison against human atrocities.

Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second.
Jean-Luc Godard 

Cinema is a teacher which can teach one subjects ranging from mythology to literature, dictatorship to democracy,  life to death , humane to inhumane. India being a multi-coloured country has a glorious past , a striving present and an uncertain future. People here see whatever is shown on the screen whether it is beautiful or obscene. They just see it for the sake of seeing. But now the time has come to watch the scenes behind the curtain. It is the moral responsibility of the Indian producers to use this powerful medium for the sake of the country, bring the 'real' cinema on the screen.
                                                 Cinema is a medium that can translate ideas.
                                                                                                                                    David Lynch 
I appreciate the efforts of some of the cinema people who went out of their way to bring out the stark realities hidden behind the glamour and pompous lens. 

1. JALPARI - The Desert Mermaid

Movie: Jalpari - The Desert Mermaid
Cast: Lehar Khan, Krishang Trivedi, Pravin Dabas, Suhasini Mulay, Tannishtha Chatterjee
Direction: Nila Madhab Panda
Date of Release : 31 august 2012

The Story behind the Lens
This is not like the story of Alice in Wonderland meeting the fantastical characters down the rabbit-hole. But it's the story of Desi Alice Shreya (Lehar Khan) who encounters her fairy-tale dream, albeit in India's hinterlands. She lands in her father's village in Haryana for her vacations with her brother, Sam, to explore the village spun right out of a fairy tale, replete with streams, lakes and grasslands that will allow them to run free. But all they find are dusty alleys, dried up ponds and hostile playmates. She's the only tomboy this backward village has ever seen, where women are as 'covered-up' as their deep dark secrets.  She wanders like a local gaon ki chhori, meets villagers whose mindsets are narrower than local gullis, befriends and bullies the local boys, beats them at their games and finally crosses the most dreaded, 'No Entry' zone - the daayan's haveli. And hence finds out the dark secret of the village bereft of water and women. 

Why to Watch
The dried village wishes for a mermaid to sprinkle rain over them and rescue them from the self-inflicted miseries. The movie shows how the heinous crime of female foeticide was concealed in the haveli in the name of the witch. The orthodox beliefs and superstitions are still prevalent in the rustic lands howsoever progress India has made in the urbane lands.


Movie: Oass
Cast: Dibya Chhetri, Yashpal Sharma, Jameel Khan,Priyanka Bose, Subrata Dutta
Direction: Abhinav Shiv Tiwari
Date of Release : 18 October 2012

The Story behind the Lens
Oass means Dew Drop. A Dew Drop that refuses to go into the bottomless well of non-existence. It is the journey of a child, a colleen, a woman. It documents the turbulent journey of Kiku from the innocence of childhood to winning the battle of survival. Thousands of little girls are bartered for money each year to be shoved into the ever growing sex trade, making it one of the largest contraband businesses today. Kiku hails from the beautiful hills of Nepal. When Kiku was 11 years old, her life was like a dream – time spent running around in the fields in her village and playing with her little sister. Like any other girl of her age, she dreamt of a bright future that good education could provide her. This ambition took her all the way to Delhi – only to be sold to a brothel where she was drugged, raped, kicked and punched. Everyday a little more of her soul was crushed. However, she believed that she had to win this battle for freedom to help rescue other victims like her.

Why to Watch
OASS brings to light the menace of girl-child trafficking and the perils faced by the many Kikus across the globe. It is inspired from many true-life stories of girls like Kiku. It’s influenced by the narrative given by the girl about herself and various others like her who have been through this torment. The central character of the movie is inspired from the true story of a girl whose immense determination to achieve freedom helped her not only to stay alive but also bring to us the ordeal she had been through. It also draws inspiration from the lives of various other Kikus worldwide. It is  an eye opener for the “civilized” world.


Movie: Choli Ke Peeche ( Gangor)
CastAdil Hussain , Priyanka Bose, Samrat Chakrabarti, Seema Rahmani, Tilottama Shome.
Direction:  Italo Spinelli(story by Mahasweta Devi.)
Date of Release : 15 March 2013

The Story behind the Lens
Upin , a photo journalist is sent to Purulia (Kolkata) to cover astory on the exploitation of tribals. There he comes across a tribal woman called ' Gangor', who he thinks is the epitiome of Indian beauty. He shoots pictures of her .When an article on ‘Stop Rape’ along with a picture of Gangor breastfeeding her child is published on the front page of a Bengali daily. The lives of Upin and Gangor take an unexpected turn introducing a tragic twist in the story. Gangor’s world turns upside down the moment the newspaper reaches her village.

She falls prey to bitter backlash from the villagers. She loses her daily work at the brick firm. Her misery doubles, when she becomes homeless. The picture of her breastfeeding incites the local police to exploit her physically. The police start chasing her in quest of carnal pleasure. Taking advantage of the ill-fated Gangor’s helplessness, the flesh-hungry vultures in the guise of public life’s saviors take her forcibly to the police station and gang rape her. The movie depicts the internal trauma of a liberal urbane photographer who unwillingly becomes the part of the very violence he wishes to end. Purulia is the district haunted by Naxalites and resided by Kheria Sabars whose livelihood depends on forests. But with the rapid industrialization, forests are being cut down and they are rendered as gipsy.These tribals face the problem of seasonal unemployment and pittance pay. And the worst happens with the tribal women who are exploited sexually.

Why to Watch
The movie depicts how easily women fell prey to hungry bulls. And when they are shunned from their family and society , they have no other option left to survive rather than surrendering themselves. It raises the questions against the motives of life - guardians -policeman. If the saviour authority is ridden with lecherous gleam, whom should  a common woman approach ???


Movie: Salaam Bombay!
Cast: Nana Patekar, Shafiq Syed, Irrfan Khan, Anita Kanwar, Raghuvir Yadav
Direction:  Mira Nair
Date of Release:13 September 1988

The Story behind the Lens
The film chronicles the day-to-day life of children living on the streets of Mumbai (then Bombay).It  is the gritty tale of 10-year old Krishna (Shafiq Syed, a runaway discovered by Nair), a boy kicked out of his home, and abandoned by the traveling circus he had joined. In desperation, he uses the little money he has to buy a one-way ticket to the nearest city, which turns out to be Bombay. He follows the thieves, befriends them, and ends up in the city's notorious red-light area of Falkland Road, near the Grant Road Railway Station. Tutored by a drug addict and a prostitute, Krishna learns how to survive in the streets of the dirty and crowded city. At the end Krishna is shown going back to his world of drug-pushers, pimps and prostitutes, still nurturing his dream of one day returning to his mother.

Why to Watch
Salaam Bombay! takes your breath away with its harrowing portrait of the deprivations endured by this hungry and homeless young boy who seems condemned by fate to a hopeless future. The  movie is about children doing the best they can for themselves. But the poverty takes toll and getting into wrong hands spoil their whole life. It raises questions about the future of the street children who beg, deal and survive.


Movie: Parzania
CastNaseeruddin Shah ,Corin Nemec ,Sarika ,Parzan Dastur, Pearl Barsiwalla, Raj Zutshi
Direction:   Rahul Dholakia
Date of Release :26 January 2007
The Story behind the Lens
The film is inspired by the true story of a ten-year-old Parsi boy, Azhar Mody, who disappeared after the 28 February 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre, during the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 during which 69 people were killed.Parzania doesn't talk of politicians or the reasons that triggered off the riots. It tells of a family whose lives go topsy-turvy during the riots. Allan, an American, arrives in Ahmedabad searching for answers, praying to find internal peace and understand the world and his troubled life. Allan chooses India as his school and Gandhi as his subject. It's here that he meets Cyrus and his loving  Pithawala family. 

Cyrus  lives with his wife Shernaz , son Parzan and daughter Dilshad . Communal riots break out in the city and the Hindus target this housing colony. In the aftermath of the riots, Cyrus searches for his missing child while fighting for his own sanity. While assisting the Pithawalas in their search, Allan battles to uncover the reason behind the riots in an effort to make some sense of the incident. People start to question government's official explanation of the incident which downplays any conspiracy.  As a result, a Human Rights Commission is formed. Through the commission, several witnesses and victims testify against the indifference of the police to protect them from the rioters. The film ends with a dedication to the victims of communal violence.

Why to Watch
The film unfolds the 2002 Godhra riots and aftermath on screen.It gives the clear message -the common man is most affected when catastrophe strikes! The wounds may have begun to heal, but the atrocities leave behind scars that are difficult to conceal. People should act wise and choose a secular leader who doesn't commit any of such crimes for meagre vote banks.

        This post is a part of the Miss Lovely Activity in association with BlogAdda.

Miss Lovely, an off-beat film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia is set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry. It follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid – 1980s. A sordid tale of betrayal and doomed love, the film dives into the lower depths of the Bollywood underground, an audacious cinema with baroque cinemascope compositions, lurid art direction, wild background soundtracks, and gut-wrenching melodrama. Miss Lovely is scheduled for commercial release on 17 January 2014.



अधरों के पीछे दबी 
आँखों से रही झांकती 
लब पे कभी आ न सकी 
अश्कों में बस बहती रही 
बस एक बात रह गई अनकही |

¡Salud! JJJ

Love - So Different yet just Love

                             This post is selected amongst the Blogadda's WOW posts of the week.

Love, the very word imbibes so varied meanings in itself that sometimes it's so pure and sometimes so repugnant. Sometimes it's the only meaning of life, sometimes the only misery of life. This four letter word has always been a mystery for this world. Everyone tries to see his own version of love. But is there just one face of love ??? Or this multifaceted love holds multiple faces to define each of us. I have tried to describe a few different angles which Love keeps posing and we keep wondering.

Love -the most controversial
Yet the most desirable
The reason for the Life
Comes every season  in rife
To ransack every heart wise.

Lucky are those who fall in love
Lucky are those who find their love
Lucky are those who nestle their love
Lucky are those who shell their love
For love beholds the Lucky.

Every He finds a She
Since HE destines some- He for some- She
But what about me
If I love a She just like Me.

They worship Radha Krishna
They slay Heer- Ranjha
They read Shakespeare 
They debar gully Romeo-Juliet
For they love Prestige more than Love.

Love knows no language
Deaf and blind, Meek and Shy
Holds every hand which comes to thou
Different people couple in different relations
All by Love, All by Soul.

Love is all shit
Love is all bullshit
Everytime she ditches
'Coz she is a bitch.
Yet only she is my wish.

Love, the feeling so eternal
That rain pours down miles
To spread over miles.
Love, the bond so strong
That every child feels for his Mom.

Love, the thing so undescriptive
Describing every undefined thing
Love, the feeling so elusive
Filling the horizon with its gleam
Love, is just love
Varied and diverse unified by love.

¡Salud! JJJ
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Happy 2014 Year

The earth reaches the starting point to revolve again
The moon backs the sun with the twinkles again
The dusk follows the dawn
And the clock ticks back twelve again
To mark a new year again.

New hopes, new aspirations
All are set on track
Be  righteous , Be just
Be receptive , Be determined
To mark something new 
To blow the trumpet
That has never been blew.

Today will become yesterday
Yesterday will follow today
Just do that which will make every day
A memorable day.
Compile a year which you will look back
Everytime as the best of your Life.

¡Salud! JJJ