I'm joining Service Space because ... I belong to it :) my way of work and being are hugely influenced by ideas and values of Service Space - perhaps, I was already connected!
A good day to me is when ... I have contributed to someone, somewhere - or have learnt something valuable
My hero in life is ...Take Your Time - Ekath Easwaran comes to my mind at the moment
My favorite book is ...Nipun! :) and Jayesh Bhai and, amongst great leaders Gandhi and Ang Sang Su Kyi
One thing I'm grateful for is ... The privilege of being human, of having a life filled with friends and opportunities, and for all this time which is mine, where I enjoy all that people before me have worked hard to create
Mar 18, 2016, 10 smiles It was the end of the Song of Love retreat. Four of us were ready to dunk Madhu into the pool at Sugad. Just before we did that, we paused. We frisked Madhu for anything that could not stand water. His glasses, a watch and a handkerchief were duly taken aside. And then, SPLASH! It may seem like an act of mischief, but it was really an act of love…..the beautiful, invisible space that we swam together in. Any visit to Sughad is a deep dive into love – everytime. It starts with Uday Bhai’s ricshaw (where Morari Bapu and Kajol have joined the list of Amitabh and the rest of us as passengers). Uday bhai took me to the Girls Hostel opposite the Ashram – the path leading to the courtyard was already full of hearts and lamps. Inside, the girls neatly parted in two sections with space in the middle and the verdant ... Read Full Story
Feb 16, 2016, 16 smiles Today, I was the recipient of an unusual form of love and generosity. The traffic police towed my car (for the first time ever). I went to have it released. I was asking the traffic police about why they don't switch to clamps instead of towing etc. He told me the fine was Rs.300 - the typical charges for something like this. He handed me the receipt - I saw that it was 100 rupees less than the fine amount (that he had quoted). I was already prepared to demand a full receipt. But he returned the 100 rupees to me. I looked puzzled. He said, 'I wont put a fine on you - just the towing charges'. I asked him - Why not? To which he said - just that when someone talks like this, with humanity, we can use our discretion. On one end, the discretion gets used for getting bribed. But here, the cop was using discretion on the other side. He was using it to make concessions. And this was not because of any influence or position but just honouring a human to human connection! It is interesting that while bribing is possible in India. making such exceptions is also much easier here!
Apr 20, 2015, 1 comments, 12 smiles Last week, Nimo bhai came in as the convocation 'singer' to give a commencement address to the graduates of our year long service-learning program. Between stories and songs, there was tender sharing, hugs and a closing message to the class to be kind, be generous and plant seeds! What a privilege to have his love and energy be the final gift that our kids carry with them as they continue their journey of life long service :)
Jan 06, 2015, 1 comments, 8 smiles It is hard to not miss Jayeshbhai - so when Shaheen came as the chief guest for our girls program, it felt like a reunion. More so, when she shared a couple of lovely stories of Jayeshbhai! One was a story about them travelling on a hot day in an AC car. The car stops at a signal and Jayeshbhai rolls down his windows. The street kids get 3 minutes of cool air blowing on them! Another one was Jayeshbhai taking packets of cigarettes playfully from people. When asked "Why do you do that? What about free choice" Jayeshbhai simply replies "If your brother would smoke what would you do? These are my brothers" The joy is to see how the power of these small acts ripples way beyond the local space where they do and how the effect amplifies....now the family is growing so chance encounters are high and not uncommon! Most importantly, the school girls being inspired to do random acts of kindness was beautiful....am left with a smile and a chant "Jay Jagat!"
Dec 26, 2014, 6 smiles We pulled off a mini-miracle at the South Asian Youth Conference (an annual coming together of young leaders for a peaceful region). It was a call to organize offline events and connect online - taking the entire conference experience (including workshops, drafting of documents and hanging out as alumni) online WITH offline face-time in each country. So at 'zero cost', we had people from places as diverse as Swat Valley (in Pakistan) to Colombo talking and attending sessions. We had offline events in Karachi, Mumbai, Kabul and Kathmandu (the last two are yet to get back to us with details!) And we had a collective declaration with people from various countries chipping in - all this, only responding to a pure call to dedicate a day to thinking about South Asia :) It was a WOW feeling - that we now have technology plus soul force to organize ourselves and include way more people so much more effortlessly....possibilities as we step into the future seem endless! :)
Dec 26, 2014, 3 comments, 6 smiles As I was reading the source document of the Hunger Project a very useful distinction opened up.... I always look at some people from Service Space and wonder how kindness comes so naturally to them? (That would actually be most people in the space I guess) To me kindness has been much more sporadic - a doing that happens when there is some degree of effort, almost. It's a running joke I have with Akshat about 'DOING my random act of kindness for the day' (and feeling like I got done with it atleast for today)..... And any 'effort' to be kind to me feels un-natural....it is only kindness that naturally spings forth that to me feels right.... So as I was reading this document, there was a very interesting idea around content and context. To cut the long story short, I find myself looking at kindness as the 'content' of my life - as a ... Read Full Story
Dec 22, 2014, 5 smiles Ripples are beautiful, and so are ripples of ripples....Shubham Sharma, a volunteer of Make a Difference (whom I do not know personally) messaged to share "I paid the toll tax of person behind me today :)" Now I must admit that I have NEVER done this myself, and yet it was an example I used for a program we had conducted - and so inspiration travels and eventually translates into action.... It is a hard to describe sweet feeling to know that this family extends and good is happening all around :)
Dec 17, 2014, 4 smiles Delighted to see an "Eternal Gandhi" store at the Mumbai Domestic Airport - with Vaishnav Jan playing in the background, lots of Gandhi-related material around....maybe Gramshree and MBL products will also pop up there soon :)
Nov 28, 2014, 1 comments, 6 smiles Our global family came alive at Sugad last week, as young change agents from 9 different countries (across 4 continents) came together for a retreat. The intent was to explore ‘sustainability’ in a totally new light: a very Indian approach to deal with the challenge of sustainable development being faced by humanity. As a part of Sustainaware, we travelled to different countries and understood their challenges, underwent their training programs and served there – from Nigeria to Argentina and Slovenia to Liechtenstein, it was all the diversity in the world. The final leg was India – and we had to give our friends what we refer to as the ‘Ahmedabad’ experience. What ensued in the next 6 days was soul stirring. A group of people used to intellectual conversations and project visits was suddenly practicing silence, cleanliness and doing dishes! There were looks of confusion, surprise and smiles as we began… And yet, over the ... Read Full Story
Sep 30, 2014, 5 smiles Had the honor of spending a day of reflection with Rajaji (Rajagopal PV) of Ekta Parishad. Over the last 45-odd years, Rajaji has organized the most marginalized people of India in a non-violent, Gandhian Way. Some touching stories included how he went about reconciling with the bandits and dacoits of the Chambal Valley (in the 70s) and did it successfully with patience. From there on, his has been a journey of constant service and including - Ekta Parishad's last action was a padyatra from Gwalior to Delhi with over 60,000 people! The demand was for land reforms and it was met - at one time, 3 people were killed. Yet not a single person from the crowd retaliated - instead, they meditated. The police came to control and protect them in the day, and then approached them in the night saying they want to learn from them! Such magical stories of soul ... Read Full Story