Book Review: The power of Habit

Title: The power of Habit

Author: Charles Duhigg

Pages:365

Ratings: ****

Genre: Self_Help/ life skill

Recommended for: serious readers

 

I picked the book by its title and bright yellow cover( I love sunshine and mustard flowers). As I started reading it, it was a slow beginning. But slowly as I delved deeper, there are interesting insights on how our brain works, how habit is a simple process and it’s never late to be your best version…

 

This is sharp, provocative and definitely a book for keeps… One time reading is not enough, keep your pen and paper handy. It will make you introspect and analyse, it asks questions which are long forgotten…

The case studies make rationale relatable and inspire the self . .

The efforts are worth and this is one book which is going to make you what you want to be … Ofcourse we need to follow up the learnings on daily basis…

I particularly loved the Starbucks and willpower chapter…

To conclude I will say if Starbucks can do it, you can as well…

Till then, live , laugh, love and read..

Grab your copy here:

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Book Review: Spouse

Book name: Spouse

Author: Shobha De’

Genre: Non fiction

Pages:284

Ratings: ***

Recommended for: All the Mr. & Mrs. In the world

 

Spouse by Shobha De’  is a wonderful book about the truth of marriage. Credit to her to quote her own examples, shortcomings to make it more relatable and non preachy.

 

There are numerous books on relationship, yet it made me curios because of its uniqueness , practicality and advises which no one gives you…

Though at times there are repititins and whole book could be lil compact, but I felt a tinge when it finished…

A must must gift as wedding gift to newly weds. It has covered beautifully everything , be it dealing with much hyped MIL, long distance, family rituals, sex, hobbies, children, parties … in short you name it and it is there! The filmy headlines certainly add interest…

Most of the advice is what your grandmom’s will give you, yet author tells at the same time how to walk out with head held high if things are not going anywhere… It is a perfect mix of grandmom’s nushkha and modern suggestions…

I wish books like these will create more openness and while toiling for the search of perfect partner, people would have realistic expectations from marriage as well…

More such books are needed, one of the most socially relevant books I have read in recent times…

Kudos!

Grab your copy or gift it to couples now

 

 

 

Book Review: Silent Defiance

Book Review: Silent Defiance
Author: Sonia Motwani
Genre: poem/ self love / non fiction
Recommended for: everyone who loves to read and write

Words are all I have…
Silent Defiance can be summed up in its subtitle: an open refusal to everything that hurts the soul…
The book is a collection of powerful and heart touching poems which heals you, makes you stronger, makes you reflect and makes you smile…
It has the qualities of Khalil Gibran’s prophet which you would like to keep by your bedside and read again and again…
There are poems on self-love which emphasizes the fact that the most important person in your life is you… Nothing new, but we often tend to forget it…
Words are beautifully stitched in the form of poems to give you courage when you feel low, or when you have to say goodbyes…
There are poems on Passion and empowering…
These short poems can be used as quotations in your speech, in your love letters and anywhere else you can think…
Take this lovely book for your next holiday and read it in solitude…

Well done Sonia Motwani!

I would end it in your words as I share your passion for writing:
“She wrote as if it was the only way she knew to recite prayer❤️❤️”

Book Review: The perils of being moderately famous

Title: The perils of being moderately famous

Author:  Soha Ali Khan

Pages: 207

Genre: Memoir

Ratings: ****

Recommended for: Bollywood Buffs

When a princess ( literally) writes a book, you would want to sneak peek in her dreamy world, and here is the twist… This princess is just like you and me when it comes to To do list, or juggling with her college assignments, or being a daughter…

Soha Ali Khan is refreshingly honest and throughout the book, you feel the connection as if you are listening to your bestie… She has an illustrious background and yet she makes her own mark. It is amazing how every parent, no matter whether they are celebrities or farmers, try to give best to their children and one could totally relate to one’s own growing up days and childhood while reading the book…

Soha has accepted herself as she is and hence she is her at her own happy place. Hence she is what she is away from inferiority complex or jealousy…

As she herself tells, if you are looking for details of Saifeena this book is not that… It’s her book and as the story unfolds, there are examples which will make you ponder and pause…

At the end of the day, it is a light read and overall it will make you believe in you a bit better…

Good for one-time read and a perfect gift for her fans!!

The purpose of Being…

Purpose! A word that’s hard to wrap your head around, a powerful word, a word that defines your existence, & a reason to wake up every morning.

Do we value things like material comforts, extravagance, fame, glory etc or is it about fulfilment & the small acts of kindness that can make a lasting difference in the lives of the not so privileged?

Despite being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, social and economic backwardness is a poignant issue in India. At Unnati we firmly believe that there are enough opportunities for change, and through our intervention we can take a generation above the poverty line in just 50 Days, forever and therein lies the quintessence of our being.

I have felt our education system is dominant in focussing only on knowledge derived through books and ignores the kinesthetic aspect of learning thereby achieving the desired result of employment for the youth is questionable. Thus not ensuring that the youth are settled with a job even after 10-15 years of education. This realisation that our education system is not delivering results led to the program Unnati being formalised.

When we started Unnati, we realised the inherent strengths of the program through the various examples of how it changed people’s lives.  These results cannot be illustrated in words. It can only be experienced. We do experience it every day and that is what keeps us going day in and day out. We truly believe that we have an extremely special way to tackle the daunting challenges faced by these youth. The intervention happens at a very low cost which again is so important for our country. It is because of these factors that we feel the strong need to scale and help many youth in this country.

Take a classic case of Srinivas who hails from a village near Mandya in Karnataka. He came to Bangalore and was working in a shop for Rs. 1500. He slept in the shop at night and could not afford much but still managed to send home Rs. 500 every month. He went through the Unnati program and landed with a job of over Rs. 8000 per month in Cap Gemini. This was a turning point of his life. He later identified one of the critical problems as water for his 2 acre land. He saved money to put up a bore well pump by the end of the year. Over the next few years, he continued on his job and grew to become team lead. The thoughtful decision to irrigate his land brought his family out of a dire situation. Few years down the line he ensured that his sister got educated and married the right person. Srinivas got married and the first thing he ensured was to send his wife to Unnati. Both of them worked together and bought a plot, built their dream home in the outskirts of Bangalore and are now leading a fulfilled life with a child. All this has happened in a period of less than 8 years.

 

We at Unnati largely concentrate on the fundamental techniques of understanding and mastering myriad skills. The advantages of mastering skills for an individual are, they help raise confidence, improve productivity and give them a sense of direction.

When we talk of authenticity we mean trustworthiness, being unpretentious and purity of the intent. We ensure that we always walk the talk.

Quality to us is the urge to excel and this forms our driving force and keeps us on our toes. It’s also the professionalism with which we execute and the ease with which we go about accomplishing our tasks and all this matter.

Effectiveness – Today under CSR, everyone is talking about impact. For us the essence of good work is always connected to the impact. Unnati is about transforming the youth, being relevant to the needs of the market, ensuring that the youth trained have a job after the training and are able to progress in their jobs. The growth factor in their life is critical.

Dedication – Whatever we do is out of Love for the country. We love the work we do, and it is done with a fierce sense of commitment.

Over the years we have realised that transformation has to happen through change in value systems of the youth and our entire model is based on this. Our efforts are more to empower the youth through strengthening of their value systems, rather than just skilling. Skilling will definitely get them a job but when accompanied with a strong value system it earns them the much required respect. The underprivileged youth require this to face the many challenges in their lives. We ensure that their experience at Unnati is inspirational and this is what brings about the magical transformation.

We have always felt that we are blessed by the Almighty and supported by our well-wishers, throughout our journey. The gratitude we bear can only be expressed by us through our work. We are fortunate to attract likeminded people and most of the top management do pro bono work. The commitment is always 100 % and never compromised on. For the management, it is about being inspired by the impact, the values for which each one in the organisation stand for. At Unnati it is about doing work with complete focus on delivering and not about owning the work or the organisation.

Unnati was started in the year 2003 and over the past 15 years we have trained and placed over 25,000 youth. During the year 2018-19 we are sure of touching the 5 figure mark of 10,000 youth. Considering the massive population and the huge number of unemployed youth in this country, this intervention may seem a very small drop in the ocean, but for us at Unnati it is all about spreading joy and happiness to many and enjoying the journey on a personal basis every day. The fact that a small intervention like this can make a family go above poverty line in just 50 days is extremely motivating and inspiring. For me the Quintessence of being is about “Bringing in joy and happiness on the faces of those that cannot make it on their own and to essentially enjoy that journey along with them daily”

 

Unnati personifies Joy & Elation to me: An Incredible Story of Unnati Foundation through the lens of its First Master Trainer

Jeff Bezos, CEO and Founder of Amazon.com, famously stated, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Dressed in half sleeve shirt and cotton trousers, Ranga sir is simplicity and wisdom personified. His passion instantly rubs off and one can feel the positive vibes in his presence. Associated with Unnati Foundation since its embryonic stage, he has seen it grow from a rented three bed room structure to its present day 22,000 square feet, well equipped infrastructure at NGEF, Sadanandanagar, Bangalore and spreading its wings across Karnataka and other states.

Rome was not built in a day and similarly the present day Unnati foundation is an outcome of years of hard work, dedication, passion, trial and errors of many people working together towards its vision of “With Society, towards Serenity”.

Being a Banker responsible for Agricultural & Rural Development sector, he had seen poverty first hand during his visits and interaction. The images of less privileged remained with him and he always wanted to make their lives better.

His vision was going to be true soon, though he did know it yet! One of his wife’s acquaintances introduced him to the cultural programs organized by Unnati’s Core team. The couple joined as volunteers at Unnati soon after.

Fate played its part and the Admin Officer has to relocate to another city. He recommended Ranga sir’s name as replacement and thus Unnati got its very first trainer. In those days, classes were run entirely by the volunteers. Ranga sir after finishing his job would keenly observe the classes and make mental notes. It so happened that on a rainy day, one of the volunteers could not make it. Seeing this, Ranga Sir went ahead and took the class. In his own words, he was jittery and nervous, yet he loved interacting with youth and thus Unnati was blessed to get its first ever Master Trainer.

The journey from a Banker to the Master Trainer is quite intriguing. It started with his keen observation of ongoing classes from volunteers from varied fields. In 2007 Youth Reach partnered with Unnati for the Life Skills and he got his first formal training as a trainer. English Training program was conducted and sponsored by Tech Mahindra. Once Mr. Ranga was equipped with training, he worked persistently to have a core team of Master Trainers for the foundation. Charity Aid Foundation also played a huge role in alleviating Unnati’s Training standards by providing funds for recruiting trainers and taking care of the training needs.

 

Ranga Sir also played a pivotal role in designing Train the Trainer program which is part of Unnati Foundation’s Induction. It ensures standardization of the processes and training methodologies across all centres. Today Unnati conducts TOT program round the year and has its very strong and passionate team of In-House Master Trainers.

Apart from this, Unnati has conducted training for final year engineering students at Phaltan college of Engineering, Phalton, Pune. Inspired from the positive impact, the college management sent their three batches of professors to be trained on making classroom engaging and lively in 2017 and 2018.

Mr. Ranga has also designed curriculum for corporate training at Autoliv in Bangalore, Delhi and Mysore. Other than this, training was also imparted at Degree college, Gonikoppal , Coorg and at one of the diploma colleges in Kotagiri (Ooty) The success in these colleges inspired core team to launch UNXT program, which aims to reach to wider audience and making the whole organization more sustainable.

In just three years, UNXT has been a huge success. In just three years, we have been able to train close to 5000 youth through UNXT. Recognizing the impact of our UNXT program, we have received the approval from the Commissioner, Department of Collegiate Education to conduct our program in GFGC colleges across Karnataka. It is on the main page of dce.kar.nic.in.

 

When asked about his favorite days at Unnati, sir told he could not point on single day or incident. There have been many. When he sees smiling and triumphant youth on completion of the program with jobs in their hands and hearts full with gratitude, he beams with joy.

He recalled few such heart-warming incidents. In 2008, a barely eighteen year old girl (Sayeeda of 14th Batch) came for admission in retail course. Mr. Ranga was in-charge of admitting youth. She has just studied till 5th standard and he was skeptical. One of Unnati’s volunteers, Mr. Vaikuntam insisted to admit her. The girl was a keen learner with a bright smile adorning her face every time. After every class, she would come to trainers to learn something new and practice the lessons sincerely. She had never quenching thirst for learning. On the day of interview, CCD refused to conduct her Interview because of their company’s policy of min. education being 12th std. Mr. Ranga was adamant. CCD had to bend rules and when the result was out, HR thanked him for recommending her as she won them with her confidence and smile that reaches eyes.

He narrates another story where he dropped his son to Kempegowda airport early morning. It was winter and fog blurred the vision. His son requested him to wait in airport for an hour so that sky would be clear. While he was taking a stroll around the airport to kill time,suddenly, a young man came and greeted him. He recalled his face and the boy was overjoyed to see him. He was one of his students at Unnati. The young man told him happily that he is the supervisor of CCD at Airport and requested him to have coffee and packed breakfast for him. These are the moments which bring tears of happiness to him.

When asked, what is something which happens here only and he gave just one word answer. Magic!!! He told one such incident to prove it as well. The classes were over and it was evening. He was just about to lock the doors when a girl came rushing to him. Her left palm was bleeding  and there was a deep cut. He took out his handkerchief and bandaged. The blood continued flowing so he put a towel around her palm. He rushed her in the car and frantically searched for a doctor. It was late evening and he managed to get her palm bandaged by one of the doctors. The cut required stitches but it could not be done.

Two days later, the girl called him that her palm is recovered. This is the power of love, it healed the girl’s wounds. There have been several instances of students especially girls falling sick, fainting etc requiring immediate medical care and the staff at Unnati were never found wanting in addressing these issues with love , care and compassion regardless of their own discomfort.

Mr. Ranga strongly believes in empowering women and standing for what is right. One of his students, a young lady(Muniratinam of perhaps 10th or 11th batch) approached him after class hrs with tears in her eyes. On asked what the matter was, she told that her husband had abandoned her and to add salt to the wound has  kidnapped their only child. She felt lost and hopeless.

Mr. Ranga listened to her patiently and encouraged her to stand for her right with courage and conviction. He even made her to rehearse the call. Next day, backed by his support, she called her husband and got her child back!

On asking how Unnati has changed him, he replied gratefully that every day at Unnati is satisfying and joyful for him. He has become more empathetic. He firmly believes in practicing what he preaches, thus the values like honesty, selflessness, punctuality, giving back are strongly imbibed within him. It is his second innings of his career which he started with his loving wife and he feels great satisfaction in doing it time and again.

It can be clearly seen in his classes, which are always insightful, entertaining and to the point. He does his homework well about the audience and give related examples, thus audience connect to him very well.

In last fifteen years, he has been wearing different hats based on the situation. He has been an integral part of making Unnati Foundation what it is today!

When asked what would be the road ahead for the foundation, Mr. Ranga is full of ideas such as adding to existing Retail and Business Associate courses, tying up with similar- minded NGOS, doing Community- engaging programs, showing our gratitude to donors and partners through seminars and conferences on relevant topics such as Urban Poverty, Skill Development etc., organizing events to create awareness, celebrating the Foundation day of Unnati and milestones. Effective use of Digital platform is another thing Unnati can look into detail.

Change is the only constant and Ranga Sir believes Unnati Foundation has to adapt accordingly to reach its mission of empowering one million youth.

 

Happiest Birthday Bhai!

Those twinkling eyes, toothless smile and tiny fingers flash in front of me as you celebrate your yet another Birthday! Grateful is what I feel to wish you this Birthday.

You have been my biggest blessing of life since I remember!  I know You grew up when instead of pampering you, I started taking your advice( I still love indulging you though). We grew up from collecting our Cricketing Idols photos to collecting credentials, we grew up from sharing sweets to flying us to meet each other! We grew up to be independent from being totally dependent on our parents!

Memories are like a box of your favorite sweets, you cannot be content with just one! My fondest memories are smallest of moments, like gifting me my first ever watch by your savings in piggy-bank when you were just eight! Playing  and watching Cricket, conversations, celebrating Rakshabandhan, eating midnight maggie are my happiest moments! You make me believe in the simple pleasures of life…

That over the years, you have been amiable and adorable, protective and my biggest cheerleader is an added advantage! That you are a wonderful human being , a guy with  a heart of gold, super talented makes me a proud sister every day! And am thankful to almighty for making you what you are!

But this Birthday, I would thank God and his angel for giving you a second life so that we can continue doing what we love to do together since last twenty six years!

I love you to the Moon and back!