He speaks such scholarly Hindi, that you will never imagine that Sajeev Sarathie was born to Malayalee parents in Kerala. He grew up in Delhi from the age of four and he became more familiar with Hindi than Malayalam. Now he is a connoisseur of Hindi Language and Literature. He has carved a niche for himself as a Hindi Poet, Writer and Lyricist. He is a much-loved writer the Hindi media to write of Hindi songs, poems and screenplays. He is doing tremendous teamwork to promote unknown talents. He is also part of radioplaybackindia.com a leading Hindi blog in podcasting. He also worked with Late President Honourable DrAPJ Abdul Kalam. He also wrote songs for Honourable Prime Minister Narender Modi’s Beti Bachao, Beti Bachao movement. After the release of his latest song Bekhud, I had a voice interview with Sajeev.
You might know children with cerebral palsy, who is the child of your friend, relative or a neighbour, who is bed ridden and you sympathise with the family which is taking care of the child. Nadia could have ended up simply lying in a corner of her house had it not been for the determination of her parent and the will power of Nadia herself. Her parents ensured that she studied in a regular school with her 9 siblings, for which they had to change locations.
Nadia Clarke has cerebral palsy and she is deaf from her birth. At the age of 5, she got a wheelchair and a communication aid implanted on that. Her communication aid is her voice which she uses to communicate. Using the communicative aid is not easy. When she is talking to someone, her support staff communicates to her using signs. Then she makes sentence using the communication aid. Her communication aid consist of hundreds of words. It takes couple of minutes for Nadia to form a simple sentence.
The process of communicating with the aid is lot of hard work for Naida and her support staff, and sometimes a bit boring for the listeners because of the long gap in between the communication. But that doesn’t stop Nadia from communicating and globe trotting.
The Guardian Newspaper describes Nadia’s mother as someone with turbo energy which she has passed on to her children. Her parent were determined that she studied in a normal school, hence they had to shift to different localities to send Nadia to schools that accepted her along with her brothers and sisters.
Nadia completed high school and level 2 in health and social care. Here next aim is to attend the university.
Nadia has got indomitable spirit and she is supported by an organisation 1 voice. She has travelled around the world to Europe, US, Asia, Australia, etc. She blogs about all her experiences in her blog. One of her dream destination was India, and so now she was in India and she is quiet excited to visit Taj Mahal.
When she came to India she visited Anchal-Centre for differently abled children. She interacted with the children and their parents using her communication aid and her interpreters Samantha Jayne Green and Tanya Louise Perry. Sibi, a student of Anchal refused at first to dance because she thought her costume was too long and she might fall. But the teachers and parents convinced her to dance. Before leaving Aanchal Nadia called Sibi and congratulated her for being so brave to overcome the obstacle.
Nadia is all smiles always from her childhood picture upto now. She goes around the world and encourages children like her to move ahead in life and to explore opportunities. She says her biggest gift in life was the communication aid. She says for deaf and dumb people the aid protects them from abusers, because they can always communicate.
When asked about the secret of her evergreen smile she said that her mother told her to wake up with a smile and to remain positve always.
Grady Long’s video had gone viral where he sings ‘Aayiram Kannumai‘ at the ‘Kairali Gandharva Sandhya‘ in Kerala. He sang in the presence of eminent singers K J YeshuDas and Usha Uthup and there were a couple of other stalwart musicians present including the composer of the song, Jerry Amaldev.
Grady says he was surprised by the rousing applause from the audience. His plan was just to sing and leave the stage. But he became an overnight celebrity in Kerala, and in the last one year the video of the song has been shared and viewed tremendously on the social media.
Before singing the song, Grady tell the audience that he was introduced to malayalam movies by his malayali wife…..
I got an opportunity to have a video conference with Grady, his wife Suja and Children.
Speaking different languages is a talent, and Suja got the talent to speak different languages fluently. She uses English, Spanish and Malayalam in her daily conversation. Though Suja left Kerala for the US at the age of 4, she put in lots of effort so as not to forget her mother tongue.
After her marriage with Grady Long, 15 years ago, they both used to watch a lot of malayalam movies, whereby Grady learnt malayalam movie songs that included Aayiram Kannumai.
When malayli kids born and brought up abroad or outside Kerala, say that malayalam is difficult to master, an American son-in-law of Kerala sang the evergreen song with relative ease. He also gave beautiful musical twist to the song which surprised Jerry Amaldev and K. J. Yeshudas, and they appreciated him.
Suja Long is now on the mission to train their three kids to speak in malayalam. She even posted her first video of teaching her children basic malayalam. Her video has got good review from the media. She plans to make more videos in the coming days.
Before his tryst with malayalam music, Gary was already a well accomplished singer in the US, singing with many bands. He sings in various Genre and different languages like Spanish, German and Latin. He was also popular for singing Bollywood songs. Gary has also sung Tamil songs.
He will be singing more songs in India very soon, for which he will travel to India with family. He will keep us updated on the developments. And in the meantime Suja is teaching children malayalam so that they can communicate well in Kerala. Both Grady and Suja agree that to learn any language you need to speak the language, and you will make mistakes which is part of the learning process.
We wish Grady and Suja Long all the very best for their upcoming projects.
She successfully manages two careers, as a Graphic Designer and a Painter with elan. Poonam Bevli Sahi has been running her designing studio, FACET, for the last few decades. She got many prestigious customers, Help Age India being the first, who design their dossiers and other communication material at her office. Many well known companies have got their designing works done with her for decades, as they trust her reliable and quality services.
When you go to her office-room there will always be an unfinished canvas which is being painted. And the canvas is the indication of her other profession as a Painter. She has been Painting, and wining prizes, since her childhood. Asked how she finds time for painting, in the midst of the already busy and time-bound designing career, she says steals time.
Poonam Bevli Sahi, I know her since I used to get the designing work done at her designing cum home, for the magazine that I worked with. There is an artistic feel in her home, beautiful wall hangings, artistically shaped furniture and everything placed in such a manner so as to accentuate the beauty of the surrounding. And the most attractive was the floating flower arrangement in a copper vessel.
Poonam Bevli Sahi has conducted a number of exhibitions both in India and Abroad. Many of her paintings are brought by private painting collectors around the world.
From March 2nd to 8th, she has been exhibiting her paintings at IIC, Delhi with the theme of the painting being ‘Life is a Circus’. She narrates the various challenges in life which is similar to the tasks carried out by Circus artists. Circus is an unexplored theme in painting.
Poonam Bevli Sahi inherited her passion and painting talents from her mother who herself was an amateur Painter. Her mother was married young, and before starting her career at NCERT, she used to do a lot of canvasses. And she used to visit, with her mother and sister, many painting exhibitions and interact with artist. The exposure to the world of paintings, she says constantly fuelled her passion for painting.
When asked whether painting, was a hobby, which she pursued during her free time, she reiterated that painting was her profession. Leading a disciplined life with proper diet, yoga and meditation helps to manage all the activities.
When asked about how she portrayed women in her paintings, she said that for her men and women are equal.
In today’s world when women try to balance their family and career, like a trapeze artist, Poonam Bevli Sahi is an inspiration for women. With proper delegation, passion and hard work you can be successful in two parallel professions.
When asked what message she would like to give to the young women entrepreneurs, she said there is nothing impossible for women. Be consistent in your pursuit and you will achieve your dreams.
Priyanka Chopra’s Oscar outfit, styled by Sophia Banks, was the most Googled Oscar Dress of 2016. Choosing the right kind of dress and accessories takes months of preparation and hard work. Sophia Banks has worked with Celebrities like Amber Heard, Sharon Stone and John Travolta. Here is an interview with Sophia Banks, where she talks about her work with Priyanka Chopra; her professional life and her future projects:
Tell us something about yourself?
I moved to the USA, Launching a fashion boutique was the next step for me, it was called ‘Satine’ and quickly became award-winning Hollywood hotspot. Satine was written up in all the fashion magazines, shopped by celebrities and because of its fashion forwardness, step me up as a ‘Trend Forecaster’ from which started my career as a fashion consultant. I began to consult to top fashion lines and design for them. One of my favourite projects was for fashion house Rodo where I was flown to Italy to design shows.
As well as styling I have been recently working as a director on fashion Commercials.
Which all celebrities have you worked with?
Of course Priyanka Chopra.
Amber Heard, Sharon Stone, John Travolta, Leighton Meister, Shay Mitchell, Erika Christensen and many more..
As a celebrity stylist, what are your responsibilities?
When I first start working with someone I create a style guide for them which we follow for them as a guide. I also create a trend book for them for the season.
Then I help shop and buy their entire wardrobe. I also search the world for the best dress for ever red carpet event so they make it in press all over the world.
For a lot of my clients, I do all the costume for films, TV and commercials as well.
It is my job to set a goal with them such as be a style icon or get most googled fashion dress of the year and then reach that goal.
How did you choose the famous Oscar dress of Priyanka Chopra that was the most googled outfit of 2016?
It was so amazing working with her, she is such a wonderful, kind, beautiful person who works so incredibly hard. We always had such fun choosing dresses.
For the Oscar look as it was a big deal we were very involved in the selection of the dress. We of course requested many gowns and flew to Montreal where Priyanka was filming to do a fitting with about 40 gowns in tow.
We then did the fitting and the white was a top option along with many others but it needs alterations.
What is your opinion about Priyanka Chopra?
I think she is an amazing, beautiful and incredible woman. She is also such a hard worker, she is always flying somewhere to shoot something between the USA and India. Her success is an example of what happens when you give everything it takes towards your goal.
I also love her attitude to life, she is super fun loving and easy going. We always had fun together.
Have you been to Priyanka Chopra’s home Country, India?
Yes I have, I am originally Australian, and so I have travelled to India and all over. It is one of my favourite countries, I love it there. It is a spiritual place for me, there is something special once you land.
Do you have future plans to work with in Bollywood or with Bollywood Celebrities?
Yes I am in talks with new clients right now and am excited to work with some amazing Bollywood talent. I am also working on my first script and am possibly looking at filming in India, so I think I have a lot of future there.
I got an opportunity to stay in Coimbatore when Jayalalithaa was Chief Minister of Tamil Nandu, and I got the chance to experience some of the benefits of her projects. Her administration and welfare reached the deserving. You could feel the Amma touch, if she was behind the project.
During our first year in Coimbatore, we were staying in a rented house. Some relatives, who were settled in Coimbatorefor decades, came to our home. It was for the first time in their life that they venture to that part of Coimbatre. The old Coimbatorians, could not believe that this part of Coimbatore, which was known for its notoriety and anti-social activity, has transformed into a well planned society with professionally and economically well off people settling there in beautiful mansions. Then they recollected that during her previous reign, J. Jayalalithaa had initiated a plan to ridden the area of the anti-social elements. And this beautiful well-planned settlement was the result of her efforts.
The other instance was when a friend bought a house in Coimbatore. Since her husband was busy with his job, she decided to carry on with some of the registration work. She called me for help. But we both were unsure as to how to go to the Government Offices and deal with the red tapism. Then someone said that all we have to do was to submit the papers at the Housing Board Office, go home, and watch the proceedings on the internet. It was a pleasure to monitor, on the computer, the movement of the papers from one department to the next. A colour bar showed the movement of the documents – the colours moving from red, to yellow, to blue and so one. After a week finally the green light glowed which indicated that the registration process was finally done. What a pleasure it was, in those initial days of internet, to comfortably get the registration done without frequenting the government office, and without paying any bribe. Government officials were scared of Amma to ask openly for bribe, that is what the residents of Coimbatore used to say.
And then J. Jayalalithaa made it mandatory that every building should install Rain Water Harvesting System. Building societies called meetings to collect funds for the Construction of Rainwater Harvesting Units. People protested and criticised the Chief Minister. Some said that the she was helping her relative sell pipes and water tanks. But the end result of rainwater harvesting is there for everyone to experience. According to experts the ground water level of the places were Rain Water Harvesting took place has gone up.
I stayed in Coimbatore only for few years, but many a times I use the above examples whenever I talk about development or administration. Inadvertently she left an indelible mark in the hearts and minds whoever went to her area of jurisdiction.
Yesterday during Mother Teresa’s canonisation there were two trending topics – ‘SaintTeresa’ and ‘FraudTeresa’. Many considered here a Saint, other’s viewed her sainthood with doubt “how can this be”.
Two thousand years back a 12 year old girl asked the same question to an angel that appeared to her and told her that she will bear a son. She said to the angel, “How can this be, when I haven’t known a man”. From that moment, Mary the mother of Jesus underwent many pains and sufferings. Now she is the most revered, after Jesus Christ, and the foremost among the Saints of Jesus.
Man is fallible, and so there will always be doubts about how human beings with all their inherent faults can be declared saints. A saint is one who is in heaven with God because of their holiness and virtue.
We only have third party knowledge of saints, mostly through verbal stories passed on from generation to generation, because holy people are declared as saints years after the death of their contemporaries. I couldn’t meet Mother Teresa, so all the that I know about mother is third party information – through books; and the experience of others. Stories about her inspired me all through out my life. Many prominent people have shared their rendezvous with mother, which changed their life forever; and listening to their experience changed my perception of life.
Saint Teresa took care of the sick people, infected and dying on the street in a way which is unimaginable to replicate for an ordinary human. There was a story, in a newspaper, of a woman who was a strong anti-campaigner for Mother Teresa, but when she saw the missionaries of charity helping a sick man lying on the street, she changed her opinion. Because, the Sisters were doing a service which she couldn’t imagine herself doing.
Mother Teresa inspired people to share food, and to give the left over food to the needy. Giving away food is the simplest act of charity which any human can do. The inspiring food stories , share in this post, resonates Saint Teresa’s famous quote; “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Here are some of St. Teresa’s food stories that inspired many to do charity:
The story of the broken biscuits
In Khushwant Singh’s book ‘Unforgettable Women’, he says that once he went with Mother Teresa to a biscuit factory where the Manager was ready with excuses like there was a Union Strike, they were already doing charity, and so on. She thanked the Manager for all the broken biscuits they had given in the previous years and continued **”You must have lots of problems. Everything is in short supply— flour, butter, sugar.’ It was evident that Mr Mukherjee’s speech had been taken out of his mouth………….** When Mother continued with stories of the hungry destitute, Mukherjee finally delivered forty large boxes of broken biscuits to Mother Teresa.
Picking up waste food at parties
Usha Uthup the popular singer, has 47 years of association with Mother. She says mother had tremendous influence on her and St. Teresa never talked about religion though she was from a different religion. Once Mother told Uthup that when she goes to parties, she should pick up the left over food and give to the needy. Though her assignment was embarrassing Usha Uthup did her job dutifully.
Charity in the air
Jiji Thomson, former Chief Secretary of Kerala, said that once when he boarded a flight there was an announcement that Mother was also on board. Everyone clapped their hands. When the food was being served there was another announcement that if there is any leftover food, the passengers were requested to hand it over to Mother. Every single passenger gave their food packet to Mother.
The flight story shows the universal impact of Mother. Imagine who all might have been on board- atheists, youths enjoying life, Kids waiting for the tasty meal, etc. All of them forsook their meal to be part of a great service to humanity.
**Excerpts from ‘Unforgettable Women’ by Khushwant Singh
A Greek monk, Mihailo Tolotos, who lived upto the age of 82, never met a women in his life. Thay makes him the only monk on Earth, Monk who never saw a woman, though he not blind. Few days after Mihalio’s berth, his mother died. Hence the baby whisked off to the Monastery in Mount Athos – completely isolated from females.
Monk who never saw a woman
The tradition of the Monastery goes back to the beginning of the retreat, nearly nine centuries, that restricts even female animals from entering the monastery premise. The monk, Mihailo Tolotos, died in 1938.
Although situated in Republic of Greece, the monastery functions not under the Greek Government . Members of 20 Greek monastries, founded on Mount Athos, control the Monks.
The peninsula, which rises 6,000 feet above the rocky promontory, probably the only place on earth where the female of any species, including homo sapiens, findts prohibition of entry.
I do not know Cartoonist Toms well though I like his old cartoons. Thought provoking humour at its best and which would stand the test of time. There are some who makes you think and some who makes you laugh, but very few who could do both…I remember my Professor once pointing my views to the dog in the cartoons; to check the actions and reactions of the tiny dog in each situation. The finesse in even the smallest of details……. Every frame filled with thoughts but yet with a few strokes. The pen has stopped but the ink will remain indelible and will continue to spread for generations………..