Tag Archives: Exemplary Lifestyle

Around the world in a wheelchair -Nadia Clarke

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.

Meet Poonam Bevli Sahi a Painter and a Business Woman

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Food Stories of Saint Teresa of Calcutta

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

Remembering Indelible Strokes of Cartoonist Toms

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………..

About the Author: Manu Varghese Stephen is the CEO of Trade Integre Ltd, UK. He loves to work with people to help them achieve their full potential, be it a graduate student get a dream job in the Big 4 OR a Company with absolutely no history or experience with their new service launch to become the leader among their competitors in less than 6 months. In his motivation talks he often uses Boban and Molly stories by Cartoonist Toms, to inspire the listeners

Hepsiba, the Chennai Girl, won gold at street child games in Rio De Janeiro

Once a hapless little kid, 16 year old, Hepsiba never travelled in an express train in her life though once her home was just a stone throw away from South India’s largest railway station, Chennai Central . But last month this wonder girl made her first flight and travelled more than 14000 km crossing oceans from Chennai to Rio De Janeiro in Brazil to achieve something. And she returned with a few medals: one gold and two bronze won in a Street child games in Rio De Janeiro.

Relocated from her dwelling

Few months back Hepsiba and her widowed mother were evicted, by the Chennai corporation, from shanty home along the Sydenhams Road near the Nehru Stadium in chennai where they were living for years. Along with many other dwellers, they were shifted to a shelter home.

An NGO discovered the prodigy

It was Karunalaya, and NGO in Chennai that discovered the talent in her and gave Hepsibah the opportunity that finally took her to Rio. Few weeks ago, Karunalaya organised a sports meet, in Chennai, for the street children, and Hepsiba was one among them. Paul Sunder Singh of Karunalaya says that they found this girl had sheer talent and they decided to take her to big events. But before leaving for Rio she had to jump many hurdles: not in the filed but in many other ways. “Actually, she just about made it; it was a miracle that her passport came through on time,” Mr. Singh says. The team could not win any sponsorship from any corporates or philanthropists but International NGO Street Child United who organised the entire meet has helped a bit and Karunalaya took some loan for the children to make the trip. The London based NGO works to empower marginalised street kids and give them a platform of sports to nurture their talents.

Trained like a Pro

Intensively trained by coach Prabhakar Suresh for about two weeks, Hepsiba and team left for Rio in the second week of March and spent one and half weeks there. Hepsiba won gold in 100 meter sprint and and silver in 400m and bronze in 100m hurdles. Her team mate Ashok won a bronze in boys’ shot put and Sneha stood third in 4x100m relay race and bagged bronze.

24 Carat Friendship with participants of other countries

They interacted with other participants mostly from third world countries like Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, Burundi. Hepsiba says that now she has won many friends from these countries and she values the friendships are larger than the medals she won and that makes her ‘very very happy’. Another participant, Usha spoke at the Street Child Games General Assembly  and stressed the need to protect street children from people especially police who find a way to  harass them in a regular basis.  “Everyday we fear the police. Police are supposed to support and safeguard us, but we don’t experience this. To protect children from violence at the hands of the police, street children need to be invited to speak at police training so they (police) can understand and empathise,” she said.
In Hebrew Hepsiba means ‘My delight is in Her’. The Lord’s delight and grace are indeed there upon her. She has to win more medals and has to reach new heights.

Also Read: AT 83, SHE IS PREPARING FOR HER NEXT VETERANS ATHLETICS MEET

 
About the Author:  

Sudhir Athekkattil is a digital creative artist from Kerala and now working in Chennai who has a flair in creative writing too. His interests range from cricket to cooking and movies to music. 

 DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

Empowering the underprivileged with newspaper cuttings



When I met him first, he was making photocopies of Newspaper cuttings and said that he ran an NGO, for helping the underprivileged. I was curious to know what kind of support S. Devender Singh Anand, 67, was providing for helping the needy. “I keep all the Newspaper cutting of News that benefit the public, for instance, the Legal News,” he said. He uses the Newspaper cuttings to empower the underprivileged. Suppose someone goes to the hospital for a handicap certificate with Address Proof, Id Cards, and still denied the license. Mr Anand provides the person with photocopies of Newspaper cuttings supporting his claims. The applicant can then challenge for his rights with the Newspaper cuttings. If required, he confronts the officials about the provisions entitled to the claimant “I have the information, no one can challenge me on the information.”

Mr Anand, who was into the truck transportation business, got injured and bedridden in 1992. And since 1995, after the trauma, with the experience he gained, he decided to help the underprivileged.

He says only four out of hundred challenged are utilizing the benefits entitled for the Physically-challenged, and that too from the educated section of the society. Most of the disabled are unaware of their privileges. He says in Delhi there is the Handicapped Finance Corporation, underutilized by the physically-challenged. And there two special commissions appointed for the challenged– National level Commissioner at 6, Baghwan Das Road and State level commissioner at Mata Gujri College. Suppose the specially-abled people are not getting the justice they can approach the commission and register a complaint against the authority who is denying them their right. At both the Commissioner offices, you get booklets about the facilities entitled for the physically- challenged. Those who are knowledgeable about the content of the brochures avail the facilities.

Helping everyone in need

Other than the physically-challenged, Mr Anand empowers the underprivileged the poor, the senior citizens, the uneducated and so on. He tries to help everyone and guides people with Newspaper Cuttings. Whenever he meets people, he tells the deserving people to approach the authorities to get their benefits. In case they face rejection, they can show a photocopy copy of the newspaper cuttings.

An exciting piece of information that Mr Anand shared was, there is a provision for a free legal attorney, in every Court, for those having income less than Rs 1 lakh. “You can go to a Court, and get a free lawyer immediately when you show documents of your earning,” says Mr Anand.

Besides providing information, if the situation requires, he approaches the authorities and speaks for the underprivileged. Once he educated his housemaid about the benefits of opening a Bank Account, but when she approached the Bank, she faced many hurdles. So Mr Anand himself went to the Bank, talked to the officials and opened a Bank Account for her. Her happiness knew no bounds because she could now save her earnings, and she also got free medical insurance coverage. Encouraged by her, her relatives also opened bank accounts.

After helping the underprivileged for two decades, he registered an NGO ‘Happy Living’ to help the cause of the physically-challenged. Happy Living accepts old clothes from donors and distributes them among the needy.

Mr Anand’s strong support comes from his wife, Harpreet Anand, a Criminal Lawyer, who teaches the Children of Watchmen, maids and construction workers of the locality.

Over time, Mr Anand has advanced his methods to garner information. He now uses the new-age tool of RTI (Right to Information) to “providing justice for those denied Justice”. He is an inspiration to the youth of today.

Dr bindeshwar pathak: fulfilling the dream of Gandhi

“My name is Usha Chaumar, I am from Alwar, Rajasthan………….” Usha speaks confidently in English to a jam packed audience at Constitution Club, Delhi, on World Toilet Day. This is a transformed Usha! A decade back she used to clean septic tank from a very young age.  Belonging to the scavenger community,things were no different when she was married off at the age of 10…………. until she met Baba in 2003. Baba had adopted Alwar to help the scavengers restore their dignity and human values. One day Baba asked Usha if she would like to take up a better job, ‘who doesn’t like to get a better job opportunity’ she says. She was not only brought out of the de humanising activity of scavenging, but she was also taught skills for livelihood like beautician training, making noodles, pickles etc. Along with her many other scavenger women were also emancipated from their misery. She says she did not know how to speak politely. Whatever she is today is because of Baba.

The Baba who saved Usha’s life is Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, the Founder of Sulabh International, who takes forward the dream of Gandhiji to uplift the Scavenger community to the mainstream of the society. Dr Bindeshwar created a two-pit, maintenance free, toilet which  which can be easily customised and set up in any geographical environment. His innovation liberates the Scavengers and changed their life forever. The work of a human scavenger is to remove human waste, using a brush, into a bamboo basket and carry it  on the head to be thrown at a secluded place.  Dr Pathak’s toilets meant that the toilets no longer required to be maintained, leaving  the Scavengers free to take up other occupations.

Dr Pathak was born in a Brahmin family in Bihar. When he was 14 his  family’s fortune incurred huge financial loss after his uncle was murdered. As a young English Graduate he tried many jobs. His destiny to help scavengers was set when he participated in Gandhi Centenary Celebration where he was assigned the task to find a solution for open defecation and to find an alternative to end human scavenging. He went and stayed with the scavenger community to get a first hand knowledge of their life. There he saw a young bride cry because she was asked to clean her in-laws toilet and he saw a scavenger boy die on the road because no one came forward to help him. Dr Pathak created the toilet because he wanted to free the scavenger from their misery. His invention is now a world recognized model.

two pit pour flush ecological compost toilet designed by Dr Bindeshwar Pathak

Initially Dr Pathak tried for a long to promote his creation to Government organisations, but no one was ready to give him a n opportunity. Finally a Municipal Officer gave him an opportunity to build two public toilets for Rs 500. And as the toilets became popular, people starting paying to use public toilets.  The usefulness of Sulabh toilets spread far and wide and outside India. Now Dr Pathak is the Founder of Sulabh International which has over 50,000 associates working with him.

To date Sulabh International has built 1.3 billion toilets, liberating more than 1,20,000 scavengers from scavenging. The scavenger have been rehabilitated. 640 towns have been made scavenging free till date. When Dr Pathak was told that steps should be taken to maintain the toilets because after one year many toilets become unusable, Dr Pathak replied that if people treat the toilets as their own child and keep them clean and hygiene, then no one else has to take care of the maintenance. The success of his model created a huge behavioural change when people started paying for the use of public toilets. Then, it brought in a cultural shift too when people started socially accepting those who once were meant for carrying the human waste. In places like Alwar the scavenging community has been rehabilitated and the upper class invite them to their homes. Usha says that during her scavenging days no one offered her water and even if someone did, they gave the water from a distance.

Dr Bindeshwar Pathak’s work is popular among the scavengers and the poor. His work has been recognized by the UN, which uses his two-pit toilet as a model for building toilets globally. Recently the BBC Horizons has declared the Sulabh technologies as one of five unique inventions of the world.

Dr Pathak is known for the high level of professionalism in achieving his targets. He has a systematic way of surveying the place,estimating the cost and building the toilets. According to Dr Pathak an estimated Rs 25000 to Rs 30000 is required to built a toilet. Due to the high quality of work, Corporates are willing to fulfill their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) by associating with Dr Pathak.

There are two types of people in the world, the one who use toilets and one who are deprived of using toilets. Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak is a Messiah of the one who do not have toilets. Imagine a situation when you do not have a toilet in your house, and you have to defecat in the open. In such a situation you will have to wake up either before day break or wait for sunset so as to answer the call of nature.  In such a situation you will be unable to concentrate on you work and because of stopping yourself from defecating will cause many health diseases. 100 million Indians defecate in the open leaving them behind in the strive for development.  They defecate in the open leading to many social, health and environmental issue.

Says Amritya Sen in an interview to the Guardian, “Half of all Indians have no toilet. In Delhi when you build a new condominium there are lots of planning requirements but none relating to the servants having toilets. It’s a combination of class, caste and gender discrimination. It’s absolutely shocking. Poor people have to use their ingenuity and for women that can mean only being able to relieve themselves after dark with all the safety issues that entails,”

Dr Bindeshwar Pathak is a strong advocate of one the biggest issues that Gandhiji was fighting for. He continues work to accomplish the dream of Gandhi. The two pit toilet has created a social revolution with the twin benefit of the people getting a toilet to defecate and the human scavengers being liberated  of their penury.  In addition Dr Pathak also provides shelters for the widows of Varanasi.  Sulabh International celebrates important festivals like Diwali, Holi and Christmas, giving the widows a news sense of being. There are a number of works of Dr Pathak that benefits the entire humanity. He has perfected the Biogass system, by which the gas emitted from the human waste is a alternative source of energy which is used to generate heat, electricity and cooking gas.  The water discharge from the waste is treated and can be used as fertilizer or discharged into the river.

The erstwhile women scavengers  (untouchables) walked the ramp with the models who showcased their handiwork at the United Nations in New York

Award and Achievements of Dr Bindeshwar Pathak
  • In 1991, Dr. Pathak was awarded Padma Bhushan
  • Conferred St. Francis Prize Canticle of All Creatures in Assissi, Italy.
  • Stockholm Water Prize by Stockholm International Water Institute at Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Selected among 50 global personalities, including The US President, Barack Obama, “who have used their position in public life to make an impact on diversity”.
  • BBC Horizons declared the Sulabh technologies as one of five unique inventions of the world.
  • 1.3 million housing toilet built so far.
  • More than 1,20,000 scavengers have been liberated from scavenging.
  • 8000 public toilets in 25 states and 4 Union Territories in 1599 towns and cities which are used by 15 million people daily. 
  • In Kabul, Sulabh is maintaining five public toilets with biogas plants, which are quite popular with the local people, and Sulabh’s inventions, innovations and experiments have been accepted in China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and many countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  • Entering a temple – a dream fulfilled on December, 21, 2008 of scavengers (untouchables) whose entrywas banned for centuries due to the practice of untouchability. 
  • 2003, adopted two towns of Rajasthan, Alwar and Tonk, for restoring the human
    rights and dignity of the local untouchables. Now the two towns are free from the
    problem of untouchability. There is no social discrimination, as Brahmins and other
    upper castes now freely mix and share food and hospitality with the ex-untouchables
    who have acquired skills in various trades, and are engaged in gainful employment. They
    have started a new life and are now part of the social mainstream.
  • Set up Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi, the first of its kind
    in the world. The museum, through replicas of various toilets, artefacts, pictures, posters
    and other materials, tells the story of the development of toilets through the ages.

Lessons I learnt from my psychologist Uncle

On the world mental health day, I would like to dedicate this post to a Psychologist, about whom I know more than I know about mental diseases and mental patients.

The Doctor is my uncle, my grand uncle’s son, whom I address as ‘Appachan’. But their information does not suffice to write an autobiography as I meet him only during some family functions or while paying a flying visit to his home. I know more about his father (my grandfather’s brother) who died a few months before I was born.

Appachan, the only child of his parents, left home at the at age of 18 to carve a niche for himself. Hence, Grand Uncle whom my father and siblings call as ‘Papa-Appachan’, now only had his younger brothers kids to shower his love and nurturing.

As a result of the nurturing by a creative, talented personality and a good actor, my father and his siblings quote papa-appachan’s jokes and sayings in every conversation.

His jokes and saying shaped their thinking even in their grown-up days. I grew up listening to Papa-appachan jokes and in my grown-up days, I find those jokes useful to resolve everyday problems.

Coming back to the Psychologist Son, Appachan, a well-known person in Kerala as a Counsellor, Actor and Author. He is the most famous person in our family, so every relative likes to use his popularity to earn a higher standing in the social circuit.

There is one person in our family who introduces himself as “myself, cousin of Dr…………..”. Family relations are like that. No wonder the proverb goes ‘Blood is stronger than water’.

Since my fathers and mother have many siblings, when I used to go to Kerala for vacations in childhood, I only had time to catch up with my immediate cousins. So I never knew about the second and third generation cousins.

During my teens, one-day papa spread newspaper page with pictures of all the contestants for the assembly election and asked me to spot a familiar face. I couldn’t. Then he pointed at Appachan’s picture and said that he was his cousin. Appachan earned celebrity status in Kerala answering complicated Pyscological questions, a topic that was taboo in those days.

Though Appachan donned many hats, he remained true to his calling. In movies he acted as Psychologist; he wrote columns in magazines, as a psychologist, answering queries of readers; at the same time continued with his calling as a Psychologist.

Malayalees above 35+ know him as a famous Psychologist, Columnist, Cartoonist, Humorist, Author, Political aspirant, Actor, etc. It is very simple to describe his physical appearance – with his tall figure and goatee beard he resembles the former Prime Minister of India, I. K. Gujral.

The story goes that once  I K Gujral as Prime Minister was visiting Trivandrum and people were waiting. When appachan entered the hall, the audience mistook him for the Prime Minister.

He was much ahead of his time. A self-learned man, as a youngster he applied on himself many of the tips that we learn today during leadership trainings. Appachan says that in his younger days, he wrote in a diary, ‘Dr. P M Mathew, Famous Psychologist’ and left the book in the ancestral home. After five decades he discovered the diary in his ancestral home and the words were shining bright in the diary.

He is a wonderful writer, he was one of the first to write about psychological and marital issues in Kerala. He says as a novice when he met an editor of a famous magazine, the editor asked him to write an instant essay. When the editor saw the essay, he marvelled at Appachan’s talent and said: “Mathew’s where from did you get this amazing talent”.

Using his amazing writing skills, and psychological expertise he answered the complicated queries of the reader in simple words. He became a household name for providing answers to complicated relationship issues, at a time when discussing such issues were a taboo. A story goes that he had to stop giving a speech because the talks were too explicit for the audience. Nowadays speaking about complicated mental issues and human relationships is no more a taboo nor considered explicit.

Even after growing in stature – fame and money, relatives and friends find him easy to approach. But they need to follow some unwritten rules and etiquette while visiting him at his home.

Appachan will be always busy with consultation on the upper floor of his house, so when we call on him, we wait for him in the living room talking with aunty and the maid. He will come down, share a few pleasantries and return to his consultation room after offering to have lunch with us in case we are ready to wait for him. Or, if we wish to leave we can do so.

He is down to earth and lives is a simple house. A normal two-storied home cum counselling centre which also serves as space to unleash his creativity. When we visited Appachan’s house for the first time after our marriage, my husband told me that being a celebrity he expected appachan will be staying in a palatial bungalow.

Before meeting Appachan for thefirst time, I heard a lot about the washbasin in his house with the tap shaped like an Elephant Trunk. So on my first visit to his house, I waited to see two things- a celebrity uncle and his famous washbasin.

He is not taken aback by false propaganda, thus proves a review about him in a consumer forum. When you google his name, one of the first results that show is “Dr…………….The worst psychologist”. More than the review, the responses made to the post by other customers are more convincing.

One person commented “Dr …….. is a good person and lives a simple life. Where others would have made money, his life is still very simple. You can check it out for yourself, visit his home.”

Now he is 80+ and age has taken a toll on his health. he is weak but his mental power is still as vigorous as a few decades back. He continues his work through counselling sections; and by setting an example through his simple lifestyle.

At 83, she is preparing for her next veterans athletics meet

When professional sportsmen hang their boot at 40, Daisy Victor began participating in athletic events when she was just a few days shy of her 50th birthday.  “I am only 83 years old,” says Daisy who runs and exercises every day in the ground near her house in Madhavaram, Chennai, and she also hits the Gym for Fitness twice a week.  She also practices long jump at the Nehru stadium every week.  In National and International Veterans athletics Meets so far she has won 377 medals from 104 meets. She won 46 golds from 22 internationals meets and 96 golds from 33 national events.

Daisy, a former employee of BSNL in Chennai, and a mother of 6 children took up athletics seriously in 1981 when she participated in the World Veterans Athletics Meet in Christchurch, Newzeland. Her biggest moment was when on her return from the event, she was introduced to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by the Flying Sikh Milkha Singh.

Daisy’s indomitable spirit has inspired the youngsters, including her 13 grandchildren who are proud of their grandmother’s achievements.  During summer vacations, boys and girls come to her to get coached for athletics. Schools and Colleges invite her to inspire the youth to make sports and exercise a part of their lifestyle.

The secret of her Success

“All my achievements is because of the Grace of God. He gave me the strength and talent to run,” says Daisy who wakes up at 5 in the morning and begins the day with prayer along with her husband Victor Sundararaj.

“Though women are physically active throughout the day with household activities, they need to do exercise every day for their necks, hands, legs, etc,” says Daisy who began running and winning as a school girl in Bellary. It was her father, who was a sportsman, encouraged her to participate in athletic events.

When asked what the elderly must do to be physically fit she said “They must do physical exercise and walk at least 15 minutes every day. The should not be walking leisurely but brisk walk”. Read this post to know more about the advantages of brisk walking.

She says people should follow a strict diet and a strict routine to remain healthy and fit. She takes very little rice, consumes a lot of vegetables and avoids snacks and tea as much a possible.

Her running and exercise have kept her away from certain hereditary lifestyle diseases. Says her son Stephen, “When she was 75, she argued with a doctor who said she was diabetic. She said since she is physically fit she should not be diabetic. But the doctor told her in her family diabetic begins at 35 years of age, so she should consider herself lucky as she could keep the disease away for 40 years.”

When most people struggle to walk a few miles at this age, Daisy travels every day by bus and she talks to people, inspiring them with her own testimony of determination and complete faith in God.