Tag Archives: Lifestyle Hacks

The whole new level of credit card fraud calls

Yesterday a friend, busily working in office, got a call from his credit card Bank inquiring if he was receiving Bank Statements on time. The call was from Chennai, as usual, so the caller, a female voice, had a south Indian accent. She told him that they received many complaints about frauds and non-receiving of statements. She was very convincing; she told him his Credit Card Number, official and residential address, and said that his card was getting upgraded.

She then asked for his CVV no., Date of birth and expiry date, which he readily gave. He gave the details because:

  • Fraudsters usually know  only the last four digit of the card number.
  • They do not know the address.
  • They do not know full name.

Genuine Calls Vs Fraud Calls

Everyday we read and watch a number of messages and videos warning us from being mislead by fraud calls. Yet we get caught off guard because the fraud callers use a new technique, every time, to win the victims confidence. However there are a number of differences between a fraud call and a genuine call from the bank:

  • Genuine calls do not ask for you verification. They call you for upgrading a card because you are pre-verified, and fulfill the eligibility for a upgraded card.
  • Your verification detail is asked when you call the banks customer care, and not when they call you.
  • If someone says he is calling from the insurance department, then it is a fraud call. Insurance department never makes such calls.
  • If the callers asks you if you are an account holder of a particular bank, that means he is not calling from the bank. Had he been calling from the bank he would have known that you are an account holder.
  • No bank will ask for you CVV no. or OTP (One Time Password). These are  your ‘exclusive keys’ to access your account.

Precautions to be taken

  • For those who do lot of online transactions, keep your personal and social media accounts separate.
  • Possibly use your name differently in the social media accounts.
  • Possibly use different emails and sim cards for social media and personal/professional accounts
  • Install Truecaller App on your mobile phone. Most fraud calls will appear as ‘fraud/scam calls through truecaller. Even if you get fraud call from an unidentified number, save that number as ‘fraud/scam’ calls.
  • Inform the elderly about the fraud calls and tell them not to divulge any information on phone.
  • Tell the caller that you will call back the bank and give the information they are asking.

 

Try These 5 Online Sites To Satisfy Your Taste Buds

Yummy food is something each one of us would love to have any time of the day, and there is no doubt that people would like to fill their tummy with that food which excites them and which satisfy their taste buds as well. No matter what the cuisine is, it is all about the taste.

Homely food is always the best, and there is no doubt to that fact. Keeping this in mind, it is sometimes good to have a brunch, lunch or a dinner once a month for a change. After all, who doesn’t like to have a change? And when it comes to food, I guess all of us would love to give a try. Now, you can enjoy any cuisine in the comfort of your house! Yes, you can order any food you love online from food ordering websites and can enjoy them at the place you choose. Sounds incredible isn’t it? So, try these five online stores to satisfy your taste buds.

Petoo

If you are a core fan of traditional Indian food, then Petoo is your right choice. Enjoy pure and ethnic Indian taste with Petoo. You are sure to get your ordered food within minutes and that too neatly packed! And if you are a pure vegetarian, this store assures you that both veg and non-veg dishes are prepared separately. So, you can order without any tension that yummy recipe you have been longing to taste. Petoo is currently serving only Bangalore foodies, and Petoo Bangalore is becoming very much popular among the crowd due to their excellent service and yummy food! Look for Petoo offers to get an extra discount on your order.

McDonalds

McDonald’s is an ever time favorite of people who would love to grab some neat bites and a coke at any time of the day. If you are a breakfast bunker, then probably you are sure to end up drooling over McDonald’s breakfast menu that gives you extensive options not to bunk your morning snack. Their wide range of choices in burgers will surely make you fall for them over and over, and you cannot deny this fact. Use McDonalds Coupons while ordering them online to enjoy discounts.

FreshMenu

FreshMenu is yet another online food ordering website that assures you with the best and freshly prepared lip-smacking dishes that will make you drool over it for no reason. The site itself has a snap of each dish, the speciality of the dish and the price for each which makes it way too easy for anyone to order precisely what he/she wants. Enjoy any cuisine which is prepared with the most perfection and that too at the convenience of your time and place! FreshMenu discount code will get you the order cheaper.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut is an all time favorite destination for people of all age groups. Enjoying yummy pizzas, with loads of cheese and the crust being the crunchiest makes you enjoy the pizza more. You can get your pizzas delivered at your doorstep if you order them online. You can even enjoy if for free if you do not get your order within the time limit! And even if you get it, you can enjoy some discounts with Pizza Hut deals.

Dominos

No matter you order from the Pizza Hut or the Dominos, Pizza is all that matters. Dominos have some great menu choices for their tastiest pizzas. Dominos offer for pizzas will get you your favorite pizzas at a lower price. Now, you have another reason to order a pizza today!

About the Author:  This post is by CouponRani a leading coupon sites in India, which helps online shoppers in saving more while shopping.

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

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:  

SudhirSudhir 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.

66 percent of Children tested had more than 5 Blood Lead Level

In Cities in India, people are aware that the environment is polluted and that Lead is one of the pollutants. During the Lead in Maggi controversy, consumers argued that compared to the other pollutants in the environment, Lead in Maggi was miniscule. In India, unlike in US there is no mandatory test among consumers to figure out lead toxicity in children.  Blood Lead Level (BLL) more than 5 can cause health, growth, neurological and mental problem for children. There is very little study in India to figure out the BLL of consumers in India among those who are not directly at risk from Lead pollution.

High BLL among Middle and Lower Class

Recently in a study conducted by Lead Activists and Doctors in Banglore, among inpatients aged less than Five, 66% of the children had BLL <5 μg/dl, which is considered as level of concern as per Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention.   The patients have no direct risk of lead exposure. Along with BLL done on the children, questionnaire was supplied to the parent to know about their awareness about lead poisoning.  100 children belonged to the lower, middle and the higher income group. The children with the High BLL belonged to the lower income group more than the middle and the higher income group.

With 66 out of 100 children showing high BLL — with no known direct risks to Lead exposure — proves that there is an urgent requirement of conducting BLL test among children in cities in India.

Very little awarness of sources of Lead Exposure

Lead toxicity in childeren in India - table

The study showed that the awareness of the sources of lead toxicity and the effect of lead poisoning is very poor among consumers in India. Consumers are aware of Lead hazard from paints and batteries, but they were unaware of the lead exposure from soil, dust, groundwater and  vehicular traffic. Apart from the occupational exposure to Lead, water, contaminated food and consumer items are also major sources of Lead. In Delhi there were media reports about Lead in vegetables grown near contaminated water bodies.

According to the study ” ……… build up of Lead
in the environmental compartments is still an issue of high
exposure risk in India, inspite of the relatively lesser organized
production and use of Lead as compared to the developed
countries.”

Parents were prepared to conduct Lead Testing of their surroundings so as to provide safe environs for the Children.

Parents prepared for Lead Tests

The study also showed that parents were prepared to conduct Lead Testing of their surroundings so as to provide safe environs for the Children.

With 66 out of 100 children showing high BLL — with no known direct risks to Lead exposure — proves that there is an urgent requirement of conducting BLL test among children in cities in India. And also awareness should be spread among consumers about how to safeguard their children from Lead exposure. The media can be put to use to spread the message. According to studies children exposed to lead have lower IQ which effect their mental development and thereby resulting in a loss to the nation and humanity.  As Lead is not required in any amount by the human body, steps must be taken to reduce or eliminate the use of Lead.

In order to reduce the menace of Lead you can also participate in the #StopLeadPoisoning campaign.

How to celebrate Eco-friendly Holi

In an ideal world, the joyous festival of Holi is meant to celebrate the arrival of Spring while the colours used in Holi are to reflect of the various hues of spring season. But unfortunately, in modern times Holi does not stand for all things beautiful. Like various other festivals, Holi too has become ruthlessly commercialized, boisterous and yet another source of environmental degradation and health problem. Hence many consumers are on the look out for Holi Colours made from natural materials and safe for health and environment.

Toxic Elements/Chemical in Holi Colours

According to many research and previous studies related to Holi colour products, the pastes contain very toxic chemicals/elements that can have severe health effects.You can also get tested your holi colour products at NRCLPI ( National Referral Centre for Lead Projects in India) , St John’s Medical College, Kormanagala , Bengaluru.

Few examples of colour and the chemical content with their few health effects on human and environment:

Eco-friendly Holi COlours
Table 1: Holi Colours and their chemical content

Harmful Chemicals in Gulal & Harms of Wet Holi Colours
The dry colours, commonly known as gulals, have two components a colorant that is toxic and a base which could be either asbestos or silica, both of which cause health problems. Heavy metals contained in the colorants can cause asthma, skin diseases and adversely affect the eyes.

Wet colours, mostly use Gentian violet as a colour concentrate which can cause skin discoloration and dermatitis.

These days, Holi colours sell loose, in the market and traders are also unaware about the source of the holi colour products as it comes from a group of networked people/sellers exchanging hand to hand from different parts of the country. In few instants, the colours come wrapped that specifically say for industrial purpose/use or without any origin/manufacture details.

Make your own Eco-friendly Holi colours

Holi festival lovers will be thrilled to know that it is possible to make simple, natural colours in one’s own home. Here are some very simple recipes to make natural colours:

eco-friendly holi colour
Table:2 Ingredients to prepare eco-friendly holi colours

Safeguarding Water

Just on 22 March we all observed World Water Day, across the Globe. In the current scenario, when India and the rest of the world is facing acute water shortage, the water wastage in the name of Holi in the extreme, is also being unjusticable. It is usual or general using buckets of water during Holi but please keep in mind that you are not only wasting water resource, but also polluting it with harmful and toxic chemicals. If a single person uses 2 liter of water on Holi on splashing/playing just imagine the number of liters of water used across India with a billion+ population .

So, make sure we don’t waste and pollute water, which is most needed for our coming generations too.

Tips to celebrate a safe Holi

  • Use homemade natural and safe colours-Learn the art of preparing the colours yourself and enjoy teaching your younger’s and your neighbors too.
  • Use natural, skin-friendly and herbal colours are the ones made by reputed companies using natural products.
  • If you opt to buy/purchase colours, commercially be sure to purchase naturally made products from reputed companies also ensure about the source.
  • Apply a nice layer of oil to your hair before playing Holi so that residue from the dyes does not get stuck to your hair and scalp.
  • Ensure that your eyes remain protected at all times. Wash with plenty of clean water should any colour get into your eyes accidentally. See a doctor if the irritation still persists.
  • If you are playing Holi, apply a thick layer of coconut or any oil on your body and hair until they glisten and you become slippery.
  • Wear dental caps if possible to protect your teeth.
  • Avoid flashing on the face and as well protect your face from the Holi colours.
  • Wear clothes at the maximum to cover your body.
  • Apply an oil/cream of good quality to protect your skin.

Traditional Background

The Holi is an ancient Indian festival of colours symbolizing signs of happiness, joy and growth engaging all ages of people. The celebrations in India cut across section and religious conviction. This festival, now also draws a world attention and many countries are also celebrating the festival of colours and enjoying with sharing of sweets.., love.., peace and brotherly hood.

Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar. Holi festival may be celebrated known by different names among people of various states and would be following different rituals & traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit and enthusiasm of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.

This festival celebrates the arrival of spring on Fagun Sud Purnima. Also known as Falgunika, people celebrate the changing season and the beauty associated with spring blossoms by spraying colour.

In the Gita (10/35), Shri Krishna proclaims spring as the foremost season and one of his Vibhutis -forms: Rutunaam kusumaakaraha

The ritual of offering roasted grain to Agni – fire-deity is known as Navaanineshti. In Sanskrit, roasted grain is Holaakaa, from which the Hindi ‘Holi’ is derived. Since Vedic times people availed the newly harvested grain only after offering to the devas. This offering of new grain is Holi.

The Bhavishyottara Puran associates Holi both with man and Yagna. Therefore the Yagna performed for man’s salvation is Holi.

About the Author:  
vinay kumarVinay Kumar. C is an Environmental Researcher at NRCLPI – The National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India. He is a multi-skilled professional having an excellent track record of managing complex functional projects in various environments.  

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

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
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
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.

How to become a part of the world toilet day

One out of seven people in the world defecate in the open. 2.4 million people in the world do not have access to a toilet. Some of you might have vague memories of make-shift toilets in your villages. In this age when we have state-of-the-art toilets in our homes, it is very difficult to imagine that there are people in the world who have to wait for sunset so that they can answer the call off nature.  Lack of toilets cause lot of problem especially for women. Women have to travel outside their house, in the open areas, putting their life and dignity at stake. According to studies there is enough water in the world for the entire population, but there is lack of proper distribution of water. If toilets are built for every house and water is available, then many of their health diseases can be reduces and the quality of human life will improve globally.

For those who have grown up in houses with toilets, while building a house, they spent a fortune to make the toilets the most presentable area in the house. So why is there a divide in the world between those who are aware of the essentiality of toilets and the other who are unaware or do not understand the need of toilets.

Recently there was a story of a woman in Indonesia, who went to stay in her village after spending few years in city. She felt she was spending most of her time looking for space to answer the call of nature for her and her daughter. So she took a loan and built a toilet. Now she has a hygienic  surrounding and she has plenty of time to pursue a job to earn some income.

It is the lack of urgency, the lack of awareness and the lack of priority that is denying toilet to a large number of population in the world.

Lack of priority

The day a girl child is born in India the father becomes responsible parent and he starts saving so that the girl can be married off in a decent manner. In most communities even now people are respected for the amount of dowry(gift) that they give their child. If the society gives respect for a person only if there is a decent toilet in his home, then maybe people will include building toilet a top priority. Once in my home town a proposed bride’s family visited the bride grooms house to fix the marriage. Some of the women wanted to get fresh, so they asked for the toilet. They found that toilet was only make-shift and they cancelled the marriage.

Lack of awareness

Defecating in the open causes many health hazards and deprives nutrition in the body. When the people do not answer the call of nature and wait for darkness many diseases occur. Defecating in the open leads to worm infection and other diseases, including diarrhea.  Due to frequent Diarrhea the body cannot absorb nutrition properly. Toilet is the basic necessity of life, lack of which lead to diverse hazards in  health, social well-being, hygienes and environment.

Lack of Urgency

In a comedy show, a man had Rs 30,000 in hand, and he decided to buy a smartphone. The same amount is required to build a toilet in house. But he was waiting for the Government loan to get sanctioned. Toilets can wait that is what most people think.

We Can’t Wait

‘We can’t wait’ is the motto of this year’s World Toilet Day. Due to illiteracy, lack of funds, Poverty, lack of technical support or lack of awareness, many people in the world are deprived of  a basic human requirement.

What is your contribution on this World Toilet Day?

In India Rs 30,000 is required to built a toilet for a family. Organizations like the Sulabh International provided thousands of toilets for people around the world. What is you contribution? Please tweet at #WeCantWait.

 

How the helmet wooed my heart…  sorry my head!  and a bit on Life coaching…

When I started with bikes, I never liked the inconvenience of wearing a helmet.  First of all, it messed up my hairstyle and made my head look like that I have been glued with my hair; maybe a fashion statement today, but not so in that age….  Second, it covered my mouth and people who smiled at me didn’t know that I was also smiling back at them.  I don’t know even today whether that helmets saved my head from being hurt but surely cost me a few friends and thereby did hurt my heart…

But on long journeys, I preferred even then to wear helmets.  You will not ask me why if you are familiar with driving in Indian roads, even via youtube videos.  If I was to travel more than 10 miles without a helmet, and if I was to meet somebody, that somebody was very unlikely to recognise me because of me wearing a suit, sorry, soot over my face..  I was fortunate that I never had any major accidents with the bike except when I hit a dog which was trying to chase me, changed its mind to get ahead of me, and block my bike with its torso…  That was the only time in my life I managed to do a semi-somersault with the bike which I was on, changed roles and was on me within a few seconds.

Well, though I hated helmets and deemed it an inconvenient necessity, my attitude towards helmets changed one afternoon while  I was travelling with my friend in a car. I was witness to an accident where a bike which was hardly travelling at 10 miles per hour at a speed breaker on a highway (speed breakers sometimes could be spelt as life breakers the way they were implemented at that time) got hit by a jeep.  Both the bike travellers didn’t have helmets and the pillion passenger fell down at the impact of the hit.  His head was sliced open at the back and ‘gruesome’ would be an understatement to describe that sight…  He was unconscious yet breathing and I don’t know what happened to him after that.  But, that was the defining moment where it was impressed on my heart indelibly, how important a helmet was to a biker….

And, now you might be thinking!  What is all this have to do with Life coaching?

Life coaching is more like a helmet or better, since it saves not only your head but has the power to enhance exponentially the quality of your lives be it in the area of body, mind, soul, career, finances, relationships etc.  The benefits are mostly overlooked probably because of ignorance, neglect or the uncomfortable or rather depressing acknowledgement of things you always know but seldom do.   One might think why he has to pay for something, which he already knew, though in his heart he would agree that he didn’t do those things he knew…  

Many a times, the organizers or attendees don’t know the importance of life coaching or rather life transformation (which I would like to call them) seminars.  They are clueless on what to expect or they expect an overnight change.  They expect it to be a magic pill of sorts for an immediate and long lasting transformation of all aspects of their life without any conscious effort from their part.  Well, it does have an immediate impact and depending more on the attendee; his expectation, receptivity, decisions and follow through, the effects could increase and multiply and impact all areas on one’s life and even last for generations…  

Since they themselves don’t know the value, they try to get such courses cheap, a seemingly smart move.  We all think (we are) smart when we do some of the most stupidest things.  We all do, have done it and will do it again…  They think about it as an expense rather than an investment.  They would have no second thoughts when it comes to solving a heart problem.  They would go for the best medical support they could afford or even beyond their means.  Life transformation classes are meant to provide long lasting solutions which would avoid lot of heart and head aches for oneself and the ones who they are in contact with…  Just as one won’t neglect seeking the best medical support for life support or enhancement, one should never neglect or devalue such courses in academic institutions or organisations or even social units and should always try to invest in the best and on a continuous basis…  It is better not to spend on cheap alternatives because that would be worse than having nothing at all.  

I was recently having a discussion with another coach and he was saying how during the economic recession, in the west, the Companies who never neglected people training or rather invested more in that area were the ones who thrived (not survived) the tough times and the ones who tried to save on such investments on maximizing the utilization of human potential ended up closing down their business.  It is true for a business, it is true for a student, a family, a professional…  When you invest in yourself, you gain; when you neglect, you risk harm to yourself and others who care about you…  

And, please don’t wait until tragedy happens to learn what is best for you.  Remember, it is no benefit to anyone to learn the advantage of wearing a helmet after one has lost his head….  And once the head is gone, there is nothing you could learn really and the helmet then is of no use…  Don’t wait until it is too late…

For Life Coaching Videos in Malayalam and English by Manu Stephen please visit here

About the Author: ManuManu Varghese Stephen is the CEO of Trade Integre Ltd, UK.  He can be reached at steve@tradeintegre.co.uk, linkedin profile at https://uk.linkedin.com/in/stevetgl

Trade Integre Ltd are turn-around experts (of course towards the best!).  They have a history of turning the worst case scenarios to best case testimonies for individuals as well as corporate. They love 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. “Their success and then ours”, is the passion that drives us…  

Major direct and indirect accounts they have worked with / working with include Saudi Aramco (the world’s largest Oil Company),  Woodfarm High (Scotland, UK top Senior School), Saudi Ministry of Interior, Motorola, Kuwait National Petroleum Co, SAIC (US Fortune MNC), Atos Origin, Cisco, Saudi Telecom Co, Philip Morris etc.

In brief, though they do have multiple lines of business, they like to term themselves as solution providers for their clients be in the area of products, services (Headhunting / Specialized recruitment) and enhancing the quality and empowerment of their personal, professional and social life.  They have decades of experience in solving impossible situations for individuals or organizations be it in the area of sales maximization, academic and extra academic performance maximization, bringing about massive improvement in lifestyles, physical and emotional energy levels for best performance etc.  They have experience offering direct and indirect consultancy to varied industries be it the World’s largest Oil Co or UK’s top Senior Schools; professionals who worked with, or went on to work with, world’s leading Companies after just a few hours of life transforming sessions formally or informally..

Dear Parent, Life Skills dosen’t mean just Leadership skills

Most of my friends told me that they enrolled kids for Life Skills class on the behest of the school teacher. And the rest of them asked me astonishingly, ‘Life Skills! What’s that”. So in toto none of us know what Life Skills training actually means.

Life Skills are the skills we require to deal with the challenges we face everyday in school, office, family, society, etc. There are no specific list of life skills. Depending upon your age, work, environment, you require certain life skills to survive and succeed. Any skill that makes us better equipped to effectively carryout our work can be called as Life Skills.

After talking to many parents and Life Skills experts, I find that there is lack of awareness, and confusion, about what to expect from Life Skills Classes. When we send the children for Life Skilss classes we expect there will a complete metamorphosis and our kid  evolves to become a smart Leader; a leader, who always comes first and outsmarts everyone around them.

We want the kid to be an all rounder both is academic and co-curricular. We rate the kid and compare them with other bright students to find out what else is required to perfect our kid’s future. We involve the kid in different  activities to make them perfect -music, dance, song, sport, abacus, cookery, personality development classes.

In the recently released movie ‘Maritian’, an astronaut was accidentally left behind in mars. He grows potatoes, to survive, using the skills he acquired during his training as a Botanist. He survives and comes back to earth.  We cannot train our kids to grow potatoes in space, atleast we can equip them to expect the unexpected in life.

We learn many of the problem solving and thinking life skills from our family like computer operation, cooking, tying a shoe lace, etc. As kids grow up they require various skills to survive in the schools, university, family, office, etc. They have to sharpen their study skills, negotiation skills, presentation skills, time management skills, organising skills, conflict resolution skills, problem solving skills, etc. These and many other life skills are acquired through life skills training.

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Why life skills are important?

The changing global economic scenario and advancement in technology has greatly impacted the education system, workplace environment and lifestyle.  Modern day student need to acquire new skills to equip themselves to deal with the stress and pressure. They need to be flexible and learn to work under pressure as they will have to do many different and new kinds of jobs in their lifetime. Life skills are not only beneficial to the individual but also the work place and the community.

How the community gains?

Today’s world has become a single entity .  Life skills help  to communicate as easily with the international counterparts as they do with their native friends. They gain the skills to respect and adjust with diverse cultures and develop negotiation skills.

How the individual gains?

As an individual they learn to take responsibilities. They also gain out of the box thinking and  problem solving skills. They shed the inhibition to speak and learn to work as a team.

Career Gains

Employers not only look for academic excellence, but also other skills like people and time management skills. The employers search for candidates who can understand the business environment and adapt to different roles.

Most parents are dissatisfied with the outcome of Life skills training. There is certainly a communication gap between the life skills training classes and the expectation of the parents. Only an expert can provide an answer.

Once a parent told about her ward like this: “My son was very bright from childhood and scored 100 percentile in every subject. He was good at elocution and essay writing. But in college he performed badly. He blamed me saying I destroyed his childhood by not allowing him to play with other kids”.

Bringing up kids is not an easy job anymore. Our experiments on kids can cost them their career. It is always advisable to consult an expert. If you have any queries or doubts regarding life skills please write to ancy@lifestyletodaynews.com. A seasoned life skills trainer, who gives training in renowned universities in the U.K. will provide the answers.

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. I call him ‘Appachan’. I don’t have enough material to write an autobiography about him, 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 grandfathers brother) who died few months before I was born.

Appachan, the only child of his parent, left home at the at age of 18 to carve a niche for himself. He is 14 years older than my father (Papa). Grand Uncle, my father and siblings affectionately call him ‘Papa-Appachan’, now only had his younger brothers kids to shower his love and nurturing. The cumulative effect of the nurturing is that 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 that those jokes can be applied to solve everyday problem.

Appachan is a celebrity in Kerala. In fact 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 I only had time to catch up with my immediate cousins. So I never knew about this uncle. One day, when I was in my teens, papa excitedly spread that days newspaper before me. The page had the pictures of all the contestants for assembly election. He asked me to spot a familiar face. I couldn’t. Then he pointed at Appachan’s picture and proudly said that he was his cousin. I think that was the day our big extended family unofficially anointed him as the family icon.

There are many doctors who give up their profession to become celebrities in music, film and sports. Appachan is unique – though he 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.I can hardly think of any other doctor whom even the children consider as role model. 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.

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 training.  We are told in career counselling classes to write down our short term and long term goals. Appachan says that in his younger days, he wrote in a diary, ‘Dr……….., Psychologist’. After five decades he discovered the diary in his ancestral home.

He is a wonderful writer, he was the first to write about Sex related issues in Kerala. He says as a novice when he met an editor of a famous magazine, the editor asked to write an instant essay. When the editor saw the essay, he was amazed, he asked Appachan “where from did you get this amazing writing skill”.  Using his amazing writing skills, and psychological expertise he answered the complicated queries of 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 was called to give a message at a gathering but as his talks were seen as too explicit for the audience he was interrupted in the middle. Nowadays speaking about human relations in no more a taboo.

When someone grows in stature – fame and money, the relatives and friends usually complain about their arrogance. Not in the case of Appachan. All his relatives are aware of the unwritten rules and etiquette that we are to follow at his home. Appachan will be always busy with consultation in the upper floor of his house. When we call on hims, after sharing pleasantries with the other member of the house, we patiently wait for him. After finishing the consultation he comes and spends a few minute with us and ends the conversation with an invitation: if we are ready to wait for the lunch to be prepared we can have, or if we are in a hurry we can leave.

He is down to earth and lives is a simple house. When we visited Appachan’s house for the first time after our marriage,  my husband told me that being a celebrity he expected appachan to be staying is a palatial bungalow. A normal two storied home cum counseling centre also serves as space to unleash his creativity. Before meeting him, I heard a lot about the wash basin in his house where the tap was shaped like an Elephant Trunk. So on my first visit to his house I eagerly awaited to see  two thing- a celebrity uncle and his famous wash basin.

He is not taken aback by false propaganda as is proven by a review about him in a consumer forum. When you google his name, one of the first result that shows is “Dr…………….The worst psychologist”. More than the review, the responses made to the post 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, just visit his home.”

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