Sunday, November 22, 2015

No Toilet Humour please

It was a normal routine morning and I was tuned into Disney Junior Channel with my kiddo whilst having breakfast. In the commercial break, Disney played a three minute filler animated series called ‘Nina Needs to Go’.
Nina Needs to Go
PC - Disney

As the name suggests, it was about a girl called Nina who ultimately needs to use the loo when in different scenarios and how she manages to relieve herself. I was mildly surprised of the content of the filler cartoon, which was uncanny to the rest of the content on the channel. It  turns out it is aimed at preschoolers to develop and get accustomed to toilet manners.

But in fact, it dawned upon me on how this is an important issue and how it needs to be rightly addressed. Nina was addressing the need of the hour – clean, hygienic, easily available sanitation and access to water. In India, where toilets are not easily accessible, and even if they are accessible, they are either unclean, lack a continuous water supply or lack safety, especially for women.

If you are under the misconception that toilets are only inaccessible in the rural areas, next time, ask your house-help about the long queues they have to stand outside a common toilet with a bucket of water to go for their daily ablutions. Even those who live in a chawl system type house more than one of these issues – unclean toilets, irregular water supply, and lack of safety for women (no source of light / no latch on the toilet doors), and disposal of waste. Especially for women, during the time of menstruation, there is more often the need to use a clean toilet.

Unclean toilets are said to be precursors to infections and diseases spread by unclean surroundings. And those diseases when spread rampantly can ultimately result in affecting the overall nutrition, especially for women and children.

And that is why #wecantwait to get clean toilets as a basic need.

World Toilet Day It's no Joke

To combat this, there are some actions being taken:

The United Nations declared November 19th of every year as ‘World Toilet Day’ in a bid to draw attention to the alarming fact that more than quarter of the world’s population cannot access sanitary facilities!

World Toilet day is about the 2.4 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation. It is about the nearly 1 billion people who have to defecate in the open.

“Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation” is the theme for this year’s World Toilet Day, which seeks to put a spotlight on the threat of sexual violence that women and girls face due to the loss of privacy as well as the inequalities that are present in usability. Toilets generally remain inadequate for populations with special needs, such as the disabled and elderly, and women and girls requiring facilities to manage menstrual hygiene.

This initiative has been activelyt In fact this very day, last year, Hindustan Unilever’s Domex launched a campaign to drive this thought and to everyone’s attention on the importance of accessible sanitation through Toilet For Babli. They highlighted many stories, induced by social sharing on the plight of village women and how then combatted building a toilet near their home. In fact, I read up on one such story of a bride refusing to go to her husband’s place, on finding out about the lack of a toilet around his home. To which, to woo the lady of his life, the man eventually built a toilet for her and all was good.

So take a moment to feel lucky to be among those who have toilets installed inside or near their homes rather than having the need to walk a mile outside of their home in the wilderness just to answer nature’s call. After all, it is no dirty joke.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

#madeofgreat - Steve Jobs

If you were to ask me what greatness is and what constitutes a person to be anointed to be #madeofgreat I would say, it is their never-say-die attitude in the face of adversity.

These greats are made of sterner stuff than most of us. One of them is Steve Jobs.
What made Steve Jobs great?
Was it because he was a bright mind?
or was it because he built Apple - the iconic brand that all look up to?

Let me share why I feel Steve Jobs was #madeofgreat.
Though I had never met the man in person, yet the stories about the events in his life are so impactful. Some people leave an indelible mark on you that you weep silent tears when you hear the news about their untimely passing.

The Start to Greatness: 

Early in life, Steve took a major risk by dropping out college to build Apple Computers Inc with his friend Steve Wozniak in 1976. He was just 21 then.
Though computers did exist then, Apple Computers revolutionized the way computers interacted with the users by making it more user-friendly. Some fine details like fonts, typefaces and styling that Steve introduced into the Operating System changed the way people used computers. And so Apple churned out products and the investors were happy to invest into the company.

Post the meteoric success of Apple in the following 3 years, the company was met with fierce competition from IBM. In addition, Apple products met critique of not being IBM-Compatible. Under the pressure of IBM breathing down Apple's neck, a disgruntled CEO of Apple (Mike Sculley) believed Steve Jobs to be hurting Apple and made him feel insignificant in the company that he built.

In 1985, Steve Jobs was made to leave from the same company he built from scratch.

Simply, he was kicked out of his own compay.

In the face of this adversity and challenge, Steve started NeXT a software and hardware enterprise and subsequently purchased George Lucas' animation studio- which later became Pixar. It was because of his foresight of realizing the potential of Pixar, he invested $50 million of his own money into the company.
I am sure many would've laughed at the decision of a recently kicked-out founder investing heaps of his own money into another entrepreneurial plunge that may back-fire.
But it was Steve's gamble that paid off. And Pixar generated truck loads of money by belting out wildly popular hits like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles.

Steve is revered to be one of the greatest inventors and creators of modern technology. I don't doubt that for one bit. He made no compromises in designing the iPad or the iPhone as sleek and user friendly at a time we just couldn't think of a phone that could fit into the palm of our hand.

His achievements have sown the seeds for belief that an entrepreneurial journey can be rewarding regardless of the hurdles that one faces. He has left a technological legacy that many will cherish for decades and more.

What drives you from within is what makes you great!

The most powerful part of his life that made a lasting impression on my mind was him regaining the confidence to build another company from scratch after being kicked out of his own venture. I felt it was remarkable how he did not let the setback affect his belief system in the darkness of adversity, but re-instated his confidence and determination to move ahead to build another great company and keep making marvels.
Steve's life incident is a worthy lesson to me as I draw strength from the way he moved on without cribbing, without any hesitation in taking risks, keeping the passion to excel alive and most importantly NOT GIVING UP.

It was Steve Jobs' self-belief, perseverance and never-say-die attitude in the toughest of times that defined him to be #madeofgreat.

Like a man who embodies qualities like excellence, perfection and never-say-die attitude to be attributed as #madeofgreat, a brand like TATA Motors is displaying these qualities since decades in the motoring world. TATA Motors is an epitome of a brand belonging to the India's globally renowned group TATA, that has now partnered with another renowned brand - football phenomenon Lionel Messi to be their global ambassador.

What do you think of Tata Motor's Association with Lionel Messi?
The best answer will win an Amazon Voucher worth Rs. 750!

Note: Contest closes on November 26, 11.59 PM.
So comment with your answer soon!

Book Review: Kissing Frogs for a While

Book Title: Kissing frogs for a While
Author: Pavan Tarawade 
Pages: 136 
Genre: Romance/ Chic-Lit 
Price: (Paperback): Rs. 150  (Flipkart) 
Publisher: NotionPress

Pawan Tarawade is a first time blogger-turned-author of 'Kissing Frogs for a while'. The book revolves around Ayesha,  a successful career girl at the so-called marriageable age, who is pressured to get hitched, primarily from her parents and partly because she's the only one among her friends who's yet to find her soul mate. She reluctantly explores the option of arranged marriage while trying to heal from a bitter break-up which is what the story is mainly about - the five guys she meets. Will she find the right guy and get over her past or will the past continue to haunt her?

Frankly, I felt this book was written in a hurry. The character build up is not thorough and could have used a lot more details. Ayesha's  thoughts, her expressions, her actions could do with more reasoning and decription. The initial flow of the story was sketchy and half baked at some parts and could do with much more finesse. Though the story can be related to more than half the girls out there, overall it leaves nothing to imagination. What I liked was the end, which was nicely tied though expected.

I have read and reviewed many a book by first time authors - be it Rishad Saam Mehta, Upendra Namburi or Prtihvin Rajendran and found them living up to the mark in terms of language, story, flow and narration. All I can say it is an early start for Pavan and he needs to hone his literary pursuits and I wish him all the very best.
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