• Yoghes (That’s exactly how he pronounced it)
    Asmita Javdekar | 19-Jul-2019
    After churning stories from my hunky-dory comfort nest, I finally stepped out into the real world of putrid monsoon lunch sheds and bumper to bumper traffic.My first day as a #TeachIndia volunteer!After attending the day long, rigorous “Student-centric facilitator training” program at the Times of India office, all I craved was the familiarity of Home.Amidst dodging potholes, niggling pitter pattar, and helpless Uber intezaar, I bumped into a Chana chor garam stall.Yoghes tossed the kernels perfectly, with a luxurious drizzle of lime juice and a glorious sprinkling of masala.His gesture was enough to shuffle my mood. I struck a conversation and Yoghes opened up to me about his childhood in Rajasthan, daily earning and life in Pune. I asked him if he ever missed home or regretted coming to the city.With an embarrassed half-smile, he told me, “Bas padh nahi paye.” (I couldn’t get an education.) ..Wow! This message on the exact day that I put my wavering foot forward into the w
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  • Sarodey Kaka
    Asmita Javdekar | 19-Jul-2019
    On my way to #TeachIndia this morning, I had a tête-à-tête with my Rickshaw driver; Sarodey Kaka. . . He told me that besides driving, he has a farm and he is also into marketing of Sakas Food products. His zest for multitasking was interesting so I prodded on about what he did for a living when he was younger. Kaka had worked for a Mechanical Pumps Unit for 22years before the company suddenly closed down. With two young children and no job, he was in a state of helpless turmoil. . . “I took odd jobs, whatever came my way. It was about taking one day at a time. When your world comes crashing down, it means it’s only your problem. Not Life’s problem. Life doesn’t stop for you. It doesn’t stop for anyone and if you don’t keep pace, you will stay in the past when everyone around you moves into the future. In my difficult time, all the menial jobs that I did are the reason that have made me who I am today. You name a job and I can do it but talking to people
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  • Dr Sana Khan | 18-Jul-2019
    I was unable to enjoy college life due to  many reasons.  One of them being the distance from home to college as well as the distance between hearts.  There's a lot of difference in the opinion of people from place to place. I'm proud to be from Pune because we have been blessed with a broad minded outlook as well as cultural acceptance. Being raised in a cultured family I have been taught to be nice to everyone and respect everyone no matter what.  Unfortunately I was a part of a college where there was narrow mindedness, no acceptance to different cultures as well as unfriendly nature of students.  Due to these reasons I never felt that I ever belonged to the college. I always thought that I'm a localite and as soon as college is over I'll go back to my world. The batch is to be blamed probably as well as the difference in upbringing.  But life always gives everyone an opportunity to express themselves and live according to their wish so the story changed and life gave me
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  • Kusum Taware
    Asmita Javdekar | 06-Jul-2019
    I was on my #100humanencounters prowl this morning when I chanced upon a vendor selling giant jackfruits...Kusum Taware has been selling fruits for the last 26years. Her work hours are 9am to 9pm. I asked her how she managed her children when they were younger.Her reply was simple, “We do not pamper children like you people, they understand the need of the moment and rise up to the occasion. I had to work to support our family financially. My daughter started cooking when she was in 2nd grade. Her younger brothers shared the household responsibilities as well. Also, we live in a community where neighbours watch out for each other. Things are way different now. My daughter’s children study in an English medium school, my son is a gym trainer and the youngest works in an IT company.I don’t need to work for money anymore but after so many years my body doesn’t know how to function without this routine.”
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  • Beautiful moments and precious memories
    Team Kalamwali | 26-Jun-2019
    Was having a conversation with grand mother-in-law over coffee at home n suddenly it started raining..with tears in her eyes she started talking about how her late husband took her for a drive and sugarcane juice(her fav)evertime  it rained..i asked her to get ready n get in to the car..we both left for a drive with some old beautiful songs n stopped for sugarcane juice where I clicked this picture.. I wanted to capture that feeling she had while having it.. Happiness comes by doing small things and making memories and enjoying life has nothing to do with age..i consider this one as the best picture i clicked as its not just a picture its a moment,a memory.. My best friend,my grand mother in law   - BY POOJA SHAH
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  • Living the Dream: in the Home away from Home-II
    Team Kalamwali | 22-Jun-2019
    Living the Dream: in the Home away from Home-II  - By Gautam Govitrikar     UPDATE: In a sensational development, Ashish Bagai has agreed to a 9 month contract to help his "Home" country qualify for the World  T20 as well as the Real Deal-The ICC World Cup to be held Fown Under in 2015-probably the last chance for Associate Members like Canada to participate in the World Cups!                                                 -----------------------------------------     Last week, I covered the journey of Sushil Nadkarni from representing India U-19 to becoming the mainstay of the USA Cricket team. Today, we will talk about a dear friend and easily Canada’s best cricketer-Ashish Bagai!Ashish moved to Canada from Delhi at the age of 11 in 1993. While he had played plenty of “galli cricket”, he had never played it at a competitive leve
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  • Living the Dream: in the Home away from Home-Part I
    Team Kalamwali | 22-Jun-2019
    Living in the Dream: In the Home away from Home - Part 1  - By Gautam Govitrikar     To a casual observer, he was just another Indian kid flying to US for his Masters, leaving friends and family behind. But there was something else that Sushil Nadkarni was leaving behind:  an unfulfilled but promising cricketing career.   Little did he know what fate had in store for him.   After finishing his Masters in Austin, he moved to Houston in 2003 and was pleasantly surprised to find a strong cricketing culture.   “I did not know how many cricket clubs there are in the US. There were quite a few people who knew about my cricketing past and they approached me to play for their club,” said Sushil in an interview I conducted over Skype. “I never thought it would lead to something as special as leading the USA Cricket Team”   Sushil went from strength to strength and soon was selected for the USA team. Amid a period of turmoil, he became the
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  • Tina
    Asmita Javdekar | 20-Jun-2019
      The kids have a Walmart “junk raid” ritual in the first few days of our stay in Macon. It has to be carefully administered while my sister is at work as Cheetos, Chips Ahoy, Gold fish, Gummies and Mac n cheese don’t really qualify as snacks in my sister’s jurisdiction. At our loot check out counter, we met Tina.  Effervescent, friendly and cheerful. Tina works as the cashier at Walmart. When I told her it was really inspiring to see her, do her work and I would love to write about her, she joked that it would cost me money. Tina’s fun spirit, positive attitude and big heart taught me that no matter what storms life throws at you, when you take charge of the oars and infuse optimism in your journey then you simply have to, “Row row row your boat , gently down the stream, merrily merrily merrily merrily, Life is but a dream.”
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  • Sindhu
    Asmita Javdekar | 20-Jun-2019
      For anyone who’s a member at ABS, she is “Maushi” Today while ambling on the treadmill, I had a tête-à-tête with her about life. For starters, Maushi is Sindhu and just a few years older than me. She lost her husband fifteen years back. Ever since, she has strived to single handedly raise her son, who is now a commerce student. Maushi leaves home at 5.45am daily, after finishing her household chores. Her travel to work involves a bus ride followed by a long walk. She tells me she enjoys the morning breeze and the peaceful walk to work. She emphasises on the importance of education. Having studied till 10th grade aided her a lot in financial and legal matters, after the passing of her husband. “Life has taught me one thing, if it throws problems at us, it teaches us to solve problems as well. One must stop relying on God. You can pray to God but you have to solve the problem yourself only.”
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  • The Journey of Death
    Asmita Javdekar | 16-Jun-2019
    Memory, Remembering, Missingalways dwells on the essence.Not the becoming, not the perishingBut the spirit. Day by day, the pain begins to ebb.The debilitating images start fading,getting infused by a warm presence.An eternal companionThe body may have gone.The presence always lives through you The Journey of Death
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  • Feeling Loved
    Asmita Javdekar | 31-May-2019
    For Amit who secured admission at COEP for Mechanical Engineering, it was the first time in his life that his father, Mr.Shrirang Godbole had ever smiled and said “Good” to him.The Godbole family took immense pride in the fact that Amit would be the fourth generation of brilliant mechanical engineers from the Godbole family to graduate from such a prestigious institution.Shrirang was a disciplinarian and a pragmatic man.He was raised on a foundation that emotions take one away from focus and life should be led within the framework of rules rather than frivolousness of emotional display.Shrirang had never cried!Never even laughed out loud.He was simply a man of limited expression who led a very strict life.Amit had grown used to his father’s ways but a part of him yearned for some fatherly love and encouragement.Just any small gesture.A pat on the back, a warm handshake or even just an expression saying, “me ahe na” (I am there for you)After all these years, Amit finally managed t
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  • Are we Americanising Indian kids?
    Diyaa | 25-May-2019
      It was a lazy weekend and we had no out of the ordinary plans. We generally reserve the weekends for our kids and do stuff they like or they would want to. Since there was not much on the list that day, we thought of catching up on some masala bollywood movie. I knew by the reviews that it was good enough for the kids to watch. So we went for it and had a hilarious time. He loved it so much that, he even mentioned about it to his group of friends the next day. There it started, what I knew was going to pop up very soon, a storm of questions. I heard all sorts of statements like 'we still don't take them for movies’, 'how can you show them bolly movies?’, 'these aren't kiddy activities!’ and so on. I was constantly being judged for that two hours of entertainment I took my kid to. My point was simple. They enjoyed and had a wholesome laugh, what more could I have asked for. With just giving them an additional box of popcorn I too got my peace of time there.I felt like saying, ‘I
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  • Give me a break please!
    Diyaa | 25-May-2019
             "Don't shout please and get away from each other!", "Is this really how you treat your own brother?” were the 'not-so-soothing' words that came out of my mouth that night. I was a witness to my boys’ fight, compulsively playing a role of a referee while my husband lay on the bed watching Netflix and simultaneously checking his whatsapp messages on his phone. I thought I was the only one who could multi-task around kids but he was way better when he came to it. I quickly settled the two little ones in their own space and a called it a night. I finally lay down on my warm bed and sank deep in my fantasy world. In my head, I couldn’t wait to go away from home to spend time on a holiday. My hubby had planned an exotic one for us later this summer. Knowing I would be travelling with my boys and my in-laws and being the lady of the house, I would be at duty more there than here. So what I was looking at was loosening up from my hectic routine. My day comprised of
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  • It's a small small world!
    Jyoti | 22-May-2019
    I was in Bhutan a couple of years back and trekking the Taktsang monastery. The ascending trek takes about 3 to 4 hours through dense pine trees and rhododenron shrubs. While trekking it is very common to smile and make small talk with the people you meet on the way. So there was this local person in a traditional Buddhist attire coming down and the following interaction took place between the two of us: Me (smiling) : hello He (smiles back) : hi Me: how was your trek? He: very good Me: how much more distance remaining? He: still a trek of about an hour. Me: Ok thanks He: where are you from? Me: India He: where in India? Me: Gujarat (thinking he must never have heard of it) He (smiling) : Kem cho? Me (surprised): how do you even know Gujarati? He: my brother runs a travel agency and we get many tourists from Gujarat Me: majama He: keep going and enjoy your trek Me: Bye He: Bye Imagine my surprise when I met that local speaking Gujarati in a foreign land!     
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  • Kadak Laxmi
    Asmita Javdekar | 18-May-2019
     Kadak Laxmi The reason a lot of kids in my generation grew up decently behaved is thanks to the “Kadak Laxmi” phenomenon. The fear for this community was embedded into us since childhood.Kadak Laxmi as we referred to them were often queer, with heavy vermilion, turmeric and kajal smeared across their faces. They would lash themselves with thick whips made up of woven coir.The resonance which erupted from the belligerent face off between the whip and air, still evokes a certain degree of nervousness witness me.Today, I walked into my childhood fear, head on.This Kadak Laxmi gave me an insight into how this tradition is passed down over generations. Being nomads, he wandered with his family seeking alms and watching them perform their gruelling routine. For him, this was normal and this profession, a natural progression. When I questioned him about his family, his eyes softened. He had two children, studying at school.They disapproved of this profession and were deeply embarrassed of the
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  • We are far from shallow
    Asmita Javdekar | 10-May-2019
    Through my headphones, straight into my heart, Lady Gaga explodes, “In the shallow, shallow In the shallow, shallow In the shallow, shallow We're far from the shallow now” Her voice resonates across my emotions, leaving them carelessly strewn. I see a haggard dog with a worn out collar, sniffing through a pile of trash. Perhaps abandoned, perhaps escaped. My mind tugs by it’s untold story. I keep walking and just around the corner of the road, I see this elderly gentleman!! Ashok Kadam feeds the strays in his neighbourhood everyday. He has names for each one of them and refers to them as his children. When I turn back, I see abandoned love. But something assures me that if it keeps going, it’s walking straight into the land of love and light. “We’re far from the shallow now.” Plays on loop. I believe it and keep walking. 
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