Monday, February 8, 2016

Licensed To Thrill

It had been 35 years since I had got off my bicycle for one last time, never to get back on it ever again. I was 13 year old teen who had been forced to stop riding the bicycle for the crime of being a girl. Being mocked by my grandmother, eve teased by boys and looked down upon by the society, I did not have enough strength within me to fight those forces and do what I loved. Giving in was easy and cowardly, but I did. Shame on me!

Friday, January 8, 2016

A Fountain Of Joy And Inspiration

Good Bye 2015. I will miss you.
The year was amazing for me. I reached many long term goals in 2015 towards which I have been relentlessly working for years. This was also a fruitful year where lot of people with their inspirational stories inspired me to be a better person. Fortunately, I don’t have to look far for the most inspiring story of 2015, since the amazing person lives with me under the same roof. She is my daughter Farheena.
When Farheena entered my life on 11th May 1995, my joy knew no bounds. Having a daughter born after a son completed me as a mother. But, life is not fairy-tale with happy ending; so it was not like “she gave birth to a beautiful daughter and they lived happily ever after”. There were challenges waiting for me just around the corner.
The first challenge was finding out the most beautiful baby girl I had seen could not see, talk, walk or do many things which we all take for granted. She was child with special needs. The second challenge was, just 11 months after her birth, I was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 3.
Managing my cancer treatment, my financial woes and providing proper physiotherapy and care for my daughter was challenging to say the least, but with her hugs, smiles and love my daughter inspired me to survive. I knew with her around, I had no choice but to kick the cancer butt and survive. I did - for 20 years now.
Hospitals, special schools and lot of training with help from my son saw that Farheena grew up to be a friendly, happy and dignified young woman who knew her boundaries, limits, rights and passion and she stood by them firmly. The medical predictions did not stand strong in front of our combined determination.
With her medals and certificate
Today, Farheena does not talk fluently, but she does communicate in her own way and style. She can see clearly. She walks with little help. Farheena manages her own life and keeps in touch with friends of her choice through internet. Facebook and recently WhatsApp are her favorites. 

With one of her favorite blogger friend Janaki 
With limited words she can pronounce or spell, she uses her creativity to convey messages to us. Her lack of complete vocabulary has not stopped her from communicating with people. She keeps trying until she is understood.

Sharing her friend's secret with her baby doll Annie

2015 marked a new Era of my life because this was the year when Farheena walked in with her first Salary she received for making paper bags in YST. She is involved in lot more activities now.

That was the biggest goal of my life achieved. People who do not understand the whole concept often ask me, “How much does she earn?” That is not important. What makes it important for me as a mother is to know that she is now capable of being engaged in fruitful and purposeful work throughout the day. Apart from her job at YST, Farheena is busy on limeroad creating her scrapbook with styles of her choice. She has given me a few fashion tips and tries to correct me when she feels I am wearing inappropriate clothes for an occasion.

My inspiration in 2015 is my special needs daughter Farheena who has not allowed anyone to take her for granted. She knows how to protect herself and when to ask for help if someone is bothering her. She carries herself with dignity of a queen and is proud of her achievements. She has the ability to make people feel like somebody special. Moreover, unlike many people I know, she loves and respects herself.
15 years ago, I was consulting a lawyer regarding my legal rights. During the course of discussion, I mentioned that I am proud of my daughter. The lawyer then retorted saying, “Stop lying to yourself Farida. Come out of the delusion you are living in. No one can be proud of a special needs child. You can accept and love her but cannot be proud of her”. I was confused back then and walked away without answering her. I knew I felt pride in my heart when I think of my daughter but I was not sure.
Today, I can very confidently say that I am very proud of my daughter. She has taught me a very important lesson in my life that – it is not what you get in your life that matters, but what you do with what you have which makes the difference. I know she will continue to inspire me in the coming years as well.
I am very happy to spread the vibe of my hope and happiness to people who may feel overwhelmed by the challenges in their lives. Hang-on and fight with all your might! You will succeed.

The pretty Baby

Loves to dress up

Determined to get on her feet after triple
fusion surgery on ankles

Making her style statement

One of those rare days when she cleans
our home

Friday, October 2, 2015

What Makes Us Selfish? Amir Khan Touches This Issue

The thought has bothered me throughout my life, since I have been there and done that too. I had the competitive spirit which told me that I had to be ahead of everyone, prove that I am better than others and win competitions. The trait diminished with lessons I got from 'Life Experiences' but it still lingers somewhere deep within.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Presence Of Apps Replacing Presence Of Mind

This is one of those delicious food stories that I relish and enjoy as much as I enjoy good food. It took place in those dark ages when people did not have internet or apps to make through the day. They solely had to depend on their skills, intelligence and wit to get out of trouble. Wonder, how people survived back then? But they did and this is one of those stories where internet and apps did not come to the rescue of Susan.

Friday, August 28, 2015

My Indiblogger Badges

Recently Indiblogger sent me an email informing that they had a page dedicated where Indibloggers could access all their badges they had ever received from Indiblogger. I was happy and overwhelmed to see all the badges I had received from Indiblogger.

Winning blogging contest was my first step towards the progress I am making now. I will forever be indebted to Indiblogger for making a huge difference to my life.

Thank you Indiblogger

Monday, August 24, 2015

# ASUS Divas Meet - Bangalore

It just looks like yesterday when I loving held the Asus Zenfone 5 in my hands. I was bowled over by its features and looks – especially for the mobile in the price range it was offered.  It was a sleek device in charcoal black with amazing features priced below 8000 INR.  . Keeping technical aspects aside, the phone had numerous practical uses for me. Being extremely happy with Zenfone 5, I feel Zenfone 2 is something worth looking ahead for and I did. When Zenfone 2 was launched, I did wait long before going for it. I have been using and loving it for past few months.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

When The Sequel Is Better....

Twenty years ago my doctor had announced, "You have breast cancer, stage III". He was very hesitant to talk to me, but I insisted to have the discussion with him personally. I was shocked to hear this, but I had to recover from the shock. Once I found my voice again, the first question I asked him was, " What should I do to survive this?". My doctor managed a tough smile and said, "I think you already did by shifting your focus from cancer to life. I am very happy with your question which shows your spirit of survival rather than the usual questions like - am I going to die? or why did this happen to me? etc"
I divide my life into B.C. and A.D. that is Before Cancer and After Diagnosis. Before cancer I lived a aimless life with no focus or goals. I was struggling to please everyone and not being successful. I realized the value of my life only when I was about to lose it. That is when I started living a more focused and goal oriented life.
I set targets to be achieved, the most important being bringing up my children lovingly. My son was a scared and insecure 4 year old and my special needs daughter just 11 months breast feeding baby. There was no way I was going to die leaving them behind. I geared up for the fight and focused on my goals and target. I often forget the tough challenges I have faced, the suffering I have been through, the hurdles I have overcome or being a cancer survivor.
Today, I stand at the stage in my life where I have almost achieved most of the targets and goals I set for myself. My two children have turned into beautiful and kind people who I can be very proud of. My special needs daughter is now a earning member of our family today.

Personally - from a PUC dropout, I now have a Masters degree in counseling and psychotherapy, I have a blog which has received more than two million views, from running around Bangalore selling soft toys, today I write articles from the comfort of my home or conduct life skill training to be financial independent, I have made my mark with games I play both online and offline, I traveled to USA to meet sisters in survival, I got my driving license, found my dream job, learned to swim and and I have laughed my way through past two decades. That looks quite a productive life now!

I have gained strength to stand up not only for myself, but also for others in the last two decades. I have realized the true potential I have and learned to respect and love myself. I can say the second innings of my life is more fruitful and rewarding than the first one.

I know cancer can be tough on even the bravest. I know because even though I have survived cancer, I have lost my sister and mom to breast cancer. Some of you may still be fighting your battle against cancer. For those of you who are still on the battlefield, my message is - Stay negative (this is true only for us for whom testing positive for cancer can be a nightmare), Think positive and focus on life rather than cancer. Life is definitely worth living and fighting for!

Watch for more survivor stories on YouTube with #hcgselfv. Get Inspired! Get Motivated to get more out of your life.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SelfV - Survivor Stories

Update: The SelfV Second Edition is going on. Log onto to for more information and inspiration. Share your story or those of your dear ones to encourage people to fight cancer better. 

Walking down the memory lane, here is what happened @ last year SelfV contest. 

For once, it was not just the battle with cancer that the survivors won; in addition they won Harley Davidson Super Bike, a Samsung Led Smart TV, merchandise from designer label Armani and many more. 10 winners were chosen by a special jury and I am glad to say I am one of them. 

Rayyan Lost in Laptop