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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stop Child Abuse Now

Monday, April 22, 2013

Counseling Center for People Affected With Cancer




My dream is something that would not make me rich or bring in profits. Many would ask me, why start a business if there is no monetary profit in it. Life has taught me lessons that everything cannot be bought with money; the best things of life are always free. My plan is to start an online counseling center for people going through cancer. Online center because it will be easy for people who wish to contribute to the cause have an easy to access the center, save on rent and infrastructure of the real office, and moreover save time required for people to travel to the counseling center which means a lot for professionals and people dealing with cancer.
 I have got to see the demon called cancer more than once and that too from very close quarters. First my dad was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1992, then my sister with breast cancer in 1994 and myself with breast cancer in 1996. We had a break after my diagnosis and thought we have seen the end of cancer. But it came back in 2004 attacking my mom. In 2005, when my mom had recurrence of breast cancer within a year of her surgery, I was devastated. I could not deal with the emotional turmoil of cancer anymore all alone and I needed support from people who have been or were going through it.
Unfortunately, I could not get in touch with any group or organization that could lend me emotional support in India. Finally I got in touch with few survivors from USA, who lent me support, a shoulder to cry on; a place to vent out my frustrations as I helplessly watched my mother succumb to the beast called breast cancer. Though the support was virtual and I did not get to meet the SIS (sisters in survival) for another 3 years, their support meant a lot to me.
Being a survivor of 3rd grade breast cancer for more than 17 years now, and also the only survivor of cancer in my family, I feel it is time I give back something to others who are going through the same crisis in their life. My own experience along with the suffering and losing my dear ones has given me a great insight into the trauma that accompanies diagnoses of cancer. Adding to this is my close interactions with many other people who have been through this ordeal.
 I did not just make a decision and wait for things to happen but went ahead and started preparing for my dream project. To be a counselor, just the diploma in counseling skills was not sufficient; therefore I decided to graduate in Psychology which I did last year. At present I am preparing for my M.S. in Counseling and Psychotherapy. Apart from being a part of Ladybirds group of cancer survivors, I have become a member of Pink Hope group of survivors in HCG. In addition I started working as an online counselor for Banjara Academy. All these are going to be the foundation stones for my dream project of starting an effective counseling center for people affected with cancer.
business,concepts,communications,laptop computers,men,networking,notebook,people,women,occupations,technologyThis will take time and a lot of organizing before it can be launched, but Microsoft office 365 makes it look much more possible than it looked earlier, especially the investment for one year which would be below INR 5000/-. So there is no need to worry about funds.
It will give access to people to the counseling center from any part of the globe, but it will be created keeping the needs of Indian in mind. We can put up information they need through Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Excel. PowerPoint and video clips can be used to make the information easier to understand by the patients. Doctors, counselors and other professionals who are willing to contribute for this cause, can spend some time on HD video conference, counseling and imparting information to the patients.  It would be easy to manage by anyone as it does not ask for expertise in IT to work through it. Reports about new research, findings, medicines and other cancer related information can be updated under the guidance of the administrator.
Being work at home mom, I know the power of Microsoft office which helps me organize and execute my work effectively. Having such an office virtually, which gives the employees an access to the tools of Microsoft office from anywhere would be a dream come true for my project. The team of people who will come together to help the cause of fighting cancer can remain connected, synchronized and manage things in spare time from the comfort of their homes.
The counseling center would find out about the cost of treatment at various hospitals, experts available for specific cancer types and their consultation fees, what are the different types of tests, surgeries, therapies and medicines which may be involved in the treatment process and moreover counseling and emotional support for the people fighting their battle with cancer. The online center should be able to create an ambience of confidence, friendliness and assurance which would boost the will power of the patient.
People in a business meeting brainstorming
Any bright idea can be shared instantly with
everyone
Cancer is not pushed out of our lives with the treatment, it remains with us forever. The near death situation we have been through leaves us totally a different person after the experience. So there will be a corner for survivors in the counseling center, where they both contribute emotional support to newly diagnosed patients and find support for the problems they face after their ordeal with cancer. For survivors it would be a get together spot, along with guidance to finding prosthetics, coping with changes and taking charge of life once again. I know how much I had to struggle to get my first breast prosthetics and wig during the chemotherapy sessions.
For everyone in general, the counseling center would provide information about cancer like what are the symptoms to watch out for, how to conduct self examination, and following healthy diet and lifestyle that would hinder cancer development.
The virtual counseling center in the cloud would succeed in showering hope, assurance and help to people who actually need it the most.
Now for the features of Microsoft office 365 that would help me in my dream business. 


First, I would like to mention that the office can be opened on Linux and Mac computers, so I can heave a sigh of relief.  I am dependent on Microsoft office even for my blogging. Having such an office in cloud, where all the data can be accessed from anywhere would mean a lot for any online business.
We all had heard about sync, but the new advantage here is Lync, a feature that will allow us to save our contacts in office 365, allows video calling, saves images and can have meetings and conferences online. There can be presentations organized online as well.
Microsoft Office 365 is a great blessing for bloggers who can schedule their posts directly from office 365. No more copy pasting their articles to their blogs.
The work done offline by individuals can be synced online, thus making it available for everyone. People working together can edit the documents at the same time from different places. Above all it with the drag and drop feature to build a website, it is going to be a piece of cake to create the virtual counseling center.
It will also connect the center to social media sites, where it can spread awareness and information easily, and that too with just a click of the button.
And finally we have the security for the office so that our privacy will not be lost. Also it will protect us from spammers who would use this as an advertisement platform. So the dream of having an online counseling center for cancer survivors is almost a reality now.

This post is a part of contest organized by Office 365 on Indiblogger

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Stop Child Abuse Now

An abuser who is rude, may scar the child emotionally and physically for life

Statistics show that child sexual abuse crosses boundaries of race, culture, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, affecting all types of communities. Never go by the age appearance or profession of a person to totally trust them with your child.
It is wise for the parents to be aware about the people who are around their children. The caretaker, baby sitter, domestic help, driver, who show extra affection to the child or offer to carry them around, could be nice people who care for them, but they may also be potential abusers trying to win the trust of the child and parent. Watch them and observe how they behave and deal with the child when nobody is watching them. Observe the way they carry, touch or sit with the child. Many of these people, who have access to children in lonely places, are known to touch inappropriately, fondle or even rape the children. These are not shocking stray incidences, but happens very often in our society, especially by the people who are very familiar with the child.
They usually plan everything over and make enough efforts to win the confidence and trust of the parents before making their move. Your child is precious. Do not fall prey to the cunningness of child abusers, be alert and protect your child.  

Though putting fingers in children's mouth, making them sit between legs,or holding them too tight may not look like abuse to you because the child is not hurt, but it is not the way you are supposed to handle children. Watch out for such behaviors and put a stop to it immediately. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Man Who Could Not See My Disability


Learning to walk with club foot

Most of the people I meet never realize that I have a club foot. I walk without limp, and it is after sometime one fine day that they will ask, "what happened to your leg?". I tell them I have club foot, which usually brings a shocked expression as they exclaim, “Oh! I am so sorry. I couldn't make it out at all”. For this I have to be grateful to a man who ignored my disability and instilled confidence in me.
He was our PT sir, who joined school when I was in second grade. We heard that he previously was an army man. He was very strict but at the same time good trainer. Many kids who never participated in physical activities were pulled into the games by him. He never allowed any excuse until he was sure that it was genuine one.

I used to give excuse of my club foot and not play much in school and never participated in the mass drill they organized every Saturday. I never wanted to be in competitions where others could mock my club foot or beat me badly in games. I played alone that is by running and cycling in the evenings.

The new trainer told me I had to do as much as possible and take rest if I truly had pain in my leg. We had a little argument but he won because he knew I used to walk quite long distance to school sometimes instead of waiting for the bus and also when I wanted to, I played quite well. For once there was a person who could not see my disability. To him I was like any other kid. He made me sweat it out and run like everyone. Initially I thought he was my enemy.. not in the category of my grandmother who made life miserable for me, but just a tiny bit of enemy; but later on I realized that I loved the way he treated me. No special kid treatment. Tough on me, forcing me to show my best, challenging me to reach a target and I knew this is the way I wanted people to treat me.

One day he told me to come and meet him in the lunch time after I finish my lunch. I knew he had some plan for me and by now I had started to trust him a lot.
 “There is our new sports girl of the year” he welcomed me with a broad smile.
“I have something very serious to discuss with you. You have to trust me and believe in what I say. If you promise me not to feel hurt or brood over what I have said but only concentrate on what has to be done then I will go ahead and tell you something now”
I had expected something different and this was a bit confusing discussion. Now if a person knows he is going to say something that will hurt me and he doesn't want me hurt why should he say it at all? As I had developed some amount of respect for this man I decided to go ahead and listen to him
“Yes sir”
“You have a prominent limp and wrong gait when you walk. I think we can work on it and set your gait right but you have to work hard for it. You are young now and the habit of limp is not permanent. As years go by you will get used to it and change will be difficult. Shall we work on it every day hereafter?”
“What is gait?”
“It is the way you walk”.
“Sir, I have a club foot and it will make me limp no matter how hard I try. I have been trying to walk my best since last 3 years but this is the best I can do”.
“If you trust me then listen to me and let us work on it. I promise to make you walk better if you give me a chance. Please”.
I had no other option but to do as he says because usually he was a stern person who never said please, thank you etc. and when he said please I decided to do my best at whatever he says.
So the lunch break and another extra period were spent with him making me walk around, correcting me. When I tried to walk the way he told me to I hurt and tried to give up. But he would not allow that. Finally I was given instructions to do some more walking at home with one book balanced on my head and allowed to go to my class.
To my horror when I came back home I found that I could not take even two steps without dropping the book down. After an hour or so I could take 4 steps with the book balanced on my head. To do this I had to walk very slowly. Thus began my coaching at walking without a limp.
Also I was lured into participating in more sports. I found out to my amazement I could actually beat other kids in hop and catch, throw ball, dodge ball and kho-kho. Slowly I realized the bull chasing episode where I had overtaken my sister was not a fluke and I could actually beat many kids in running. It came as a big surprise to everyone around me and I was utterly shocked. I was beaming with happiness and pride off course.
Back at home this did not go down well with my family. They thought I am going to hurt myself and may end up being a real cripple by playing sports. I don’t blame them either, because my club foot did not give me good balance and I came home with wounded knees or elbows on most of the days. [The scars make me proud even to this day]
My aunt and mom decided to complain to the HM on PT Sir saying that he was  forcing me to play games where as I could not play and did not like it. We were called into the office and questioned by the HM who asked me to confirm the complaint. My mom aunt kept talking in our mother tongue to me, urging me to tell the HM that I did not want to play games anymore. I refused. I was horrified to think they were blaming our PT Sir, when actually they had to be grateful to him for making me feel normal like any other kid. He did not say anything much nor defend himself. I was afraid that this was the end of my special coaching and I was very sad. But he totally ignored the episode and went on as though nothing had happened and never even thought of mentioning it ever again.
Few years down the lane after PT sir had first given me guidance, I could walk long distances with the book balanced on my head and also could climb stairs with it. That meant I had developed a balance and I had no prominent limp. 
The road leading from gate to convent on which we ran
photographed recently when I visited the school.
That year when the school competitions were coming up, P.T. Sir told me to participate in running for my category. We were practicing in school where there was no track field. We were supposed to run on the mud road that led from our school gate to the convent house where the nuns lived. A teacher would give us the starting whistle from the gate and we had to run to the convent house where P.T. Sir would judge us.
This was the time when I could prove to myself that I really had it in me to run fast. Ready, steady .. Go! I started to run and forgot the whole world around me.. I did not see anyone nor heard anything. I could only see the target ahead of me and feel the ground below my feet. Suddenly a shooting pain ran up through my club foot and I was back to the world of reality where I found myself to be leading the pack. I wanted to stop and take care of my foot, but then I did not want to lose. Here I was overcoming my disability and pain was not going to stop me ….. I kept running and finally reached the line and collapsed to check out what had happened.
My foot was bleeding as something sharp object had pierced the canvas where it was worn out (it usually happened to the canvas shoe on my club foot due to pressure being on the small part of it) and left a cut on my foot but did not get embedded in. I had tears in my eyes but was not sure was it due to pain or due the joy of finally proving myself.
Slowly teachers and students started gathering around me and they were shocked to see so much of blood.. actually the scare was because no one knew the reason. Finally a teacher and P.T. Sir bandaged my foot and led me to take rest in the convent house. I had qualified for the sports meet to be held in a village nearby called Vartur. I was full of gratitude for the man who had helped me overcome my disability and said “Thank you sir”. He smiled and told me something which I remember even to this day when I have to fight a battle, “I am not sure about your legs girl, but your spirit is going to take you far”.
We kept practicing hard for the sports meet where most of the schools from our district were participating. For once my books were ignored. I did not want to let my school down. Between the hectic schedules of sports preparation, the days flew by and soon we were in Vartur.
My sister walked up to me and told me to take it easy. “Don’t kill yourself for winning” was her advice to me. A bout of nervousness hit me when I stood there among unknown students who looked tougher than our own school children. I looked away from them soon and concentrated on the target I had to reach. What scared me most were the comments I would get if I lost.
“Poor thing! She did so much, but what better could someone do with a club foot hindering them”
“Not bad for a handicapped girl”
“She would have won if not for that club foot of hers”
I tried to brush them away as I heard the words READY! Yes. I was ready to give my best and accept whatever came to me.
Soon enough I was running on the track. A girl whizzed past me and I expected more to do the same. But then, I did not much care about others but kept running as though my life depended on reaching that target first. For a moment I felt I was flying because my feet barely touched the ground and the feeling brought some kind of euphoria. I was nearing the tape and saw that it has been already touched by the girl who whizzed past me. I had lost. I stood second in the race. I had mixed emotions running through me. Then P.T. Sir walked up to me and gave a small pat on my back. “Good” he said and I heard his voice was emotional. I looked up and saw tears his eyes. Then my emotions became clear and I knew I had won. Second place was not sucking any more.
Even to this day I remember those tears. This gesture from a tough man who almost was unemotional, is more precious than any medal I could ever win….. He was the man who gave me confidence, and helped me overcome my limp without expecting anything in return. He doesn't even know that I realized how much he had influenced my life later on as I matured, because I have never been able to get in touch with him after he left school.  He did not want to be a hero, he was trying to be a human being, a soldier who fought my battle against disability. 
 This post is a part of #Soldierforwomen in association with BlogAdda.com

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Stop Child Abuse Now



Your response to the disclosure of the child about the abuse is very crucial in the outcome. It can be a terrible experience; especially if you are the mother who is hearing her child tell that someone has abused or hurt them. The child has gone through lot of emotional turmoil to bring this up with you, so handle it very carefully. Please do not panic, as that will scare the child into silence. Be calm and sit someplace where you are face to face with the child. Do not react with disgust or convey the message in any way that you do not believe the child. Just listen to the child keeping calm and assuring the child that it is going to be all right soon. Please do not lie about your intentions, as the child will face the pain of betrayal once again.
Avoid the following when the child is trying to tell you something:
  • Continue with the task at hand like cooking, watching TV or reading a book when half listening to the child
  • Ask too many questions or interrogate the child
  • Scare the child by getting angry or ask questions like ‘What were you doing there?’ ‘Why did you go there?’ ‘Why didn't you tell this to me earlier?’
  • Show your disgust, anger, fear or panic in open
  • Convey to the child that the alleged abuser is a nice person who could never do something like this
  • Make the child feel it is their own fault that this happened. Many children will think that the abuse happened because of something they did or did not do, therefore avoid fuel to the fire.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Stop Child Pornography



According to Enough is Enough, Child pornography is a big industry grossing more than $3 billion every year, and it is also one of the fastest growing online businesses. Much worse is the type of content that is being uploaded nowadays which is horrific and shocking to normal people. In 2008 IWF(Internet Watch Foundation) found nearly 1,536 individual child abuse domains, and of them 58% are housed in USA.
Gone are the days when they posted naked pictures of children, now they are showing explicit videos and images depicting brutalizing of children by adults and animals. Of the victims are 83% children aged 6-12 years of age, 39% are children aged 3-5 and 19% had images of infants and toddlers aged below 3 years. People who view child pornography are more likely to abuse a child.
Stop viewing child pornography, to stop the pain behind those pictures. I know those pervert people who stoop down to such low levels will never read or heed to such pleas but we can stop them by being alert. You can report child pornography online by forwarding the site address to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at cybertipline.com. NCMEC,  will forward your report to the appropriate investigative agency for follow-up. You can also report it to http://www.asacp.org/, https://www.iwf.org.uk/report, and http://stop-ped.com/report-child-pornography.htm.
 In India it is a crime to browse download, create, or publish child pornography. Browsing websites containing child pornography can lead to a 5 year term of imprisonment and fine of up to 1 lakh INR. 



Read more about Child Abuse here

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Why Children Do Not Talk About Being Sexually Abused?




Not all children who go through abuse share their experience with their mother, or anyone who could actually help them. There is no exact scientific or psychological explanation as to why the abused children keep quiet, going through the abuse over and over again. The silence of the child could be due to various reasons. For one the whole process is big confusion for the child. They are at loss to understand what is happening, whom to trust and how to say it. They lack vocabulary to exactly tell someone about the abuse, therefore they come up with weird sentences and fumble when they have to narrate the incident. If the person who is listening does not understand the child, or shouts at them for being silly and not speaking properly, the child will definitely feel put off and may never gain courage to speak about the abuse again. They are afraid that the person they confide in will not believe them, which will lead to further problems with the abuser. Always pay extra attention to the child, if he/she is being vague in telling you something. Encourage the child to talk by putting aside whatever you are doing and try to understand them. Nothing is more important than protecting the innocence and life of your child. Also keep in mind not to show too much of attention and try to force the information out of the child. It can further increase their confusion and push them into silence.
When abuser is someone known to the child, the child may not want to give up on the loved one. Even after being abused, the innocent child still loves the relative, friend or acquaintance. The clever abuser will take precautions to keep the child silent. They either make it a game of secret, or lure the child with gifts, food, toys, and in some cases threaten to harm the child or the person who the child will confide in.  Fear works for the abuser most of the time, because the small innocent child will easily believe the abuser could harm someone.
Children may think it is their own fault that the abuse happened to them, therefore feel too embarrassed to speak about it. The abuser, who is more experienced than the child, can instill the feeling of guilt easily into the child, which he/she may carry into their graves. They may feel guilty that they invited it in some way, or about failing to stop the abuse and many more such baseless feelings.
The child suffers from guilt when they confess about the abuse as well as when they do not confess about the abuse. When they confess, they go through the feeling of betraying someone, and when they don’t they feel bad about keeping the secret and allowing abuse to happen.
The abuser may pretend to take the consent of the child, so that the child will believe he/she has been involved in the experience. The natural response of the body to fondling may instill the feeling in the child that they enjoyed the experience thus making them equally responsible for the act. At the tender age of innocence, the child will not be able to understand that they cannot give consent and they are victims of someone’s lust.
The only way to break the silence is to create awareness among the parents and children about different types of abuse taking place. Teach them to shout and ask for help, in case someone behaves inappropriately with them. Keep communication open with the child. Listen to everything they tell you, so that when they need to really talk about something scary, they will not find it difficult to communicate with you.

Read more about Child Abuse here


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Monday, April 8, 2013

Rayyan's first 2D Movie

As a part of his curriculum assignment Rayyan created this 2D movie -' In the pursuit of happiness' which won him second prize in Arena.
I am proud to say that he has worked on the movie independently, from creating the theme, characters, editing, animating etc. Wishing him all the best for his future ventures. 


Maa is proud of you my son!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Stop Child Abuse Now

Tantra - Art of Ancient Magic Revived












As I held the book Tantra – by Adi in my hands, the cover photo reminded me of the Hollywood movie Van Helsing. Wonder of wonder, before I finished reading 3 pages, I realized the feeling was not vague as the book is about vampire hunters or guardians as they are called in the book. I don't  read reviews of the books I plan to enjoy, so I dived into its pages quite na├»ve as to what awaited me there.  The flow of the words made it an easy read, also though I wouldn't rate this as a classic must read book, it is good entertainment for a free evening read. The fast paced, gripping tale, created a fantasy land in the heart of Delhi, thrilling me through its action packed pages.

The heroine of the book is leather clad Anu Agarwal from NYC, who lands in Delhi, with serious business to deal with the vampires. She soon has to change into our own beloved Salwar suits. Is she inspired by Buffy – the vampire slayer? Trained to be a guardian, she gets into shifts which dramatically increase her mental and physical strength, as well as her senses.  She can heal herself, has great endurance, and is quick, agile with great intuition. Everything is so much similar to Buffy but do not make any conclusions, as the story and the heroine do not imitate anyone.
What makes our Indian heroine stand out from all the other vampire hunters is that like any other girl who doesn’t hunt vampires, she gets poked about her marriage by her aunt. She has escaped the clutches of her parents saying she is Lesbian.. Hmmmm.  She is created to be stronger than her male counterparts and expert in her field, who fearlessly roams the roads (at times roofs) of Delhi seeking vengeance for her lover who was killed.  Somebody tell me this happened before the Nirbhaya incident, if not I will have difficulty believing the story.  What I loved about the character is that she is a person with normal sensual desires and dreams. I love the way she responds to situations like any like true woman would do. There are demons outside roaming the streets and then there are demons inside her, both of which she needs to slay to save the world.
Tantra has everything sewn into its fictional plot; the vampire stories of west, magical quests, greed for super power, Guru’s with extreme dangerous knowledge enough to destroy the world, deaths, murders, kidnapping and sacrifices of small children and great deal of Indian mythological powers too. The vampires like count Dracula are nothing when compared to the ancient dark magic, extracted from dept of hell, with immense power which could be dangerous if used by a wrong person. Tantra is not just about silver bullets, stakes and garlic, bust more about the power of mind which can exceed power of any weapon invented by man. Adi has a done a good job of exploring the now forgotten power of the mind which was so extensively used by Indian Rishis in the past. 
The characters have been sketched well and some of them like Amit, easily win your heart at the beginning, though some like Dr. Sharma waits till the end. Chandra is a mysterious character who is supposed to be a villain, but somehow you start to adore him too. Aunty and Smiti are the characters that make the story appear light, while giving it a funny edge. The dialogues are witty and catchy, though some of the mystical things they talk about are difficult to understand for a reader who has not read about them earlier. I continued reading, with hope that everything will be explained in the end, but some mysterious were left unexplained.
I call Tanta a fast paced, catchy, thriller which anyone can enjoy reading if they do not give too serious thoughts to the happening and do not ask too many questions. It gives an Indian twist to the westernized vampire stories, bringing in the dark magic, Tantra, ang- astra, philosophies, mystic powers, and lot of supernatural happening related to Indian mythologies. If you can enjoy Van Helsing, Dracula and Twilight, you sure can enjoy Tantra.
Book      :    Tantra
Author    :    Adi
Pages      :    335
Chapters :    29
Price       :    195  

 This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!
Tantra by Adi

Author Profile

Adi grew up reading fiction books by flashlight, hiding under the covers, pretending to be asleep. While it would certainly affect his academic life the next day, he did go on to get degrees from Stanford University and Harvard University, so it was not all that bad.
Somewhere along the line, a poetry book and a minor textbook were published. He wishes he could withdraw all copies of said poetry book from the market. At the time, it was poignant, but now it is just embarrassing.
He’s always given more credit for his successes in life to those late-night reading habits of years ago than to the high-school academics he trudged through, and he yearned to write one of those books himself.

Deeply impressed by the vast religious history of India, he could not help but pick this topic for his first novel.

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