Here’s how- I hate you people are sometimes better than I love you people.

My Blog

“You can’t please everyone, and you can’t make everyone like you.” – Katie Couric

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Picture by rawpixel

We love people who love us.. There is nothing wrong with it… But there are people who come in our life and are “pain in the neck” and we just can’t stand them.. I know, we have lots of them around us. So what do you do with them or how can you see them differently?

We need I love you people, but we also need lots of I hate you people. Because in this fast moving world they are the one who will challenge us to be constantly better.

So, if you have i hate you people around you than look at them as blessing in disguise. Surround yourself with lots of lovely people, but having one or two i hate you people around us will only do us good.

-Paul Fernandes

Doing things when you don’t feel like and doing it anyways is what counts.

My Blog

I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count. –Muhammad Ali

Photo by Jesper Aggergaard

So many things we only do based on our mood- and we hear a lot of them say – I don’t want to do things because there is no mood for it etc…

If the whole world would revolve around doing things as per the mood we would be doomed…

Imagine a pilot saying in the middle of the flight I am in no mood for flying and decides to leave the cockpit while in air. Or when a child is hungry and the mother tells the child I am not in the mood of giving you food.

Photo by Andrew Welch

In relationship we can call it ‘unconditional love’ or at business we can call it ‘stick with it’ or in normal language perseverence. Whichever area you talk about, the wisdom remains the same..

I think the quote in the beginning of this post by Muhammad Ali is enough to motivate us.

What is it that you will do today to push yourself beyond your limitations of “mood”??

-Paul Fernandes

Dream like your life depends on it..

My Blog

Photo by Bethany Legg

Sometimes external situations in life may push you to pick up a job that you dont enjoy or it will push you to take risk, be creative, innovative and do the things you always wanted to do and earn your living from it.

But, why wait for external situations in life to decide your destiny? Ya, I understand- fear of failure, people’s judging opinions are all part of not having confidence to take the risk and doing something that you love. Irony is that people will judge you anyways, then why not do the things you love and then allow people to judge you and make opinions about you…

Photo by Jordan Whitfield

Let me help you out, just answer these two questions to yourself.

1. What do you really enjoy doing and you won’t mind doing it for the rest of your life?

2. What is the only job you would do if your life depended on it?

Paul Fernandes

5 Things you did not know about 2019.

My Blog

While some of us are making our New Years resolutions – we have entered into the New Year. In this post I am going to tell you about 5 things you did not know about 2019.

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Photo by Ethan Robertson

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1. If you don’t take action, this year will not be any different.

You may have decided to do certain things, achieve certain results and live your dream life. This won’t be possible if you don’t take any action on those decisions. I like the Nike tag line – just do it. So let’s take some concrete actions on our desires to achieve higher results.

2. No one is going to help you more than you can help yourself.

We need people around us, no doubt about it. But if we only depend on people to help us reach our destination, we will never reach there. People have their own sh*t to deal with. So, you do all you can to achieve your goals and depend less on others doing it for you.

3. Health is wealth.

Last year I have seen too many young people dying due to health problems. There is no use of trying and getting millions, if your not there to enjoy it. This year let’s keep the balance between work and time to look after our body.

4. You don’t read, you don’t lead.

So many things are happening in our world today, that keeping a pace with what’s happening around us becomes very important. Let’s make a commitment to read more this year, because I believe reading and leading is directly associated with each other.

5. You are awesome.

I believe you are beautiful, handsome, hot, sexy, intelligent, successful and whatever you wish to be. Deep down I know you want to be that. Believe you are beautiful or handsome or successful and I am sure confidence, hardwork and belief in yourself will take you just where you want to be.

May be all of these 5 things were just a reminder to start this year with right mindset and positive attitude..

Have a wonderful year 2019.😀

-Paul Fernandes

Did you update your WhatsApp status? Then read this Right NOW!!!

My Blog

Photo by Owen Beard
In a world where updating and upgrading are so common practices on Social Media Apps, that sometimes I wonder if we have forgotten to update or upgrade our life. We are so familiar to all these platforms(whats app, Facebook, Instagram) They are really amazing platforms and I love using them. I am sure you do too. There are many of us spending hours in editing a photo to upload on our status and then spend hours checking the number of people who have liked or viewed our status.
Photo by Andre Guerra on Unsplash
Photo by Andre Guerra
I just want to ask, how much time are you spending on updating your life? When was the last time you took a course to learn something or develop your skills? I don’t mean that you should go out and spend lots of money on courses, but begin with thousands of online courses which are offered for free. I will link to some of the learning websites at the end of the post….
Let’s invest some of our time in learning and updating our life so that along with our social media status update, let our lives be updated too.

Here are couple of websites which I have used and found them really good and user friendly. They are also available on app store- (android and ios) which makes it easier for you too learn on the go……
http://www.udemy.com

So go ahead and update yourself!

-Paul Fernandes

Bigger the crisis, bigger the opportunities…

My Blog

The words of Napoleon Hill are ringing in my ears.

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit”.

If you are not experiencing crisis or have never experienced crisis in your life than this post is not meant for you. But for those who are or have experienced crisis in your life, let’s make this reading journey together.

Hey, by no means I wanna say that I am an expert at crisis handling, I am in crisis most of the time but there are things that have helped me to come out of crisis and that is exactly what I am gonna share, and may be you can use some of these methods…

One of my good friend committed suicide some time back and no one even knew he was going through crisis or problems, because he never expressed it or showed any signs of it. May be you are going through some crisis in your life or may be someone who you know may be going through one, but never shows it. This post may be just something that you may need or someone else may need. So, don’t forget to share it….

Do you remember when you were a child small things such as electricity going out before your favourite TV show would be so disheartening that we would feel our whole life had collapsed. Time when your best friend did not give you the chocolate and gave it to someone else we would be so hurt that – thoughts like why;what; how would emerge in our head and would not talk to them for days, just because of a chocolate. Today when we have grown up a little we look back and find all those small small tensions = something to laugh at… like wise I feel Half the crisis or tensions go away when we talk to someone with a little bit of more experience in our life than we have, so that brings me to my first point..

1.Find a mentor: Here the person should have seen a little more life than you have, should be professional at mentoring and someone who you can trust and of course who has to be a good listener, no body likes advices, people like people who can be their guide and not advisers.

2.Books: Books(self help) according to me are a great source of support. So always have a good self help book by your side.

3.Don’t tell your problems to everyone: Truth is nobody cares about your complaining and problems. They are rapped in their own world, all don’t really care, they may feel sorry for you. Tell me, what are you gonna do with their feeling sorry?

4.Write down 2 things : Everyday write down 2 ways in which your life can be better. Believe me I tried this for 30 days few years back and let me tell you, it worked and worked in ways I couldn’t fathom. I can’t tell you the science behind it..but it works.. try it..

5.You are in that situation for a reason: You can allow your situation to make you or break you. There is a reason for it all.. wait, it will unfold itself.

I will leave you with few lines…

May be...

If Steve jobs had got stuck in the crisis after he was fired from the company he started, May be, we wouldn’t have PIXAR animation studio.

If J.K.Rowling got stuck in the back of her car thinking of all the problems in her life and never starting to write something, may be, we wouldn’t have HARRY POTTER.

I can go on and on with may be.. but what’s more important is

If ……………………(your name) prevailed through my crisis then may be the world will be able to witness……………….

Remember, Sometimes making opportunities for yourself is better than waiting for one….

-Paul Fernandes

What are you most grateful for today?

My Blog

Photo credits- gabrielle cole @gabriellefaith

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around”. – Willie Nelson

Gratitude has always been a bridge which has helped me to travel from where I was to where I wanted to be. I realized that the more I am grateful, more comes my way to be grateful for. Over 8 years I have kept a gratitude journal and when I look back it amazes me to see that the things which were not a reality in my life back then, today they are. Lot of the credit goes to the power of Gratitude.

What are you going to be grateful for today?

Tips to write your Gratitude journal.

You can write it in your phone or do it an old fashion way of pen and paper. I have tried both and I would prefer pen and paper, but it’s good to try the other way too..

  1. Start writing down 5 things you are grateful for everyday.(over time you can increase it)
  2. Be consistent.
  3. Do it for 30 days continuously to see the difference in your life.

May you have a gratetul life ahead of you…..

Paul Fernandes

What Will Thankful Be Like In 100 Years?

My Blog
Our lives are controlled by the voice of “Siri”, “Ok Google”, “Alexa” etc… and habit of saying thank you to an artificial intelligence has increased, compare to saying thank you to the person in front of us.
 
What will “Thank you” word be like in 100 years? In a world where we don’t remember 10 phone numbers by-heart, because we depend so much on technology to remind us. (take a test for yourself, do you remember at list 5 phone numbers by-heart?) We even have automated thank you messages which can be sent out to hundreds of people at a click of a button.
 
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I love technology and I depend a lot on it and I am thankful for it for making our life easy. But let us not forget that this technology was invented by humans. Challenge for today is to say “Thank You” in person to at list 5 people who render their services to you.
 
So, we can pretty well know what “Thankful” will look like in 100 years.
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My walk from Garage to NASA, Md Adil Aman

Motivation, My Blog, NASA

We all are in pursue of one answer. What is life? For me life is Marvel movies, Dan Brown books and Ed Sheeran songs. You guessed it right. I’m a kid. I’m the person who dared to dream.

So, here’s my story. I was born and brought up in a small town named Asansol in West Bengal. My father was a peon in Eastern Railways and we used to live in a rented garage until my father was promoted and we moved to comfortable quarters. I joined St. Vincent’s High & Technical school. This was the part where I think God showered his blessing upon me. Being poor is not a very good option in this era of economics. Pardon me for using the word “option”. But trust me everyone has a choice. Vincent’s was my home. I learnt a lot in this school. Really a lot. Not rot learning, real learning. My life was more than perfect. I had just one little problem. My parents! Always had arguments. It went to the extend that my mom, along with my nine months baby brother and me went to commit suicide in a railway track. I never had good clothes at that time and I could feel the chill shivering my bone. Imagine my brother’s situation. I was merely only in fourth grade. That particular night it went too far. Even the tear drops were cold that night. I had only one thing in my hand. A book. Yes, a book. That day I prayed and prayed just so that I could see the morning’s light along with my mom. I think God listened to me. From that night my life changed. It might seem a light vague that how a small kid become so determined. Trust me, hunger pangs can change anything.

There were many incidents in my life. Mostly happy ones. One of them is science. I loved science. Not just for marks. I used to study to find answers. I used to study stuffs of higher standards just to quench my thirst for answers. In sixth grade we had a science teacher. I was such a mischievous fellow at that time! I really apologize to every teacher who taught me even after I gave pain. There my science teacher, Mr Paul Fernandes for me he was a star. No kidding, he was star for every kid at that time. He played his 11-year-old guitar and taught us how to sing in the school chapel. I couldn’t learn singing from him. But I learnt one important thing in my life in that one year. God is there with everyone of us. He called me ‘scientist’ at that time. I had this very bad habit of asking questions!

I was in high school in the eighth grade when a news was there in the newspaper. The news read,”Durgapur kid went to NASA”. This was pretty fascinating for me. NASA to me was like Mount Olympus to Greeks. I thought that yes, I can do it too. But sadly, I never had a computer to write my stuffs. So, I waited. Until latter that year that my mom gifted me a computer by selling few of her jewelleries. Our house needed renovation. My father had no money at that time. So, my mom sold some of her jewelleries. With the left-over money, my computer arrived. With the joy of a new device, I forgot everything. Really everything. Until one day the NASA thing hit me. At once I left everything and started my research work. Now let me tell you something about this NASA thing. NASA along with NSS conducts a project named “NASA Space Settlement Contest”. Individuals, small group and large group can participate in this contest. These are conducted for age group of 12 to 18. I asked my best friend at that time to help me in the work. I thought we can do this together. But he denied. I thought that may be this is too childish. Dreaming for NASA in ninth grade needs determination. But I went alone. Not because I was determined to do it. I did my NASA project just for fun. I knew I won’t get it and still it would be fun. I wanted to learn stuffs and this was the perfect excuse to my mom to skip study hours (Yes, I love science and maths but I hated subjects like history, geography and Bengali because my marks were pretty bad in these subjects). I did a lot of research. I used to get my monthly 1 GB/month net allowance from my parents so I had to manage with it. I used to sleep 5-6 hours at that time. But for me that didn’t matter because it was fun for me. I wrote a 110 pages project and sent it to NASA. I didn’t expect anything out of it. But then, on March our term for ninth grade was over. At that time, we never had this career tension banging our heads. So, we were more than just happy. Fiddle with my phone, I went to the NASA website. I was checking who all won it. I was scrolling and scrolling. Then there was a list of first prizes in ninth grade. The very first project was “Wings of fire”. I was like wo, someone copied my project’s name. Then I saw “St. Vincent’s”, beside the project’s name. Yes, by God’s miracle I won a NASA prize. That too the first prize. I rushed to my mom and told her. She told me, “Good now study, your ICSE exams are knocking on your door”. I just rushed to my teacher’s house and showed him the notification. He was so proud of me. He told me well done. I was so happy. I told my school principal and my other teachers. They were more than happy. I was happy that I don’t have to listen to my mom’s nagging because I did something good which made her happy. But God planned something else for me.

The next day, I opened my what’s app. Instead of some “Good morning” message there was a newspaper article. “Wings of fire”. Yes, I was all over the news. And guess what I was a celebrity. And by celebrity, I mean more delicious food! Yes, I was a kid. Friends and family meant everything to me and I wanted to enjoy my life. Time went by and reporters came to our house. At some point it went bad for me. I didn’t like so much exposure because I thought it will make me egoistic and I will topple as fast as I went up. So, I just stayed calm and stayed away from all these. But my friends, to whom I will always be thankful, were the same. They were the same kid snatching away my tiffin. But in my small world, it was the keyhole through which I could see the world. But my school principal(Mr. Ravi) opened the entire door. He decided to go with me to Canada where I was invited. Money never stood a problem at that time. My relatives furnished me with their support. I never had a very good relationship with parents and was consider a black sheep of my family. But this was a chance for me to make them proud. I went to Canada. It was a pretty good place. I saw people with white skin for the first time. They all were smiling all the time. I was shy at first. Then I opened up. As I won the first prize in the NASA Space Settlement contest in 2015, I was invited to attend the International Space Development Conference (ISDC) which was held in Toronto that year. I along with my teacher attended the five days conference in which we learnt a lot. I won the prize individually, so I was all alone in the conference. But as time passed, I made new friends. They were from all over the world. As I was trying to explain my project, I also got to know the project of other students and groups. Students from Romania, South Korea, China United States, United Kingdom and many more countries were present in the conference. On the five day long conference, one day we visited the University of Toronto. There we visited the aeronautical and physical science department. There we learnt a lot. Many post graduate students and researchers shared the projects they were working on. We even saw micro satellites that were used for navigation. For the first time in my life I saw a 3D printer. I was so excited that even stayed few hours extra to know its exact working mechanism! I was allowed to give a speech on my project. Many businessmen, scientists, students, researchers, teachers and students were present to listen to my project. I was so glad that my project caught their eyes. Back in India, when I asked my friends whether they will be in my project or not, they ridiculed me and called me “crazy” after hearing my idea. But when I presented my project as a first prize winner, that too working alone, I was happy. My teacher was really proud of me. I attended lectures by noble laureate Kip Thorne and astronaut Anousheh Ansari.

There were many lectures going on during the entire session of conference. I, along with my friends from other countries attended those lectures. We were astonished by the similarity we shared in our views even though we live miles apart. During the break we were even playing games. After all we were all teenagers! We learnt a lot about each other and the way of studies. We even exchanged our projects and discussed about the improvements we can make in them. There were sessions where we had to make groups and visit the project made by other groups. We literally learnt a lot from these sessions. After that we even visited US. For me US was the factory for Marvel Heroes. I visited that factory! For me it was like visiting Willi Wonka’s chocolate factory. Guess what? I went to the home of Captain America and Spiderman, New York City. For me it was a dream come true. I returned to India with more knowledge and more determination. I was pretty much determined to do something and make a mark. I decided to do something. I wanted to become a scientist. Yes, a scientist. I wanted to become the person my teacher wanted me to be. A scientist. I won first prize in the NASA Space settlement contest in 2015. After winning such a prestigious award, I was confident. I wrote another project for 2016. I used to sleep only a couple hours for three months to complete my project. After a lot of struggle, I wrote it. When I sent my project to the United States of America in the month of January, 2016, my project was stopped by customs. I used to track my mail. My project went into a black hole. I don’t know why my package was stopped. It didn’t reach the correct place before the deadline and so it was not evaluated. I was really hurt. I didn’t get a prize that year. I really put a lot of effort in my project but it didn’t reach the real place. I was so frustrated that I gave up on studies. My grade in 11th grade degraded a lot. I was under a lot of pressure and was depressed. After a phase I started working again and came back to normal life. I was so heartbroken that I didn’t want to continue any of my research work. I just wanted to do my normal academic studies. But then I saw a video depicting the life story of the famous rapper Eminem. I was like, “Hey Adil if he can do it why can’t you. Don’t lose hope man.” I started working for another project for the next year. This time I wasn’t afraid of losing. In the month of November, 2016, I decided to do another project. I was again filled with hope and had the mental energy to pull this thing up again. This time I wasn’t afraid of being rejected. I was morally stronger now. I worked harder this time and again won it in the year 2017. This story of mine is known to only few of my close friends. After I won the prize for the second time, I told my parents what happened. All along they thought my project was not good enough and they were really also very sad about it. When I told them that my project never reached and then the following year I again tried to do another project, they were like supper happy. I didn’t share my achievements with my friends and teachers because they might distract me. I was happy. From that day, I was never ever afraid of making mistakes or failing in life. This made me cool minded and help me focus on my work. The thing I learnt from this part of my life is to never give up on yourself and to keep faith on God. I would like to say something to anyone reading this. I am a kid. Just a normal kid who was playing in the garage. From the garage I went to NASA. This might not be the part where I will stop. This is the part where I realised that I was much than just a kid. My parents couldn’t support me because they had their personal issues. I wanted a family, a happy one. I wanted a mom who isn’t depressed about her life. I want a family! But guess what, God is the best playwriter. Characters appear in a particular scene, incidents happen in a particular act. Not before or after. Just at a particular time. I pray I don’t commit a sin, for God is the greatest. I don’t open up myself to anyone. Literally no one. I have worked hard in my life. I used to wash clothes for my mom couldn’t when she was pregnant. I used to eat less because my mom couldn’t cook when she had pain. I used to cry when my father didn’t stay up in home for Eids. But guess what, life is more than just asking from God.

I have failed a lot of times in my life. But one thing I am sure of is that, I will never stop. There are times when I wanted to end my life all at once. I cried, I winced, I fell. But I didn’t stop. There are people like Eminem, Chris Gardner, Malala, Mahatma Gandhi, Barack Obama, Napoleon Hill who inspire millions. But one thing they had in common. They all dared to dream. So, did I. The journey wasn’t pleasant. But the results are always happy. I have to achieve a lot. I won’t stop till the day my father has a smile of his face or till the day my mom says you did it. Till then I will work and work. As Frost said,” Miles to go before I sleep, Miles to go before I sleep”. Mr. Paul Fernandes told me write about my NASA experience. But this was more than just an experience. It was a lesson for me. To this date I remain thankful to him who trusted me. Friends and teachers will always be the “BOB the builder” of my life. Thankyou!

If I did it my way and failed, it’s OK, An extra step changes everything. -Anil Singh.

marathon, Motivation, My Blog

If I did it my way and failed, it’s ok. These words came out of Anil Singh’s mouth and most of the audience had an immediate connection with him. This article is my take on Anil Singh’s TEDX, Panchgani talk, which at a personal level did move me a lot. His journey with marathon started with the London marathon. The difference between participatory sports and spectator sports was crystal clear in his talk.

He said, “When over 40,000 plus people participate in the marathon run, there are 40,000 plus winners and with it 40,000 stories.” These were golden words, because isn’t our life about stories ?

He spoke about getting Standard Chartered to back up his dream of having a marathon and how he made people understand the fabric of sports. Two things which stood out were perseverance and love for sports. I think we all need to have both, love and perseverance no matter what field we are into.

I am paraphrasing the words of Anil Singh – ‘If I did it my way and failed it was ok, I would get a good sleep, imagine I did it your way and failed, I would never get sleep’. May be this is what we need sometimes, to believe in our dream and to know that in the end it will workout.

Anil Singh introduced India to “Dream run”. And this year(2018) it’s called as TATA Mumbai marathon.

Anil Singh is the founder and Managing Director of Procam International – the company that promotes the iconic TATA Mumbai Marathon, Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, TCS World 10k Bengaluru and the Tata Steel Kolkata 25k.

Imagination Breathing wishes him all the best for his future endeavours. Let’s all as he says, “Keep plunging away”.

From Mom’s Nose Pin to Brother’s Gym: How at the age of 9 I realised that gender is fluid, Aishwarya

Inspiration, My Blog, women

“Rahul, Raj, Govindda, Ajay…..” the audience blabbers as they were asked to guess the host of OBR (One Billion Rising is a global movement, founded by Eve Ensler, to end rape and sexual violence against women (onebillionrising.org)

“It is Aishwarya”, says the host finally.

“My name is Aishwarya and I was born a girl.”

I am a 17 year old student and at the age of 9 started applying the concept of gender fluidity. It started when my mom and dad separated, and my dad was fed up of tying up my waist long hair, hence, got it cut short. I was told by many that it suited me, and that I was looking cute. That was the reason I didn’t return to my long hair, but this of course is not the reason that I am identified as a boy. I have an elder brother and sister and since childhood my brother was allowed to go out, be it day or night, was allowed to hangout with his friends, and take all serious decisions and responsibilities of the house, this used to confuse and annoy me because I too was a human and I used to wonder why was I treated unequally. That time I didn’t know anything about gender equality, or that women were equal before law, I became sensitised only after 6 years when I joined NINEISMINE (http://www.nineismine.in)at the age of 14.

Although I was being treated equal as my brother, by her father, I was sent for grocery shopping or any other important work in the absence of my brother; I was given a phone before my elder sister. Although it made me happy but it also made me realise the level of discrimination in our Indian families and I started fighting for my sister’s rights with my father, and now all the three children of my family are treated equally.

When I got opportunity to speak in public, I spoke on gender equality, and everybody used to think that I am a boy because of my attire, my voice and my built which I had due to the gym, and once I tell them my name the hall used to echo with applause.

Now, everyone refers to me as beta(son), bhai(brother) and my sister looks up to me, as the so called protector, rather than my brother. I know this concept of protector too needs to be eliminated and that’s my vision: I want to become a professional dancer, and by being be the real me on private and public platforms, I know I am fighting gender stereotypes and inequality.

Now that I recall the times I used to apply my mother’s lipstick I laugh, and continue doing my dumbbells. There are lot of people who come to me and say that they want to be just like me and have the same courage. You know what? I am going to fight for all of these people.

My family, friends, neighbours, teachers all have accepted me like I am, and why shouldn’t they?
I am just another human.

Let’s play again – Reviving our forgotten childhood games! Dr. Sandeep Kate

Games, My Blog

MAGIC !!!

The mere mention of word is sure to arouse some interest !

Well, let me tell you that this writeup is NOT about Magic, at least not of the kind we usually mean when we think of the word.

I’m talking about the long lost and nearly “magical” period of our lives that we all fondly remember & cherish as our “Childhood days”….

Let’s have a bit of a fun quiz  –

Question –

Did you play any of the following games as a child ??

Spinning tops ( Lattoo/Bhavra ),  Marbles ( Kanche/Gotya ) , Gilli danda ( Viti dandu ) , Lagori, flying Kites, Chor Police, Aandhali Koshimbir (blind man’s buff ), Jiblya/Thikrya, Aba dubi, Sagargote, and so on …

If your answer is “yes” and if the mere mention of these games and play things brings a sensation of nostalgia or “deja vu” to you, then I can safely (magically ) tell you that you were born in the early half of the 1990’s or earlier.

Okay Okay … I know this wasn’t really a demonstration of magic but a simple guesstimate here….

My point is that these and dozens of other such games and activities have been played traditionally by children for hundreds or rather thousands of years. Not only in India but all over the world. However, the advent of technology and the sweeping changes in our culture and lifestyle, brought about by the rapid digitisation of our world, has put these games at a real risk of getting lost forever.

Is it important at all to sweat over this ” trivial ” issue ? How does it matter if the kids of the present and future generations stop playing these games ? Isn’t change the reality and rule of life ??

Is it even our business to get involved as adults ?

The answer is both easy and very difficult at the same time.

For my part, I have chosen to say –

” YES ”

Yes, it is important to ensure that our children are introduced to these wonderful pastimes and that they develop and sustain an interest in these games and activities.

It’s not like we tell them to start playing  these games to the exclusion of their  computers and televisions. I think we need to help them (and ourselves) achieve a healthy balance between the “Real” and “Virtual” games !

There is something wonderful and important about these traditional games that cannot be simply brushed away as rose tinted & sepia toned nostalgia.

Adults or Kids – we all need our regular dose of “Fun” & “Play” to keep our sanity intact in our fast paced and “constantly connected” world !

We need to connect on a more basic, simple and human level with each other and with our own selves. There is no better way to do this than through simple and plain old fashioned games – the games that we all played as children and that we still ought to play with each other AND with our children.

Simple games, simple fun, simple and joyful lives….

If this thought excites you, & if you would actually like to do something about this,  please visit our website http://soilgames.co.in to find out more.

Get in touch with us if you wish to contribute to the movement to revive our long lost / forgotten / traditional childhood games…

चलो, फिरसे खेलते हैं ..

Let’s Play Again!!!

Dr. Sandeep S Kate

Democratised Disruptive Innovation- What could it mean for the individual? Hirander Misra

Finance, My Blog

To learn lessons for the future we have to look at the past.

A few thousand years ago, when money never existed, a transaction happened only by exchanging agreed commodities by barter. E.g. Panchgani in Maharashtra where I recently held a TEDx talk on the subject I am writing about now is famous for strawberries – if you had strawberries and someone had cows to produce cream you could exchange a given amount of milk for a given amount of strawberries based on a discussion to determine the value of each and you both now could happily eat strawberries and cream. Life was simple and easy to understand.

A few centuries ago, with an inception of globalisation and increase in population the trade happened by exchanging commodities with rare materials like gold and silver.

Moneylenders in the past filled the gaps left by banks and still exist today. The Venetians were key players in the 1300s. For example moneylenders keep your gold and lend you money and charge you interest but if you did not pay it back they keep your gold

Around 16thcentury, the current banking system started evolving. Banks started to print paper currency. They were printed on the basis of gold reserve but from 1973 this backing by gold was removed as part of the Breton Woods Agreement as backing by gold was expensive. From then on faith in currency is based on trust. This is not different to Bitcoin, a virtual currency today, whose value is based on expectations and hence trust.

At the time of the 16th century exchanges also came into being. An exchange is a central meeting place for buyers and sellers and came because in era before computers more buying and selling could be conducted in a concentrated location. This was really the start of the evolution of an exchange and money as we understand it. In 1602 a central place for buyers and sellers to trade with each other was established in Amsterdam which became known as Amsterdam Stock Exchange albeit the Belgians claim the first exchange since 1531.

From the 1990’s stock markets become more electronic gradually in the most part replacing trading that was done on the open outcry floor of a stock exchange to computer based trading. Then the financial crisis happened in 2018 and many individuals and companies were impacted by the reckless greed of a few.

This financial system has made individuals reliant on middlemen be it a bank or a broker and even in cases, exchanges with dominant position. Financial markets have became complex to understand and expensive in many cases with a never ending era of products available to the unassuming consumer. The system the rough the centuries has become unfairly priced and complex. For example you may only receive 50% of the value of your gold as a loan and 20 percent interest may be paid for it. Is it fair?

Banks do the same with assets but one can argue in this era of technology the value of the services provided is too expensive relative to the overhead to deliver those services. Greed has led to a complex financial system that few understand with lots of vested interest. Every day people are exploited by the system and I am not saying the system is not needed but it needs to change. How can we bring fair level playing field to eradicate disparity – but also with social reform, which is impactful and sustainable? This niggling thought really hit home to me in 2008 when I was COO of an innovative electronic stock exchange called Chi-X Europe, which I had co-founded. Lehman one of our clients went bust in front of my very eyes and Fortis Bank our clearing bank nearly went the same way until the Dutch Government bailed it out. Global financial meltdown ensued. I realised that the system was flawed and there must be a better way. Yes the system had to exist with better controls but it had to reach back to grass roots level as it had become so far removed from reality.

We at GMEX Group have personal experience of this as a company. In 2015 we started working with the Agricultural Commodity Exchange for Africa (ACE) in Malawi after a fortuitous meeting with Kristian Shach Moller in a hotel bar at a conference in Switzerland. This exchange, which deals with grains and pulses but was struggling to reach the end smallholder farmer that it was set up to facilitate in a meaningful way as only 5% of its activity was farmers selling their crop direct to market. Middleman which at the time added no value were giving smallholder farmers 10% of what their commodity was worth and the banks despite having the commodity as security much like a money lender keeps gold still lent at 30-40% interest rates and that too to only 60% of the value. The farmer took all the risk but was left struggling to feed his or her family. By introducing prices on their mobile phones to farmers and educating them as well as making the banks compete online to lend in addition to brining in cheaper finance through mobile/ electronic banking coupled with making the exchange more accessible for them to sell their produce directly, in one year in 2016 the incomes of 47,000 smallholder farmers went up 31%. $10mn worth of finance was provided and that would have been $110mn if there had been better access to finance. This would have then benefitted nearly 500,000 smallholder farmers.

This lead us to realise that technology instead of being exclusive could become more inclusive and transparent. More income leads to social welfare, women’s empowerment, children’s nutrition as we saw in Malawi. Value add now can move from being farmers growing tomatoes to produce tomato paste (add value) and then have demand for financial services personally like mortgages and loans that are priced right. The unbanked start to become banked.

We further realised that this issue was prevalent across all other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa as well as Latin America and South East Asia. Take coffee as an example, we in a fancy coffee shop were paying £2.50 a cup yet the end farmer was lucky if he got £0.10. As such positive change in a sustainable manner where we made people reliant on commercial enterprise not charity hand outs could lead to a massive positive impact on a global scale

This led to the creation in 2017 of a dedicated initiative by us to facilitate this called FinComEco (Financial and Commodities Ecosystem). This has led to engagement in 21 African countries as well as 3 outside the continent but with lots of work to be done to fully convince governments and stakeholders in many of these to not only do this but also do it in a proper fashion involving all key areas fully linking farming to the end value chain of demand. A middleman for agriculture still has a role to play much like they do in financial services but it was those who could add value be it by making the smallholder farmer bigger and influential by grouping/ aggregating production or offering convenience such as transport to get it from the farm gate to the warehouse were the ones which would now prevail in this new world. The farmers in the case of ACE can now choose how they sell, when and how they got a fair loan to buy fertiliser and seeds when they needed it at the outset. The exchange now enabled by technology is at the heart of that to ensure that technology is used for good. This is applicable to many different sectors and we are also now starting to do the same through a separate India based initiative we announced in December 2017 for rag pickers and others who generate waste to creating an exchange for waste such as cow dung, etc to bring valuable incomes to those who need them most. Not to also mention the positive environmental impact this will have. This also supports the Indian Government’s Clean Ganga and Swach Bharat initiatives but is not just an India problem it is a global one as rich and poor countries all produce waste and most of it ends up in our oceans destroying marine life.

Malawi-image

Ultimately billions people can benefit if these types of initiatives are rolled out more widely leading to positive change by other organisations be they public or private. Corporate Social Responsibility is not just about meeting targets for CSR budget spend any which way as it has to be more than that. Equally executives at development finance institutions have to galvanise their organisation as many are acting like private equity houses and not looking at a 10 year view for sustainable socio economic reform no matter what the PR ad rhetoric lends us to believe. The number of times we have knocked on such doors and been told that we should come back when we have a track record and profitable on such ventures for funding so we can scale further and that we should be three years old as an enterprise. If that was the case why would we need them at that stage? We are not the only ones that face this predicament.

We as the individual are the ones that have to drive this change. So it’s no surprise that we find ourselves in an era “Democratised Disruptive Innovation” (DDI as I term it) enabled by technology, where 1 month is like living 10 months in terms of opportunity and development and it is not inconceivable that in 5 years time organisations not only such as Google could be a bank and banks as we know it would be different as even we individuals could lend and borrow more and more from each other as we have seen with some tech initiatives with peer to peer lending emerging. In the last few weeks two large company CEOs have approached me that are successful as they reflected over the holiday period and said we make lots of money now but we can see that either we change or someone eats our lunch. Look at what digital cameras did to Kodak which is a shadow of its former self.

Now we can trade with each other direct by technology whereas in the past you had to be in local area and Now national and international. Anyone will be able to trade with anyone with transparent in an open manner with more consideration to just financial services. We are in an era of “Anyone to Anyone trading .“ The intermediary (middleman) is now technology and this means massive opportunities not only for companies like Google who can from nothing in 20 years to become a giant worth about $700bn USD but also for us as the individual as anything is possible. I am not saying that there is not a need for a middleman, but this match making is needed at a better price and continually needs to evolve.

We have come back full circle to the new age of barter between all of us but with online convenience to coexist with the current exchange and financial services ecosystem but technological enabled change is making it more practical, more efficient and more accessible. So we can now all embrace change and use it to empower ourselves in any manner we choose, when we choose. Whether change is the only constant (the overall theme of TEDx Panchgani) or there needs to be constant change in the way you do things is now for you to decide how best to democratise.

-Hirander Misra

CEO, GMEX

http://www.gmex-group.com/

One voice was louder than the rest- DANCE, DANCE, DANCE!

dance, My Blog

I loved dancing since I was a kid. I always looked for opportunities to get on stage and dance. After I had finished my schooling years, my dream of being a professional dancer was fading away. I knew dance was the only thing that would make me come alive.

After my 3 years of graduation, I was contemplating about going into management sector. It was the movie “3 idiots” that changed my mind and I began to ask myself some serious questions on what I really wanted to do in life. One voice was louder than the rest “DANCE, DANCE DANCE.” I listened to my gut feeling and decided to venture into the world of professional dancing. My family and friends always supported my decision.

Since Bollywood is full of senior experienced choreographers and dancers, the biggest struggle in Mumbai was to find work as a choreographer. On a good day I would get through an audition or an interview, on a bad day it was worst.

I thought of doing my training in my hometown- Goa, but there were no professional institutes that attracted me. I was on a lookout for full time dance training institute and then I came across Terence Lewis professional training institute.

I auditioned in 2010, but I did not get through. I worked hard at my moves everyday for a year and then I auditioned again in 2011 and this time I got selected for the scholarship programme. I finished my training in 2013, then I got selected to work with Terence Lewis contemporary dance co. as performer, I was really happy n amazed to finally work with Terence Lewis. He is one of the most intelligent and beautiful human being I have come across, he is my biggest motivation in life who has always been there when I needed him. He has been a guide and friend to me.

Today, I am a professional dancer and choreographer and this was possible because of immense hard work, support form Terence Lewis and unconditional love from family and friends. To all those out there who aspire to be professional dancers. Get into this business only if you have love for it and are willing to work hard.

-Shailesh

Into the world of smoky falls tribe coffee.

My Blog

1. When did you realise your passion for entering into the world of coffee?

I realised my love for our locally grown coffee ever since I was introduced to it by my late grandmother almost 25 years ago. Seven years ago I decided to venture into the Coffee business by starting a small café using locally grown coffee, initially I started from my own farm and then from neighbouring villages. I started with traditional pan roasting and got a small commercial coffee grinder and sold it in my café. The name of the café back then was Black & White Coffee Shop.

2. What helped you to get a strong foothold in this business?

The support from my family, husband, parents are the reason I took this step. Good feedbacks and reviews from friends helped me a lot in this journey.

3. Struggles/setbacks and how your persevered in it?

There are many things that I had to do to be able to prove myself to start up this business. I was working in SBI (State Bank of India) when I started this business and had to convince my family that I wanted to pursue my dream of going full time in Coffee business.

4. Things you like most about your profession?

I get to be creative, innovative and also get to work with coffee growers(farmers) from different villages across Meghalaya.

5. Major achievement and significant moment.

My most significant moment was the day I got to launch the first Coffee product and got positive feedback and support from friends and relatives.

6. Your belief about what it takes to be successful in any field.

Honesty in this field is very important, especially in any business.

7. Any advice for young entrepreneurs?

Don’t be scared to pursue your dreams. And when you think of finance, we have the PMEGP which is a loan from KVIC, India and also there are many crowdfunding websites. Write a good project and approach them.

-Dasumarline Majaw

Tell your story to the world and be a part of this Global platform.

My Blog

This is what drives me out of bed every morning. I always wanted to make my mark in this world and when you realise that your work is viewed in so many countries listed above, the feeling is unfathomable. I am grateful to all the people who have written for “imagination breathing”. I still remember the day vividly how I wrote my first post knowing nothing about the blogging world and today “imagination breathing” has been a platform for writers, entrepreneurs, adventurist, artists, social activists etc etc and continues to inspire thousands of lives around the world. Just want to say thank you to all those who believed in me and thanks to those who laughed at my ideas because you’ll helped me to work hard and persevere. Without you’ll this success would have not been possible. And to all those out there having big dreams and ideas, your dreams are never too small, you just have to DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!

Thank you WordPress for the stats, you have made me and all those who contributed their articles on Imagination Breathing, SMILE.

If you too want to be part of this venture for inspiring lives, if you want me to cover your story or if you know anyone whose story is worth sharing on a global platform, kindly write to me at paulib005@gmail.com

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Best wishes,

Paul Fernandes
Founder
Imagination Breathing