Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Not Just Friends #HalfGirlfriend

I am sharing a Half relationship story at BlogAdda in association with #HalfGirlfriend

“She is my best friend, but then I don’t know how to stop these feelings for her”, Rohan exclaimed. “I wonder what she will think if I tell her that I love her. It will spoil every good thing that is between us and that scares me to death.” He said.

I have known Rohan for two years, but we became friends only in the last couple of months of my graduation year. He was a quiet, thoughtful and introversive person. Sanya, on the other hand, was full of life, cheerful and congenial. Destiny brought them together, and they became friends; soon something more than that, best of friends! Their friendship was one of the favourite gossip topics in the campus, but they never cared what everyone talked about and continued being together. Three years of togetherness where both remained quietly by each other’s side. They had redefined friendship and rejected a popular misconception i.e. “A girl and a boy can be friends but sooner or later one will fall for the others” in all these years. However, I was witnessing an entirely new angle in their story that day. It was last day of our college. A farewell party was thrown by the juniors.

I didn’t know what to tell him, but I wondered how Sanya feels about the whole thing. In the corner, we were sitting when I saw her coming to us.

“If I were you, I would have told her without expecting a relationship instead just acknowledging how badly I am in love and without putting any conditions wants to continue loving her”, I replied and went away giving them some privacy.

I don’t know what happened next, but I saw tears rolling down their eyes. I stood motionless not knowing what to do next. It was heartbreaking to see her crying. I closed my eyes and wished a happy beginning of their love story. A minute later everyone was being called for one last group picture. I didn’t feel like going.  

The next morning, I met Sanya on the bus while we headed to the railway station. Rohan accompanied her, and they looked happy just like the old days. I could sense the love she felt for him. They lovingly waved at each other till the bus left. She looked at me.

“You were right. It is all about being there for each other”, she smiled.

I was happy for her. 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

More Indian Than You Think

It was summer of 2012 when I graduated and had an offer to join one of the biggest Indian manufacturing company. I was more than excited to begin the new phase of my life. The early days in the organisation mostly involved interaction with the officials, workers and various level of training before I was given the first work assignment. The job included assisting in managing one of the smaller plants in the suburbs of the Jharkhand. The productivity of the plant had declined continuously over the year, and the management wanted to bring some changes to keep it profitable. This had caused resentment among the workers, and it further aggravated the situation. 

I was sharing my workspace with Ajay Sinha. He was senior plant manager and my mentor. He was in his early 50s and had spent thirty years of life in the organisation. A man known for his values and widely respected among peer and workers. However, the bitterness in the workers was growing, and he was snubbed a couple of times while addressing them in the morning. The same day something happened that frightened me to the core of my heart. At 11:30 AM, approx. 40-50 workers came into our cabin, and there were more than 200 workers that stayed just outside in the lobby. I had recently read about the deadly riot in 2012 at Maruti plant in Manesar in Haryana that happened due to a certain conflict between workers and senior management. The workers there had smashed properties, set the factory on fire and burned manager to death. I was literally scared playing out different scenarios that could happen. I looked at Ajay helplessly. 
“What happened? There is still an hour to go before lunch”, said Ajay. 
“Nobody is working until we know what is management’s decision” replied a voice from the crowd.  
“Very well” replied Ajay with a calmness in his voice and then continued, “You know these things take time. I have conveyed the issues to management, and appropriate solution will be implemented keeping in mind everyone’s interest. However, I cannot defend us if the management comes to know that you are halting the work.” 
“We’re not moving from here till our demands are met. No work today. We are ready to go on hunger strike” came another voice from the crowd after a pause. 

Nobody moved or spoke anything for next couple of minutes. The tension in the room was palpable. Breaking the silence, I said, “I am not asking anyone to go out of the room, but then some of you can sit on the sofa.” I then vacated my chair and looked at Kartar Singh. I knew him because he was retiring in a couple of months and was one among many who had been in the manufacturing unit since its inception. He was respected figure among the workers, and they used to affectionately call him ‘Sardarji’. I pulled him from the corner and politely asked to sit on the chair. He was startled with this gesture and couldn’t refuse. I went back and sat on my desk. A dead silence prevailed in the room. 

I looked at the clock. It was about lunch hour. I said, “I know we have issues here and I am trying hard to resolve it, however, if you think skipping work or lunch can help it then let me try that also.” I switched off my computer and put aside my lunch box. Everyone looked puzzled. At this, Sardarji got up from his chair and with folded hand said, “Sorry, that we all barged into your cabin, but we were just concerned whether management is taking necessary steps to safeguard our interest.” In next couple of minutes, the crowd dispersed, and it was just two of us in the cabin. I looked at the big screen in the hallway where Lufthansa ad was playing. I believe a major incident was averted that day because of the values that I learnt as a kid. 

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

GAIL - Indian Speed Star: An initiative to strengthen the sport of athletics

GAIL (India) Limited has embarked on a grassroots athletics program GAIL-Indian Speedstar, which is aimed at unearthing young talent across the length and breadth of India. GAIL (India) Limited and National Yuva Cooperative Society (NYCS), launched a grassroots athletics program GAIL Indian Speedstar on the 22nd of March, 2016 at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi.

National Yuva Cooperative Society has tied up with Anglian Medal Hunt Company as its Technical Partner for The GAIL Indian Speedstar project. The persisting, epoch-making attempt before - focused grassroots program aims to create a pool of athletes with knack which will possibly bring honor for India in track events at the highest echelon of sporting events - the Olympics 2020/2024.

The reason to launch this program is to identify, select and nurture the hidden talent in athletes. The targeted age group is 11 - 17 years in 100m, 200m and 800m track events across.

A panel of eminent sportspersons like P.T Usha, Rachita Mistry, Anuradha Biswal & Kavita Raut have been appointed to the selection committee to guide coaching camps. As members of the selection committee their role would include creating the selection criteria or the GAIL-Indian Speedstar program, and developing the training plan and module for the selected athletes at the National Level.

‘Legendary athlete P.T. Usha launched the initiative alongside the organizers Dr Ashutosh KarnatakDirector (Projects), GAIL (India) Ltd, Rajesh Pande – President, National Yuva Cooperative Society Ltd (NYCS) and Maneesh Bahuguna - CEO, Anglian Medal Hunt Company.

District trials were conducted under the watchful eyes of coaches and selectors, appointed by the selection committee. The selection of the athletes was based on talent identification and selection criteria set by the selection committee.

Initiatory, in its first year, earlier this year with initial trials conducted in 55 districts across ten states in which more than 25,000 children participated out of which 850 children made it to the State level. 

Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon. Minister of State (I/C) Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dutee Chand, Anuradha Biswal and Purnima Hembram; selected ambitious young athletes from Bhubaneswar, Odisha. 14 children have qualified for the National level trials while Shri Dharmendra Pradhan Ji, praised and motivated the selected candidates for National level trials. The first State level camp and trial were organized on 27-28th of February in SawaiMaan Singh Stadium, Jaipur where 60 boys and girls participated out of which 4 have qualified for the next level. The state trials were held in Odisha (14 Selection), Delhi (28 Selection), Kerala (28 Selection) &Jharkhand(4 Selection)followed by Maharashtra and Gujarat in the last week of April.  The shortlisted children from the State trials will then participate in the National camp and selection which is scheduled to be held in May 2016 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. Shortlisted athletes from state trials will attend an intensive national level camp. At the conclusion of the coaching camp, final trials will be held. Winners will be selected based on the qualification criteria and their potential. The winners will be given extensive training throughout the year. The top 9 athletes will then be provided with a world class coaching for over a period of 5 years with an ultimate objective of one of these athletes to represent India at the Olympics.

It’s not the will to win that matters - everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters. Know more about #IndianSpeedStar #GAILRaftaar on Facebook

Sunday, 17 April 2016

#QuakerBowl with Quaker India

It had been a long time since I attended an Indiblogger meet, the last time it was in Bangalore but then I shifted to Lucknow and all I could do was to read frequent meets that happened and be envy about it. However, I landed in Mumbai for my internship and I was overjoyed to see that there is a Quaker Bowl Indiblogger meet scheduled for the coming weekend.  I waited patiently and finally the day came. 

It all started with a little contest from IndiBlogger and QuakerIndia where everyone had to tweet about the tastiest breakfast mom ever made and throughout the time till I reached the venue I kept thinking about it. It is tough to choose the best among the bests as I liked anything, everything mom made, however, the delicious omelettes in the morning were my all time favorite.  

The event started but came a little twist and surprise with the welcome tune of Taher Shah's Mankind Angel playing on the big screen. It was followed by entry of the mystical man aka Vineet Rajan taking the stage.  An icebreaker time where we all did our little weird but fun exercises to gel ourselves in the surroundings. Indiblogger had kept the biggest surprise of the day "#QuakerBowl with Celebrity Chef" under curtains and that was revealed soon with the entry of the man about whom girls go crazy and needless to say that my fellow classmate from college has a huge crush on him. It was none other than Michelin starred chef, restaurateur, and cookbook writer Vikas Khanna. He began with a little introduction and that was followed by a fun quiz. Though I didn't know the answer of any but it was good to learn certain facts like Pampore is known as Saffron Town of Kashmir!  

Like always the best thing was yet to happen - a fun challenge where one had to drink soup in one go from a tequila shot glass and tell its  ingredients within 60 seconds. I was among the one chosen by Vikas Khanna to perform the task and I could guess only two; Salt & Water. Nothing could be more embarrassing when you are the worst performer in a group but that was fun and moreover, I got a prize for coming last and it was given by Vikas Khanna himself that too on the stage. Yay! I had my first celebrity moment of the day and I also learnt an important lesson that one can make soup with Quaker Oats and was the main ingredient that I couldn't guess. It was followed by a team challenge where the task was to make a dish of our own choice with the available ingredients. I know nothing about cooking and that is very obvious from the ingredient guessing task and so all I did was to stand with the team and stare what they are doing that ended up making something that looked nice but tasty? that Vikas Khanna and his team had to decide and we didn't make it in the winning list.  

It was time for lunch and we all munched on the food. A tasty end to a fun meet that was followed by free gift. Yet again, Thank you Indiblogger and Thank you QuakerIndia for organising such an enjoyable gathering.  

My #QuakerBowl Moment

Friday, 15 April 2016

Haywards 5000 Hauslay Ki Udaan

A billion population, a billion dreams and of those billion there are few  dreams that desire to be the next business tycoon. However, many of those dreams die out before they even start. Haywards 5000 has launched "Haywards 5000 Hauslay Ki Udaan" - country's first start up reality program to give wings to those dreams and fuel the aspiring entrepreneurs. In its first edition, it received over 40,000 calls and a winning idea came out from among more than 500 entries that went through auditions. Last year the judges ranged from entrepreneurs like Sumit Jain – Co-founder & CEO,, Vivek Singh, CO-founder & CFO of Tone Tag, Naidu Darapaneni, founder CEO of, Santhosh Karnananda, CEO of to industry stalwarts like Sunil Subramaniam - CEO of Sundaram Finance. 

It has now entered its second season with a new TVC campaign - "Naa Se Haan Tak" launched by Haywards 5000 Hausla Buland Academy. The TVC showcases the challenges of an aspiring entrepreneur who even after rejected by everyone stays motivated to fulfill his dream and makes the business idea a reality.  The participants can register on Hausla Buland Academy to participate in the second season of “Haywards 5000 Hauslay Ki Udaan”. Auditions will be conducted across the nation in the following cities: Gurgaon, Faridabad, Jaipur, Pune, Nagpur, Kolkata, Bangalore, Secunderabad, Rohtak, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Mohali. This will serve as a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative business ideas and share their stories of unrelenting resolve.  The participants will be mentored by an interview panel consisting of well-known entrepreneurs and industry experts as well as Hausla Buland Academy professional counselors through online and offline mediums. The finalists will be selected basis a combination of factors including market opportunity, the uniqueness of the presented business idea, the growth potential, the strategy, the enthusiasm and passion of the participant, the knowledge of the industry, realistic goals and finally the total investment required. The winning business idea will receive a seed funding of Rs. 15 Lac from the Hausla Buland Academy. 

Haywards 5000 Hausla Buland Academy #NaaSeHaanTak TVC