"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." - Patanjali

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Space Filler I

I call it Space Filler, but really I love these pics, and seek critical acclaim. I call them SFs so I have an exit clause in case I recieve bad press...

Monday, March 27, 2006

My Wonderwall

So I was quite home sick a while back and decided to print a whole bunch of pics from my journey thus far, as well as some from Sydney and other memorable places. At Rs9 for a glossy 5x7 print, it wasn't a bad deal...the result is what I call My Wonderwall.

If you look at the pic in full size you can see the individual pics with sufficient clarity to make out shapes and faces. For those who I don't have up there, it means I don't have a decent pic with or of you, or that you simply smell, even from here. I'm sure you can figure which one you belong to. So if you've had a bath and have a half decent pic, email it through...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Saturday, March 18, 2006

International Womens Day

On March 8, was International Womens Day, and CORD celebrated in a big way, with a big function with about 3500 women attending, and then some continuing on for a rally through the streets of Dharamshala.

The pics are below...

(Like women everywhere, for a small period of time, the march took a wrong trun and was lost!)

One of the plays by the Mahila Mandal, showing the effects of sharab (alcohol)...

What a setting!

A Dai Amma (mid-wife) as part of the adult literacy program, showing she has learnt her numbers and can now use a mobile phone.

The colour from the front...

... And from the back.

The founder and National Director of CORD, Dr Kshama Metre (in white)


Thursday, March 16, 2006

The weather turns...

This past week has seen some attrocious weather here...

The view from my room...couldn't see a thing!

This is acceptable...

And this is normal...

Next time will show you what Mother Nature revealed after the storm...Think am turning into a nature lover....


So for a long time now I had wanted to tell you guys about the CHYK from London who had planned to work at CORD for a few weeks. Unfortunately I never introduced him to you all while he was here, as he had to head back to London urgently.

However, even though he left after only three weeks, his impact on CORD, and me personally was massive. Initially when you meet a person, one is on guard. You’re not aware of their personality, what they like, dislike, what their views on certain issues are, and automatically, when you hear they are from this place or that, you cast that person into a mould, to help you understand them better, and to help you interact with them. That’s the usual thought process. The setting in which you meet them obviously helps with initial impressions, but that’s a small part of the whole equation which makes a person.

SO, I heard, Jay was from London, a lawyer, and to top it off Gujarati. He looked like he was 27/28ish, though with the balding (Jay calls it his personal satellite dish to Him) he could have easily been older, but we gave him the benefit of the doubt. No offence to Londoners, lawyers or Gujarati’s, but I was skeptical. But naturally, the more time we spent and hung out and went to Dharamshala, and McLeod Ganj, the more we got to know him.

His soft, almost high brow British accent revealed him to be anything but the typical barrister. Tough he was once a trial lawyer, he that gave up focus on Human Rights. He’s argued for many refugees in their fight to be allowed into Britain, and one of the first conversations we had, on a bus back from Dharamshala, was about the HR policies of the Howard government.

I also discovered in due course he was on the committee of the Hindu Youth Council (I think that’s what its called) in the UK, and one of their aims was to educate the youth about what Hinduism really is, and how to live it. He also was in “discussions” with the food labeling authorities about how to correctly classify vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. He himself is vegan (no eggs) but as a protest to the battery-type treatment of cows, does not consume any milk products.

So that’s great. He’s an active part of society, has strong principles which he defends with the sharp acumen of a lawyer on the basis of compassion. But what’s he like?

He’s fun, and spontaneous, incredibly witty, and is a real people person. Within an hour of their meeting, he dubbed the girls from the Yuvati Mandal (approximately translated to Girls Youth Group) his little sisters (they inturn called him their Gujju Bhai). At the Ashram, he came to know and became known to, many of the Brahmacharis. At CORD, the ladies in the Legal Cell, took to his personality, and soon it was as though they had known each other for years. He even had the audacity to invite himself over to one of their houses to cook for their family a nice Italian meal.

His work with the Legal Cell was reformist. He established proper systems in filing, in cataloguing, in case profiles. Using his training as a trial lawyer, he also taught the girls how question people more effectively, to get the most out of interviews. Infact, he was also scheduled to give a seminar to the CORD workers on how to gain trust when coming in contact with people.
Personnally, he was a great friend, and excellent company. When I moved rooms (yes, I moved rooms) he was also made to move, right next door to me. In the evenings, we would hang out and talk and discuss. And all this in a mere three weeks.

Everyone at CORD really misses him, and often, many occasions would go by with at one “If only Jay and Radha were here”.

Now, don’t go thinking I’m all goo-ga over this guy. He was great company, and there are others, but one of the truly remarkable things about working at CORD is the breadth of people one comes into contact with.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Evil Nutella

So I caved into the temptations to buy the nutella. Actually I'm slowly building an empire of materialism at a place where these levels should be taking a freefall. I now have two more jumpers, a pair of Levis (I bought this more out of necessity then want, after I sat on a seat of a jeep which was previously inaugurated by the call of nature of a child it was carrying!), a bath mat (believe me, very essential!), editions of India Today, and an extra towel.

So the other day, for some reason, I wasn't feeling the best, maybe even a bit down, and I was in my room thinking what to do, when my eyes caught the spectacular sight of the Nutella sitting unopened on my table. Like (quite possibly) every girl who's ever come in contact with chocolate, I too made a dash to uplift me.

In this state of delirium, I ignored the fact the stuff wasn't smooth and spreadable, but rough and crunchy. If anything this did more to distract my mind. So after pillaging the contents, I recovered, and read some, and learnt some Hindi from my book and the night passed with out any incident.

The next day I was to go on field, and had to be at the bus stop by 8:15, which I managed with out too much fuss. From there on, lets just say the effects of an unusually crunchy nutella kicked in and was I forced to rush back to my room.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A note on Rajasthan

So the barrage of pictures of Rajasthan is finshed...the place is a dream and at times the dream felt as though it were played out centuries ago...much of the places to see are well preserved and untouched, and are quite a delight.

However it is this same lazy perfectness that draws tourists by the thousands, and with money to be made, these locations lose the charm of yestryear. In anycase, the magic still remains if you look hard enough.

The place I loved the most was Bundi. That way, its untouched by tourism, and has an elegance about it. Will definately have to back there at some stage...

On a sad (well, its tragic, but am not tremendously down about it) note, I lost most of the pics I took from Jaisalmer onwards. So all the ones I've put up, are it.

In Jaipur, I owe many many thanks to Umesh and Shivani for taking me around and showing me, in quite a lot of detail, Jaipur and its surrounds. I was in touch with them through Raja, our family friend in Ahmedabad, ad thought, at most, that here was a contact were I to fall on my death bed, or be arrested by the cops! I called Shivani, and within a minute, she had asked where I was staying and said she'll be right over.

Surprised, I said, yeah sure. When she arrived I wasn't sure what to do. I asked, do you want to come to my room, or do you want to want to stay in the lobby...I don't think it was much of a question! After the introductions, she asked if I was ready...ready for what? I thought...she replied that we're showing you around...and that they well and trully did. I had an awesome time with them, and it was justr great, having a couple of friends to talk to and spare experiences and so on..

Anwyays, I am still in Himachal, working at CORD. Will write more in detail as to what I've been up to soon...

Saturday, March 04, 2006


SO I have all these pics to put up, and will do so within the next week. After that I'll talk more about Sidbadi and CORD.


Karni Mata Mandir