November 2015 By Jamuna Rangachari All of us are born with a life purpose. If we keep listening to ourselves intently and ask the universe for help, one fine day we will find our place and our unique gift in this world, says Jamuna Rangachari “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche There is a Mexican saying “Hay gente para todo.” which means “There are people for everything.” It refers to the fact that in order for our world to function, we need people living and contributing at all levels. If we each could find and inhabit the sphere we’re supposed to be in, and contribute what we are supposed to, what a beautiful world it would become. Actually, this is our right given to us by the cosmos. We simply need to find it. However, how do we find this treasure? What speaks to us The world is the same geographically, but we all have our own way of looking at it since each one of us has our unique path and journey. We all need to listen to what our soul is trying to tell us. Ever since she was little, Anouradha Bakshi was disturbed by poverty and injustice. She remembers visiting her grandparents in Meerut way back in the early ‘50s as a young child of three. Her grandmother had invited a dancing bear to her house to amuse her. It was winter and she still remembers looking more at the man who made the bear dance, than the bear itself. The reason: he just had a shirt on. Later, when the ‘show’ was over the man asked her grandmother for a coat. Her grandmother gave him money but no coat. After he left, Anouradha wept copiously, and accused everyone of being mean since they had many coats but were unwilling to give a single one to the shivering man. Chastened, her grandmother sent a servant on a bicycle to look for the man and give him a coat. On growing up, though she lived abroad as a diplomat’s wife leading a glamorous life of parties and events, something seemed missing from her life. In 1985 when she discovered the village of her ancestors after three generations, the sight of a hamlet, frozen in time where no one was educated, and women became grandmothers in their 30s, made her resolve to repay the debt she owed India. Dwaraka Pandurangi worked as the Promotion Officer for HMV, a gramophone company of India. They were organizing a concert of Lata Mangeshkar’s in Bangaluru for which they needed to generate Rs 75 lakhs. As Promotion Officer, it was her job to travel to Benguluru from Chennai every week, coax dealers and distributors to sell more of the high-priced tickets, collect money from them and deposit it in a bank. She found the going hard and was struck with a brilliant idea. She had a cousin who worked with an NGO. She asked her boss if they could donate Rs five lakhs to the NGO and ask them to sell all the high-priced tickets for their company in return. He agreed and she went to meet the chairperson of what was then The Spastics Society of India. After this meeting, Dwarka also saw the work they were doing, and was deeply moved to see the spastic children and their parents. The images never left her mind. Too many qualifications can sometimes straitjacket us into a profession we do not belong to. When Anil Bhatnagar was working in the corporate sector, he did not relate to it at all. “Most people are motivated by extrinsic success. To earn a great salary, to be the director who every one salutes, to be famous and appear on television. I saw the emptiness of these extrinsic achievements in my organisation. Stupid ideas would get applauded because a senior suggested it and a great idea would be turned down or not articulated. Everything looked so suffocatingly meaningless that I asked myself if I wanted to be part of such a culture. The answer was a big ‘NO’. I did not want to spend my precious and sacred life in this pretense.” he says. Very often, even sickness shows us a new direction. Rupinder Kaur, 30, a commissioning editor in a multinational corporation, fell sick with hepatitis (jaundice) in July 2012. She developed other issues too, such as the inability to walk properly, asthma, insomnia, restlessness, frequent urine infections, weight gain, stress, irritability, anger and so on. Nothing helped her till she switched to raw food. She ate fresh fruits for three days in a row as a trial and got awesome results. She decided to continue detoxing her body. Varun Rangarajan always wanted to do something for India. His parents’ selflessness influenced his decision to volunteer for social causes. He joined an IT firm and met people from across India, who brought him fresh ideas and viewpoints. He met people with whom he formed a lifetime bond. Some of them were brought up amidst intense hardship. They made him understand that giving back to society was not only a choice but a duty. Finding our calling Having launched into a search for purpose, we may not find our answers immediately. The universe chooses its owntime to materialize our wishes. Perhaps it is because it wants to make sure we are in earnest, or perhaps it is waiting for other things to fall in place. Anouradha Bakshi : Her Project Why is a huge source for the good in the lives of the underprivileged Though Anouradha was passionate about changing lives, it took another 15 years for things to fall in place. She met Manu, a physically and mentally challenged beggar, whose heart-wrenching cries penetrated the depth of her soul. She made a silent yet solemn promise to give Manu back his dignity. This was the origin of Project Why, a non-profit that has been working relentlessly to provide education, support and skill-enhancement to slum children and their families. Anil Bhatnagar kept asking himself what would nourish his soul. He wanted to write books. He did not know that there was a profession called corporate trainer till he met his reiki teacher who was a corporate trainer himself. When he learnt about the profession, it resonated with his soul. He had discovered what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Today, he is an award-winning author and a well known corporate trainer and motivational speaker to over 100 leading private, multinational and public sector companies in India and the Middle East. Apart from this, he is a visiting faculty at several management institutes in India. His passion for learning makes him study the wisdom of spiritual giants of every era, and his passion for teaching takes him to colleges, schools, institutions, and clubs to share his thoughts on communication, people skills, conflict management, interpersonal skills, leadership, time management, and stress management. As far as Dwaraka is concerned, she joined the spastic society as a volunteer, and worked so energetically that they offered her a job. The pay was not much but she felt happy to support their yeoman service. She was an employee for three years and went back to being a volunteer when she moved town. Varun began by teaching some wonderful children from a nearby slum on a Sunday afternoon. This led to regular weekend study sessions with the kids and an odd outing to the national park or a zoo in between. Suddenly, the weekends became the most important part of the week. What started as an informal activity with three people mushroomed into a full-fledged NGO, Dream India 2020 with more than 50 active volunteers in four cities across the nation. Varun also joined WIPRO and worked with them to promote education. He also became a consultant in the NGO, Ashoka, for education. He focusses on change maker schools that are making a difference in all parts of India. Rupinder read extensively on the human anatomy and physiology and realised that she needed to stick to a raw vegan diet for the rest of her life. On a friend’s suggestion, she decided to offer raw food classes in Delhi. In just a few months, she started getting a good response not only from Delhi but also from all over India and other parts of the world. People wanted recipes with Indian ingredients, flavours, and as per our festivals and celebrations. So to reach out to a larger audience, she decided to go online by creating a website which caters to the needs of people. Dreams coming true When one is truly in the right place, one remains content and at peace. Varun had always been attracted to kids like iron to a magnet. He enjoys their company, making them laugh, and teaching them stuff in innovative ways. To see schools working with each other to provide ideal learning and living experiences to children and to be actively involved in it, gives him more satisfaction than a software job ever could. “The more I visit schools, talk to kids, the better I feel,” he says passionately. Anil Bhatnagar’s choice was validated by hundreds of people who told him that he had transformed their lives. I can personally vouch for this since I came to Life Positive inspired by his articles and talks. He does not consider himself better or worse than anyone, and keeps evaluating himself, never allowing himself to succumb to ego, money, power or aggressive marketing. Anouradha has a rich repertoire of incredibly happy memories such as a child bringing in his report card beaming with joy and clutching a sweet in his grubby hands for her to eat. The first step taken by a challenged child, or the first sound uttered by a hearing impaired, give her unparalleled satisfaction. Today, she is an avid blogger and author who seeks to share her journey and the lives of the people she has touched, with the entire world. Rupinder Kaur: Raw food is the way After Rupinder’s interview was telecast on National Television DD1 in 2014, she received many emails and messages congratulating her on her work. People came from other parts of the country to taste her food or just to
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