Author is not an alien

Author is not an alien
I write because we had deleted enough

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Death…….And some wandering thoughts

Day before yesterday, my phone rang at 4 am in the morning, I am not a morning person so I didn’t wake up.But the ringing never stopped.

I picked up, it was in fact my father’s cell phone which I had kept with me while sleeping.

My cousin brother’s name flashed.

I was scared, my pessimistic mind took over and the hour of the day signaled bad news.

My chacha ji (Uncle) had passed away.

He was in his fifties.

He was healthy.

He was hearty.

He passed away due to cardiac arrest.

On the other end was a crying son and what was I supposed to say to him: Don’t cry (He should let the pain vent out), Everything will be okay (I knew I would be lying), We are in this together ( In sorrows like this, everyone is a loner, battling alone).

I didn’t say a word.

I could not say a word.

He has gone, never to come back.

Knowing fully well that death is the only thing that will surely happen with us all, we are never ever prepared for it. My chacha belonged to the millions of Indians who spent a major part of life in foreign countries doing a blue collared job sending back money to their family, remittances to their country and surviving out of meager in the place of their work.

They make plans, plans to have their own house, to wed off their sons and daughters, buy a land back in India and retire. And who does not makes plans, We all do, knowing fully well one single thing at that moment- We don’t know what’s gonna happen the very next moment.

Remembering of plans, I too made some

Two Months Before-

In a small diary that I write I had a well thought of story for my novel, novel based on the people like my Chacha, their lives in the foreign lands, their loneliness, their struggle, their songs, their longings and Chacha ji was my only source. I made plans and plans but alas the plans always came with a later tag. Sometimes career stared in my blank face, sometimes nothing came up but I never planned to execute my plan of going to my paternal village, making my chachaji speak and taking notes.

The evening when I finally decided that this is the best time to relocate to my village turned out to be worst time.

He passed away the next morning.

A Day Later

I was looking for solace, for words of support. I had thought that in a tragedy as big as this everything will come to a stand still. People won’t smile, they won’t breathe.

Did it actually happen? No?

Death- the single largest truth that never ceases to snatch away any of our plans.
Do you ever realize what is the most unsettling truth- the mad rush to settle down. The whole propaganda of settling down breeds survival of the fittest or to better sum up elimination of the weaker.

But can you ever call yourself fittest, think twice.

Can you ? You will always be weak in one or the other departments.

Start enjoying it. Death never leaves you any time to mend a mistake, to undo a wrong, to say the unsaid, to cry over a failed exam, to curse over a relationship gone wrong, to even say a goodbye.

Mend your mistakes, if you can’t just apologize.

Say the unspoken, Silence is what death is like: Brutal and mysterious.

Smile over your failures too.

Move out of a relationship gone wrong.

Say “I love You” to the people who care.

Go on a holiday because holidays make memories and memories support the ones left back.

Don’t equate money with life, money with care and money with family (Believe me, if it was possible my dad would have traded all of his life’s earnings for his younger brother).

Date life because like it or not you have to marry death one day.

P.S.-  My words have come out of tears, if it touched you anywhere, go say a “Thank you” to any one person who ever cared for you selflessly. That way share our grief, our pain and this difficult time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How the Bihar health sector adopted a strategic Social Brand campaign - Part 1

 I stopped by a small tea shop in Muzaffarpur and nearby is an Anganwadi centre       with   wall paintings of government  schemes for maternal and child health displaying the logo of “Swasthya Bihar, Samridhha Bihar.” Be it in the heart of bustling golambar  chowk of Patna, the rusty lanes of Motihari; a Primary health centre at the far end of  Raxaul or a small village curled up in a corner of Supaul, everywhere Health services,  health policies are seen with a ubiquitous tag line “Swasthya Bihar, Samridhha Bihar”  along with a colorful logo.

 It’s interesting to observe that the state of Bihar which was once considered under the “BIMARU” states and was creeping on the path of development especially the health  sector developed a  powerful social brand worth enough to be emulated by others.
 Here goes the story in the words of the communication team  of State RMNCH+A Unit, Bihar which was instrumental in  getting  the wheels of social branding started with the  support of State  Health Society, Bihar

 “With multiple push from the development partners the  health  service delivery was improving in Bihar. And we  could see the  thirst for high visibility for the improved    service delivery in the  GoB", said Dr Hemant Shah,Director,  SRU

 “We knew what the TSU (technical Support Unit) had to do. We    knew if we need to stay in the state and do our work to bring  change and strengthen the systems, we had to help the government  to give shape to their aspiration. We visualized it in the form of a  Social campaign brand.... and as we work in the field of health – I  thought, let that one social campaign brand be the ‘Health  Initiatives campaign’ in Bihar to start with.” Said Victor Kalyan  Ghoshe ( Senior Advisor, Communication, SRU), he continued,  “and we figured it was all about ‘a new Bihar- which was  developing’, But as mentioned the core of our idea was different –  we still believed through a hidden layer below the Brand promise   if we could shape demands of the communities of Bihar; we would  actually be able to create a dynamics to ‘drive the market’ and  maintain the ‘service delivery’ in a way that will help the future  prosperity of Bihar to sustain (lower Maternal Mortality Ratio  & Infant Mortality Rate, higher rate of Routine Immunization,  effective Family Planning etc.). In a word we wanted to create a  social dynamics through a strategic brand campaign – where  the service delivery is community demand driven.

 We went back to the GOB with a series of Brand campaign names.   The list had:
1.         Swasthya Bihar, Pragatishil Bihar
2.         Swasthya Bihar, Unnatishil Bihar
3.         Swasthya Bihar, Samriddh Bihar

 Slogans which almost had the same meaning – but there was only  one which phonetically had the right zing as it was coined with a  key word with two syllable phrase, viz-a-viz the others which had  four syllables. We knew the third campaign name option was  destined to be the winner.

 We were right – but we didn’t know that within a few days this    idea will be all over Bihar....making its mark on all the leading  news papers, on all the stationeries of concerned government  agency (State Health Society, Bihar), Radio and television. And within a couple of months-the state government would start using  the brand for departments other than the department of Health as  well.
 After a few rounds of Chai and Charcha, the name was finalised and the work for identity (Logo) development took over.

  The most twisted turn in story comes here
  As we worked on developing the brand we started believing this identity should create an added value for not only the GOB, but also for each and every decision making bureaucrat in the  government so that the instruments of the government own it and  eventually turn it into a sustainable campaign brand without any  external support.

 The road map with milestones that we had developed  initially for  this brand development journey, after reaching at the Ideation milestone we decided not to get into the Prototype development  and testing – we should let the State Health Society-IEC division do the job.Which was a milestone decision and which never had  happened in India with any development project (as we have seen -a logo design for a project or a program, is always the first thing  that development partners do for a development program as a  practice).

 SHSB IEC cell finally developed the Swasthya Bihar, Samriddh  Bihar identity with no help from the State RMNCH+A Unit or  from any of the development partners. They added a map of Bihar  along with the mentioned family of four – the end beneficiary – to  develop a face to the first strategic Social Brand campaign from  the GoB.

 This brand eventually became so strong within six months of its  first dissemination that the Govt revamped and reprinted all its  stationary including the SHSB letterheads, envelops and Cover files (which is the highest visibility document in the Indian  Bureaucracy

 The story does not end here, after this successful example of an  interactive social brand development in health sector, many sub- brands were developed following a larger strategy for the GOB and that part of the story too is very interesting….

 To be continued…

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I MUST CONFESS.....................

    I must confess
    Why do i pick up a pen
    and write verses out of nowhere
    I write stories out of experiences
    When the friend list keeps on piling
    and relationships are at a downhill
    when leaders mock limits
    while a debt ends a life
    I must confess
    i pick up my pen to write
    When Aylan is washed up to the shore
    And a girl puts her "Hands up"
    When guns snatch away an innocence
    and a "Gul Makai" is born
    I must confess
    i pick up my pen to write
    when textbooks remain open
    spilled with blood
    and bread is snatched away
    again in the name of blood
    i must confess
    i pick up my pen to write
    for writing is deleting for me.....................SEHAR

The post was written under the #BlogBuddyWordsmith program by @blogchatter for the weekly writing prompt “I must confess” 

Friday, November 6, 2015

GROW TREES………..For a better tomorrow

Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. Deforestation has many negative effects on the environment. The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Seventy percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes.
Deforestation also drives climate change. Forest soils are moist, but without protection from sun-blocking tree cover they quickly dry out. Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning water vapor back into the atmosphere. Without trees to fill these roles, many former forest lands can quickly become barren deserts.
Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy, which blocks the sun’s rays during the day and holds in heat at night. This disruption leads to more extreme temperatures swings that can be harmful to plants and animals.
Trees also play a critical role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. Fewer forests means larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere—and increased speed and severity of global warming.
The task of environmental protection is a universal responsibility of all of us. Al little but significant contribution to the cause is by planting new trees.
Vodafone India, one of India’s leading telecom service providers and, the exclusive Indian Planting Partner for United Nation’s Environment Program’s Billion Tree Campaign, have taken up extensive tree plantation drive for a greener India. Phase 1 and2 of their joint project is already completed to improve the wildlife corridor between Kanha - Pench wildlife reserves by planting 200,000 trees on 200 hectares of forest land. Launched in August 2014, this project will by next year have a total of 300,000 trees planted over 300 hectares of forest land between Kanha Tiger Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh and Pench in Maharashtra.
The successful completion of Phase 1 and 2 was formally announced by Manish Kumar, Business Head – Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, Vodafone India and Mr. Bikrant Tiwary, CEO,, at a special press meet organised in Jabalpur. 

With this initiative, Vodafone is working towards increasing green cover, support the conservation of flora and fauna and facilitate habitat connectivity in tiger breeding areas. In addition, we will also create livelihood opportunities for local communities, enable reforestation  and offset carbon footprint every year for 3-years.”

This project will create about 25,000 workdays of direct jobs mainly for women and tribals inhabiting the area in addition to supporting several allied livelihood generating activities such as farming, fruit and honey gathering etc. on a sustained basis. The site is in Sijhora Range and would be jointly protected by three villages- Majhipur, Jogisoda and Chandiya. A variety of trees, including Karani, Harra, Baheda, Bamboo, Khamer, Ladiya, Mango and Amla, that are local to the region will be planted. Saplings of these were grown in the special nurseries funded by 

* Investing in a sustainable future – profits are no longer the only bottom line for companies. Investing in the future of our planet is an integral part of the triple bottom line for businesses
* Investing in a better future for South Africa – education is key in SA’s ongoing development. Investing in schools and making them more conducive to learning is an investment in the country’s future
* Leaving a lasting legacy
* Its so cool and fun to plant trees together.

So #PledgeATree with Vodafone and .  You get an e-certificate for reducing carbon footprint and can celebrate any life occasion with Grow Trees ………….how cool is that!!

Watch this video to have a glimpse of the #PledgeATree