Never Forget Your Parents


In the Indian culture, there is a traditional hymn that highlights the impact a parent has on their child’s life. It’s titled “mata pitane bhulso nahi” which means “never forget your parents”.

This hymn is typically sung during the prayer meeting after someone has passed away, often reminding everyone else to recollect what their parents have done for them, and if they are still alive, to look after them, the way they looked after you.

Mother’s Day is approaching – please take a moment to watch the video and read the words below, and do what is required right now to reconnect with those who have given you shelter.

Forget Everything Else, But Do Not Forget Your Parents

Bhulo Bhale Beeju Badhu Maa Baap ne Bhulosho Nahin
You can forget everything else, but do not forget your parents

Aganeet Che Upkaar Enaa, Eha Visarsho Nahin.
Their favors are countless, never forget that.

Patthar Pujya Pruthvi Tanaa,tyare Dithu Tama Mukhdu,
They prayed to many gods on earth, to see your face

Punit Jana Naa Kaadjaa, Patthar bani chundsho nahin.
Do not become rocks and crush the hearts of those saintly people.

Kaadhi Mukhethi Kodiaa, Monmaa dai motaa karyaa,
They fed morsels from their own mouth to raise you

Amrut tanaa denaar saame, Zher ugadsho nahin.
Do not spit poison on the ones who gave you nectar

Laakho ladaavya laad tamane, Kodh sau poora karyaa,
Those who loved you immensely and fulfilled all your desires

E Kodh naa purnaar naa, kodh purvaa bhulsho nahin.
Do not forget to fulfill the desires of those who fulfilled your desires

Laakho kamaataa ho bhale, maa baap jethi naa tharyaa,
You could earn millions, but if your parents are not happy at heart,

laakh nahin pan raakh che, E maanvu bhulsho nahin.
Always remember, those millions are ashes.

Santaan thi seva chaaho, santaan cho seva karo,
Expect service from your children, and serve being a child yourself,

Jevu karo tevu bharo, E bhavnaa bhulsho nahin.
Remember the teaching, as you sow so shall you reap.

Bhine sui potee ane, sooke suvdaavya aapne,
They slept in wet areas but made sure you were on dry land,

E amimay aankhne, bhuline bhinjavsho nahin.
Do not let tears come to those loving eyes.

Pushpo bichaavyaa prem thi, jene tamaaraa raah par,
They spread flowers in your path with love

E rahbar naa raah par, kantak kadi bansho nahin.
Do not spread thorns in the path of those path makers.

Dhan kharachtaa madshe badhu, Mata Pitaa madshe nahin,
You will get everything by spending money, but not Mother and father.

Pal Pal paavan E charan ni, chaahnaa bhulsho nahin.
Do not forget every loving moment of those auspicious feet.

(source: Never Forget Your Parents)

Appreciating The Frustration Of Just Being You – Taare Zameen Par – Every Child Is Special

Having just watched the first film directed and produced by Aamir Khan, the recent bollywood hit Taare Zameen Par left the whole family lost for words.

This story is about a young boy with the challenge of dyslexia, who was mis-understood by his parents and teachers, teased by the fellow school kids, and who gradually lost his self-confidence. Catch the trailer here and check out this movie which although is in Hindi, will most likely be showing with English subtitles…

This movie highlighted the lack of support many children get from their parents. Children are so often afraid of just being themselves. They feel that they have to consistently live up to their parents’ expectations of how they should act, the aspirations they should hold, and who they should be.

It also reminded me of the powerful force I’ve had throughout my life – both my parents have stood by me, no matter what, and have supported my gradual progress in life. I’m sure there have been many moments of anxiety for them when they’d be wondering if I’d ever settle down into a “stable job”. Regardless, both mum and dad have been the secure foundation for me to discover myself, and allow me just to be as I am. In fact, I feel blessed that some of my closest friends have also been such a gentle and caring pillar of strength for me to gently tread along the path that continues to be defined for me.

Mum and dad – thank you…

Much love,

Dinesh & Shilpa
Dad and Mum
New Years Eve 2002

Crisis Over Christmas 2003 – Serving London’s Homeless

As Christmas approaches us this year, I look forward to attending Crisis Over Christmas – an opportunity to serve London’s homeless this festive period. Here is an account written at the tail end of 2003 of my first and only experience of serving at a Crisis homeless shelter on 26th December 2003, alongside the Young Jains team…

Creative Commons License photo credit: Clive Power

Wide-awake at 3am, I knew it was to be a deeply heart-warming day. One thing I can say about a morning shift with a 7:45am start on Boxing Day is that it’s an easy drive down the A5 – never seen Edgware Road so traffic-free!

On arrival at the warehouse in South East London, we headed to the registration desk, were given our name badges and directed over to the volunteers’ area. An entertaining briefing session was concluded with the volunteers dispersing into groups. A shout for 8 people to help out in the kitchen led me to my calling for the morning.

What did kitchen duty consist of for me? Topping, tailing and shredding parsnips for soup, peeling and chopping onions, washing and shredding lettuce, and waste disposal. If you’re reading this and you know my mum, don’t blab it – you KNOW I’ll be expected to do more in the kitchen at home. What was great about kitchen duty for me? We got trained by an ex-professional chef, were offered hot or cold drinks throughout, and had awesome conversations with some students, a physiotherapist from Edinburgh, and a London based paediatrician. As for chopping onions, it must be the first time I’ve cried so much in years – and about time too!

Around midday, I decided to explore other areas of the shelter. As I talked with several of the guests, I found that many of them really did want someone to share their thoughts with. There’s this one guy, we’ll call him Mr L, 6’6″, waiting for his turn in the clothes ticket queue, who had trouble finding shoes that would fit him. Empathising is when you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and I knew right then how he must have been feeling. I myself have size 15 feet! In the few days that Mr L was at the shelter, he told me he’d transformed his appearance, and donned a groovy haircut. Crisis goes well beyond a simple meal – guests get advice, haircuts, spiritual healing, computer skills, art skills, an abundance of cakes, and much more.

Back in the volunteers’ area, a call came out for outdoor duty. At the front gate, my role was to filter through anyone who arrived. Guests line up to get searched for illegal possessions and guest transport vehicles drop off guests just outside the gate. Certain individuals are banned from Crisis for reasons of bad behaviour or drug dealing, and must not be allowed in. Some of the guests that filter through have an amazingly polite attitude about them, and you know their hearts are being touched when they receive food, shelter and love, without necessarily having to reciprocate.

Whilst on Front Gate Duty, a gentleman who we’ll name Mr G approached me. He’s a Big Issue vendor and was volunteering at Crisis. Mr G greeted me with such warmth, and was surprised to see a young Asian working with the homeless. In his years of selling Big Issue on the streets of London, not a single Asian person had bought a copy from him. When talking with others about this, I found that a common perception is that Asians are tight-fisted – plain and simple. To find out more about Big Issue, I checked out and learned that the Big Issue, a news and current affairs magazine, provides opportunities for people facing homelessness to help themselves. Some members of the public choose not to buy this magazine from vendors such as Mr G because they are concerned about how vendors spend their money. The Big Issue believes that all people must take responsibility for themselves, and homeless people have as much right to spend their earnings as they wish as anyone else.

As I was warming up with a hot coffee, a call was made for an internal job of sorting jackets. As we were placing the jackets into the various boxes, we realised just how quickly these jackets will disappear. Much of the clothing was of high quality, and gratefully received by the guests.

In between tasks, the idea was to head into the volunteers’ area, where there were opportunities to mingle with other volunteers, have some food and hot drinks, and wait for a request for the massive variety of jobs that were available to take on such as refereeing a football match. A request came for cigarette rollers – experienced or ready to learn. I was in the latter category and my first ever rolling attempt was impressive, if I may say so myself. The rolling team was challenged to fill up 4 cups worth of rolled cigarettes so that a large number of cigarettes could be distributed out to the guests in each of the 4 main zones. Although I had started rolling quite well, the quality of my cigarettes appeared to decrease fast. Others on the Young Jains team who had never done it before seemed to be naturals!

In the final hour of the shift, some volunteers were needed to clean the guest areas, including sweeping the carpeted floors. Guests sleep on the bare floor with just a blanket covering them, and it’s essential the floors are kept clean. It’s also nice to leave the areas in a better state than they were found for the next shift to take it to a greater level.

Wrapping up now… Following the Young Jains team photo shoot, a Crisis green badge (one of the volunteers who ran the shelter) thanked all “The Jains” for supporting Crisis this year and every year. Those who had no other commitments for the evening then made their way over to Yogi Jis for the traditional YJ post-event social.

Crisis is a national charity that fights homelessness and empowers people to fulfil their potential and transform their lives.

During Christmas, Crisis provides Centres across London for homeless people, offering hot meals and a wide range of essential services.

Dates: 23rd – 30th December 2007
Times: daytime slot, evening slot, night slot
Location: London – specific location will be disclosed by Crisis nearer the time
Advanced Registration:
Group on Facebook:

Event details from the Crisis website…

If you are homeless or living in hostel accommodation, Christmas can be a lonely and depressing time. For the past 35 years, Crisis Open Christmas has helped to alleviate that loneliness, providing Christmas Centres across London from 23 – 30 December that not only offer vital companionship, hot meals and warmth, but a wide range of essential services that homeless people do not normally have access to.

In 2006 over 6500 volunteers gave up their time over the Christmas week to support our work. If you are interested in volunteering at the next COC you can do so in five ways.

General volunteer: This role gives you an opportunity to take part in a variety of tasks which ensure the safe and effective running of the Centre. Tasks such as welcoming guests and serving food, to washing hair and sorting bedding. We need about 85 per cent of volunteers to carry out this role.

Support volunteer: Join the team that makes the COC happen! From logistics and operational roles to driving vehicles, coordinating food deliveries to being a translator, we need key people to help deliver the event.

Services volunteer: Use your specialist skills to help deliver the variety of services we provide our guests – medical professionals, advice practitioners, hairdressers, massage therapists, chefs and many more

Learning & Skills: Help us inspire and entertain our guests. Learning and skills volunteers have a unique opportunity to engage with our guests on a very personal level. Learning and skills covers a wide range of activities.

Set up volunteers: Help get the Centres ready for our guests before the 23 Dec, and put them back to normal after the 30 Dec.

How Do You Feel When A Baby Laughs?

From a comment at Alex Kjerulf’s blog post about Global Belly Laugh Day, I picked up a link to the following video showing a baby laughing from the depths of it’s soul.

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When was the last time you laughed this purely?