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

How To Tolerate Your Girlfriend In 3 Easy Steps

Couple Argue

Fact is, there are some things that just bring grief to a relationship.

There’ll be friction. There’ll be heat. You’re different – she’s different.

Sometimes, you’re just gonna have to tolerate the differences.

Sometimes, you’re just gonna have to tolerate: your girlfriend.

Here’s how to tolerate your girlfriend so that your relationship becomes smoother…

Step 1: Attend to the situation you’re currently exposed to.

Step 2: Observe the element in her that you’re finding hard to deal with.

Step 3: Cherish this element in her, COMPLETELY.

By fully attending to the whole situation that has arisen for you both, hone in on that part of her presence that’s brought up this friction within you – hold it in your hand and observe it from all angles – and then learn to cherish this part of her.

You see, it’s not really about tolerance – it’s about loving what’s there, whatever it is, rather than wishing it wasn’t.

Now that you’ve cherished this one element in her, extend the love you’re starting to feel and cherish all of her, head to toe, inside and out. I assure you, it’s worth it.

What are you learning to cherish in YOUR girlfriend? Share your comments below…

There you go – smoother relationships in three easy steps.

Much love,

p.s. would you like to learn How To TAME Your Girlfriend In 3 Easy Steps?

Couple On Beach

How To Tame Your Girlfriend In 3 Easy Steps

Creative Commons License photo credit: Arno & Louise

Girlfriends are fun to be around and can also take over your life. It may feel to you that this lioness is trying to change you, control you, and always needs to have the last word.

Here’s how to tame your girlfriend so that you’re never again railroaded by what she does…

Step 1: Welcome the situation that you’re both immersed in.

Step 2: Listen with all your heart to what she is expressing and to your initial inner response.

Step 3: Tame your RESPONSE to what your girlfriend does.

The moment you actually try to tame HER or are a victim of her actions, you’re gonna get knocked out. Keep trying to actually tame HER and you’ll see that it’ll soon be game over.

Instead, listen with all your heart to what she’s saying and tame your RESPONSE to it. Wake up, man! You’re blessed to have this wonderful woman in your life.

Who / what are you taming, and how’s it working out for you?

Much love,

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.

Would You Leave Someone A Future?

Be A Lifesaver

At the beginning of this year, I jetted out to India for a week because my dad’s uncle had suddenly passed away. It was worthwhile spending time with the family out there and being there for my little cousins.

I later found out that two blind people had been given the gift of sight, because my dad’s uncle had his eyes donated.

Although inspired to sign up as an organ donor, I forgot to do it, until a leaflet jumped up at me whilst I was sorting out some paperwork today.

Immediately I visited, and within minutes I was registered to have any of my organs donated when I pass on. Easy peasy! When I’m dead, I won’t be needing my body, so someone else might as well make use of the useful bits.

Did you know that thanks to the miracle of cornea transplantation, more than 2,000 people in the UK have their sight restored every year?

Yet there is still a serious shortage of donated corneas. Will you consider cornea donation when you sign up – and give the gift of sight?

Albert Einstein Suggests Everything Is A Miracle

“There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.

But without deeper reflection, one knows from daily life that one exists for other people; first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy.

A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.

A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe’, a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  The delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Only a life lived for others is worth living.”

– Albert Einstein

And on the topic of compassion, let me highlight the true meaning of compassion…  Com-passion: Com (with) – passion (strong feeling, enthusiasm); to be with another in strong feeling and with enthusiasm.

So we do not need to limit compassion as a response to suffering.  Compassion is life itself!  A quality which could be lived out in every situation, with anybody, instead of just with those who are in distress.

Thank you to Albert Einstein for your powerful words earlier, to Jay Litvin for this gem on compassion, and Kishor Bhimji Shah (editor of Oshwal News) for bringing the messages from both people to my attention.