Monday, February 23, 2015

More than 100 additions to online audio library !!

I am very excited to report that in this pervious week we have upload more than 100 files in our audio library some which new recordings are

1. Quotes for the day - from Jan to December
2. The messiah's handbook. 
3. The Bhagvadgita in Hindi
4. more than 90 chlidren stories in english

Now in our audio library we have more than 4000 recordings!!!!!!

Please provide your suggestion which all more books can be recorded and added to the our library

The online audio library is at

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tour De Vision - Miles for Lives - 2015 - Vote of Thanks

How does one propose a Vote of Thanks for an event that belied even the expectations of its organisers? By thanking the Universe first. (yes, we are believers in The Secret and all that)

Thank you:
  • First, and foremost, to the organising team: Rajesh, for the inspiration, guidance, push, pull, cajole and everything else. Nitin and his team for the website..  Alisha, Amit, Karen, Pooja, Sandeep and Vrishin, for the running around that was so necessary to realise this.
  • Pedalyatris: For their unflinching support to the event, for cycling those miles to raise awareness about the cause, and to generate funds that will help keep Esha afloat this year.

  •  Anil sir, AN Bhattacharya(ANB),  Kapil and the SIP Program at SOIL. For their quiet and solid support. Anytime we wanted something to do with logistics, Kapil was our go to person. Anil sir made an exception and wrote to his friends, requesting them to support the event.Social Innovation Program is a ujique feature of SIP, where the students contribute 1/6th of their total working time in SOIL to a social cause. As this event will prove, the contribution is not cosmetic. They make a very real difference to the NGOs that they associate with, and personally, i can vouch for the fact that these students truly had a JOB on their hands. This was no easy internship, and they proved themselves well.
  • Upasana mam of Yashoda Hospitals, who travelled all the way from Ghaziabad to do the flag off, and reached at 6 25 am for a 6 30 am event! She spoke so well that our team members are still basking in the glow of those words of praise. Yashoda Hospitals was also a corporate sponsor who donated generously.

  • The Shiv Nadar School, Gurgon, who were with us from the word "Go!" - who gave much more than we could have imagined, ensured that all logistics were taken care of, and Anil sir who came personally to ensure that everything was ok. Shahana mam, who helped us with all the pre work, follow ups etc. When we did live Braille Cards for anyone who has their visiting cards on them, the school immediately LOVED the idea.

  • Shalini Khanna, of the NAB Center for Women, Delhi,  because she got a call from me on Friday, for a Sunday event, and without a moment's hesitation, sent the theatre group on a Sunday to perform what was one of the strongest performances I have ever seen. And of course, to the theatre group that contributed its Sunday morning to enrich the event.
  • Cyclomaniacs of Gurgaon who heard about us in the Sunday Raahgiri and came to perform on the following Sunday. With unimaginable grace, the team informed us that they never charge the NGOs anything for their performances. And they were an amazing performance!
  • Dr. Biplav and Dr. Ragini Agarwal, Sanjay ji, and the team of W Hospitals, who made sure that an ambulance was available throughout the event and accompanied the riders.
  • Fateh Education, for sponsoring, without so much as asking "What's in it for us?" They just supported the cause unconditionally! That kind of support means a lot.
  • The Bike Shack, for providing on the spot servicing and minor repairs for all riders and also offering a discount on purchase to all riders associated with the event.

  • And last, but definitely not the least.. every single person who made a contribution to the event - whether as individual donors, or as volunteers, or just people who came to show their quiet support, and those who showed their support on social media by spreading the word. Everyone of you.. Thank you!!
To see how the event unfolded .. see the live Tweets of the event:

Friday, December 26, 2014


We at Astha have taken on altering the view of what is possible for people with bodily disabilities and in the process create a common ground for both people with and without disabilities to come together as ONE for ONE Common Purpose -  We call this JUGALBANDI Sports

We have done this successfully 

Through JUGALBANDI Chess - On 22nd Nov 2014 

And through JUGALBANDI Cricket - On 14th Dec 2014

We are now set make this happen through JUGALBANDI Tennis - On 28th Dec 2014 at KSLTA, Cubbon Park

Unique Tournament where players on wheelchair join hands with players on feet to form teams. Nice Such teams have been formed that will play a one day tournament on 28th Dec 2014..

Request you to take out time for couple of hours to watch these unique matches and be part of creation of new reality. 

I am attaching a flyer for more information and also a Link to Promo 

I request you to help us create awareness about this by spreading information about this tennis tournament to employees in your organisation/Company. You could also help us by posting the information on Your Facebook Account or Twitter

Thank you

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thoughts on International Disability Day 2014

As one more International Day for PWD dawns, we are not celebrating. Because we wonder when these terms will change. Suppose it was, International Day to become aware of Disablers? Suppose this were a day when, instead of looking around and saying, "Oh, we must do more for PWD" , we said, "We have been disablers for far too long. That must change TODAY."

Suppose, this day were to dawn differently? Suppose we were to start the day by everyone doing something to enable the world around them? Learn Sign language, pick up Braille, record an audio book, create a ramp near their house or in the colony park, visit a blind school to understand ability rather than disability?

That would be a good start. There is a Hindi saying that goes, "बात करने से बात बनती है " - When you communicate, things happen. But to communicate, we have to speak the same language - suppose we took the first direction towards that communication?

बात करने से बात बनती है.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Feedback from Dr. Sunita Chugh on braille cards for her..

Thank you for writing my name in braille on my printed visiting cards. it is such a good idea. I just can't thank you enough.
As an human resource consultant one of my struggles has always been about how to tune myself sensitively into people and without disturbing them.
I experienced a clean shift after printing my new cards through you. Now when present my card ;  a few people have directly asked me, is this braille ? and then their voice softens. Their eyes gleam . And I live a new hope ; that I will be understood by them sensitively , naturally and easily.
Our conversation flows invariably more smoothly after a braille card is received by my prospective clients!
Many cheers for this wonderful visionary work and initiative. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Radio Run!

At the talk at IIM Calcutta, one of the challenges we threw to the students was, how do we increase the reach of CLABIL? And awareness about CLABIL?

Akilanathan, from the back of the class, came up with 5 great ideas. One of which stood out - Use Radio!

And we thought, "Of course! Everyone we want to reach listens to the Radio! "

So we came back and started thinking of how we were going to record a radio ad, who will design, who will talk, where will we record..

Then, barely 3-4 days later, Priya wrote .. she wanted me to talk to her cousin - who is.. a Radio Jockey!

Arvind and I had a very very nice chat, and Esha will be featured on radio in Calcutta in the first week of December..

That's why I say, my job is to sit here and wait.. someone up there is sorting things out for Esha all the time.. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Updates on the reach of CLABIL

This is a happy post. Last night, while going through the stats of the audio library, I noticed that, in the last week, we have got hits from the places we wanted to reach - small towns in India, and big towns who do not normally use this library... the whole idea of creating an online library was to distribute access, and over the last fortnight, apparently, we have done very well on that front - the visits are from Jorhat in Assam, Patna, Guntur (AP), Vienna, Japan, Bhubaneshwar, Gulbarga, Hapur(UP), Patiala, Nasik, Thane, Dhaka, Islamabad, Ireland, Udaipur, Ernakulam... Am happy to see the reach spreading out so much .. Good Morning, World!

Report of the Namchi Blind School visit, November 2014

When I first visited Namchi Blind School in Janruay 2014, I expected to see a well funded, well endowed school. This is the only blind school in all of Sikkim, and Namchi is the constituency of the Chief Minister.

What I found, instead, was very different. I have written about it before. This time, however, I am very happy to report, the story was entirely different. The school has now got govt. funding and is back to being a “government school”. The principal very sweetly told me that they wont need any more clothes etc because now the govt pays for everything. I love that kind of honesty. In January, things were really bad, so this trip was quite a pleasant surprise.

Those of you who know me, also know how much I love road travel, and how important this school must be, for someone like me to undertake 7 hours on the road in a single day. Yes, it was worth it. :)  

We started by exchanging notes, and him telling me how much they had loved that audio content. (in January, audio content that could be heard using the computer was a very new idea for them. They had depended largely on braille)

The visit started with a review of the usage of the content we had contributed last time. I was very happy to hear that not only had the content been used, but also that the Principal, Mr. Jiwan Rai, had taken the trouble to translate into Nepali and share the content with the children who do not understand Hindi. I requested him to please record his translations next time. He has kindly consented. 

We also spoke to some students who have used the original content and took feedback on the content, the background noise, the pace of speech etc.

Next, we donated the things we had with us – a room heater, some warm clothes for the winter, and most importantly,  mp3 players with SD cards loaded. The Principal and I discussed the best way to use these mp3 players, and we decided to make these a part of the library, so that all students can use them by turns. One for the girls, and one for the boys. :)

The school was really happy to have this audio content. 8 representative students were also in the room. Together, we discussed what all was required, and about 6 GB of new content was shared with the school.

The students would like more quizzes, more GK, more stories to learn English, and Speed Maths was a big hit. We found it hard to stop the demo audio. :) We will be recording these.

I also heard about the integrated schooling program of the school. After class 5, the students are moved to an integrated school where they learn with other children. Braille literacy in the school appeared to be really good, and now the school also has a brailler.

Students can study upto Graduation in Namchi itself, and after that, it is Delhi. This integrated education program was really interesting and I spent some time talking to the 8 students(in a structured interview)  – 2 from Class 6, who had just joined integrated school this year, to 2 students in graduation first year, who will shortly be preparing for Delhi,  to understand how integrated schooling worked for them, the challenges they faced and what helped them overcome those challenges. The overwhleming input was that their friends, and the love of their teachers in the new school helped them cope with the challenges. I really feel that’s important. Where the new environment is welcoming and inclusive, it is always easy to find ways to meet the physical challenges of not being able to see the board , braille with the rest of the class, etc.

There is only one school, and the teachers of that school are ready to welcome the children. That makes a big difference. It was heartening to see that some of the kids, now in Class 9/10, did not even remember their challenge and said, “no big problem”, when I asked them about it. On further probing, they remembered “something”. I smiled a lot.

I also found neighborhood children playing in the yard of the school. The best thing was that everyone took everyone else for granted. The sighted did not look at the school children as if they were special, and the school children interacted pleasantly with their neighbors. There was no special treatment to anyone and by anyone. It felt lovely.

Catching up on what happened since we last met  - Utilisation and other updates.

Mp3 player familiarisation for the principal sir

Requirement gathering and hearing about integrated schooling

Student interaction on previous content, and other general catchup.

structured interviews on integrated schooling process and what makes it work.
After we had completed usage review, mp3 donation, and the student feedback sessions, it was time to head back. It was 4 30 in the evening, and we had a gruelling 3.5 hour drive ahead of us.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Visit To Government School

In past two days I visited two school government and MCD school respectively they very much interested in the our audio library and they also interested in and all esha does and especially our audio library and theater workshop.

They said that audio library is very useful and helpful for the students and the teachers. The stories in hindi and quizzes in hindi are good for in their free time and they also ask us to conduct a workshop about

the audio library about how to use audio library.