Saturday, June 5, 2010

My 1st volunteer work overseas

Hi Everyone,

Life in Sydney has been buzzing for me. My MBA classes, casual job, internship at a telecom management firm has always kept me on toes. But as if that wasn't enough to squeeze every hour of my day, I took up a volunteer work for a cause I believe can't be stressed enough in a country like Australia. Callan Park Mental Health Festival is being celebrated on 25th September 2010 by honouring mental health consumers, their carers, family, friends and the community that supports them. With around 35% of population estimated to be affected with mental health related problems, the statistics speak for themselves.

I started out when the festival's team was being formed. I joined as a marketing intern by the end of February, concentrating specially on social-space marketing of the festival. Last month, I got promoted as the Director for Social Media Marketing, which pushed my responsibilities up further.

Just a couple of days ago, the Callan Park website put up my short blog on its Chatter Box. Do have a look, not just what I have written, but also at other parts of the website. If you are in Australia, Sydney in particular, please support the festival by being a part of it. If you are overseas, you can still be a part of the festival, as we are going to have a live webcast on the Festival day. So tag your calendars for 25th September.

More experiences await..


Click here for my mini-blog on Callan Park Website

Click here for Callan Park Festival website

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Fear the Boom and the Bust" - a Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem

Makes a good light-hearted watch for economics enthusiasts and professionals alike!! Smart and well made! (Courtsey:

Our lecturer started with the first lecture of Macroeconomics with this video!

Friday, March 5, 2010

"What's a 'border'?"

A friendly chat between my friend and her Aussie mate brought up a blatant truth that this side of the world is incognizant of. Blissfully so!

This conversation was conveyed to me via telephone. The chat was light-hearted, touching upon Indian cuisine, places of interest in India, the more recent hyped 'attacks on Indians' in Oz, et al. Her Aussie mate asked, "In India, you must be living so dangerously with firing taking place every day, bomb explosions and stuff (whatever 'stuff' means). How do you manage?" To which my friend replied, "Oh! Don't worry. I don't live in the border area. It happens there on everyday basis." Confused, the Aussie mate asked, "What's a border?"

This last question hit me in the eye. I first thought he must be kidding. But on second thought, I realized it was a grave, stark naked question! How are you supposed to explain to an Aussie what a border is? Just a territorial line for delineating enforcement of a State's rule? Could fit a textbook definition, a raison d'etre; but is it all that is attached to real-life meaning of border? What about a multitude of issues, humanitarian distress, conflicts, deaths, diplomacy, tears & hopelessness that is associated with 'border'. As Indians, we can easily relate to this term, albeit in a small measure because almost all of you reading this blog would be from a region far from the border. Still, some amount of appreciation would be expected.

But how do you explain this to a citizen of a continent-nation not sharing border with any other nation? Covered by ocean on all sides, for Australia, borders are nothing more than checkpoints for smuggling, illegal migrants & quarantining goods. How diametrically different from the concept of a border we have! Australia would never come to terms with a hard reality of 'border'. And I pray it never does...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sena still bowls dead-balls!

Yes, I am speaking about Shiv Sena, a right-wing militant organization based in Mumbai who has recently lost it all! Having no new political agenda at the moment, it is either clinging to the issues that date back decades ago or otherwise making issues out of non-issues. As a sportsman, I felt disgusted when Shiv Sena 'roared' that it wont allow Aussie cricket team to play in Mumbai. But anyway, it didn't come as a surprise from a party traditionally playing cricket-politics! Well, the point is, you all have heard enough about it and had heated discussions about it as well. Through this blog, I want to drive a point home to the Shiv Sena. Well, actually not me, but Lisa Sthalekar.

Confused??? Who is this Lisa Sthalekar?? I am sure you never heard about her! She is a Marathi for starters. Don't reach for Google yet, she will speak for herself... And yes, Sena, read it if you have still got some sensibilities! See, you have two so-called agendas: one, the Marathi cause and two, the cricket politics. But what would yo u do if both your agendas combine and stand against your face as one? What would you do if a Marathi person becomes a stalwart in Australian cricket circuit? This is the new face of Australian cricket that you are up against, and ignorant about! This is the Marathi-manoos for you, the one you don't stand up for!

Lisa Sthalekar (born 13 August 1979, Pune, Maharashtra, India) is an all round cricketer who plays for the Australian national women's team, as well as the New South Wales women's cricket team.An integral part of the team, Sthalekar is noted for both her batting and bowling (right arm off break) capabilities. She scored her maiden Test century against England in 2003, and has a Test bowling average of less than 20.

She currently serves as vice-captain for her country, and in the 2006-07 season she guided the New South Wales Breakers to their ninth Women's National Cricket League title in 11 years, scoring 83 in the final.In both 2007 and 2008 she was named the Australian International Woman Cricketer of the Year at the Allan Border Medal awards, Australia's annual cricket awards ceremony.

She became the first player with 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in Women's ODI.

Lisa had spent just three weeks in India before her family moved to Australia, where her father introduced her to the game, when she showed promise as a backyard cricketer.

"I first picked up the bat at the age of six or seven in the backyard with my father," she said. "Throughout my career, my family supported and encouraged me to follow my dreams."

"The smell of the sun, the grass and sunscreen again has got me excited," she told the newspaper. "In Sydney, everyone goes, 'the smell of sunscreen is like you're going to the beach', but for me it's the cricket ground."

Sthalekar, who works full time for Cricket New South Wales as high performance coach, also has an arts degree majoring in psychology.

More links on Lisa:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A new art learnt!

What could be a better way to wave goodbye to a passing year than to take lessons in art in its twilight hours? The year 2009 ended for me with a 'hands-on' Mood Indigo '09 during 21st to 24th December 2009! Mood Indigo is IIT Bombay's annual cultural festival, attracting thousands of students from all over India and Asia. This time, I could experience a bit of dullness in the festivities, but nonetheless, I had a good amount of take-aways!!

The spotlight of the festival for me was 'Garnish- The Fruit Carving Workshop'. With about a 30-odd students attending it, it started with distribution of a watermellon and a knife-blade. I was all pumped-up because the fruit-carvings were displayed right in front of us, and with the equipment in place now, it was time for some serious carving. We started step-by-step following the instructions. First I peeled off half of the oval watermelon, so that I could have one face of the watermelon to work on. Then, it was time to make an initial design at the centre of the face with the blade. With a floral design in place, I carved out the portion between the petals by initially etching out a circle linking the tips of the petals, and then fine-tuning the cuts so as to extract the portion between the required design. So now, I had a flower at the centre. The next step was to etch out more petals by starting at the tip of any one petal and continuing into the circumference of the next outer circle. Following the same steps, I made three outer petal rounds. Then, in order to make it look more attractive, the petals had to be sliced a bit from inside, so that just a green border of petals was visible with the red colour of watermelon forming the inside of the petal. This had to be done on all petals. Finally after some 2 hours of art-attack, the carved watermelon looked like this. (see photo)

A sense of satisfaction made the rest of my evening, after taking the art-work home, saving it from the pushes and squeezes of the maddening crowd in a BEST bus!