Project Hope. The Repercussions.

I should update this blog a lot more often.

Let’s begin with Project Hope numbers. I have collected Rs 1,84,000 as on February 8! Isn’t that fabulous? I genuinely did not believe this was possible. Definitely I was under the influence of the most potent alcohol of all when I thought of starting this initiative – hope.

And since I was in Delhi last week I met people who happily wrote a few cheques to me! Talk of offline collection drive!

But as I said earlier, contribution is not only in terms of money. A friend was seemingly upset knowing that people don’t even have just Rs 800 to give. Well, neither do I blame her,  nor do I blame you. Any sum that has the potential to change someone’s life isn’t small.

And its not about the cash totally. People are also helping me spread the word and that help crosses the ocean faster than a Concorde.

Now the repercussion.

Project Hope has slightly changed my behaviour on Twitter. Earlier I could get into arguments and mild trolling. Now I can’t. Because the people I used to argue and troll with have come out and helped me so generously that its embarrassing for me to argue with them.

Not that they have shown their discomfort but I am myself not able to separate the two.

People talk of Chinese Walls all the time. Although I have conquered one literally it is the figurative Wall that has put me in the dilemma.

But I am not complaining. Its a small price to pay. Moreover, maybe I don’t disagree with them now at all.

Possible? Yes. Hope.

Project Hope. Day 2. The commitment.

If love could be measured by the money I received today even a Rumi poem would have fallen short by a mile.Two absolutely beautiful souls contributed Rs 1 lakh. And the emails I got did swell me up a lot. But this is a day to make a commitment. A commitment to give back.

I faced a couple of issues relating to my genuineness and keeping some of the identities anonymous. I am glad some of you asked questions and were satisfied with my answers. One thing I wanted to make very clear since some of you had this query. The total course fee is around Rs 22 lakh. I have half of it sorted through a bank loan and my personal savings. Its the rest that I am trying to raise through Project Hope.

Some of you said you don’t want your names to put up on a public forum. Fair enough. I deleted all names from the public file.

Some of you said you don’t want the money back. In normal circumstances I would have used it to build a fresh corpus to see the world but that can wait.

The amount of love and support I have received is simply unparalleled. This has emboldened the thought that if you set out to achieve something people will come forward to help.

A few emails were from people who are in the same boat as me and yet contributed. I just can’t thank them enough.

The last time I said so many “thank yous” was on my engagement day! That did not survive. This will.

Its time for a commitment.

In approximately four years from now I will match the money I am able to raise through this Project Hope in the coming three months. That corpus will be used to fund education of people like me.

Say Yes! to Project Hope.

Project Hope. Day 1. The Emotions.

When I started Project Hope it was very different from what its now. In just one day it has managed to make me cry so many times that I can straightway work for Ekta Kapoor.Some of the emails are filled with individual stories of so much struggle that my Project Hope seems dwarfed in front of them. And yet they have contributed. If this is not ‘hope’ then I don’t know what is.

Its not about money anymore. On Day 1 itself I am saying this. Yes, its not about money anymore. The absolute love people have showered upon me during the last 12 hours is in itself life altering.

How many people will just part with their money because a stranger wants to go to London to study. No questions asked. Nothing. I met these people. And whatever I deserve in life is now secondary.

Its no more my dream or goal. It is our collective goal. When I go to London its not me alone who will be going there. Its us. All of us. Including those who just encouraged me with their words. Because as I said, now its no more about the money. Its a journey. Not mine. Ours.

Project Hope. Day 1.

What a day this has been. I am still not able to understand what hit me. So touched (figuratively) by the love I got today.

What is Project Hope? Click here.

Special thanks to the seven people who contributed today!

As promised, I have created the excel sheet to update with the investments. Some of them do not want to be identified so I have kept all names a secret for now.

Will figure out a way to sort this out soon. Learning on the way.

I started out with a target to get 1000 people to be a part of this. Got seven on day 1. 993 more to go!

The deadline for Project Hope is May 1. Which is 106 days away.

Every day 10 people and I am totally cruising. 🙂

Seems a daunting task but what can come in between our goals and the resilience to cross the line?


Hope. And paying it forward.

Hope makes us do wonderful, strange things. This is my hope.

If you are willing to risk just a little on what Kipling called “a turn of pitch-and-toss”, if you can spend some money for a cause good enough to rack up bonus brownie points for your Karma account, read ahead. Even if you aren’t an altruistic Rockefeller, read on – you might just have a change of heart by the end.
All I have is the hope that springs eternal.

How far would you go to make somebody else’s dream come true? If that someone else is your wife? Or husband? Or a friend..? Or even just a stranger like me?

Before we go any further, how much of your money are we talking? Is this charity? A donation? Or something else altogether?

Rs 800. That’s all it takes. And it’s crowdfunding. An investment – in me. In my ability to make a difference in the years ahead. In my resolve to make that difference.

I got positive feedback when I discussed this idea with a couple of my friends, but I have no doubt this is harder than climbing Everest without oxygen.
Yet, hope makes us do wild, wonderful, strange things.

Am I embarrassed to be discussing my finances with you? Not at all.  I know there are many others out there without a college fund. I want you to be mine. Some of you know me personally, but don’t know this story. So here goes.

This blogpost is about education. And my right to have one. And my struggle to bring Earth and Sky closer to get one.  This is just one step in that direction.

In 2007, right after my graduation I applied for my MA degree in the UK. I got admission but couldn’t go – my wonderful grandparents and extended family who had funded my education couldn’t help anymore, and I had no money of my own. So I went to work instead – I’ve been a journalist for the last five years.
After five years of working, I’ve decided to clinch that duvet of hope yet again. And here I am again, at the same crossroads, looking yearningly at the path ahead, with no wherewithal to take that first step. Yet, take that step I must. This is not merely about my future – it is about my resolve to make a larger impact to society. I have it in me.
I know there are many other ways of making a difference, but this is the path I have chosen for myself. I’m proud of having taught some wonderful students in two Mumbai colleges – I hope with positive impact. Now I want to add to my arsenal of skills to use for good. By getting that MA, in the UK.

With crowdfunding. From you. I am counting on you.
Yes, you – I am counting on you.

You must be wondering why I don’t apply for a bank loan. After all, our dear finance minister stressed the fact that banks cannot refuse an education loan to any eligible student. That’s true – almost. the devil is in the details. For foreign education, a maximum loan of Rs 25 lakhs is available. That is good news but like in a Hindi film, there is a catch. You must produce collateral for any loan over Rs 7.5 lakh. And this effectively means that, like so many students in our country, I cannot fund my college through a bank loan.

Scholarships? Yes. That’s a hope. I have applied to every single one of those I could under the sun. Am I counting on them? Yes.
Am I counting more on you? Yes.

Here is my proposal:
I need to put together Rs 20 lakh ($36,000) in the next six months so that I am able to  go to London for my MA beginning September 2013.

Each of you send me Rs. 800 ($15).  That’s all it takes.
Why Rs. 800? The crowdfunding idea came from my Twitter and Facebook lists. I have slightly over 2500 followers and 600 friends, and if half of them funded me to the tune of Rs. 800 or $15, my means are assured to help reach the goal. Of making a difference!

I won’t get into the conscience stirring stuff about an evening out or an impulse buy, but this much I will say – a small amount to each of you, put together, is a dream realized for me.  Helping proves there is enlightened altruism in this world and that people will come together for someone like me. And in return get back their principal, with 8% interest and the bigger promise of me making use of that education for good. To make a difference.

Yes, I have  every intention of  returning this money to you. Every one of you – in seven years time. With interest. I don’t want you to be an unknown donor. I will tabulate every single contribution in cash or kind, update and make that document public on this blog to ensure transparency.

Please email me your investment in me with your bank account details and complete address and phone numbers. How else will I keep a track of you and return the money when I can?

My email id is if you have any questions, or if you want to help in any way that you can. I will be more than happy to engage.

And I will pay this altruism forward, all my life, helping others as I have been helped.

I sincerely hope that you will send me the money and become part of a history in the making.
 A history that will change the course of my future. And with me, the world.

Email me if you are interested to help and I will email you my bank details. If you want to PayPal my id is:
I can email you my offer letter, degree certificates, bank account details, et al to satisfy any questions you might have.


My LinkedIn profile:

My Facebook page:


Statement from Tata Sons

And Ratan Tata retracts his seething statements on the PMO. So typical of him. First go to foreign media to give interview and get screwed every time. History has it that he has put foot in his mouth with every interview & retracted statements or clarified.

Yet, without fail these Tatas, Birlas and Ambanis will go to foreign media for interviews.


Below is the statement and clarification issued by Tata Sons on the Ratan Tata interview to Financial Times. Read and see the amazing u-turn made. I am sure this u-turn couldn’t have been possible in Nano. Jaguar, maybe?



Mumbai, December 8, 2012: Tata Sons clarifies that in Mr. Ratan N. Tata’s interview with the Financial Times, he spoke about coherence in implementation of government policy as a need rather than “lashes into the PM”, “rapping India”, “warning government of inaction” or “venal business environment”, as has been reported in the Financial Times and other media.


These are terms used by the publications and not by Mr. Tata, in any manner.


Mr. Tata has always supported the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, even when there was mass criticism of him and the last thing he would wish to do is to be a critic of the Prime Minister, as has been reported.


For record, the relevant portions of the interview are:


Q: When you look at your…I wanted to ask you about Globalisation in the west your moments, India’s most global company. When we last met you said that you felt that in the future the way that India was being governed made it very difficult to grow business here and therefore you felt that Tata and Indian companies should look abroad. Is it still the same way?


Ans: Yes it is still


Q:Tell me why and how you think that way?


Ans: Sometimes the issue is that different agencies of the government, different constituencies in the government, have almost contradictory interpretations of the law or different interpretations of what should be done. By that I mean there are differences between the centre and the state in some cases. So you have a central policy that is announced, on paper sounds very exciting but at the state level is very difficult to operate. Singur would be one such example. In other cases, it’s that constituencies or government may have made it a personality issue. You may have the Prime Minister’s office saying one thing and maybe one of the Ministers having a different view. That doesn’t happen in most countries. So you wouldn’t have a eight year or seven year wait to get all the clearances for a steel plant or as in the case of the airlines four or five years without any decision. These are the things that by and large would drive investors away in most other countries, if they were practised. And some of the countries they are practised and they don’t see investment. And at the time we started to look and





invest overseas, India had become a country which had foreign exchange reserves. You could actually make those moves which earlier you couldn’t because you didn’t have foreign exchange. So, we exploited them in that sense and both invested in or acquired companies overseas.


Q: Is it your sense that it is getting more difficult to do business in India? I mean

I suppose people are going to be interested in the way you feel whether it is India or industrialised world or maybe emerging markets or Africa. Things in India are worst it used to be in terms of growth, corruption and the way the government works?


Ans: You know, I have always been bullish about India’s potential. I still am and I feel India is a country that really has an enormous amount of potential and has the human capital to succeed. But if you sit down and say will it succeed? You see imbalances; you see energy availability is not enough to keep pace with the high rate of growth.  Then you see more recently you have got issues of land and land acquisition for projects. You have issues on state issues, one state versus the other in terms of dealing on sales tax and issues of this nature. You may have a given policy. I will give you another instance; For example the defence sector has been thrown open to the private sector. But it is still very difficult to establish a business in that sector and you can go round the cabin and somebody saying you should see so and so,  so and so, so and so and  you come back to the same and it does not happen.


Tata Sons is surprised that reputed media entities have sensationalised the observations, without taking into cognizance the tone, tenor and context of the interview.

Norway is an enemy of christianity

Now, there have been two incidents in the past few months regarding Norwegian authorities and Indian parents disciplining their kids the good old Indian way (more or less).

Although, I have been a mute spectator for most of times during these two events a book that I am reading currently has forced me to write this blog post and decree that Norway is indeed an enemy of christianity.

I hereby give an explanation based on the teachings in the holy Bible itself which will prove that Norway should be ostracised from the christian community and banished forever. For they are trying to stand tall between the God’s will and parents disciplining their kids as prescribed in the Bible itself.

This post is dedicated the AJ Jacobs and his last book ‘The Year of Living Biblically.’

I must admit that half way through the book I am compelled to try living the way prescribed in our religious books. Alas, I shouldn’t have shaved my dishevelled beard or cut my hair. The potent combination made me look like a cheap Baba Ramdev. I am glad that my Yoga skills are worse than Bikram Choudhary.

Sorry for digressing.

Now, according to Wikipedia, as much of 83.6 per cent of the total Norwegian population is practicing Christianity. I understand that only 0.2 per cent of those are Orthodox Christians but I will ignore this fact simply because it will dilute the idea of this blogpost. Anyway, I have told you the numbers so you are free to argue.

I am not into corporal punishment but my views here don’t matter because I don’t practice Christianity. I don’t practice Hinduism, as well. My religious views are somewhere torn between Agnostic and Atheist.

But this is not about me. According to Jacobs in the above mentioned book, Proverb 13:24 says, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

This proverb alone proves that the fact that Indians are so sensitive about foreign cultures. Not only do we beat our kids back home, even in Norway, we conformed to the norms of Christianity and continued with the exercise.

The Bible is full of examples which signify the importance of corporal punishment for kids.

Let’s admit it that most of us were mischievous during our childhoods and were swayed away very easily by the wrong. Just for that, the proverb 22:15 in the Bible clearly states that “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.”

With the above two examples it is clear that the state of Norway is, even though Christian dominated, is not so in practice. As a matter of fact, they are complete opposite.

Even the Pope has also joined Twitter recently and is following only himself proving that no matter which century we live in our mentality will continue to remain at pre-historic era.

Therefore, if an Indian parent hit their kid in Norway because the kid wandered from the path, Bible approved it. “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell,” says Proverb 23:14.

Last but not the least, the child protection agency in Norway is totally against anything that the Bible stands for. Every religious man and woman on this planet has to first believe in the fact that everything written in the religious books is true and they cannot afford to question it.

Proverb 23:13 says ,”Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.”

So, dear Norway, its time you come out clean and let parents beat the hell of out their kids because you know, its written in the Bible.

PS: Just because of the Indian Section 66(A), I don’t mean to harm any religious sentiments with this blog. Please take it with a pinch of salt, because you know, iodine is good for health.

Its Time We Get Our Act Together

Actions turn unbelievable  moment the cover of subtlety is blown.

With the New Yorker interview the most public secret of the Indian media is out. Money buys editorial and that is the way its going to be. But its time we stop playing puppets in the hands of anyone and everyone who throws money towards us.

I am not the Oracle but if this is the highway we have chosen then its clear that the bird in the hands and the one in the bush, both, will fly away. The goose mustn’t be killed for the golden eggs is an important lesson.

At this time we have forgotten these for quick gains.

I have just two points to make.

First is regarding the Robert Vadra-DLF saga.

The story was published in The Economic Times in 2011. What a public listed company does with its money is a cause of concern for its investors. If DLF gave money for free to Robert Vadra then its a corporate governance issue. If the shareholders of DLF did not raise the question till date I don’t see a point why Arvind Kejriwal should.

The media did not follow-up the story back then and the investors paid no attention. Because Kejriwal now drums up the issue and everyone in the business and general news runs after DLF, is purely acting like puppets in the hands of politicians like the chief of India Against Corruption.

This needs to stop.

Another example is the Coalgate scam.

Every single question when any journalist met companies which were in cement, power, metals space, etc were regarding the raw material (coal, iron ore, etc) allocation.

It was the Central Government policy to allot coal blocks to companies and every company tried to get some. It was policy. Stories were written and cheers rippled through the stocks on the Dalal Street the moment a company got the much needed allocation.

No question regarding the policy was asked back then. Why now? Because CAG puts it as a loss?

Was it very difficult to assess back then that every single coal block being allocated to private companies means a loss to the state?

It was two plus two back then but the media played by the rules of the policy.

These arguments may be naive and too simplistic for the better good of the complex politics but that is exactly what all this is: politics.

This is as vague and crappy as I can get

Why I want to be noticed I don’t really know.
Its a prophecy nothing extraordinary in me,
I still try and grin like a fool clenching teeth
My aspirations are as inane as my own self
I hope there is someone to call on my bluff?

Think night and day what is it that I seek?
I do have an answer but its not what I want,
Turning a blind eye to realities around me.
Its not the destiny if its not in my hands, right?
What’s in my hands are sands of the past.

And I ignore the messages this life throws at me.
The deal I had with the powers I don’t believe in.
Maybe your lord will have mercy on me one day
Let me pass away as calmly  as I came this way
Till then let me suffer and suffer with me, you.

Watch “My first stand up.” on YouTube

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