Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From banks of Godavari to Google on wheel chair‏

Naga Naresh Karutura has just passed out of IIT Madras in Computer Science and has joined Google in Bangalore.

You may ask, what's so special about this 21-year-old when there are hundreds of students passing out from various IITs and joining big companies like Google?

Naresh is special. His parents are illiterate. He has no legs and moves around in his powered wheel chair. (In fact, when I could not locate his lab, he told me over the mobile phone, 'I will come and pick you up'. And in no time, he was there to guide me)

Ever smiling, optimistic and full of spirit; that is Naresh. He says, "God has always been planning things for me. That is why I feel I am lucky."

Read why Naresh feels he is lucky.

Childhood in a village
I spent the first seven years of my life in Teeparru, a small village in Andhra Pradesh, on the banks of the river Godavari. My father Prasad was a lorry driver and my mother Kumari, a house wife. Though they were illiterate, my parents instilled in me and my elder sister (Sirisha) the importance of studying.

Looking back, one thing that surprises me now is the way my father taught me when I was in the 1st and 2nd standards. My father would ask me questions from the text book, and I would answer them. At that time, I didn't know he could not read or write but to make me happy, he helped me in my studies!

Another memory that doesn't go away is the floods in the village and how I was carried on top of a buffalo by my uncle. I also remember plucking fruits from a tree that was full of thorns.

I used to be very naughty, running around and playing all the time with my friends. I used to get a lot of scolding for disturbing the elders who slept in the afternoon. The moment they started scolding, I would run away to the fields!

I also remember finishing my school work fast in class and sleeping on the teacher's lap!

January 11, 1993, the fateful day
On the January 11, 1993 when we had the sankranti holidays, my mother took my sister and me to a nearby village for a family function. From there we were to go with our grandmother to our native place. But my grandmother did not come there. As there were no buses that day, my mother took a lift in my father's friend's lorry. As there were many people in the lorry, he made me sit next to him, close to the door.

It was my fault; I fiddled with the door latch and it opened wide throwing me out. As I fell, my legs got cut by the iron rods protruding from the lorry. Nothing happened to me except scratches on my legs.

The accident had happened just in front of a big private hospital but they refused to treat me saying it was an accident case. Then a police constable who was passing by took us to a government hospital.

First I underwent an operation as my small intestine got twisted. The doctors also bandaged my legs. I was there for a week. When the doctors found that gangrene had developed and it had reached up to my knees, they asked my father to take me to a district hospital. There, the doctors scolded my parents a lot for neglecting the wounds and allowing the gangrene to develop. But what could my ignorant parents do?

In no time, both my legs were amputated up to the hips.

I remember waking up and asking my mother, where are my legs? I also remember that my mother cried when I asked the question. I was in the hospital for three months.

Life without legs
I don't think my life changed dramatically after I lost both my legs. Because all at home were doting on me, I was enjoying all the attention rather than pitying myself. I was happy that I got a lot of fruits and biscuits.

The day I reached my village, my house was flooded with curious people; all of them wanted to know how a boy without legs looked. But I was not bothered; I was happy to see so many of them coming to see me, especially my friends!

All my friends saw to it that I was part of all the games they played; they carried me everywhere.

God's hand
I believe in God. I believe in destiny. I feel he plans everything for you. If not for the accident, we would not have moved from the village to Tanuku, a town. There I joined a missionary school, and my father built a house next to the school. Till the tenth standard, I studied in that school.

If I had continued in Teeparu, I may not have studied after the 10th. I may have started working as a farmer or someone like that after my studies. I am sure God had other plans for me.

My sister, my friend
When the school was about to reopen, my parents moved from Teeparu to Tanuku, a town, and admitted both of us in a Missionary school. They decided to put my sister also in the same class though she is two years older. They thought she could take care of me if both of us were in the same class. My sister never complained.

She would be there for everything. Many of my friends used to tell me, you are so lucky to have such a loving sister. There are many who do not care for their siblings.

She carried me in the school for a few years and after a while, my friends took over the task. When I got the tricycle, my sister used to push me around in the school.

My life, I would say, was normal, as everyone treated me like a normal kid. I never wallowed in self-pity. I was a happy boy and competed with others to be on top and the others also looked at me as a competitor.

I was inspired by two people when in school; my Maths teacher Pramod Lal who encouraged me to participate in various local talent tests, and a brilliant boy called Chowdhary, who was my senior.

When I came to know that he had joined Gowtham Junior College to prepare for IIT-JEE, it became my dream too. I was school first in 10th scoring 542/600.

Because I topped in the state exams, Gowtham Junior College waived the fee for me. Pramod Sir's recommendation also helped. The fee was around Rs 50,000 per year, which my parents could never afford.

Moving to a residential school
Living in a residential school was a big change for me because till then my life centred around home and school and I had my parents and sister to take care of all my needs. It was the first time that I was interacting with society. It took one year for me to adjust to the new life.

There, my inspiration was a boy called K K S Bhaskar who was in the top 10 in IIT-JEE exams. He used to come to our school to encourage us. Though my parents didn't know anything about Gowtham Junior School or IIT, they always saw to it that I was encouraged in whatever I wanted to do. If the results were good, they would praise me to the skies and if bad, they would try to see something good in that. They did not want me to feel bad.

They are such wonderful supportive parents.

Life at IIT- Madras
Though my overall rank in the IIT-JEE was not that great (992), I was 4th in the physically handicapped category. So, I joined IIT, Madras to study Computer Science.

Here, my role model was Karthik who was also my senior in school. I looked up to him during my years at IIT- Madras.

He had asked for attached bathrooms for those with special needs before I came here itself. So, when I came here, the room had attached bath. He used to help me and guide me a lot when I was here.

I evolved as a person in these four years, both academically and personally. It has been a great experience studying here. The people I was interacting with were so brilliant that I felt privileged to sit along with them in the class. Just by speaking to my lab mates, I gained a lot.

Words are inadequate to express my gratitude to Prof Pandurangan and all my lab mates; all were simply great. I was sent to Boston along with four others for our internship by Prof Pandurangan. It was a great experience.

Joining Google R&D
I did not want to pursue PhD as I wanted my parents to take rest now.

Morgan Stanley selected me first but I preferred Google because I wanted to work in pure computer science, algorithms and game theory.

I am lucky
Do you know why I say I am lucky?

I get help from total strangers without me asking for it. Once after my second year at IIT, I with some of my friends was travelling in a train for a conference. We met a kind gentleman called Sundar in the train, and he has been taking care of my hostel fees from then on.

I have to mention about Jaipur foot. I had Jaipur foot when I was in 3rd standard. After two years, I stopped using them. As I had almost no stems on my legs, it was very tough to tie them to the body. I found walking with Jaipur foot very, very slow. Sitting also was a problem. I found my tricycle faster because I am one guy who wants to do things faster.

One great thing about the hospital is, they don't think their role ends by just fixing the Jaipur foot; they arrange for livelihood for all. They asked me what help I needed from them. I told them at that time, if I got into an IIT, I needed financial help from them. So, from the day I joined IIT, Madras, my fees were taken care of by them. So, my education at the IIT was never a burden on my parents and they could take care of my sister's Nursing studies.

Surprise awaited me at IIT
After my first year, when I went home, two things happened here at the Institute without my knowledge.

I got a letter from my department that they had arranged a lift and ramps at the department for me. It also said that if I came a bit early and checked whether it met with my requirements, it would be good.

Second surprise was, the Dean, Prof Idichandy and the Students General Secretary, Prasad had located a place that sold powered wheel chairs. The cost was Rs 55,000. What they did was, they did not buy the wheel chair; they gave me the money so that the wheel chair belonged to me and not the institute.

My life changed after that. I felt free and independent.

That's why I say I am lucky. God has planned things for me and takes care of me at every step.

The world is full of good people
I also feel if you are motivated and show some initiative, people around you will always help you. I also feel there are more good people in society than bad ones. I want all those who read this to feel that if Naresh can achieve something in life, you can too.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thought For The Day

Dear Children,

A mind always employed is always happy. This is true secret, the grand recipe, for felicity. True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body, the two are ever united.

True merit is like a river, the deeper it is, the less noise it makes.

A word after a word after a word is power. Words should be only the clothes, carefully custom-made to fit the thought. The most ordinary word, when put into place, suddenly acquires brilliance. That is the brilliance with which your images must shine. All words are pegs to hang ideas on. A good word is like a good tree whose root is firmly fixed and whose top is in the sky. Syllables govern the world. As long as we are not chased from our words we have nothing to fear. As long as our utterances keep their sound we have voice. As long as our words keep their sense we have soul. Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.

With Love, Amma-Naana

Friday, July 25, 2008

An Enduring Legacy - Professor Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch, the professor at Carnegie Mellon University who inspired countless students in the classroom and others worldwide through his highly acclaimed last lecture, has died of complications from pancreatic cancer today (July 25, 2007). He was 47.

Really inspiring Person and lead inspiring life. Below are some of his quotes.

"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the OTHER people!" — from The Last Lecture

"...when you see yourself doing something badly and nobody's bothering you to tell you anymore, that's a very bad place to be. Your critics are the ones telling you they still love you and care." — from The Last Lecture

"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." — from The Last Lecture

"It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's all about leading your life. If you lead your life in a right way, karma will take care of itself. And dreams will come to you." — from The Last Lecture

"[Quoting a CMU secretary] This advice is good for the ladies: when it comes to men that are romantically interested in you, it's really simple: just don't listen to anything they have to say; pay attention to what they do" — from The Last Lecture

"We're not going to talk about spirituality and religion. Although I will tell you that I have experienced a deathbed conversion. I just bought a Macintosh." — from The Last Lecture

A Poem by Gene Bedley...

If you want to know me
listen to me

If you want to strengthen me
point out my gifts and talents

If you want to motivate me,
find the incentives that drive me

If you want to direct me,
persuade me with the benefits

If you want to make me feel important
Invite me

If you want me to live a life of purpose
equip me with values

If you want to protect me
create safe boundaries around me

If you want to encourage me
be available when I am challenged

If you want to energize me
ignite me with your enthusiasm

If you want to challenge me
help me learn mistakes are ok

If you want me to have an accurate self
give me responsibilities

If you want me to value others love me!

Obama’s Speech in Berlin...Transcript From New York Times

The following is the prepared text of Senator Barack Obama in Berlin, Germany, as provided by his presidential campaign.

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

I know that I don’t look like the Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father – my grandfather – was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning – his dream – required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life.

That is why I’m here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life.

Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.

On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.

This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin.

The size of our forces was no match for the much larger Soviet Army. And yet retreat would have allowed Communism to march across Europe. Where the last war had ended, another World War could have easily begun. All that stood in the way was Berlin.

And that’s when the airlift began – when the largest and most unlikely rescue in history brought food and hope to the people of this city.

The odds were stacked against success. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold.

But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city’s mayor implore the world not to give up on freedom. “There is only one possibility,” he said. “For us to stand together united until this battle is won…The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty, and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty…People of the world, look at Berlin!”

People of the world – look at Berlin!

Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle.

Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle; where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

People of the world – look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise and new peril. When you, the German people, tore down that wall – a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope – walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened. Markets opened too, and the spread of information and technology reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history.

The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers – dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow. The genocide in Darfur shames the conscience of us all.

In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we’re honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny.

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe’s role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth – that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.

Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more – not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.

The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.

So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.

That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations – and all nations – must summon that spirit anew.

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO’s first mission beyond Europe’s borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century – in this city of all cities – we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.

This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.

This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations – including my own – will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one.

And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure. Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instead they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust – not just from the people in this city, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here – what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?

Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words “never again” in Darfur?

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don’t look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?

People of Berlin – people of the world – this is our moment. This is our time.

I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived – at great cost and great sacrifice – to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom – indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us – what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores – is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

These are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. These aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of these aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of these aspirations that all free people – everywhere – became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of these aspirations that a new generation – our generation – must make our mark on the world.

People of Berlin – and people of the world – the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Greetings from Metro School

Dear all, Good Morning.

Thank you for your encouragement for my studies. I am learning something new every day of my course and mingling with new people as well. This morning our principal and our teacher Kamalah greeted me. Now every body is talking about the forth coming vacation.

More in my next e-mail. Today I am posting my application for funding to my next Program at Campbell College.

With Love, Naana

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It Takes Courage...

~It takes Courage to care about each member of the family and the struggles they face!

~It takes Courage to care about friends and the daily test they encounter. To let them know you will stand by them through each struggle.

~It takes Courage to complete each commitment you make toward others.

~It takes Courage to confront the weaknesses in your life and be willing to address needed changes.

~It takes Courage to confess your thoughtless words or neglectful actions toward a person you love.

~It takes Courage to proclaim your faith and convictions to people who are judgmental.

~It takes Courage to live each day with Integrity.

~It takes Courage to respect others when others show little or no respect for you!

~It takes Courage to focus on what remains rather than what you've lost.

~It takes Courage once you recognize that life is a test and your willing to accept the everyday challenges.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Short Story For You to Read & Understand...

Dear Children,

There once was a man who was a failure in everything he did. He managed to get a decent job though, but his co-workers continued to belittle and mock him because he can't seem to get anything right.

On the contrary, his boss was a persuasion expert. Instead of scolding the man, his boss motivated him and made him a much better person. Whenever the man made a mistake, his boss would say, "It's ok. We all make mistakes all the time. I know you will learn from this experience and you'll do much better next time." This act boosted the man's ego.

Whenever the man did something right, even if it's the littlest thing, his boss would praise him and say, "You're very much improved. Good job!". His boss would sometimes even assign him good qualities that he may not even possess yet. Because the boss expected the man to be capable of doing great things, and by assigning him qualities that he may not even possess at that moment, the man became highly

The reason?

If you expect and assign good qualities to someone, that person will exert voluntary effort to live up to your expectations. Persuasion is an extremely POWERFUL tool.

With Love, Amma-Naana

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Five Champion Questions...

Dear Our Sweet people,

Good Morning. Have a great holiday, all of you.

The five Champion Questions and my today's answers are here. I will try to do this exercise everyday.

~What did I learn today?
I learned a better way to use the Internet browser. And I learned a new skill at work.

~ Where did I do a good job today?
I did a good job on my homework.

~ Who was I valuable to today?
I was valuable to my grandsons. I played with them.

~How did I take care of myself?
I took care of myself by doing some moderate exercise today.

~What am I thankful for?
I am thankful to my wife and family in supporting me.

With Love, Amma - Nana

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Visited Sunita & Ashok's Son Saahas Today...

Dear Children, Good Morning.

Your dear mom, akkaiah, our sweet Vikram - Vinod and I went to Michener Park yesterday in the evening to meet and greet Sunitha – Ashok’s dear son, Saahas. Saahas’s Peddamma, Surekha and her two children- a daughter and son were also present. They came from London to welcome Saahas’s journey of life in to this beautiful world. Saahas’s Ammamma came from Hyderabad even earlier. Saahas is happy and cheerful. However he is keeping his dear parents and his great Ammamma busy all the time. Of course he is testing constantly their love for him, I believe. That is good.

Saahas’s dad is winning his sweet son’s test and writing his research papers as well. I’ll write you more about Saahas in my next e-mails.
Have a great weekend dear all.

With love, Amma - Nana

Have a Nice Day

~Every time words are spoken, something is created. Let us be conscious of what we say and how we say it. Let us use words that build up, appreciate, encourage and inspire.

~Let us weigh our words before we give them life : Shakespeare.

~It is the weak who are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Only by seeking challenges can we hope to find the best in ourselves...

Dear Children,

Good Morning. I came to the School, just now. We, Kamala, Iris and I attended a pancake party this morning. Some company offered this party as part of their advertisement purpose.

Have a nice day, all of you.
With Love, Nana

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Today should always be our most wonderful day..

Dear Children,

I reached my school, a few minutes ago. We are going on a trip to the downtown taking our school bus, to watch the July 17 Parade.

If we are ever to enjoy life, now is the time - not tomorrow, nor next year, nor in some future life after we have died. The best preparation for a better life next year is a full, complete, harmonious, joyous life this year. Our beliefs in a rich future life are of little importance unless we coin them into a rich present life. Today should always be our most wonderful day.

Have a Wonderful Day!

With Love, Naana.

A Tour to the Quote Garden...Our actions are our only true belongings...

Dear Children,

~ The world belongs to those who can offer the greater hope.

~ Leaders do not avoid, repress or deny conflict, but rather see it as an opportunity.

~ If the life is hard, then maybe you need to work harder. When I take a risk, I feel really alive.

~ A good goal is like a strenuous exercise – it makes you stretch. Doing our duty and pursuing goals leads to happiness.

~ The great thing to learn about life is, first, not to do what you don’t want to do, and to do what you do want to do.

~ Readjusting is a painful process, but most of us need it one time or another.

~ The great virtue of man lies in his ability to correct his mistakes and to continually make a new man of himself.

~ If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.

~ A person is silly who will not take anyone’s advice, but a person is ignorant who takes everyone’s advice.

~ Maturity is the ability to live in peace with that which we cannot change.

~Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.

~We can be together life-long, yet changing, growing, and surprising.

With Love, Amma-Naana

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hearty Congratulations ! సాహస్ - Saahas, We Welcome You in to the Beautiful World!

Dear Sunitha and Ashok,

Congratulations. We got it now. We got the the pictures of cute baby boy, Saahas, the son-shine of your great asset. We bless our little Saahas and his loving parents.

With Best Wishes,
Yours, Somayya Kasani

Dear Somaiah Sir,

I sent you a couple of pictures of SAAHAS two days ago, but lately
figured out that my email didn't go through. Thats why I am resending
the pictures. Please find attached them.

Best regards,


Monday, July 14, 2008

Greeted Chander Mamayya

Dear all, Good Evening.

We greeted Chandermamaiah and his family. They are doing well. They celebrated Radhika' Baby Shower in a restaurant in KPHB Colony. More than 80 people had attended it. They had inquired about you all.

With Love, Amma - Nana.

Praise loudly, criticize softly...Lead By Example; Learn from Your Mistakes and those of Other's; Give Credit Where Credit's Due; Be flexible

Dear Children,

The greatest privilege of leadership is the chance to elevate lives. It's important that leaders have the ability to focus and motivate themselves as they motivate others.

If you are interested in learning more -start with yourself.

In organizations we must work with and for others. To be able to mutually achieve our goals we must be able to relate to others effectively.

Individuals listen to people they respect and admire. They are more inclined to imitate examples of effective behavior and positive attitudes. Remember that they are watching closely to see how you respond to highly difficult or challenging situations!

As a leader, your main priority is to get the job done, whatever the job is.

Make sure everybody counts and everybody knows they count. Legitimate self-confidence is a winner - the true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open.

As a leader,

Communicate More With Those That You Lead. Ask more questions. Example: What's working? What's not working? What could we do better? How are we making a difference?

Listen more. Stop assuming you know everything. Don't assume you know what others want

Don't Play the Blame Game; Be Clear About What You Expect; Accept That Everyone's Style is Different; Lead By Example; Learn from Your Mistakes and those of Other's; Give Credit Where Credit's Due; Be flexible; Have a sense of humour: It is most essential for a good leader.

With Love, Amma-Naana

Dear Ravi, Congratulations!

Performance leads to recognition. Recognition brings respect. Respect enhances power. Humility and grace in one's moments of power enhances dignity of an organization.

Dear Ravi, Congratulations.

We are proud of you. Wishing you many successes ahead! It is nice to associate with you for couple of days at our pretty city Edmonton, Canada. Please convey our best wishes to all your family members.

With Best Regards,
Somayya Kasani

Sunday, July 13, 2008

One of the greatest gifts that life can give to anyone is the very special love that families share...‏

~Even as the cell is the unit of the organic body, so the family is the unit of society.

~Human beings are the only creatures on earth that allow their children to come back home.

~I would like to be remembered as a man who had a wonderful time living life, a man who had good friends, fine family - and I don't think I could ask for anything more than that, actually.

~One of the greatest gifts that life can give to anyone is the very special love that families share..

The beauty about the Indian culture lies in its age-long prevailing tradition of the joint family system...

The beauty about the Indian culture lies in its age-long prevailing tradition of the joint family system. Itʼs a system under which even extended members of a family like oneʼs parents, children, the childrenʼs spouses and their offspring, etc. live together. The elder-most, usually the male member is the head in the joint Indian family system who makes all important decisions and rules, whereas other family members abide by it dutifully with full respect.

Importance Given to Protocol in Joint Family System in India
A major factor that keeps all members, big and small, united in love and peace in a joint family system in India is the importance attached to protocol. This feature is very unique to Indian families and very special. Manners like respecting elders, touching their feet as a sign of respect, speaking in a dignified manner, taking eldersʼ advice prior taking important decisions, etc. is something that Indian parents take care to inculcate in their kids from very beginning. The head of the family responds by caring and treating each member of the family the same.

Discipline in Indian Joint Family System
The intention behind the formation of any social unit will fail to serve its purpose if discipline is lacking and the same applies to the joint family system as well. Due to this reason, discipline is another factor given utmost importance in the joint family system in India. As a rule, itʼs the say of the family head that prevails upon others. Incase of any disagreement, the matter is diligently sorted out by taking suggestions from other adult members. One usually also has to follow fixed timings for returning home, eating, etc.

What Researches on Joint Family System Reveal?
The reason why Indians are proving to emerge as a prosperous lot globally, many researches claim, is because of the significance they attach to the joint family system. All working cohesively to solve a problem faced by any one or more members of the joint family, is what works magic in keeping one tension-free, happy and contended even in todayʼs highly competitive environment. An Indian may be a top corporate honcho or a great sportsperson or a movie actor and so on in a particular professional field, but all these accomplishments relegate to the backseat when at home.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Foodscapes - Amazing Photographs by Carl Warner - From an Email Forwarded by our friend Amelia

The British photographer Carl Warner created a series of photographs, using only food to compose the scenery.

The word "foodscapes" is a contraction of the words food and landscape. The following power point presentation shows underwater caves, forests, sunset beaches and waterfalls, using fruits, vegetables, cheese, cold meat and pasta.

Amazing Foodscapes

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it! - From An Email Forwarded By Radhika

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. I mean my taxi driver was really friendly.

So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so.....

Love the people who treat you right. Forgive the ones who don't.

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Thought For The Day

Shown right below is Senator Hillary Clinton's T-Shirt

~A joyful life is an individual creation that cannot be copied from a recipe.
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

~One step back does not mean defeated. It just means that you will take the same step forward again but wiser.

~Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

~Sometimes, It's like driving at night in the fog. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

We are new every day!

From you I receive; to you I give; together we share; by this we live


July 5th, 2008

The aim of life is to live. To live means to be aware.

Dear All, Good Evening.

I would like to share with you how I spent my time with my Tataiah during his visit to Seattle during American & Canadian Independence Day long weekend.

After enjoying our vacation with our grandparents and all our near and dear people in our homeland, India, we came back to our sweet home in Redmond, USA. Our flight reached the airport in Seattle-Tacoma on time. Before we went to the Baggage Collection Point, my dear Dad and Edmonton Tataiah received us near the arrival gate itself. Tataiah came to Seattle to associate with us for a few days and share our experiences.

We drove to our home, after collecting our baggage and paying the parking fee. We had delicious dinner prepared by dear dad before he came to the airport.

The next day we all went on a walking tour in and around our neighborhood. I greeted people on our way and enjoyed seeing the green lawns, plants, flowers on either side of the road.

Our trip to Bellevue Centre:
On June 30, 2008, after my dad came home from his office in the evening, we had some snacks and planned our trip to Children’s play area in Bellevue Center. It is the place where children feel happy to spend their time together, climbing and jumping and running around it. In the late evening, in spite of security’s repeated warnings to close the games, children leave the place with great reluctance. It’s really a fun way to spend our time unknowingly. We forget our dear parents, but immerse only in our play.

The next day: It was Canada Day, July 1st. Tataiah sent Canada day greetings to his friends in Edmonton, by emails. The weather was good in the evening. We planned our trip to Rosa Parks Elementary School Campus. The Campus was very tidy. The school was not at work; they are enjoying the summer vacation. But many kids come to the play ground, just like us, to spend some time playing around. I can join in this school for my Kindergarten classes and can complete my Junior High Classes as well. This school is very close to our home. It takes only a few minutes of walk to reach the school from my home. I’m really very happy about it.

On July 2nd, thanks to my parents, we planned our trip to the Bellevue Center for a second time. Our journey to the Town Center was also very pleasant, because there was a gentle breeze in that summer evening. When we reached the place, it was a great surprise that we could see our family friends – Prasad Uncle, Shanthi Aunty and their loving kid, Medhansh. It was a surprise reunion for the families. We enjoyed the evening together. While we were at play, our parents exchanged their news and views all the time.

Walking in and around our neighborhood with my beloved parents is a pleasant thing for me. They live in me and I live in them and we all live in our neighborhood and the entire neighborhood lives in us. Our neighborhood is brand new everyday and we are also new every day.

Thanks to my beloved parents, they schedule their time for me, to enjoy these beautiful evenings with me in our walking tours. Thanks to dear Tataiah who came from Edmonton just to meet and greet me and share my lovely stories. I know he is a little uncomfortable to leave me, after a few days of association with me and my loving parents. But he has to go. My dear Nanamma as well as dear Vikram and Vinod are looking forward to his coming back there soon. I am sure that we will keep in touch with one another with our frequent phone calls. Tataiah always quotes that love of duty is beauty. So I cannot insist either to stay with us for few more days.

Our Tataiah is leaving to Edmonton tomorrow morning after his breakfast. I know Edmonton is not too far from us. He will have lunch with our dear Nanamma at 2:00 pm. I know Tataiah shares every bit of my activities with my dear Vikram and Vinod and with their loving parents. I know both of them are as dear as I am to our loving Tataiah & Nanamma. I am really very proud of it. Thank you all for your precious time to read my story.

With Love, Pragathi Konda

Note: My Tataiah, Somayya Kasani gave his language for my feelings/ thoughts

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy Canada Day