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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Feed A Kid Every Saturday

I know this is not a post related to books in any way, but when I see so many kind souls out here who keep dropping by this blog, I can't but help make a genuine request to each one of you.

I am Debolina from Mumbai, India, as many of you already know. I am really passionate about street kids and try and help them in my own way as much as I can. But I am really a single individual really, and there is only so much I can do. Its really a big challenge you know, to try and give even the basic of basic amenities to these little ones out there on the try and give them a little slice of this beautiful thing we call Life...which they really don't have, while we have too much of it...don't we?

Till date, I and my husband have been going out and feeding these little ones on the street. We cook at home and take a meal once a day each weekend for these kids on the streets. But it really pains me to see the number of hungry and extremely poor kids who turn out asking for some food, while I have to sadly ask them to leave, as I don't have any more food left to distribute then. Its really one of the saddest and most humbling experience ever.

My husband gave me this idea to try and get people together from all over the world and instead of just us doing this, why don't WE ALL try and give a little bit of smile and sunshine to these kids?

Beginning this Saturday, the 28th of March, and for all Saturdays to come, lets join the 'Feed A Kid Every Saturday' movement... The reason to stress on Saturday is that most people are off work on a Saturday and hence have more time to do their bit. Of course if you can do this even on the week, nothing better than that...I am stressing everyone to atleast feed one hungry child out there, but if you want to share more love, of course you can feed more children, isn't it?

We see these kids everywhere..outside restaurants, outside malls, on the roads, at traffic signals. Everywhere..Little children selling flowers and toys and balloons, even while it's their time to play with all this and enjoy this beautiful thing we take for granted called life...

You may have given them a few rupees, or bought their wares, paid them and gone your way. But how many times have you got them a meal for a change? Instead of the money, why not feed these little hungry mouths? If EACH one of us feeds atleast ONE KID EACH SATURDAY, imagine how many children will get access to clean and real food. A sandwich, a meal, rice and dal, fruits...anything...Just go out there and make it a point to try and feed atleast one kid each Saturday.

Spread the word on your blog, on FaceBook, on Twitter, through mail, through phone, in person, in any way you can. And it would be really wonderful if you could actually go ahead and feed them. And if you could urge your friends to do so too. Do it more times a week if you can. Feed many kids if you can.....but atleast start doing it......they really need all the love they can get...they really need you.... Get as many people as you can from all parts of the world to join and take part... And thank you for doing this....really...."

Click here to join and please bring in as many people as you can. You can do your bit in your part of the world. And don't forget to share the pictures on our FaceBook Page and also tell us about your experience...

I thank you with all my heart for sharing your time and effort for this, and I wish you all the very best in life...Thank you for sharing the love.....


And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Book Reading Challenges This Year 2011

Wow, so last night, I finally managed to find the perfect three book-reading challenges that I am going to try and finish this year (of course I will bring in more challenges as and when I find the ones that are to my liking...honestly, most of them are, but I know I wont be able to finish even one if I start up on ALL of those ;) )

So here are my book-reading challenges that I am starting for 2011 as of now. Click on the name of the challenge to know about the rules and more...

Have a look and do feel free to join in and leave a comment in this post to let us know if you too are taking this challenge simultaneously :) Have fun...

My Book-Reading Challenges For 2011:
Click on the challenge names below to know more:

1. Alphabet Challenge
2. Cover Love Challenge
3. Off The Shelf Challenge

- Debolina Raja Gupta`

Book-Reading Challenge 2011 For Little Ones And Parents

I am an active book blogger and member of many book blogs and contests, as well as personal book challenges that are just so much more fun and interesting. While I was going through my own list of book-reading challenges, I thought it would be fun to start a very own book-reading challenge for our little ones...and why not?

This is definitely not a contest, but just a fun way of making book-reading a little more interesting for our little ones (and even for us)!! You can choose to complete as much of the challenge at your own sweet will, it does not mean that you have to make your little one rush through a book just to complete a challenge. A book is something most of us have grown up with, something that is very much a part of our lives and who we are, and some of us would sure want to pass this love of books down to our children.

I am just making up two different kinds of book challenges for our little ones and parents. Click on the given section to know more about each of the challenge...

1. I Love Alphabets Book-Reading Challenge (click here to know more about the challenege)
2. Colourful Book Covers Book-Reading Challenge (click here to know more about the challenege)

Have fun and drop a comment on this post to let us know you are taking the challenge...Bravo !!! And visit the challenge posts and do share your book list with other little ones and parents by dropping in a comment :) Enjoy your books now :)

And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown the little ones....

Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, May 16, 2011

Share Share Share....No No Never....

This last month I have been really appalled by the lack of basic human feelings like compassion in many well-to-do grown-ups I know or have randomly met. While these incidents I will mention below are not a surprise (I come across them ALL the time!!! and still can't believe people can be so crass), I still can't get used to them yet, and hope I never will. Please do not make any comment praising the deed, its not to mention what I have done, but to bring home the fact that a little compassion and love from every single one of us can really make us into the kind of human being we would want our children to look up to.

Instance 1:

On a hot sunny afternoon, I spot a little street kid, about four-years, eyeing a cool cocnut water stall, a tiny smile at the corner of his mouth just imagining that luxury. A rich young woman stands in perfect clothes and shades, waiting for her coconut.
"Are you giving him a coconut?" (I ask her pointing to the boy)
"No no...of course not, Im not giving him anything" (a scowl and a disgusted expression, as if the thought itself would give her a contagious non-curable disease)
I handed the boy a coconut water, another once he finished the first one, and can still see his smile light up his face.....The shopkeeper gave me one of those expected weird looks..
The whole episode took me about 5-8 minutes and cost me Rs. 40/-

Instance 2:

On a hot summer day I was at the market and I saw this little boy, about 4-5 years, walking with his beggar mother, two plastic bags tied on his dry and blistered feet in place of a sandal. I went to the boy and asked him to come with me. The begging woman followed and on the way called out to a couple of more women. I took the boy to a shoe shop right at the market and asked the shopkeeper to show me a pair of sandals in the size of the little boy. He looked at me as if I had lost it, not that I have not seen this reaction from more so-called educated and cultured people before.
"Madam, isske liye chahiye? Ye kya karega chappal ka?" (Madam, you want it for him? What will he do with these sandals?!!)
"Aap chup chaap chappal dikhaao, paise mil rahey hain na?" (You just show me the sandals and don't talk rubbish, you're getting paid, isn't it?)
The man showed me a pair and I handed him the money and gave the sandals to the little boy, who first held it in his hands and kept smiling, as if cherishing a brand new remote-control car toy, or a brand new set of designer clothes...He still couldn't believe it was his own pair. I smiled and asked him to wear them. He finally took off his 'plastic bag shoes' and wore 'real' sandals, walking around in them proudly..And gave me a huuuuge smile, one that still tears my heart.
The shopkeeper gave me that weird look, the people in the nearby shops too..
The whole episode took me about 10 minutes and cost me Rs. 60/-

Instance 3:

I usually cook a meal for the street kids once a week and take it to the signals where they beg. The moment I come out of the car with the packets, they know their food has arrived and one child calls out to another and soon there are about 10-12 kids, from babies to 10-year-olds, all waiting with big smiles for something to go in their tummy. They always give me these huge smiles and say 'thank you didi'.The adults too start coming in, but I shoo them away with a stern warning, and until the kids are done eating, I try and be there to save their food being snatched away by the grown-ups.
Many times I just stand at the signals with these kids while they are eating, and all those people who pass by look at me like I am some dirty maggot-infested if I care!!! They give me these looks, sometimes young guys hoot, but no one has ever come forward and shared anything with these little ones....
The whole episode takes me normal cooking time like I do for my family, about 15 minutes of waiting as these kids are really hungry and eat up pretty fast, and costs me a normal rate of what a home-cooked meal of vegetable rice, dal and one fruit would cost for about 10 kids.

Instance 4:

There is always a bag of biscuit packets in the car that we hand out to kids begging on the streets. And each time we do so, there are many stares from those nearby. A woman will nudge her husband and show them what we did, a couple will look at us and give us a smile....thats all...

Instance 5:

At a market me and my friend met a small boy about 5, begging and asking for food. I asked him if he wanted some food from nearby.
"Didi, vada pav khila do." (Sister, I want to have vada-pav)
"Chal, yahaan kahaan milta hai le chal." (Take me wherever its available here)
He began hopping towards food and we followed. At the stall, by now you know what we got...of course, those stares, when I asked the man to give the boy a plate of whatever he wanted. We also got him three plates packed to take away after he ate. He went away saying 'thank you didi' and we came back a tad more sad, a tad more upset that there is not much we can do.....And those men standing at the stall were still finding us funny and smiling...
The whole episode took me about 10 minutes and cost me about Rs.30/-

Instance 6:

Was having a soothing cold coffee and yummy sandwich at an open CCD. Two little boys, aged about 6, stood on the road, staring at all the food at all the tables. As I went out, they came up and said "Didi, paise mat do, khaan de do...bhook lagi hai." (Sister, don't give us money, give us something to eat, we are very hungry.)
As I was rushing out to drop someone, I asked them to wait there and said I would come back with food in a while.
"Theek hai didi, hum idhar hi rukengey...khaana laaogey na?" (Alright sister, we will wait right here. You will bring food, won't you?)
I nodded and went away, returning some time later with a bag of food packed for the little ones.
As I got out of the car, the boys came over, beaming, their hands taking the food and eating right there. The people seated at the tables looked at us and gave us those patronizing smiles, pointing me to each other, and I heard one well-dressed lady say 'Oh look, she actually came back to give food" as if it was the most amusing thing she had ever seen.
The whole episode took me about 10 minutes and cost me about Rs. 40/-

So you see....not much of a difference in reaction here from our educated and cultured friends.....nothing to write about really...But that smile on those little ones' faces and that little happiness for a few minutes that someone may someday care for them too..that's precious...believe me....

And like I always believe in and say:
"Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children" - MJ

Debolina Raja Gupta

I care for the countless little ones out there...Do you?

am too busy to care, but want to do something. Jaago Re and are helping me do my bit for the society.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


“We don’t make such movies by choice, this is what the audience wants; we just cater to their choice” – for ages, each Bollywood movie-maker with a disgustingly shitty movie to his credit has claimed as an excuse for doling out a dud on screen. Well, if this is in fact the reality, I am glad that Indian audience is so powerful, because that is how we get a movie as brilliant as I AM, right?

Onir’s powerhouse movie has been released in India after it has already bagged numerous international awards across the globe, more importantly so, the awards that really matter, not (thanks to good sense), waiting for those pre-decided and dolled-up awards like FilmFare and Stardust awards that the thinking people are categorically giving a clear miss of late.

I AM is about four different stories from different backgrounds, the characters somehow related but not really connected to multiple stories. Each story becomes more of an identity in itself in the end.

The first story, I AM Afia, is the story of a young and modern woman Afia (Nandana Sen). Set in Kolkata, it takes us through the life of the protagonist, her success in her career and her desire to start a family. It talks about the choice of IVF, about a woman wanting to have a baby by injecting someone else’s (Purab Kohli) sperm in her own body, of putting a stranger scientifically in her being and bringing to life a baby who only she will mould as she can. Her choice to go ahead shocks all those close to her, the most apparent reason being that she is a woman and should not take such decisions herself. Afia’s story talks about a modern woman in a modern country, still justifying her actions to everyone and getting lost each day in trying to convince people around her that yes, just by taking a big decision herself, she does not automatically become ‘abnormal.’

The second story, I AM Megha, is about Megha (Juhi Chawla), a displaced Kashmiri Pundit, who now lives in Kolkata but faces constant pressure from her family to go back to Srinagar. Running away decades ago along with her family from riot-torn Srinagar after a family member is killed and the house looted, Megha finds it hard to understand her family’s constant yearning for that ‘lost’ paradise. She has decided never to go back again. But Srinagar she does visit once, to sell off the old house, a house she grew up in, in which now live her best friend (Rubina – Manisha Koirala) and her family. The best friend is a Muslim, and though they offer love and look upon Megha as their own, the latter cannot forget the horror that the Muslims had inflicted earlier. Memories of a wonderful childhood spent together keep coming back, but there are enough memories in the present to bring back the hurt and the anger. As Megha is set to depart, Rubina finally breaks her silence and tells her to imagine just for a second how life would have been if instead of Megha, Rubina had run off to a free land, while Megha would still be stuck in a terrorist-stricken army-controlled ‘paradise’.

The third story, I AM Abhimanyu, is the story of Abhimanyu (Sanjay Suri), a young man who still cannot decide about his sexual orientation, who is trying to come out of a horror-filled past, a scary childhood, and the confusion of understanding his own sexuality. Set in Bengaluru, the story talks about child molestation and how, most victims of child sex abuse, are in danger from someone from within the family itself.

The fourth and final story, I AM Onir, is about Onir (Abhimanyu Singh) and Jai (Rahul Bose). The story, set in Mumbai, shows the plight of young adult males in the country, of their choice to be with a same-sex partner, but the lack of space in the city where two mature men can be together in privacy, where a feeling of love can be respectfully shared without being harassed by society, and, most important of all, by the moral brigade, the police.

The beauty of I AM lies in the direction, the acting, the picturisation, and of course, the setting. Each and every shot has a meaning, each dialogue, each pause, each silence, talks words and emotions that build up a story. The characters are completely real and believable, so much so, that out of all the characters you see in this ‘real’ movie (which has been inspired by real events), you are sure to identify with atleast one, if not more. Shot like a hand-made movie, the settings are real, with ‘real’ background sound giving it that much more feeling of ‘believable’. The accents, the spattering of the local lingo of all four states, the ‘real’ locations, the everyday humdrum of life, all come together to give you a feeling of watching someone’s life up close and personal. You sometimes forget you are watching a movie, especially in some scenes where you react verbally, and realise the person sitting next to you in the hall is also reacting in the same way. A movie worth the wait, a movie finally that talks about the ‘different’ people in a way that does not make fun, that does show that the ‘different’ people too have a right to their choice, that life is not always what it seems, that in everything we do, sometimes, its okay to just let go and move ahead. A movie that will stay with you for some time, that will give you more than your ticket’s worth. A serious movie, no typical naach-gaana, so if you are going with the thought of being entertained the ‘typical’ way, please stay away.

And like I always believe in and say:
"Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children" - MJ

Debolina Raja Gupta