The Art of Inspiring : Akanksha Foundation

It was this time, last year. My big 30th birthday. And I had got the best present ever, when I wrote this.

Akanksha, someone once told me the closest they can come to explaining that word in English is ambition. A quick search on the internet and you see words like ‘desire’ and ‘want’ explaining Akanksha. Desire and want, are about yourself, to me they sound selfish. Ambition, does have a slight negative tone, smelling of arrogance, lacking in soul. All of these perceptions, connotations, synonyms are lost though, the moment you see the amazing work that the Akanksha Foundation is doing in India.

If you have lived in India, and are remotely interested in NGOs working with children, chances are you’ve heard of them. I had too. And found it inspiring. And then I read about the founder, Shaheen Mistry’s journey in the Rashmi Bansal book, ‘I have a dream‘ and I was blown away! The determination, the belief and the simplicity in her thought “in today’s world, how can the idea of basic education be revolutionary?” was beyond inspiring!

IMG_1610 Art for Akanksha, is their initiative to provide the Akanksha kids an opportunity to get specialised education in arts. They design and produce a fantastic range of products and market them under the Akanksha brand. In my most precious birthday present until now, I got a chance to spend a day at one of their art workshops at their center in Worli, Mumbai.

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A Film School… MAMI 2012

Just when I thought I was taking a break, I am back in the thick of the entrepreneurial space!

…So while it may seem like I’ve been missing in action, i’ve in fact been in the middle of too much action!

..And while I haven’t been really dedicated to the blog, I’ve been writing a lot!

And all this startup talk took me right back to the days when I had one, and when I wrote this:

Mumbai International Film Festival, 2012

Photo Credit: MAMI Website

Photo Credit: MAMI Website

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…of mystic, magic and music!

A mystic, a poet, an artist and a singer, Parvathy seems to follow her heart like there isn’t another way!

In an interview with the Sufi journal, she talks about how she was drawn to the Baul tradition (hailing from the West Bengal in India. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baul). A chance meeting with a Baul singer in a train, opened her heart to it. She then found her guru in Shri Sanatan Das Baul and one afternoon, before she’d even begun any training, just started singing with him!

I had the privilege of watching her perform at ‘Ruhaniyat’, an all India Sufi and Mystic Music Festival. The organisers aptly describe the festival as the ‘call of the soul, enlivening centuries of spiritual wisdom’. It brings together musicians from Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan etc. besides India. (Read more about the festival here: http://ruhaniyat.com/)

On a mystical night in Bombay, set in the Hornimon circle garden, among the Sema dervishes and the Qawwals, in walked Parvathy Baul and her magic!

Pic Courtesy: Ruhaniyat Website

Pic Courtesy: Ruhaniyat Website

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