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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

speech made by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anna Quindlen

Read and learn to be happy

This was a speech made by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anna Quindlen at the graduation ceremony of an American university where she was awarded an Honorary PhD.

"I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree: there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk or your life on a bus or in a car or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank accounts but also your soul.

People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is cold comfort on a winter's night, or when you're sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you've received your test results and they're not so good.

Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my work stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the centre of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my friends and them to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cut out. But I call them on the phone and I meet them for lunch. I would be rotten, at best mediocre, at my job if those other things were not true.

You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are. So here's what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger pay cheque, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon or found a lump in your breast?

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze at the seaside, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water, or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a sweet with her thumb and first finger.

Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Pick up the phone. Send an email. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have spent on beer and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good too, then doing well will never be enough.

It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, and our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the colour of our kids' eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of to live.

I learned to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the back yard with the sun on your face.

Learn to be happy. live it with joy and passion as it ought to be lived.

AASRA suicide prevntion day

World Suicide Prevention Day , Sept 10, 2009, aasra anniversary Sept 13, 2009

Sept 10,2009, Suicide Prevention Day activity fotos& Aasra anniversary pics, Sept 13, 2009

World Suicide Prevention Day Sept 10,2009pics and Aasra Anniversary pics Sept 13th, aasra office

Event at Bhavans auditorium, Andheri west, Mumbai, India

Monday, September 14, 2009

Suicide Prevention Day Webchat at,Johnson Thomas

You are here - Home | Chat | Story

Are you feeling alone, depressed, suicidal?
Posted On Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Do you feel that life is too difficult to go on?

On World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, chat with Johnson Thomas, director of AASRA. AASRA is an organisation that helps people in despair by providing emotional support, and unbiased caring through a help line service and walk-in centre.

Chat live on September 10 at 2pm on

Times wellness chat
riya: hi johnson, just wanted to know how is it possible to prevent a person from committing suicide...they seem pretty stubborn in their attempt to do can we lend a hand?
This is a moderated chat room. That means that your messages won't appear until a moderator approves it.
JohnsonThomas: Well, lets understand that they are not being stubborn. They are just so desperate and feel as if no one cares enough that they think suicide is the only option for them. They need to be comforted. They need non-judgemental understanding and a listening ear to ease away their turbulent emotions.
iwanttolive: Do you feel committing suicide is a momentary reaction?
JohnsonThomas: Well, the impulse leading to the act is momentary. The suicidal thought though may have lingered in their minds for a while before the impulse takes over.
gogo: do you think that people who talk about suicide are looking for attention or are looking to some one to stop / save them ?
JohnsonThomas: Definitely. The very fact that they are willing to voice their most repressed fears shows that they are crying out for help(attention). They want someone to save them.Only when they feel thateven that is unavailable to them do they go in for the final life ending act.
sneaky: Very often poeple say that talking helps overcome depression and prevent suicide....however, someone in that state of mind DEFINITELY doesn't WANT to talk --- wats ur take on this?
JohnsonThomas: I disagree. They may seem like they don't want to talk. They may not want to talk to just anyone either. They need someone who shows caring , concern and will respect their feelings- someone who will not violate their confidence. They are in fact bursting with the pain and will unload it all if given the slightest chance.
gogo: there are increasing cases of people committing suicides for reasons that seem petty or small when we read about them in the papers. have people really become "sore losers" or cannot handle stress that they see suicide as the only option?
JohnsonThomas: Well our coping skills develop as we grow older. the events that occur in our lives during this process detemine the depth and the kind of coping skills that we develop. Some of us can bear an larger dose of pain than others. Then again some of us might even be afraid of a pin prick.That's just a physical example of what we experience emotionally.Emotional pain is rather much more difficult to deal with
gogo: with people in india increasingly living solitary lives, as well as the urge for privacy and family communications breaking down, do you think that these are the main reasons we have more people thinking of suicide as an option ?
JohnsonThomas: It is one of the major reasons definitely. The breaking up of the joint family systems and the increasing self-centered approach to life makes it much more difficult to find support and caring. Afterall we must never forget that man is a social animal.
effie: HOw often can someone cry wolf before we realise they really mean it?
admin: This is a moderated chat. Our expert will answer all relevant questions.
JohnsonThomas: There is no embargo on the number of times a person can say 'he/she is suicidal'. I dont think we should even consider the number important. What isimportant is that theperson is actuallygiving voice to that unbearable pain and we must pay heed to it everytime.
gogo: on the topic of emotiona pain, will "EQ" or emotional intelligence help? how can one develop it ?
JohnsonThomas: Emotional development is a part of growing up. It is a natural process. But It can also be aided/spurred on by our emotional intelligence
JohnsonThomas: There are several techniques and workshops available. NLP is one of them
admin: The chat is subject to moderation. In order to get quick responses kindly formulate your doubts into a single query and refrain from sending the same in bits and pieces.
effie: how can we recognise symptoms of suicide in a person?
JohnsonThomas: When a person begins to behave differently from what he did earlier, if he becomes aloof, has a sudden bout of introvertedness, begins to withdraw from society then it's possible he/she is suicidal.
gogo: how does a suicide prevention help line work ? for example if the person calls you up saying he / she has suicidal thoughts, or if a person calls you saying that a person they know has mentioned that they want to commit suicide?
JohnsonThomas: Well, a suicide prevention helpline like ours focuses on the feelings of the person who is calling irrespective whether he/she says he/she is calling on behalf of a third party. The feelings of the caller is what we address. When the mind is relieved of those negative feelings and emotions then we be;ieve the person becomes capable of searching out better options for himself or herself
effie: but there are so many people who undergo a change of personality but thankfully do not commit suicied. Does this mean that we have to keep all such people under surveillance?
JohnsonThomas: IT's not about keepng them under surveilance. When drastic changes in personality occur there is a possibility that the person may not be able to cope with life's challenges. We need to lend them a helping/listening ear. is that so difficult?
effie: For instance I know of a woman who radically underwent a change of personality from vivacious t to very quiet. At first we thought she might entertain suicidal thoughts, but I have found that the slightest hint of an illness or something wrotn with her she goes to the doctor.... so would u say she is suicidal?
JohnsonThomas: We do not assume, we ask them if they are. She may very well be experiencing suicidal thought. There is no harm in telling her that if she nees someone to talk to, you are available and capable of keeping things confidential.
effie: HOw do u give a listening ear to someone who refuses to talk?
JohnsonThomas: You can only try. It may take a while before the person begins to trust in you enough to be able to confide.
admin: Hi, That's all we have time for. Thanks for participating in the chat.
JohnsonThomas: Thank you very much. I hope that was helpful
JohnsonThomas: Do feel free to contact us at

World Suicide Prevention Day activity at Bhavans Auditorium, Andheri West,Mumbai, India

World Suicide Prevention Day 09, Sept 10th at Bhavan's auditorium, Andheri(w), Mumbai

organised by Pallav Pandya, Bollywood lyricist and music arranger & Supported by AASRA

Johnson’s Speech

At the outset, I’d like to thank Mr Pallav Pandya for giving us this wonderful opportunity to promote the cause of suicide Prevention. He has made us this offer from the goodness of his heart and we are really very grateful to him.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Over the past few years 10th September has become synonymous with suicide prevention day and the world over there are activities being held to promote this cause. This function today is one such event.

It would be meaningless to espouse the cause of suicide prevention without understanding the act of suicide itself. Suicide is a leading cause of death for people worldwide, and one of the three leading causes of death for young people under 25. Every year, approximately one million people die by suicide - one death every two minutes. The World Health Organization estimates that by the year 2020, this annual toll of suicide deaths will have risen to one and half million, and suicide will represent 2.4% of the global burden of disease.
Suicide deaths account for more than half of all violent deaths in the world - more than all deaths from wars and homicides combined. Every year many millions more people make serious suicide attempts which while, they do not result in death, require medical treatment and mental health care, and reflect severe personal unhappiness or illness. Millions more people - the family members and close friends of those who die by suicide – are bereaved and affected by suicide each year, with the impact of this loss often lasting for a lifetime.

Suicide exacts huge psychological and social costs, and the economic costs of suicide to society (lost productivity, health and social care costs) are estimated at many billions of dollars each year. Because almost a quarter of suicides are teenagers and young adults aged less than 25 (250 000 suicides each year), suicide is a leading cause of premature death, accounting for more than 20 million years of healthy life lost. According to WHO suicide is now being recognized in the countries of south east asia as major public health problem in the complex scenario of development and lifestyle changes. “Cumulative research ,media reports and anecdoatal evidence over the past three decades reveal that suicides are an emerging epidemic the world over.”

India and Sri Lanka record the highest number of suicide rates in the region with 11 and 37 per 100,000 population respectively.
WHO says the threat of suicide should be taken seriously because those who commit suicide give early clues at some point . In India nearly 10 to 20 per cent of suicide victims had seen a physician a few days prior to the act.
Psychological Counsellor Neera Jain says, “Disintegration of the joint family has removed the support system for the individual at times of emotional and psychological crisis.”
“Unrealistic expectations put tremendous emotional, physical and psychological pressure on the individual. Suicide is not committed at the spur of the moment but is the culmination of long period of stress when a single act may trigger the person to take the final step. If a friend or some other person can reach out to him the moment is averted and the individual can be saved,”she adds.
According to NCRB , five states West Bengal followed by Maharashtra,Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka registered consistently higher number of suicidal deaths during the last few years and accounted for 10 per cent or more of the total suicides reported in the country during 2005-2007.
Poducherry reported the highest rate of suicide (48.6) followed by Andaman and Nicobar Islands (38.5) while the all India rate of suicides was 10.8 in 2007 compared to 10.5 during 2006.
Family problems and illness were two of the major causes for suicides accounting for more than 22 per cent of the suicides during the years 2005-2007, and the most preferred mode adopted in committing suicide was poisoning 35 per cent of cases followed by hanging 32 per cent of cases.
The WHO has suggested development of national suicide prevention strategies alongwith early implementation and evaluation.

Causes of suicide: During the last three decades we have learned a great deal about the causes of this complex behavior. Suicide has biological, cultural, social and psychological risk factors. People from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds are at increased risk of suicidal behaviour. Childhood adversity and trauma, and various life stresses as an adult influence risks of suicidal behaviour. Serious mental illnesses, most commonly depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia, are associated with increased risk of suicide. Diminished social interaction increases suicide risk, particularly among adults and older adults. the pyschology of suicide victim is not so easy to figure out. The real reason for a suicide may be different from the immediate spark that propels a person to take his life. "It is only when a person has lost all hopes of being able to cope up with the reality that he takes his life,"
Suicide can be prevented. Despite its often complex origins, suicide can be prevented. Communities and societies that are well integrated and cohesive have fewer suicides. Restricting access to methods of suicide (such as firearms or pesticides) reduces suicides. Careful media reporting of suicide prevents further suicides. Educating communities and health and social services professionals to better identify people at risk of suicide, encourage them to seek help, and providing them with adequate, sustained and professional care can reduce suicides amongst people with mental illness. Providing adequate support for people who are bereaved by suicide can reduce their risk of suicide.
In fact today, The IASP(International Association for Suicide Prevention), WHO and other suicide prevention agencies around the world has requested all those who believe in and support this cause, let us all Light a Candle at 8 PM, to commemorate this very meaningful occasion.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dear Team! lets plan for an outing

Please go through the below details and let me knw if you are interested in joining us for the below indicated wonderful trecking experience. Note: the booking has to be done in advance to ensure your seat as there are limited number of seats. So let me know you interest fast. Buck up!

Dear All,

After successful treks in last few months we are nearing to complete our monsoon trek schedule ... शिखर वेध have planned a Jumbo Trek on occasion of Kojagiri Pournima in Koyna region on 2-3-4 th October 2009 ...

Lets Njoy Monsoon finally

Hope 2 cu on trek with me ;-)

Details r as follows

Brief Introduction about Sajjangad / VasotaNageshwar / Pratapgad / Shivtharghal:

Height: 3350 ft/ 4270 ft/ 3600 ft/ 3000 ft
Grade: Exciting
Time: ~ Max. 0.5 / 2 / 2 / 0.5 hrs frm base
Location: Koyna region

SAJJANGAD: Samarth Ramdas lived for long time @ Sajjangad, a small hillock near Satara. He breathed his last here and devotees worship his mausoleum here. This is an important centre of worship for the Ramdasi sect. Ramdas swami remains an inspiration for the technique he developed in infusing Nationalism and Dharmic devotion among ordinary people across the country by his concept of Hanuman temple, akhaada and a Paathashaala in every village. His emphasis on Rashtra chintana along with spiritual sadhana is more relevant today than it was anytime before.
KAAS PLATEU: A wonderful outing to explore the colourful world of flowers … valley of flowers in sahyadri
VASOTA-NAGESHWAR: Situated in the dense forest, surrounded by the river Koyna, is the fort of Vasota, which according to ‘Dnyaneshwari’ means resting place. This fort is also known as Vyaghragad. This old warrior offers one of the most thrilling treks in the Sahyadri as far as trekking through forestation is concerned. Dense forest all the way through, panoramic view of the Shivsagar Lake in the east and Konkan on the west, wonderful cave at Nageshwar for a stay, makes this a fort of special interest for amateur trekkers and photographers.
PRATAPGAD: Recognised as one of the gems in the crown of Swarajya, the Pratapgad is situated on the western side of the famous hill station, Mahabaleshwar. This fort has got significant historic importance due to the the famous temple of "Bhavani Mata", constructed by Shivaji Maharaj and the event of Assassination of Afzalkhan on it.
SHIVTHARGHAL: The place where Ramdas resided after 1649 was a huge cavern, which came to be called as Shivthar Ghal (Ghal means cavern). This was where his famous "Dasbodha" was written. Adorned by exotic nature, this place is worth visiting.

On Telecon
Departure from Mumbai on Thursday 1st October 2009 night @ 23:00 Hrs
Pickup points will be Dadar, Sion, Chembur, Vashi, Belapur, Panvel etc.
We would be heading to base village of forts by Private bus.

The itinerary for the Event is as given below:

Friday 2nd October 2009

Bed Tea Halt on the way
06:00 Hrs: @ Sajjangad Base
06:30 Hrs: Atop
Breakfast, Explore Time for 4 hours

11:30 Hrs: @ Kas Platue
View Valley of Flowers in Sahyadris, Lunch in betn

16:00 Hrs: @ Shivsagar Lake, Bamnoli
A Tea Break followed by Launch ride to vasota base
17:30 Hrs: @ Met Indavali

20:30 Hrs: Dinner
Night Stay in Tented Accomodation

Saturday 3rd October 2009

07:00 Hrs: Morning Tea
07:30 Hrs: Ascend
09:30 Hrs: Atop
Explore Time for 2 hours
11:30 Hrs: Move 2 Nageshwar Caves
13:00 Hrs: @ Nageshwar Caves
Lunch, rest

Post sun-set
19:00 Hrs: Dinner Preparation

22:00 Hrs: Camp-Fire

Sunday 4th October 2009

00:00 Hrs: Descend Via Choravne Side (Moonlight Trek)
05:30 Hrs: @ Choravane
Morning Breakfast - Tea

11:00 Hrs: @ Pratapgad
Explore, Lunch Time
15:00 Hrs: @ Shivtharghal
17:30 Hrs: Departure 2 Mumbai
20:00 Hrs: Dinner @ Hotel Ruchi, Nagothane

We will be in Mumbai around 22:30 hrs (that's - subjective)

The Estimated initial expenditure is abt Rs. 1750 /-
This includes Mumbai to Mumbai transport by private vehicle, Launch ferry Charges, Forest Sanctuary entry charges, 6 refreshments, 5 meals and tented accommodation.

Please book in advance with payment of Rs. 1100/- (Non-refundable) … Seats will be allotted on payment basis … Last row seats will be given only on demand [;)] else late payment ones … Deposit the amount on following account.

ICICI Bank A/c No.: - 026801521464
Vartak Nagar Branch, Thane (W)
Seats r limited ... MAXimum 25 members ...
Last date to register with advance payment is 22nd September 2009 till 5 pm

Note:- Its a group activity so each and every member will be allotted some or other responsibility. Please do keep a space for 1kg at least for weight distribution


Things To Carry:-

Pls Do carry LUNCH for Friday (a must)
A Water Bottle (~2.5 Ltrs) (a must)
1 torch (a must) with spare battereies
Sleeping Mat - Bags (a must)
Tiffin Box, Plate, Spoon ( a must)
Rain cheater (Optional) for those who don't want to wet ... but pls do carry one ... Camera, Cell Phone, Binoculars (Optional)
Pls avoid wearing Gold and other ornaments
Some ready to eat food.
Plum cakes, biscuits etc.
Extra 2-3 Pair of clothes,
Good trekking shoes, do carry a extra pair as well
Personal basic medical kit
A haversack to put all these things

For confirmation pls reply here or do contact on
Jagdish Patil: 09869369836

Also Join us @

शिखर वेध link

With Warm Wishes


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Suicide statistics

Over one lakh people (1,22,637)ended their life last year. The figure includes 1184boys and 1295girls - children aged below 14 years. Though we do not have exact figure for adolescents, the number is staggering as 35.2% of the suicides is in the age group of 15-29years.

A study from Vellore says the rate of suicide is 152 for young girls and 69 for young men, whereas the national crime bureau recorded rate is 10.8.The study also emphasises the need to recognise adolescent suicide as a major public-health problem, with an urgent need for intervention.

International studies mention for every one completed suicide there are atleast 400 reportedly attempting suicide, 100 reportedly requiring medical attention for a suicidal attempt and 30 are hospitalized for a suicide attempt. To calculate the actual figure of attempted suicides -for eg. 2479 in 2007, who lost their life to suicide (aged below 14 )there could be 400x2479 who attempted suicide in one manner or the other. So we have about 10 lakh youngsters aged below 14 on the brink of suicide. Media reports the recorded suicides , not the many attempts that go unreported.
We need to reach out to the youth and help them rekindle their coping abilities so that fewer young and productive lives are lost due to suicide.