Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another milestone

One that I did not hope to reach let alone cross.

I am among 3 women selected from India and 35 women from all over the world who will participate in the prestigious FORTUNE/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership Program this May. 

I am being mentored by two amazing ladies at American Express and American Express Open. 

I was nominated for this program 2 days after I was awarded the SAARC Women Entrepreneur Council award for achievement in a niche industry. When I filled in the nomination papers I wasnt too hopeful on getting through and when I knew, more than a month and a half ago that I had, I was surprised and didn't know what hit me.

Only those closest to me knew about the goings on. I was also insistent on following protocol and the US Consulate in Chennai was kind enough to organize a press meet in their premises to announce that they are sending me for this very prestigious program which would last all of May.

I saw the agenda and the plans that have made for me and all the other 30 women from all over the world. I can only gape. 
This is most definitely a brilliant opportunity and I only have God to thank for the grace. 

"The Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership connects talented, emerging women leaders from all over the world with members of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Leaders for a month-long internship program.
The program begins with an orientation in Washington, D.C., where mentees meet with senior women leaders in government, business, academic, civil society and the media. Participants are then paired with one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Leaders from companies like Time Inc., Google, Inc., and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in cities across the United States. At the end of the mentorship, mentees reconvene in New York City to collectively reflect on their experience and discuss future leadership opportunities"

I am going to be on a learning spree, from other mentees, the people that I would meet and more than anything else, my mentors who I already spoke to yesterday. Two really amazing ladies and I cant wait to meet them and learn from them.

If you are in India and know of a woman who you think can be nominated for this program, contact the consulate in your city. There are several other programs for writers, artists, political leaders, to name a few.

More than anything else, I gaped to read the names that have been on this program from India before. I am one of the three from India and the first to go from Chennai.

Hoping all this would lead to a lot more women coming to know of this program and get such opportunities too.

Pictures from the press meet yesterday - here

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thoughts at a terminal

That I punch out on my phone.... I decided to go to the reflexology space at mumbai terminal that I loved at first session a few years ago. Found their therapy really good. Its only now that I could revisit as I had time on my hands at a domestic terminal after ages. 
I requested a 30 min session and was introduced to my therapist........ Who happened to be visually impaired. A multitude of emotions happened simultaneously and I was briefly overcome by them. I also felt guilt for a little while. But then here was an organization who were thoughtful enough to employ a differently abled person. My therapist herself was an independent, self supporting individual. How many times I have heard people say that we need to be an inclusive society that would not only be compassionate to those less fortunate but also create environs that could give them a feeling of self worth and maybe, even pride. But then I m probably getting ahead of myself. Most of our arenas for entertainment are not built or designed sparing a thought for the differently abled. We rarely see a lift with buttons that also have braille. Ramps are missing in most theatres. Concert halls dont think of reserving areas for those on wheelchairs. Beaches and Parks- am not sure if its possible for someone on a wheelchair to access these without anyone's help. Public transport and stations...less said the better. 
Its normal for us to feel compassionate for those who are not as fortunate but we ll have to remind ourselves to not confuse it with pity and worse still, express that emotion. 
And with that I couldnt help feeling proud for this lady who cant see but she is in the workforce, a tax payer and incredibly good in her work. 
If only more organizations would come forward to be inclusive, it d be an ideal world. 
Dear 'My Foot Reflexology' - Well done and keep it up. 

Friday, April 01, 2011

Kadhal 2 Kalyanam

I got to sing for Yuvan Shankar Raja after a very long time. This song was recorded a few months ago and I still remember how I mustered my guts to speak to Yuvan ji at a college event, several years ago telling him I would like to sing for him. Within half an hour of him leaving the venue, his manager called and asked me to come to the studio. And that is how I recorded Pudhu Kadhal in Pudukkotaiyilirundhu Saravanan.
But for this song, Idhu Kadhalai, I have Mr Milind Rau, the director of this film to thank for the opportunity. I was introduced to Milind on the day the audio of Kannathil Muthamittaal released many moons ago. He worked with Mani Ratnam sir as an assistant starting with Kannathil... I also remember giving a short performance of about 45 minutes that day for a select audience. But then that's a different story. 

Milind gave me clear instructions on what he expected to wanted to be conveyed in the song. And I prayed that it should come through. It was one of the first times that a director was giving me a brief so in a way I was quite worked up. Benny had recorded earlier and like any other song I have recorded, I was not sure whether my voice would be retained. I waited for the audio to release and felt good to see my name there. Benny called the other day saying its good that we have had a duet after a very long time. It ll be good to perform this live. Love the song 

Have heard from so many people how very difficult it is for a first time director no matter how talented they are or who they have worked with earlier. As I have blogged before I admire the gumption of filmmakers and the faith and belief they have in their dreams. This is wishing Milind the best for his directorial debut. May his dreams come true. 

As for me, I am slated to perform with Benny later this month ...Looking forward to that.