Friday, November 24, 2006

More on Esha... and a Tag!

.. some of you wanted to know more about Esha..

Here it is..

Caution: Not all pages could be properly formatted before we lost the wordpress generated password. Patience with that please..

and the Tag for you:

What's the best thing that has happened to you this week?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

उस दिन, एक साल
जब हम
हर साल की तरह
पींगें झूल रही थीं
भरी गर्मियों में
तो तूने
मेरी चोटी खींची थी, और मैं
तेरे पीछे भागी थी,
अपनी लड़ के कमायी हुइ पींग भूल कर

उस दिन, एक साल
तू हर बार की ही तरह
हिरणी की तरह भागी थी,
पर उस दिन
जब पकडी गयी थी हम ,
तो तूने
मेरा नाम लगा दिया था सारा , और सारी मार
मैने अकेली ने खायी थी.

आज जब हम मिलती हैं,
तो तू,
मेरा नाम नही लगाती,
मुझसे पूछ्ती है,
बाल बच्चे कैसे हैं,
वो कैसे हैं,
पर सच दीदी,
अब तू मुझसे
उतना प्यार नही करती,
जितना उस दिन करती थी.

This is a bad translation, because the original is most beautiful in its simplicity. It uses the everyday language of a part of rural India. cannot replicate the effect in English, but here goes the feeble effort:

That summer day, some year
When, like every other year,
you and me
were on the swings,
you pulled my hair
and ran.
And I
ran after you -
forgetting about the swings,
I fought to get at.

That summer day, some year
Like every other time,
you ran like a doe
and when
we got caught
you conveniently blamed me
for the entire episode
And I was punished alone.

Now, when we meet
you do not
place blames on me.
You ask how I am doing,
about the kids, the husband..
But you know what didi(elder sister),
You do not love me now,
the way you loved me , on that summer day.

Happy Children's Day!

Things I like about childhood
1. The smell of winter
2. Being short enough to crawl into tiny spaces and get out of really low railings.
3. Fighting about who is my best friend and why they should not talk to other people
4. The new clothes and the memories of festivals.
5. My grandmother used to read out stories from the scripture to us.

Things that make me feel happy about being an adult
1. School Uniforms.
2. Homework
3. Fighting about who is best friend and why they should not talk to other people
4. Not being able to decide on anything I wanted – no clothes(no money at home) , not my favorite toys, nothing.
5. Being made to drink milk.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Thank you All!

Dear All

Sorry I have not been able to respond to your comments on the previous post. Work on Esha (that is my Braille initiative) has been really hectic lately. That is a lame excuse, but the only true one.

This is how a Braille enabled card looks:

For those of you who want to get these cards Braille enabled(at the existing price of INR 100 plus postage per set of 100 cards) , the email id is We do all the Esha related work from here.

If you want to know more about Esha, just drop it in the comments box.. perhaps then, the next post will be about Esha! :-)

Thank you all for your inputs. We are thinking of expanding outside India, and are right now looking at comparing prices for similar services in Europe and Oceania so that the product offering can be finalised.

Am yet to fight it out with my volunteer friend, but my current school of thot is this:

Right now, we are in the market creation stage. This is not the right time for a price increase. We need to make sure people start thinking of braille on cards as a hygiene factor, and then think of a price increase. Market creation and price rise do not go together.

What do you think??

Love and Luck!

PS: There, one has just kissed the anonymity on this blog goodbye!! :-((

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Need Advice - Urgently!

One of the things I am putting a lot of energy and time into, is the spread of braille enabled cards as a concept in India. Out here, very few people are aware that their cards should be braille enabled. Even those who are aware, do not know where to get it done. Its easy to understand that part - there is no agency in India that does this.

Last year, I hit upon this idea as a sustainable source of income for the blind. I found a way by which a blind person can braille enable the cards on his/her own, given a single sample. A simple time and motion study proved that this could provide enough employment for a blind person, if there are enough orders.

People who saw and used Braille enabled cards loved them immediately. It cost so little and meant so much to people who got them done.. those stories, though several, are all heartwarming.

Fixed the price of the service at a paltry sum of INR 1 per card, or INR 100 for a set of 100 cards - thats just about $2.5 to get a whole set of 100 cards braille enabled.

Over this last year, a lot of people have read about the concept and volunteered to help, have done their bit to spread awareness, get orders etc. I have always insisted on the low price bcs we do not want it to degenerate into pseudo-charity - people paying extra money just because they want to donate, and we do not accept charity for the blind. We demand self reliance and economic freedom. And I believe fiercely that the blind deserve it.

Today, one of the prime volunteers on this project suggested that we should raise this price to INR 2 for the large corporates. His logic was that the hard work required to do these cards, and the fact that they are done, not by a machine, but by a blind person, should give the client enough satisfaction, and people anyway pay obscenely high prices for hand done things, so why not for this? Besides, most of these organisations anyway have budgets for being more socially responsible and paying INR 2 instead of INR 1 will not hurt them. In fact, they will not even notice.

I am now confused.. we are meeting a client soon.. perhaps as early as tomorrow, and I really need advice.

What do you think? Or, let me rephrase.. would you pay INR 200 to get a set of 100 cards braille enabled? This would mean that for the next 3 months(most of us use the pack of 100 visiting cards for that long, if not longer), you will get your supply of braille enabled cards, for 200 rupees, or $ 5.. sounds good?