Sunday, August 28, 2011

Shocking photo created a hero, but not to his family

 James Zwerg's physical wounds healed after he was attacked by an Alabama mob, but the emotional wounds festered.

 Excerpt from John Blake's 2004 book "Children of the Movement." given below. Originial article can be found here.

Zwerg's parents had forsaken him for joining the civil rights movement. That same night, he had written a letter that was to be handed to them in case he was killed. It explained his decision to join the Freedom Riders.
Zwerg called his mother to tell her where he was going.
"Don't go. Don't go," she said. "You can't do this to your father."
"I have no choice. I have to," he said.
"You killed your father," his mother replied. Then she hung up.
The Greyhound bus doors hissed open. Zwerg had volunteered to go first. The mob swarmed him as he stepped off the bus, yelling, "Nigger lover! Nigger lover!"
Then, as the mob grabbed him, Zwerg closed his eyes and bowed his head to pray. "The Lord is my light and salvation, of whom shall I fear ... "
The mob dragged him away.

Zwerg tells the story behind the photo

Many thanks to my friend Cindy for sharing this story from the Civil Rights movement in America. There may have been many heroes like Zwerg who gave up their safe life to move towards unknown and sometimes as in his case sad future. But in their heart they never gave up hope and fought for what matters to us all : Freedom.

My heart is with Zwerg and others like him who help the world become a better place for all.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

BookFish is 2 years old. Happy Birthday !

I co-founded BookFish Community with Anant Awadhut, Tushar Nafde and Dhimant Bhundia, a community of Book lovers in MindTree , Pune about two years ago. Yesterday we celebrated BookFish's 2nd birthday in Pune. BookFish is one of the most vibrant and active communities in MindTree which has over 9,000 employees across the world. 

BookFish has over 500 members across various MindTree locations. This is a community of volunteers who believe in the power of Books. They believe that we must not limit ourselves to reading books, we must also share the knowledge we get from the books. BookFish organizes book readings, discussions and fun sessions all connected with the thoughts of learning and sharing knowledge. These sessions are open for all.

I helped this community grow from a mere 4 people to over 100 people in MindTree, Pune and other locations. I love books so creating and helping BookFish grow was the most normal thing to do. But when I started working on it, I realised the power of Communities. How can few people come together and create something that goes on growing even when they are no longer around? I found the answer to that question. I also realised the power of ideas! They say one idea can change the world - that is so true and I have been lucky to experience this myself.

MindTree is a wonderful company. I say this to people all the time, " You can go out of MindTree, but MindTree will not go out of you!" :) Thanks to amazing people like Ashok Soota, Subroto Bagchi and others who founded this company. 

I will post pictures from the BookFish birthday celebrations soon. 
Meanwhile, Happy Reading to all of you ~~  :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

You will make mistakes...

"Question: I am interested in so many things, and I have a terrible fear because my mother keeps telling me that I'm just going to be exploring the rest of my life and never get anything done. But I find it really hard to set my ways and say, "Well, do I want to do this, or should I try to exploit that, or should I escape and completely do one thing?"

Anaïs Nin: One word I would banish from the dictionary is 'escape.' Just banish that and you'll be fine. Because that word has been misused regarding anybody who wanted to move away from a certain spot and wanted to grow. He was an escapist. You know if you forget that word you will have a much easier time. Also you're in the prime, the beginning of your life; you should experiment with everything, try everything.... We are taught all these dichotomies, and I only learned later that they could work in harmony. We have created false dichotomies; we create false ambivalences, and very painful one's sometimes -the feeling that we have to choose. But I think at one point we finally realize, sometimes subconsciously, whether or not we are really fitted for what we try and if it's what we want to do.

You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you're not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn't a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now."

— Anaïs Nin

Khalil Gibran

     "The philosopher's soul dwells in his head, the poet's soul is in his heart; the singer's soul lingers about his throat, but the soul of the dancer abides in all her body"
~~Khalil Gibran

Saturday, August 6, 2011


It has been a few months since I wrote anything on this blog. Life has been strange since the past few months. Too many things have changed. Too many of these changes are not nice. Some are very nice though. 

I have been having so much trouble finding that balance  in my life. Am I peaceful? I guess I am. Am I doing what I love to do - no, not completely. I deeply seek more change and it is coming. I can see that. Where it will take me , I don't know.

Time flies! It scares me at times.  :)


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