Did you catch Purnima Ramakrishnan’s latest post on @BabyCenter?

Did you catch Purnima Ramakrishnan’s latest post on @BabyCenter?

Purnima Ramakrishnan 600

As part of World Moms Blog’s collaboration with BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood®, our World Moms are writing posts on maternal health around the world. In today’s post, Purnima Ramakrishnan interviewed a doctor in her local hospital, Dr. Vijila Christian, who is the Senior Anti Retroviral Therapy Medical Officer at the Government Hospital of Thoracic Medicine in Tambaram, Chennai. Dr. Christian is dedicated to see that more babies are born HIV-free in India.

“’We cannot disclose if a client is HIV positive to their partner without consent from the client. This creates problems because when we cannot disclose, we cannot do adequate counselling as a couple.’

In fact, Dr. Christian once had a client who kept both her pregnancy status and HIV status a secret from her partner until her third trimester. She was a very thin built woman, so she did not begin showing until she was 8 months along.

‘So what can I do with such clients?” she asks with a shake of her head.'”

Read the full post, Counseling mothers with HIV in India: The dawn of hope, over at BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood®!

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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GLOW: A Unique Webinar Series by #Heartfulness Institute and #WorldMoms Network

GLOW: A Unique Webinar Series by #Heartfulness Institute and #WorldMoms Network

World Moms Network and Heartfulness Institute have joined together to create the new GLOW series of Webinars for introducing women across the world to Heartfulness Meditation.

World Moms Network’s vision statement as you all know is, “We envision a world of peace and equality, born through our common ground of motherhood.”

Over here at World Moms Network and Heartfulness Institute, we believe that this world of peace and equality can be born only if the mind is at peace, and the heart at joy, for every single individual in the world.

For change begins with you, with me, with the woman of the family!

GLOW stands for ‘Genuine Loving Outstanding Women’, and is a series of monthly online workshops for women everywhere to learn and practice Heartfulness meditation in the comfort of their homes or their workplace.

Each webinar will feature an expert speaker, chosen from women who are outstanding in their fields, who have influenced their own family, or their community, or their nation. These women have been change-makers and influencers. They’ve also been able to find peace, joy, and love in their own lives, and  have influenced people around them to find the same.

Women are well-placed to create harmony and peace in all areas of life, often starting within families and spreading out into the world. And we’re highlighting just that!

The first webinar in this series is on 5th September 2016, 9:30 AM ET/6:30 AM PT. Calculate your local time here

goo.gl/A2HDy7

The theme for the first in the series of webinars is “Individual Peace Contributes to World Peace. 21st September is celebrated as the UN International Day of Peace.

GLOW Webinar Series

GLOW Webinar Series

Keynote Speaker:
Jennifer Burden, Founder & CEO of World Moms Network

Jennifer Burden, Founder & CEO of World Moms Network

Jennifer Burden hails from the USA and is the founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award-winning online media organization and website promoting a world of peace through the common bonds of motherhood. Jennifer has been nominated a Global Influencer Fellow and Social Media Fellow by the UN Foundation, invited to the White House, spoken at the World Bank for the right of a universal education for all children, and her writing has been featured on Impatient Optimists, The Huffington Post, ONE.org and BabyCenter. She is the mother of two girls and practices Heartfulness meditation.

Jennifer has been hosting Heartfulness meditation sessions through internal webinars on World Moms Network. In this webinar she will guide us to contribute towards world peace through meditation.

Who Should Attend:

All women, everywhere in the world, are welcome to join! Click here – goo.gl/A2HDy7

goo.gl/A2HDy7

New to meditation? These workshops are a perfect place to start! And… you can bring a friend!

For more information, leave a comment below, or write to Glow@heartfulness.org

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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#Heartfulness and Children: An Interview with Dr. Veronique Nicolai (Part – 2)

#Heartfulness and Children: An Interview with Dr. Veronique Nicolai (Part – 2)

“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Network contributor, or reader, or  fan, please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.”

Our Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India recently interviewed Dr. Veronique Nicolai for World Moms Blog.

Part – 1 of Dr. Veronique Nicolai’s (Pediatrician and Trainer of Heartfulness Meditation) interview is published here. Part – 2 is published below.

Purnima Ramakrishnan: Are your children practicing Heartfulness meditation?

Dr. Veronique Nicolai: Yes. Our daughter started a little less than a year ago. She has seen us meditating since she was born. She said she was waiting for her to be old enough to start. We have always shared whatever we learned or discovered with Heartfulness with them. But I always told her that what I could share was nothing compared to what I am experiencing and she could know about meditation only when she was going to try it herself.

So, now that my daughter meditates, she comes out of her meditation with her eyes shining and says – “Wow!” I am happy that she started her own wonderful inner journey.

A child practicing Heartfulness Relaxation

A child practicing Heartfulness Relaxation

PR: What are the health benefits you have observed in your child(ren) after they have started Heartfulness meditation?

VN: I have not only seen my daughter, but also other youth starting meditation early, and it has been amazing to see how strong it makes them. Children look incredibly happier; it shows on their face, they keep this brightness in their eyes. They are whole, authentic and balanced. And what is more important, this attitude is supported by the meditation practice, so it stays with them even when they fly out of the nest.

I used to worry about how my children were going to manage in the ‘outside world’ and I would have been easily over protective. But with them meditating and keeping their heart compass intact, I am very confident that they will help other youth find their balance too.

PR: What about the other holistic benefits for children to try Heartfulness Relaxation?

VN: I will give you a very practical example of how my son uses the Heartfulness relaxation. He is very sensitive and movies or stories can impress him. Sometimes he says he feels heavy and not able to fall asleep. So we do the relaxation together. I hold his feet in my hands and guide him into relaxation. And it helps like magic!

A child relaxing before going to sleep, relaxing before their exams or revisions, relaxing at these crucial times, helps him/her in the long run, in his life. It gives composure and they perform better. For some time, I did not even know they were doing it at school and enjoying it.

Such relaxed states of mind, helps us bring into this world, a balanced, content, happy breed of humanity who loves peace. We have a better generation ahead of us, which is not just holistic benefits for children, it is a holistic world, filled with compassion and peace.

PR: Please share a few things about Heartfulness Meditation which children and mothers should know for effective practising.

VN: To have balanced children, you have to have balanced parents. So the onus is first on us – parents. You can relaxation techniques for your younger kids whenever there is a stress, or to help in a difficult moment. But I would definitely recommend using it as a routine to go to sleep, everyday. It helps the child to enter sleep in relaxed manner and will ensure a quality sleep.

The hours of sleep before midnight are most important as deep sleep happens then. Deep sleep is crucial for growing children; it is then that the body heals, fights against infection and inflammation and when the growth hormone is produced.

We do not insist enough on the importance of a good night’s sleep in a growing child. It is even truer for teenagers!

The Heartfulness relaxation will teach in a natural way the child to listen to his heart, because the Heartfulness relaxation takes the child to the heart. And that is where the greatest values lie, and it will shape the child’s destiny.

Part – 1 of Dr. veronique Nicolai’s interview is published here.

World Moms Network has teamed up with the Heartfulness Institute as a media partner for their meditation conferences, the next one is at NJPAC. This interview post is part of the conference promotional, by Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India.

Welcome to the Meditation Conference at NJPAC

Welcome to the Meditation Conference at NJPAC

A limited number of free seats to the Heartfulness conferences are available to contributors and fans of World Moms Blog. You can register here!http://conference.heartfulnessinstitute.org/register

Please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.

Photo credit to the Heartfulness Institute.

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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#Heartfulness and Children: An Interview with Dr. Veronique Nicolai (Part – 1)

#Heartfulness and Children: An Interview with Dr. Veronique Nicolai (Part – 1)

“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Blog contributor, or reader, or  fan, please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.”

Our Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India recently interviewed Dr. Veronique Nicolai for World Moms Blog.

Part – 1 of Dr. Veronique Nicolai’s (Pediatrician and Trainer of Heartfulness Meditation) interview is published below. Part – 2 will be published on Friday.

Dr. Veronique Nicolai and Daughter

Dr. Veronique Nicolai and Daughter

Dr. Veronique Nicolai is a pediatrician from France. In 1997, she spent six months of studies in Medical Universities in Chennai, getting to know more about India from a medical perspective. She moved permanently to India in 1999 and has been living in Kodaikanal, Bangalore and Chennai.

She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness meditation. Since 2002 till date, she has contributed towards the development of an international training program that teaches Heartfulness meditation and the philosophy of Raja Yoga to practicants from all over the world.

Veronique has a strong interest in children. She compiled and illustrated two books for children to sensitize them to holistic living. As a pediatrician, she is involved as a school doctor in Chennai.

She has a daughter Shraddha (16 y.o), and a son Anand (13 y.o). Settled in Chennai, along with her husband, she calls this city as home. This pediatrician dons many hats, with interests in yoga, teaching, arts, baking and piano.

Purnima Ramakrishnan: How long have you been practicing Heartfulness Meditation?

Dr. Veronique Nicolai: I got to know about Heartfulness meditation when I was still at school, in the 12th grade. I had moved to a new city in the South of France, and my new best girl friend’s parents were meditating. We used to spend a lot of time at her house. I liked the atmosphere there and the profound conversations that we had with her parents. I found them wise and happy in their life. They were a great inspiration. Then my friend also started. By that time we both had started our medical studies and I thought she was crazy, as medical studies are very difficult. I observed her and she was doing great in her studies and in her life. It was the 90s and France was not at all opened to the idea of meditation. It was also a big step for me to take, to try something different.  I read also about meditation on the heart and in 1993, I started, just like that, almost without warning. Meditation has been my companion since, and it’s been the most amazing inner journey. I had gone into the medical field to make sure I will never cease to learn new things, all my life. With meditation, I opened an entire new field of wonder and discovery.

If the practical and immediate benefits of meditation hooked me at the beginning, it is the beauty of the inner journey that has kept me doing it.

PR: How do you think the Heartfulness Relaxation technique helps children?

VN: I don’t think it helps, I have seen it help. I like to try things first on myself, and then on my children, before I actually recommend it. We have a big rule, we paediatricians; never advise something new (I am talking mainly about new treatments), unless it’s been used on the market for many years. We have to be very careful because we deal with delicate and growing beings. So we often wait and observe before acting. In the same way, I observed how meditation works on adults. Then my kids tried relaxation. My son who is 13 is so positive about its effect. A boy of this age is not that easy to convince.

The first time he tried it, he said he felt something like a cool shower relaxing him and he felt so good. I did not have to ask him to do it. He started doing it on his own, in class, before exams and especially at night. That’s how I know it works. Because they choose to practise it, I did not have to give it to them.

In my understanding, Heartfulness has something unique. It helps children first relax their body.

There is so much stimulation all around, that some kids have trouble just sitting on a chair, and some are either impatient or fear to even keep their eyes closed for just a couple of minutes. Slowly with relaxation, they learn to let go of their fear, their anxiety.

Obviously their sleep is also improved immediately. But it goes further. We give too much importance to the body and the mind. Nutrition and health is also about the balance of the body and mind.

What about the soul? One’s deeper self?

I remember when I was a kid, I was very anxious about the purpose of life; I had a lot of questions about death. The uniqueness of Heartfulness relaxation is that, it takes the child to his heart. And there, by staying in the heart for some time and with eyes closed, the child is able to tune with his heart and get familiar with what defines him, at the core.

So with a very simple exercise, we teach the child to recognise that (s)he is not defined by what (s)he looks like, or what is outside, or her/his intelligence, but by the heart. This is for me the most important gift that we can teach a child: to find her/his inner self, make it strong and teach her/him to listen to it and have a life guided by the heart.

PR: How does the Heartfulness Relaxation and meditation help a woman be an effective and better mother?

VN: I really wish all mothers would learn this wonderful method. I loved it when I was not yet a mother, but its importance in keeping my balance has only increased when I became a mother. A woman’s well-being reflects on the entire family. So when I come home, in the evening, tired, exhausted by the day, and I know I have to cook, and two grumpy kids because it’s late, or they are just tired too, I find 20 minutes for myself to meditate. I call it my heart-spa. I come out fresh. After 20 years of practice, I am still astonished at the new energy it gives me. So I can handle dinner, grumpiness, you name it. You will see that actually, the grumpiness of your kids disappears when you yourself are fresh!

It is also a great experience to have your children wake up in the morning, when you are already fresh from your own morning meditation. It changes the way you send them to school. That’s the immediate, practical effect in a day-to-day life.

But deeper than this, there are questions about you as a woman, as a mother, that need you to pause and introspect about. And, well, I am still learning, as I experience it more and more. Meditation has been a great life companion to me! It gave me insights that no medical book or journal could have given me. I suddenly could understand, get answers, things became clear. That is the result of a deeper change, very much linked to a regular practice.

Part – 2 of Dr. veronique Nicolai’s interview will be published on Friday.

World Moms Network has teamed up with the Heartfulness Institute as a media partner for their three upcoming U.S. meditation conferences. This interview post is part of the conference promotional, by Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India.

A limited number of free seats to the Heartfulness conferences are available to contributors and fans of World Moms Blog. You can register here!http://conference.heartfulnessinstitute.org/register

Please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.

Register for the Heartfulness Conferences

Register for the Heartfulness Conferences

Photo credit to Dr. Nicolai and Heartfulness Institute.

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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Women and Spirituality: An Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Denley of #Heartfulness (Part – 2)

Women and Spirituality: An Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Denley of #Heartfulness (Part – 2)

“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Blog contributor, or reader, or  fan, please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.”

Part – 1 of Dr. Elizabeth Denley’s (Trainer, Heartfulness Institute) interview is published here. Part – 2 is below.

Our Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India recently interviewed Dr. Denley for World Moms Blog.

Purnima Ramakrishnan: Generally women are very emotional people, how to ignore that, when trying to become more spiritual, or tuned within into the heart?

Dr. Elizabeth Denley: You are right. I noticed a huge change in myself. I think the practice itself is the solution for this. It is in our nature to easily get hurt by what other people do. We easily feel the pains of our children; we worry about them, when they are struggling as teenagers, when they are facing peer pressure. If our husbands have problems at work, we carry them, just like we do for ours. We have hormonal cycles. Our monthly cycles affect our emotions. All these things are there.

In Heartfulness Meditation, we have this process called “cleaning”, I read this article written by one of your writers, Sophia from USA about the benefits of Heartfulness Guided Cleaning process. This cleaning process can be at the end of the day. I became an ace cleaner. And I am glad.

We also clean out emotional responses. If one hangs on to self pity, worry, hurt, it eats her up. What we do is, we recognise our emotional responses, and we let them pass. Worry, anxiety, hormonal changes you cannot switch it off. So, observe it. Clean it. Relax, breathe. Just take a pause.

A point comes in the spiritual journey of a human being, where work is done on the spiritual anatomy of the heart. At that time, these things do not have the same impact. One has more poise, and a more balanced way of responding to the world.

I do get angry, but the intensity is lesser these days. I am able to manage it better. All this has happened as a result of the practice of meditation and the cleaning process.

PR: How does spirituality empower women?

ED: I was part of the feminist movement in the 70s in Australia. When I came back to Australia, I was active in the government funded women’s health centres and extremely involved in women and their roles in modern western society. A similar wave is happening in India, right now, as I can see. Young women are getting educated; they are having careers, balancing family, and trying to live a fulfilled life.

What is feminism?
I think it is the ability to love, ability to create harmony, in the family, and country. Masculine roles are much more assertive. Getting ‘there’ and achieving in an ego driven way, whereas female role in any organization is a harmonizing role.

I don’t mean women can’t or should not do. I mean that they can do much more effectively. The feminine way of coordinating, harmonizing, unifying, of loving, that is one of the important roles of feminine, I think so. Women have a huge role to play in society.

Once we start valuing these important qualities in ourselves as women, the society starts valuing us. Mother is the glue in a family. Behind a man is a successful woman. A CEO in an organization, or a school, org, or an Institute – everywhere there are these Hidden roles! They may not necessarily be at the top or forefront. A woman has to value this unique quality in her. When she starts valuing herself, everyone around her starts valuing her too.

Society functions most effectively when man and woman harmonize and support each other, when they complement each other, rather than see each other as competitors, as more empowered or less empowered comparatively.

A work place has to have a nice balance between men and women. Men and women need to be there for each other. The education system has many teachers as women. They support each other. A school system is always a strong unit. The corporate sector is slowly catching up with this. So these are some examples of the importance of female role.

Now this word “empowering” is to allow a woman to feel good about the feminine, instead of making her feel bad about being born as a woman. But if it is sense of power, then we are barking up a wrong tree. This sense of “empowerment” is wrong for men too.

According to me, to have “power”, that is to control or influence others is not the way forward to humanity. To do that would be a destructive way forward. The masculine way forward was like that, and the feminist movement happened because of that.

Women meditating

Women meditating

So, I think empowering women is to bring back the balance, to value, to cherish, to support and complement the female roles in all cultures, society.

For example, somebody should not be embarrassed to say she is a housewife. That is a sad thing to happen. Women raising children and supporting her husband is as important a role, to being a CEO of an organization. Raising kids is  the future of humanity.

Until we start to change our viewpoints, we are not empowering women.

PR: What is the role of women in spirituality with regards to her family, community and society? And how to fulfil that?

ED: Spirituality is nothing but giving. Creating unity, harmony and love are associated with spirituality. As a mother, we always give. It is our function. How can u have children and not give? Even to bear a child, you give up your individuality. You wake up in the middle of the night, EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT, to feed your baby. You don’t sacrifice. It is a natural part of giving. We do everything to support the child.

This is spirituality. We are in a better place than our brothers to embrace spirituality – to give unconditionally, and with love.

PR: How to strike a balance between being confident and feeling serene and content within?

ED: In spirituality we are interested in excelling. We do everything we would like to do. We don’t want overconfidence. We don’t want egotism. Humility is important for spiritual growth. Humility is not feeling bad about oneself. What I mean is, “I see my place in the world. There are other people who are greater. Everyone has their place.” A garden has many flowers, not just one.

Humility is that little plant or flower knowing that there are other beautiful things too, but nevertheless its presence also makes the garden beautiful. So humility brings its own confidence. With an attitude to wonder, a willingness to grow and change, one gets a joyous confidence that the universe will teach me what I have to learn.When I integrate confidence and humility, I can do the best I can, at all times.

PR: If there is one message you would like to share with women who have started practising Heartfulness Meditation, what would that be?

ED: Take interest! That is the most important thing. You can find solutions for anything when you are interested. Evolve to become a better mother, a wife, a human being. You, as a group of women are taking so much interest in maintaining this blog, and unifying women across the world, and you contribute with your interest and energy. It is so popular, and there are so many women looking up to it, learning through it, and it is changing lives of women across the world. So, interest is the most important thing.

Take interest in Heartfulness Meditation, and observe it changing your lives.

If you would like to meet Dr. Denley, you can connect with her through social media, email her or meet her in person at any of the US Heartfulness conferences coming up in June! She is chairing one of the breakout sessions in Detroit and will speak about “Heartfulness Education for Creating a Resilient, Well-Grounded Student.” She will interact with the audience and outline the educational initiatives of the Heartfulness Movement, such as the Conscious Living Program, U-Connect etc., and their impact so far.

A limited number of free seats to the Heartfulness conferences are available to contributors and fans of World Moms Blog. You can register here! http://conference.heartfulnessinstitute.org/register

Register for the Meditation Conferences

Register for the Meditation Conferences

Please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.

This is an original interview of Dr. Elizabeth Denley to World Moms Blog by Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan.

Photo Credit: Heartfulness Institute

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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INDIA: A World Mom Reports from Catastrophic Floods in #Chennai #ChennaiRains #ChennaiFloods

INDIA: A World Mom Reports from Catastrophic Floods in #Chennai #ChennaiRains #ChennaiFloods

Chennai Flood Rescue

A woman being rescued from her house in Chennai, India.

My family lives in a low-lying area in Chennai, and we are, unfortunately, in the direct line of the reservoir’s outflow. We have been deeply affected by the #ChennaiFloods of 2015.

I’ve listened to to my son’s pleas to go back to his school which has been rained out for over a month. I have been heartbroken and in shock from the news of the many who have died around us from the floods. Helicopters overhead have dropped off supplies to my mother’s neighborhood. It began with a cyclone, and now the floods of Chennai, India have left the region where we live, in a crisis.

The school of the photographer's daughter and buses under water in Chennai due to extreme flooding.

The school of the photographer’s daughter and buses under water in Chennai due to extreme flooding.

It was a wrong call. The people keep on saying this over and over again. In the newspapers. In social media. Chennai has had the highest rains in 100 years, but that is not what has caused our city’s problems. Lapses and error in human judgement, unplanned and predatory city development, high rise buildings on dried up river and lake beds, clogged drain water pipes, and a very poor civic administration are what led to our current catastrophe.

And the reservoirs and dams were opened up at the wrong time. This was a disgrace!

Sedimentary debris left behind by flood waters in Chennai, India.

Sedimentary debris left behind by flood waters in Chennai, India.

The government had adequate warning from the weather department, but failed to respond in time. Who is responsible for this? One person’s bad judgment or that of one state government department led to this event which has been called a national disaster and crisis. Over 500 are dead, as bodies are still being recovered from receding waters, with over 1.8 million people losing their homes and possessions, and a net worth loss of $3 billion to the Indian Economy.

My city, fondly called Singara Chennai (Beautiful Chennai) in my native Tamil language, has now been aptly called Sink-aagara Chennai (Sinking Chennai) all over Social Media.

Dead bodies are covered as women mourn. Over 500 people have lost their lives in the Chennai Flood.

Dead bodies are covered as women mourn. Over 500 people have lost their lives in the Chennai Flood.

The damage is colossal. I am still numb reading and listening to accounts of dead bodies emerging from receding waters and closed highways because of the river in spate. Then there was the opening of Chennai International Airport after a long closure, the naval war ships coming to rescue people from the Chennai seaport, reported deaths in hospitals because of power outages, and the dead piling up and decomposing. Pregnant women were being airlifted from high rise apartments.

During all this, there was just this crazy thought in our hearts as parents, that our son should survive this.

It is our hope that our son survives all this mess, the bureaucracy, and live in a beautiful, safe world.

A helicopter evacuates a woman who needs medical care in Chennai, India.

A helicopter evacuates a person who needs medical care in Chennai, India.

On the night of the reservoir opening up, we went over to our neighbour’s place in the first floor (in India the first floor is above the ground floor), because of the fear of flood waters entering our homes on the ground floor. It was with great pain that we left our home (for a single night), which we had built with all of our love and life savings, at a time when we had nowhere else to go. It was far too emotional.

I thought, it’s not the floods, not the waters, not being left homeless or penniless, but it is this great fear in our hearts of  the questions. “What life are we leaving for our son? How are we leaving the earth, for all generations to come? What is happening with humanity right here, before our eyes? How did we, as a community, allow this to happen?”

Yes, the deluge of rain was unforeseen, an act of nature – but Chennai was left unprepared for it.

Left unprepared, because of the subconscious feelings and acts of violence, hatred, prejudice, jealousy, in the hearts of men. Left unprepared, because of the bending of rules and flouting of norms in the name of development of urban land. Left unprepared, because of the nonchalance on the part of governmental officials in the event a flood warning is issued. Left unprepared, because of the switching off of phones of the city police officers for emergency call-ins. I could go on.

We have watched apocalyptic movies like “2012″ and “Independence Day.” And, this week, we found ourselves living it.

As we waded through the flood waters to our neighbour’s place on the first floor, my son jokingly said, “Is this how it was like, for Noah, during the great biblical flooding?” We all humored him and laughed with a pain in our hearts.

A school library in Chennai wrecked by the flooding.

A school library in Chennai that was wrecked by the flooding.

I keep my head up and continue with the strenth of these words from a speech given by my spiritual friend, Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachri. It is almost a year since he passed on, but his legacy and love, lives on in Heartfulness Meditation, which he has left behind.

“We have a duty to our race (human beings); We have a duty to the world. We are not just nationalistic, which is very narrow. We are responsible for the universe. One problem in Japan – the tsunami, a problem with their atomic [power] generator and the whole world is shivering. Which wind will blow what towards us? A flu somewhere, and everybody is sick; at all airports there are tests. Today, it is not your country or my country – it is my world. Anything happening anywhere can affect us. Bomb blasts in Mumbai. “Oh, But I am in Chennai.” Where next?

It all stems from the violence in the individual mind of every one of us here. We have violent thoughts. We have thoughts of acquisition, of greed, of power. Our politicians lead the country in this mad race towards destruction. We follow. They want votes based on religion, we are willing. “Who will vote for me?” So in the newspapers you find suddenly the Muslims are pampered, they are given special facilities – for the Muslim vote. In another area, it is the Christian vote. Nobody talks of the genuine vote, the legal vote, the moral vote – and we are prey to all of them.” 

“The Veda (ancient sanskrit scriptures) says, let only noble thoughts come to me from everywhere in the universe (aa no bhadraah kratavo yantu vishvatah).” 

“Always look at the heart whenever you are afraid, whenever you are going off track. Babuji Maharaj always said, “Don’t trust this head. It is only a thinking thing. It will give you information. It cannot tell you what is right or wrong. When you are in doubt, refer to the heart.”

The heart never misleads. The heart always tells you the right thing to do. It is way beyond morals, ethics and judgements. It always tells you how to go about peace, love and joy. The heart is the way. We could have done better. We MUST do better.

As a parent, as a mother, as a human being, I want to leave behind a just world where serenity and tranquility prevails.

 

This is an original post from our UNCA Award Winning World Mom and Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan.

Her contributions to World Moms Blog can be found here

Photo credits to  Savitha, Purnima’s sister-in-law. 

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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