Hey there, friend. Thanks for dropping by. And thank you for bringing two delightful companions: your enthusiasm and your compassion.
As always, this is a power-packed volume. A couple of times, you might be forced to ask yourself: “Is this really true?” Yes, it is. We verify stories before giving them a pedestal here. Rest assured, each story is as real as it is extraordinary.
So, without further ado, enjoy!
News in the public domain
Have you heard of Mountain Man?
Dashrath Manjhi used to be just another poor landless labourer of Gehlour in Bihar. But in 1962, tragedy struck: his wife died as he was ferrying her to the nearest hospital in the town of Vazirganj which was 70km away by road. Today, the distance to the same town has been reduced to a fraction. How come? Well, Manjhi decided to tame a 300-foot hill situated close to his village and create a motorable road for everybody. And he did this singlehandedly by working on it for 22 years! His mantra during this mission: break one stone at a time. His vision: if one man toils well, thousands will benefit.
This brief news documentary begins with a comparison of the Taj Mahal with Mountain Man Manjhi’s road. By the time you finish watching this clip, you’re bound to agree that the comparison isn’t fair. To the Taj Mahal, that is!
Few of us can transform a personal romantic love into an all-pervading compassion for humanity. Manjhi’s desire to ensure that no other person suffers his wife’s fate is rare and extraordinary. Is it any wonder that Bollywood is making a movie on his life?
Is it possible to create a viable enterprise in which around 95% of the workforce is differently abled? Of course it is. And here’s the story of how Dhruv Lakra of Mirakle Couriers made it happen with the help of some amazing young talent.
A message from the world’s oldest Holocaust Survivor
“Every day, life is beautiful!” 109-year-old Alice Herz begins and then keeps you hooked through 11 minutes of cloyingly satisfying footage.
Despite experiencing the cruelty of Nazis firsthand, she has refused to lose trust in humanity. “I’m in love with people,” she says. And with music.
While writing Bangalored: The Expat Story, I learnt that a European Jew lady, a survivor of a concentration camp, lived in Bangalore. I tried my best to get her interview, but she refused. All these years, I have felt a tinge of regret at not being able to discover that lady’s story. Today, that regret has vanished, thanks to Alice Herz.
Meditation transforms roughest San Francisco schools
What can a little “Quiet Time” achieve in neighbourhoods where “gunfire is as common as birdsong”? Well, according to this report in SFGate, schools in and around San Francisco are discovering the many benefits of meditation. Every since its implementation, every indicator of academic performance is on the rise.
Shall we declare that here’s another positive idea whose time has come?
Then a convict, now a writer
A couple of weeks ago, we learnt about a domestic help who is also a bestselling writer. On the heels of that story comes the saga of Manoranjan Byapari.
He began life as a vagabond and petty criminal and reformed himself to become a rickshaw puller before a chance encounter gave him the opportunity to write. I found it endearing that Mahasweta Devi has a role to play in this tale.
Polio-free for 3 years
Earlier this month, India completed three years as a polio-free nation. Despite extreme odds, our administration has done it. While congratulating the campaign’s brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, let’s not forget the tireless work done by lakhs of minions who ensured that we reached this proud milestone! How cool are we?!?
Before blaming social media for robotizing our lives and other evils, please… do have a look at this amazing young woman’s story. She has a voice so unique… well, let me not reveal anything more. This one is for you to unwrap!
So many of you – my friends – send me links to stories that feature in this newsletter. Thank you so much! It’s your enthusiasm and support that drives this small mission. And I want to thank two people in particular: Priyamvada Muddapur and Ashish Chaturvedi. Both these friends have, without fail, contributed at least one story idea to every volume of Positivity Weekly. Thank you, dost.
With friends like these, is it any wonder that I have a problem of plenty? Each week, I eliminate or postpone the appearance of stories. This development tells me two things. One: the world is filled with that much goodness. And two: I am surrounded with such reliable friends!
Till next time, take care. And I hope you will find many reasons to stay positive.