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Friday, 7 February 2014

Man of Steel!

He's has always been a great inspiration for me. Meet Joginder Sing Saluja, one of my mentors :)

Ever been upset with your life? Ever introspected yourself on what you are doing to make it worthwhile and blissful? Joginder Singh (27), resident of Dilshad Garden, Delhi, is a superbly-abled and lives each day in the best possible manner.

Joginder, affectionately called Bittoo paji, a differently-abled yet better than the abled, has earned numerous titles in paralympic power-lifting and body building pageants. He contracted polio when he was just a few months old, which consequently, left both of his legs impaired. He had already undergone ten operations by the time he turned 14. No doubt, he has had a real troublesome childhood. But, not letting himself down, he treated all the hurdles that he came across in life as springboards and windows to a better future. He is determined and meticulous for whatever he does. Also, he is a man with an enormously optimistic outlook to whatever comes his way.

“The routine surgeries continued to depress me as much as they could. This was the time when I gave a thought to body-building so that I could come out of sufferings and rather earn something really big and different in life.” He managed to overcome his weakness by gathering enough courage and willpower to hit the gym. But all that he had to face proved that the world, unfortunately, is not fair enough to each and every one. He was ridiculed and made fun of on the very first day of his gym-ing sessions. Proud and enthusiastic Joginder says, “You don't have to lose your real self in the search of acceptance by others. People made fun of me when I held the dumbbells for the first time. Their giggles and laughs instilled in me the passion to work even harder. I can now lift about 200 kg bench-press. Assi ta cheetein haan, kise toh nahi darde (I am as tough as a cheetah. I fear nothing/none).”

Soon after completing his graduation from SGTB Khalsa College, Delhi University, at 22 years of age, he opened up his own gym at Vivek Vihar. However, he provides absolutely free training for differently-abled people at his gym. Obstacles are things a person see when he takes his eyes off his goal. “The time I was mocked because of my disability, I had this gut feeling and used to daydream about opening up a special gym of my own. I fantasized of owning a gym, where differently-abled person would not be laughed upon. I accomplished my dream at the age of 22,” says Bittoo, the man whose eyes are an ocean that reflect his dreams and desires.

He has earned a lot in life. At the age of eighteen, he is the youngest to win the title of Mr. India in the category of Para-power lifting so far. Ever since he won this pageant, he never looked back. As a result of his hard work and immense dedication, he has been titled Mr. India in Para-power lifting for six times. He has also won many other awards and titles in various categories, the most prominent of them being the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities from President Pratibha Patil - World Disability Day - under the 'Role Model' category, Real Life Hero title (2012) from Aamir Khan, Role Model Award (2013) by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The list of the accolades that he has been honored with is never-ending. Additionally, he has been the counselor for differently-abled persons at Delhi University for seven years now. Above all, Joginder is the first differently-abled person to get selected as a health consultant (fitness trainer) at Central Reserve Police Force.

Bittoo is currently practicing hard so as to achieve all that he aspires for. Simultaneously, he is also running two gyms named ‘Workout Wonders’ at Vivek Vihar and Yojana Vihar. He aims at winning Mr. World title in body building. He is just waiting for the right time to come. Apart from this, he wants to open up institutions where he could counsel the differently abled by delivering motivational lectures and providing them with free of cost training.


The purpose of life is not just to be happy. In fact, happiness comes from your own actions. The kind of life that Joginder leads is a perfect example of a life really well lived. There is no doubt he is full of life and vigour. When asked about his definition of life, Bittoo replies, “Life is to be practical, principled, constructive, admirable as well as benevolent, and to make some difference that you have lived and lived well. And the happiness automatically comes your way.”

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Dance is the love of her life...

There is no doubt that dance is the hidden language of the soul. Meet Ameesha Tandon, a very young, gorgeous and magnetic resident of Faridabad who enthralls everybody by dancing her heart and soul out...

This little 15 years old girl, Ameesha Tandon began dancing more than a decade ago, at the tender age of 2, under the direction of her dance teacher, Bobby Sharma. Various dance and music genres fascinated her right from toddlerhood. Ameesha’s parents and dance instructor have dedicated their life for shaping her into a dancer and managed to achieve their goal with the great blessings of Lord Almighty.

“By the time Ameesha had turned 2, she used to dance on every musical tune that she would hear. Ameesha used to dance so enthusiastically that I arranged a dance trainer for her, at home,” says the happy mother. 
Her keen interest and dedication coupled with sincerity and innate talent helped her carve a niche in dance as well as music All these qualities are very well depicted in her actions, gestures, body language and performances. While telling about how she started, Ameesha shares, “Bobby Sharma who also owns ‘Nach Baliye Nach” dance institute at Faridabad has always been a perfect guru, mentor, motivator throughout my journey in dance. I have been learning from him when since the time I was not even 2 years old.”

She is blessed with natural flair for the art, and relentless devotion. She delivered her very first onstage dance performance at Nach Baliye Nach when she was just three and a half year old. She danced so ravishingly that she completely mesmerised the audience. “I remember how she was extremely excited about her first performance in a solo dance competition. There were many contestants but she didn’t hesitate at all. Her confidence and hard work made her bag the first position,” says the proud father.

Endowed with a pleasing stage presence, Ameesha always brings to her audience a refreshing presentation of dance forms like Contemporary, Bollywood, Hip-hop, Salsa and Freestyle, exhibited through her strong sense of rhythm, scintillating dance movements and lively expressions. Her abilities were recognised very early and she has been the recipient of numerous awards both at school and state levels, apart from having won all round appreciation as well as accolades from the press and public.

Owing to her long years of experience as a performer and her deep understanding of the aesthetics of the dance form, Ameesha has had attained top positions in many reality shows. “I have won seventy one awards in total. Some of them include 5th Runner up award in Boogie Woogie Kids Championship’10, 1st Prize in Little Champs’07, Special Prize in Shri Krishna Films International. Above all, I have had reached up to national level in Sanoni Sitaron Ki Khoj,” tells the champ.

Apart from dancing, she has profound interest in singing, sketching and writing. A class X student at MVN Aravalli School, Faridabad, she has one goal in mind: to pass on this wonderful art to the young and upcoming. To accomplish this, she wishes to become a renowned choreographer and open up a dance institute of her own.

Ameesha hopes that as she strives towards greater excellence in dancing, her passion for Contemporary and other forms of art will endow her with courage to break boundaries and widen her horizons in all avenues of life. She acknowledges her sincere thanks to her Guru for his expert guidance; her inspiration, Shri Prabhu Deva and her parents who have identified and greatly encouraged her in making her dreams come true. She also greatly appreciates her school principal and other teachers without whose cooperation and support, pursuing her passion would have been impossible.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

She's so full of life and imagination...

Welcome to the life of this multi-tasking woman. Amankshi Rawat, a resident of Golf Course, Gurgaon, is an independent young lady blessed with immense talent and amazing skills..

When she was younger, Amankshi used to worry why she hadn't found her 'calling' yet. But after all these years, she's learned that her purpose is multi-faceted, and she loves it that way! Today, she’s a painter, ceramicist, actor, dancer, a marketing professional and what not!

Not all skills are inherited. Quite a few of them are acquired through persistence and hard work. And she has got them all! She was exposed to the rich diversity in arts since toddlerhood. Remembering about the time when she was a little girl, Amankshi tells, “My mother used to tell me about the various different forms of art while she pursued her degree in arts. This instilled in me a deep sense of love for colors and a strong bond with various elements of life. She used to maintain a very stimulating environment, perfect for an aspiring artist.” 

She began to take formal training in painting & sketching when she was in class 5 and continued till the time she completed her schooling. “I lived my passion of painting along with my education & the corporate job of marketing professional for 10+ years,” tells the very zealous Ms. Rawat. It was only in year 2012 that she observed and participated in the pottery making under the guidance of the well-known ceramicist, Rekha Bajpai, who has also always been her mentor. Under her supervision, she re-started her formal training, this time in pottery. This was followed by successful attempt of dancing & theatrical experience in acting & directing.

She’s a graduate in Biotechnology and post graduate in Marketing. About her hitherto experience Amankshi says, “I wasn’t in an art or cultural college, so I wasn't supposed to become an artist, but then, I used to figure out the various possibilities and found that I had the possibilities to go on from that point, to work as an artist. During my pottery making workshop, last year, I understood that more as a description for the possibilities of how you work, how you live and how you bring that together in a more or less concentrated form.”
She believes that art is one’s personal gift to find the true essence of life. And for it, the medium doesn't matter but the intent.

Amankshi believes in working dedicatedly until and unless she attains perfection. This is what has made her earn various accolades. On asked about her participation in different art events, she tells, “I have had achieved various accomplishments & certificates in painting. Also, I had once got selected in collaborative exhibition of paintings in 1999, which was organised by Art & Cultural Society, Bareilly. Recently, I participated in the 18th All India Studio Pottery Exhibition by AIFACS in 2013.” 

This young lady also owns a venture of her own. She describes it as an assortment of creations! Her mission lies in providing new platforms to talented working professionals, amateur artists and passionate individuals from all walks of life.

She is currently working on a pottery group show and is also busy directing and acting in theatre plays at a famous production house. Along with this, she’s working through her venture on ‘Pub Theatre’, a concept to produce re-imagined plays in non-traditional venues. The expected project includes executing an ‘Artist’s Haat’, a flea market and a solo exhibition named ‘Lotus-sutra.’

One great work out of a hundred bad ones, that's inspiration.  Asked about whom she admires, Amankshi tells, “I only owe 3 people something in my life, Rekha Bajpai in ceramics, Saurav Padhi and Mrinal Dhar in theatre”.

Travelling & photography are two of her other hobbies. “Whenever I get an opportunity to visit a new place, whether it is a village, city, mountains or seaside, I try not to miss it. Exploring new places and capturing beautiful moments of life give me immense satisfaction and pleasure. I aspire and wish to learn from every walk of life,” concludes the very lively Amankshi.  

Saturday, 1 February 2014

In pursuit of his dreams...

He's a dreamer, he loves to explore new heights!

Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery; this is what Nikhil Trivedi, a multitalented resident of Sohna Road believes in. He loves to explore all that comes his way. He’s a man full of enthusiasm and wisdom.

It is believed that the spirit of adventure glorifies and enriches the lives of the people. Nikhil, very bold, daring and passionate, discovered his love for adventure when he was in his teen years. “I have been a very mischievous, curious and adventurous being since childhood. It was only during my college days that I got various great opportunities of getting involved in adventure activities and thus, I could get right exposure to trekking, mountaineering, rock climbing and other adventure sports. This also provided me a huge platform to interact with people from around the world,” shares this very exploratory young man who loves to experiment with his life.

An alumnus of Christ Church College, CSJM University Kanpur, Nikhil, is now a part of the Merchant Navy. Even after taking up a job which is full of perils, challenges and adventures, Nikhil never gave up on his passion and dreams to travel to high altitudes.

With every new challenge we learn something new, and that's the most enthralling part about it which keeps the zeal and interest inside each one of us awakened and pushes us to go beyond any obstacles and limits. The very courageous Nikhil has climbed many peaks. His motive does not lie in just mountaineering but to get in touch with the astonishingly beautiful nature and people from different cultures. He believes that it is more of an intellectual challenge and not simply a physical one. “The strong urge to explore and live by the raw elements and civilizations of nature as well as the curiosity to try to understand the real meaning of life thrills me to the depth of my inner self,” shares Trivedi with glittering eyes.

A free-willing, fearless, and adventure-loving young man, Nikhil always dreamt of becoming a mountaineer. By dint of his hard work and sheer determination, Nikhil Trivedi lived his dream when he successfully summited the Stok Kangri (elevation 6,153 m (20,182 feet) which is the highest mountain in the Stok Range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region of northwest India. His expedition to Chadar Frozen River Trek in February this year has been his latest voyage. It is a trek over a frozen river in Ladakh. Average mean temperature during the day is minus 10. In the night, temperatures fall to minus 20 and 25. Ice forms, breaks and changes colour on the river every few hours. Additionally, he has explored different places like Kedartal, Roopkund in Uttarakhand, Lake SatopanthKuari Pass trekMarkha Valley in Leh Ladakh region and has also camped at Deoria Tal. And he would be travelling to the Nubra Valley in October, this year.

It is the raw beauty of the nature which inspires him the most. He wants to live and feel every single bit of nature. This is why he is so inclined towards the expeditions to various hill stations and places of scenic beauty. Asked about his inspirations, Nikhil shares, “I am lucky that I've got two of the finest guides, Jai Singh and Santosh who taught me the golden principles of a successful expedition and also accompanied me to various places.”

While telling about the difficulty that he faces when he plans to set out on any expedition, Nikhil says, “The biggest hurdle which I, or any other independent mountaineer faces is that of seeking large number of permits and permissions before any expedition. These rules are important and surely are a must but it’s time they need to be simplified.

Apart from being a pure adventure-lover, Nikhil has various other hobbies and interests. “I enjoy interacting with people from different cultures, reading biographies, cooking, and capturing each and every priceless moment by photographing it,” concludes this zesty, high-spirited man.