Find out how this young law student is improving legal awareness in Maharashtra

What would you expect a fresh graduate to be like? Enjoying life, hanging out with friends, being optimistic right? Abhida Niphade is all that and much more. As a founder of Being Lawgical, and the youngest Global Youth Ambassador she has a lot going on in her life. This third-year law graduate, is a Global Youth Ambassador at ‘A World At School’ where Mala Yousafzai is also serving as Global Youth Ambassador. Abhida has worked with foundations like His Holiness Dalai Lama Foundation and Sahyog Trust-Humanistic Proactive Org.

Abhida Niphade, Global Youth Ambassador

How did you decide to take up law?

I come from a small town Shrirampur from the Ahmednagar district. With my rural background, I had seen a lot of oppression, poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance about the law. Having a girl child was considered a burden in my town. Fortunately, I was born and brought up in a very broad-minded family. Although I was a single child and a girl, I was never denied any opportunity by my parents. Later, for want of higher education, I traveled to Pune and nearby areas and this shaped my outlook towards society. I was a literature student when I came in touch with an NGO – ROSHNI and working with them, made me realize that empowering people with the knowledge of the law is the need of the hour.

What is Being Lawgical?

Being Lawgical is a non-profit organization working towards empowering people with the knowledge of the law. We work with the vulnerable and underprivileged to educate them about the various provisions of law. We want to convince people that law is not something created to harass them but to empower them. Being Lawgical believes that a good way to empower justice is to legally empower people to demand it. Currently, we are primarily working with women, downtrodden, underprivileged and disabled.

legal literacy session in progress

Abhida taking a legal literacy session

What does being a Global Youth Ambassador mean?

The title ‘Global Youth Ambassador’ at ‘A World at School’  has brought many opportunities with it. The appointment is for the duration of three years. The initiative is run by Sarah Brown and Gordon Brown, The UN special envoy for Global Education and former Prime Minister of UK. The main responsibility I earned is to mobilize young people to stand up for education and make their voices heard in their communities. I can organize local or national advocacy related events and campaigns. From the organization, I will receive all the support needed to mobilize others for acting like an access to the global campaigning toolkit and the support of a large network of like-minded young people from all over the world. I am getting an opportunity to work with great personalities such as Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, renowned singer Shakira and many more like-minded people. Working with an international network is itself is a learning experience.

As the youth of India, how do you see a future aspirational India?

I think ‘youth’ is not a number but a feeling. Anyone with passion in their heart and a clear vision will contribute to an aspirational India. I believe in ‘Karma Siddhanta’ and believe that it is time for us to invoke that knowledge. Working with honesty and integrity for the goal will certainly bring results. We as a country have great potential and the youth are highly motivated. I believe we can achieve a lot if we are knowledgeable and educated in understanding our rights and duties – the law of the land.

A doctor who is inspiring a town #HappyDoctor’sDay


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Recently I traveled to Sirsi, Karnataka via a road trip. A beautiful town strategically located near many local tourist attractions, it is a must-visit for all those looking for a relaxed vacation in nature’s lap.

When I was there, I met Dr. Ravikiran Patwardhan a third generation, Ayurvedic doctor. A simple dispensary and clinic as an extension of his house, it has been operational for nearly 100 years. I even toured their Botanical Garden that was created by his great-grandfather with Ayurvedic plants essential for making medicines. With the foresight of avoiding a shortfall of ingredients while making medicines, his great-grandfather established this garden. 

Donating blood for the with time

Today, Dr. Ravikiran Patwardhan is carrying forward the same legacy of helping his town with various schemes and ideas that he has implemented. When I visited his clinic, I saw a fat diary on the table. It was divided into various blood groups. Feeling curious I enquired about the same, to know that this is a community help blood donor list. Whenever someone is in need of blood, they come to him and register themselves as a future donor when called upon. They are then given at least 5 working contacts of the people from the blood group they want. The person requiring the blood can then contact these people and they come and donate blood. I found this idea extremely simple yet powerful. A kind of barter system which helps the society as a whole. This list has saved numerous lives, and a testimony of that can be seen in appreciation and feedback that he has received.

Another interesting idea that I saw was, a prescription which had all the emergency services and their numbers listed at the back. He explained that prescriptions are usually never thrown away by patients and hence having a list of emergency services at the back of it helps patients when they need it the most. This too is a powerful idea as the back of the prescription pad is usually wasted, and having these numbers there is the best utilization of space. Many sponsors too have come forward to bear the cost of printing in return for a small advertising space.

As I got talking with him, he explained that apart from this, a few doctors from the town have come together to donate blood and hold workshops. The workshop’s are held on various topics like de-addiction, drug abuse, home remedies and future planning.

This doctor’s day, a salute to such numerous souls who are going beyond their call of duty and  working towards betterment of society. #HappyDoctorsDay

How I became a Chartered Accountant?

The ultimate degree in the world of Finance is CA. Being a Chartered Accountant is a dream for many young commerce undergrads, however, a very small percentage of it gets to make this dream a reality. One of the many reasons for drop outs from CA courses is that not many know the extent of hard work and determination required to complete the course. For some, they do not have the temperament required. Wouldn’t it be great to have a clear picture about such courses before you get into it?

Here is Shruti Chiplunkar, a CA who completed her course in 2016. She walks you through her journey of becoming a CA.

C.A Shruti Chiplunkar

  1. Explain your journey from 12th to finally becoming a CA

I completed my Class 12 from Vidya Mandir College, Bengaluru in March 2011. I cleared my CPT in June 2011 and started preparing for the next level. Thereafter, I cleared my IPCE (Integrated Professional Competence Examination) in May 2012. I did my articleship with a CA firm in Bengaluru from August 2012-2015.I cleared my CA Final Group 2 in November 2015 and CA Final Group 1 in May 2016.

In these 5 years, there have been many happy and not-so-happy moments too. While the hectic class-work-study schedule takes a toll on our mind, the articleship period also helps us to foster new friendships, learn the way a business works and also prepares us to enter the corporate world.

2. What prompted you to take up CA course?

The Chartered Accountancy course is well known for its maintenance of high standards, both professionally and ethically. It also mandates us to do a 3-year articleship to be eligible for writing final exams. The reputation of the Institute, along with the study-as-you-work model interested me. Also, my keen interest in management and economics prompted me to take up this course.

3.  Any role models or inspirations?

Definitely! Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is a powerhouse of inspiration. Remembering his quotes actually helped me motivate myself and overcome my failures.

My role model for all times is Ms. Uma Venkitraman, my Class 12  Business Studies teacher. She not only taught us commerce, she also taught us to look beyond the realms of bookish knowledge. She has been with me through my happy and sad moments. Whatever I am today, is only because of her.

4. How different was the actual study material than what you had expected?

I took up CA after my 12th and did not go the graduation way. So when I initially had a look at the study material for the Common Proficiency Test (CPT), I felt it was much tougher than the Class 12 syllabus. Also, when I joined the course in 2011, I had to actually get hold of the hard copies of the books to have an idea about the subject(s). But these days, it is all available on the ICAI website. I would advise students taking up the course to go through the online study material beforehand.

Moreover, I realised later that the Institute also conducts Management and Communication Skills Programmes for CA students – surely a wonderful way to connect with your peers and overcome communication obstacles. So, there is more to the course than the actual study material published.

5. Students wishing to take up CA should be ready for….?

Smartwork and Determination! If your hardwork is channelized through a consistent schedule, you can manage things smartly, in case of CA exams. The syllabus is not only very huge, it is also dynamic – The Companies Act 2013 has come into effect, GST will be implemented next year, there are various Rules, Court judgements etc. So it does take effort from our side to keep up-to-date with the latest changes.

Why I am stressing on determination is that, I am of a view that CA exams are a mind game – either you conquer the exam fear, or the exam fear will conquer you. There is no intermediate option. A single failure should not shatter one’s hopes. Definitely one can take some days off to introspect as to what went wrong with the exams, but the very important point is to accept it and strategize for the upcoming examinations. People can show us sympathy, or even encourage us, but the determination to achieve our goals must come from within  – and this holds good in every aspect of life.

On a lighter note, be ready to slog, folks!!

6.  What was your study schedule?

I started studying around 4 months before CA Final. Initially I started with a schedule of 5-6 hours a day, since it takes time to adjust to a new study pattern. I had made a schedule of preparation of all 8 subjects for the first 3 months. I gradually increased my study pattern from 6-8-10-12-13 hours a day before the exams began. The last one month was devoted only for revision and mock papers.

Since the syllabus is too vast, it is very important to revise and keep in touch with the subject; otherwise all the hardwork is of no use. It is also equally important to read the study material and manuals given by the ICAI. It is crucial for understanding the concepts.

I would take up two subjects in a day- one practial oriented and one theoretical; This helps in breaking the monotony and also freshening up the mind.

I can conclude by saying – there have been mentors, my wellwishers, there have also been people who criticized me; but my heartfelt thanks to all of them for building that Never-Say-Die attitude in me.

This post was originally posted on PAL

Who is a Soulmate?

After I read the Wow prompt, I did a little online research about the word ‘Soulmate’. I know what you are thinking, “You don’t know what Soulmate is?” That’s unthinkable! All celebs use this word freely for all those who aren’t classified as ‘enemies’. Come Feb and all those trying to sell Love will use ‘Soulmates’ as the ultimate deal sealer! To tell you the fact, I was a copywriter and I used the word liberally, whenever we were marketing anything romantic!

soulmate

Frankly, I never gave much thought to the word. It was just another word in the repository. But the prompt got me thinking, what does Soulmate really mean? The dictionary gave me a straight forward answer- “A person ideally suited to another as a close friend or a romantic partner.” But this meaning didn’t make much sense. Who defines ideally suited? Also we usually have a few close friends not one and our romantic partners could be different from our typical circle of friends. Also what about the mushy definition, shoved down our throats by Bollywood where we have this one friend or romantic partner and that person is supposed to be our soulmate! What happens after breakup?

By now, all the die-hard romantics are horrified and have decided that I am some shrewd, cold hearted spinster who has never found love! Let me assure you all is well at my end, but I never really was a dreamy romantic. I prefer things to be real. So this concept of one person, your twin heart is a little too much to believe for me. Do I reject the idea of Soulmate? Not really, all I think is that it cannot be confined to a strict meaning and it’s wrong to expect all from one single person.

A beautiful song in the movie Anand went “Jindagi ek safar hai suhana…” and I believe in that. Life is a journey, where each learns from his/her experiences. Experiences do not happen in isolation and hence we might have many soul mates. There could be friends to whom you would run for advice and then there would be some who think just like you and finish your sentences. There could have been romantic partners who you felt very happy with but when reality hit you, they weren’t strong enough. At times, you outgrow a relationship, it does not mean that the relationship didn’t touch your soul.

Be it friendship or a romantic relationship, all relations have their up’s and downs. However, few will survive everything that life throws at them. They will realize the pressure circumstances put on your relationship and work around it. These people will put effort to sustain the relationship. It’s not just about the happy times but also the trying times when you were probably just acting like a knucklehead and needed a smack in the head. They show you the mirror and help you get your act together. If you look back at your life and can identify such relationships then for me, you have met your soul mates. The people who helped you be a better person, I think those people are your soulmates.

All in all I think I am happy with a more loosely built definition – People who touched your soul during the journey of life are soulmates.

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

This post was a Wow Post!

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The Bumblers….Blundering their way to success

BumblersSeema looked into the mirror for one last time “Well that’s as much corporate as I ever will be!” Just as she picked up her cell to call Amrita, she walked into the room and yelled, “Oh my gosh! Are we supposed to dress all prim and proper? I look like I am going for casual tea in front of you! I will have to go and change again,” wailed Amrita. “You mean we are not supposed to dress corporate? What will the reporter think? She might think I am a snob!” Seema declared almost at the same time as Amrita wailed. They both stood still for a second before bursting into laughter.  “Oh! God, I am already feeling sorry for the reporter. She is going to go crazy. I hope she is fun or this will be the worst interview ever”, said Seema between her giggles.

They both looked in the mirror for one last time before heading to the coffee shop where they planned to meet the reporter. They were going to be featured in one of the most popular creative magazines in India. It was a big day for them. Just as they entered the coffee shop, a girl in her early twenties waved back at them. They smiled at her and made way towards her. As they sat down, the girl said “Hi! I am Sheena and I will be covering the interview today. My photographer is running late but he will join us before we finish the interview and that’s when we will click some pictures for the article and cover page.” Both Seema and Amrita looked at each other and burst out laughing again. Looking at the amused looks of Sheena they quickly composed themselves and said, “We just remembered something.” “What was it, let’s start from there. I don’t want this to be a formal interview, let’s talk and we will see where we head.”

“Well, we first met at a gym. The Vogue Gym! Our plump and petite figures need constant attention you see! ” said Amrita sheepishly “Yeah! It was funny, we were cycling next to each other and we had the same trainer. He was pretty hard on us and I was like ‘Dude! It’s not like I need to come on a Vogue cover! You can relax,’ said Seema. That’s when Amrita quipped ‘Yeah! We are just trying to avoid The Medical Post when they run a cover story on Obesity.’ “Both of us started laughing hysterically while the trainer looked dumbfounded and amused at the same time.” “After the gym session, we bitched about exercising and this whole hype about being slim and fit while polishing off some ice-cream. We bonded over food and non- exercising” said a smiling Amrita.

They remembered how they became inseparable in the coming months. “The funny part was we were never interested in exercising, but we always managed to find humor or end up in hilarious situations at the gym!” said Seema. “Actually it was not just the gym if we were together, we either ended up in funny situations or we did sight something funny!” quipped Amrita.

Sheena asked, “Was that the inspiration for your venture?” She was enjoying the conversation with the duo.   “Kind of… trailed off Amrita’s voice.” She wasn’t sure where to start when Seema took over. “We met up for coffee one day and had managed to confuse the waiter with our order. While we were having a hearty laugh at ourselves, somewhere in between those exasperated looks of the waiter and the confused looks of other café goers I sketched it on my sketchpad.  I doodled a bit as a hobby.” “I showed the sketch to Amrita and we laughed some more. None of us thought anything about it then. Later, once Amrita came visiting and we were cribbing about our current jobs at my place. She chanced upon my sketchbook. Most of the sketches were of the hilarious situations that we had been. She burst out laughing and said “Yeh toh Seema aur Amrita ke 101 kisse hai” Just for kicks we added one sketch on Facebook and soon enough it got good likes. But it was missing something, that’s when I added a few more sketches with witty one –liner’s from Amrita and lo and behold, it became viral instantly!” “This whole thing was very exciting for us and we started doing it seriously.  We created a page and started adding these sketches. We even asked people if they had been in some funny situations and we started creating sketches and one-liners based on that. Slowly and steadily we had a dedicated fan following for our page. By now we were totally bored of our current jobs and decided to see if we could make something of this viral publicity. That’s when we both quit the job and started thinking seriously about taking this forward.

How was everyone’s reaction to this decision? Enquired Sheena, fully engrossed in their story. “Our parents went bonkers! They just couldn’t understand what could be boring about a well-paying software job. But we knew we just had to do this. We decided to take a year’s break to concentrate on this.” Seema added, “Next step came about naming this project. We just had a page named sketches from Seema and Amrita. It was never officially named. One evening we were sitting in my room and listening to music while pouring over the sketches and thinking of what this can be when ‘We are the Champions ‘started playing on the laptop. Amrita instantly replied ‘I know what we should name our project – We are the Bumblers!” Amrita added excitedly “It was true that we always ended up in funny situations. We were bumblers and I wanted it to be considered with some amount of respect. I mean, isn’t it because of people like us that your life gets its daily dose of humor?”

We were a bit apprehensive when we changed the name and started identifying our sketches and page as a brand. We weren’t sure how people will take it. It was a gamble that we decided to take. Sheena just added, “And what a rewarding gamble it has been!” The photographer came up to Sheena and she decided to take a break and click some pictures.

The magazine came out the next week with the headline – The Genius who made Bumblers Cool! Seema’s father picked up a copy and read the article. It said… The phenomenal success of the Facebook page ‘We are the Bumblers’ translated into various designer accessories and other knick-knacks. Custom made gifts with these sketches and one-liners became a rage and the brand “We are the Bumblers” is now popular all over India.  They will soon be coming out with an illustrated edition of ‘We are the Bumblers’ book which is believed to break some records. Her father’s eyes glistened with tears. His little blundering girl was a respected businesswoman.  He could not contain his happiness and pride.