Fifty Ways To Thank Our Armed Forces!

Spending time in the UK led me to discover some amazing day to day aspects of British society treats people in general, and the armed forces in particular. In the last couple of days, I took the opportunity of visiting St John’s House, Museum of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Royal Warwickshire). The museum tells the story of over 300 years of history of the County Regiment, from its raising in 1674 to the Fusiliers of today…a fascinating journey!

What was more fascinating for me was my conversation with a veteran, Major James Fullarton, who was visiting the

St Johns Museum, Warwick

St Johns Museum, Warwick

museum. Major Fullarton was curious to know why an Indian woman was visiting this particular museum as he said not many foreigners are seen here. I explained my background of being an Indian army brat and we started talking. His grandfather had served in the British army in India in the 1920s and his father served in the Royal Navy. Our conversation led us to discussing many things about the state of the armed forces world over and he shared some things that made me feel proud & elated, yet, disappointed & sad. Proud & elated because the community of armed forces world over is based on the same set of ethos and principles, unlike the governments they are part of. Disappointed & sad because we in India, do not do half the things that British, American or any European society does for their soldiers.

Part of my learning that from Major Fullarton is compiled into what I would call Fifty Ways to thank our armed forces and this includes veterans and military wives and children. 1_Flag_of_Armed_Forces_in_India

  1. Listen to their stories with interest. If they have fought wars or are a war-veteran they have seen things you will never see. Listen & learn.
  2. Initiate a special talk by anyone from the armed forces fraternity in your schools or colleges.
  3. Greet a soldier in uniform or a veteran with a smile and a thank you.
  4. Start a social drive for them. Gather people in the neighbourhood or like minded people and work on a veteran oriented project.
  5. Make greeting cards and post them to the soldiers, veterans and their families you know.
  6. Send e cards using social media.
  7. Post messages of gratitude in social media pages dedicated to the Indian Armed Forces. Some of the pages are Indian Defence Review, Defence & Security Alert, Indian Defence News, Indian Defence, etc
  8. If there are veterans & their families in your neighbourhood, acknowledge them on special days like Indian Armed Forces Flag Day, Republic Day and Independence Day.
  9. Invite veterans, soldiers and their families to give a talk on those special days. army women
  10. Those of you who knit, sew or embroider, make something for veterans or their families and gift it to them.
  11. If you are dining out or having a coffee or a drink and you know there is a member of the armed forces (serving or retired), invite them to join you. I promise you…you will have a great conversation.
  12. Do a random act of kindness for the members of Indian Armed Forces.
  13. Visit War Memorials in different parts of India, whenever you travel next. You will also meet some of the serving soldiers then. Talk to them…listen to them.
  14. Talk to your children about the pride we have and ought to have in our military. Instil in them the value of being a nationalist and a patriot.
  15. Open your homes on festivals for soldiers on leave, veterans and families. Make it an occasion they will not forget…neither will you.
  16. As parents and teachers, encourage your young ones to write about the Indian Armed Forces. Post it on social media.
  17. Whenever & wherever you hear our national anthem playing, stop, stand and give a thought to our security forces. They have sacrificed for us hear the national anthem. join-indian-defence-forces
  18. Employers – look beyond the usual hiring process and re-employ veterans. They can truly bring a lot of strength to your organization.
  19. Organizations – do not stereo type members of the Indian Armed Forces. You do not know what potential they bring to the table. Think out of the box…they did when they had to save your freedom.
  20. You will find a lot of car stickers that say Army, Navy, Air Force or Armed Forces. Leave a thank you note on the windshield. You will make their day.
  21. Find out which businesses or companies support veterans in your areas or communities. Become their customers.
  22. If you are running a business yourself, offer discounts to your veterans, soldiers and their families.
  23. Check if the local armed forces hospital will allow you to spend time with recovering soldiers and families. Become a support system there.
  24. Do you know parents of soldiers or veterans? Thank them for raising India’s true heroes.
  25. Proudly display “I love Indian Armed Forces” “I support Indian Armed Forces” stickers on your vehicles. Saluting Our Heroes
  26. If there is a military member at the same restaurant as you, send across a drink or dessert expressing your gratitude.
  27. Support war widows in their endeavour to stand on their own.
  28. Find out Ex Service Men organizations that support children of our martyrs. Work with them in enabling and empowering those children.
  29. Become part of developmental projects in villages and towns our war heroes come from. One such project is the Vir Sainik Graam Yojana.
  30. With the help of your local corporator, mayor, panchayat head, district officer or politician organize an event acknowledging and rewarding our veterans.
  31. With the same people helping, you could also organize a pot luck lunch and invite the local community and veterans.
  32. Take a couple of veterans and their families out for a picnic. Swap life stories…you will realise how different their lives are.
  33. Get in touch with local army schools and see how you can help in some of their projects.
  34. Talk to the local army formations and see what kind of community initiatives they run. The Indian Army has some projects going on where they work with civil society. Become part of those.
  35. A number of Ex Service Men organisations also work with local army formations for certain initiatives. Connect with them and contribute your time and skills.
  36. If you have a special talent, offer to teach that talent to children of soldiers and veterans.
  37. Donate your “air miles” to a veteran family you know.
  38. It is not the job of a military man to campaign or publicize what they do. We can do it for them. It also shows how proud we are of them, what they do to protect us.
  39. A group of like minded people can come together and hold an exhibition with the help of veterans on a particular military theme.
  40. As civilians let us ensure our government does it’s duty, so our Armed Forces can do what they do best – protect our country.
  41. During a family union, please raise a toast to the veterans in your family – immediate and extended. Express your gratitude.
  42. Teach children and the youth of our country India’s proud history and legacy. We have much to be proud of and this legacy we have to pass on to our next generations.
  43. Pass out small flags on Armed Forces Day in your neighbourhood. Share small stories that you know or get people to share those stories with you.
  44. Dedicate a patriotic song in honour of a veteran or active soldier on your favourite radio channel.
  45. Offer a pick up or drop to the airport or railway station to your veteran neighbour and their families.
  46. Encourage your kids to spend time with the veterans or active soldiers whenever there is an opportunity. They will learn a lot. martyrs-day
  47. Teach children patriotic songs and get them to sing them on various occasions.
  48. Employers & Companies – host a special lunch for your veteran colleagues. Acknowledge their contribution to the growth of your company and your country.
  49. Vote. Exercise your franchise. Don’t let their sacrifices come to a naught. A good citizen votes to protect the freedom of our country. Do not take that freedom for granted. Our soldiers have paid with their lives for that freedom. Value it, cherish it.
  50. To truly honour our armed forces make the best of the opportunity the sacrifices of our fighting men and women have provided. Love India with passion, and do what you can to make it a better place.

Who is a military man? A military man – whether active duty, retired or in reserve or re employed – who at one point in his/her life signed a blank cheque made payable to the “Republic of India” for an amount of “up to & including his/her life.” That is honour. A lot of people do not appreciate or acknowledge or understand that fact.

Let us stand up for them, raise our caps, raise a toast and salute the honour and integrity of these brave hearts.

Jai Hind Ki Sena!

We Are The World…Being Humane

There comes a time, when we hear a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh it’s time to lend a hand…

This is a song that took the music world and the human world by storm when it was released. Musically, it was a brilliant piece of composition comprising of more than 25 singers. Humanely, it touched a chord in everyone who heard it. There have been many people who have cried after listening to this song…yours truly included.  We care

The world has been coming together as one in times of war, strife, calamities, terrors. Yes, we have to be grateful that people rally around in difficult times. We need people most around us at that point. What I think would be more gratifying is when people come together as one even in happy times. That I feel will be the easiest way to spread more positivity around us.

I attended a global conference of networkers in Malaysia last week conducted by the QI Group. I have been attending this conference for the last four years. This year we celebrated Mother’s Day during the conference. Every speaker on stage that day paid tribute to not only their mothers, but to mothers all over the world. Of course the audience saluted this gesture…about 55% of the audience were women!!!

This got me thinking about how the concept of motherhood binds all humanity. I mean there is no difference between a mother’s love in Kenya or Canada or Cambodia. All mothers are the same…world over 🙂 :). Meeting and interacting with people from more than 50 countries brought home another point. Human beings are pretty much the same world over…at the very basic emotional, mental & spiritual level. Physically/physiologically we are different..sure that makes us interesting also.

Here is what I think binds and bonds people together and this is my take away from the conference itself.

1. Everyone wants to be respected. More than 11,000 people attending this conference in Penang, would walk into the stadium quickly with no pushing, pulling or breaking the queues. Respect – the bedrock of any relationship anywhere in the world. I would rather be respected than be loved…my take…if I am respected, love will follow sometime.

2. Smile – it costs nothing. The most endearing expression that can connect you to anyone…from a child to an elderly person. A smile that comes straight from the heart, reaches your eyes and manifests on your lips can accomplish a lot.

3. Listen and listen with your heart…not just hear with your ears. Very often we do not listen to understand intent, we listen to only reply. Listening is actually the secret to discover great stories. Suffice it to say that every good conversation begins with good listening.

4. Humor is a great equalizer. When sharing a good joke you break more ice with people. And we have a lot of common things that we can joke about without hurting sentiments. A common thing that kept everyone rolling with laughter at the conference were mother in law  jokes…that humor transcended all geographical boundaries.

5. Love makes the world go round. Love is critical for any human being to live a fulfilling life. Love can arise out of a common vision, a common goal, dream and we can connect with people across the globe with this one emotion. Mountains can be moved if this emotion is strong enough in all of us.  Rythm

6. Inclusiveness – people like to be included and not ignored when they are in a group or together. Unfortunately we focus more on dividing people based on categories. We also forget that these categories are made for specific purposes that create exclusiveness first, and then, divide people permanently. Inclusiveness resolves this.

A testimony to all that I have written above is the beautiful concept of RYTHM NATION created by the QI Group. RYTHM stands for Raise Yourself To Help Mankind and 11,000 participants became part of that nation with one vision that they were focused on – to be successful networkers and fulfil their dreams.

 

The DNA Of A Happy Life…

Happiness – a frame of mind everyone wants and, yet, few do the things that it takes to make them happy. Why do most people end up doing the “easy things” rather than the “right things”, which can actually make them happy?

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln. This is true! To me that happiness is valuing what you have, and enjoying the people, places, objects and events in your life for what they are.  It’s not about making massive breakthroughs every minute… sometimes it’s simply about being, appreciating, and making small tweaks.  And you can almost always enjoy the things you have and make the best of the events happening around you if you decide firmly that you will! my happiness

Never look for a perfect life…create your own life based on the spectrum of emotions we live. We just have to…

1. Be humane – embrace your humaneness. What people miss is being human and humane – to feel, to give, to take, to laugh, to dance, to get lost, to be found, to love & to lust… to be so unapologetically and beautifully human in every imaginable way.

2. Realize your greatness – you are not a failure because you’re not perfect, got rejected or laid off, struggle to make ends meet, or have a family with issues.  You are great because, despite your circumstances, you keep loving, you keep getting back up after every fall, and, above all, the little steps you keep taking, you take with grace.

3. Exercise your power – this life is mine and I have the power choose to what I want to do and do it well. I have the power to love what I want in life and love it genuinely. Therefore the power to be happy lies in me.

4. Accept yourself just the way you are – Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be something we aren’t.  Everybody has their own strengths & weaknesses and it is only when you accept everything you are, and aren’t, that you will truly find happiness and success.

5. No external validation – I don’t have control over what others think of me, but I do have control over how I internalise their opinions of me. What I work on constantly is to allow others to love me for who I am, and not for who they want me to be.

6. Choose your own thoughts – The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. And often times this means choosing your own thoughts over the opinions of others.

7. Stop resisting what is – Flow with reality, not against it.  And don’t be trying 24/7 to fix everything.  Some things don’t need fixing… they just need acceptance. What you resist persists. When you fight something, you only make it stronger.  happiness rainbow

8. Appreciate each day for what it’s worth – If what you did today didn’t turn out as you hoped, tomorrow is a new opportunity to do it differently, or to do nothing at all.  What’s important is to realize that you have a choice.  So no matter how tough the day was, always try to end it with a positive thought, knowing that a new beginning starts in the morning.

9. Be grateful – Gratitude is simply the awareness of what’s right. Count the blessings in your life, and start with the breath you’re taking right now.

10. Forgive – Sometimes we don’t forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it, because we need it, and because we cannot let go and move forward without it.

11. Leave the past & negativity alone – it is rightly said that “today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday”. The past and the negativities of our life have no place in our present. They create toxicity and we definitely do not need it.

12. Keep your faith – Very often with adversity, we lose faith in ourselves and in our abilities. We lose faith in people around us and in the universal process. Seriously, it is important to take pride in how far we have come in life and have faith in how far we can actually go. Treat each day with renewed freshness and faith…life becomes a beautiful journey.

13. Celebrate the small wins in life – The bigger things in life take so much space in our thoughts that we forget to appreciate the smaller things in life. We also forget that life is a series of daily small things and not just a few big things. It’s the daily small things that need to be celebrated more regularly. Who can stop my life being a party then?

14. Enjoy learning & growing – Acknowledge your troubles but gather strength from them, and laugh at your mistakes but learn from them.  Getting second chances in life is about giving yourself the opportunity to grow beyond your past failures. It’s about learning as you go and positively adjusting your attitude and efforts toward future possibilities.

15. Everyday meaningful actions – What I do everyday matters…more importantly, WHY I do them matters most. While I work on things that I really love to work on, I also look at making my time more meaningful to me. It’s a measure of my happiness quotient. happiness

16. Express yourself – Life can become regretful if we fail to express our feelings and emotions at the right moment. There is no greater sadness than holding on to the words you never had the courage to speak.

Elizabeth Gilbert says in Eat, Pray, Love, “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” 

I am sure all you beautiful people out there have your own recipe for creating happiness in your lives. The floor is yours to share those recipes…who knows, you may be making some other soul happy today!!!