An online documentation of the khojis' learnings and doings.

Author Archive

Inter-generational housing experiments, trying something new vs reverting to old days

Sharing an article on inter-generational housing experiments.. A Web of Generations: Housing for All Ages at Chicago’s H.O.M.E.

“The residence houses up to 12 older people and 4 residential assistants, college students or young people with jobs who live here rent-free in exchange for about 20 hours a week of help, from laundry to meal prep to entertainment.”

My two cents: Believe it or not, even the americans say that earlier this was automatically the case and now things are so separated and lonely. It’s a universal condition, the feeling is mutual. But in this case I see an acceptance that things have changed and a willingness to explore new and creative ways of dealing with the situation rather than just lamenting about the good old days. And I must also give some weightage to the fact that earlier when this was the case, there was also a lot of needless policing, lack of freedom, stress of
expectations.. which many folks are sincerely glad to have gotten away from. Perhaps it’s just as well that we try something new instead of simply reverting.

Posters and web design by Nikhil

In Jan/Feb 2013 I had done an online internship: I assisted Helena Norberg-Hodge and her team in organising for the Economics of Happiness Conference that took place in March-2013 in Byron Bay, Australia. Click here to see some amazing talks and sessions that happened there. The conference, and the work of its organizers (ISEC), revolves around promoting localization of economies, healthier and happier lives, ecological balance, social justice and many more themes.

India loves Pakistan

This is an initiative to build a people-to-people bridge of peace and love between traditionally rival nations, through posters with messages of peace. It started between Israel-Iran and has since spread elsewhere. (more…)

Story : the Parrot’s Training

I would like to share a story that I adapted from the nobel prize winning poet Rabindranath Tagore, in which he warned us of the dangers of McEducation for All almost 75 years ago.

In The Parrot’s Training, we are told of a golden cage that is built to imprison the wild and uncivilized parrot so that she can be properly educated by the king’s pundits. In addition to the 3Rs, she should also learn who is the Boss as well as be familiar with all the latest global brands.

First, the teachers tried stuffing the bird with pages of the official textbooks. That didn’t work. Then a UNICEF project came with all kinds of child-friendly and joyful techniques. They also taught the parrot about child rights.

No improvement.

Then the World Bank gave a loan to the king (with austerity conditionalities of course) to build a bigger cage with a nice toliet.

Still, no difference.

Then the OECD came with the PISA standardized tests and new a national policy white paper was written. Harvard researchers were invited to conduct studies on the parrot’s brain and multiple intelligences.

Nothing worked.

Then Apple gave it an iPad and a free high speed wifi connection. She even got her own facebook page.

But the parrot was not allowed to leave the cage despite her obvious distress. In fact she was scolded for being ungrateful and impertinent. Anti-depressants drugs were prescribed.

As the parrot was overstuffed with information, she internalized her label as a ‘slow learner’ and a ‘failure’ and lost her power of self-designed learning. She became totally dependent on the cage. Her dreams were reduced to being a rat in the rat-race. A deep loss of purpose ensued. Slowly her spirit withered away.
In the end, a lot of people made a lot of money on the parrot’s education, everyone benefited except the parrot.

The time has come to more deeply understand the nature of the cage and its impact on each of us and our communities in both the South and the North – beyond what the World Bank economists tell us.

It is important to crack open and re-examine our definitions of progress, success, happiness and to look at how our imaginations for social action have been colonized by the cage.

We also need to question the assumption that, if we keep adding more and more stuff onto the cage, we can actually fix or transform its fundamental nature.

Manish Jain,
Shikshantar: The Peoples’ InstituShikshantarte for Rethinking Education and Development
83 Adinath Nagar, Udaipur, Rajasthan, 313004 INDIA
Tel: 91-294-245-1303

Hymn from the Thin

Inline image 1
Friends, Healthy Dames, Lend me your fat,
For I am too thin and that’s a fact!

My body disposes of every nutrition thrown at it
I’ve been called Skeletor and sometimes I really look like it

All those great-looking body-hugging tees, they melt my heart
Though if I put one on, I certainly won’t look the part!

I can’t feel my hands and feet in winters cold
While upon me many times my shirt will fold

When I stuff in more food to balance my BMI,
The signs aren’t good, like floating interest on an EMI

My system suddenly reacts, disposes of the excess mass.
In forms of solids, liquids and, well, even Gas!

While most humans can stay afloat in water high enough to gulp air,
My Low-Vol, HD physique makes me sink like a wreck in the seas of despair.


Poem: Give Peace a Chance

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana

Let’s make clear everyone realizes the price we pay for war
The way humanity takes a back seat as tempers soar
The way we forget what’s really important in this life
It’s the love of loved ones, not a land in strife. (more…)

Poem: Values

Do our children know how to count…. their blessings?
Can they read… between the lines?
Can they comprehend… the feelings of others?
Can they find the solutions to… the problems that haven’t been solved yet?
Can they draw… a better future for everybody?
Can they question… the status quo?


Poem: Swaraj Milan 2012 invite


आयें हम सब अलग जहां से
दिल में अनेक ख्वाइशें लिए
कुछ नया करने की चाह से
खुद को और जानने के लिए

Aayein hum sab alag jahaan se
Dil mein anek khwaishein liye
Kuch naya karne ki chaah se
Khud ko aur jaanne ke liye


स्व -जीवन और सह -जीवन
इन दोनों को एक साथ लाया
तपोवन की खुली वादियों में
जीने का नया नजरिया पाया

Swa-jeevan aur sah-jeevan
In dono ko ek saath laaya
Tapovan ki khuli vaadiyon mein
Jeene ka naya nazariya paaya


Here’s to the crazy ones (Think Different ad) – in Hindi

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.The round pegs in the square holes.The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules.

And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.

Because they change things. They push the human race forward.

While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

यह उनके लिए है जो पागल केहलाते हैं. सिरफिरे. विचित्र. सनकी.मुसीबत पैदा करने वाले.कोई सांचे मैं ठीक से न बैठनेवाले.

ये दुनिया को अलग ही नज़रिए से देखते है.

इनको नियमो या वर्तमान – स्थिति की कोई परवाह नहीं.

आप इनसे सहमति करें, लडे, झगडे, प्रशंसा या अपमान भी कर ले, लेकिन एक चीज आप नहीं कर सकते. आप इनको नजरअंदाज नहीं कर सकते.

क्यूंकि ये परिस्थिति को बदलते हैं.

ये इंसानियत को आगे बढातें हैं.

जहाँ पे लोगोंको पागलपन दिखता है, वाहीं हमें प्रतिभा दिखती है.

क्योंकि अंत में वोही सिरफिरे लोग दुनिया को बदलते हैं, जो अपने आप को दुनिया को बदलने के काबिल समझते हैं.

Note: Huge thanks to Sakhi for helping out with the translation!
Wanted : Can someone create an audio recording of this, preferably timed in sync with the English video?
Let me know,

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