G'day folks,

I am pleased to introduce a good friend of mine who lives in India. Vijay is about to release his well-written book about Bipolar. Here is his guest feature article.

This love child was conceived fourteen months ago, various threads lead to it over the last three years. Blogging was the first thread. One post on it aroused a lot of  interest and feedback: it was my sharing of my own experience with managing Bipolar Disorder. My Mentor, Puneet Bhatnagar spotted my ability to express myself with conviction. He set up a website which was the genesis of this Book. Born on May 23, 2013, this community website, the first such by an India bipolar, now has a global following and has encouraged many Indians to share their problems openly.

What I noticed was that an overwhelming majority of the site's visitors were from outside India, not a bad thing in itself at all, for pain and compassion know no boundaries. However, was I effectively getting the message across to vast numbers in India who had had no internet access or were hampered by poor network reach? 

I also realised that in my times of greatest turmoil, it was books, not websites which really helped change course of my life. The ability of a well told story in the form of a book to inspire and transform is quite incomparable.

The idea of penning my turnaround story thus firmed up.

Puneet then gave me the critical initial thrust. "Write down a couple of pages on exactly why are you writing this book. This will define your purpose." he said with his understated wisdom.

"Well begun is half done!" they say.
Aha! Let's not forget the middle and conclusion of the task. We creative types get bored easily and also constantly need to be motivated to stay on track. Mid way through the project, I developed cold feet.
'Am I really cut out to be an author? Have I over-reached and am just blogger material?'
Doubts, doubts and more doubts.

When the cause is for a common good, unbelievably radiant souls step in to inspire, guide and get you back on track. Jennifer Sertl, who is sympathetic to the cause of mental health awareness, is one such angelic being. She has supported me all through in this project, now in marketing it and beyond that in my Mental Health Awareness crusade in India- her inspiring mentoring is a blessing perhaps arranged by the universe. (Well, I actually owe you, Dr. Amit Nagpal, for this synergetic link).

"Let your hand write what your soul wants to say"
Jennifer, a woman of incredible intellect and profound insights, has been instrumental in my being a proud author today. For instance at the outset of our coaching series, I expressed to her my hesitation in centering the book on my journey. Wouldn't it be attention hogging? What if I broad-based it to make it community focused rather than in an autobiographical form?
"It is your intention that matters. Consider yourself as a lighthouse for bipolars in your part of the world. Stories inspire, allow your story to do just that."

 If her coaching and mentoring wasn't enough, she has written Book's Foreword- the most beautiful and evocative foreword one could ever wish for! In fact living upto her magic in the body of the book is some challenge!

I doubt without your selfless, active involvement through and after the Book writing, I'd have accomplished anything of note, Soul Sis, Jennifer!

Dr.Amit Nagpal, has been a key instigator behind the scenes: my first published story was through his e-Book. Besides being my Career Coach, he has actively encouraged my social initiative. Being both appreciative and critical, he has raised my standard of creative writing. Most importantly, he has imbibed in me his rare skill of connecting with the hearts of the readers.

Puneet had uncannily predicted right at the very beginning that the website and book would set me free. Yes, it has indeed been a cathartic journey, from the inception to delivery of the love child! The Book is now available on online bookstores globally.

Be truthful, you might begin believing in yourself
Express your truth, maybe other might buy into it?

Write down your truth
Maybe you might fall in love with it

Keep writing, keep writing
And one fine day you are an author

If you have been truthful,
You might touch people's lives

And maybe, just maybe
Help them discover their truths.

Our journey continues, as we live up to our collective vision of
"Let's Walk Together, with purpose and zest..onward"

Vijay Nallawala is a Personal Branding Coach,  Digital Storyteller and Blogger based in Mumbai. 

"Writers are wired differently and in that respect, I am no different",  he says.

Connect with Vijay on his 

Clancy's comment: I have often stated, 'If you are not born with a disability, you will probably pick up one along the way.' It's true. I would highly recommend this book to any of you who may suffer from bipolar, or know someone who does. 

Love ya work, Vijay! A book like this takes a lot of courage to write. I am most impressed, and I'm not a man who is easily impressed.

I'm ...

31 August 2015 - WISE TIPS


G'day folks,

Welcome to some more wise tips ... And a touch of humour.

Clancy's comment: Yep, loved the one about Snap, Crackle and Pop.

I'm ...

30 August 2015 - JACOB RIIS


G'day folks,
Welcome to the life and times of a photographer, social reformer and writer.  Jacob Riis was a photographer and writer whose book 'How the Other Half Lives' led to a revolution in social reform.


Jacob Riis was born in Denmark in May 1849 and emigrated to the United States in 1870. After a series of odd jobs, he became a police reporter, a job he enhanced with his natural photographic skills. Led by his interest in New York City's tenement life and the harsh conditions people living there endured, he used his camera as a tool to bring about change. With his 1890 book How the Other Half Lives, Riis put those living conditions on display in a package that wasn't to be ignored, and his career as a social reformer was launched.

Early Years

Jacob Riis was born on May 3, 1849, in Ribe, Denmark, and emigrated to the United States in 1870 on a steamship. All he carried with him was $40 and a locket containing a hair from a girl he loved. Upon his arrival in New York City, Riis struggled his way through various jobs—ironworker, farmer, bricklayer, salesman—all jobs that gave him an up-close look at the less prosperous side of the American urban environment.

In 1873, Riis became a police reporter, and he quickly found that his deep dive into New York’s underbelly was just beginning. His beat was the Lower East Side, a neighbourhood riddled with crime and poverty. With a little digging, Riis discovered the depth of the area’s despair well represented in the fact that in certain tenement buildings the infant death rate was 10 percent. 

The Photographer

Riis was moved by what he saw in the neighborhood, and he taught himself basic photography and started taking a camera with him when he hit the streets at night. In a stroke of good timing, flash photography had only recently been invented, and Riis became a pioneer in its use, employing the new technique to capture stark indoor and outdoor night scenes. The images he brought to the public’s eye were full of crowded tenements, dangerous slums and poignant street scene—images of a downtrodden underclass that most readers had only previously read about, at best. 

How the Other Half Lives

Riis’ unflinching photos appeared in books, newspapers and magazines, and before long they were used as tools for social reform. In 1890, Riis’ book of social criticism, How the Other Half Lives, was published, and perusing its pages proved to be an eye-opening experience for the reader.

The book presented statistics about New York’s poverty and contained drawings of the photos from Riis’ unending tour of the city’s worst slums. Riis said that his motivation for presenting such a dark tableau was “that every man’s experience ought to be worth something to the community from which he drew it, no matter what that experience may be.”

  The book was an instant success and had an immediate impact. Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, intent on improving life in New York, famously say to Riis, “I have read your book, and I have come to help.” Together Riis and Roosevelt walked around New York, with Riis showing the future president the deplorable conditions in which so many people lived. Roosevelt was moved to close the worst of the city’s police lodging houses, which he described as “simply tramp lodging-houses,” and demanded that city officials pass the first significant legislation to improve the state of affairs in immigrant neighborhoods. 


Now a legend for his work toward social reform, and for his use of photography to bring previously hidden worlds to light, Riis went on to write many other books, among them(1900), The Battle With the Slum (1902), Children of the Tenements (1903), and autobiography, The Making of an American (1901).

 Riis died on his Massachusetts farm on May 26, 1914.

Clancy's comment: What an interesting man. I've seen many of his photographs and admire them. I'm sure he was ahead of his time as a photographer and social reformer. Good for him.

I'm ...