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R HEART U O Y S E H C T H AT T O U Y L I A D G IN AN INSPIR Vol. 1 No. 28 Pages 16 PUNE, TUESDAY MAY 22, 2012 Rs.4 WEATHER Sunrise .....................05:59 Sunset ......................19:04 Moonrise .................06:51 Moonset ..................20:18 Temperature Min ...........................22 0c Max ...........................35 0c




Some of the best adventure sports Pune offers >> P7

Culinary secrets from around the country >> P8

All about doughnuts and more >>P15

Counting her blessings! Pic: Nitin Lawate

What do you do when you simply cannot calculate and maths is a burden? The disability which is termed Dyscalculia can make the person diffident. But Swapnaja Vilekar has fought all odds by being plain honest. She sells delicious snacks at the Sahyadri Hospital and holds a placard in one hand, appealing to customers to give the exact change. Life 365 salutes her!

Swapnaja’s board states:

NATURAL FOOD STALL Please give me exact change. I don’t know how w to calculate or count change.My stall is located on the first floor. Please visit it. If you taste it once, you will come back again (Every Sunday, closed)



he attracts your attention the moment you are in the Sahyadri hospital in Karve Road. Her sweet smile and good communication skills floor you. She holds a tray full of delightful food items, but more than the food tray, it is the placard that draws your attention to her. It reads: “Natural Foodstall, krupya soote paische dya , mala soote paischyanche hishoob jamat nahi (Read as : Please give me change, I do not understand calculations). Says Swapnaja, “I am weak in Mathematics, so I do not know how much money to give back when I get a note of a higher denomination. I request

for change. My strategy is, instead of calculating, I ask the customer how much money I need to give back. So far all of the people I have sold to have been honest with me. I also have the support of the hospital doctors, staff and security people who keep an eye on my dealings and make sure I am not cheated. I trust people and I know that they will not fool me.” As student in a school in Goa, Swapnaja constantly struggled with mathematics. Her teachers and parents thought that she was weak at mathematics and somehow helped her to go ahead. It was only in standard nine that realisation dawned that Swapnaja had a serious problem with mathematics. She was suffering from

Zero in mathematics z Dyscalculia (or maths disability) is a specific learning disability involving innate difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic. It is akin to dyslexia and includes difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, learning maths facts, and a number of other related symptoms (although there is no exact form of the disability). Maths disabilities can also occur as the result of some types of brain injury, in which case the proper term is acalculia, to distinguish it from dyscalculia which is of innate, genetic or developmental origin. the prevalence of dyscalculia range between 3 and 6 per cent of the population. Dyscalculia (see box). Extra tuitions, did not help her. When she was in Standard 10, her father requested the Goa Education board to consider her case and reduce the Mathematics portion as much as possible. The board obliged and simplified her

mathematics paper. “Taking small steps, I somehow passed my 10th and 12 th standard. But after that getting admission in a college was impossible. Getting a job even more difficult. When I used to visit the market, the shopkeepers used to cheat me

and my mother used to come and talk to them. She was extremely worried on how I would cope up. I struggled very hard and also did a few courses on baking too so that I could do something in life.” Her chance meeting with Dr Radhika Bapat, who is in charge of Child Guidance Centre at Sahyadi hospital, is what sparked off the idea of having a food stall in the hospital. She started the stall in February 2011. “Dr Bapat was very helpful she asked me to do something of my own and that is how with her and my mother’s support I could start a food stall. I hunted for a job for many years but due to my 10th and 12th standard results I did not get a positive answer from any place. I needed to work, because I was aware that

if I did not then I would get no respect from society. I thank Sahyadri hospital and Dr Bapat for giving me a new identity, ” she explains with a sparkle in her eyes. Besides manning her stall, Swapnaja is also an instructor at the Chaitanya Hasyyayog Pariwar, Sadashiv Peth. Every morning she conducts the exercises and laughter sessions for an hour. “This is what keeps me going in life. I have realised that just like all trees cannot grow healthy and to their full height due to some issues, likewise my brain too has not been able to grow completely. That is the only explanation and its fine. I have to deal with it,” she signs off. A positive attitude and dealing with life in spite of all its imperfections can do wonders.

Six reasons why droughts hit Maharashtra SUNITA NARAIN


t’s drought time again. Nothing new in this announcement. Each year, first we have crippling droughts between December and June, and then devastating floods in the next few months. It’s a cycle of despair, which is more or less predictable. But this is not an inevitable cycle of nature we must live with. These droughts and floods are manmade, caused by deliberate neglect and designed failure of the way we manage water and land. What we must note with concern is that these

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“natural” disasters are growing in intensity and ferocity. That is why we must ask why we are still so badly hit when for years we have been doing everything to drought-proof our agriculture and economy. This year, large parts of Maharashtra are hit by a severe drought. People are thirsty, crops are lost and livestock abandoned. Remember, it is the loss of this asset, which turns seasonal devastation into long-term destitution. The chief minister wants money for relief; the opposition wants to score points. But in spite of programmes, plans and money,

Why this drought? z Till February 2012, Maharashtra spent Rs.12,000 crore for building irrigation projects z Last year Maharashtra received rainfall 102% over the normal range. So , there was rain, schemes and money

we are not moving towards any real solution to this scarcity. Why?

Life 365 is more than just a daily that packages `life’ in its 16 pages. It is a platform to understand your city better in terms of the good work silently being done by hundreds of good samaritans. Their stories of

Why when Maharashtra has had the longest programme for drought relief in the country?

how they lend an extending hand could propel you to contribute your bit to the society. In this progressive city of Pune, the desire to the serve the society is very strong, as we learnt from interaction with citizens.

It was in the 1970s, when the state was similarly afflicted, that it devised the employment guarantee Act. It guaranteed work close to where people lived so that they are not forced to migrate. As the scheme was to check migration, city dwellers and professionals paid for it. Over time, the state government improvised and put the drought relief money in works that provided relief against drought such as building check dams and percolation ponds and conserving soil. The scheme was abandoned once its successor—Centrally sponsored National Employment

Do you know of a person, a group of persons, an institute, an initiative or an activity that would inspire people or promote the larger social good? Are you one of them? Life 365 offers itself as your

Guarantee Programme—was launched in mid-2000s. But the work continues. Maharashtra has also had a furiously spending programme for building irrigation projects. Since 2007—the time farmer suicides in Vidarbha hit headlines—the state has been given Central grants for water projects. According to the state economic survey, till February 2012, Maharashtra spent Rs 12,000 crore under this scheme alone. Then last year, the state received rainfall 102 per cent over the normal. So there was rain, schemes and money. >> Continued on page 5

trusted platform to share it with others. Contact us at: or Life 365, Aaj Ka Anand building, Shivajinagar, Pune 411005.

Life 365_Issue 28_Page 1  

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