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Amidst all the negativity and protests across the country I was searching…. Abhi Bhi Bhalai ka zamaana hai kya? Even in the Defence Forces, of late there has been murmurs of how senior lot have let down its rank and file by their utterances and actions. Those were seen as going against the welfare of the Officers and men and the Disabled.

And then I chanced upon this story that shows how one person can make a difference in his or her ecosystem. How one person can work within the system and improve things in their area of influence exponentially. This is a story, NOT to praise one individual (Therefore, I am NOT going to name him, lets call him Brigadier G) but it is the story about one man and his vision of how to transform things that are under his Command and Control, an eye opener for all Commanders at their level to see how they can create islands of excellence by their single handed focus and larger vision.

The story starts in a small town dusty cantonment in Central India. It is in the middle of nowhere with nearest big city about 2 hours away. The Brigade has been there for many years and minor improvements have been taking place. And in comes the newly minted Commander. Brig G

His First Impression. There are five villages bordering the Military Station which itself formed part of an old Cantonment. These villages next to boundary wall feared the Army personnel. There was a mutual fear psychosis and suspicion. There was literally no interaction between the faujis and villagers. The village ladies used to make breaches in boundary wall to come in and collect firewood. Many of them would get chased away. There was a Garrison School whose building was last painted decades ago, the curriculum was primitive, Teachers disgruntled, having Poor Pay. The hygiene was poor, the bathrooms were so badly maintained that the Medical Officer reported that maximum cases were of Urinary Tract Infection esp. in girls who refused to go to these toilets. There was a Section Hospital, a poorly functional ECHS Polyclinic and a Central MI Room and scores of disgruntled veterans who had once upon a time given their best of their youth for the nation.

His Interaction. On assuming Command of the Brigade, Brig G called for a meeting with the Mukhiya (Headman) of the villages. He invited them for Tea and snacks. This broke the ice and the Mukhiyas started telling about their problems of lack of medical facilities during an emergency, they spoke about how illiterate they were, how they required firewood to keep their chulas burning. Brig G immediately allowed them access to the Cantt for firewood collection but the entry would be governed by ID cards and through the main gate only within an area specified for firewood collection. He assured them of medical help during emergencies.

He next called for an Open house with Veterans where he literally got hauled over coals by the disgruntled veterans. They said they had poor medical facilities, too much time standing for their CSD billing, and hardly getting any respect. He spoke to jawans and found that they were spending a lot of time and money for coaching and helping their children get better education.  His view became crystal clear. He prioritized THREE main issues. Education, HealthCare, Veteran Welfare.

Education. His first priority was to get the infrastructure of the Garrison Public School improved. He built a modern washroom for children. Before and After Toilet RenovationGot pure Drinking water through an RO plant. Got the Teachers and Students to do cleaning of their premises regularly and take pride in the school area. Got a play ground built, got Air Conditioners fitted in class rooms and Heat Convectors for winters.

All these he did within the existing funds of the school without breaking any Fixed Deposit. The improvements were immediately appreciated by the people and more children started enrolling which improved fund availability. Teachers pay was revisedsyllabus improved, Smart Boards were installed, cost renegotiated with vendors, and sections and classes upgraded every year from the current 6th std. A case was taken up to convert the Garrison Public School to an Army Public School so that better facilities could be provided. The defunct school started attracting kids.

The Pre-Primary section was restructured to have a proper Pre-Nursery, Nursery and Kindergarten. It was made into a Stand-alone school.

Parent Teacher Meetings were started. Top Teachers were hired for special coaching of students to join Sainik School and Military Schools after Class 5. They were provided resources in terms of books and class premises were utilized for tuition’s in the evenings. 42 students attended in the first year and 28 qualified the written exams and 2 finally found their names in the merit list. This year numbers will go even higher.

To engage the womenfolk and Ladies, Takshashila Education Hub was created. During the day a Govt certified Diploma in Nursery Teachers Training is conducted. As a welfare measure one girl child in each of the five nearby villages was fully sponsored by the Brigade. Others were admitted. This gave a great fillip to women education as these trained teachers were then employed in the Garrison school or nearby civil schools. During evening the same facility turned into an APTECH Certified Computer Courses for Ladies and kids. This facility also provided Certified English Speaking Course from British Language Council. This facility was also used by the jawans to improve their own education. The National Institute of Open Schooling node helped them complete their schooling and the IGNOU Army Education Program node helped the jawans complete their graduation.

A separate facility was created for officers to help clear their professional exams. Result of this endeavor was that the Brigade had 100% pass results for Offrs in Part B Exam and one even got 500/500 in Military Law.

The Officers, Men, Ladies, Children and Civilians Education requirements were met by these fantastic improvements.

Health Care There were over 10K people who were serving and veterans in the station. They wanted quality Health care. They used to go to faraway cities for basic health needs. The ECHS polyclinic was energized, by selecting a hardworking veteran. He went out of the way to visit veterans who were unable to move to get their needs fulfilled. Funds and medical equipment were requested and released from ECHS central organization. The ECHS poly clinic was improved with critical care equipment. Brig G worked to get funds released from Sub Area to improve the station. Besides, ECHS Polyclinic, the Station Polyclinic and Section Hospital were also resuscitated through MES and Station Funds. The first task was to upgrade the ambulance in the station into a Critical Cardiac Care Van as a life saver, so that the evacuation to the nearest city was easier and life could be saved. A Health Care and Wellness Group on social media was started where suggestions were taken from the environment. Patient Management Software was developed in house by the Sparrow (Officer Commanding Signal Company). These improvements immediately found favor with the people. The nearby villages were informed that first aid for emergency cases would be provided. This in fact saved a couple of lives on few occasions. Health Care improvement was visible and highly appreciated by all. Very soon the Station Polyclinic was adjudged No 1 among minor station in the entire Command Zone.

Veterans Welfare Every quarter an open house was conducted chaired by Brig G, attended by Doctors, Adm Commandant, Zila Sainik Board OIC, OIC ECHS, Canteen Officer, Brigade AAG and AQ. The Veterans vented out their frustration in the first meeting. A cadre was conducted for those jawans who were the point of contact with Veterans, so that they could handle all situations.  Boards were put all along cantonment that said “We Welcome Veterans and Veer Naris. We salute your services”. This improved the respect for the Veterans. CSD Counters for Ladies and Senior Citizens were established which resulted in No Waiting at all. A Separate Parking area for Veterans were earmarked. Veterans Day was celebrated with gusto. Veer Naris were felicitated. Veterans came from far and wide. They came with lots of gifts to express their love for the serving people. Today the remarks of Veterans on various feedback registers are proof of the quality of improvements done.

End Result These actions over the last one year have made a lasting impression on the serving, veterans and civilian people. Brig G has made a 15-year Perspective plan so that the good work will continue in improving the quality of life in the station. His next aim is to make the Cantonment Board School as a model school that will be better than the Delhi Govt Schools (that have been improved recently by the Delhi Govt.)

All these were not only possible due to Brig G’s vision but also due to the excellent support given to him by his Staff Officers and the Battalion’s under his command led by truly great Commanding Officers. He was also supported by his seniors be it his Division and Corps Commanders or the Sub Area Commanders. I wish to praise all who have chipped in their might. All these activities doesn’t mean their Training has ever suffered. These highly motivated men, have been outperforming others in Training field too as evident from their Firing results. Their motto is People First, Mission Always

One Man can indeed make a Difference. Instead of cribbing about the system, you become the system and get it moving. I wish and pray that you are that One Man who can do this within your eco system so that the max persons get benefited from your actions. If you are reading this and you happen to be that one who can make it happen, take inspiration and DO IT! I wish this story becomes a Case Study in HC/HDMC senior officer courses so that many future Commanders can take inspiration.

More power to you Brig G. May your Tribe grow!

(I request all readers NOT to name the Officer or Cantonment in the comment section if you know whom I am talking about. Let us respect his privacy. But do share this story so that more such Cantonments can benefit in future from actions of people like you)

Is Dropping a Year an Option for Students in Class XII?

During my Career Counselling sessions, I have come across parents and few students who have decided to drop a year to attempt their competitive exams. Is this a wise choice?

Should I Drop a Year

Before we go on to decide if this is an option, let us see, why they think this as an option, in the first place. The most important reason is that, the students in most cases and parents in specific cases, want their kids to study well for their board exam, without burdening them with additional coaching for competitive exams like IIT or NEET. The other reason is that some of them fail to plan and forget applying for the exams and are forced to wait another year. The third reason is some of them really do not know what to do and hence give all exams and hope they pass in few. When they do not, they try for it the next year again. Last year, 3 students whom I counselled dropped a year as they got their clarity only towards the end. All three have got into the fields of their choice this year.

One of the ways to ensure that your child gets his/her aim in the first attempt itself is to understand what the child is good at. The correct way to go about is, to get the child career counselled using scientific tools and then decide which exams to seriously prepare for. That will also give you the insight into which exams to apply for well before time and not miss the dates.

As for the people who want to just concentrate on board exams only, well there is no “One Solution” that “Fits All”. My experience with dealing with children during counselling and then following it up with them later, has revealed that DROP YEAR should only be considered in case the child is a person who can organize themselves and their studies. I have noticed that students who are ready to go for an 8-10 hour regular tuition classes in a residential format, do better the next year and get through in NEET and IITs. However, for a Child who is disorganized and unplanned in most cases, do not get any benefit of dropping a year. Their scores would remain more or less the same.

Therefore the ideal pathway that parents should follow, is to first identify what your child is best suited for. I have counselled several students who have taken PCM Stream, when they are actually suited best for Arts or Commerce. We unnecessarily burden them with subjects they are not interested in. In fact one child, now in college confessed to me that his Class XI and XII were the darkest period of his life.

Parents must get those kids career counselled who do not have clarity as to what they should pursue. You may write to me at sajan(at) to know more about the Career Counselling process methodology designed by leading psychologist Dr. Chinu Agrawal, PhD, Founder Director of Feeling Minds, and to know counselors in your city.

Once the children understand which path to pursue, then fill in the applications for the exams, well in time. Please read my previous blog which highlights this dilemma HERE. (

Then start the preparation in due earnest in the first attempt itself. It is good to take the assistance of a home tutor or a coaching institute to prepare for the exams. You should think of a drop year only if your child is capable of sustained and regular efforts in the following year.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. ” ― John F. Kennedy [State of the Union Address 11 Jan 1962]

I wish you the very best in getting your children to their pinnacle of their potential and settling them in great career paths ideally suited for them to have Happy Lives by planning ahead of time.

Good Luck to you and your kids.

Plan Ahead: Parents of Children in Class XII

Over the years, I have come across parents who fall into few categories. First ones are very serious about giving their kids the best education and they plan everything well. Second are parents who trust their kids’ choices and support them what ever it may be. Third are parents who believe that their kids will find a way for themselves. All of these parents have had immense success and few failures. But the one that I feel very sad about, fall in the fourth category; Parents who wake up too late to find the horse has already bolted from the stable and then try to latch it. I am addressing the fourth category, in particular.

As a Career Counselor speaking and interacting with hundreds of kids and double that number of parents, I still find there exists this fourth group of parents who wait till their kids complete their Class XII to decide their future. They do not realize by that time; a whole lot of options have already foreclosed for them because the applications and exams for many streams have already got over halfway through the Class XII.

The applications commence as early as July while your children have just entered Class XII. Yes, you heard that right. The first exam in Class XII for which a child is eligible is KVPY Exam for entry to the IISC. Application opens in July and exam is written in November. UPSC NDA & NAVAC Exam, application closes by September and the written exam is in November. The IIT JEE first exam is in December and all Design Exams like UCEED, NID, NIFT etc. get conducted in January for which the application closes by November of the previous year. Even The Film and Television Institute of India application closes in February, so is the case with the English & Foreign Language University entrance Exam. So, unless the parent and the child get the clarity of what they need to do, they may be trifle too late to decide and might even have to forego a year to get the career of their choice. Parents, please realize that the preparation for a good future starts with selecting the right Stream after Class X. That is the start point. It also gives children time to prepare for Competitive Exams in Class XII.

Many such cases are coming to me and it makes me feel sad. I wish they had come a few months before so that the child can usefully utilize the many options with them and get the time to prepare for the same. I still remember one child last year whose final counseling session was done on the day the Design exam UCEED application was closing. Obviously, the child did not make it in the exam because she hardly had any preparation time even though she would have done fantastically well in that, had she prepared. This year the numbers are higher, of the parents who came after Class XII results. What a wasted opportunity. Nevertheless they still found it helpful.

In my series of blogs, I have repeatedly insisted that you should take a call for the right career pathway immediately after Class X Exam or earlier so that the child can get clear 2 years to prepare for the competitive exams along with their Class XII exams. Otherwise taking a drop year is the only option left for the children and parents who do not plan well ahead.

Do get your child counseled early so that they have the clarity to pick and choose their best suited career paths. Please contact counselors near you or write to me at sajan (at) to find a career counselor who has been trained and certified by one of India’s leading psychologist, Dr. Chinu Agrawal, PhD, Director of Feeling Minds.

Thousands of kids have benefited, Why not yours?

Think, Plan, Act!

Are Career Counselling Assessment’s Scientific?

This is an oft asked question to me by many parents? What is the Validity of the counselling’s you do? Well, so far I had only the data of satisfaction of the parents of the kids whom I counselled, to prove that these counselling are scientific. Even though Dr. Chinu Agrawal, Director of Feeling Minds, confidently assures me about the Reliability and Validity of the Feeling Minds® protocol which has gone through stringent research process. She is an internationally certified and accredited Career Expert who has devoted her life to bringing Scientific Career Guidance and Counseling procedures to everyone.

Source: www.

One day an opportunity presented itself in front of me to actually test these claims. My very dear friend’s daughter had taken these sessions when she entered 9th standard in Oct 2017. I discussed the options with the child but we never formally completed the counselling because of various reasons especially because she was busy with her sports activities and the parents were traveling with her across the country. Besides there was this feeling, that she has still got time to do it. However, time just flew by. The girl completed her Xth boards in May 2019 with flying colors where she scored nearly 96%. That was when the parents realized it is time to complete the assessments.

My friend called me and said, “I think she has changed over the last 18 months, so I would want you to reassess her”. I told him it is not required as the tests are valid over time, but he said that he found some changes in the daughter and would like the assessment done all over again as lot of time had passed. I had no option but to oblige. But in my heart I was happy as I saw an opportunity to test this system myself.

I re-administered the assessment. The child did the test patiently. I got the results of the assessment. To my utter surprise there was hardly any change over the past 18 months. The personality was exactly same. Her top two Career Interests were same. There were minor changes in the other interests. Over all her top choices had hardly changed. Design and Psychology still retained their top positions, except Architecture which had come strong earlier had now gone down in priority. This proved beyond doubt that Dr. Chinu’s claims were indeed based on solid research. The Validity and Reliability of these tests included in the Feeling Minds® protocol were indeed very high.

Psychometric tests are developed after a lot of research. I would strongly advise parents to check the validity and reliability of the Career Counselling tests that is being administered by professionals. There should be data available to show the scientific research of having been field tested. We are after all dealing with Careers of our Children and we need to be sure that the instruments are good and reliable.

A good counselling should be individual based, specific to the child. It should test the child’s Personality, Values, Career Interests, Dreams & Aspirations and Skills & Abilities. Correct assessment will lead to Focus and Clarity for the kids and they will perform well to the best of their potential. I have many parents writing to me about the excellent results their kids have got in board exams after having got such clarity.

Feeling Minds has trained several Career Counselors all over India. You can write to me at sajan (at) should you need assistance in finding suitable counselors near your place to help your kids.

Zig Ziglar said “Will you look back on life and say, ‘I wish I had,’ or ‘I’m glad I did?” I hope you will choose the later. All the very best.

Mehta Chowk AWAKENS

Mehta Chowk is a sleepy small town in Punjab, located approximately 70 Kms South East of the Pakistan Border (Dera Baba Nanak) strategically aligned to the much discussed Kartarpur Corridor. It sits 40 kms East of Amritsar on the road to Hoshiarpur.  What does Mehta Chowk have in common with the some residents of Delhi who lost their loved ones in the Uphaar Cinema Tragedy on 13 June 1997? It makes me wonder, well……… there is a lot.

Remembering CAPTAIN MANJINDER SINGH BHINDER of the 61st Cavalry who selflessly saved over 150 lives on that day in 1997, when a raging fire broke out in the Uphaar Cinema in New Delhi. Even after he realised that his four-year-old son, Ruskin and wife Jyot-Roop were engulfed in the inferno and could not be saved, Capt Bhinder jumped back into the fire and took charge like a true Army officer to guide panic- stricken women and children through the dim-lit and narrow stairway to safety, till flames engulfed him. Indian Army lost one of its finest officer and horse-rider. He had just won the National Games equestrian event in Mysore and was considered a strong prospect for the 1998 Asian Games.

The story doesn’t end there. Parents of Capt Manjinder Bhinder had to fight Ministry of Defence for the pension they were entitled to, who hung on to the technicality that Capt Bhinder had not been fighting enemies. He was fighting fire even while the army had declared his death “attributable to military service”. After seven years of litigation, the Delhi High Court told the MoD that a Soldier is ON DUTY ROUND THE CLOCK, and ordered a special family pension for Manjinder’s parents.

21 years later, after this tragedy in Delhi, the residents of Mehta Chowk had something to recount, remember and rejoice Capt Manjinder Singh Bhinder on whose memory stands a Memorial Gate and a Stadium in this small town. Alas……a few things had changed in the past two decades. Capt (Hony) Vardeep Singh, father of Bhinder had lost his eye sight due to Glaucoma and Veermata Gurnam Kaur had grown much feeble and weak looking towards the entrance of their house expecting the return of their gallant son one fine day.

The mother’s heart was filled with immense joy and it appeared that happiness and festivities had once again dawned at the ‘Bhinder House’, when they were visited by their son’s course mates who spent time with the ailing parents and remembering their fallen mate with those who gathered……relatives and friends at Mehta Chowk.

Brigadiers Vikramjit Singh Gill, Sunil Dalal, Gagan Baath and Colonel Gurdip Gill along with their wives paid homage to their fallen course mate at Mehta Chowk on 09 December 18 . The news of their arrival energised the village and around 40 people gathered at their house in no time. The two sisters who lived at Chandigarh and Batala had also reached their home. The villagers, neighbours and well-wishers were treated to tea and snacks organised by these Defence Officers, who had made these arrangements so as to not upset the rhythm at home and spend more time with the family of their course mate.

The hearts of the parents were filled with pride but the eyes of the visitors filled with tears when the Mother said that – “Happiness walked into our house for the first time in 21 years. We are eternally indebted. For so many years I waited and hoped for my son to walk into this very door, but today, after so long I saw my son the tall Sardar walking in straight and I felt as if my son has come back to me.”

This outreach program is a part of the AFWS91 Society which is a trust formed by the 78 NDA, 88 Regular and 71 Tech course. The trust has made it a point to visit and be with the parents / spouses/ NOK of all the 19 of their course mates who have lost their lives in operations and other tragedies in life.

This is the same Team that had earlier helped transport the mortal remains of their course mate 2Lt ET Joseph from Nagaland to his hometown in Kerala undertaking a massive logistic operation two years back duly assisted by the Army authorities.

These acts are the efforts to let each of the team members know that their loved ones will always be taken care of, much after the gallant warriors leave this earth in the call of their duty.

Capt Manjinder Singh Bhinder…………Amar Rahe!

And three cheers to the Band of Brothers of 78-88-71!

Forces Network: A Network that Truly Works, Cares and Helps

Every person who serves the country in uniform, especially those from the Defence Forces lead a nomadic life, cocooned in their cantonments, service culture and ethos. It is a great life full of adventure, mental toughness, physical courage, many times separated from your loved ones…..but it is good as long as you serve the flag of the country. And somewhere in their mid-life many of them have to seek a life outside the Forces when their career growth hits a plateau due to the Defence Forces steep pyramidal structure. This is the point where many of them find themselves literally at sea.

Col Iqbal Singh

Col Iqbal Singh a Veteran, currently working in a senior role in a large telecom MNC based at New Delhi created an online professional community a decade back. In the 11 years of its existence this Network known as the Forces Network has quietly grown into a very strong global community that helps each other to transition to a civilian life in a friction-less manner. It has informed, educated and engaged its members about life in the corporate world and how to prepare for it. Every commissioned officer from the three defence services, serving or retired can be a member of this elite group but has to be recommended by an existing member. The process is simple and one has to fill out some details by email. There are no costs at all.

While the Network primarily exists to help any Fauji who needs any kind of assistance wherever possible in any place in the world, it regularly conducts seminars and workshops, to educate, to reinvent and to reskill the Faujis who are seeking a second career. Their workshops at DGR sponsored resettlement courses in reputed B Schools are very impactful. In the past Col Iqbal’s Forces Network has conducted immensely popular and well attended seminars in major cities with various themes. Since 2015 they have been conducting seminars at regular intervals.  The one conducted at Bangalore in September this year which was titled – “Adapt to Win”.   They conducted another successful seminar at New Delhi in Jun 2018 titled ‘Stretch: To Stay Relevant”. Last year it was “Getting Future Ready”. These seminars are addressed by leaders from the industry. It is an honour to hear directly from the giants in the Corporates like Jey Venugopal, CTO, Myntra, Avnish Sabharwal, MD, Accenture Ventures, and many others about their success mantras and how we need to evolve with times.

Faujis are by nature entrepreneurs who work with minimal resources and are adept at juggling the meagre resources be it money, men or material and they are very good at Innovation to ensure success. This streak will further be strengthened by the upcoming seminar by Forces Network titled “A World of Opportunities” on Dec 9, 2018 at Dwarka. Mr. Deep Kalra, Chairman & Group CEO of Makemytrip would be addressing at the seminar along with seven other leading lights of the industry where the focus would be on how to leverage the entrepreneurial strength of the Faujis. It shall also highlight how we could use flexi or remote or freelance working and get into unique professions not thought of before. This would interest the spouses and children of the Faujis too. The seminar is open to all including those not a member of the Network including civilians. To register you have to click on the Registration Link :

This seminar would also give an opportunity to be mentored by experienced leaders. I would strongly recommend all Faujis to utilize this golden opportunity to listen, learn and prepare yourself for the future. May be your spouses and wards too would benefit a lot form the wisdom shared by the industry leaders.

You could share this info with all whom you feel may benefit now and would give them the clarity and vision to plan their life better for their second innings.

Come Get Inspired, Find your Calling and Network.

Lessons from Career Counselling

 “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein.

fish tree

Ironically in our quest to give our child the best future, we miss out on this stark truth. Every child is a genius with unique strengths. The critical question is, Have you discovered that genius in your child, which could unlock his full potential. Or are we making a fish climb up the tree?!

The years of life from Class 9 till the child enters college is a very sensitive time. Body changes coupled with academic expectations and little knowledge of the various options, peer pressure and parental pressure makes it a heady mix that most kids feel very much out of place in these growing years. They don’t know where to look for, to get some solace or a patient listening ear. Many take the easier or available options and then end up performing much lesser than their potential and later I have heard many of them say… “I wish someone guided me well”

Instead what if we could gift our children the ‘Clarity’ they need at the right time, in making the right career choices, aligning their unique Strengths, Personality, Skill sets, Values and Aptitude?career couns

Having crossed a fair number of career counselling’s from ages 14 to 54 (that’s the oldest Career Counselling I have done), I have few stories that I want to share. This may help someone at some point of time. More than 93% students and professionals that I counselled in the past year have gone into the same fields which came out strong for them. For many, they were not even aware that those fields existed. Let me share with you few cases.

Case 1: A 20 year old Child is in 2nd year of B Tech. Not performing well and requesting the parent that he be allowed to stop B Tech and do something else. The parents feel that the child is not even trying to do his basic efforts. There is tension. Through word of mouth they approach me. The counselling very clearly reveals the child has NO aptitude for Engineering but would do very well in Marketing or any profession that requires Human interaction. They allow the change to happen and presently the boy is doing BBA Marketing. Parents tell me that the boy is doing well now.

Case 2: Child in class XII. Already chosen Biology stream and is pushing hard to clear the NEET. Her heart tells that she may not make it but she does not have the courage to tell the parents. Career Counseling reveals that the girl has lukewarm interest in medicine but she would exceedingly do well in Psychology. The girl feels relieved and studies well. As expected she did not find herself in the NEET merit but got through to Psychology in DU that too in a very good college.

Case 3: Class X student. Brilliant in all aspects. Yet she only wanted to become a Chef because she hated Physics. I requested the parents to change her Physics teacher or provide her extra coaching. With her potential she could do something much more than a Chef. The parents were not aware of such a need for their child. They provide her Physics coaching. Recently I get a call from her proud Dad. She has topped her school in all subjects with scores of 99/100/98 etc. She is very confident of Physics and is now wanting to take up PCM in Class XI to aim for IIT.

Case 4: Child has completed BTech Mechatronics. Doesn’t know what to do next. And when I ask  him why he chose BTech, he just said – “That is what everyone took, so I went along”. He was very unhappy in those 4 years but he managed to come out unscathed. Career Counseling displayed that he is good for Management skills and he had a preference for Logistics. Presently he has got admission in a University in Australia for his Masters in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Case 5: Child in Class XII. Parent extremely annoyed that the boy is just not studying. Boy is very annoyed that the parents don’t allow him to study at his pace. Boy wants to do Engineering or Sports but parents feel he cannot make it with his current preparation. Career Counseling reveals that the boy is indeed strong in Engineering but his skills and abilities need to be improved. The boy on realization studies well, and is currently in an Engineering College. Both parents and the child are relieved.

Case 6: Child studying 3rd year of Engineering. Parent calls me and says the son wants to stop engineering and do something else. When I ask the child why he chose Engineering if his mind was not there, his reply stunned me –“I did not choose Engineering, it chose me. I was not given a choice and I did not mind going along with my parents’ choice. But now I am into it, I just can’t do it. It took me three years of poor performance to just give up and confess to my parents that my mind is not in it”.  The counselling reveals that the boy is indeed right. His strengths lay in Arts and Language. Currently he is doing his Bachelors in Sociology to pursue Civil Services later. A relief for everyone.

I have so many more cases to talk about. Suffice to say that playing to your strengths always pays in the long run. While there is no substitute to hard work, yet if it is done in the field that you are most suited for, the results will be visible, quickly and rapidly. Such counselling help to enable the child to focus, reduces the tension at home and makes life pleasant for parents and children.

Dr. Chinu Agrawal, PhD, Director and Founder of Feeling Minds, has trained a number of career counselors across the country. If you want to contact any of them, please feel free to write to and we shall help you and your child (above 14 years) unlock their true potential, following a scientific career counselling using the best psychometric tools to arrive at a career path aligned to their unique strengths.  So many have benefited, so Why not Your Child.

Wishing you and your kids a Happy Life! Happy Career! Happy Future!

Was Kerala Floods due to People and Policies? No!

My grandfather nearing 90 was evacuated this morning in Thrissur District. We stay close to Conolly Canal (named after HV Conolly, Malabar District Collector who built this in 1848). The canal which seems like a river flows about 100 metres from my house. After my grandpa reached my sister’s house, I spoke to him. What he told me stood in stark contrast to a message that has been circulating recently on social media.


The WhatsApp message floating in the social media says that Kerala ignored Gadgil Committee report regarding deforestation and building in hilly areas and that had its recommendations been followed the flooding would not have happened. This message is incorrect and only partially true.

Had Gadgil committee’s recommendations regarding flouting building norms in hilly tracts and sensitive areas been followed, yes some lives would have definitely been saved in those areas, where landslides occurred. But the rest of Kerala being totally flooded has NO relation to Gadgil Committee. Let me explain.

Our house is located in a village that has not seen much construction in the past 40 years because large tracts of land are held by one family who have allowed the land to remain untouched because they don’t require any income from the land. So there has been no encroachment in this area at all. During the conversation with my grandfather he revealed that he faced a similar situation in 1960 too. That time the flood waters had reached the house. He says it has now repeated after 58 years. Remember in 1960 there were no encroachments and no Gadgil Committee. Such a flood of this severity had come earlier too in 1924, when Mr. Gadgil was not born at all.

Then why did this flooding happen at such severity. The reason is heavy excessive rainfall that is far far greater than normal almost 200%, especially in the catchment areas of dams, forcing the dams to open up. That is the reason Kerala is flooded. Kerala has a relatively decent drainage system. Every year we do have some flooding in low lying areas and the problem compounds during high tides when the water flows inland.

Yes in few areas some people have encroached and built on drainage systems and they are paying a price for it. There is a huge mall in Ernakulam which has encroached on a drainage canal. They have been adequately punished by the rains now, with their cellar parking flooded completely. And so the excessive rains is the reason and not a displeased Lord Ayyapan, Bishop Franco or some Maulvi.Ac-road-mankobu.jpg.image.845.440

The rescue efforts from the Govt notwithstanding, it is the locals who have been organizing rescues on a massive scale with local resources. I have eye witness accounts how the local population has been rising to the occasion. Temporary relief camps in schools have been set up, and locals are ensuring that everyone is looked after. There are nearly 350,000 people already in shelters in Colleges, Schools, Temples, Mosques and Churches. But that is still inadequate compared to the catastrophe. They require clothing, food, medicines. The Govt require logistical support, boats, machinery, doctors, supplies and volunteers.

The devastation has been huge. The trauma even more. This is the time to stand together with our brothers and sisters in Kerala. Rather than discussing Gadgil report, now is the time to DO YOUR BIT by contributing to NGO’s or the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) and in case it doesn’t work for you then you may do it through or or



Let us put our effort to rehabilitate the people who have lost everything. Let our little help make a mighty ocean of love.

Rise up India – This is the time!

Olive Green Cookies: You too can Help by Eating one

When we talk of Jammu & Kashmir all that comes to our mind is the strife that is going on there, the agitations, stone pelting, terrorists being shot dead, army men losing lives…….. a population that feels disgruntled, and politicians making their career over this turmoil. But every now and then, there comes a story of goodness, struggle and success that emanates from that soil. One such was the story of Sehmat portrayed beautifully in the recent movie Raazi played by Alia Bhatt or the grit showed by Sepoy Aurangzeb before his death in the hands of terrorists.

There is another one that caught my attention recently. It is from the Jammu region of 6Samba. What was one thing common among seven women – 55 year old Biaso Devi & Chanchalo Kumari, 60 year Prakasho Devi, 56 year Sheeshna Kumari, 58 year Parkasho Devi & Gharo Devi and 26 year old Simmi Devi. They all were widows whose husbands had served in the Indian Army. After the death of their husbands, each one of them had a tale to narrate, one of suffering, loneliness and lack of finances. Each one struggled to make ends meet and look after their kids and family.

The Army in the local garrison was already well known for its close interaction with the local population. They had made a mark consistently guided by the Rising Star Corps HQ, Gurj Division and the Mission First Brigade who were well known for their Samba Super 40 academic excellence mission where in the local boys and girls had qualified for central competitive exams. That story is for another day.

The area is well known for walnuts and apples. Who doesn’t relish these goodies. While interacting with the locals one day and after listening to the sad stories of the widows, Brigadier Anil Raman hit upon the idea. Why not do something with the local resources and ensure the produce be marketed well so that there is an employment generation opportunity.

Aseem foundation, an NGO from Pune, have great experience of more than 215 years. They know and understand local problems in states like Jammu and Kashmir and the North-Eastern states. Aseem Foundation worked with the Army to establish the Olive Green Bakery at Samba under the aegis of Army Wives Welfare Organisation. The initiative involved a manufacturing point at Samba Military Station for special Apple Walnut Chocolates, Caramel Walnut Chocolates and Walnut Biscuits. All help was provided by the Army under Operation Sadbhavana. With the knowledge imparted by the Aseem Foundation members, the local produce of Apples and Walnuts were made into Apple Walnut Cookies under the brand name Olive Green Cookies.


These were then marketed all over India. You too can order your cookies. From today, let these cookies give you company along with your cuppa tea. It just costs you Rs 55/- for a box of tasty fresh 10 cookies. And it is delivered to your house through courier.

Four widowed women who were taken in this project work at the Olive 4Green Bakery. Today Simmi Devi proudly pays school fees of her daughter and takes care of her needs. Prakasho Devi is able to pay school fees of her two grand-children and also cater to their daily requirements. Chanchalo Kumari is able to help her son in day to day running of the house.   A week back Biaso Devi filled up admission form worth Rs 2000/- for her daughter Arti Devi from her first salary. These women are now beaming at this God sent opportunity and thank the Army for this new lease of life. A life of purpose, dignity and peace. Three more joined in later hearing about the new lease of respectable life this project has given them.

Great Work Aseem Foundation, Rising Star Corps, Gurj Division and Mission First Brigade and Brigadier Anil Raman, the man behind the idea. Kudos!

This Independence Day, You too can do your bit. Buy your cookies from them. Help these brave widows of Samba to sustain their lives with dignity. Get your first order going. TO ORDER Click here -> follow the process by filling your requirement.

Every bite you take goes into making a future for these soldier’s widows. Its time for my Cuppa tea with Olive Green Cookies.


Focus and Clarity: Twin Weapons for Success for Children

For a moment I want you to imagine that a person is in a railway station. And that person hasn’t decided where to go. What ticket would the person buy? Some of you, on hearing this, would even ask me if one did not know where to go, why the hell did that person come to a railway station in the first place? I would agree with your question.

Now imagine a child studying, without knowing what s/he wants to become. Isn’t s/he like the person in the railway station, doing something without knowing where s/he has to go.

Many parents have written to me or spoken to me that their kids have displayed greater focus in studies once they got clarity on what they wanted to do in life. This clarity they received after a scientific Career Counselling. This reinforces what Thomas Leonard said – Clarity Affords Focus.


What is Scientific Counselling? Scientific Counselling is when a child is assessed correctly for their Personality along with their Career Interests besides assessing them for their Skills & Abilities, their Career Values and Career Scenarios where they would remain happy. A comprehensive assessment only can give a clear picture. The child then is focused to study the stream of her/his choice knowing fully well that these are scientifically supported.

Unfortunately many schools fall for shiny brochures and organize mass Career Counselings. What actually being done is a Career Guidance which gives information about various streams. On the other hand Counselling is a very personalized affair. Many children have been misguided by some people making judgments based on their academic performance alone. One girl approached me having done two counselings from the same organisation and still was not clear as to what she needs to do to excel. Many others were given just reports which they were unable to decipher. Some people fell for cheap options, but it turned out to be a costly affair later when the child decided to change stream or course during graduation losing precious years or were plainly disinterested.

A good counselor has to spend considerable amount of time with the child to understand and guide the child without being prescriptive. The journey has to be exploratory. In the end the counselor has to decipher the comprehensive report with both the parent and child. The child should own and take responsibility for their career and not feel it was thrust down their throats.

What is the Ideal Age for Counselling?

9/ 10th Class: Any child in 9th and above or 14 years and above can be counselled. The best time is before the child completes 10th std so that they choose the right stream. I have seen that kids in colleges sadly struggling with some engineering degrees whereas they would have excelled in Psychology or Medicine. If and only if they were guided rightly during their 10th.

11/12th Class: Any child in 11th should do the Career counselling right away so that they get a year or two to prepare for the entrance exams of their choice. If the child is already in 12th then it has to be done immediately so that they do not miss any entrance exam application dates.

College: If the child is already in college and not clear what to do, then too it is beneficial so that they will know how to take a career path during post graduation.

Who Does this? Dr. Chinu Agrawal, PhD, founder of Feeling Minds has trained numerous career counselors across the country in her mission to cover a million children to find their sweet spot to remain happy in their careers. If you want to know your nearest counselor, feel free to write to me at with the child’s, name, age, city. Few of them do counseling online through a video call for those in cities where there are no counselors present.

Wishing you and your child a stress free life filled with clear vision, clarity and focus to succeed in Life.

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