Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Most Precious Blessing of a Lifetime!!!



God gifted u to me
I still remember your soft voice asking me "Hold pannikanuma".... and held my hand thro the evening.
At that moment, i knew that u r the one i have waited for all my life....
U gifted me a family towards which i had an instant sense of belonging!!!
And one that i call my own...
Thank u for being the wonderful person you are....
My most precious gift from above - My dear hubby!
Always with you in our journey thro life!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Service to Mankind is Service to God


 Ms.Archana Achuthan was born to Mr.K.Achuthan and Mrs.Madhumathi Achuthan.She was very intelligent and mesmerized others by her speech and her ability in quiz from the two great epics even at the age of two. She was a child affected with mild cerebral palsy; hence her parents   identified the Spastics Society of India- a special school for her education.
Since her disability affected only her mobility and she is very intelligent girl with a lot of potential Mrs.Poonam Natarajan, Director Spastics Society of India, felt that she should go to a regular school.Archana was the first child to be integrated into a regular school.
She was admitted in the prestigious ‘Vidya Mandir- Mylapore, where she completed her high school in 2001.All through her schooling, Archana studied under merit scholarship. In 2001, she joined MOP Vaishnav College for her Graduation B.A in Sociology. She completed her under graduation in 2004. Following which Archana did her Masters in Counselling Psychology from the well known Madras School of Social Work (MSSW). She completed her Masters with flying colours in 2006. She Worked in Aasha, a counselling centre at Anna Nagar, under Dr. Balakrishnan.
 Then as luck would have it she was invited by her college to work at the Counselling Centre in MSSW.
After which she has worked as a Research counsellor at YRG Care, under Dr. Suniti Solomon.
 Today she is managing her own counselling centre ‘Sampurn’, which provides all types of counselling according to individual needs and also conducts soft skills training workshops for schools colleges and corporates. Sampurn aims to stand by it’s by- line “Making Lives Complete”!!!
Archana has also delivered lectures and workshops on soft skills for various Rotary Clubs, under the banner of Sampurn.
Archana’s hobbies are music, (she is a trained vocalist), Quiz programmes, writing poems and reading books.
She has participated and won  in many TV programmes like Jaya TV’s koteeswari, 20-20.She and her mother won the 2nd prize in Mom and I conducted by VIBA.She has given many programs in many channels. Her recent participation was in Jaya TV’s Sa re ga ma….Family.  

She was awarded the Young Achiever award by Rotary International Dist.3230 in March 2009.
Archana is multifaceted personality, who is dedicated to her profession and  is sure to get many more laurels in the future. 

Sampurn -"Making Lives Complete" is a counselling centre at Abhiramapuram Chennai. Headed by Ms. Archana Achuthan , a counselling psychologist and soft skills trainer,  Sampurn provides all types of counselling (eg) Educational, Career, Family, Marital, Children with behavioural problems, stress management, Anger management, work place Counselling, and depression  according to individual needs. Sampurn also conducts soft skills training for schools colleges and corporates, on topics such as Emotional Empowerment, Assertive skills, Memory improvement techniques, Leadership Skills, Communication skills, Stress management, anger management, SWOT analysis, social facilitation skills, motivation and goal setting, positive attitude ,creativity , Human relations and team building , decision making and many more such topics . We also design modules on specific topics on request by schools, colleges and corporates. 

In all, Sampurn aims to go by its byline "Making Lives Complete".

Archana also heads ESK Learning Centre a centre for children with learning and multiple disabilites. This is a centre for children with learning difficulties (Dyslexia). and Children with Multiple Difficulties .Children are taught through remedial education. Individual Attention is provided to each child. Children are handled in small groups in a 1:3 ratio/ Individual sessions are also given.
Coaching is also given for National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) examinations. Spoken English and Handwriting classes are conducted for children as well. .
ESKLC has been in exsistence for the past 15 years.
Recently, Archana has started a new venture Sahayatha- “ Think Gifts, Think Us” under which she is providing vocational training to children with special needs and  promotes  products  such as jute bags , paper bags, cloth bags  and varieties of candles made by differently abled kids so as to enable them to be economically independent.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Time To Change

One thing that I would like to change is the educational system in our country. When I think back in time I find that the school going children of today are put to a lot of undue pressure and stress than the school going kids a decade ago. Children have lost their precious childhood due to the pressure to be an outstanding student in class and the need to outshine peers. Children are set to a routine of school - tuition- home, and rarely are seen playing outside their house. Play is a stress buster for kids - but these days children do not take up outdoor games at all - hence games like hopping and catching, lock and key ,Hide and seek, blind man's bluff etc have become a rarity and are almost nearing extinction. Today's kids have turned couch potatoes and are addicted to video games and play stations which in reality only build stress and do not help to de-stress. This is also reflected in their studies.
A decade ago, children enjoyed studying because school and studies were something that they enjoyed and communicated with parents, friends, teachers and neighbours a lot - which provided them a outlet and they were more enthused and eager to study. And school was a non threatening environment for them - It was a second home. Today children do not communicate as much with parents as in most houses both parents are working and the concept of "quality time " has crept in which most parents are trying to give but are unable to give their children. Kids do not communicate with kids in the neighbourhood either so an outlet of their activities for them is lost.
Though due to technological advancement studies and method of teaching has become more appealing it still builds enormous pressure and challenges of a new kind to the kids. Educational system should be made more simpler . It should be accessible to all sections of society and most of all it should do away with this mechanical routine of kids. Education should be enjoyable. Let us let children be children!And let them enjoy their childhood just as we did!

Monday, March 12, 2012

My memorable trip to Brunei.

Brunei is a small country in south east Asia. It is Malaysia's neighbour. As I said it is a small country with a limited population. It is one of the monarchic countries in the world. Its Sultan or king is the richest person in the world. Brunei is a land of riches. I was there with family to visit my uncle and aunt who lived there. My awe for Brunei started right from the airport, the neat and tidy but a compact airport, with mostly women staff who were very organised and extremely pleasant.
As I came out of the airport my aunt and uncle picked me up and we drove off to their residence. The calm green non- polluted surrounding very close to nature was something new to me. I admired being in such tidy lush green surroundings.We reached their residence which was surrounded by greenery in the form of a lovely house garden with lot of flowers and fruits. We were there for ten days and I did the most adventurous tasks in my life. We went rafting in our own rafts to a forest -Temburong forest (very near to where we were staying) it was a thick dense forest and an exhilarating experience for me who has only seen forests in movies. At the centre of the forest was a quiet lake. We went for a swim in the lake and then climbed a bridge and reached a tower climbed to its top and admired the beauty of the forest from the top view. We also met the tribal people there, who instead of living in the forest were living in well built houses and spoke English. Their hospitality was indeed very memorable. Then we visited a waterfalls bathed in it and were off to trek in the Tasek mountains- With all our mountaineering gear we looked so professional! We climbed the rocky terrain successfully and reached home contented and happy. The next day the headlines in the paper was - The bridge in Temburong forest broke and fell when tourists were walking through it. Yes the bridge to reach the tower in forest , the one we walked through the previous day had broken injuring tourists. We thanked our stars for saving our lives the previous day. This had indeed been the most adventurous and memorable trip of my life ever

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Life As It Had Been...

Childhood is the best phase of life for an individual, and so it was for me too! Growing up in the late 80's and early 90's was indeed a boon. Playing with the neighborhood friends in broad day light / in the cool evenings was such a pleasure! Collecting neem leaves and sticks I used to at times form alphabets with them or make a birds nest with them hoping that some bird will come and stay in it the next day!My friends and I used to dig deep into the sand and make sand castles in my grandma's garden or make sand cup -cakes. We also used to do a lot of pretend-play- We used to imagine the steps leading into our house was a boat, the floor below was the river and we used to use cricket stumps and pretend as if we were moving the boat by moving forward. We also used to play hide and seek, blind man's bluff, ko-ko,running and catching , hopping and catching and badmiton -all this and more in the lap of mother nature!
Apart from all this the best aspect of my childhood has been the enumerable mythological stories that my maternal grand father has told me over and over again. I used to really enjoy listening as also acting out parts of these stories in the lush green terrace garden of my grandparents which will be adorned by different fruit. vegetable and floral trees. I also used to love watch my grand father water all these trees with such passion. If he tells me any story that involves nature it will always be in this surroundings. I also use to pluck flowers and fruits for the house hold with my grandfather.
And Iam sure the stories filled with moral values that he told me over the years have moulded me into the person Iam today.
I can clearly say that the way I was brought up had been one with nature and nurture.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Manjal Elai Kohukattai ( Turmeric Leaf Rice Balls with stuffing) - The Manglorean Delicacy

We have a Diwali - day routine, one of my dad's closest friend visits us with family to wish our family every Diwali early in the morning. Later we go to their house and exchange diwali greetings,talk about the clothes,crackers we bought and about new releases for diwali and most importantly eat some of the mouth -watering delicacies which they have made. According to me, their family makes the most delicious food ever!!
It was Diwali of 2000- So as always after he visited us with family, it was time for us to visit them. This is what I love most about Diwali - visiting their family for the amount of affection and warmth they exude on our family. So we walked into their house and after exchanging pleasantries and Diwali greetings we were offered Manjal Elai Kozhukattais (Turmeric - leaf rice balls with filling/ stuffing) It was rice balls with stuffing wrapped in turmeric leaf. I was told that it was a Manglorean delicacy made only on festive occasions.
I took one bite and to tell the truth it melted in my mouth, the taste was out of the world!!! The crunchy coconut,the sweetness of the Jaggery together with the subtle flavour of the turmeric leaf made it the most exotic as well as my most favourite dish ever!!
Till date I get my share of " Manjal Elai Kozhukatai" every diwali from their house.

Below is the recipe for the dish:

Ingredients

Rice flour - 1cup
Coconut -1 cup( grated)
Jaggery - 1cup
Elachi- 4nos
Water - As required
Salt -1tsp

Method: Clean the turmeric leaves. Mix the rice flour, salt and water heat it on the stove stirring it continuously in low flame till it attains a thick consistency, in such a way that it can be spread completely on the turmeric leaf. Make the puranam (filling/stuffing) with grated coconut and Jaggery and water . Heat it in a frying pan for 5 minutes. Add elachi when the mixture is thick and ready. The rice flour paste has to be spread on the turmeric leaf and the puranam (filling/stuffing) to be spread in the middle of the rice paste.
Fold the leaf length wise. Place it carefully in the idlli plates (the utensil used to make idlli) and steam it for 10 minutes. Tasty Hot "Manjal Elai Kozhukattai" is ready.

Go on, try this in your homes too!!! Hope my most favourite dish will soon be your most favourite dish too!!! Happy Eating!!