Take a Minute, Change a Life #SuicidePrevention

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. This year the theme for this noble initiative is ‘Take a minute, change a life.’

Statistics reveal that more than 800,000 — one person every 40 seconds — die by suicide each year. Up to 25 times more, or as many as 20,000,000 people attempt suicide.

Every single successful or attempted suicide has grave and cruel consequences. It is not just the death of a person, but it is a tragedy of epic proportions for the people left behind – the family and friends.

Suicide does not take away the pain, it gives it to someone else.

As we know that suicide is preventable. And we all can do our bit and prevent it. We can do it by understanding the issues concerning suicide and mental health and in doing so we can help others in crisis, and make a difference.

Know the Warning Signs

Warning Signs Suicide

Know the Risk Factors for Suicide

Risk Factors for Suicide

It’s common for people to think that talking about suicide increases the risk. It is generally believed that if a person is going to kill themselves, there’s nothing one can do. If you try to stop them, they’ll just bide their time and do it later.

However, data shows that suicidal intention is transient.

A suicidal person is looking for help and support. He may feel relieved and cared for. He may be looking for an opportunity to share his distress.

It is our responsibility to look out for those who may be struggling, check in with them, and encourage them to tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Offering a gentle word of support, compassion and empathy, listening in a non-judgmental way can make all the difference.

So… Take a minute, change a life.

I read a story at Corinne’s blog. It said, “A man who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, left a note “I’m walking to the bridge,” begins a Golden Gate Bridge suicide note. “If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.” Sadly, no one smiled!”… If only someone took a minute…

Why take a minute? Because taking a minute to observe and think can make a difference. Because conversations change lives. So, wherever you are, have that conversation that could save someone’s life.

My other posts on  #SuicidePrevention are

Stigma : A Barrier to Suicide Prevention (2013)

Connect for Suicide Prevention (2014)

Myths and Facts about Suicide (2015)

Hero Umpire Who Saved a Suicidal Woman #WATWB

John Tumpane can’t explain why he approached the woman as she hopped over the railing of the Roberto Clemente Bridge on the afternoon of June 28, 2017.

The woman told Tumpane she just wanted to get a better view of the Allegheny River below. The look on her face and the tone of her voice suggested otherwise to Tumpane, a major league baseball umpire in town to work the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays.

So the 34-year-old Tumpane reached for the woman even as she urged him to let her go. The woman struggled and asked him to let her jump. “You’ll forget me tomorrow,” she told him.

“I’ll never forget you,” he said. “You can have my promise on that.”

MLB Umpire Saves Suicidal Woman

You can read the news report and listen to Tumpane’s talk here.

This positive and uplifting story has touched me.

This story reminded me of something I read at Corinne’s blog. It says, “A man who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, left a note “I’m walking to the bridge,” begins a Golden Gate Bridge suicide note. “If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.” Sadly, no one smiled!”…

This story keeps reverberating in my head!! And more so, because 2 months ago, one afternoon, my husband’s best friend’s sister jumped from a busy bridge and no one noticed or stopped her!

We may never know what somebody’s day looks like. We may never know what battles they are fighting.  We may never know what demons they are facing. Or what life circumstances are weighing them down.

But can we be positive and supportive of people around us and connect with them?
Can we reach out to those who have become disconnected from others and offer them support and friendship?
Can we show more empathy towards people around us?
Can we lend a patient ear and a supporting hand?

This simple act of ours can be a life-saving act.

Can we bring a little sunshine into the days of those around us?

In darkness, can we be the light?

WATW Turquoise Badge 320 x280 White

The “We are the World” Blogfest is in its fifth month of a year-long journey.

This blogfest’s goal is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world. We are challenging all participants to share the positive side of humanity.

This month’s co-hosts, Simon FalkRoshan RadhakrishnanInderpreet Uppal, Damyanti Biswas and Sylvia Steinwelcome participants and encourage all to join in during future months. #WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month.

Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time between now and February of 2018.

Please SIGN UP for WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST in the linky list that opens up in a new window:

Click HERE to be part of the Light.

Sikhs Show Solidarity After Manchester Attack #WATWB

Compassion is a spiritual quality that is unique to mankind. The ability to see the suffering of others and take actions to help alleviate that suffering is central belief of Sikhism. This noble human trait is something that’s practiced by Sikhs the world over.

Just after the Manchester attack on May 22, the Sikh community opened its doors to those caught up in the Manchester terror attack.

From taxi driver Mann Singh and volunteers from Birmingham, to local gurdwaras, members of the Sikh community were at hand to offer transport, food, water and shelter as people struggled to come to terms with the Monday terror attack in Manchester.

Members of the community with placards reading “I Love MCR” were among the most conspicuous in Tuesday evening’s vigil in Manchester, attended by thousands of people mourning the 22 killed in the Manchester Arena blast.

Names and addresses of four gurdwaras near the area which offered shelter and food to anyone in need were retweeted. Sikh drivers switched off their taxi meters on Monday night, transporting many people in panic to their homes or hospitals.

 


The Sikh community has historically been one people in need could turn to and they did just that earlier this week, as well.

This post is shared for the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which aims to share stories that spread love and positivity in this vulnerable world. WATW Turquoise Badge 320 x280 White

#FundAhamBhumika – Make a Difference

It was 6.15 am and I was waiting at Delhi Railway Station for my train to arrive. With nothing better to do, I did what I love doing the most. Yes, that’s observing people. I was watching him from far. Something about him caught my eye. I could not hear what he was talking about, but his body language oozed confidence. He must have seen me looking at him with interest, for he walked towards me with purpose. As he approached me, he gave a warm smile. I smiled back and he immediately got down to business. He showed me his wares and said, “Madam, please see these stickers. Which one would you like Doremon or Barbie Doll?

Even though the stickers he was selling had no use for me, I had made up my mind to buy them from him. As I was looking at the spread of stickers in his plastic tray, it suddenly struck me that he had spoken to me in perfect English.

Awe-struck, I looked up at him and asked, “Which class you are in?”. With a twinkle in his eyes, very proudly he said, “Class IV”. As I selected the stickers and paid him, we chatted for a while and I got to know that by 7.30 am, Sujeet, would leave the Railway Station to go home to pick his school bag and would be back again at the Railway Station in the evening. He enjoyed studying and Maths was his favorite subject. He wanted to work in a big office where they wear a suit and a tie. He pointed towards a man dressed just like that.

I wanted to talk to him for some more time, but he was a boy with a mission. He waved me goodbye and moved on to sell his wares somewhere else.

The happiness in my heart and face lingered for a long time. It was heart warming to see a small child with dreams and goals and working towards it with commitment. He made me realize that education is soul crafting. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the human soul.

When I heard that a rural pre-school run by Aham Bhumika was facing a fund crisis, I was reminded of Sujeet immediately. It is NGO’s like Aham Bhumika which are making a difference in the lives of hundreds of Sujeets.

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This pre-school which is run by Aham Bhumika in Borda village on Kolar Road at Bhopal is looking for corporate funding so that education which is an essential right is within reach of the underprivileged rural children. This pre-school which teaches 40 rural children at the moment need Rs 14000 per month to meet their expenses and prevent the school from closing down.

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To help them in their noble act, we bloggers have got together to bring awareness about their needs to the general public.

Here’s how we all can help…

Cash donation: Cash donation which could be any amount and even One Rupee a day which will be Rs. 365/- per year will make a big difference in the lives of many children.

Online bank transfer/ Cheque payments can be done using following information:

A/c name: Aham Bhumika Swayam Sevi Sanstha
SAVINGS ACCOUNT NO. 2073101015874
IFSC Code- CNRB0002073
Bank – CANARA BANK
Branch – MAHARANA PRATAP NAGAR, BHOPAL

All donations are tax exempted under Section 80-G of Income Tax of India.

Donation in Kind: You can donate clothes, blankets, woollens, books, toys, food grain, at their collection centres in Bhopal.

Volunteer: You can share your time and skills and help bring a change to some parts of rural India.

Buy : Embroidery Project of Aham Bhumika trains women and girls in hand embroidery work. They make and sell cushion covers, bags, bed sheets, quilts, hand painted shoes etc. All profits earned from sales  of these items go towards the education fund.

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You can get more details from their Facebook page, Twitter account and Website.

Come one, come all, let’s do our bit and make a difference in life’s of Sujeets of the world!

All images are taken from Aham Bhumika’s Facebook page.

Myths and Facts about Suicide

About 800,000 people commit suicide worldwide every year, of these 135,000 (17%) are Indians, a nation with 17.5% of world population. Between 1987 to 2007, the suicide rate increased from 7.9 to 10.3 per 100,000, which increased to 21.1 per 100,000 people in 2012.

These statistics are certainly alarming. Despite the advancement and growth in every realm of our life, stigma of suicide continues to grow unabated. Suicide is considered such a taboo subject that the misconceptions about it are in abundance.

These misconceptions or the lack of information means that people who are vulnerable and dejected from life cannot get the help they need in times of their crisis.

It’s important to know the facts and shatter the myths that surround suicide. Being well-informed about mental illnesses and suicide can help save some precious lives.

Myth: Suicide can’t be prevented. If someone is set on taking their own life, there is nothing that can be done to stop them.

Fact: Suicide is preventable. The vast majority of people contemplating suicide don’t really want to end their lives. They are seeking an end to intense mental and/or physical pain. Most have a mental illness. Timely medical interventions can save lives.

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Myth: People who take their own life are selfish, cowards, weak or are just looking for “attention.”

Fact: More than 90% of people who take their own lives have at least one and often more than one treatable mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and/or alcohol and substance abuse. With better recognition and treatment many suicides can be prevented.

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Myth: Asking someone if they are thinking about suicide will put the idea in their head and cause them to act on it.

Fact: When you fear someone you know is in crisis or depressed, asking them if they are thinking about suicide can actually help. By giving a person an opportunity to open up and share their troubles you can help alleviate their pain and find solutions.

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Myth : Suicide always occurs without any warning sign.

Fact : There are almost always warning signs. Look out for them.

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Myth : Suicide occurs most often among the very rich and the very poor.

Fact : Suicide occurs in equal proportions among people from all socioeconomic strata.

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Myth: Someone making suicidal threats won’t really do it, they are just looking for attention.

Fact: Those who talk about suicide or express thoughts about wanting to die, are at risk for suicide and need your attention. Most people who die by suicide give some indication or warning. Take all threats of suicide seriously. Even if you think they are just “crying for help”—a cry for help, is a cry for help—so reach out to them.

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10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day. It  is an ideal time to inspire people to work towards the goal of developing creative new methods for eradicating stigma. And the first step towards is by creating awareness… let’s spread the word and do our bit in saving lives around us.

suicide-is-preventable

All or Nothing Day

Did you know July 26th is All or Nothing Day?  I wasn’t aware of it till Heather Von St. James a  Mesothelioma cancer survivor, blogger, and mother, invited me join her and many others around the world in an All or Nothing Day (AOND) celebration.

Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Long considered a miracle material, asbestos boasts excellent fire- and heat- resistant properties. This naturally-occurring mineral, is now known to be a human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). To this day, asbestos has not been banned despite deaths and lawsuits.

Heather’s story of recovery is an inspiration, and I highly recommend you read more about her here. Heather is sharing her personal story of inspiration to help other mesothelioma victims around the globe and to help spread hope and awareness for others going through this, in hope that one day no one else will have to. Her story is one of faith, love and courage and living each day with a positive outlook despite the cards you have been dealt.

July 26th is All or Nothing Day, and Heather had to learn the hard way to live her life to the fullest. All or Nothing Day is about devoting time to live life meaningfully, to be bold, and to push yourself to do things that you’ve always wanted to do. So, here’s a reminder to live life, as you deserve to be fully alive. You have only one life to live, and you must live it now!!

Do stop  by Heather’s blog and read her inspiring story.

I am glad to be a part of this of this project to raise awareness as from awareness grows hope. Each voice could save a life!

Compassion in Everyday Life #1000Speak

Dalai Lama famously once said, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”Compassion

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Everyone around us is fighting some or the other battle. It doesn’t take much to reach out and lift people up. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

We all have witnessed this. Whenever someone offers his seat in a bus/train to somebody else, this small gesture positively affects not only the giver and the receiver but also the people who have witnessed this small and simple act. The giver feels generous, the receiver feels gratitude and the onlookers feel good on seeing a good deed of compassion and kindness. It is said, if you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Compassion is the chief law of human existence.― Fyodor Dostoyevsky


We all can make a difference in lives of people around us. We can intentionally be kind to others and make it a daily practice and a way of life. Here are some small compassionate acts that we can do and change the world around us :

  1. Eat lunch with somebody who is sitting alone in the office /college cafeteria.
  2. Encourage someone who needs it.
  3. Be generous with compliments.
  4. Write a note of appreciation for the employee who offered excellent service at the cafe or the hotel.whether-one-believes-in-religion-or-not
  5. Give someone recognition for something they have done with a pat on the back.
  6. Buy coffee or a snack for the security guard outside your apartment or a cab driver who is driving you around.
  7. Cook a meal for the sick neighbor.
  8. Let someone go in front of you in a queue, especially a parent with a cranky child.
  9. Help someone find a job.
  10. Help someone who is in a financial trouble.
  11. Acknowledge the people you meet in a store or fellow co-passengers with a smile.
  12. Speak kindly and listen attentively especially to those who are going through a tough time.
  13. Say something nice to someone.
  14. Be someone’s cheerleader.
  15. Surprise friends and family by sending them cards, flowers, or small gifts for no reason at all.
  16. Ask others what you can do to help.
  17. Donate blood, books, toys, clothes, your long hair, money for victims of disasters or charitable organizations.
  18. Help people who have dropped things, hold doors and elevators open for people and help elders/children cross the street.
  19. Say “thank you” to someone who made a difference.
  20. Spread the word for those who need referrals, like a wow photographer, a creative interior designer, a wonderful accountant, a new home baker…

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a list to focus our intentions on making it a kinder, loving and beautiful world for ourselves and others around us. I believe in karma – it comes after everyone eventually… what goes around comes around, truly.  Your everyday good deeds are never in vain for they shall return to you even when you’re not expecting it. So, keep your circle positive and practice small and random acts of kindness and compassion, everyday! Spread the cheer ♥

I am participating in the 1000speak movement by writing about Compassion. Do join us. Link your posts here. Stay updated by joining our Facebook group and our Google+ Community.

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The 1000 Voices For Compassion #1000Speak Campaign

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Road Safety is in Our Hands

Some years ago, T, a 20-something-son of a family friend met with an accident. He was driving his bike when a van hit him. The van driver fled from the scene leaving him bleeding and in intense pain on the road. His head had hit the pavement and he died on his way to the hospital. They say that the bystanders took a long time to take any action. The doctors said that if medical assistance was provided to him a bit earlier, he would have survived and a helmet would have prevented the fatal injuries too. T’s mother took his death to heart and died eight months later. T’s father lives alone and is a sort of recluse.

One accident changed the life and fate of a family!

If only…

The World Health Organization in its first ever Global Status Report on Road Safety revealed that more people die in road accidents in India than anywhere else in the world. At least 13 people die every hour in road accidents in the country. According to the Road Transport ministry report, a total of 4.97 lakh road accident was reported in 2011. A majority of road accident victims – 51.9 %  – are in the 25-65 age group followed by 30.3% in the 15-24 age group.

And they say 80% of road accidents are due to human error! 80% – human error… that’s huge!!

I believe, making our roads safe not only for us but also for motorists and pedestrians is in our hands. Here are are some of the steps that we must follow which incidentally are the road signs by the Border Road Organization that we came across on our road journey from Srinagar to Leh, to make our roads safe:

  • Do not be rash and end in crash: Drive like hell, and you ‘ll be there. Speed thrills but it kills, after all it’s a highway and not a runway.
  • Drive on horse power and not rum power. Drinking and driving should never be mixed.
  • Short cuts may cut short your life : Avoid overtaking from wrong side. Life is short, but don’t make it shorter, because a slip and there might be a hospital trip. Be Mr. Late but not Late Mr.
  • Make road sense as your common sense. Like seat belts and helmets are life saving. And that high beam and low beam lights in a vehicle have a reason and specific purpose. Use them wisely. Use indicators timely!
  • Lane driving is safe driving : In fact, lane driving should be mandatory especially on highways and expressways.
  • Peep-Peep, Don’t Sleep. Always Alert, Avoids Accidents.  Driving with care, make accidents rare.
  • Be a good Samaritan : What goes around, comes around. So help those in need and in distress.
  • Safety on road=safe tea at home. Safety on roads should become a habit. As safety is simple, accidents are not.

The key to road safety is in our hands. Each one us should respect and know traffic regulations and signs and follow them religiously. Each one of us should have a responsible attitude on the road and avoid road accidents and their serious consequences.

Road safety is a state of mind, while accident is an absence of mind. Since, life does not comes with a ‘reset’ button, drive safe, always!  And there should be no place for ‘If only…’ on roads.

This post is written for Indiblogger and Nissan Safety Driving Forum

Hygiene is Two-Thirds of Health

Hygiene is two-thirds of health.

2/3rd of our health?! Hard to believe??

It is a true fact.

Hygiene is a basic human need and we know that it is common sense to practice it in our day to day life. But the number of diseases that are spread by the very lack of this ‘common sense’ habit, is staggering!

Sanitation and Hygiene play a big role in our everyday lives. With the kind of health risks that pose a threat to us today, it is more important than ever, for us to maintain good hygienic habits. And it all starts at home!

Hygiene, which is basically practicing certain activities in our life that lead to maintenance of health and prevention of diseases, is divided into three categories:

Personal Hygiene : Studies show that, 80 percent of infections are transmitted by direct and indirect contact, thus, hand washing is the most important thing we can do to protect our self! And others!  Every hand we shake, every hand rail we touch, every door knob, every light switch, every counter top, every dog we pet…simply everything we touch can place dangerous germs on our hands.

The importance of hand washing can be assessed by looking at the spread of germs found on human hands. Given below are a few examples:

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Here’s a checklist of times when we need to wash our hands. I know, this may sound so petty and trivial and something that we all know. These are the basics… right! But mostly the basic rituals are the ones that are most often forgotten and ignored! Just check, how many check marks (✓) you get…

    • After using the washroom at home or at any public place. 6 Steps of Washing Hands
    • Before as well as after eating food.
    • After visiting a patient at the hospital.
    • Before and after one starts cooking food.
    • After changing a baby’s diaper.
    • After touching pets or cleaning their faeces.
    • Before touching young infants and children.
    • Before and after touching injured areas and changing the dressing of a wounded person.
    • After collecting and throwing out garbage.
    • After sneezing, coughing and blowing our nose.
    • After cleaning around the house.
    • After being outside (playing, gardening, walking the dog, etc.)
    • After handling dirty laundry.

Also hands should be always washed with a soap. If that is not done then we are actually  smearing the germs all over our hands and giving them a wider surface area to operate and/or if we are not washing well or long enough then we have got live germs on our hands ready to transfer to our foods, friends’ hands we shake or even people we hug…

Home Hygiene : We love keeping our homes clean. But are they really clean? However clean a home looks, the deadly little germs can still be lurking around. The door knobs, the handrails, the upholstery and bedding, the TV remote, computer keyboard, toilet brush, soap dispensers, kitchen napkins, vacuum cleaner are all hotbeds of bacterial and viral activity. Take a moment to check this cleaning time-table. If you are managing your home as per this schedule, you are doing great!

Several Times in a Day Once Every Day Once -Twice Every Week Once a Month

Wash dishes and cooking utensils after each meal

Sweep the floors

Wash the floors

Clean cupboards, windows and walls

Clean kitchen slab before and after food preparation

Empty the kitchen rubbish bin

Wash the bed linen

Clean refrigerator, gas stove

Clean toilets

Dust the surfaces

Get rid of cobwebs

Food Hygiene : In a survey, 15 per cent of squeaky clean-looking fridges were heavily contaminated with bugs. Hard to believe. Right? But then it’s true. How many of us wash the milk packets and then keep them in the fridge. And what about the vegetables and fruits? Mostly, a refrigerator is used as a cold cabinet. So the vegetables and fruits are kept either without washing or in the carry bags we got from the market. Imagine the dirt and the germs that we are allowing to stay and thrive in our refrigerators.

How about washing the pack of bread or the eggs or a juice tetra pack or a cold drink can or the pack of chips… just about any eatable pack? And is it hygienic to pack food in newspapers or letting the newspaper soak the oil as we fry hot yummies?

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Sanitation and hygiene begins at Home! Implementing good hygiene practices, personally and at home has both health and social benefits. What is your take on this?

Swachh IndiaThis post is written for Indiblogger and Banega Swachh India #SwachhIndia

Clean India #AbMontuBolega

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, kick-started the ‘Swach Bharat Abhiyaan’ or ‘Clean India’ campaign on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, this year. The aim of this campaign to clean up India and improve sanitation facilities.

As Gandhiji said, “Change begins from home”. While a lot has to be done by the local civic bodies and government, I believe the real people who can make The Swach Bharat Abhiyaan  a success is the common man. There will be no expected participation unless people’s attitude towards cleanliness and its importance changes. The masses, are the real power and they should be involved in the process of cleaning India.

Each an every citizen of India has to become an active participant in this campaign.

  • A larger percentage of our society still live under unhygienic conditions. A lot of awareness has to be build in that strata of the society. If every Indian inculcates clean hygienic habits we can go a long way in curbing this menace.
  • While people believe in keeping their homes clean but do not hesitate to throw anything outside their homes. The mindset that a small packet of chips or a cigarette butt is miniscule in comparison to the existing garbage around, has to change.
  • Every person should make a habit of throwing garbage only in the dustbins. It is not just the duty of the local municipal workers but we all should be committed to keep our country clean.
  • If somebody is littering around, one should not hesitate to pick that garbage or speak to the person who did it wrong in the first place.
  • Reduce-Reuse-Recycle – should be the mantra that should be followed by one and all.
  • Solid and liquid waste management should be adopted in every housing society.
  • The youth can act as Model Good Citizens and Volunteers. They should be encouraged to take up careers and act as entrepreneurs in fields like Sanitation, City Planning, Waste Management, Water Treatment, Green Infrastructure, Sustainable Development etc.
  • Children need to be educated about cleanliness as early as possible. Personal hygiene and segregation of waste should be subjects taught in preschool and primary schools across the country.

One man has shown us the path, the light, now it is up to the 1.5 billion people of our country to join hands together and help make a cleaner India.

Strepsils, has launched its first digital marketing campaign called #AbMontuBolega. The campaign nudges people to speak up and raise their opinion.It urges people to “Speak your Heart out! Khol Ke Bolo”. #AbMontuBolega campaign wants the youth of India to emerge and bring forth their rightful opinion with Montu because a Montu exists in everyone.

I am raising my voice for a cleaner India. Will you join me in this campaign?

Let’s exercise the power of our voice and work towards a Swach Bharat

brandcoverThis post is written for Indiblogger.in and Strepsils.  Follow Strepsils on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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