Hosted by the happynesswalas™, this is a live, reflective, non-commercial Conversation Series anchored by both Vaani and AVIS. the happynesswalas™ explore the lived experiences of guests who have faced Life's upheavals stoically. Sharing from their own journey and those of their guests, Vaani and AVIS showcase learnings on the value of choosing Happiness in any situation or context, despite the circumstances. Audiences take away inspirations and reflections on living fully with what is!
Please scroll down to see pictures and videos from editions in 2021.
the happyness conversations™ on Saturday, October 30, 2021
Featuring Parvathi Bindu Benu!
Parvathi is young, vivacious, and well, full of Life! This, even though she has dealt with her share of pain, darkness, unfairness and fear of death. It all began with white patches appearing on her thighs when she was barely seven. Soon, they spread to her arms and back. At one time, she even had those patches on her face. Her family and she tried various forms of treatment to deal with this “something”. One medical practitioner’s approach, which lasted two years, ruined her self-esteem and left her hopeless. She stopped that treatment and resigned to her fate believing that her skin would have those white, scaly, patches for the rest of her Life. And she immersed herself in her career as a journalist. In May 2017, on a colleague’s recommendation, Parvathi met Dr.Maya Vedamurthy, a dermatologist, who diagnosed her condition as Mycosis Fungoides. This is an extremely rare cancer that begins when white blood cells, called T cells, develop abnormalities that make them attack the skin. The diagnosis initially crushed Parvathi. She thought that she was going to die soon – and sick! But under the care of her capable dermatologist, and supported by family and friends, Parvathi’s condition has healed. The cancer has been in remission for two years now. This story is another pointer to the way Life just is – we must go through what we have to while Life happens in its own time, at its own pace. Join us as we talk to Parvathi about how she was held hostage by pain, cluelessness, uncertainty and fear, for close to 20 years, and how she finally awakened to freedom and Happiness!
the happyness conversations™ on Saturday, August 28, 2021
Featuring Zoyeb Zia!
In 2009, at 16, Zoyeb was like any other teenager. Aggressive, audacious and ambitious.
And then his Life changed. Forever.
It began with Zoyeb needing the support of walls to stand up and to walk. He couldn’t hold anything steadily because his hands trembled. Soon, everyday living became a nightmare. Doctors concurred that Zoyeb had a degenerative neurological condition called Ataxia. But they could not immediately offer clarity on what type of Ataxia was affecting him!It took 10 years, and many, many hospital visits, for Zoyeb’s specific condition to be diagnosed. He has AOA2, a form of Spinocerebellar Ataxia. This means being wheelchair dependent and living with progressively slow, uncoordinated gait and poor coordination of hand, speech and eye movements – for the rest of his Life. This is among the rarest of rare diseases. And it has no cure yet! This hopeless prognosis may well have crushed anyone’s spirit. But his family’s love, his father Iftikhar’s compassionate leadership and Zoyeb’s acceptance of his Life for what it is have led him to discover the magical powers of resilience and Happiness – within him! Despite his severe physical limitations, Zoyeb has acquired two master’s degrees and is presently working on a PhD. Now 28, he lives Life fully. He teaches Zoology at New College, Chennai. He’s a die-hard foodie and plans to learn scuba diving soon! How do you accept Life for what it is – especially when it appears to be patently unfair? Come, join us, as we explore Zoyeb’s amazing journey of learning to be happy despite his circumstances!
the happyness conversations™ on Saturday, April 24, 2021
Dr.Shanthipriya (Priya) felt her whole world cave in when, in 2011, she was told that she had an early onset of Parkinson’s Disease (PD)! Her career as an ophthalmologist was at its peak and she was just 36 years old at that time!! Overcoming the initial shock and fear, she discovered the power of accepting her Life for the way it is! In September 2018, at the Ms.Inter-Nations Pageant in Singapore, even as she won the Empowered Woman title, she courageously announced to the world that she had PD. In end-2019, Priya went through a complex surgery for Deep Brain Stimulation to help her manage her PD condition for the long term. Emerging from the post-surgery phase, and all through the lockdowns in 2020, Priya immersed herself in her deepest passion – art! This was her way of expressing how she was feeling, coping and healing! She recently held a solo exhibition of her paintings and released her book of art and verses, 'Metamorphosis'. She says being accepting and open about her condition has led her to her Life’s Purpose! Priya now leads the SAAR Foundation that provides patients with PD both emotional support and the resources to stay fit, to stay active and to live fuller lives! Come, join us, as we explore Priya’s inspiring journey, of finding meaning and Happiness in Life when caught in the throes of an irreversible health challenge!
the happyness conversations™ on Saturday, February 27, 2021
Featuring Maneesha Ramakrishnan!
A story of acceptance, resilience and courage! Maneesha Ramakrishnan, Bengaluru, India It will be easy to introduce Maneesha as “the lady who has seen death at close quarters.” But it is important to celebrate her as the one who knows “the true meaning of Life and Happiness”! On 23rd February 2010, Maneesha was trapped on the seventh floor of Carlton Towers in Bengaluru when the building caught fire. She survived the over-one-hour entrapment, but she had to go through nine surgeries over the next few years to be able to live on and tell her story. She has lost most of her voice, she breathes through a tracheotomy tube implanted in her larynx, and she has no sense of smell. Before the Carlton Towers fire episode, her Life had not been exactly smooth either. She has had to deal with two marriages, both of which did not last; she has raised her two children, Akarsh and Dhruv, as a single parent. She has had to “stumble and struggle” through various career options to “earn a living”. And then the Carlton Towers fire left her physically, financially and emotionally devastated when she was just 40! Anyone in her position would have lost the will to live. But Maneesha has not just survived and soldiered on, she has learnt to be happy despite her circumstances! Listen to her inspiring story – of acceptance, of resilience, of courage and of celebrating who she is, living fully with what she has!