HAPPINESS: INVISIBLE ELIXIR

Being happy is something that we struggle with holding on to. We feel that our happy moments just slip away without us realizing. Most of the time we don’t even know what we do when we are extremely happy. But at the same time, when we are going through a hard time, we feel like time just doesn’t go forward. We take notice of everything that happens around us, and that happens to us.

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Why this change of attitude when we have no control to what is going to happen to us and when the future is uncertain? It is the perception and the ability to embrace our opportunities that differs from person to person. That doesn’t mean that we should try to be happy when we are arguing with our friends, or due to the death of a loved one. Those things happen to everyone, and it is our will to look for the light in the darkness.

It is extremely difficult to believe in something so bleak when the whole world crumbles down around us. We didn’t think this virus would take such a nasty turn, and we feared so much, but through the hard work of the medical technicians and caution from us, we are gearing through this together. At this point of time, we should focus on the positive note that our recovery rates are increasing and people are getting vaccinated tremendously.

It is like the classic experiment of “Half Empty, Half Full” mentality. The ability to look at grateful things in our life is what keeps us at peace, if not happy. If we have a roof over our head, food three times a day, decent clothing, then we are the most richest people on earth. We all would have seen the kids who are malnourished, without proper clothing, people who have lost their lives fighting the battle with Covid-19. Compared to them, we are much blessed in life.

Children worry about their exams and homework, fathers worry about earning money, mothers worry about the well-being of her family. This is common. We all might have at least one situation in which we felt where we thought the world is going to end because something didn’t go according to plan and everyone or everything fell apart. But looking back at that particular incident years later, though it might have been a bitter one, that would have what would have molded us today.

Happiness is such a petty thing. It is available in very little things like seeing a child happily playing, feeding the strays, watching mama bird feeding her babies, even watching the sunset, or feeling beautiful while looking in the mirror. It is the million little things that keep us going and keep us going through. Life is like a graph, with its ups and downs. As much as we need ups to keep us happy, we need the downs to be wise and experience. Just like we wouldn’t realize the worth of light without darkness.

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So starting from today, try to see the tiny sparks around you daily that you failed to notice, hug your family because you feel grateful for them, and be satisfied with whatever you have. Life will be blissful!

PERSONAL THERAPHY: JOURNALING

We have so much of our thoughts running through our minds and it is sometimes so overwhelming that we just want to give up. There is just so much to do and we feel like 24 hours a day is not enough. Or sometimes we feel like there is nothing for us to do, and we feel useless. These moods swings are so hard to control but are valid at the same time. It is okay that you feel like this, it is wrong only if you don’t feel tired.

At times, we just need someone to listen to us when we are confused. Sometimes, we find them and just saying our thoughts aloud helps us so much. Sometimes, people around us are busy, or we don’t want someone to judge us based on our thoughts. This is where journaling comes into play. Journaling, and diary entry are something where we record our daily activity but also what goes on in our mind.

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Journaling is a type of safe space where there is no one to question or judge us for what we think and there is no fear of someone spilling your secrets. You can personify your journal as a person and write down what you want to say to them. There is also no rule that you need to record your day daily at night, it all depends on you.

You can write down what you want to do the next day and how you want to do them. The very act of writing down your tasks for the next day or next week or next year, will de-burden you of thinking of the work again and again, because you have already figured out how and when you are going to do it. If you are feeling angry, instead of lashing out on the person, people ask us to take deep breaths.

The effect would be same if you keep quiet and write down your point of view. Even are you are writing them down, you would realize whether you are right or wrong. If you are right, you would find ways to explain it to the other person, if you are wrong, you would think of apologizing. Either way, the fight wouldn’t build up and there wouldn’t be any hard feeling between you and the other person.

Journaling can also be used to record your daily activity like mentioned before. By doing this, you can revisit your decisions of the day and how you can rectify them the following day. Journaling is not for everyone, it is something that we need to set aside a given amount of time that we are willing to spend on ourselves and the chance we give to ourselves to be a better person.

There are many a times when we would have started to write diary, but we would have given up. Now, try starting it again and see if you can challenge yourself to write it whenever you feel good or bad. It will definitely change your life and your perspective of life.

ROLE OF TEACHERS: SECOND PARENTS

Mother, Father, Teacher and God. This is the phrase we would have heard so many times.

Next to family, it is the teacher whom the kids look up to. There are many children who talk to teachers more freely than they do with their own parents. Teachers play an important role in shaping the life of the students under them. Students spend 6+ hours minimum daily in the school and it is the teachers who take care of them. It is more than the time they spend with their family, in fact.

So we can understand that the children look and learn not only education but how to be a better human being from a teacher. Many teachers dedicate their lives to teach through their heart and soul to the students so they would understand. Many go an extra mile and come up with many innovative way of learning.

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From kindergarten to high school, every child is made to believe that education is an important for their life in order to be happy. There are children who fare well and bring laurels to their alma mater. But there are also some students who find it hard to concentrate, to sit at one place and study continuously. They may have other interests like sports or art. So are we to leave behind these students?

The responsibilities falls in the hands of the teachers to find the interests of the students, the hidden talents and hone them into their dream. There are many children who are shy to come out and do something they are good at. It is the teacher who supports them to come forward in front of others. But there are also some teachers who favor one student over others. But most of them are not like that.

It is sad to see violence against teachers by students because they corrected them from straying from the righteous path. Parents, too, if they don’t find their wards scoring well, they blame the teachers. Even the pay for the teachers is so low compared to the hard work they put in. imagine taking care of one or two children at home. It is hard enough. Imagine having 50 and more children in one room, minding them, and teaching them on top of it.

Especially with the current technological advancements, children have so much exposure to all the things around the world, and there is not filter on what they can or cannot see. The only time they have a quality learning time is when they come to school and depend on someone human to gain knowledge. Even with homework, some find shortcuts by copying from the internet.

The state of teachers is pathetic, especially now since the online classes, teachers have no control on children on whether they study or not. It is impossible for teachers to ensure that they grasp the concepts or not. It is easier to stay at home, yes, but the actual concept of learning is tough when we are far apart. In spite of all these difficulties, teachers are trying their level best to reach out to students.

PROCRASTINATION: THE MONSTER

Procrastination is really a monster. The idea of having leisure in the current moment overrides the thought of completing the actual task. There are many reasons for procrastination. Maybe we have a more important task to do, or we are just tired. But let us accept it, we are most of the time lazy to do the work.

The funny part is when someone chastises us, we get angry when it is our job to do the said work. Students especially procrastinate so much, with homework, studying, completing the project. That is the root of the habit. Trust me, it feels so good to just watch another episode in Netflix, or just go outside and play instead of sitting inside and studying.

There are many of us who watches on how to avoid procrastinating while actually procrastinating. Being an adult doesn’t make procrastinating a small thing. It can lead to some grave results. So they don’t tend to procrastinate much. It is always the students who face the results of their errors in the hard way.

There are many ways in which procrastination can be avoided. I know the tips on the internet about the to-do list, the Pomodoro method of studying works but do we actually follow it sincerely? At the end of the day, it is our will power that helps us go through the tasks for the day. Sometimes we think of doing something, but since the situation is not helpful, we tell ourselves we would do it later, but we forget it.

The solution for this can be having a handy notebook in our person. Whatever task it is can be noted down in the notebook, so when we are free and have time, we can remember it and do it. I know it is not possible to carry a notebook always, so use the notes app in your phone. Create a list that you can cut off after you complete the work. The satisfaction of crossing off the list will motivate enough for us to do more work.

But that us until we find loopholes like writing down tasks like getting up, brushing teeth, and eating in the list just for the sake of crossing it out. Be true to yourself. If you are not really the type of person who writes things down constantly, write a list for yourself in the morning, just one time in the day and stick it the place where you would look constantly. Maybe it is your homework you have to submit by the end of the week, and it is only Monday. Seeing the task constantly will push you to do it and be free for the rest of the week.

During exams there would be many distractions to keep us from studying, but it is really who give in to those temptations. We need to prioritize what is for our good, instead of what makes and feels us good. Remember, the roots of education may be bitter, but the fruits are sweet. So stop procrastinating and start working!

WHAT IS ENGLISH LITERATURE?

“You just have to write stories right?”, “What did you learn about Shakespeare?”, “You’re a English Lit major, why did you make grammar mistakes?” etc…etc…etc

These are only some of the questions that me, and many of the English Literature majors face daily. It isn’t all about Shakespeare and stories. English literature maps the long path that English has taken to gain its present form in the whole world. Literature, of any language, is a result of social realities along the centuries.

A novel, for example, is a reflection of what the author has gone through and how the society was when the author was alive. It can also talk about what the author wanted us, as readers, to understand about him, and what he thought about the society. Literature is an art, all great leaders have acknowledged and even some great literary pieces have been penned by them.

Not only the history, literature also deals with the psychological aspects. The study of psychology and literature go hand in hand. The common misconception by the people is that literature is just about reading stories and analyzing it and learning grammar. That is where they are very wrong. We learn grammar in school. If you expect them to teach you grammar at college level, then you are in the wrong place.

Colleges expect students to be a keen lover of literature and somewhat already good in the language, in this case, English. Not to judge, but if the student is well versed in the rules of the language, the subject will be all the more exciting. We analyze Classic pieces, of course, but it is not only William Shakespeare. If fact, he is just a fragment of what literature consists of. Starting from Alexander Pope, to T. S. Elliot, there are many great writer, essayists, dramatists, poets who are, sadly, only known to literature students.

English language originated from England. How there is influence on the language as it moves from one colony to another is what feeds the interest of the students. England once used to be the country which ruled the world, even America. Yes, that small a country used to be a superpower once. It can all be traced through literature. The politics, the anarchy of Kings and Queens, the many wars and family feuds may be boring history to some, but that is what helped English be the superior language that it is.

I speak not only for English, but each literature, be it any language has its own significance and carries the mark of the region it hails from. Many choose literature as a last choice, but there are some who choose it as priority. And teaching isn’t the only profession after literature. There are many business ventures and start-ups that need literature graduates.

Learning about languages need not to be mocked, because that is also a type of study which contains every other major like history, science, politics etc. a subject which is an all in one. 

READING: A GETAWAY MEANS

A writer only begins a book, a reader finishes it.

It is indeed true that, when we start reading a book, we find ourselves transformed to another world, where there are things that are purely of our imagination and nothing else. That world is what we perceive to see in the real world, but we can’t. So we relish what is fantasy.

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A good reader devours a book within days, even hours even. But there are also readers who take their time and savor each and every word, sentence, paragraph one by one. It doesn’t really matter how we read it, as long as it satisfies the person concerned, reading is alive and reading wins.

It is the exact reason why books are still around and there are lakhs of readers who are devoted fans of book reading. It is skill even, when we consider that we adapt ourselves to the perception to each and every author, adapt to each of their mindset and understand every book as the writer had wanted us to.

There is a reason why paperback books are still in the market. Else the publishing business would be long wound down among the e-books and Kindles and what not. Many people actually prefer hard copies of their favorite books, because nothing can compare to the fresh scent of a new book. That, and also the fact that we spend almost all our time staring into screens and reading an actual books gives us a break.

So, are you considered as a “Book Worm” only if you read large and mighty books? Never. Do you enjoy reading a good novel? Do you enjoy reading a good story book? Do you enjoy reading newspaper early in the morning? Or Do you enjoy researching on the homework given to you? It doesn’t matter what you read, if you read to improve your knowledge, or to find pleasure and you do it consistently, then voila, you’re officially a member of reading community.

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People shouldn’t be judged for reading a particular genre of books. Though it is good to stray outside of our comfort zones for a while and discover what the world has to offer. You may be surprised with what you might find. You might find someone who shares the same interests as you. Sometimes you might find a writer who puts your thoughts exactly into words.

Reading is a very good habit to enhance our knowledge. From British Classics like Jane Eyre, Plays like Romeo and Juliet, to American classics like The Great Gatsby to the great hits of Nicholas Sparks, or to the novels of Robin Sharma for self-motivation or really philosophical books like The Alchemist. There is nothing really that isn’t a classic. No book is a failure until it reaches the perfect reader. So start your reading, maybe from an article daily from the newspaper and get absorbed into the reading community. Happy reading!!

EVOLUTION OF COSMETICS

We always feel the need to present ourselves better in order for others to respect us. We dress ourselves nicely, wear nice shoes, be pleasant. All these may be enough for a man. Men just throw on some shirts and pants and voila, they are ready. It is not the same with women. There are a thousand components and trinkets that need to match with our outfit, picking out the perfect outfit itself is a headache.

Above all, there is this thing called makeup which needs to be perfect. Many of us think makeup is an recent obsession. The early records of makeup traces back to Egypt in before 2907 BC. Kohl, present day kajal were used for eye makeup, and red clay was used to accentuate the color of lips and cheeks.

If you look at it, all of it were purely natural elements. Women and men used to wear white chalk on their faces for plays. Henna was used to dye their hair and even faces to get a tan. During the Elizabethan period in England, women used egg whites to get a glazed look.

India was a long way away from having cosmetics and synthetic makeup. But they had their own facial remedies, like turmeric and gram flour to have a flawless skin. These days though they have lessened in use, there are still women who use turmeric and gram flour for their face. The girls of these days have access to all the modern cosmetic products full of chemicals.

The advancement in technology can be applauded, but what can be applied naturally are being processed through multiple layers of chemicals and sold in the market. For example, fresh aloe vera refreshes our face and gives a bright look, but no one would go through the trouble of cleaning and applying it. Instead a tube of “Aloe Vera Face Wash” does the work. The question is does it?

The next big thing is shampoo and conditioner. Many of us suffer from hair fall. Those days they just had shikkakai paste and coconut oil. Conditioner was not even a thing back then. They had luscious long and healthy hair. No matter how much brands and types of shampoos come in the market, no matter with what name, no matter organic or inorganic, going back to nature is what is going to help us.

People have realized it and have started adding the word “organic” in front of all their products, and we end up buying it. We have become so progressive that even men are wearing makeup these days, there is nothing wrong with that, but choosing natural products will be better.

We must realize that there was a time when using chemicalized products were all rage. And when it was used in multitude, we started seeing side-effects. Now we are running back to Mother Nature in order to protect ourselves. But we are so genetically changed that, using chemicals has become the new normal for our body and it is not accepting the natural remedies.

It is high time, we ditch the chemicals and try to use natural products in order to stay healthy, both for ourselves and for our future generations.

UNSPOKEN BOND: FRIENDSHIP

FRIENDSHIP, THE UNSINKABLE SHIP

They say a friend in need, is a friend indeed. We would have at least one friend in our life like that. We may or not be speaking with them at present, but there would have an unwritten agreement between you that whenever you meet again, things would remain the same between the two of you.

There is not particular phase in which you have to find a friend. There is no rule that you should have found your partner in crime at a particular point of life. For some, it maybe from kindergarten, for some they wouldn’t have found someone until they started working. The time doesn’t matter really, it is the person. This sentence doesn’t only fit for relationships, it fits for friendships too, in fact, more so for friendship.

Indian Friends Hangout Outdoors Happy Concept

It is the unspoken communication that speaks tons between two real friends. The numerous times where we stand for each other, defend each other in the absence of the other. It is a blessing to find someone who understands our craziness, our thought process and not judge us for it. If we find someone like that, no matter the distance and who comes in between, the pure feeling and loyalty for each other is unbreakable.

There are different types of friends, many of us in our life may be our friends, but there would be just a select few, say one or two to whom we turn in the time of need. The one who causes trouble, the noble one, the one who is terrified of everything, the talkative one, the studious one from who we get notes, the one who keeps everyone together and many more. Every friend group would be made of at least a few of those above mentioned categories.

It is the trust and loyalty that keeps friends together. There isn’t a perfect friendship per se, each and every one is unique to itself. There may be fights, where we swear to each other we wouldn’t talk to them ever again. But then when we see them again, that laughter from your heart will erupt and you will end up laughing for hours on end. Not only then, even after years, those memories will be etched on your heart, saying “Remember when we….”

It is for that exact reason why we need friends. No matter how loving family we have, there needs to be at least one person where we can show our goofiness and actually enjoy being ourselves. It is for that exact reason, the promise of laughter for years on end, that we need friends. Finding someone like that is difficult, but when you at last find them, your life will be changed forever. Not even fights, ego, distance can separate you from each other.

At the end, every friendship starts with “I thought you were an idiot at first”  and grows to “You’re still an idiot, but I’ve grown to like that about you.”

FATE OF SPORTS AMIDST A PANDEMIC

2020 Tokyo Olympics, IPL 2021, ICC World Championship, Wimbledon Grand Slam Championship, Euro Football Championships, Formula One are some of the many sports events that were postponed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020. Some of them were conducted this year while some still stays postponed. With the sporting world on hold, what happens to the players who depend on it?

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There are entities who depend on the conduct of the sporting events. Players have rested for so long, they need to get back in the form. Fans want to see their favorite players and role model live in action. Along with sports, the running of gyms in the country has also been jeopardized. They have been closed for over a year now, and the trainers claim that most of the infections are not because of the gym being open. All the physical fitness freaks have been locked at home, forced to use the equipment available at home, sometimes make shift ones.

It isn’t only the players who depend on the events being conducted, but a whole community from the ground keepers to the administrators who depend on the sporting events for a livelihood. Fan packed stadiums are a sight that everyone longs to see. US has managed to vaccinate majority of the population and recently a stadium full of 52,000 fans was witnessed in the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Only fully vaccinated fans were allowed to enjoy the game in person.

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Staying fit has always been a requirement for a healthy mind. And for many of the fans, seeing their idols fit in shape will be an inspiration for them too, to stay fit. But since they haven’t been to see their heroes in action, it has been a big disappointment. There was a mixed opinion when BCCI conducted IPL in the month of April. Though fans were overjoyed, the happiness was short lived when many of the players and the management tested positive for the virus. Following games were indefinitely postponed.

There went the only source of entertainment for sports fans who were tired of watching highlights of old games. But they have to be patient and pray for the situation to turn back to normal and for their favorite teams to play, happy and healthy.

We have to accept that this is the new normal. The world is not like what it was before. Wearing masks and carrying a hand sanitizer will be normal, and so will be us being careful. Sports will eventually return to its old galore, but for that we must cooperate and vaccinate ourselves. There will come a day where we will be watching our favorite teams playing and it won’t be highlights for once.

7TH INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY

Researchers say a healthy mind in a healthy body is the key to a happy life. There are many ways in which you can exercise you mind, doing crosswords, sudoku etc. But, to keep your body healthy you have to just, exercise. When we think of exercise we always think of going to the gym, staying slim and fit, and if its boys having biceps and being strong.

It isn’t just that. Exercise also includes just doing minimum workouts in order to keep your body active. In fact, it is tailormade for each and every person. Some might be satisfied with a 30 minute work out five days a week, some might need to have at a 2 hour session in order to go through their day.

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Yoga, is a form of exercise which involves both body and mind and provides relief both physically and mentally if properly practiced. Yoga has a strong origin in India over 5,000 years ago and it has been mentioned in ancient sacred texts of Rig Veda. To honor the ancient practice of a form of meditation, the International Day of Yoga has been celebrated annually since 21st June, 2015 after it had been incepted by the United General Assembly.

The date of 21st June was chosen because it is the longest day of the year and most of world share the special importance on that day. This date was suggested by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India in the UN.

There are many competitions and events conducted on this day, which involves thousands of people gathering in large grounds in the early hours in the morning and doing Yoga as one. Obviously, because of the pandemic and the national lockdown, people have been stuck at home. But still the spirit of staying in shape has not died down. Government of India and Ministry of Ayush has been conducting various events and competitions, one of which this year is, “Be With Yoga, Be At Home”.

Anyone above the age of 18 can film a one-minute video of them doing yoga in the comfort of their home and uploading it in any one or more social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, tagging the hashtags #bewithyogabeathome and the Ministry of Ayush, before 30th June. The link to their post can be submitted in the MyGov website in order to participate in the competition.

Until yesterday, almost 4000 people have submitted their video in the website. This is just an awareness for maintaining physical health because this pandemic has locked us in our home and given us little chance to have physical movements. It is important for us to maintain our physical health which will also help us have a positive mindset, especially during this trying times.

It has been prescribed by doctors for patients of Covid-19 to do simple breathing exercises in order to increase their lung capacity because it is the lung that gets mostly affected with this virus. Breathing exercise such as Pranayama and Kapalbathi are also a part of Yoga and helps reduce the chances of contracting the virus. It is not only recommended for patients, but for others to practice breathing exercise during dawn to remain healthy. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?

SONU SOOD: THE MESSIAH

It is not always the responsibility of the Government to take care of the citizens when something like this pandemic, it is our duty as citizens too, to help those around us to the possible extent we can go to help our fellow citizens. This pandemic really bought to light the work individuals and NGOs did to help those who were affected by the pandemic.

Not only the patients but also who were stranded on the road, without food or water were tended to with the empathetic volunteers. Along with the Government, the doctors and nurses who are working hard 24/7, many people volunteered to help people who had lost their livelihood and their health. Among all those warriors, Sonu Sood stands out. He has been hailed as the angel to save people from their miseries, messiah to their cries for help.

It all started when the nation wide lockdown was announced in May 2020, and thousands of migrant workers wanting to reach their hometown. There was a huge upraising from many ventures against the Government to help them. Amongst all these confusion, Sonu Sood arranged buses, trains and chartered flights to help them reach their destination. That was when the nation took notice of him.

After that, he appeared in many headlines for helping Indian students from Kyrgyzstan to come back to India by arranging a chartered flight. By this time, he was seen as a knight in shining armor saving the people of India from the grips of the virus. Many of the downtrodden started approaching his “Ilaaj India” when there was a threatening lack of oxygen in the country.

The most heartfelt thing was he even sold his wealth in order to help people come back to their home, to help students who were stranded in other countries come back to India. He launched a website and an app called “Pravasi Rojgar” to help those who had lost their livelihood find a job and support their family. He also has started an IAS coaching scholarship, “Sambhavam”, to coach candidates for free from underprivileged financial backgrounds to clear UPSC examinations.

The whole country was shocked when he announced that he had contracted the virus. India as a whole prayed for him as he shared a positive message for others to be safe. What a thoughtful man! Recently, he has provided the in-demand oxygen plants and cylinders to the patients who desperately need them.

It is possible for every single one of us to help the people in need. We need not be billionaires in order to spend money lavishly. When you see a homeless in the street, it is enough for you to buy them a single meal, you will feel fulfilled. There are many organizations who accept donations from Re.1. Help as much as you can, whenever you can.

“I Am No Messiah” says he, in his autobiography named the same, released in December 2020, but I am sure there are thousands who disagree with that and seem him as a power who lifted them up when they were pushed down.

THE DRIFT IN ROLE OF WOMEN

It all began in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve broke the instruction of God, and thus began the human kind. Until then, man and woman were equals. Then somewhere in the middle, there was chaos and man somehow asserted his dominance over women.

The assorted pyramid of power still continues to persist in the world. There was a time when women was not even allowed of the house and was forced to look after the household chores. She was deemed to be unfit to any physical labor and was earmarked for only mental support for men. Maybe that is why she is still mostly the smart among the human kind, no offense to the men.

It has been psychologically proved that there needs to be at least 3 years of difference in age between man and woman in matrimony because woman tend to get mature at a rate faster than man, and has the capacity to handle the hurdles thrown at her.

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Yet, she faces discrimination, she faces insults just because of her gender identity. It is an age of progression. There are not only two genders now. There is a whole new community called LGBTQIA+ where everyone is loved and accepted regardless of their gender and sexuality.

It is always the minority that gets bullied by the majority. Slowly, but surely things are changing. Women are slowly empowering the world and men are starting to accept them as equals. Indeed, because they have proved so. There are millions of women who work a full time job, along with running the house, take care of the kids, and yet maintain the femininity and remain the same.

Many people support woman empowerment. Of course, if there is support, there would be contradiction. Men stand with and against woman. So, the question rises why the difference of opinions among men? It dates back to their childhood. If they had an male dominant household, they would be automatically meant to believe that women are obviously the weaker sex. An equal household would have allowed the child to ponder that it is not the sex but the individual ability of a person that defines them.

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The world is changing. At a fast rate too. Children of these days are aware that girls can do everything that a boy can do. The literary rate is now equal among boys and girls and girls have surpassed in some countries. Successful companies are run by women single handedly. The ratio of boys and girls in a classroom is in favor of the girls.

But then, why the discrimination? People from the backward areas are still uneducated on the policies taken by the government. More than that, women themselves fail to believe themselves weaker and tend to step back from hobbies and jobs that they like and wish to have. They only get into their “Mama Bear” mode only when it comes to their children. But when it comes to themselves, women have always been good at putting other’s needs before their own.

It is high time that these women to have some inspiration and some sort of mentor to guide them to their life. It is not like all women should become an entrepreneur in a single day. It is enough for them to realize their potential within themselves the world will be a better place. Hoping for the best!

LIFELINE OF LIFE: WATER

Water has always been the essential requirement for all lives. Be it humans, animals or plants, water is one of the quintessential commodity for everyone. It is even believed that water is the reason some of the creature were created million years ago. As we all know, human beings are made up of 75% of water.

Now, as the population has grown and civilization has improved multifold, water has also become a business venture where it is sold at the price quoted by the monopoly and poor people are forced to buy because they have no other go. All the water resources have been exploited by the so called MNCs and are used to their advantage to expand their empire. Long queues can be seen and the common water-tap fights are increasing day by day for the procurement of water.

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Recently, a swarm of dead bodies of Covid-19 patients was found in the banks of Ganga river. It was so heartbreaking in two ways. First, it was devastating for the families of the dead to claim and cremate their bodies. Then, the water body has gotten so contaminated that, we don’t know when it can be put to use again. This is very bad because most of North India depend on Ganga and its distributaries for water supply.

Since human found that water may not be the thing that will last forever, he either stock piled it or created a business of it. Even the conflict between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka was because of water, because it originated from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu depends on it.

It is true that world is covered with 71% of water but only 3% of that is fresh water. Even then, 1.2% is readily available, rest is frozen in the form of glaciers, and ice. 3% may seem a lot less, but that is enough for the life to thrive on earth.

So, what can be done to correct? First step would be to remove the discrepancies between the concentration of water from one area to another. There are places where water is available in plenty and there are also places where people have to walk kilometers to get water to even drink. Second, exploitation of water resources should be stopped. The process of procurement of water should be monopolized by the water which can be then later distributed to public equally.

The other important point would be planning of catching the rainwater and reduce wastage as much as possible. To increase rain, trees should be planted more and more. Ultimately, it all does a full circle and comes to the point where every element in environment are depended on each other. Humans should be careful about how the demolish the balance of nature, lest they will be stranded in the end.

TECHNOLOGY: MORE BANE THEN BOON

It is so rare for us to see someone who is not bent over their digital gadget and drunken in their own world. I say drunken, because an alcoholic can be compared to how we are drawn to our gadgets, especially mobile phones. It can be seen as a form of addiction seeing many children are taken to psychiatrists to even communicate properly even with their parents.

It was, at first considered as a blessing to communicate with our loved ones who are far away from us and keep a check on them. But since then, the technology and the gadgets have evolved so much so that, we are at a point where we cannot even control what the internet knows about us. If that is not threatening enough, I don’t know what is.

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If there is something good, there ought to be something. Our human brain is made like that, to think of the opposite ways in which a power can be used. There are loopholes for everything and no one is. Sure, there are million ways in which internet and gadgets can be used to our good, but there are equal million ways in which it can be misused. It is a point of concern because even small kids are using internet and it is important for the adults to supervise what is accessible to them.

When there are ways possible in which the technology can be misused, it will be abused. There are many cases of cybercrimes and cyber bullying reported day to day. The lack of education on proper use of internet and the lack of control and restriction on what can be uploaded in the internet is what leads to this.

From the simple task of students copying stuff from the internet to the bigger crimes like fraud in internet banking takes place because of internet. These are times when we are looked upon strangely if we don’t know how to use internet, especially if you are a millennial or a Gen Z-er. Our intellect is finalized with our skills in using technology. People who grew without internet and technology are struggling to cope with the rapid increase in the expectation of them to portray themselves as intelligent. As the age old saying goes, from 2 years to 82 years of age, all people are forced to adapt themselves to changing situation.

Even Government has started moving the transactions and other Government services to the internet through the movement, ‘Digital India’. The problem with that is, due to abundance of population and the amount of misuse in the form of hacking and even simple problems of internet connectivity has delayed to main idea of the initiative. Needless to say, there are some villages without even a taste of internet and they are just doing fine.

So should we shun internet and go back to the medieval days? It is true to stay up to date and in competition with the internet and technology in order compete bigger giants such as US and China, else we will be trampled on, but it needs time and that time has not yet come. It would take at least a decade for all the citizens of India to adapt themselves and equip themselves for this change.

There are plethora of things in the internet. It is up to us whether we use it to our gain or not.

FAITH

There are many times in life when we need someone to talk to us and listen to what we have in mind and that what we are going through was going to be okay and it IS okay not to be okay, like Demi Lovato sang in her song.

Faith. Faith is a funny thing. When we are happy and successful we seldom think of faith. We think it is only our hard work and a little bit of luck that led us to the success. But we are not doing well, we are told to have faith. We fail to remember that no matter the stage in our life, whether we are successful or not, there is some sort of faith, that belief we can do it, and that all the difficulty would be over, that would have led us through the difficulties, but we fail to acknowledge it.

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What is, exactly, faith? When you google it, you may end up with the definition of “strong belief”, or “strong religious belief. But if you really think about it, it is just really the trust we have on our higher power, whatever it may be. What is the difference between the trust and the faith. In my opinion, we use the word ‘trust’ most of the time when we entrust someone mortal, someone we know who is human with some sort of job or an action. We use ‘faith’ when we refer to God. Though both these terms can be misplaced, the meaning I gave is used usually and kind of makes sense in a way. You are free to feel otherwise.

Whether we believe in God or not, there is some sort of higher power that navigates us through life. Some people worship it in the name of God, some people feel just lucky and unlucky and some people think of it as Karma. But in general, it is rare to meet someone who feels that their life is in their control 100%. Do we support them or do we shun them is the real question? That depends on how that particular person would take the news.

There are difficult times in our lives when we yearn for all of it to be over. But we forget that all that sufferings improves us and makes us prepare for harder battles in the future. In that way, we need to have faith that whatever we are going through WILL be over, and that we would see our best days. In our happy days, we should feel grateful for what we have and it might sound crazy, but we should be feeling grateful about what we have left, even if we are not in a good position.

Don’t think I am trying to preach about God. It is about us. It is about our actions. It is about our thoughts that shape us for who we are. If we are forced to take a decision, to follow someone blindly someone and it goes wrong, instead of blaming the person, think of it as your choice though you knew the consequences and that you would do better. Taking responsibility for what you do and did is the first step in having faith in yourself that you would do good. Remember no one can force you to do things you don’t want to, so get out there and have faith in yourself.

OTT PLATFORMS: THE WAY TO GO?

Long queues for tickets, matinee shows, popcorns and sodas are staples when it comes to watching movies. When we look even back, there would be a common night for even watching TV. Many were not able to afford for a TV, and if a house had one, the whole neighborhood spent the Friday nights listening to cine songs.

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Then came TVs in almost every house, still not a common thing, but everyone knew what it was and some of the famous shows. Fashion started and ended by watching movies and televisions. Bell bottom pants, butterfly clips, favorite dialogues were all the rage for the teenagers of the 80s and 90s. It was a ritual to go to movie theaters and even a bigger deal to get the “First Day, First Show” tickets.

Now, stuck at home, every house with a smart TV and a OTT (Over The Top) subscription. The famous ones being Disney Hotstar+, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Zee5 etc. Netflix and chill has become a common phrase. And also this pandemic has seen a rise in the home food delivery which makes it even more “lethargic” in a sense.

Almost all of the movies are released in one or the other OTT platforms and we need to have every subscription, because who knows which movie will release where. The very sense of going to the theatre to get entertainment out of the house has been thrown out of the window.

Box office, Housefull, First class tickets, 10 rupees tickets which was the most popular and the fact of sitting so close near the screen, the screaming for the title card were all the signs that the movie is a successful one. Now, we don’t know whether it’s a hit or flop, unless it is the movie of a superstar.

Another thing is that, those days there would be only 5 to 10 movies a year, and a repetition of the same actor’s movie was rare. All the dialogues were memorized and played among friends as a sort of pastime. One of the benefits of OTT is obviously, the lack of crowd and there is safety and comfort of being in one’s own home. Other benefit is it opens a chance for every amateur actors and directors to have a chance to release their movies and short films, and not only in OTT, also in networks such as YouTube.

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We are yet not sure about the situation in the environment. There are people who are crazy about the “FDFS” (First Day, First Show) and they miss the good old days. Even die hard fans of movie stars want to see their favorite actor/actress’ in the big screen to celebrate.

The TV networks are working hard to capture the attention of the public through various reality shows but since there are restrictions for the shooting activities, they are not able to give it their all. For some time, IPL fans were entertained, but it had to be stopped due to obvious reasons. It will be a relaxation that BCCI is planning to conduct the rest of the matches in UAE and soon too. Home makers and children alike were entertained with the Bigg Boss in their native languages but that also had to have a stop for the safety of the artists.

At the end of the day, the uncertainty of what might happen to the entertainment industry is a big question mark for those who have their livelihood depended on it. The OG fans are still waiting for the day when the world would be back to normal and for them to go to the theatres. Until then, OTT it is.

PARENTING: A SKILL

Every dream of a parent is for their children to listen to them and talk to them about everything. This was the case back when there were plenty of children in one home, and there was a role for every child. One was studious, one was helpful, one was naughty but cute, one was the troublemaker, one was the leader and to manage them all, there was the eldest. Those days are long gone now. In India, we don’t know whether we have an unspoken “one child policy”, but the recent years has only seen nuclear families grow.

We might think that having one or two children would be easy instead of having 8 or 10. But children are children, and given the recent technologies, they are drifting far away from having real relationship with their parents.

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Parents find it difficult to know what is going on in the children’s mind and what they might need. Western influence plays a very important in the current scenario. The practice of giving them a separate room, having minimum intervention in their life does not work in an orthodox country like India. Children, though expect, the same treatment as west, because they had been cocooned for so long.

There has been so many cases where the argument between children and parents go as far as to going to counselling and a third person intervention because there is no trust between each other. There can be many reasons for the tiff, but some of them can be predicted.

The world is not as it was before, we can’t believe any person enough to send our children alone to the market or the shop. Parents having one or two children are afraid of letting them out alone. This might work, until the children start thinking for themselves and understand that they are being restricted. They demand to go out along, have fun with their friends, go shopping and be independent overall.

This is where the argument begins. It is not that the parents don’t believe in their kids, it is just they are afraid of the world. Teenagers being themselves don’t want any of them to control them and they want to be “cool” before their friends. This might cause a misunderstanding. They cannot easily understand the parent’s real concern and just think that they are being left out.

The best way is to sit and have a conversation. Both sides needs to talk out what they are feeling and come to a common ground and some arrangements. Almost all of the teenage “problems” that parents say can be solved through conversation. Kids need someone to talk to freely and if it is their parents, then well and good. Some parents maintain their ego, not all parents though, and wait for the kids to talk to them first and fail to understand that teenage kids are uncomfortable in sharing their feelings in fear that they might be judged.

It isn’t all about teenage kids though. Even parents of toddlers try so much to give their kids everything, compete with the society that they forget what their child really need. No one can blame them too, because they are expected to be portrayed like that and if not they’re not good parents. All the parents need to remember that as far as they tend to the needs of the children sufficiently and the children prosper under their care, they are doing a good job, and there is no such thing as a “bad” parent if you’re trying hard. Good luck!!

PHOTOGRAPHS: A NEW BREATH OF LIFE

It was a great deal back then to, gather everyone, get ready and go to the photo studio and take a photograph. And that wasn’t all. We had to wait till 3-7 days for the photos to be developed. That suspense was what kept the thrill of taking photograph alive. Then came the roll camera, digital camera, our cellphones and now our mobiles.

The process of taking photos has developed tremendously, especially in the recent years. Even a two year old teaches us how to take a selfie. Marriages are more like a story captured through series of candid moments of the bride and groom and surprisingly, even the family members. The only wedding album, that wasn’t also not long known, was only of the bride and groom and the occasional group pictures. Maternity photoshoots, honeymoon photoshoots, new born photoshoots etc. are the new trends, are so meaningful so as to be looked back with happy memories.(though they tend to cast a hole in the wedding budget!)

Capturing the moments that we hold dear to our hearts is so cool. Take for example, if your friends throw you a surprise birthday party, then the pictures they take of you, in your pure elated happiness is something you will cherish for years to come. There was a time when it was a tradition to for everyone to sit down and look at every picture albums every year and have a laugh about how we look in the pictures.

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People used to introduce long distance relatives to children who have never seen them. Sadly, now it has become the only way in which kids know about their long-lost relatives. As mentioned earlier, the thrill and suspense of taking a picture is now completely gone. People have started taking photos for ridiculous reasons and the meaning in preserving the memories has been completely exploited.

But still, the essence still seems to linger on. The quality of photographs is through the roof. Even the smallest of the pollens of flowers are captured beautifully. In a way, the photographs has provided us with a new perspective on how we see life. There are many awareness programs that captures people in the lowest and collect funds to help them.

Not only photography, but the branch of videography has also improved so much so that you can photoshop yourself and edit that you are walking on the moon without anyone suspect anything. (though that would raise some controversy, don’t do the moon!)

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The most favorite genre of photography are nature and nature related photoshoots. Countless sunrises and sunsets, the countless colonies of ants captured so closely, the wildlife photoshoots that describe the life of the wild animals, even the simple rain drops, and the simple sun rays is seen with a new eye, a third eye on how we see our surroundings.

You don’t need to have a DSLR camera to take photographs. Your good old Redmi or Samsung are enough for the memories that are close to your heart.  Even the simplest of the things can be seen differently if captured from the angle. Doesn’t that apply to our life too? Sometimes a little change of perspective may all we need in life for a peaceful life.

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PERSPECTIVES OF LIFE

Have you ever looked at someone and wondered what is going on in their mind or what they might be going through? To understand that, we need to know about perspectives. Sometimes people who know us like our best friends say that we looked rude or timid when they first met us, but as they got to know us, they started to like us. That is the impression we make on the people who don’t know us.

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When we walk on the streets, there are many people who cross us and we have no idea what they might be thinking or where they are headed. But we have no need to know about it. But if that person is standing in front of us, their mood depends greatly on what they are going through and we need to choose our words carefully.

Most of the time when we have a conversation with someone, it is very difficult to understand how they will take in our opinion. Many arguments happen because we haven’t had a chance to explain what we really mean because the other person just listened to what we said first and just fired off from there. We are like that too, if someone tries to hurt us through words that is when we get so worked up and swear that we wouldn’t talk to them again, that they don’t matter to us anymore. Have we ever stopped for a moment and thought about why they said that, and were they in their calm state of mind or whether they really meant it or not.

There is a saying, that a bruise will heal but the hurt made through words would not be forgotten. The words we throw around carelessly has so much impact on how we portray ourselves. At some point of time, that becomes our identity. No matter how much of a softie you are, no matter how much sensitive you are, the way you communicate with people affects how people look at you.

A person who doesn’t speak or express their feelings much can be seen as a cold person, when in reality they are indeed like that and they are indeed a very nice person.

That is another thing, being judged on how we look is unfair. Who thought Stephen Hawking would have been a genius if he hadn’t shown his potential? That is what happened in Minnesota, USA, where black people were for no reason by the white police officers, just because they were black. Gender discrimination is another topic, on the same page of matter.

Communication is key, and we need to make sure we try our level best to convey what we really mean without any filters that doesn’t hurt the other party. From here on, try to think of what you are going to say at least twice or thrice.

Just try to find if whatever you are going to say, leads to a meaningful conversation, if it is really necessary, and if it is hurtful to others. If the answer to either one is no, then please stay quiet. Your day will be much better.

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TOM AND JERRY: A PHENOMENON

Who couldn’t remember the grey cat, Thomas and the brown mouse, Jerry causing havoc in their “mysterious” mistress’ house? Tom and Jerry is so common among the children and adults equally. The series of the cartoon started as a short series of episodes in 1940 written by William Hanna and Joseph Barbara. No one would forget these names too because their name comes alongside the famous lion roar.

Tom is a house cat and as if to cause trouble on purpose, there is Jerry. Most of the time they are seen in hot pursuit of each other, mostly Tom chasing Jerry. Though bigger in size, Tom almost always fails to capture Jerry and finds himself in trouble. Jerry is always portrayed as the clever and cunning outwitting Tom in every situation possible.

There was some criticism about the violence per se, in the episodes. But since there were no bloodshed portrayed, it was soon dropped.

Sometimes we wonder whether we are Tom or Jerry. At least I do. There are some times when we become Tom, a victim of the situation. And sometimes, Jerry, the person in control of the situation. But we need to remember that, they are each other’s sworn enemies, but when there is a third party, no one can beat them when they are together. For example, the bull dog, Spike and his son, Tyke act as a tool for Jerry to make fun of Tom, but when he gets in real danger, it is Jerry himself saving Tom.

Another example would be the episode of the baby, where both of them together take care of the naughty baby of their owner. Maybe because they are together 24/7, they seem to know each other very well. It is almost like, when they have nothing better to do, they poke fun at each other. Isn’t that what best friends do?

When the small gray mouse, Nibbles comes to visit Jerry, there is another face of Jerry that is caring and responsible for the little one, almost a fatherly character. Nibbles being Nibbles is unaware of the consequences of his actions and steals milk from poor Tom. He also tries to follow Jerry’s instruction but fails miserably.

It has been 70 years since Tom and Jerry have been showering us with their daily antics and to honor them there has been movies made. The recent one being Tom and Jerry: The Movie pays homage to their 70 years of existence. But some may disagree that the recent animation of them, and are a still a huge fan of the old cartoon animation. Who would blame them because that is what they have grown up watching the old one, I am one of them.

There are many cartoons that have come and gone, but this particular duo forever have a place in our hearts which nothing can replace. We can learn so much from two characters who don’t even speak. Friendship, loyalty, trust, being spontaneous are among the many characteristics that we can learn from them. It is funny how an animated being can change and scar our lives forever and has the ability to take back to childhood at any given moment.

A FORM OF HEALING THERAPY: MUSIC

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Have you ever sat on the window sill or looked out of your balcony, with a cup of steaming hot tea while there are light showers in the city? The feeling is unbeatable especially with the earthy smell because of the rain. A minute of silence to those who haven’t experienced the feeling. The feeling of ecstasy goes over the roof if we have our favorite song playing in the background.

We always have that one song which, no matter where we hear it, takes us back to the specific memory associated with that song. Music has always played that role in our lives, to heal us, to soothe us, and to make us stand back up when we are down. It doesn’t matter which kind of music you listen, no matter who judge you for it, the feeling you get when you are immersing yourself in the out-of-world is what we need, especially when life doesn’t treat you right, or the world is in shambles, like right now.

It doesn’t matter if you like hardcore rock music, or just a simple violin or piano piece or a favorite song from a movie, it always has the potential to put you in a good mood. Many of might realize, the language doesn’t matter, it is the feeling that does.

There are people in the world who cannot sleep or cannot function without listening to music. Some might say it is just a sound, but for those who cherish it, that exact sound might be life-saving. It has been scientifically proven that the fetus in the womb responds to soothing music and it has been recommended to pregnant women to listen to relaxing music for healthy growth of the baby.

When we talk about music, there is a pretty common misconception that most of it is just played through guitar, piano, violin. There isn’t enough awareness about most of the bizarre instruments from different parts of the world. There are more than thousands of music instruments in the world, but what we are aware of is just a handful of it.

Music has been an integral part of human civilization since times unknown. When we think of tribal music, we think of a huge bonfire, people dancing around it and singing merrily. That is the beginning of the evolution of music.

For those beginners around there, there are many genres of music. For example, Classical, which is predominant in India as Carnatic music, Pop, Rock Music, Country music etc. The beautiful thing about music is that, there has been so much inspiration from part of world to another that the evolution has always been a good thing.

Seriously, there is no such thing as bad music if it is experienced by the correct person. The type of music you hate might be so dear to someone else. So, if you don’t like a particular genre of music, don’t listen to and don’t judge the person who listens to them. We all need to respect each other’s tastes and like music always does, heal everyone whenever you can.

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Rich stay rich, poor stay poor: why?

We always hear the phrase, “Why bother when the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?”

The ignorance of the Indian population is the reason why the poverty line in India stays consistent. We can be proud of all the other things being consistent, the economy, the production level, the trade and commerce etc. but along with that the poverty line also is something which we need to take care of.

A normal household in the country is not aware of how much tax they pay for every article of thing they buy, be it direct or indirect. The only thing they worry about is the price level but they never bother to think about the how and why. We all need to accept that before GST came into effect we didn’t know about how our tax was being used up.

GST caused a huge stir because that was when people started to really notice the tax structure. Of course, like any other democratic country, there were support and to the equal amount, opposition. But one thing is clear, when we hear the name of our Hon’ble PM the first thing that comes to our mind is GST and Demonetization.

There is no need to mention the effect of the continuous lockdown on the daily workers. We should  remember that this was also the time when the online shopping sky-rocketed. So the usual things that was bought in the market in person was bought through the internet giants, such as Amazon and Flipkart.

We know that majority of our country’s population is either middle class or lower middle class. Let us for example take that 50% of this household have access to the internet and know how to shop online. What about the remaining 50%? They had to depend upon the door to door delivery of groceries by the government, the occasional unlock to stock up the essentials and the distribution of produce in the ration shops.

There is a study that reveals that only 27% of what we pay for the groceries and vegetables reach the actual farmers. So where does the rest go? That is where our term of “Rich gets Richer” comes into play. The tertiary sectors like the delivery services, the transport services, the wholesale buyers and many, many more get the money as commission. Now, who are these tertiary services? They are already the giants who have many customers and many alliances with many farmers.

When you think of the farmers, they have only limited option to sell their produce but the middlemen have many outlets to sell the produce. So the farmers are forced to sell to the price quoted by the tertiary companies. And when they protest, the government takes bazillion years to even hear the pleas.

Just imagine if the farmers go on strike and don’t give you food. We would be done for. Every human being and every profession needs the respect that they deserve. So, next time whenever you come across an old man or woman selling a meagre produce, even if you don’t need them, give them the word comfort, trust me, they would be more than willing to talk to you about their plight. And if you are willing to buy from them, don’t bargain. They are still working truthfully at their age, when we are sitting at home. Think wisely.

Why is self-love important?

We have all heard great things about self-love and the people who manage to master it, when they say it, we feel like it is too much work. Why does the simple process of loving ourselves feel so distant?

To understand that, we must know what self-love is? It is not just the mere act of treating ourselves to our favorite ice-cream, or an hour of massage for relaxation. It is the act of not changing ourselves for the sake of others and staying true to ourselves. There are many forms of self-love. Not changing ourselves at all might be a stupid decision, because the world we live in, is so fast-paced that we will get left behind for sure if we don’t change.

The slight difference between being stupid and being prudent is finding what really defines you. If a characteristic defines you, sets you apart in a crowd, then that is something that you should cherish and not change. Again, if it is something that is minimal, and trivial and causes problem unnecessarily, then you can think of ways in which you can modify it.

We all would have heard of world famous South Korean Boy Band, BTS. It is by their campaign of “Love Yourself, Speak Yourself” that this concept of self-love spread to millions. Due to their huge fan base, ARMY, their message of staying true to ourselves, and loving ourselves for who we are and cherishing ourselves. When speaking about the band themselves, they faced many criticisms and had to face many backlashes for their identity as “Idols”.

They had constant support from their ARMY and they broke down the stereotype of K-Pop and are still breaking records by minute, because they found an identity for themselves and are helping many in their way.

We need not be a great artist or a famous person to find who we are. If you love your home cooked food rather than the fast food, then you have no need to change just because of peer pressure. If you love dressing according to the modern trends, then you can find a way to satisfy the societal norms without degrading yourself.

It is also important to remember that the person we love, should love us for who we are, rather than who we pretend to be for the society. If they force you change something about you because they don’t like it, then it is better you leave them, be it friendship, relationship, whatever it may be. Always remember the people who love you won’t find faults with you, rather appreciate for it. Don’t even compare yourself to other, you might not know what difficulties they might be facing and they might even feel jealous of you for something you have.

So, rather than feeling sorry for ourselves for bad things happening to you, look in the brighter side and be grateful for what you have and try to polish your talents, who knows, you might be the next BTS, helping lost people find their paths and be successful in your life.

REMINISCING THOSE DAYS

School days have always had a special place in our hearts.

"Can we go back when we were young
And didn't care if we messed up?
We have forever so we got lost in each other
'Cause time wasn't catching, time wasn't catching us
Back when we were young
And didn't care if we messed up
We have forever so we got lost in each other
'Cause time wasn't catching, time wasn't catching us"
~~When we were young by Lost Kings~~

Though the process of going through it may have thrown us off track, the memories always makes us smile fondly whenever we think of it. The children of these days, the modern Gen Z or the zoomers, the ones who are born after 2000 the ones who have missed out a year or two due to this pandemic don’t realize what they are missing out.

If you ask the millennials, the ones who are born roughly between 1980-1999, they would give you stories of them crossing seven seas and seven mountains to reach their schools, whereas the next generation conveniently reach by flying it seems. Being a Gen Z, these are the stories that we have grown up listening to.

But, does that mean that our school days has become lesser in quality somehow? Not at all, everybody’s school experience is different. The good old days of getting group punishments, stealing the chalk pieces from the teacher’s table, fighting with the class monitor because they wrote the name of the “Talking” in the board. At that time, that was the most terrible betrayal the class monitor could do to us, especially if they were our friend.

The longing to go to PT period and if it comes as a substitution for Mathematics period, the joy would know no bounds. The best news a student could hear is that the teacher is absent, but it might get crushed when science teacher takes over. The bee line we make to the ground, and come back covered in dirt, earning us scolding from our mothers. The way we wondered why to even polish the shoes when it was eventually going to get dirty.

The lunch period cannot be explained in words. There would be a studious group, ingesting the syllabus along with the food, the talkative group whose noise level would make the in-charge teacher wonder where the hell zoo animals came from, the touch up group which would spend the entire break in, well, touch up. The sports players, who eat less than a baby, would eat and run to the playground. A special mention to the group who treat all the periods as lunch period.

All these group would have one thing in common. Happiness. That, and the illegal sharing of Maggi, from the runt of the group. But there would be no hard feelings, because it was all very normal. Imagine sharing food from a single box now. Everyone would run hither-tither.

The morning assembly needs a special mention because that is the only place where we don’t pay attention to what is happening in the stage and think of all the existential crisis we might be having. That would also be the only time we are totally clean. Nails neatly trimmed, neat two plaits for the girls, neatly combed hair for the boys, polished shoes, ID card check, etc. We all know the punishments for the defaulters by the PT Teacher.

We would all have the one late-comer who would come at the half of first period and save us from the morning “strict” classes, because that is when teachers will be at the best and there would be no cutting slack. The class tests and exams are another level of creativity, not in writing the exam per se, but in communicating with our friends without the invigilator seeing. Even if we get caught, if the teacher acts like they see us, they would be our role model for the next month.

All this beautiful memories have sculptured us to what we are today and that is the major missing nowadays. Staring at the screen for hours together in the name of online classes would never even compare to what the real school experience was. As we don’t know when the situation would be safe enough even for the tiny-tots to attend the school, all we can do is hope the days come by soon.

A MAN’S FURRY BEST FRIEND

Dog has always been known as the best friend of humans from times unknown.

“DOGS MAY BE JUST A PART OF OUR LIVES, BUT FOR THEM WE ARE THEIR WHOLE WORLD”

anonymous

Why are they called the “best friend” when the notion of being a best friend comes with many connotations these days? The concept of being there for a person in the time of needs is the most important concept and characteristic of a best friend.

Though our furry friends do not offer advice in matters as such the  listening ears is all we need most of the time, especially without any judgement. It doesn’t matter whether it is a boy or girl, they are always there for us, with the least idea of what we are talking. Regardless of the context, dogs are scientifically proven to know how we feel. We may have seen cute videos where puppies offering their favourite toys to their owners because they were feeling sad or crying. It is not a coincidence. They can feel the sadness, worry or anxiety from our bodies and they try their level best to console us. It their brain, it is their toy that makes them happy, so that ought to make us happy, right?

This is the exact reason why dogs are specially trained to be service animals.  Now, when we think of service dogs, we always think of cute dogs helping their blind owners/trainers. Though as great that is, that isn’t all. Dogs can be trained to help socially anxious people, provide comfort to children who are mentally ill, detect low blood sugar levels in our body and alert us etc. In the police training, they are trained to detect the accused from the body odour and type of energy radiating from a person.

The sad part is, after all the service years, of say, 8 to 9 years at an average, their senses wind down, naturally due to old age. It is at this time when they need the most care, because they don’t know anything other than what they have been trained. So finding homes for them after their retirement is very important, because we shouldn’t make them feel useless after all the years of service they’ve put.

Another thing we have to learn from them is to love unconditionally. Try scolding your dog for being naughty, they would definitely feel bad and try to cheer you up and make up for whatever they did. That is their whole intention, to make you happy. There are many movies and novels that insist and instil the purpose of dogs in our lives but if you ask for recommendations, the novel series of “Dog’s Promise” by W. Bruce Cameron which has also been adapted into beautiful motion pictures ought to touch your hearts. Especially the book, “ A Dog’s Purpose” takes us through different lives of a same dog until it fulfils its purpose on this earth in the most aesthetic way possible.

They say, “Dogs may be just a part of your life, but for them, you’re their whole world.” Every other animals are equally important for the earth to be balanced, but dogs, they have a special purpose, to provide happiness to us, humans.

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW BY A J FINN

Anna Fox, a 39 old woman has been confined in her home for 10 months. The reason is that she suffers from a severe case of anxiety and a phobia, Agoraphobia. This phobia restricts her from venturing outside her house, making her believe that if she goes out, the outside world will swallow. She has a husband, Ed and a daughter, Olivia who lives with her father. Anna and Ed are divorced, and due to her condition, they just meet either in Anna’s house and communicate through phone calls. Being stuck in the house 24/7, she confines herself to unhealthy amount of alcohol and spying on her neighbors. Being a therapist herself, she offers her consultations to the patients that suffer from Agoraphobia, on Agora.com.

During many hours of such spying on her neighbors, she notices something about one of them, the Russells. They are a family of a father, mother and a son, Ethan, whom Anna notices is very well behaved and polite child. But despite being a good child, he forever seems unhappy and sad and her  heart reaches out for him.

Once, Ethan comes to her house, because he is drawn towards her and her condition. They spend some time, and due to their conversation, Anna concludes that Mr. Russell is a cruel person. After he leaves, she promises to herself to keep an extra eye on their house, since anything can happen.

After some days, Jane, Ethan’s mom, comes over to Anna’s house and they spend a considerable amount of time and Anna finds that they share similar interest and has a good time. But the next day, Mr. Russell, comes and asks Anna to stay away from his family and this increases the suspicion.

That night, Anna witnesses Jane being stabbed by someone and she panics. She wants to call the police and wants to go out and save her. But due to her Agoraphobia, she calls the police first, and tries to venture out and faints. When she wakes up, she is in the hospital, she is told that Jane was not stabbed and she is totally fine.

The police conclude that it was all a hallucination due to her condition and her medications, eventually making Anna believe it. They also uncover the tragic accident where her husband and daughter died, but she still believes they are alive. This makes them not trust Anna anymore. But when the police brings Mr. Russell and Jane to her house for verification, Anna vehemently refuses that this was Jane who came to her house, and to her shock, even Ethan agrees. She still has some doubts, when one night, she receives a mail of a picture of her sleeping. She is frightened because she lives alone and calls the police. Again, due to her condition, they think she was drunk and sent it to herself.

Ethan comes to her house late at night one day, and agreed that Jane wasn’t his mom. The Russells are his adoptive parents. The lady that Anna met was his biological mom, Katie. She had been a drunk and that’s why Mr. Russell didn’t want her in their lives. For that splitting minute, Anna feels sorry for the family. So she advices him to talk to his parents to go to the police and clear the air.

When she goes to sleep, she feels someone is watching her, and to her horror, finds Ethan with a totally different demeanor. He horribly admits that it was he who killed Katie and that he has psychopathic behavior. Mr. Russell knew about it, and helped him bury the body in their backyard. All the while, Ethan had been following Anna’s every movements and now he wants to kill her.

After a long and hot pursuit to the terrace, she manages to push him off the terrace and save herself. Only then she realizes, that Mr. Russell has been trying to save her all along.

The story is a very thrilling, crime novel which keeps us on tenterhooks until the last stretch.

AN YEAR OF LOCKDOWN

It has been 200 thousand years since humans have evolved.

Since the beginning humans have always considered the Earth as their home and strangely enough, like they own it. But sometimes he  forgets to remember that there are millions and millions of other organisms, from small insects to the classic examples of blue whale that exists with us at the same time which is really necessary to maintain the balance of the nature. It has been a year since this pandemic has locked us in our homes. The growing civilization and urbanization of cities has stranded animals and birds especially the stray animals that live in the city and depend on humans for food.

When the situation was normal the hotels and other food outlets used to throw away the rubbish which was a six course meal for the stray dogs and other animals. But now since the government has ordered only for the takeaways to be opened, stray animals depend on the houses especially in the residential areas to stay alive. There are some non-profit organisations that work tirelessly to feed these strays, but even then due to the high number of covid cases the abundance of volunteers has dramatically reduced and it has been tougher than ever to feed this strays.

The case is not only with stray animals but a similar plight can be seen among the children who have been orphaned because either one or both of the parents have succumbed to the virus. Some children are lucky enough to have relatives to take care of them but some children get caught in the middle of property drama. The relatives depend on the dead parents properties and only help their children if they see a proper cut for themselves in it. Situation gets worse with the slum families, where the relatives are ready to take care, but they can’t afford for the same. This is heart wrenching, because the covid cases seems to increase multi fold in the slum areas due to lack of awareness.

 The situation of stray animals and orphaned children has moved many people to do something in favour of them so there won’t be any casualties other than the mass numbers of deaths and active cases in the country.

There are some ways in which we can help the stray animals. The first and foremost would be to get vaccinated in order to stay safe for everybody around us and then collect whatever we can and support NGOs that still work hard day and night to feed the strays. Regarding the children that are orphaned, Government can set up children’s home temporarily which can take care of them until their relatives or some sort of foster family is ready to take care of them. India is the second most populous country in the world, well on its way to cross the most populous country in the world, China. It is tough enough to provide sanitation to the covid patients and problems like this only is like adding fuel to the fire.

We should remember that this shouldn’t have been a problem if there had been proper planning from the beginning and if there had been considerable support from the public alike.

Photo by Allan Mas on Pexels.com

class 12 cbse board exams

Like Mahabharata, the story of the board exam for the students of CBSE class 12 had been going on for what seems like a whole Yug. Then finally, one fine day, on 1st June, it was announced by our Hon’ble Prime Minister that the exams are cancelled in the interest of the students. Whether the students heaved a sigh of relief, it was really the parents who swiped the sweat off their foreheads, because let’s face it, everyone is worried about their health amidst this pandemic.

Last year, too, though the exams had started in most part of the country, that was the time the first wave started getting worse, so, the exams were postponed. Half the students had completed their exams, some had one or two exams left, and some hadn’t even started. That is the pattern of CBSE. So it was really a headache on how to conduct the exams. Then since the situation got worse, the exams were cancelled. The marks were declared with the aggregate of the pre-board exams conducted. This year though, it is not an option, because, the students from the beginning had not attended face-to-face class. So, it is now in the hands of the teachers and authorities to brainstorm a way to grade the students that meets everyone’s satisfaction.

The last years grading system was that the students had attended some of the exams. The aggregate of those subjects was taken and the mark was given to the remaining subjects. For the students who hadn’t written a single subject the marks from their pre-boards were taken and according to that they were graded for their board exams.

But this year that would not be the case because from the beginning the students had been attending the online classes so the assessments were all conducted online and let’s be honest, it would have been easy for students. So now if the authorities plan on marking the students according to the internal marks everybody is in a win-win situation. There is also another method that the board is considering. That is grading the students according to their 10th marks.

Since the board has yet to submit their report to Supreme Court, the marking pattern of the papers is not yet finalized. Either way, the one worry of whether the exams are going to be conducted or not has been served but since keeping in mind that the 12th marks are the base for that students career, the decision regarding its marking scheme is crucial and if the board and the Government does not satisfy most of the parents and students, there might be a major negotiation between the two parties and by the time the final decision is taking the students should have been through another Kalyug in Mahabharat.

The option to write the exam after the situation gets conducive for the students willing to write the exam, is just doubtful. We have to keep in mind that this situation is tough for everyone and the government is doing whatever it can but since we have to believe “to each his own”, it is tough to meet everybody’s set expectations and especially since the population of the students and their families constitute a fair share of the population. The Government really needs to think and take a decision that would not only satisfy the current needs of the students but also their dreams they want to follow after their higher secondary.

Vaccination: Why the hesitation?

Covishield and Covaxin are the two major words that is parading the tongues of Indian at the moment.

With the vaccination drives going on around the country, many people are energetic to be vaccinated to fight this “Mahamari”. Nearly 24 crore people have been vaccinated in India and still there is a long way to go. Some sort of hesitation can be seen among people about taking the vaccination and are blindfolded due to some sort of prejudice.

There is a case scenario where they see these vaccination camps as a sort of public socialization and are meeting their friends and family in the vaccination camps. Who could blame them? They have been locked up in their houses since March 2020 and its been more than a year since they can go out. And with the doses being of shortage and people moving from one camp to another only increases the chances of being contracted with the virus. Now, can we blame the officials for not controlling the public’s movements in the public places? The answer is yes and no.

There are some corrupt officials about whom there need not be further discussion but there ARE some officials who work hard, putting their families and themselves at risk, creating awareness, fining the rule breakers and finding creative and harmless ways to punish the lockdown violators and needless to say, get trending in social media. Believe it or not, social media is really helpful in this way.

Recently, there were a group of women police constables who danced to latest hits with their own twist in the lyrics about safety against the virus. Now, coming back to the vaccination drives, why are people hesitant? There may be several reasons. One might be not aware of the positive effects of the vaccination. There is no end to the gossip circle that goes around in our country and sometimes it can be so ridiculous that the topic would have strayed far away from the original topic of discussion. So, this might the second reason, because we have to accept that all bodies are different, some people react negatively to the vaccination and this one in a thousand story stops our people from getting vaccinated.

They think they might get affected too BECAUSE of the vaccine and not vice versa. Another category of people might think that they are safe enough and stay at home all the time, adhering to all the government polices and that the virus cannot affect them. They sometimes forget that the government also insists on getting vaccinated. But these reasons have slowed down recently as more and more people have started getting vaccinated but keeping in mind the population of our country, we still have a long way to go until each and every one of us get vaccinated.

We need to remember that a vaccination is only one way of fighting this virus and we cannot sit back and let our guard down after getting vaccinated. We still need to wear masks, maintain social distancing and stay at home. As our Hon’ble Prime Minister says, we need to stick together (not literally!!) and fight this virus.

trust issues

Mind set is everything

“ Trust issues” are something that people use as a barrier to stop themselves from getting hurt. It’s true that once the trust is broken, even if it is made up late, it is not as strong as before and there is always some suspicion. It is also kind of similar to when people say “First impressions are best impressions”. Now, if you look at them closely, these both concepts  are pretty contradictory to each other. The first one says that if you trust someone, and if they break your confidence, you won’t feel the same towards them again. And that trust you made up about them will have been with considerable time spent with them.

The second scenario is where you make up in mind that you somewhat like and trust the person at the very first glance and even if they make some mistake, that won’t make you change your mind, thanks to the first impression they made on you. Why is that, you trust gets broken with the person whom you’ve known longer than the person who make a very good impression on you? The choice lies in your hand, as always. As someone said, life is 1% what happens to you and 99% how you react to it. The answer to my question will be expectation. The person, whom you’ve known for quite some time, with whom you’ve felt comfortable with, tends to break your trust.

The thing is that, due to them being close to you and the pretext that they’ve known you for some time, you expect them to abide by your rules about your social security. You won’t expect any random person to do so, but the one who’s been with you, slowly gaining your trust and confidence. Also, it isn’t like you should always live in denial, too. There are circumstances when you need to make concessions to your loved ones about your insecurities and who knows, they will also help you to guide you overcome it, if you’re with the right person. Be it your partner, best friend/s, parents, siblings, relatives etc. The one, who made a good first impression on you would most probably be a stranger, a superstar of whom others have made a pre-conceived notions and of whom, you, have no expectations from.

You don’t expect them to abide by your rules, and if they do something contradictory to your views, you just move on, unlike your loved ones. There are also some people who, take the first impressions of the strangers to their heart and if something happens to break it, they let it. The stress is upon the words. “let it” because as always , choice is yours. The person probably is very vulnerable to heart break or trust someone pretty easily or is someone who is just always ready to take decision rashly and then later blame themselves. They need to stand for themselves and not change themselves if it is in their nature and try to improve themselves. Trusting people is hard enough, trusting yourself is harder than anything. Trust yourself and move forward!!