To Kill A Mocking Bird

To Kill a Mockingbird, novel by Harper Lee, published in 1960. Enormously popular, it was translated into some 40 languages and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. In 1961 it won a Pulitzer Prize. The novel was praised for its sensitive treatment of a child’s awakening to racism and prejudice in the American South.

To Kill a mocking bird

Summary

To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression. The protagonist is Jean Louise (“Scout”) Finch, an intelligent though unconventional girl who ages from six to nine years old during the course of the novel. She is raised with her brother, Jeremy Atticus (“Jem”), by their widowed father, Atticus Finch. He is a prominent lawyer who encourages his children to be empathetic and just. He notably tells them that it is “a sin to kill a mockingbird,” alluding to the fact that the birds are innocent and harmless.

When Tom Robinson, one of the town’s Black residents, is falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman, Atticus agrees to defend him despite threats from the community. At one point he faces a mob intent on lynching his client but refuses to abandon him. Scout unwittingly diffuses the situation. Although Atticus presents a defense that gives a more plausible interpretation of the evidence—that Mayella was attacked by her father, Bob Ewell—Tom is convicted, and he is later killed while trying to escape custody. A character compares his death to “the senseless slaughter of songbirds.”

The trial

The children, meanwhile, play out their own miniaturized drama of prejudice and superstition as they become interested in Arthur (“Boo”) Radley, a reclusive neighbour who is a local legend. They have their own ideas about him and cannot resist the allure of trespassing on the Radley property. Their speculations thrive on the dehumanization perpetuated by their elders. Atticus, however, reprimands them and tries to encourage a more sensitive attitude. Boo makes his presence felt indirectly through a series of benevolent acts, finally intervening when Bob Ewell attacks Jem and Scout. Boo kills Ewell, but Heck Tate, the sheriff, believes it is better to say that Ewell’s death occurred when he fell on his own knife, sparing the shy Boo from unwanted attention. Scout agrees, noting that to do otherwise would be “sort of like shootin’ a mockingbird.”

SOURCES

https://www.britannica.com/topic/To-Kill-a-Mockingbird

The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild, novel by Jack London, published serially by The Saturday Evening Post in 1903 and then as a single-volume book by Macmillan & Co. the same year. It is often considered to be his masterpiece and is the most widely read of all his publications.

Summary

The story follows Buck—a mix of St. Bernard and Scotch collie—throughout his journey as a sled dog. Buck’s story begins at the house of Judge Miller in Santa Clara, California. Here, Buck is a beloved domesticated pet, living comfortably. However, after gold is discovered in the Yukon territory of Canada, Buck is stolen by one of Miller’s gardeners as the demand for sled dogs increases. The gardener sells Buck to dog traders and makes a profit, and Buck is soon shipped north, abused and beaten as he goes. Along with a sweet, unassuming dog named Curly, Buck is sold to two government couriers, François and Perrault, who put him to work as a sled dog. Buck is soon overwhelmed by his surroundings, particularly when he sees a group of huskies attack and kill Curly.

As Buck is forced to adapt to the wild, his primitive instincts begin to surface. It is during this time that he makes an enemy of the lead sled dog, Spitz. The two fight a number of times, and Buck consistently undermines him in the hopes of diminishing his authority. After a final, decisive battle, Buck kills Spitz and appoints himself as the new lead dog—something he convinces his owners to go along with through his sheer stubbornness. With Buck as lead dog, the team begins making trips in record time. The team, along with Buck, is eventually sold to a mail carrier who forces the dogs to carry arduously heavy loads. This work results in the death of one of the dogs.

The team is sold again, this time to American gold hunters named Hal, Charles, and Mercedes. The three are wildly inexperienced: they overload the sled, and they beat the dogs unnecessarily. Halfway through a long journey, they begin to run out of food, causing more than half of the dogs to die of starvation. Along their journey, and still with a long way to go, they happen upon the camp of a man named John Thornton.

Thornton warns them that the ice they are about to cross is thinning and that it is not safe to cross. The Americans disregard him and attempt to leave. The other dogs obey, but Buck refuses to move onto the ice. Hal beats him viciously until Thornton steps in and cuts Buck free. The Americans continue without Buck, only to fall through the thinning ice and perish alongside the remainder of their dogs.

Buck becomes devoted to Thornton, and he even saves Thornton from drowning. One day, Thornton brags that Buck can pull a thousand-pound load and bets more than a thousand dollars on him. After some struggle, Buck is able to do so, and his master uses the money to search for a hidden mine deep in the Canadian wilderness. Buck’s love for Thornton becomes challenged by his growing desire for the wild. He begins to disappear into the forest for longer intervals of time, but he always returns to Thornton. During these excursions, Buck hunts bears and moose and even befriends a wolf. One day Buck returns to find Thornton and his crew killed by Native Americans the novel calls Yeehats. Angry beyond comprehension, Buck attacks and kills several Yeehats and scatters the rest. Buck then ventures into the forest and becomes the leader of a wolf pack. He becomes known by the Yeehats as Ghost Dog; because of his swiftness, his shadow is all they can glimpse. Despite being fully wild now, Buck still returns to the place of Thornton’s death each year to mourn the loss of his best friend.

SOURCES

https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Call-of-the-Wild

Why a Daily Routine Is So Important

All of us are aware that kids need a routine to provide structure and discipline in their lives. When we were younger, most of us were told to go to bed at a certain time, wake up at a certain time, do our homework after school, eat dinner at a regular hour, shower, even play with our friends at a specific time. But what about adults? Many grownups do not have a set daily routine and ‘wing’ their day. They have no idea what they are going to do when they wake up each morning because they have not thought about creating a schedule to adhere to. As a result, many people feel like they are stressed, anxious, overwhelmed and falling short of their goals and true potential. The answer lies in carefully designing a routine that works best for each of us, one which helps us be productive, in control, and be the best person we can possibly be.

Create Daily Routine

1. Makes Us More Efficient
When we have a routine that we follow daily, it reduces the need to make decisions each day. It enables us to know exactly what tasks we need to do each day without having to contemplate, decide or think too much. When we are finished with one task, we know what comes next without much thought. Activities become standardized and we become more efficient as a result.

2. Reduces Our Need to Plan

When we carefully design a set routine to follow, it eliminates the need to plan our activities every morning and budget and allocate our precious time. It takes the guesswork out of our day and allows us to wake up and ‘do’ instead of wake up and ‘plan’.

3. Creates Structure in Our Lives
A daily routine provides structure and a logical sequence in our lives. It provides the framework within which we live our lives and conduct our daily activities. Soon we become familiar and comfortable with what we have to do each day. It allows us to experience a flow to our day.

4. Saves Time, Our Most Valuable Resource
Time is the most precious asset at our disposal because, once lost, it is non-retrievable. By following a routine, we free up time that would otherwise be spent on planning, decision-making and preparation. Our routine has predetermined our schedule, allowing us to use our time efficiently.

Follow the routine

5. Instills Good Habits
The secret to building good habits is repetition. When we design a personal routine that works for us, it facilitates developing good habits by encouraging us to repeat the same tasks over and over again. Just like brushing our teeth every morning, adhering to a routine allows us to foster habits that match our goals and aspirations.

6. Breaks Bad Habits
While our routine helps us develop good habits that are in line with exploiting our full potential, it also helps to eradicate bad habits that do not serve us well. We can slowly replace our bad habits with good ones through repetition.

SOURCES

https://www.skilledatlife.com/18-reasons-why-a-daily-routine-is-so-important/

THE KITE RUNNER

The Kite Runner is the first novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. Published in 2003 by Riverhead Books, it tells the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the Soviet invasion, the exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime.

PLOT

Amir recalls an event that happened twenty-six years before, when he was still a boy in Afghanistan, and says that that made him who he is. Before the event, he lives in a nice home in Kabul, Afghanistan, with Baba, his father. They have two servants, Ali and his son, Hassan, who are Hazaras, an ethnic minority. Baba’s close friend, Rahim Khan, is also around often. When Afghanistan’s king is overthrown, things begin to change. One day, Amir and Hassan are playing when they run into three boys, Assef, Wali, and Kamal. Assef threatens to beat up Amir for hanging around with a Hazara, but Hassan uses his slingshot to stop Assef.

The story skips to winter, when the kite-fighting tournament occurs. Boys cover their kite strings in glass and battle to see who can sever the string of the opposing kite. When a kite loses, boys chase and retrieve it, called kite running. When Amir wins the tournament, Hassan sets off to run the losing kite. Amir looks for him and finds Hassan trapped at the end of an alley, pinned with his pants down. Wali and Kamal hold him, and Assef rapes him. Amir runs away, and when Hassan appears with the kite, Amir pretends he doesn’t know what happened. Afterward, Amir and Hassan drift apart. Amir, who is racked by guilt, decides either he or Hassan must leave. He stuffs money and a watch under Hassan’s pillow and tells Baba that Hassan stole it. When Baba confronts them, Hassan admits to it, though he didn’t do it. Shortly after, Ali and Hassan move away.

The story jumps to March 1981. Baba and Amir are in the back of a truck as they escape from Kabul, which was invaded by the Soviets and has become a war-zone. After a hellish journey, they make it to Pakistan. Two years later, Baba and Amir live in Fremont, California. While Baba works at a gas station, Amir finishes high school and goes to college. Baba and Amir sell things at a flea market on Sundays, and Baba sees an old friend, General Taheri. Amir notices General Taheri’s daughter, Soraya. When Amir finally speaks to her, General Taheri catches him and tells him there is a proper way to do things. Not long after, Baba is diagnosed with lung cancer. Amir asks Baba if he will get General Taheri’s consent for Amir to marry Soraya. General Taheri accepts the proposal. They hold the wedding quickly because of Baba’s health, and Baba dies a month later. Amir and Soraya try unsuccessfully to have a baby while Amir works on his writing career.

Amir gets a call from Rahim Khan. Rahim Khan is sick and wants Amir to see him in Pakistan. Amir meets him a week later, and Rahim Khan tells Amir about the devastation in Kabul. He says things only got worse after the Soviets were forced out. Now the Taliban rule by violence. He has a favor to ask of Amir, but first he needs to tell him about Hassan. When Baba and Amir left Afghanistan, Rahim Khan watched their house. Out of loneliness and because he was getting older, he decided to find Hassan. He convinced Hassan and Hassan’s wife, Farzana, to come back to Kabul with him. Farzana and Hassan eventually had a little boy, Sohrab. A few years later Rahim Khan went to Pakistan for medical treatment, but he received a call from a neighbor in Kabul. The Taliban went to Baba’s house and shot Hassan and Farzana and sent Sohrab to an orphanage.

Rahim Khan wants Amir to go to Kabul and bring Sohrab back to Pakistan, where a couple lives that will take care of him. He tells Amir that Baba was Hassan’s father, and Amir agrees to do it. In Afghanistan, Amir finds the orphanage where Sohrab is supposed to be, but he is not there. The orphanage director says a Taliban official took Sohrab a month earlier. If Amir wants to find the official, he will be at the soccer stadium during the game the next day. Amir goes to the game, and at half-time, the Taliban put a man and a woman in holes in the ground and the official Amir is looking for stones them to death. Through one of the Taliban guards, Amir sets up a meeting with the official.

When they meet, Amir tells the official he is looking for a boy, Sohrab, and the official tells the guards to bring the boy in. Sohrab is wearing a blue silk outfit and mascara, making him appear more feminine and suggesting that the men sexually abuse him. The official says something Amir recognizes, and suddenly Amir realizes the official is Assef. Assef says he wants to settle some unfinished business. He beats Amir with brass knuckles, breaking Amir’s ribs and splitting his lip. Sohrab threatens Assef with his slingshot, and when Assef lunges at him, Sohrab shoots him in the eye, allowing Amir and Sohrab to escape. As Amir recovers in the hospital, he finds out there never was a couple that could care for Sohrab. Amir asks Sohrab to live with him in the U.S., and Sohrab accepts.

The adoption officials tell Amir that adopting Sohrab will be impossible since he can’t prove Sohrab’s parents are dead, and Amir tells Sohrab he may have to go back to an orphanage. Amir and Soraya figure out a way to get Sohrab to the U.S., but before they can tell Sohrab, Sohrab tries to kill himself. He lives, but he stops speaking entirely. Even after they bring Sohrab to California, Sohrab remains withdrawn. One day, they go to a park with other Afghans. People are flying kites. Amir buys one and gets Sohrab to fly it with him. They spot another kite and battle it. Using one of Hassan’s favorite tricks, they win. Sohrab smiles, and as the losing kite flies loose, Amir sets off to run it for Sohrab.

SOURCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kite_Runner

https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/the-kite-runner

Attitude is a little thing that makes all the difference

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”

—Henry Ford

When confronted with a challenge or problem, do you tackle it, or do you run the other way? Your attitude can go a long way toward determining how successful you are at meeting a challenge. You can choose to avoid it, find ways around it, or dig in and accept it, taking pleasure in accomplishing something difficult—or seemingly impossible.

But, there are few steps we can take to carve our attitude:

Adopt A Growth Mind-set. Some people have a fixed mind-set. They believe that talent and innate ability are set at birth and don’t change. If they fail, it’s because they just aren’t talented enough. And they often retreat from challenges to avoid failure.

Other people have a growth mind-set. They believe that the brain acts like a muscle, growing stronger with use. They are not afraid of challenges or hard work, which they believe will improve their skills and abilities. They often embrace seemingly impossible projects and view them as opportunities to grow, and they believe that, with practice, they can get better at anything.

Have a strong and positive outlook

Start With Success. At the beginning of a project, find a way to achieve a small victory. Is there a piece of the project that you already know how to do or can accomplish quickly? Starting off with a small success will put you in a positive frame of mind and give you the momentum to tackle the entire project.

Tell Yourself You Can. In any project, assume that your objective is possible, and work from there. Define your goal, and work backward to determine what you need to do to achieve it. If you can’t find a clear path forward, you can redefine some of the parameters or challenge some assumptions. As a last resort, you may need to redefine success. What are the crucial aspects of success, what would be nice to have, and what trade-offs are you willing to accept?

Act In A Way That Lends Itself To Growth. Learn to view your efforts as a path to mastery, not failure. Focus on how much you are learning and how much you are improving. Remember that if you don’t try, you will automatically fail, so anything you do is better than doing nothing. Celebrate your efforts and hard work, not your innate abilities. Enjoy and learn from the journey while remaining focused on the final destination.

Never give up attitude

Learn From Your Setbacks. Sometimes, things don’t turn out as planned. Unexpected consequences shouldn’t be thought of as mistakes but as interesting learning experiences. Figure out what happened, what you didn’t know, or what changed to cause the unexpected results. Then use that knowledge to better define the problem, develop an alternative theory, or determine what you need to learn next in order to continue on your road to a solution.

Remember, the problem is not the problem—it’s your attitude toward the problem.

SOURCES

https://cen.acs.org/articles/93/i35/Attitude-Makes-Difference.html

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare c. 1595 or 1596. The play is set in Athens, and consists of several subplots that revolve around the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta. One subplot involves a conflict between four Athenian lovers. Another follows a group of six amateur actors rehearsing the play which they are to perform before the wedding. Both groups find themselves in a forest inhabited by fairies who manipulate the humans and are engaged in their own domestic intrigue. The play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular and is widely performed.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

STORY LINE

The play consists of five interconnecting plots, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta, which are set simultaneously in the woodland and in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon.

The play opens with Hermia who is in love with Lysander, resistant to her father Egeus’s demand that she wed Demetrius, whom he has arranged for her to marry. Helena, Hermia’s best friend, pines unrequitedly for Demetrius, who broke up with her to be with Hermia. Enraged, Egeus invokes an ancient Athenian law before Duke Theseus, whereby a daughter needs to marry a suitor chosen by her father, or else face death.

Peter Quince and his fellow players Nick Bottom, Francis Flute, Robin Starveling, Tom Snout and Snug plan to put on a play for the wedding of the Duke and the Queen, “the most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe”. lion is “nothing but roaring.” Quince then ends the meeting telling his actors “at the Duke’s oak we meet”.

In a parallel plot line, Oberon, king of the fairies, and Titania, his queen, have come to the forest outside Athens. Titania tells Oberon that she plans to stay there until she has attended Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding. Oberon and Titania are estranged because Titania refuses to give her Indian changeling to Oberon. Oberon seeks to punish Titania’s disobedience. He calls upon Robin “Puck” , to help him concoct a magical juice derived from a flower called “love-in-idleness”. When the concoction is applied to the eyelids of a sleeping person, that person, upon waking, falls in love with the first living thing they perceive.

Hermia and Lysander have escaped to the same forest in hopes of running away from Theseus. Helena, desperate to reclaim Demetrius’s love, tells Demetrius about the plan and he follows them in hopes of finding Hermia. Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius, not having actually seen either before, and administers the juice to the sleeping Lysander. Helena, coming across him, wakes him while attempting to determine whether he is dead or asleep. Upon this happening, Lysander immediately falls in love with Helena.

Helena, thinking Lysander is playing a trick on her, runs away with Lysander following her. Oberon sends Puck to get Helena while he charms Demetrius’ eyes. Upon waking up, he sees Helena. Now, both men are in love with Helena. Hermia accuses Helena of stealing Lysander away from her .Lysander and Demetrius decide to seek a place to duel to prove whose love for Helena is the greater. Oberon orders Puck to keep Lysander and Demetrius from catching up with one another and to remove the charm from Lysander so Lysander can return to love Hermia, while Demetrius continues to love Helena with none of them having any memory of what happened, as if it were a dream.

Titania, having received the love-potion, is awakened by Bottom’s singing and immediately falls in love with him. She lavishes him with the attention of her and her fairies, and while she is in this state of devotion, Oberon takes the changeling boy. Having achieved his goals, Oberon releases Titania, orders Puck to remove the donkey’s head from Bottom, and arranges everything so Helena, Hermia, Demetrius and Lysander will all believe they have been dreaming when they awaken. Puck distracts them and eventually all four find themselves separately falling asleep in the glade.

The fairies then disappear, and Theseus and Hippolyta arrive on the scene, during an early morning hunt. They wake up the lovers and, since Demetrius no longer loves Hermia, Theseus over-rules Egeus’s demands . The lovers decide that the night’s events must have been a dream. After they exit, Bottom awakes, and he too decides that he must have experienced a dream “past the wit of man”.

In Athens, Theseus, Hippolyta and the lovers watch the six workmen perform Pyramus and Thisbe. The performers are so terrible playing their roles that the guests laugh as if it were meant to be a comedy, and everyone retires to bed. After all the other characters leave, Puck “restores amends” and suggests that what the audience experienced might just be a dream.

SOURCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Midsummer_NighT27s_Dream

A Tale of two Armies: Why the Afghan Army proved no match for Taliban

Unexpected as it was, the US decision to completely pull out its troops from Afghanistan may not have been as surprising as the speed at which the Afghan armed forces that it created and trained have capitulated to the Taliban in one major city after another. More numerous and better equipped than the Taliban on paper, the Afghan national army is seen as suffering from grave systemic issues that have hollowed out its fighting capabilities.

An Afghan soldier in Kabul, Afghanistan

WHAT IS THE STRENGTH OF THE AFGHAN ARMY, AND THE TALIBAN?

The latest Quarterly Report of the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) dated July 30 says that there are more than 300,000 personnel who make up the Afghan National Security and Defence Forces (ANDSF), which includes the entire gamut of all armed and law and order staff on the Kabul government’s payroll.

However, the US Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point, a military training academy, said in January this year that a 2014 study had found that while combat forces made up around 60 per cent of the Afghan forces, “the number of soldiers showing up for duty each day is even lower”. It said that the Afghan army can count on an “estimated on-hand army fighting force of about 96,000 soldiers” and, including police forces, “the ANDSF are likely fielding a fighting force in the vicinity of 180,000 combat personnel each day”.

But SIGAR highlighted another problem: “ghost soldiers”. Pointing to the “corrosive effects of corruption within the ANDSF”, it cited the “existence of ghost soldiers and police”, which are nothing but “fake personnel records that corrupt actors used to pocket salaries”. Though it said that biometric systems have been introduced to weed out the non-existent soldiers, what it means is that there may be a big mismatch between the muster roll of soldiers and actual boots on the ground.

The Taliban, on the other hand, may have an estimated “60,000 core fighters, give or take 10-20 per cent”, the West Point report said, adding that a 2017 study had, however, “concluded that the group’s total manpower exceeds 200,000 individuals, which includes… another 90,000 members of local militias, and tens of thousands of facilitators and support elements”.

Taliban- Special forces (self declared)

HOW DO THE TWO SIDES MATCH UP IN FIREPOWER?

The Taliban are seen as being a “less technically sophisticated fighting force than the Afghan government — lacking an air force, heavy artillery, a fleet of armoured vehicles”. But its strength may lie in the fact that it is a leaner force than the ANDSF, which has relied majorly on foreign funding for military infrastructure and hardware.

Increasingly, bits of US military equipment are falling into Taliban hands. The SIGAR report says that where Afghan soldiers have fled Taliban attacks, they have often abandoned “their US-supplied equipment, which the Taliban then displayed on social media as propaganda to tout its victories”, including, recently, a US army a knocked out US army helicopter.

HOW DID TALIBAN SEIZE THE MOMENTUM?

Along with the “questionable accuracy of data on the actual strength of the force”, the SIGAR report also expresses concern over the lack of any means to gauge “the influence on combat readiness of intangible factors such as the will to fight”. Morale has been one key element where the Taliban is seen as being able to score decisively over the Afghan forces, especially as they go from strength to strength in overrunning the country.

While Afghan forces were seen as offering resistance in some districts, the SIGAR report said that “in others they surrendered or fled in disorder”, noting how in some cases, “local elders reportedly mediated truces that allowed the ANDSF defenders to leave”. The West Point report points to the Taliban’s “ability to recruit and deploy new fighters in recent years” which also underlines its “ability to withstand significant casualties — estimated to be in the range of thousands per year”.

Taliban fighters in Army Vehicles

For all the talk of theirs being a better funded and equipped fighting force, reports suggest that the Afghan forces actually may be suffering from a lack of cohesion and organisational support. A New York Times report said that Afghan forces have complained of an absence of logistical backing and even of food as they face an increasingly crippling onslaught from the Taliban.

SOURCES

https://www.news18.com/news/explainers

The Dawn of Taliban in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is on the precipice and the nation’s security forces have all but collapsed after being battered by a offensive Taliban they were unable to halt

To add to its woes, Washington has announced plans to evacuate its nationals in Kabul, a symbolic and shambolic end of the US presence after nearly two decades of conflict.

With the Taliban controlling the vast majority of the country’s cities and rural areas, and Afghan security forces largely defeated, here follows some questions and answers that may help explain the current situation.

Kandahar province, Afghanistan

What’s the Taliban’s strategy?

The Taliban have never shied away from saying what they want — the complete resurrection of their Islamic emirate that ruled from 1996 to 2001.

A lot of analysis and head-scratching was devoted to how exactly they would achieve their goal — through talks, brute force, or a mixture of both.

In the end, their military strategy proved sufficient: overwhelm government forces with multi-pronged attacks on targets throughout the country.

To do that, they first had to get American boots off the ground — which they did by securing a deal with war-weary Washington and pledging not to hit US targets in exchange for their withdrawal.

Part of the deal also meant Washington pressuring the Afghan government into releasing thousands of Taliban prisoners — most of whom immediately rejoined the fray.

With such breathtaking successes in the last eight days, the Taliban may now have the confidence to offer the government the chance of unconditional surrender.

If Kabul baulks, expect the Taliban to push for the capital with force.

Herat, Afghanistan’s third biggest city

What happened to the Afghan military?

No doubt books will be published and lectures will be given for years, if not decades, on this subject — what exactly went wrong with the Afghan security forces? Corruption, the lack of a will to fight, and the vacuum created by the US exit likely all played a part in the Afghan military’s ultimate demise.

For years, the US government issued reports detailing the vast amounts of corruption within the Afghan security forces.

Commanders routinely pocketed money meant for their troops, sold weapons on the black market and lied about the number of soldiers in their ranks.

Afghan Military

The Afghan forces were also entirely dependent on US airpower — from logistics to strikes, along with maintenance.

And to make matters all the worse, the security forces never had much in the way of effective leadership.

They were micromanaged by civilians in the presidential palace with little military experience, or ignored by ageing generals who appeared more involved in petty political fights than the larger war at hand.

The US-trained commando units were the hope, but in the end they were not enough to shoulder the entire fight.

How does it end?

The Taliban have the upper hand across the board.

Taliban fighters

The government now controls just three major cities and is unlikely to have the logistical manpower left to marshal a successful defence of the capital.

The Taliban are moving rapidly towards Kabul with reports suggesting their fighters are making progress on the northern and southern flanks of the capital.

The US and international community are most likely piling pressure on the Taliban and Afghan government to reach some kind of deal.

But the Taliban ultimately hold all the cards.

Afghan government negotiators in Qatar have offered the Taliban a power-sharing deal in return for an end to fighting in the country. But only time will tell what the future holds.

SOURCES

https://www.dawn.com/news/1640272

PATH TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM

Financial independence can be defined in a number of ways. However, when most think of financial independence they dream of a time in their lives when they are generating enough income to cover the essential expenses so that they never have to work again. For some, financial independence is far off into the distance, for others it’s within close reach. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, here are 10 financial rules to never break if you want to achieve full financial independence someday:

Financial Freedom

Earn More Money Than You Spend

You obey this principle by always living below your means. Follow this simple rule, no matter what your income and everything else will fall into place. As your income goes up, so will the extra money for savings and investment.

Make a Budget and Stick to It

You cannot live within or below your means without knowing what your expenses are and where you can start cutting. The path to that higher knowledge is a budget. There are dozens of free budget templates online. Fill in the template blanks and you’ll learn some rather eye-opening facts about where your money is going. Follow that budget and see how spending discipline give you an immediate leg up on financial independence.

Eliminate Unnecessary Living Expenses

Take a critical look at your budget. Are you spending over $100 for cable TV, for example? Cut the cable and save an extra $1,200 a year. Look everywhere and be ruthless.

Get Into Daily Financial Awareness Habits That Result in Wealth Accumulation

If your daily habits include a stop at Starbucks for that $5 latte, you are spending $100 a month — another $1,200 a year. Make your own frothy caffeinated beverage from the mixes on sale at your grocery store. Look for ways to save costs and expenses through coupons and sales. Keep track of your monthly bills and look for ways to cut down on energy expenses, for example.

Avoid Money-Making Schemes and Scams

No matter what the slick infomercials and bombastic websites shout out, there is no shortcut to wealth. Anyone who advertises that buying their plan or paying to attend their seminar is manly only interested in making money from you. That meets their financial goals, but detracts from yours.

Pay off Your Debts

If you are bogged down in heavy debt and your monthly expenditures are beginning to leapfrog your income, it may be time to consolidate your debts. There are many pathways to debt consolidation. Check around on the web. There is help out there.

Pay Your Monthly Credit Card Bill on Time

If you’re carrying a monthly balance on your credit card, you’re swimming upstream in your quest to get out of debt. Consider instead using a bank debit card, or at least get into the habit of paying off your monthly credit card balance.

Begin a Savings and Investment Plan

Start slow if you must, but save something each month. You’re in this for the long term and your goal is to be debt-free and to accumulate real wealth (i.e., to be financially independent). The savings and investment plan that is best for you depends on your age, situation and how much you need for a comfortable retirement. Again, look around. There are financial experts and expertise out there ready to help.

SOURCES

https://archstonefinancial.net/blog/10-rules-for-financial-freedom

FALUN – DAFA

Falun Gong is a new religious movement. Falun Gong was founded by its leader Li Hongzhi in China in the early 1990s. Falun Gong has its global headquarters in Dragon Springs, a 400-acre (160 ha) compound around Cuddebackville  in Deerpark, New York, near the current residence of Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong’s performance arts extension, Shen Yun (“Divine Rhythm”) and two closely connected schools, Fei Tian (“Flying Sky-Being”) College and Fei Tian Academy of the Arts, also operate in and around Dragon Springs.

Falun Dafa/Falun Gong Practitioners

Central Teachings

Falun Gong aspires to enable the practitioner to ascend spiritually through moral rectitude and the practice of a set of exercises and meditation. The three stated tenets of the belief are Truthfulness (真, Zhēn), Compassion (善, Shàn), and Forbearance (忍, Rěn). These principles have been repeated by Falun Gong members to outsiders as a tactic for evading deeper inquiry, and followers have been instructed by Li to lie about the practice.Together these principles are regarded as the fundamental nature of the cosmos, the criteria for differentiating right from wrong, and are held to be the highest manifestations of the Tao, or Buddhist Dharma.

Falun Gong Practitioners in China

Demography

Most Falun Gong estimates in the same period placed the total number of practitioners in China at 70 to 80 million. Other sources have estimated the Falun Gong population in China to have peaked between 10 and 70 million practitioners. The number of Falun Gong practitioners still practicing in China today is difficult to confirm, though some sources estimate that tens of millions continue to practice privately.

Demographic surveys conducted in China in 1998 found a population that was mostly female and elderly. Of 34,351 Falun Gong practitioners surveyed, 27% were male and 73% female. Only 38% were under 50 years old. Falun Gong attracted a range of other individuals, from young college students to bureaucrats, intellectuals and Party officials. Surveys in China from the 1990s found that between 23 and 40% of practitioners held university degrees at the college or graduate level—several times higher than the general population.

Falun Gong is practiced by tens, and possibly hundreds of thousands outside China, with the largest communities found in Taiwan and North American cities with large Chinese populations, such as New York and Toronto.

Persecution in China

On 20 July 1999, security forces abducted and detained thousands of Falun Gong practitioners who they identified as leaders. Two days later, on 22 July, the PRC Ministry of Civil Affairs outlawed the Falun Dafa Research Society as an illegal organization that was “engaged in illegal activities, advocating superstition and spreading fallacies, hoodwinking people, inciting and creating disturbances, and jeopardizing social stability”. The same day, the Ministry of Public Security issued a circular forbidding citizens from practicing Falun Gong in groups, possessing Falun Gong’s teachings, displaying Falun Gong banners or symbols, or protesting against the ban.

The aim of the ensuing campaign was to “eradicate” the group through a combination of means which included the publication and distribution of propaganda which denounced it and the imprisonment and coercive thought reform of its practitioners, sometimes resulting in deaths. In October 1999, four months after the imposition of the ban, legislation was passed in order to outlaw “heterodox religions” and sentence Falun Gong devotees to prison terms.

Hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners are estimated to have been extrajudicially imprisoned, and practitioners who are currently in detention are reportedly subjected to forced labor, psychiatric abuse, torture, and other coercive methods of thought reform at the hands of Chinese authorities. The U.S. Department of State and Congressional-Executive Commission on China cite estimates that as much as half of China’s reeducation-through-labor camp population is made up of Falun Gong practitioners.  Researcher Ethan Gutmann estimates that Falun Gong practitioners represent an average of 15 to 20 percent of the total “laogai” population, a population which includes practitioners who are currently being held in re-education through labor camps as well as practitioners who are currently being held in prisons and other forms of administrative detention.  Former detainees of the labor camp system have reported that Falun Gong practitioners comprise one of the largest groups of prisoners; in some labor camp and prison facilities, they comprise the majority of the detainees, and they are often said to receive the longest sentences and the worst treatment.  A 2013 report on labor reeducation camps by Amnesty International found that in some cases, Falun Gong practitioners “constituted on average from one third to 100 per cent of the total population” of certain camps.

According to Johnson, the campaign against Falun Gong extends to many aspects of society, including the media apparatus, the police force, the military, the education system, and workplaces. An extra-constitutional body, the “610 Office” was created to “oversee” the effort. Human Rights Watch (2002) commented that families and workplace employees were urged to cooperate with the government.

Persecution of Chinese Falun Dafa In China

Causes

Observers have attempted to explain the Party’s rationale for banning Falun Gong as stemming from a variety of factors. Many of these explanations centre on institutional causes, such as Falun Gong’s size and popularity, its independence from the state, and internal politics within the Chinese Communist Party. Other scholars have noted that Chinese authorities were troubled by Falun Gong’s moral and spiritual content, which put it at odds with aspects of the official Marxist ideology. Still others have pointed to China’s history of bloody sectarian revolts as a possible factor leading to the crackdown.

SOURCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falun_Gong

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is an 1813 romantic novel of manners written by Jane Austen. The novel follows the character development of Elizabeth Bennet, the dynamic protagonist of the book who learns about the repercussions of hasty judgments and comes to appreciate the difference between superficial goodness and actual goodness. Its humour lies in its honest depiction of manners, education, marriage, and money during the Regency era in England.

By Jane Austen

Story Line

Pride and Prejudice is set in rural England in the early 19th century, and it follows the Bennet family, which includes five very different sisters. Mrs. Bennet is anxious to see all her daughters married, especially as the modest family estate is to be inherited by William Collins when Mr. Bennet dies. At a ball, the wealthy and newly arrived Charles Bingley takes an immediate interest in the eldest Bennet daughter, the beautiful and shy Jane. The encounter between his friend Darcy and Elizabeth is less cordial. Although Austen shows them intrigued by each other, she reverses the convention of first impressions: pride of rank and fortune and prejudice against the social inferiority of Elizabeth’s family hold Darcy aloof, while Elizabeth is equally fired both by the pride of self-respect and by prejudice against Darcy’s snobbery.

Pride and Prejudice

The pompous Collins subsequently arrives, hoping to marry one of the Bennet sisters. Elizabeth, however, refuses his offer of marriage, and he instead becomes engaged to her friend Charlotte Lucas. During this time, Elizabeth encounters the charming George Wickham, a military officer. There is a mutual attraction between the two, and he informs her that Darcy has denied him his inheritance.

After Bingley abruptly departs for London, Elizabeth’s dislike of Darcy increases as she becomes convinced that he is discouraging Bingley’s relationship with Jane. Darcy, however, has grown increasingly fond of Elizabeth, admiring her intelligence and vitality. While visiting the now-married Charlotte, Elizabeth sees Darcy, who professes his love for her and proposes. A surprised Elizabeth refuses his offer, and, when Darcy demands an explanation, she accuses him of breaking up Jane and Bingley. Darcy subsequently writes Elizabeth a letter in which he explains that he separated the couple largely because he did not believe Jane returned Bingley’s affection. He also discloses that Wickham, after squandering his inheritance, tried to marry Darcy’s then 15-year-old sister in an attempt to gain possession of her fortune. With these revelations, Elizabeth begins to see Darcy in a new light.

Shortly thereafter the youngest Bennet sister, Lydia, elopes with Wickham. The news is met with great alarm by Elizabeth, since the scandalous affair—which is unlikely to end in marriage—could ruin the reputation of the other Bennet sisters. When she tells Darcy, he persuades Wickham to marry Lydia, offering him money. Despite Darcy’s attempt to keep his intervention a secret, Elizabeth learns of his actions. At the encouragement of Darcy, Bingley subsequently returns, and he and Jane become engaged. Finally, Darcy proposes again to Elizabeth, who this time accepts.

SOURCES

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pride-and-Prejudice

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pride_and_Prejudice

How to increase your short term memory

It’s always frustrating to forget why you walked into a room, or to forget someone’s name right after being introduced. Before worrying that annoyances like these are signs of a memory problem, try out some simple techniques that may naturally enhance your short term memory.

Boost your memory

Focus on what you want to remember.

Scientifically speaking, short term memory only lasts around 15-30 seconds—after that, the information is either discarded or moved to long term memory. Therefore, focusing closely on a new piece of info for 15-30 seconds can keep it in your short term memory and may help transfer it to your long term memory.

Engage multiple senses.

Using your senses increases focus and builds memory-helping associations. When you meet someone new, listen carefully and look directly at them as they state their name. Repeat their name immediately afterward. Shake their hand and feel their grip. Even take notice of their perfume or cologne! The more sensory associations you build, the more firmly the memory is encoded.

Utilize mnemonic devices.

These visual and verbal techniques really help with multiple bits of information. Do you still remember learning “VIBGYOR” in school to keep track of the order of colors in the rainbow? Mnemonic devices can really stick in your memory! Try constructing colorful, even silly visualizations or verbalizations to help encode a group of things in your short-term memory.

Lay out structured associations.

Memorize the primary pieces of info and how the secondary pieces relate to them. In other words, prioritize remembering the most vital information, but also focus on memorizing the structure that connects this vital info to the less important material you also want to remember. Essentially you’re creating a mental “bubble map”—where the central bubble contains the main info and is connected by lines to surrounding bubbles containing supporting info.

Eat a brain-healthy diet.

Healthy food choices are good for your brain and may improve your memory. By and large, the healthy, balanced diet you should strive to achieve for overall health is also what is needed for a healthy brain that is better primed to encode memories. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, add in lean proteins and whole grains, and cut back on saturated fats, sodium, and sugars.

Keep your brain active

SOURCES

https://www.wikihow.com/Increase-Your-Short-Term-Memory

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome (DES), also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is the condition of having dry eyes.

Dry eye disease is a common condition that occurs when your tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. Tears can be inadequate and unstable for many reasons. For example, dry eyes may occur if you don’t produce enough tears or if you produce poor-quality tears. This tear instability leads to inflammation and damage of the eye’s surface.

Dry eyes feel uncomfortable. If you have dry eyes, your eyes may sting or burn. You may experience dry eyes in certain situations, such as on an airplane, in an air-conditioned room, while riding a bike or after looking at a computer screen for a few hours.

Treatments for dry eyes may make you more comfortable. These treatments can include lifestyle changes and eyedrops. You’ll likely need to take these measures indefinitely to control the symptoms of dry eyes.

Degrees of Dry Eye Syndrome

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms, which usually affect both eyes, may include:

  • A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes.
  • Stringy mucus in or around your eyes.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Eye redness.
  • A sensation of having something in your eyes.
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses.
  • Difficulty with nighttime driving.
  • Watery eyes, which is the body’s response to the irritation of dry eyes.
  • Blurred vision or eye fatigue.
The tear ducts

Causes

Decreased tear production

Dry eyes can occur when you’re unable to produce enough water (aqueous fluid). The medical term for this condition is keratoconjunctivitis sicca (ker-uh-toe-kun-junk-tih-VY-tis SIK-uh). Common causes of decreased tear production include:

  • Aging
  • Certain medical conditions including Sjogren’s syndrome, allergic eye disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, graft vs. host disease, sarcoidosis, thyroid disorders or vitamin A deficiency
  • Certain medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, and drugs for high blood pressure, acne, birth control and Parkinson’s disease
  • Corneal nerve desensitivity caused by contact lens use, nerve damage or that caused by laser eye surgery, though symptoms of dry eyes related to this procedure are usually temporary

Increased tear evaporation

The oil film produced by small glands on the edge of your eyelids (meibomian glands) might become clogged. Blocked meibomian glands are more common in people with rosacea or other skin disorders.

Common causes of increased tear evaporation include:

  • Posterior blepharitis (meibomian gland dysfunction)
  • Blinking less often, which tends to occur with certain conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease; or when you’re concentrating during certain activities, such as while reading, driving or working at a computer
  • Eyelid problems, such as the lids turning outward (ectropion) and the lids turning inward (entropion)
  • Eye allergies
  • Preservatives in topical eyedrops
  • Wind, smoke or dry air
  • Vitamin A deficiency

Risk factors

Factors that make it more likely that you’ll experience dry eyes include:

  • Being older than 50. Tear production tends to diminish as you get older. Dry eyes are more common in people over 50.
  • Being a woman. A lack of tears is more common in women, especially if they experience hormonal changes due to pregnancy, using birth control pills or menopause.
  • Eating a diet that is low in vitamin A, which is found in liver, carrots and broccoli, or low in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, walnuts and vegetable oils.
  • Wearing contact lenses or having a history of refractive surgery.
Eye drops – a common treatment for DES

Complications

People who have dry eyes may experience these complications:

  • Eye infections. Your tears protect the surface of your eyes from infection. Without adequate tears, you may have an increased risk of eye infection.
  • Damage to the surface of your eyes. If left untreated, severe dry eyes may lead to eye inflammation, abrasion of the corneal surface, corneal ulcers and vision loss.
  • Decreased quality of life. Dry eyes can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as reading.

Prevention

If you experience dry eyes, pay attention to the situations that are most likely to cause your symptoms. Then find ways to avoid those situations in order to prevent your dry eyes symptoms. For instance:

  • Avoid air blowing in your eyes. Don’t direct hair dryers, car heaters, air conditioners or fans toward your eyes.
  • Add moisture to the air. In winter, a humidifier can add moisture to dry indoor air.
  • Consider wearing wraparound sunglasses or other protective eyewear. Safety shields can be added to the tops and sides of eyeglasses to block wind and dry air. Ask about shields where you buy your eyeglasses.
  • Take eye breaks during long tasks. If you’re reading or doing another task that requires visual concentration, take periodic eye breaks. Close your eyes for a few minutes. Or blink repeatedly for a few seconds to help spread your tears evenly over your eyes.
  • Be aware of your environment. The air at high altitudes, in desert areas and in airplanes can be extremely dry. When spending time in such an environment, it may be helpful to frequently close your eyes for a few minutes at a time to minimize evaporation of your tears.
  • Position your computer screen below eye level. If your computer screen is above eye level, you’ll open your eyes wider to view the screen. Position your computer screen below eye level so that you won’t open your eyes as wide. This may help slow the evaporation of your tears between eye blinks.
  • Stop smoking and avoid smoke. If you smoke, ask your doctor for help devising a quit-smoking strategy that’s most likely to work for you. If you don’t smoke, stay away from people who do. Smoke can worsen dry eyes symptoms.
  • Use artificial tears regularly. If you have chronic dry eyes, use eyedrops even when your eyes feel fine to keep them well lubricated.

SOURCES

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes

Online classes: The negative impacts on our eyes and ears

Online classes, no doubt, provide students to catch up on the classes lost due to the prolonged lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Attending classes online without a break is said to be causing problems like dry eye syndrome, burning sensation of eyes, and ear problems.

Educationists and doctors have their own reservations on online classes for primary classes. Doctors suggest use of laptops and external speakers, instead of earphones, to avoid eye and ear problems.

Blink your eyes to keep them moist

Doctors are reporting many cases of eyestrain among children after online classes started in the state. “Cases are definitely rising and some are even detected with computer vision syndrome. Last week alone, I have seen around 5-10 cases of children with issues of blurring of vision, dry eyes, and headache. Most of the time, we find kids keeping the gadgets close to their eyes. This is bad for their eye muscles and when they put excessive effort, it causes blurring of vision,” said Dr Sanitha Sathyan, paediatric ophthalmologist at Chaitanya Eye Institute, Kochi.

The long hours children spend on computers and smart phones for online classes as schools remain shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic is beginning to bother parents as complaints of headaches, eye problems and stress surface, it has been learnt.

Time spent on screens not just for studies but for other activities as well is increasing, says a city-based psychiatrist, who, worryingly feels it’s turning out to be “worse than cannabis addition.”

Maintain the flow of air in your ears

The ministry of human resource development (MHRD) recommended just 30 hours of screen time for pre-primary students, two classes of 45 minutes each for classes 1 to 8 and four classes of 45 minutes each for classes 9 to 12, but that’s not working, parents allege. Many schools are not following the directions, which anyway are not binding.

Often times the classes are extended till evening in addition to coaching and extra classes which is an extra stress for out senses like eyes and ears. This explains the recent spike in the number of patients of all age groups.

Doctors pointed out that all these complaints are directly linked to extensive use of headphones at higher volume, mobile and laptops.

Doctors have warned that this could lead to hearing and eye difficulties among those who failed to curb the use of earphones, mobile phones and laptops.

ENT Specialist said, “Multiple people are working for more than eight hours wearing headphones and in front of laptops. This is putting a lot of stress on their ears and unsterilised earbuds or ear-plugs could spread infection.”

Long hours of online classes

Hence, doctors advise removing the earphones from time-to-time in order to allow fresh air to go inside the ears. And also advise school children should not be using headphones at all. If they are attending classes on a laptop or personal computers, then the device volume is sufficient.

SOURCES

https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi

https://www.hindustantimes.com/chandigarh

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones is a 2002 novel by American writer Alice Sebold. It is the story of a teenage girl who, after being abused and murdered, watches from her personal Heaven as her family and friends struggle to move on with their lives while she comes to terms with her own death. The novel received critical praise and became an instant bestseller. A film adaptation, directed by Peter Jackson, who personally purchased the rights, was released in 2009. The novel was also later adapted as a play of the same name.

The lovely bones

OVERVIEW

On December 6, 1973, 14-year-old Susie Salmon takes her usual shortcut home from her school through a cornfield in Norristown, Pennsylvania. George Harvey, her 36-year-old neighbor, a bachelor who builds doll houses for a living, persuades her to look at an underground kid’s hideout he constructed in the field. Once she enters, he abuses and murders her, then dismembers her body and puts her remains in a safe that he dumps in a sinkhole, along with throwing her charm bracelet into a pond. Susie’s spirit flees toward her personal Heaven, and in doing so, rushes past her classmate, social outcast Ruth Connors, who can see Susie’s ghostly spirit.

The Salmon family initially refuses to believe Susie is dead, until a neighbor’s dog finds Susie’s elbow. The police talk to Harvey, finding him odd but not suspicious. Susie’s father, Jack, gradually suspects Harvey. Jack’s surviving daughter, Lindsey, eventually shares this sentiment. Jack takes an extended leave from work. Meanwhile, another of Susie’s classmates, Ray Singh, who had a crush on Susie in school, develops a friendship with Ruth, drawn together by their connection with Susie.

Sussie Salmon

Later, Detective Len Fenerman tells the Salmons the police have exhausted all leads and are dropping the investigation. That night, Jack peers out of his den window and sees a flashlight in the cornfield. Believing Harvey is returning to destroy evidence, Jack runs out to confront him, armed with a baseball bat. The figure is not Harvey, but Clarissa, Susie’s best friend who is dating Brian, one of Susie’s classmates. As Susie watches in horror from heaven, Brian—who was going to meet Clarissa in the cornfield—nearly beats Jack to death, and Clarissa breaks Jack’s knee. While Jack recovers from knee replacement surgery, Susie’s mother, Abigail, begins cheating on Jack with the widowed Fenerman.

Trying to help her father prove his suspicions, Lindsey sneaks into Harvey’s house and finds a diagram of the underground den, but is forced to leave when Harvey returns unexpectedly. The police do not arrest Lindsey for breaking and entering. Harvey flees from Norristown. Later, evidence is discovered linking Harvey to Susie’s murder as well as to those of several other girls. Meanwhile, Susie meets Harvey’s other victims in heaven and sees into his traumatic childhood.

Abigail leaves Jack and eventually takes a job at a winery in California. Abigail’s mother, Grandma Lynn, moves into the Salmons’ home to care for Buckley (Susie’s younger brother) and Lindsey. Eight years later, Lindsey and her boyfriend, Samuel Heckler, become engaged after finishing college, find an old house in the woods owned by a classmate’s father, and decide to fix it up and live there. Sometime after the celebration, while arguing with his son Buckley, Jack suffers a heart attack. The emergency prompts Abigail to return from California, but the reunion is tempered by Buckley’s lingering bitterness for her having abandoned the family for most of his childhood.

Sussie in the light house

Meanwhile, Harvey returns to Norristown, which has become more developed. He explores his old neighborhood and notices the school is being expanded into the cornfield where he murdered Susie. He drives by the sinkhole where Susie’s body rests and where Ruth and Ray are standing. Ruth senses the women Harvey has killed and is physically overcome. Susie, watching from heaven, is also overwhelmed with emotion and feels how she and Ruth transcend their present existence, and the two girls exchange positions: Susie, her spirit now in Ruth’s body, connects with Ray, who senses Susie’s presence and is stunned by the fact that Susie is briefly back with him. The two confess love as Susie has longed to do after witnessing her sister and Samuel. Afterwards, Susie returns to Heaven.

Susie moves on to another, larger part of Heaven, but occasionally watches earthbound events. Lindsey and Samuel have a daughter together named Abigail Suzanne. While stalking a young woman in New Hampshire, Harvey is hit on the shoulder by an icicle and falls to his death down a snow-covered slope into the ravine below. At the end of the novel, a Norristown couple finds Susie’s charm bracelet but don’t realize its significance, and Susie closes the story by wishing the reader “a long and happy life”.

A Long and Happy Life

SOURCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lovely_Bones

Effect of Music on Our Brains

Throw on some headphones, crank up the tunes, and what happens? Your toes and fingers start to tap. Maybe your head and shoulders begin to bob. Pretty soon, you might be on your feet, busting a move, joyously belting out the lyrics. Music has taken over, and your body is now along for the ride.

While it may be obvious that music impacts you physically, understanding how music and the brain interact requires deep study and an ability to probe the mysteries of the human mind. The result is a fascinating picture of the role music can play in brain development, learning, mood, and even your health. 

MUSIC

Music, Our Brain, & Wellbeing

One of the first things that happens when music enters our brains is the triggering of centers that release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy. This response is so quick, the brain can even anticipate the most pleasurable peaks in familiar music and prime itself with an early dopamine rush.

Beyond simply making you feel good, however, there’s evidence that music can even be good for your health. Research has shown that listening to music is associated with upticks in immunity-boosting antibodies and cells that protect against bacteria and other invaders. Music has also proven to be effective across a variety of treatment scenarios for conditions ranging from depression to Parkinson’s disease.

Even in terms of brain development, music can play a key role. Training to play an instrument, for instance, is believed to increase gray matter volume in certain areas of the brain, not unlike how physical exercise can tone and enlarge muscles. As a result, musicians often experience improvement in brain functions like:

  • Auditory processing
  • Learning
  • Memory
LIVE THE MUSIC

If you’re ready to learn how to play a new instrument at home, start by finding a new or used instrument that interests you. Look up free tutorial videos online to start learning. Some great online resources available to teach you how to play the instrument of your choice include:

  • YouTube
  • GarageBand
  • Yousician
  • Simply Piano

Or, my personal favourite “guitar”.

Does Genre Matter?

Many of the beneficial effects of music on the brain are not limited to any single genre. Whether you’re listening to the smooth jazz styling of Billie Holiday on vinyl, the classic country sounds of Johnny Cash on YouTube, or The Beatles and their powerful British Invasion rock music on Spotify, different styles can produce the same results – as long as they align with your musical preferences. In this way, it’s the brain’s relationship with familiar and favored music that is key.

In other cases, the style of music can play a role. When it comes to the best music for learning, for example, experts recommend different genres for different purposes. Upbeat music, including songs with positive lyrics, can provide an energy boost and get your brain primed for learning. Once it’s time to buckle down and concentrate, however—like when you need to read, write, or study your course materials, instrumental music and soothing genres can help you stay calm and focused. Ultimately, however, each person may develop an approach to studying and music that’s uniquely suited for them.

Some places you may be able to find new music include:

  • Spotify
  • Pandora
  • YouTube
  • MoodFuse
  • SoundCloud
MUSIC IS SOOTHING

Experiencing New Music

There are several other ways you can learn about new music without plugging in your headphones. Take part in any of the following activities to explore different types of music in new ways:

  • Go to open mic nights in your community
  • Attend local concerts in your area
  • Ask your friends and family for music recommendations on your social media and have them share their favorite songs, playlists, or genres
  • Use different tools like Pandora, Spotify, MoodFuse, to find new music
TRY NEW MUSIC

Whether you play an instrument, listen to your music streaming app, or enjoy going to live concerts, music is having an active influence on your brain. So, put in your headphones, start your favorite album, and feel your dopamine levels rising. So keep jamming in to your choice of music !!!

SOURCES

https://www.uagc.edu/blog/how-does-music-affect-your-brain

The Dangerous Gaming Addiction

It’s great to do things you enjoy. But can you go too far with a hobby? And at what point does it become an addiction? That’s the question we should try answering about playing video games.

Even though gaming has been around for almost 50 years, studies about its harms are still in the early stages. Different groups have come to different conclusions about whether problem playing should be called an addiction.

Video games have captured the imagination of human’s since the 1970s, with the introduction of very simple games. Although the graphic features of these basic programs were primitive compared to today’s complex, multifaceted games, many children, teens, and adults quickly became enthralled with this new pastime.

It soon became apparent that video games had the potential to consume a large amount of time as the players tried repeatedly to win. Today, video game addiction has been recognized as a process addiction similar to compulsive gambling, in which the rush of winning becomes one of the primary motivations for playing.

In the early days of video games, most games were available only on arcade machines, which were not accessible 24 hours a day. These days, games are one of the most popular features of social network sites, and they can be played almost continuously on handheld game devices, personal computers, or smart phones.

Video games have become much more elaborate, with rich alternate worlds, multiple characters, and complicated storylines. Introverted children or teens may find that they can avoid interacting with “real”peers by engaging primarily with other online players, in the guise of characters with awe-inspiring gifts and powers.

Addiction

When Gaming Becomes an Addiction

The source of the addictive quality of gaming is still unknown, but researchers propose that the process of playing and winning these games may trigger a release of dopamine, a brain chemical that elevates mood and provides a rush of energy. Dopamine is the same neurotransmitter involved in other addictive activities, such as alcohol or drug abuse.

Video game addiction is not currently recognized as an addictive disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the definitive guide to psychiatric illness.

But an obsessive preoccupation with games at the expense of real-life activities or obligations shares some of the characteristics of addictive behavior.

How can we when gaming has stopped being simple entertainment and become an addiction? Here are a few of the key warning signs to look out for:

  • Poor performance at school, work, or household responsibilities as a result of a preoccupation with gaming
  • Neglect of other hobbies or friendships
  • A decline in personal hygiene or grooming
  • Inability to set limits on how much time is spent gaming
  • Signs of irritability, anxiety, or anger when forced to stop gaming, even for brief periods of time
  • The need to spend more time playing games or to play more intensely in order to get the same level of enjoyment
  • Symptoms of physical or psychological withdrawal, such as loss of appetite, sleeplessness, agitation, or emotional outbursts if the game is taken away
  • Using video games as a way to escape stressful situations at work or school, or conflicts at home

Children and teenagers aren’t the only ones who can be vulnerable to video game addiction. Adults may also play video games for hours instead of engaging in work activities, pursuing hobbies, or devoting time to their partners or children.

When adults are no longer able to control the amount of time they spend on video games, or when their jobs or relationships begin to suffer as a result of video gaming, they may have crossed the line from recreation to addiction.

Effect of gaming addiction

Conclusion

Video games have had a tremendous impact — both positive and negative — on the cultural attitudes, psychological development, and lifestyle choices of both children and adults.

While these games can be viewed as a risk to players’ physical or emotional health, they have also been promoted as effective educational tools and have even been used for physical or cognitive rehabilitation in clinical settings. Yet for individuals who have become caught in a cycle of compulsive gaming, video games can become destructive.

The growing popularity of video games has created a new awareness of the problem of compulsive gaming, which in turn has led to the development of treatment programs for this addictive process.

Treatment for video game addiction focuses on behavioral modification therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), that guide the patient away from the obsessive thought patterns and obsessive habits of addiction.

Group therapy is a valuable source of motivation and moral support, especially for individuals who have lost contact with friends or peers as a result of their game addiction. Family or marriage counseling can help educate loved ones about the disorder and create a more stable home environment.

SOURCES

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/video-game-addiction

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/video-gaming-addiction

The Art of doing one thing at a time

The fundamental effect of being focused

This image here speaks a thousand words with making any noise. It’s a fundamental concept with equally difficult mindset to create. We all understand it but find it extraordinarily hard to follow it.

We can achieve almost anything in life…As long as we focus on achieving one thing at a time. It’s a time-tested strategy that’s been shared by many successful people.

But don’t let the simplicity of this idea fool you. It’s one of the hardest things to implement in your life.

That’s because we, human beings, are fickle. Our desires are constantly changing. We pursue new things before we finish our old goals.

We’re dealing with an invisible force that is always trying to confuse us. Instead of focusing on one thing at a time, we set multiple goals, and think we can multitask ourselves to achieving them.

There’s a discrepancy between what we know ( to focus on one thing at a time) and what we do (focusing on everything at the same time).

One Thing per Area of Life

There are various field’s in everybody’s life i.e. career, relationships, education etc. Focus on one thing at a time.

Do not aspire to be the top of your class while creating the perfect body and learning all the skills at the same time. This only creates more confusion and frustration because you won’t be complete even one them.

A simple outcome of the above situation is, suppose you are tired from the class and you decided to give up on going to the gym. You tell yourself it’s just for today. But that’s the division we make of our energy which results in inefficiency to reach out target. This demotivates a person to the length we fail to forsee.

So yes, you can achieve a lot of things…But just not at the same time.

Manage Your Desires

The natural thing to do for most people is to start setting goals or picking one priority they want to focus on. But unless you have trained your mind to focus on one thing, it’s not a smart thing to do.

You must improve your focus muscle first. Otherwise, you set a goal, focus on one thing, and get back to your old behavior within a week.

You want to change your mindset. Go from “I want everything” to “I appreciate what I have.”

All this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t desire to improve our lives. On the contrary, the whole purpose of life is to move forward.

So don’t be afraid to set goals and aim for great things. Just achieve one thing after the other.

Practice Single-Tasking

Now, it’s time to practice. For the next week, only do ONE thing at a time. If you’re a modern human being that is used to technology, that will be very hard. But I guess you like the challenge, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.

This is also called being present. Just be less distracted. That’s all. And you can practice with anything by doing only one thing.

Time To Set one Goal Per Area

Only after you have controlled your desires and practiced doing one thing at a time are you ready to apply the “One Thing” strategy to your life.

The reason you want to practice is that life is long. If you take the time to become less distracted by desires, the more reliable you will become.

You will become a person who does what they say. You will become a person who achieves what they set out. And after you start achieving one thing after the other, you will get momentum. Your job is to keep the momentum.

This is how people become happy and wealthy. Both those things add up over time.

Remember to keep the bigger picture in mind. You WILL achieve all your goals. Who cares whether you achieve them now or in the future? What matters is that you are not influenced by desire or outside forces. You are the maker of your own life.

SOURCES

https://dariusforoux.com/one-thing/

Solace in Solitude

Solace means to comfort or consolation and solitude means , “to be by oneself”. So, solace in solitude is the idea of finding comfort in one’s own embrace and without any party involved except yourself.

Finding solace in solitude is one of the greatest lessons one can learn in life.  Enjoying your alone time creates space in your mind, heart, and soul thus freeing your creativity, mending your heart, and nourishing your soul.

Some of the biggest emotional and/or creative breakthroughs have been achieved by people spending time in solitude. Solitude should not be confused with loneliness as they are completely different things, “psychologists define ‘solitude’ as the state of being physically alone with no one else to communicate with — not to be confused with loneliness, or the feeling of being disconnected from others and longing for connection.”

In the time we live in solitude is rarely achieved, since we all have to be so active on social media platforms and stay in touch with people we have never met in life.

Solitude

The Personalities of People Who Enjoy Solitude: Not Introversion, but Autonomy and Authenticity

Solitude has long been considered the special domain of introverts. In the popular imagination, they are the ones who embrace their time alone. Through research already hinted, that other factors mattered more, but for the most part, the theories were not dissuaded.

Insecure attachment has also been posited as an important characteristic of people who want to be alone, but for psychologically unhealthy reasons. Insecure people are anxious around others or they try to avoid personal relationships.

People who are autonomous and authentic describe themselves in these three ways, as measured by the Index of Autonomous Functioning:

  • They experience authorship of their own actions. Sample item: “My actions are congruent with who I really am.”
  • They are curious about themselves. Sample item: “I am interested in why I act the way I do.”
  • They are not susceptible to being controlled by other people. Example of an item they disagree with: “I do a lot of things to avoid feeling ashamed.”

Ways of Experiencing Solitude

  • Valuing their time alone with them self.
  • The solitude brings out the best in them.
  • Feeling more relaxed and less stressed when alone.
  • Becoming more aware of their thoughts and emotions.
  • They are not undone by their own thoughts and emotions, even when they are negative ones such as anxiety or fear; instead, they are curious about those reactions.
  • They are not all that tempted to do something just to distract themselves; sitting with their own thoughts is fine.
  • Never worrying about what other people think they should be doing.

Alone-time Activities of the Authentically Engaged

  • Doing something they were good at.
  • Doing something they really wanted to do.
  • Doing something they were passionate about.
  • Doing something that was an expression of their values.
  • Taking a break from tending to others to take care of themselves.

So, it doesn’t have to be one grandiose event after another, rather it may be better to do a bunch of small things, so when you look back, you have a list of joyful moments to refer to. Whether it be pouring yourself a cup of coffee, going to the gym, or watching the sunset, find those moments that compile satisfaction.

SOURCES

https://baltisoul.net/articles/solace-in-solitude

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/living-single

https://onlyhumanco.com/solace-in-solitude/

Resume Building

Writing a resume requires a balance of finesse and attention-to-detail to land an interview for the role you seek. It’s all about presenting your professional brand in a way that will pique the interest of a hiring manager.

There’s more than one way to write a resume. But writing a good resume is easier said than done, especially if you lack formal work experience. However, there are some resume-writing tips that can help you present your best skills and top achievements to potential employers.

How to write a resume

Writing Prep

Before you start writing your resume, there are a few things you’ll need to prepare. Remember, each resume you write should be customized to an individual role.

To ensure you have all the information you need at your fingertips, keep the following in mind:

  • Look at the job ad to understand the role.
  • List your applicable soft, hard and technical skills.
  • Highlight important job duties from each of your previous positions.

Choosing the Resume Format

Before you start writing anything, the first step is to decide on the right format for your resume. There are three basic resume formats used by job seekers today: reverse-chronological, functional, and combination.

  • Chronological resume format
  • Functional resume format
  • Combination resume format

So, which format is the best?

Fortunately, there’s a simple answer: the reverse chronological format is the best choice for the vast majority of job seekers. Most employers are used to seeing chronological resumes, and it’s considered the standard format for job seekers in every industry.

Why? Because for most new and mid-level professionals the chronological format is the best way to showcase their blossoming career.

Resume objective

The professional summary is how you grab a reader’s attention and express your career goals and interest in three to five sentences. It is usually the section hiring managers spend the most time on, so it should be both succinct and customized to the job posting.

Use this section if:

  • I am an entry-level applicant.
  • I do not have in-depth experience in the industry.
  • I am a recent college graduate.

Don’t if:

  • I have a wealth of industry-specific skill sets.
  • I am changing career paths.

Here are two examples of career objectives:

  1. “Dedicated marketing professional with 12 years of experience looking to explore a career in design.”
  2. “Recent graduate looking to pursue a career at a pharmaceutical company in chemical research.”

Writing your work experience section

Employers want to see the impact your work has had in your previous jobs, so your work experience should be more than just a list of responsibilities. Results matter and numbers are powerful. Regardless of your role, it’s usually possible to find data or metrics that prove your impact in previous roles. Some tips:

  • List your jobs in reverse-chronological order. Add your most recent position first. If you have many years of experience or have changed jobs often, focus on the first 10 years of your employment history.
  • Show off the positive. Did you give great advice to customers or improve a less than effective program? Then let your future employers know so they can see what you’d bring to the table if you are hired.
  • Don’t forget keywords. Whenever possible, use keywords from the job ad to describe your accomplishments and job duties. Use the same language as the job posting. Don’t clutter your resume with buzzwords because you think you should. Use your real experience to prove that you’re a great fit.

Completing the resume

Now that you’ve written the bulk of your resume, it’s time to focus on the finer details of your document. Listing out your educational experience proves your industry qualifications and lets employers know you are a good fit.

To start, your header/contact information should be in a font that is professional and easy to read. Make sure to double-check your contact information for accuracy. Add the finishing touches to your resume by including:

  • Links to your portfolio or website, if applicable
  • Link to your LinkedIn profile
  • Details about special training and certifications, if applicable
  • Information about awards and honors you’ve won, if they are relevant to the role
  • Languages
  • Volunteer work
  • Industry conferences

Edit and proofread your resume

  • Fact-check the details. Double-check things like dates and the spelling of company or school names and that all of your contact information is accurate and up to date.
  • Proofread your resume. Your hard work on making the resume most presentable will go down the drain if your resume is full of spelling and grammatical errors. Read the page from top to bottom before deeming it ready for recruiters. Whenever possible, send your document to a trusted friend for a fresh set of eyes.
Be the candidate

SOURCES

https://resumegenius.com/blog/resume-help/how-to-write-a-resume

https://www.livecareer.com/resources/resumes/how-to/write/8-simple-steps

TIME AND IT’S CONCEPT

The concept of time is self-evident. An hour consists of a certain number of minutes, a day of hours and a year of days. But we rarely think about the fundamental nature of time.

Time is passing non-stop, and we follow it with clocks and calendars. Yet we cannot study it with a microscope or experiment with it. And it still keeps passing. We just cannot say what exactly happens when time passes.

Time is familiar to everyone, yet it’s hard to define and understand. Science, philosophy, religion, and the arts have different definitions of time, but the system of measuring it is relatively consistent.

Time Dilation

We know from Einstein’s special and general relativity that time is relative. It depends on the frame of reference of an observer. This can result in time dilation, where the time between events becomes longer (dilated) the closer one travels to the speed of light. Moving clocks run more slowly than stationary clocks, with the effect becoming more pronounced as the moving clock approaches light speed. Clocks in jets or in orbit record time more slowly than those on Earth, muon particles decay more slowly when falling, and the Michelson-Morley experiment confirmed length contraction and time dilation.

Time Travel

Time travel means moving forward or backward to different points in time, much like you might move between different points in space. Jumping forward in time occurs in nature. Astronauts on the International Space Station jump forward in time when they return to Earth because of its slower movement relative to the station.

The idea of traveling back in time, however, poses problems. One issue is causality or cause and effect. Moving back in time could cause a temporal paradox. The “grandfather paradox” is a classic example. According to the paradox, if you travel back in time and kill your grandfather before your mother or father was born, you could prevent your own birth. Many physicists believe time travel to the past is impossible, but there are solutions to a temporal paradox, such as traveling between parallel universes or branch points.

Time Perception

The human brain is equipped to track time. The suprachiasmatic nuclei of the brain is the region responsible for daily or circadian rhythms. But neurotransmitters and drugs affect time perceptions. Chemicals that excite neurons so they fire more quickly than normal speed up time, while decreased neuron firing slows down time perception. Basically, when time seems to speed up, the brain distinguishes more events within an interval. In this respect, time truly does seem to fly when one is having fun.

Time seems to slow down during emergencies or danger. Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say the brain doesn’t actually speed up, but the amygdala becomes more active. The amygdala is the region of the brain that makes memories. As more memories form, time seems drawn out.

The same phenomenon explains why older people seem to perceive time as moving faster than when they were younger. Psychologists believe the brain forms more memories of new experiences than that of familiar ones. Since fewer new memories are built later in life, time seems to pass more quickly.

The Beginning and End of Time

As far as the universe is concerned, time had a beginning. The starting point was 13.799 billion years ago when the Big Bang occurred. We can measure cosmic background radiation as microwaves from the Big Bang, but there isn’t any radiation with earlier origins. One argument for the origin of time is that if it extended backward infinitely, the night sky would be filled with light from older stars.

Will time end? The answer to this question is unknown. If the universe expands forever, time would continue. If a new Big Bang occurs, our time line would end and a new one would begin. In particle physics experiments, random particles arise from a vacuum, so it doesn’t seem likely the universe would become static or timeless. Only time will tell.

SOURCES

https://www.sciencedaily.com/

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-time-4156799

Mandatory Attendance in Colleges

Many colleges of India made 75% attendance per subject in every semester compulsory for students as a criteria for eligibility to appear for exams and still require at least 50% attendance per subject (during online classes).

Mandatory attendance in college has always been a highly debated topic among students. Many students want freedom to choose which classes to attend, while college authorities insist students must attend classes and maintain a basic discipline.

The attendance rules are very strictly implemented.

Students are sometimes not allowed to give exams because of lack of attendance. If not that, then internal marks are affected.

Parents support this wholeheartedly because there is a preconceived notion that quality of a child’s education is directly proportional to the number of classes, he/she attends. And this is not true, we know it.

  • The problem

The problem arises when you see the actual consequence of this rule. Students do attend more classes, but only because of fear. The actual passion for studying in class is lost. Anything which is forced upon someone will lose its charm. Students don’t come to college because they want to; they come to college because they have to.

Classes

The question arises if this rule is really necessary and whether attending classes is really that important in colleges. Let’s see –

THE PROS OF MANDATORY ATTENDANCE

  • It does affect grades

An hour or a half or a lecture could be helpful no matter how much we try to oppose it. The knowledge that the professors impart to the students, the tricks and day to day examples shared by the professors are always a big boon while preparing for the exams. Not 100%, but at least 50% of what the professors teach can be easily understood by the students if given proper attention.

  • A responsibility

Education in the colleges is not imparted for free. Parents work hard day and night to pay the five figure fees of the college, because they want to give the best there can be for their children. Ruining their efforts by simply bunking lectures is not a way to pay back. It is extremely important to be responsible and attend lectures to keep in track with the study pattern and the important notes that are delivered out in the process.

  • A matter of discipline

It’s not that the attendance issue is going to be there forever. It is just a matter of 3 or 4 years where the parents invest a lot for their child. There will no longer be classes and teachers to guide along, once the college is over. This is the part of life that comes with the package of being in college and one must learn to live it. Students learn self-discipline due to mandatory attendance, which will help them in their professional as well as personal life.

  • Socialization

Good attendance is needed to develop a strong sense of community in a classroom and to encourage a healthy sense of class participation. In the process of learning how to balance all their responsibilities, students could become better at multi-tasking as well.

THE CONS OF MANDATORY ATTENDANCE

  • Earn and Learn

Unnecessary excuse as this may sound to the professors yet it is true that not all students are born with that silver spoon that could pay for the college and other expenses. There are some students in the society that need to work along with attending the college to fight the financial problems of the family. For such students, the mandatory attendance rule becomes difficult to follow. Having a desire to earn for the family and also educated oneself is a very great thought, but remains unsupported due to this rule.

  • Teaching method

The main reason for this issue is the scarcity of quality teachers in colleges these days. If a faculty is not good, no one will pay attention even if all the students are forced to attend all the lectures.

On the other hand, if a faculty is good then all the students will voluntarily come to the class even if it’s an extra lecture or an optional paper. Contrary to popular opinion, students like to study. They want to learn new things. Students are curious.

When a student is forced to attend a lecture, which is given by an incompetent or even a boring lecturer, then the curiosity in him/her dies. It breeds incompetence as faculties are not worried about the number of students attending their class. They can teach in whatever manner they want to and get away with it.

  • Grown ups

By the time students pass out high school, they are grown up and responsible enough to understand what they require from life. As college students and as adults, students should have the right to prioritize their time based on their needs.

If Students are mature enough to elect the country’s government, surely, they can decide what lectures to attend and what lectures to bunk.

  • No time for extra-curricular activities

The mandatory attendance scheme leaves no time for the students to develop their personalities as individuals. These extra-curricular activities, tech-fests and inter-college competitions are the ways one could gain a good exposure to the real world. Students learn how to deal with different people.

  • The old syllabus

The syllabus taught in most of the colleges is very old and has almost 0 practical approach. What makes it boring for the students is the theoretical aspect of education. Listening to one particular person for 60minutes continuously, about some very old technology becomes tedious. College curriculum is hardly providing the skills that are required to get employed.

CONCLUSION

  • A choice, not an obligation

Attending college should be a choice and not an obligation. Just attending the lectures for attendance and causing disturbance to the others paying attention is of no use. Those who are interested to learn new things will of course attend the lecture, no matter what percentage of attendance is mandatory.

  • Practical approach

The syllabus should be designed in such a way that the latest technologies must be also included in it. There should be a practical and interactive approach to impart the knowledge that would make it interesting for the students to study. Also, the lecture time must be reduced because it is not possible for a human being to concentrate on one particular topic for 60 continuous minutes.

Thus, every coin has two sides. While implementing strict rules regarding attendance could be a way to ensure that students attend the classes and are being evaluated on a regular basis, this could also become troublesome for students. In order to achieve a balance, the implementation of attendance should have relaxations within it for such situations where students are unable to attend the classes regularly due to genuine reasons. Students should have the right to choose which lecture they want to attend and which not. The teaching quality and the syllabus should also be improved, because education is the root cause for a country’s development and it has to always be the best!

SOURCES

https://talentbattle.in/blogs/group-discussion/should-attendance-be-mandatory

https://www.groupdiscussionideas.com/should-attendance-be-made-compulsory-for-students/

Macroecocomics

Macroeconomics is a branch of economics that studies how an overall economy—the market or other systems that operate on a large scale—behaves.

The two main areas of macroeconomic research are long-term economic growth and shorter-term business cycles.

Macroeconomics in its modern form is often defined as starting with John Maynard Keynes and his theories about market behavior and governmental policies in the 1930s; several schools of thought have developed since.

Macroeconomics studies economy-wide phenomena such as inflation, price levels, rate of economic growth, national income, gross domestic product (GDP), and changes in unemployment.

Some of the key questions addressed by macroeconomics include: What causes unemployment? What causes inflation? What creates or stimulates economic growth? Macroeconomics attempts to measure how well an economy is performing, to understand what forces drive it, and to project how performance can improve.

Circulation

Understanding Macroeconomics

There are two sides to the study of economics: macroeconomics and microeconomics. As the term implies, macroeconomics looks at the overall, big-picture scenario of the economy.

Put simply, it focuses on the way the economy performs as a whole and then analyzes how different sectors of the economy relate to one another to understand how the aggregate functions. This includes looking at variables like unemployment, GDP, and inflation.

Macroeconomists develop models explaining relationships between these factors. Such macroeconomic models, and the forecasts they produce, are used by government entities to aid in the construction and evaluation of economic, monetary, and fiscal policy; by businesses to set strategy in domestic and global markets; and by investors to predict and plan for movements in various asset classes.

Given the enormous scale of government budgets and the impact of economic policy on consumers and businesses, macroeconomics clearly concerns itself with significant issues. 

Limits of Macroeconomics

It is also important to understand the limitations of economic theory. Theories are often created in a vacuum and lack certain real-world details like taxation, regulation, and transaction costs.

The real world is also decidedly complicated and includes matters of social preference and conscience that do not lend themselves to mathematical analysis.

Even with the limits of economic theory, the performance of companies, and by extension their stocks, is significantly influenced by the economic conditions in which the companies operate and the study of macroeconomic statistics can help an investor make better decisions and spot turning points.

Likewise, it can be invaluable to understand which theories are in favor and influencing a particular government administration. 

Areas of Macroeconomic Research

Economic Growth

Economic growth refers to an increase in aggregate production in an economy. Macroeconomists try to understand the factors that either promote or retard economic growth in order to support economic policies that will support development, progress, and rising living standards.

Business Cycles

Superimposed over long term macroeconomic growth trends, the levels and rates-of-change of major macroeconomic variables such as employment and national output go through occasional fluctuations up or down, expansions and recessions, in a phenomenon known as the business cycle.

The Basic of Macroeconomics

SOURCES

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/macroeconomics.asp

Keeping up with the To-do Lists

Be Honest. Not everyone runs on lists. However, if you’re struggling to make sense of your goals, a list could save you time, energy, and the need to come up with excuses for when the thing that needs to happen, well, it doesn’t.

List-making is pretty personal. Some people border on obsessive about them. Others prefer less to-doing and fro-ing. They’d rather wing it, writing important telephone numbers on the backs of their hands or sticking Post-its to their leg, “Memento”-style.

For one thing, the act of writing out a list forces us to set concrete goals (To-do: “Take out the trash.”). This can be way more effective than thinking about vague objectives.

By creating organized to-do lists, you can prioritize the things you need to do, keep track of what still needs to be finished, and feel productive and prepared in all areas of your life.

Creating To-do list

So, here are some tips which I personally find useful.

  • Decide what medium works best for you – If your smartphone is in your hand all day every day, use the Notes application to create your to-do list. If you hate staring at a phone or computer screen, grab a pen or pencil and write your list by hand. A to-do list will not be helpful if you dread making it or using it, so choose whatever medium you prefer most. Although it does not guarantee you’ll be ticking it all off.

  • List all of the tasks that you need to accomplish – Writing absolutely everything down, you will be getting it off your mind and onto paper. It will ensure you don’t forget anything, and hopefully, it will also help your mind feel less crammed. The running list of every single task you have on your radar will be referred to as your primary list.

  • Keep it simple – There’s nothing more intimidating than a mile-long to-do list. The longer a to-do list becomes, the harder it can be to motivate yourself. But it’s human tendency to back-off at the sight of anything that seems too heavy. Simply put, Looks are important. So, chop it up if you need to but keep it sweet and simple. Create an illusion for yourself forcing you to believe it very easy and do able.

  • Meet the MIT’s ( Most important tasks) – Prioritize everything. This is the key rule and also the reason why we make a primary list. Remember, so we don’t forget anything and not jumble up the order we need the tasks to be done. Because we’ve a deadline to follow and we all know what happens when we miss one by accident.

  • Stay specific and don’t stress – We love lofty goals here. We’d love to have all our task done at once, it provides you relief, “I’m done for this week, Freedom here I come “. Nice scenario but seldom does it occur. Every list has a few tasks on it that we’ve been meaning to do for days, weeks, or maybe even years but haven’t yet. For, this we have one of the two reasons, first ” I’ll do it later, I have to do this first.” Or “What is this, I swear I’ll do it someday”. So either it’s not on your priority list or you don’t think it’s important enough to execute.

  • Be flexible to have a new start everyday – Leave your self with some wiggle room. This will provide you with the space to think, to reboot, to remain on track. Make a new list every day so the same old items don’t clog up the agenda. If something lives on the to-do list for too long, it does not get to-done, and that is to-disappointing.
Doing all the things to do

Self-discipline is a good thing: It’s a key part of maintaining balance, success, and health. But so are pleasure, relaxation, relationships, and hobbies. However, punishing yourself will lead exactly nowhere. Make sure that, among all the scheduling and listing, you block out some time for yourself, whether in the form of exercise, mindfulness, or sitting around in your pajamas.

Your to-do list should be contributing to your happiness, not dominating your life. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t complete all of your tasks. Getting up and trying again tomorrow is the real achievement.

Hope you find this helpful!!

SOURCES

https://greatist.com/happiness/make-a-to-do-list-get-shit-done#The-final-item:-Be-kind-to-yourself

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-To-Do-List

Let’s understand Anger and Frustration during Lockdown in Pandemic

The pandemic situation is very real whether we accept it or not. And it’s not just about the virus, it’s about us as well. When the pandemic began we were all hopeful that it would end and we’d leave everything behind in 2020. Or at least, I thought so. Let me know by commenting if you had some different assumptions.

“LIFE IS 10% WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU AND 90% HOW YOU REACT TO IT.”

-Charles Swindoll.
The frustration

It is quite evident, that our reaction and counter-action are no where near enough satisfactory to what it should have been. We can’t deny the effect of situation. It has been quite detrimental for all of us. Some more and some less, but without exception.

The pandemic situation resulted in – “LOCKDOWN”. And one of the by products of lockdown is – ANGER. Anger in turn gives birth to frustration and depression. Often, leading to serious mental issue. This is neither unexpected nor unrealistic.

We had situations where we felt like we have no control over life and death. Not that we ever had but our illusion was broken in a forceful manner, but it’s beyond our imagination where we didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye to out loved ones.

But life is not black and white. You see what you wish to see. So, let’s list some common reasons.

AVOID OVERTHINKING AND TAKING TOO MUCH STRESS

First and foremost, increased frustration and irritability can be a common reaction to stress. With the current pandemic, many aspects of our daily lives are more stressful than usual. For example, grocery lines may be slower, work tasks may require quick adaptation and time may be increasingly devoted to new roles or obligations brought about by social distancing measures, such as child care or homeschooling.

At the same time, many of us likely have decreased access to activities that help us cope with stress in healthy and familiar ways.

For example, if activities such as going to the gym, going out to dinner with friends or shopping with family aren’t accessible in their traditional ways, you may feel less able to rely on your typical outlets for stress. This may lead to coping with stress in other ways, such as lashing out at others.

There may be good intentions behind some of our frustration toward our loved ones. Often when we care for others and their well-being, we find ourselves frustrated if they engage in activities we perceive as unsafe. For example, if a loved one is taking social distancing measures less seriously than we’d like, we may feel angry and upset toward them because we care about their well-being.

Stress is the root of evil

TAKE CONTROL AND STOP COMPARING WITH OTHERES

“We like it when things are in our control,” according to the human behavioral studies. Take a moment to pause, notice how you’re thinking and feeling, and acknowledge that feelings of frustration are a normal reaction to increased stress.

A lot of the sadness comes from what we’re missing. Zoom happy hours don’t compare to last year’s ladies’ weekend. A staycation with your family members is a lot less exciting than the beach vacation you took last summer. But thinking about what you’re missing prevents you from seeing what’s good in your life. So try to you just look at what happened today, it might help us in coping with the situation.

Take control of your situation

TAKE A BREAK AND FIND SILVER LININGS

The coronavirus has upended a lot of our routines. We’ve had to get used to sanitizing and mask-wearing, working remotely and finding new ways to stay in touch with loved ones. Figuring out all those new habits is exhausting. But try your best and instill them as habits so you won’t feel it mentally taxing.

Try to find positive in the negative. Yes, you might have to look really hard, but focusing on the positive can help you move forward each day. Maybe working from home means you don’t have to deal with traffic. Or you’re spending more time with family. Or you’re simply grateful for your good health.

Pandemic life is hard, and you’ll have good days and bad days. But if you’re feeling really down, it might be a good idea to seek timely help. Lots of people are feeling the same stress, sadness and frustration right now. It can help to reach out to friends to talk about it.

Our feelings during this period are so up and down. Writing about them can help us detach to see the big picture. If hitting the gym or grabbing coffee with a friend were your go-to coping mechanisms, try thinking outside the box to find new ways to cope with stress. The key is to focus on trying new things, instead of dwelling on old coping strategies that are no longer working.

“INSTEAD OF THINKING OF IT AS A LOSS, THNK OF IT AS A CHANCE TO EVOLVE.”

SOURCES

clevelandclinic.org

https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/why-so-angry-covid

Success is equally proportionate to Pain

Let’s begin by asking ourselves “what is success? Money? Power? Position? Maybe not necessarily. But, technically “Success is the state or condition of meeting a defined range of expectations.” It may be viewed as the opposite of failure. This is quite abstract to put into simplified emotions.

The criteria for success depend on context, and may be relative to a particular observer or belief system. What is considered as success from one person’s perspective can be considered as failure from a different point of view. In the end, it’s all about the parameters and the priorities which can be as distinct as it is possible.

No matter what the goal is big or small, classic or adventurous there is one thing in common “PAIN”.

“KEEP YOUR DREAMS IN PROPORTION TO THE PAIN YOU CAN TOLERATE.

No pain no gain

There is an irrefutable relationship between pain and success . Often, when we talk about motivation we leave out the concept of pain , why? because we feel the pain without any effort. Or, why would we need motivation for?

Still there are certain things we can remember or keep reminding ourselves of-

  • YOU WILL FEEL PAIN

No matter where you choose to go, alone or with company , “pain will never fail to accompany you”. It will guide you, motivate you, break you, and more often than not crush you . Well, it’s not all that bad if you can handle it , you’ll come out as a polished rock!! Sounds nice right.

Nothing about success comes easy, but every painful story has the potential to have a successful ending. You may as well accept suffering as a traveling companion, rather than resist it and create more struggle. Uncertainty and stress are inevitable. Both prompt you to make adjustments to mitigate their effects, mentoring you toward further success. A little stress can push you in a positive direction. You never know until you try.

Somethings are inevitable
  • YOU WILL WANT TO GIVE UP

As you wonder through your more directionless times, you will experience intense moments of feeling lost and hopeless. It is during these times you must hold tight to your vision and take back control of your thoughts. The quickest way to derail your dreams is to quit when things look bleak. Quitting, when you are on the front lines of these critical moments, keeps you living amongst the average. The successful persevere and rise.

Discipline the most crucial tool you can use to naviage through any difficulty that arises in your journey. It helps you to do things when you refuse to.

  • PEOPLE WILL DISCOURAGE YOU

There is a popular thought that you should keep your dreams close to your chest because if you share them you may pillage them to dream-stealers and naysayers. The human mind is programmed to believe the negative. Negative thoughts are extremely contagious and when you set out on the “Road Less Traveled”, you will have an audience full of small-minded people trying to scare you and discourage you from chasing your dreams. These are the people who want to instill so much fear in you that you shrink. You have to make yourself immune to these influences when you set out on your quest for success.

“Work quietly and let your success do the talking.”

Fight for your dreams

Reality is, people don’t tend to like other successful people. There is a jealousy that comes along with being different, standing out and humbly chasing your dreams. Small people hate those who have or do everything they lack. Dealing with jealousy can be difficult, especially if you want to maintain your relationships. Learn to let your haters make you greater.

  • YOU WILL HAVE SELF-DOUBT

Nine times out of ten, when you start a new venture you will go in and out of feeling utterly paralyzed. It’s because you doubt yourself. Sometimes you may doubt your knowledge, decisions you have already made and you may doubt your instincts. All of this doubt creates an internal conflict over what you need to do to move forward.

You doubt because you don’t want to make the wrong decisions and end up in an unrecoverable mistake. Keep in mind there are no unrecoverable mistakes, there are only new directions. You must push through your self-doubt and not allow it to partner up with delay. Doubt and delay, when paired, derail success.

On your journey, trust there is no such thing as wrong. The only wrong choice is not making one. You will likely always feel some level of self-doubt, but you can choose not to doubt your choice to stretch yourself and grow. Doubts are an inevitable part of succeeding. The important thing is that you act in spite of them.

Keep going

Don’t let go – because it’s worth the fight

With the right idea, attitude, and thoughts a struggle really is nothing but another essential component of your success. It all starts with you.

The vision is the prize, not the money or the end results. That is what you are really here for, isn’t it? To have an impact, to make a difference? You can only know your significance through the impact you have upon others. When you see that your success improves and positively influences the lives of others, it will all be worth it.

SOURCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Success_(concept)

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/274382

What is Self-esteem in humans

In psychology, the term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall subjective sense of personal worth or value. In other words, self-esteem may be defined as how much you appreciate and like yourself regardless of the circumstances.

Difference between high and low self esteem

Having healthy self-esteem can influence your motivation, your mental well-being, and your overall quality of life. However, having self-esteem that is either too high or too low can be problematic. Better understanding what your unique level of self-esteem is can help you strike a balance that is just right for you.

Self-esteem is a very abstract form of human belief is oneself, but it is pretty crucial in everyone’s life compared to how rarely we focus on this side of ourselves.

  • WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT

Self-esteem impacts your decision-making process, your relationships, your emotional health, and your overall well-being. It also influences motivation, as people with a healthy, positive view of themselves understand their potential and may feel inspired to take on new challenges. People with healthy self-esteem:

  • Have a firm understanding of their skills
  • Are able to maintain healthy relationships with others because they have a healthy relationship with themselves
  • Have realistic and appropriate expectations of themselves and their abilities
  • Understand their needs and are able to express them

THEY ARE BROADLY CLASSIFIED IN THREE WAYS

  • CONFIDENT

Beliving in oneself and constantly not questioning one’s ability to do the things. Taking challenges head on, and not letting other’s opinion cloud our own, is the very key factor which proves our confidence/high self-esteem.

Having healthy self-esteem can help motivate you to reach your goals, because you are able to navigate life knowing that you are capable of accomplishing what you set your mind to. Additionally, when you have healthy self-esteem, you are able to set appropriate boundaries in relationships and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and others.

CONFIDENCE
  • NOT SO CONFIDENT

Low self-esteem may identified in many ways such as,

  • You may believe that others are better than you.
  • You may focus on your weaknesses.
  • You may have a negative outlook on life and feel a lack of control.
  • You may have an intense fear of failure.
  • You may have trouble accepting positive feedback.
  • You may put other people’s needs before your own.
  • You may struggle with confidence.

Low self-esteem has the potential to lead to a variety of mental health disorders, including anxiety disorders and depressive disorders. You may also find it difficult to pursue your goals and maintain healthy relationships. Having low self-esteem can seriously impact your quality of life and increases your risk for experiencing suicidal thoughts.

The worst part is you losing all your freedom and succumb to the fear and living inside a cage that you built for yourself. In simple terms making yourself a slave to your demons.

Signs of low self-esteem
  • OVER-CONFIDENT

“EVERYTHING IS GOOD BUT IN LIMITS, UNLIMITED OF ANYTHING NEVER BENEFITS ANYONE.”

Overly high self-esteem is often mislabeled as narcissism, however there are some distinct traits that differentiate these terms. Individuals with narcissistic traits may appear to have high self-esteem, but their self-esteem may be high or low and is unstable, constantly shifting depending on the given situation.

When self-esteem is too high, it can result in relationship problems, difficulty with social situations, and an inability to accept criticism.

What over confidence can do to you

Though some of the causes of low self-esteem can’t be changed, such as genetic factors, early childhood experiences, and personality traits, there are steps you can take to feel more secure and valued. Remember that no one person is less worthy than the next. Keeping this in mind may help you maintain a healthy sense of self-esteem.

SOURCES

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-self-esteem-2795868

Your guide on how to become a self learner

The world of self learning is quiet difficult to enter and unstructured. But it is the most sought after skill a person can possess in the 21st century. It is critical to achieving out aspirations and ambitions.

I, personally believe in the art of self learning, and we all should nurture out habit to become self learners. The time where we used to be dependent on some external presence to teach us something is a thing of the past. Re-wire your brains and trick yourself to teach yourself everything you want to learn and say, “Oh, what should I learn today!!”.

Be Self Reliant

The art of self study is for everyone regardless of age, gender, color, nationality……..you name it. Although, it’s supremely beneficial for the students, as it is their “learning period”.

  • DO NOT PUT A LIMIT ON YOURSELF

In an economy and society that innovates faster than ever in human history, challenges also crop up that require just as swift resolution. Facing a future that we cannot foresee, the ability to adapt and learn is key.

What was recent tomorrow is old today. If you cannot keep up with the pace of the changes in the world you wil be left behind because nobody is waiting for anyone. In the age of AI, technology adaptation is the basic survival necessity, including the social and environmental phenomena. The best given example, COVID-19 – a change so drastic beyond our imagination, even then humans have to adapt socially, mentally and technically as well. So, be the free bird you wished to become without limits.

Be positive
  • SET LEARNING GOALS

Goal setting is extremely important because it helps you increase productivity and also improves your focus. Having clear objectives means you are more likely to create a specific plan and take action to achieve your goals.

Find your interest, in subjects which are non-traditional, traditional, out of the syllabus. It’s fine as long as you develop a fascination towards it.

  • ACCESS RESOURCES AND TOOLS

Whatever subject you want to learn about, the resources on the Internet are endless. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not as linear as a course or curriculum, but there are opportunities in that. Even if there is no classroom, no teacher, no structure or system there can still be a student.

“Nobody can stop a person from learning is he is willing to, similarly no body can teach a person if he doesn’t want to.”

Knowledge in pursuit of an interest, based on curiosity and life-long learning is collected in a more sporadic fashion. The nature of learning in a curious manner leads to serendipitous discoveries (information and people) and takes you down paths you may never of been exposed to. The only downfall of this path is you are your own parameters, no one else is coming to see if your did what you did or if you didn’t.

  • PUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE TO TEST

How will you know what you have learned? Or, even if you learned or not? Simple put it test. Create something that proves that you have the skill to create it. There can be two approaches, top-down and the bottom-up. What you choose to follow depends on what you prefer. Either you can learn something and then create something, or you can begin by creating something you want to but don’t know how to and learn along the way.

From, my personal experience I can tell that it’s rewarding in a strange yet cool way. It improves you confidence in yourself. You can showcase what you learned to the world, who’s knows maybe inspire some along the way. Find admirers, stumble upon something unexpectedly good, which opens a whole new world. The opportunities are never ending.

Learn what you don’t know

Learning is an never ending journey. It will go on with every breath of yours. So, let’s embrace it and internalize it. It’s not about numbers as most of have learned in our growing years, but it’s about discovering things and inventing things. Making changes to the present things and all the things in the future.

Always remember it doesn’t matter where you started and how far you came, but it’s all about the hurdles you overcame, and the value you added your journey as a whole. So Set goals-Achieve them and repeat.

SOURCES

https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/tips-students/self-directed-learning/self-directed-learning-four-step-process

https://medium.com/wondr-blogs/self-learning-why-its-essential-for-us-in-the-21st-century

https://offbeat.works/article/self-directed-learning-uipath/

Keep the artist alive inside of you!!

We all have an artistic side, sometimes we lose touch with this side of ourselves. Maybe we are busy chasing our dreams, or perhaps, like me, you’ve experienced long periods of time where you swore off your projects or just shoved them away, into the darkness. No matter what the reason remember this is a part of you and will always remain so, all you need is a little tap on the shoulder of genius that fell asleep due to the changing chapters of our lives.

An artist working on his art

There are a million reasons, which can force you to keep the art you wanted to work on for hold, because your priorities changed. Maybe the changing lifestyles – or our daily routines. The new hustler thinking way of life with the trending taglines ” hustle hard , fight back”. Sure hard work is key to success, but so is resting phase which gives us time to collect out pieces, disregarded more often than not.

Some of the this story will relate to my own experience of being a “creative” — in other words, a human being that likes to dabble in some form of artful expression — which applies to most of us. Whether your art be writing, painting, acting, singing, dancing — I’m sure we’ve all had moments where it seemed difficult to “pull off” or reignite that creative spark.

But, you can always find that spark in yourself . It’s never too late or early for anything in life.

Believe in yourself

Time is of essence but your will power is even more important, so have the courage to pick your pencil , to put on your dance costume, to sing once again or whatever you want to do once again.

“Believe you can and you are half way there.”

It is crucial to remember that self doubt is part of our lives, without exception. Thinking “Oh! I’m not good enough at painting, so I should just quit.” or “I can’t write anywhere nearly as good as that guy, so what’s the point?” These thoughts are not uncommon, they’re just hurdles you need to pass to reach the first and the most prominent step to resurrecting your creative genius.

Allow yourself to explore

Give yourself the permission to let loose, once in a while let go of your thoughts. Go on a journey, doesn’t have to be somewhere far but a rather new destination, the lake, the new cafe. Meet new people. Appreciate the beauty of things that you forgot to notice in a hurry. Go on a journey without planning anything. Go with the flow!!

Surround yourself with people who share your interest, your energy. Create a visual of your ideas that you can meditate on often. Put it where you can see it, it will inspire you. De-clutter your mind of unfinished business so you can think more clearly.

Let go and embrace your surrounding

Practice doing nothing

“Follow your heart instead of your deadlines.”

We are constantly on the go. We have things to do, places to be, deadlines to meet, and schedules to keep, going, and doing, and planning. Stop. Take a day or an hour to do nothing, think nothing. Give yourself time to reset the brain wiring that you’re constantly used to.

Think out of the Box

Step out of your comfort zone. Do something completely new and out of character for you. Do something that scares you and feel your self come alive. Yes, creativity is risky stuff. Being creative pushes against boundaries. You must risk. You must make more mistakes. Let yourself make mistakes. Art is not for the safe. If we operate within safety, our creativity suffers.

Take short breaks. Sleep because, “Lack of sleep has serious effects on our brain’s ability to function”. And an important thought there is no failure or success in art. An art is art and it’s worth is determined by the person who is there to evaluate it, therefore it’s relative.

At last, there are so many of us who are still keeping the genius inside us at bay. Bring it to life . Try something new. Risk. Try. Fail. Try something else. Do it all again. Remember to have fun ya’ll!!!!!

Sources

https://medium.com/@marjoriedadhich/what-kills-your-creative-genius-and-how-you-can-resurrect-it-8653da26bf9

https://www.inc.com/rhett-power/10-ways-to-access-your-creative-genius.html

https://gohighbrow.com/how-to-keep-your-creativity-alive/

The ART of Writing Poems

Writing a poem is about observing the world around you and then describing it to the readers enabling them to see your perspective and the emotions. You can describe the beauty, the intensity, the desire, the pain and everything you feel through your poems in a beautiful way because remember –

“Poems are paintings which are made up of words.”

The Begining

TIPS FOR POETRY WRITING FOR BEGINNERS

START READING A LOT OF POEMS

If you want to write poetry then start by reading them. You don’t necessarily have to understand the deep underlying meaning behind everything, but try to understand the picture that the poet is trying to show you. Find your own interpretation of the poem and them compare how it differs from the original interpretation. It helps you to understand the very essence of poems and poetry writing.

You can also find your favourite poet, or you can go for the classical ones like Robert Frost, Mark Twain, William Wordsworth etc. Or, you can go for the greatest of all times William Shakespeare.

INCREASE YOUR VOCABULARY

As basic as it could get, but this is one of the most important part which helps you to write and put your imagination and express your thoughts accurately on paper is the correct usage of vocabulary and grammar. You need to avoid cliche in your poems, as it takes the power away because if the phrase is common then so is the emotion you are trying to express.

For example, you may notice you have used the cliche, “she was as busy as a bee” to describe a person in your poem. You may replace this cliche with a more unique phrase, such as “her hands were always occupied” or “she moved through the kitchen at a frantic pace.”

Increase your Knowledge

START SMALL

The first step is the most significant but the most difficult step to take. Therefore, you need to start small to give yourself a feeling of accomplishment which gives a boost to your morale and keeps you motivated. A simple rhyming poem can be a non-intimidating entry way to poetry writing. 

Don’t mistake quantity for quality; a pristine seven-line free verse poem is more impressive than a sloppy, rambling epic of blank verse, which took far less time to compose. So keep calm and keep steady.

BE A KEEN OBSERVER

One of the key skill of writing authentic poems is observing your environment and being sensitive to situations. This enables you to express ordinary situation from an extraordinary view point. As with all forms of English language writing, communication is the name of the game in poetry, so if you want to tell short stories in your poems, embrace that instinct.

Learn to Observe

CONNECT WITH OTHER ASPIRING POETS

Find people who share your interest in poetry or in literature in general. Having your own community of people goes a long way in any field including poetry. Poets connect with one another via poetry readings and perhaps poetry writing classes. Good poetry can take many forms, and through a community, you may encounter different forms that vary from the type of poem you typically write—but are just as artistically inspiring. Seek out a poetry group where you can hear different types of poetry, discuss the art form, jot down new ideas, and learn from the work of your peers.

A supportive community can help you brainstorm ideas, influence your state of mind as an artist, and share poetry exercises that may have helped other members of the group produce great poetry.

CONCLUSION

Humans can express their thoughts in so many ways, writing poems is just one of the written forms but it is the most beautiful forms that one can choose to express their emotions and messages for their readers. So start with a new poem today that is yours for the world to read and understand.

SOURCES

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-poetry#11-rules-for-writing-good-poetry

https://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Poem

HOW TO GET STARTED AND TEACH YOURSELF A NEW LANGUAGE

Learning something new can be a daunting task, but it is rewarding and adventurous at the same time. Learning a new language is the same way, it’s challenging but fun.

Major languages of the world

STEP 1 : FIND YOUR REASON

Before you decide to learn a new language find out why you want and what language you want to learn first.

There could be diverse reasons such as,

Want to put a rush on this “leaning a new language” trend?

Or, so you can take new job responsibilities abroad.

Or, so you can read your favourite novel in the language it’s written in?

Or, so you can understand the country and culture better.

Or, Maybe for the upcoming trip.

So, there can be many reasons for you to learn a language but it’s important to have one. It helps you to remain motivated and focus on learning the language.

STEP 2 : SET GOALS – REALISTIC ONES

Setting goals can take us a long way. We can set long term, short term and daily goals. Keeping the goals realistic is very important because achievable goals motivate you to keep going but if it is too difficult it can actually discourage us. For example, “I will learn how to introduce myself today.” is a good example of setting daily target. Write down your goals, unconsciously it tells our brain that it is important.

Set your goals

STEP 3 : LEARN THE BASICS

Learn a few greeting words in the language before you learn the alphabet. This helps you develop initial understanding of the language. Also, this way when you learn the alphabets you are already familiar with some basic words. For example: Hello, Goodbye, Thank you, Good night, My name is ______? What is your name? etc.

STEP 4 : NEXT IS ALPHABET AND VOCABULARY

Learn the alphabet of the language it will help you to understand the language structure better. It will make it significantly easier for you to learn the language and you will be able to read and pronounce words, which will help you memorize better . Plus, it is better to be sounding the words out rather than looking at the romanization of the words. 

Alphabets and their writing styles

STEP 5 : STUDY EVERYDAY

People often claim to have studied a language “for years” and still not be fluent. But when they say years, they probably mean that they studied the language for only a couple of hours a week over that entire time period.

Language learning is based on repetition – revise it until you can’t forget it. Hammering something into your brain over and over again until you remember it. If you break too long between study sessions, you are much more prone to forget what you learned last time and you will waste valuable study time going back over what you’ve already learned.

CONCLUSION

So learning a new language can be tough and daunting but remember it is just a language and if you put in hard work and smart work you can learn any learn any language you wish to learn. Happy learning!!

SOURCES

https://www.fluentu.com/blog/fastest-way-to-learn-a-new-language/

https://www.wikihow.com/Learn-a-New-Language-Fast