The Case for a New Avenger

S.H.I.E.L.D. might have missed assembling team members from India, but it is never too late to correct an oversight. Imagine our larger-than-life superhero, Rajinikanth, partnering with other Avengers in a combined mission to save the planet from dangerous predators with bad intentions. Some aliens, some familiar ones! Yes, India is far from America, and the distance seems to have increased during the pandemic, but Rajinikanth could give some worthy company to Iron Man and perhaps teach him a trick or two, too, through holographic interfaces and augmented reality. Who knows, he could also kill all the mutants of Coronaviruses in this quest!

I wish to present some facts now to give you a background of my strategic human resource and leadership plan for S.H.I.E.L.D. India has one of the largest numbers of gig workers in the world. As per a March 2021 report by consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the gig economy in India is expected to soar to 90 million in approximately a decade from now. Choose any vocation here and you will be spoilt for choices. Almost everyone is an expert on politics, economics, socio-cultural issues, fashion, sports, career, marriage, children, nature, animals, traffic, the dos, and don’ts … the list is endless. People can even advice others on how they should lead their lives. It’s affection, silly!

War for talent? Clearly, recruiters have not been able to explore the depth of this vast pool. To reiterate, India is a land bubbling with high potentials. Now let us go back to the topic of superpowers. There is plan B too. Rajinikanth could have a serious competition in a plain-looking community here. S.H.I.E.L.D. could consider appointing some members from this fraternity too.

You are rolling your eyes? Why? Hear me out. Presenting to you the case of beholders of the mighty pen (over a sword or a gun), and the upholders of fine speech. Their words hit no less than the missiles unleashed by Israel over the Gaza strip. Let me walk you through the innate gifts of a less publicized community with an immensely amoeba-like (plasma membrane) flexibility.

The teachers.

The extremely sturdy ones can stand the whole day, operate (teach) without a table and a chair, or, the basic infrastructure, and sometimes work even at low or no salaries for months. The strengths, struggles and coping mechanism of the privileged ones out of this lot are embedded in different realms. More on that, later! You will be astonished to learn how many hats teachers can don at the same time. They juggle between being a mentor, coach, counsellor, Devil’s advocate, friend, philosopher, or guide. Interestingly, even their DNA personifies versatility. Over the years, the mutations in their genetic material have helped them learn how to make milestones of the stones thrown at them by students unhappy with their marks, and parents unhappy with the teachers for giving those marks! Talk about heightened senses, their eyes can easily observe and sense the intention behind each greeting, smile and calls to the office. They are like Sharma ji ka beta/beti’, always expected to excel at everything and set an ideal example for the others to emulate.

Here, I would take a detour and ask you to recall the violinists who continued to play music for as long as they were alive, just to calm the passengers on the sinking Titanic ship. On similar lines, teachers continued to teach while the pandemic unleashed havoc around the world. The unlearning of years of classroom teaching was replaced by the immediate need to adopt new technological tools and re-learn the art of virtual teaching. The new and changed landscape was no less than the one post Thanos snapping his finger.

Aren’t convinced yet? Go to the polling booths and follow the polio immunization drives, you will know what I mean.

Now the final hook. Except for some teachers working with elite institutions, the rest won’t even charge much for their services. You can simply smile, appreciate their work, show some respect, and boy, see how they melt! Just watch how it lights up their faces. They are so motivated, especially on September 5 every year in India, that even Abraham Maslow bows to them from time to time from his grave. Had told you about their genetic sequencing earlier, remember? I do hope I have presented their (our) case well, S.H.I.E.L.D. Hopefully, you will have a relook at your current team now.

On a sidenote, can I be a contender too? Just saying. I can take it up as a gig assignment during the semester breaks. Imagine the newest Avenger on the block and that too a female from India! It will further boost the diversity and inclusion factors for you. If you can give equitable salary and perks, you could even find yourself on the pages of Harvard cases.

You might want to provide supplements of Vitamin T(eacher) to your team if Rajinikanth’s diary of appointments is full. Professor Hulk would not mind some more erudite company. In return, I vow to start quoting your example in my classes as a great employer brand with an excellent employee value proposition. Who knows, I might even write a research article. Told you, pen and words are the weapons here. Think about it. What say? Are you game?

P.S. I have recently bought a telescope to keep an eye on the stars and planets too. Taking my possible future role tad too seriously, eh?

7 important tips to manage aggression in children

Manage child aggression: To develop a sound value system, tell them stories. For very small children, stories should be pleasant, free of fighting and violence, about animals and nature, sharing and caring. When they are five or six, it is okay to introduce stories with good people and ‘bad’ people.

child, who wanted to be perceived as the strongest of all, would speak loudly, look angry and hit everyone to prove his strength. When his grandfather came to visit, he behaved in the same way with him. However, his grandpa was never agitated and just smiled at his actions. The child was bewildered as he was only used to getting yelled at for what he did. The more he was yelled at, the stronger he would become, is what he thought!

Grandpa shares the Buddha story

The grandfather asked him if he would like to hear a story and the boy agreed. “Once upon a time, there was an enlightened master called Buddha. He travelled across the country teaching people how to be peaceful. Once while he was going through a forest, a tribesman called Angulimala came to him. He was a frightening man. He wore a garland of fingers of people whom he had sacrificed so he would be the strongest and feared the most. He wanted to have Buddha’s finger as the hundredth and complete his sacrificing ritual. Buddha smiled at him and said, “I am happy to be of use to you”. There was no trace of fear in him. Nobody had ever smiled at Angulimala. No one had ever spoken to him so kindly. The very presence of Buddha did something to him. Angulimala felt very weak for the first time in his life. He felt like a feather in front of a mountain. He realised that real strength is in having unshakable calmness, peace, and in compassion. He fell at Buddha’s feet. He was changed completely.” The child listened to every word from his grandpa with rapt attention.

Look out for the media children are exposed to

When you feel helpless or weak, the need to assert your strength comes out as violence. Where do children get the idea of violence? They see their parents, neighbours, friends, so many programmes on TV or videos on the mobile phone — all this exposure leaves impressions and has a strong impact on the minds of children, more than we know. They are sensitive even to suppressed violence. If you are angry inside but still act as if everything is okay, children will know it.

Handling aggression

Children get angry or show aggression for seemingly very silly reasons. But the real reason is something else, a sense of insecurity that has crept in somehow. That is why in olden days, parents would never show anger in front of a child. They would not even argue or use harsh words. Public display of anger was considered a weakness. Today, anger and aggression comes up at the drop of a hat. Any minor difference of opinion is enough to prompt the arrows to fly. We don’t know how to draw a line between expressing a difference of opinion and displaying aggression. If your child is aggressive, look into your own lifestyle. What are you doing? Are you yelling at your housekeeper or at your pet? Are you yelling at your own spouse? Or any one for that matter in front of the child? Are you sad? What is your reaction? And it does not matter that out of the 365 days, you have acted in aggression may be only a couple of times. Those few days are equally important for the child. This is why we need to meditate and practice pranayama or deep breathing techniques. Heyum Dukham Anagatam — stopping the misery before it comes — that is the benefit of yoga, because in life prevention is better than cure.

Engaging children in meaningful activities

The other important thing is to engage them in meaningful activities, and sports that allow them to channel their energy constructively. Just playing video games or watching TV with no physical activity only increases restlessness and makes them prone to aggression. You will notice that the day your child has more screen time, the more difficult he or she becomes to handle. Encourage them to go out and play, engage with real people, run and fill their lungs with some fresh air. In the olden days, movies were classified as suitable for watching only under parental guidance. Parents would control what a child can see. Today, it is a common occurrence that the elders are all engrossed in watching soaps on TV and are oblivious to the child who is also watching and taking in all the exaggerated emotions that are projected. It is very important to be sensitive about what their tender senses are exposed to. They should not be bombarded with heavy impressions.

What kind of stories are we telling our children?

To develop a sound value system, tell them stories. For very small children, perhaps around three or four, stories should be pleasant, free of fighting and violence, about animals and nature, sharing and caring. When they are five or six it is okay to introduce stories with good people and ‘bad’ people. Every culture has its stories of heroes who protected the innocent and fought villains who were up to no good. Through these stories they understand that the purpose of strength is to protect and not to hurt. They learn that the hero, the stronger one, is calm and collected.

While it is important to reprimand anger, it is equally important to recognise when they are gentle and appreciate them. When I was a child and would sometimes get angry, my grandmother would ask me to go to a certain corner of the house and leave my anger there. She would say that the angel in that corner would take the anger from me and go far, far away. I would believe her, go stand there and in a minute, come back smiling! Schools today don’t teach children how to deal with negative emotions. This is an important aspect of moulding the character of the child. Teachers should be strict about encouraging the right attitude in children. They should recognise the strength of a child who is able to walk away from a fight and not just react and hit back. They should reward and give attention to calmness in a child. Many times, an aggressive attitude in a child comes out from simply wanting attention. So, you can teach them by ignoring their sulking or shouting, and praising them and giving extra attention when they are well-mannered. And parents should give teachers the space to discipline the child if necessary. It is okay if your child has been naughty and the teacher has disciplined him or her. Parents must encourage reverence towards the teacher. If they say, “Who is he or she to tell my child what to do!” the child will not listen or respect the teacher anymore. When this happens, learning stops.

Food is important

The food that we give to our children also has a role to play. Too many sweets, fried food (like chips) and oily food increase restlessness in a child. Also, their food must be freshly cooked as far as possible and not packaged items kept in cold storage. Encourage them to enjoy fruits as much as chips; perhaps one chip-one fruit can be the deal! Where possible, it is advisable to avoid food products made from genetically modified grains and vegetables. The food has a direct impact on the mind and when consumed over a period of time, has a definite impact on the nature or attitude of the child.

Above all this, as parents, it is important to spend quality time doing ‘nothing’ with your child. Just sitting with them without looking at our mobile phones, giving complete attention to what they have to say, just being with them 100 per cent gives a great sense of security to the child. An insecure child is more likely to succumb to aggression than one who feels secure and attended to.

Teach children that the one who smiles come-what-may is stronger.

Show them when to stand up for what is right, and when to walk away from a fight.

As much as you can, protect their innocence.

As much as you can, give them pride in non-violence.

How does Diet Affect your Body?

Your Diet directly affects your body. You must have heard the phrase – What you eat is what you become. Let us see how a healthy diet influences your body.


Your diet affects the skin


Did you know a healthy diet can lead to healthier-looking skin? Many people these days are going in for fast foods or rather junk foods. These are not good for health. They contain a lot of fat and carbohydrates and one can put on weight. Also, oily foods are not good for the skin.

It prevents pimple breakouts, sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles
It makes your skin glowing and young.
Diet that lacks nutrients such as calcium, niacin, folic acid, copper can affect one’s skin tone. The skin will start looking pale.

A diet that consistently delivers a high load of refined carbohydrates has been linked to various health issues, including skin problems like pimples and acne. Antioxidants—compounds that are abundant in colorful fruits and vegetables—help to fight free radical formation. And there is a clear connection between the levels of antioxidants found in the skin and the texture of the skin itself. People who have low levels of antioxidants in the skin tend to have a rougher skin texture. Those with higher levels of antioxidants in the skin have a smoother textured skin.

It affects your height


Diet has the greatest (and potentially the most permanent) effects on height when a child is still growing, but can significantly affect adults whose skeletons have fully formed/reached their growth peak and the elderly. Diets poor in essential proteins, lipids, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, enzymes, etc. can adversely affect development and height.

Some high boosting foods are – (non veg) egg, chicken, fish, (veg) Tomato juice,banana, spinach, turnip, milk, yogurt, whey water (Whey is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained), soya products such as soya chunks, soya beans, soy milk, tofu, etc.

It affects your weight


Being selective in what you eat is one of the most important lifestyle factors. Weight loss comes down to simple math. You have to eat fewer calories than you burn.Certain foods can help you shed body weight because they help you feel full longer and help curb cravings. Some even kick up your metabolism.

Whole eggs, green leafy vegetables, salmon, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lean beef, chicken breast, boiled potatoes, tuna, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, cottage cheese, avocados, nuts, whole grains, chia seeds, yogurt and chilli peppers are some foods that can help in weight loss.

It affects your immunity


Feeding your body certain foods may help keep your immune system strong. If you’re looking for ways to prevent colds, the flu, and other infections, the easiest way is to eat the right kind of food. It is a proven fact that a good diet increases a person’s immunity.

Some immunity boosters are:

Spices – cinnamon, ajwain, ginger, garlic
Herbs – tulsi, coriander, mint
Superfoods like nachini, coconut oil
Probiotics foods such as curd, chia seeds
Immunity powders – almond powder, kali mirch, khus khus, haldi powder

History of Chocolate

Photo by Delphine Hourlay on Pexels.com

The first thing which comes to our mind when we hear the word chocolate is a candy or a dessert which tastes sweet. At present, Chocolate is one of the most famous food items in the world. It is consumed worldwide in different forms and is loved by foodies. At first thought we think of it as something to eat and not drink. Chocolate has a very different history and the story behind its popularity is quite an interesting one. The history of Chocolate dates back to about 450 B.C. when it was originally consumed as a bitter drink mixed with spices or corn puree. It originated in Mesoamerica where the Aztecs believed that the cocoa or cacao seeds were the gifts of the God of wisdom. It was used as an aphrodisiac which gave the drinker strength. The sweet pulp of the cacao fruit surrounding the beans, was also fermented into an alcoholic beverage at that time. Today local folks of South Mexico are still known to make such drinks.  

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The word chocolate came from the Aztec word “xocoatl” meaning a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. The cacao tree has a Latin name “Theobroma cacao” meaning Food of the Gods. In pre-modern Latin America, the cacao seeds were considered so valuable that it was used as a currency. It was one of the essential items in rations of the United States soldiers during war. According to a 16th century Aztec document 100 cacao beans could be exchanged for a good turkey hen.  

The cacao tree is native to Mesoamerica where its cultivation, consumption and cultural use began. When pollinated, the seeds of the cacao tree form a sheath, within which 30 to 40 brownish-red almond shaped beans are embedded in a sweet viscous pulp. The beans are bitter but the pulp is sweet which may have been consumed by humans at first. The cacao pods grow in a wide range of colors, like pale yellow, bright green, purple and crimson. The texture may vary from sculpted to completely smooth. The plantation of the cocoa trees is a tough process. When in natural environment, the trees can grow up to 60 feet tall but in plantations they grow only up to 20 feet.  

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Chocolate was prepared as a sweet by the European people when it arrived there. It got popularized among the rich people and eventually among the common. Christopher Columbus first came across cacao on his fourth mission to America, when he and his crew seized a canoe full of native goods for trade. He took the beans back to Spain. After it got imported to Europe, it was used as a medicine for treating abdominal diseases because of its bitter taste. After getting sweetened with the addition of sugar or honey, it became a court favorite and chocolate established a foothold in Europe within hundred years.  

In 1828, a Dutch chemist found a way to make powdered chocolate and this product became known as the Dutch cocoa. This led to the creation of solid chocolate. The first modern chocolate bar was made by Joseph Fry in 1847 by making a moldable chocolate paste. By 1868, a small company called Cadbury was making chocolate candies in England. A few years later milk chocolate was made by Nestle. In the 20th century the word chocolate includes a variety of sweet treats. Modern day chocolate is made from the hardiest but least flavorful cocoa beans and it is often said that it has more sugar and additives than actual cocoa.  

Big fan of Korean Cuisine!

나는 한국 음식의 큰 팬입니다

There is nothing wrong with saying that Globalization has changed our taste buds. Different varieties of delicacies present all over the world has attracted many people towards them. Let’s talk about Korean dishes. There are many which has gained popularity In Asian and Western nations. People are becoming a die-hard fan of them. Kimchi is the foremost dish which come to our mind when we talk about Koreans. It is turn out to be a global sensation.

Today, I am going to tell you some of my favorite Korean cuisine.

Kimchi: Mixture of fermented vegetables. It’s a side dish but has gained so much popularity that UNESCO has identified it in the list of Cultural Heritage. Ingredients added in it are Korean chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and green chili. Korean believes it’s rich for health, it contains vitamins that are needed for their glass skin. Kimchi is an enriching representation and state gem of South Korea. There is even a kimchi museum developed in a city of Seoul in South Korea. 

Bibimbap: It is a blend of rice along with desired vegetables, eggs, fried mushrooms, soy sauce, and beef. The color combination of the bowl filled looks great and attractive. It’s definitely added to my favorite list.

Makgeolli: If you love to drink, then you must try Makgeolli often called Drunken rice. It’s the easiest drink to be made at home. Korean generally ferment it at home and try it with Kimchi. It’s the best combination. It increased the flavor of your taste buds. Counted as an alcoholic beverage, it has milk consistency included with rice water, sweet and nuruk. It takes 5 days approximately to get fermented.

Jeon: Universally known as Korean pancake. It is definitely a type of snack that Koreans relish a lot. You have to pick beef, kimchi, or green onions, it will come layered in a mixture of eggs and flour.

The most significant superiority while eating Korean food is “sense of taste”

Korean food is good for your health for the reason that it comprises primarily of puffed rice and root vegetables.

It’s absolutely true that Korean foods are becoming the favorites among people universally. In this, the leading role portrayed by “Hallyu Wave” has publicized successfully. If we grasp the whole situation, we could see the Korean Government has also worked a lot in globalizing the Korean food business in numerous nations like the USA, France, India. The drum up support by the Government also displayed a constructive impression on the preferences of people.

The Joy of Baking

As a little girl, I always loved confectionery. I would eagerly wait for Sunday mornings for my mother to bake me a cake. As a working woman she never really had time for me but a bright sunny Sunday morning would make up for the entire week. Now, during this lockdown when I look back at my childhood, I realise that cooking or baking is not something you do just for the sake of it. Those actions kneading the dough and mixing the batter have a much deeper meaning. As my mother says, ‘it is the joy of baking which helps me live through the week’, and I second that. Just before writing this article I baked some muffins and as I write and enjoy eating, let me tell y’all why I love baking.
Well to begin with, it’s therapeutic. We all know how baking a loaf of bread helps us when we need a shoulder to cry on or how that piece of cake comforts us when nothing seems alright. The world of baking is the happiest.
Blending ingredients such as sugar, flour and eggs and turning them into an edible masterpiece never fails to awe and can make you feel proud of yourself. Ingredients can be mixed in so many different combinations to form different types of cakes, biscuits or pies. That’s the beauty of baking.

Baking not only removes your bad moods, it brings joy. Nothing compares to the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread or cakes wafting out from your oven in the morning. It immediately conjures the images of holidays, and childhood memories of licking the spoon and the baking bowl clean of cake batter.
Instead of buying an impersonal present, turn up with your own beautifully decorated cakes and cookie creations at social gatherings. You’re telling them how much you care: ‘See I made this for you.’ The recipient will definitely be more touched by this type of gift. You are gifting them a piece of your heart.
All mothers treasure the smiles of their children. This is true especially when you bake them your extra special chocolate chip cookies. You put in extra sprinkles on a cake, a little more icing sugar on the biscuits – a silent but meaningful gesture to express your love. And of course, you can always bake them their favourite cakes for their birthday.
You’ve mastered the art. You want to share it with the whole world. You can always take this passion and make it a full-time career. Many notable bakers started small time and developed a thriving business from it, so keeping on baking!

If these reasons are not compelling enough for you to start rolling that dough, and heating up your oven, well, baking may not be considered your forte.

If you were a food item, what would you have been? Why?

I will go for “Panipuri” its an Indian street side snack, that has a crisp puffed Indian bread (puri), stuffed with mashed spiced potatoes/chana(gram)/ragda (a curry of white peas), dipped in sweet(tamarind and date) and spicy(Pudina, coriander and chilli, with pinch of lemon) flavored water.

Panipuri or Phuchka is a type of snack that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It consists of a round or ball-shaped, hollow puri, filled with a mixture of flavored water, tamarind chutney, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion or chickpeas.

Why? I am sweet at times and spicy(angry) at times, and thats what makes me and my life. If you are new to me, you will see a rock sheer cover on my mind, you will feel i am arrogant (Hitler like, the most common adjective awarded to me), but once you try and be friends with me, to crack that layer, there is much more you couldn’t even wonder about me.

I am unpredictable. I can be a sweetest heart soemtimes and an angry bird at times. If you are are new to me, you would think I am arrogant (Probably a Hitler) but as you befriend me, you shall wonder if you ever knew me.

There is something comfortingly familiar about eating a humble pani puri – a crispy hollow ball made of semolina or wheat, filled with spicy potatoes and topped with tangy, spicy tamarind water made fragrant by mint leaves and black salt.

It may sound like culinary chaos, but that this spicy, crunchy wonder is absolutely delicious is something almost Indians will agree on.

Served by vendors from a setup that gives the word ‘utilitarian’ a run for its money, pani puri (also called golgappa, phuchka and a multitude of other monikers) is, in every sense, a material manifestation of the elusive emotion called “simple joy.” This innocuous street snack is also a great leveller – at a pani puri stall, you will see besuited businessmen step out of sleek cars to join the queue alongside the city’s poorest residents.

So how and where did this culinary gem really originate? Many believe that the answer lies in the history of the kingdom of Magadh.

One of the 16 Mahajanapadas (great kingdoms in Sanskrit) of ancient India, the Magadhan empire was situated on the banks of River Ganga in what is now west-central Bihar. Lively accounts of Magadh and its capital, Pataliputra, are available in the travel diaries of the Greek historian Megasthenes and the Chinese Buddhist pilgrims Faxian and Xuanzang.

It is believed that phulkis (the precursor to pani puri) first originated in Magadh at a time when several traditional specialities of the region, like chitba, pitthow, tilba and chewda of Katarni rice, were evolving. The culinary genius who invented them is lost in the pages of history, but if Indians had known who invented pani puri (or whatever you call this yummy snack), they would have thanked that person for generations!

There is another legend associated with the origin of pani puris. This is how it goes:

In the epic Mahabharata, a newly-wedded Draupadi returns home to be given a task by her mother-in-law Kunti. The Pandavas were on exile and Kunti wanted to test if her new daughter-in-law would be able to manage with the scarce resources.

So she gave Draupadi some leftover potato sabzi and just enough wheat dough to make one puri, instructing her to make food that would satisfy the hunger of all five of her sons. It is believed that this was when the new bride invented pani puri. Impressed with her daughter-in-law’s ingenuity, Kunti blessed the dish with immortality.

While the origins of this delicious snack is yet to be pinpointed with historical accuracy, the one thing that is clear is that pani puri travelled across India and made the country fall head over heels in love with it. Over the years, the combinations underwent many changes as each region developed its own version according to its preferences.

As a result, pani puri today has almost a dozen different names that changes from region to region. In most parts of central and southern India, it is called pani puri but the recipes have subtle variations. While in Maharashtra, hot ragda (white peas curry) is added to the potato mash, in Gujarat, it is boiled moong and in Karnataka, it is chopped onions.

While the origins of this delicious snack is yet to be pinpointed with historical accuracy, the one thing that is clear is that pani puri travelled across India and made the country fall head over heels in love with it. Over the years, the combinations underwent many changes as each region developed its own version according to its preferences.

As a result, pani puri today has almost a dozen different names that changes from region to region. In most parts of central and southern India, it is called pani puri but the recipes have subtle variations. While in Maharashtra, hot ragda (white peas curry) is added to the potato mash, in Gujarat, it is boiled moong and in Karnataka, it is chopped onions.

In West Bengal, pani puri is called phuchka, probably due to the ‘phuch’ sound it makes when you take a bite. The unique feature of the phuchka lies in the fact that it’s made of wholewheat, unlike the other that are usually made of flour or semolina. The phuchka water is also a little spicier and tangier than that used in the rest of the country.