TOP 5 INDIAN MYTHOLOGY BOOKS YOU MUST CHECK OUT!

Hi! Today we will be talking about an interesting topic. Mythology. I always am ready to listen to folklore, myths and tales. Simply because find Myths to be striking. Mythologies are a collection of myths of particular cultures and religions. Myths we’re recorded as human beings started to have manuscripts.

Myths and legends were created as humans mastered the way of writing. Myths mostly discuss the relationship between God and humans. It dealt with questions like who are deities? How the world was created? The righteousness and the unethical aspects.

Hindu Mythology is also cited as Hindu Mythology. Indian mythology includes Buddhist, Sikhism, Jainism, etc… Mythology plays an important role as it is the core of culture and religion. Another reason is the battle of good and evil, which helps us to learn, discover and comprehend the way of living.

When we discuss Hindu Mythology, the popular tales are of Ramayana and Mahabaratha. Apart from that, we have tons of myths. Hindus worship numerous deities. Authors are retelling the myths in a fascinating, thought-provoking way.

Top Indian Authors who write with Modern Ingredients

  • Kavita Kane
  • Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  • Amish Tripathi
  • Dr Devdutt Pattanaik
  • Aditi Banerjee

Top 5 Indian Mythology Books to Read

AHALYA’S AWAKENING BY KAVITA KANÉ

“You know you are very beautiful.”
‘But where is my achievement in that?’ Ahalya asked, with genuine puzzlement. “It’s not my talent; it’s God’s gift.”

Kavita Kane is known for her modern twist. Ahalya is a character in the epic Ramayana, we don’t get to see much about her. A sheltered princess then a loving wife of Rishi Gautam. Her tale is the play of destiny and fate. It retells the patriarchal society which exist even today.

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RAMCHANDRAN TRILOGY by AMISH TRIPATHI

“A leader must love his country more than he loves his own soul.

Amish Tripathi is famous for his remarkable detailing of characters in his book. The characteristics of his works are written from outstanding perspectives. Sita was known to be a woman who suffered in silence but here she is portrayed as fierce, strong administrator and warrior.

The light has been shed on Ravana too. In his work, he gives voice to Ravana’s aspect. He is someone who will kill without guilt. Is he a villain?

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THE FOREST OF ENCHANTMENT by CHITRA BANERJEE DIVAKARUNI

I couldn’t control what was done to me. But my response to it was in my control.”

I would say it’s a masterpiece and a must-read. We get to know Sita’s POV, it’s a delightful piece of work. Sita is stated to be the epitome of values and a warrior. The cover looks stunning!

The values of Ramayana are infused in our lives. This book will mould our perspective.

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JAYA by DEVDUTT PATTANAIK

“Refusal to accept the flow of the world is the root of all misery.”

A compelling retelling of the epic Mahabharata. The doorkeeper of Vaikuntha is a twin Jaya and Vijaya. The difference between them is what we need to solve the mystery of the epic. The tale is said with simplicity and clarity.

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THE CURSE OF GANDHARI by ADITI BANERJEE

The book is a retelling of Gandhari’s fate. We get to see the tale through Gandhari’s eyes. It is a fascinating story about how she shaped the epic. Her dedication towards her vow is striking. After being married to a blind prince, she stayed blindfolded for life. Most stories haven’t described her in detail, unlike this one.

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These are the books I would say one must read to re-shape their perspectives if required. The stories are captivating. Let me know in the comments if you have any recommendations.

J. K Rowling

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Harry Potter series. However, I’m guessing that the most of you haven’t heard of J.K Rowling. If you’re wondering who she is, she’s the woman behind the world’s most successful bestseller series. This remarkable woman is motivating and extraordinary in every way. Rowling’s triumph is one of the most exhilarating, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Few people know what happened to her before she became famous.

Rowling, a master storyteller, has struggled with personal issues ranging from financial difficulties to melancholy on her path to literary achievement.

J.K. Rowling, the author whose Harry Potter book series has been translated into 73 languages, sold millions of copies, and earned over $20 billion in movie adaptations and sponsorships, said as much. So, why is it that she admits to being a failure? It wasn’t as simple as scribbling notes on a couple dinner napkins to come up with her book series. It wasn’t a simple one-step, two-step, or even three-step procedure. Years of dedication would be required to achieve the level of success she now enjoys.

It is stated that true success follows a series of setbacks. This is precisely what happened to Rowling. Her personal life was in disarray, making each day difficult for her. On a train voyage from Manchester to London one fine morning in 1990, she created the complete plot from an idea and began building the story of Harry Potter on that route. Unfortunately, her mother died later that year, putting a stop to her writing for a while. Rowling began writing soon after developing the concept for Harry Potter, but was abruptly distracted by the tragic death of her mother. Rowling stopped working on the novel and went into a deep, depressed state. When she moved to Portugal in 1992 to teach English as a foreign language, her life had other intentions. She met, married, and had a daughter with him. A year later, she divorced her then-husband and filed for divorce.

This was the turning point in her life, when she relocated to Edinburgh, Scotland, with her infant daughter to be closer to her sister, with three chapters of Harry Potter in her suitcase. Rowling was divorced, jobless, and a single mother of a child at the time, and it was the most trying time of her life. She struggled with acute depression, yet she persisted. She discovered the light at the end of the tunnel when life was dark and dreary, always pushing through the trials and tribulations life threw at her.

Rowling’s life was defined in so many ways by the year 1995. The Harry Potter script was rejected by roughly 12 prominent publications, not one, two, or five. She had been shattered, but she had not been vanquished. She continued to pursue more newspapers, and her efforts were rewarded.The book was accepted for publication by a small publishing house, and only 1000 copies were printed. Things changed quickly after the book won several accolades, including the Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year.

J.K Rowling’s most important lesson is to keep trying, believing, and acting on your dreams. Whether it’s to become a great business or to publish a novel, there’s something for everyone.

10 Books One Must Read At Least Once in their Life

Reading is a great way to keep your mind active. It gives you thousands of reasons to sit back and think about numerous things. It also helps you escape reality and travel to a different world.
 

Reading fills you with little pieces of knowledge that stay with you for a long time. You never know when something might come handy. You come across new words and they start slipping in your vocabulary. It makes you well-articulated and well-spoken. You read something and it gets stored in your brain. Thus it also helps to improve your memory.

There are countless benefits of reading and there are thousands of books to read. But some books are “evergreen”. They are written by some of the greatest literary minds of all times and are known as “classics”. You can pick them any day and they give you the same fresh feeling as it gave you the first time.

A list of 10 books that you must read at least once in a lifetime:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee:

This book was published in 1960 and appears in almost all the lists of the best books. It explores human behaviour and the collective conscience of the Deep South in the early 20th century. It also revolves around the themes of prejudice, hatred, hypocrisy, love and innocence. And is delicately woven with humour. Anyone who has read it counts it as one of their favourites. 

  1. Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling:

Those who have read the Harry Potter books or have even watched the movie are still waiting for their Hogwarts letter, including me. J.K. Rowling takes you on an amazing journey filled with magic and mystery. She introduces you to the world you will never want to leave. You grow up with Harry in this 7 books series.

  1. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkein:

Another series that takes you into the world of hobbits, dragons, monsters and gods. This book allows you to escape from reality and go on unimaginable adventures. The book revolves around the themes of fantasy, evil and innocence. This series comprises three books in total. 

  1. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen:

Jane Austen is said to be one of the most famous writers in English Literature and Pride and Prejudice is one of her best works. It is a story of the courtship of two opposite characters in a world where manners and courtesy are of utmost importance. The book leaves you with the message that “love knows no barriers and finds its way”.

  1. The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank:

Almost everyone is aware of the story of Anne Frank during the German Holocaust. The Diary of a Young Girl is a raw account of her life as she hides from the Nazis. She teaches the readers a valuable lesson that we should keep believing that people are good at heart and situations to change. She wishes to change her life too. The book is spin-chilling and tear-jerking as it reveals how the Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

  1. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak:

The book is set in Germany during 1939 when the Nazis were ruling Germany and the Jews were being brutally killed. It revolves around a girl named Liesel and how she rescues books from the wrath of Nazi rule. The story also features an unusual friendship that is formed in the most unusual situation. Like The Diary of a Young Girl, this book also gives you a view of the cruel Nazi rule.

  1. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien:

Another fantasy fiction by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit was originally written as a short storybook for children. Later it was made into a long series of movies. It features the story of Bilbo Baggins and his journey to the Middle East to challenge a dragon. The book gives a strong message of bravery and takes you into a fantasy world just like the Lord of the Rings.

  1. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott:

The story of four sisters, set in 19th century New England. Each sister has their own significant personality trait. The book gives you an account of their struggles and their flaws and how they turn into strong young women. The book is a pure joy to read.

  1. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte:

Jane Eyre is the first prose fiction to focus on its protagonist’s moral and spiritual development. Jane Eyre is one of the strongest fictional heroines of all time. It is a story of a girl who fights social criticism in a society with a strong sense of Christian morality at its core. It depicts a strong, unbroken woman despite her troubled childhood. 

  1. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini:

The story revolves around Amir and his journey to find his one true friend. He has to abandon him due to ethic and religious differences that existed in Kabul, Afghanistan. It also highlights the theme of guilt and redemption. It is a story of true friendship and atonement. The book has been awarded as the New York bestseller for two times in a row. 

These were some of the books which one should definitely read once in their life. These books never lose their essence and will surely blow your mind with their brilliant storylines.

Happy Reading!

Graphology

Graphology is the study of hand writing to assess the personality traits of a person. It is the evaluation of physical characteristics and patterns of a handwriting to identify personality characteristics. It is also used to identify the writer and their mental state during the time of writing. The word graphology has been derived from the Greek word grapho meaning writing and logos meaning study or discussion. Graphology has been used by European psychologists and counsellors. It says that there is a relationship between personality, conducts, intellectual level, temper and character in handwriting. Hand writing can be analysed according to pressure, size, slant, zones, layout (margins, spaces between letters, words and lines). At present there are also some AI tools and websites which can be used.

 Alfred Binet conducted a study on handwriting and called graphology “the science of the future”. In 1929, Milton Bunker founded The American Grapho Analysis Society. It made two different branches in the world of American graphology – graphoanalysis and holistic graphology.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Graphologists

The works of some graphologists are mentioned below:

Max Pulver had authored three graphology books (from 1931 to 1949) and several articles. He has worked on pressure, intelligence, and crime. He developed the theory of symbolism of space and founded the Schweizerische Graphologische Gesellschaft (Swiss Graphological Society) in 1950 and was its president until his death.

Camillo Baldi was an Italian philosopher who worked on a variety of subjects. His best known essay on graphology was the first detailed investigation of the discipline.

Robert Saudek was a Czech-born graphologist. He was also a writer of novels, stories, poems and plays. He had considerable influence on the content and standing of graphology worldwide and published numerous articles in many languages like The Listener, the Journal of Social Psychology. He founded the Professional graphology society in the Netherlands and started two academic periodicals: in Dutch and English. Many graphologists worldwide today refer to Saudek’s work without knowing the origin. He published Experimental Graphology in 1929. Saudek examined the speed in handwriting and quantified handwriting by using a microscope, caliper, pressure board, ruler, protractor and slow-motion pictures. He also dealt with graphological phenomena in terms of the experimental psychologists.

Sheila Lowe is a British-born novelist and graphologist. Her first book was published in 1999 and was a bestseller in the Complete Idiot’s Guides series. In 2007, the first edition of Poison Pen, the first of her Claudia Rose forensic mystery series came out, published by Capital Crime Press. She is at present the president of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation.

Studies

There have been studies in the U.S. on handwriting and sex. According to the research sex could be determined through writing at a significant level. Studies on ethnicity, race, age, nationality, sexual orientation, weight have got mixed results. According to the Hungarian Parliamentary Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, handwriting analysis without informed consent is considered to be a privacy violation.

Controversy

Graphology has been a controversial topic for about a century. Some suggest that empirical studies have failed to show its validity to perform personality evaluation. Although it has got support from the scientific community in the mid twentieth century, recent researches have rejected the validity of graphology as a tool for assessing personality and job performance.

How To Survive 2020

COVID-19 has infected millions of people. The economy is in the worst shape it has been in over a decade. Forest fires, job losses, murder hornet, locusts, 2020 has been difficult, strange and a traumatic year. And as the cherry on top, many of us have to stay at our homes or practice social distancing. If you’ve been witnessing or suffering through any of these events, you may be looking for answers on how to get through them.

With 2020 being such an abnormal year, there is a good chance it is taking a toll on your physical, financial and mental health. Here, what could be practiced to stay informed and survive 2020-

  1. Address Your Health- During 2020, you’re probably not going going outside often and spending time with your family and friend is more rare than ever. It is natural for these conditions to take a toll on your mental health. To help with all this, find ways to cope with how you are feeling. It is always important to talk to people you love through voice or video calls or texts, do your best to workout at home, and take your time out of the day to do things you love. And also, stay away from social media if all the negative news becomes too much for you.
  2. Organize Your Finances- If you have lost, or at risk of losing your job, it is good idea to minimize your spending. You can do this by breaking up your spending into essential and non-essential purchases. This will help you figure out your survival number, which is the lowest amount of money you need to survive. Look at other types of spending you can cut out, like your gym membership as your gym may not be open during the pandemic.
  3. Learning a New Skill- There is a good chance that you have a lot of time in your hands now and what better way to use it than utilizing it in learning something new? You can take an online coding course or even learn to knit. Learning something new and staying productive is hugely helpful to your mental health. You can also create a side hustle from it, allowing you to earn money, and if can not earn money from it, you can learn a new skill that saves you money like growing your own food or being able to fix appliances.
  4. Pay Attention- Even though what’s going o in the world can be extremely negative, it is important to stay informed. Use multiple, reliable news sources to educate yourself about what is going on. It can help relive some anxiety when you are more informed. That being said, don’t get overwhelmed by the news. Looking at COVID-19 stats or civil unrest all day can become exhausting, limit yourself to checking news just once in a day, and leave it to that.
  5. Reach Out- Remember that this year has been hard on all of us, and everyone is struggling in some way or another. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you are having a hard time, and remember to check-in on your loved ones to see how they are coping with this crazy year. We are all in this together, stand up for what is right. Support local businesses and donate to charity or your favorite causes if you can. Once, this is all over we’ll finally come back to normal. And hopefully, the new normal will be a better world than ever.

Conspiracy Theories & Chill

Let’s get illuminaughty

False Flag Theorists

False flag theorists see darker forces behind whatever sinister world events are taking place. They believe events such as gun massacres and terror attacks are staged to make it appear as if some other group designed and carried out the event – in effect planting a false flag at the scene. The “false flag” concept can be virtually applied to just about any world event – the 9/11 attacks, so some believe, weren’t carried out by al-Qaeda but the Bush administration as an excuse for war in the Middle East.

Bilderberg Group

The Bilderberg group is an annual meeting of ‘elite intellectuals’ from across the world to discuss — well, no-one really knows. No minutes are published of the meetings, which take place behind closed doors amid tight security. The group has been accused of everything from plotting the rise and fall of world leaders to trying to form a New World Order, made up of the top figures in banks, corporations and countries.

The Mandela Effect

It is a phenomenon where a group of people collectively misremember a fact or an event. The term was coined by the paranormal enthusiast Fiona Broome. She along with many other people, remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s rather than from illness in 2013. Some of them even claim they remember his funeral being broadcasted on TV, like do you remember the Monopoly Man wearing a monocle? You’re not the only one. However, if you look at him carefully, you’ll realize he’s not wearing a monocle. He never has. While the famous Snow White quote you’ve probably heard others say and repeated yourself is “Mirror, mirror on the wall,” it turns out the correct line is “Magic mirror on the wall” Some people also remember the second part of that quote being “Who is the fairest of them all?” but apparently it’s “Who is the fairest one of all?

Britney Spears Was an Instrument of the Bush Administration

What if Britney Spears’s public meltdown, a series of bizarre events and public outburst— the head shaving incident which ultimately resulted in her receiving a conservatorship and losing custody of her children to ex-hubby Kevin Federline— wasn’t the result of her own personal issues? There are theories that say Britney was being paid by the Bush administration to grab headlines away from the corrupt and incompetent White House. 

BONUS

 The Illuminati is real, lizard people are also real, and the Earth is hollow with a colony of people living inside the middle, just kidding (maybe). But there are way crazier, way more coherent truths out there waiting to be seen.

So for all you conspiracy theory lovers, here are some shows and documentaries you would want to watch-  

  • WORMWOOD
  • THE TRAFFICERS
  • UNDERWORLD, INC.
  • DIRTY MONEY.

Email Etiquettes For Students

Simple rules to send a respectful email that won’t get you on your professor’s bad side. 

Rule 1 – Answer swiftly

 Anyone who sends you an email they’ll want quick responses. The golden rule for email is to reply within 24 hours, and preferably within the same day itself. If your response email is complicated, just send an email confirming receipt and letting them know that you will get back to them. This will ease the senders mind! 

Rule 2 – Use a meaningful subject line

 When filling the subject line, make sure that you mention what the email is for or in regards to. You don’t want it to seem like a randomly generated subject and end up in your professor’s spam folder. It also makes it easier to search for old emails when the subject line is relevant and specific to the content of the email. 

Rule 3 – Read your email before you send it 

Prior to sending your email, be sure that you proofread your message. You shouldn’t write your email as though you are texting your friend. Make sure it’s got full sentences, proper grammar, and real spelling. Look out for potential misunderstandings, the tone, and inappropriate comments. 

Rule 4 – Abbreviations & emoticons 

Be careful using email abbreviations such as BTW (by the way) and LOL (laugh out loud) in formal emails. Even today, some people still don’t know what they mean, so it’s better to drop them. 

Rule 5 – Be concise

 Be succinct and keep your message short and to the point. Your professor is going to have probably hundreds of email messages to wade through each day. Just get to the point and politely, respectfully, ask your request.  If it has to be long, consider including a synopsis at the top of the email. Make sure you are as clear as possible about what it is you need to ask of your professor without writing a novel. 

Rule 6 – Do not write in CAPITALS 

IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS IT SEEMS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING!! Therefore, try not to send email text in capitals. 

Rule 7 – Use a professional email address

 This marks the message as legitimate and not spam. You should always have an email address that conveys your name so that the professor an idea of who’s sending the message. Never use email addresses, perhaps remnants of your grade-school days, that are not appropriate for use in a formal setting, such as “supergirlrocks@…” or “pizzalover@…”.

Rule 8 – Use professional salutations 

Don’t use laid-back, colloquial expressions like, ‘Hi’ or ‘Yo’. Address your professor directly; don’t just launch straight into a request. Examples: ‘Respected Dr. Kapoor’, ‘Dear, Ms. Gupta’, ‘Dr. Sharma, I hope this email finds you well…’. 

Rule 9 – Be polite

Don’t make demands, don’t accuse, remember to write please and thank you. Close your email with something polite like ‘Thanks’, ‘Thanks for your time’, ‘See you in class Wednesday’, ‘regards’, etc. Then re-type your first name 

Little Things To Help The Planet

It is extremely important that we look after our planet but often as teenagers it can be hard to donate money to support the cause or spend time volunteering, so here are a few things you can do instead.

1. Say no to the straw!

According to Indian pollution control board15,342 tonnes of plastic waste is produced in India every year. A big chunk of it is single use plastic straws, which can’t be recycled! These tiny straws can do a lot of harm to the ocean- it can kill all sorts of wildlife including sea turtles. So why not stop using plastic straws altogether? Some love using straws, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do. Instead, switch to glass straws, paper straws or metal straws, here are some affordable options:

1. Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws Set (2 Bend & 2 Straight Straws, 1 Cleaning Brush) from Amazon

2. Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws (Copper Colour) – Pack of 4 (Straight & Bent) with Brush and Jute Pouch Cutlery from Amazon

3. Premium Biodegradable Paper straws from Amazon

4. Bent Glass Straws, Pack of 6 from Amazon

2. Invest in a tote

Whenever you’re out for grocery shopping, carry a reusable tote with you. Personally, I love a good tote bag, especially the ones you can fold up and tuck away in your shoulder bag. 

Here are some affordable options:

  1. Foldable Shopping Bags for Grocery from Amazon

2. Ikea Compact Size Foldable Reusable Bag from Amazon

3. Reusable mugs!

Every time you go out to the coffee shop and order your cappuccino to go you’re wasting a cup. To avoid this you might want to buy yourself a nice reusable cup. Not only do they reduce waste, but cups with lids are also a better alternative if you drink tea or coffee while you’re on the go. 

Here are some affordable options:

  1. Glass mug with a with Steel Steiner from Amazon

2. Biodegradable Bamboo Fibre Eco Travel Mug from Amazon

3. Silicone Travel Collapsible Coffee Cup By The June Shop

4. Bottle it up 

There is nothing better than a cute reusable water bottle in my opinion. There are so many to choose from and reduce the waste created by using plastic water bottles. 

Here are some affordable options:

1. Stainless Steel Water Bottle from Amazon

2. Glass Transparent Bottles, Set of 2 from Amazon,

3. Copper Water Bottle from Amazon

5. Wrap your gift up in paper

Avoid using things that are packaged  or wrapped in single use plastic. Try to use paper or paper bags instead. And if you can’t do that, look for recyclable packaging. 

Here are some affordable options:

  1. Paper wrappers from Amazon

2. Brown Paper Bags from Amazon

6. Walk more 

Using a car is one of the worst things for the environment. If the distance to be covered can be covered on foot then why not walk to where you want to be? It’s an easy way to exercise and you’re helping our planet too by reducing greenhouse gasses. If you can’t walk there, why not take the public transport? It’s cheaper and saves the planet. 

Upcycling Household Items

Hacks everyone should know

When it comes to upcycling household goods and items, it can involve creative and innovative thinking. Instead of letting item you no longer use pile up, gather dust, occupy unnecessary space or throwing them out in the garbage, which is definitely not recommend, give them new life.

To get your DIY routine warmed up, I’m sharing some ways to upcycle household items that are present in every home which aren’t in use anymore. Use these green hacks and shift your home to a more sustainable and waste free home. 

Hacks to Upcycle Household Items:

Before you toss your over used rubber gloves, that have seen better days, in the bin, cut the fingers off and then cut them further into small rings and use them as elastic rubber bands to keep miscellaneous items in place. 

Only a single sock left? Take the solo sock and turn it into a reusable and washable face mask by cutting the top section off, and then cut two slits in the heel portion for your ears. 

Turn your broken belt or any belt that you no longer style into a rustic shelf in a few easy steps. First, remove the buckle part, then cut your belt in half. Form a loop out of each half of the belt and then nail them into the wall. Then gently slide a piece of sleek board or an old piece of wood between the loops.

Upcycle your household and beauty products like candles in glass containers, glass bottles, old jewellery boxes, containers that you no longer use. First, properly cleaning them out, then use them as decorative storage- story your pins, makeup brushes, pens, use these to store spices in the kitchen or use them to store flowers in the bathroom. 

Do you have too many mason jars laying around? Create your own homemade scented candles- fill the jar with oil, lemon, and add a wick. Or just YouTube the procedure. 

A run in your favourite tights and you can’t wear them anymore? Get yourself nice beachy waves, watch this viral no-heat curls hack using a pair of tights.

Want to go grocery shopping in your shoes but fear them contacting any corona surface? Use on old shower cap to cover the sole. Throw them out before entering back. 

Want to read more such hacks? Check my favourites ones out: 

  1. 22 genius ways to upcycle everyday objects

2. How to Repurpose or Upcycle 38 Common Household Items

3. Reuse Everyday Objects! 10 DIY Home Decor Ideas and More Upcycling Hacks

4. Upcycling Household Items Quick Make

5. 11 Genius Ways To Upcycle Loads Of Household Items!

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

What is apple cider vinegar?  

Apple cider vinegar, also known as ACV is produced during fermentation of apple cider. The sugar present in the apple is fermented by yeast/bacteria which first turns it into alcohol. Further the alcohol is fermented to turn into acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar contains 4-5% of acetic acid, to which many health benefits can be attributed to. Not all apple cider vinegar is created the same, the key is to look for organic, unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar with “mother” which indicates that it contains probiotics. 

What are the health benefits of apple cider vinegar?

It is almost magical what apple cider vinegar can do for your health.  Let’s start with a list of benefits first and then get into details. 

  1. It can improve digestion
  2. It lowers blood sugar levels
  3. It improves insulin sensitivity
  4. It reduces belly fat
  5. It helps lowers cholesterol
  6. It helps sooth sore throat
  7. It lowers blood pressure and improves heart health
  8. It prevents and decreases the risk of getting cancer and slows down the growth of cancer cells
  9. It helps people to lose weight and increases satiety

Apple cider vinegar is also packed with nutrition. Let’s take a look at its nutritional composition to see what makes apple cider vinegar so special. Apple cider vinegar contains:

  • Magnesium
  • amino acids
  • antioxidants
  • iron
  • manganese
  • phosphorus
  • only three (3) calories per tablespoon

1. Improves Digestion– Drinking apple cider vinegar everyday can help regulate the amount of acid present in your stomach, which will lead to easier digestion. Like any other fermented food, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains healthy bacteria that helps to keep your digestive system functioning properly. 

2. Lowers blood sugar levels and helps fight Diabetes– Apple cider vinegar has the ability to improve insulin sensitivity and it also helps lower the blood sugar levels. According to a research published by American Diabetes Association, taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before going to bed can reduce fasting blood sugars. 

3. Detoxifies the Liver– Apple cider vinegar increasing energy levels and improves its natural blood filtration processes by flushing the liver.                                                                                                                                                                                                    

4. Helps You Lose Weight– Apple cider vinegar also helps with weight loss as it increases satiety, feeling of being full, which can help prevent cravings.

5. Inhibits the growth of Cancer Cells.  Many studies show that apple cider vinegar has some anti-cancer benefits to it as it is an alkalizing food that restores the acid balance of the body which is important because cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment.

6.) Strengthens the bones – Apple cider vinegar aids in the process of  absorption of calcium, which is essential to building strong bones.

8.) Lowers Cholesterol– Studies show that apple cider vinegar reduces the bad cholesterol- LDL and in turn increases the good cholesterol- HDL due to the natural antioxidants present in it.

How to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet?  

The best way to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet is to use it for salad dressings or dilute it in water and drink it as a beverage. 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) mixed in a large glass of water and consumed daily.

Refer to this article for detailed consumption patterns for different uses- Apple Cider Vinegar Dosage: How Much Should You Drink per Day?

It’s best to start with small doses of apple cider, avoid taking large amounts because too much of vinegar can cause harmful side effects.

New Media And Reporting Gender Based Violence

Trigger Warning: Mention of Rape and Sexual Assault

New Media has also changed the style of journalism, such as the rise of online journalism, where facts, information, and reports are produced and distributed through the internet. News in the New Media era is enabled to spread more widely and rapidly. News content is now enriched by lots of digital elements such as images, embed videos, comment box. These elements make the information presented becomes more attractive. One of the salient characters of online journalism is its dependency on speed in delivering information. When we talk about the emerging trends in media, we cannot afford to overlook the role of online media in changing the scenario in the context of women’s issues. The content that the online media produces reflects the pattern of value the society. The prevailing attitude of society gets revealed through the way subjects dealing with women are treated by the media (Arpita Sharma, 2012). 

Media has the choice of acting as both, a protagonist and as a perpetrator-it can either reinforce the gender-based discrimination by portraying sensational and stereotypical images of women or it can provide balanced reportage that empowers women and not degrades them while exposing acts of gender-based violence. Rape cases and sexual assault cases are not a recent trend in the society but sensitive reportage and wide coverage by media while also bringing these issues forefront are relatively very new. 

Gender-based violence or GBV is violence that is directed against a person because of their gender. Both women and men experience GBV but the majority of victims are women and girls. GBV and violence against women are terms that are synonymous as it is widely acknowledged that most gender-based violence is inflicted on women and girls, by men. The issue of GBV reaches every corner of the world. The numbers of women and girls affected by this problem are shocking. According to the World Health Organization’s data from 2013, one in every three women has been beaten, compelled into sex or are abused. One in five women is sexually abused as a child, according to a 2014 report.

In coverage of GVB, several stereotypes are often perpetuated by the new media. These include that rape is similar to sex, that the assailant is motivated by female lust, that the assailant is perverted, crazy or a monster, that the woman provokes rape or assault, and that only women are only victims. Scholars have found that these stereotypes and myths are pervasive in media coverage of rape and assault cases. Not only the language and the framing of the headlines but also the visuals used in the articles regarding GVB play an important role in the general perception of these issues.

In Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (UNESCO, 2012), under Category B- Gender Portrayal In Media Content, B1.5- Strategic Objective 5 states the indicators for the coverage of gender-based violence. Three of them are-

  1. Use of non-judgmental language, distinguishing between consensual sexual activity and criminal acts, and taking care not to blame the victim/survivor for the crime 

2. Use of the term ‘survivor’ rather than ‘victim’ unless the violence-affected person uses the latter term or has not survived 

3. Use of background information and statistics to present gender-based violence as a societal problem rather than as an individual, personal tragedy 

Terms such as ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’ are often used to describe individuals who undergo these experiences. The term ‘victim’ reiterates feelings of helplessness and lack of female agency, while the term survivor connotes a sense of strength and resilience. However, the affected person should have a say in what to refer them as. The ‘victim’ terminology limits individual self-agency and identity. It is important to note that experiences of violence do not define the individual, but rather are a piece of a larger self-identity. Such labels focus on experiences of violence and presuppose an individual’s inability to change or undergo any personal development to transform their identity into a peaceful, empowered personality. 

Images of sexual violence in the media often depicts women as covering their face, being silenced by looming hands, teary faces, large shadows near the woman, are some of the visual examples. These images not only fuel the stereotypes of women as helpless and weak, but also these images are also extremely triggering for the survivors of sexual assault and rape. 

When media reports women who have been assaulted or raped as nothing but victims, society can disengage and fail to take the issue as a broader societal issue and fail to take responsibility for any individual or group action to change it. It is crucial then for journalists to report on GBV in an informed way and to have a good theoretical understanding of the roots of these gender based violence’s and what needs to change in society. Otherwise, they can do harm by perpetuating patriarchal stereotypes and falsehoods. 

How Is COVID-19 Impacting The Environment?

A BRIEF ON COVID-19:

The coronavirus disease- COVID-19 is a highly transmittable and pathogenic viral infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2, which emerged in Wuhan, China and spread around the world. Analysis revealed that SARS-CoV-2 is phylogenetically related to severe acute respiratory syndrome-like bat viruses, therefore bats could be the possible primary reservoir. The intermediate source of origin and transfer to humans is not known, however, the rapid human to human transfer has been confirmed widely. There is no clinically approved antiviral drug or vaccine available to be used against COVID-19. However, few broad-spectrum antiviral drugs have been evaluated against COVID-19 in clinical trials, resulted in clinical recovery.

ORIGIN:

The first human infections were reported at the end of December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei province in China when a cluster of 41 pneumonia cases was identified. Deeper analysis showed that it was a novel coronavirus. A third – 66% of the cases – had direct exposure to the Huanan Seafood market. Fish, shellfish, wildlife, snakes, birds and several different types of meat and carcasses were sold at this market. The market was closed immediately, and it has not reopened since. (source: ScienceDirect.com, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673620301835?via%3Dihub)

The strongest speculation of the origin has been that the virus is somehow linked to the market given two thirds of the first batch of people infected had had ties with it. But even this hasn’t been proved yet. Nevertheless, Bats, in particular, have been studied closely because they are considered to be the natural host of coronaviruses.

this is not my image, credit to the artist

EFFECT of covid-19 on the environment:

The objective of this article is to analyse the positive and the negative environmental impact of this abhorrent pandemic, Covid-19.

The Positives-

  • Improved Air Quality: 

The coronavirus has temporarily slashed air pollution levels around the world (source: European Space Agency). Readings from ESA’s Sentinel-5P satellite also show that over the past six weeks, the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over cities and industrial clusters in Asia and Europe were markedly lower than in the same period last year. Nitrogen dioxide is produced from car engines, power plants and other industrial processes and is thought to exacerbate respiratory illnesses such as asthma. While not a greenhouse gas itself, the pollutant originates from the same activities and industrial sectors that are responsible for a large share of the world’s carbon emissions and that drive global heating. Take transport, for example, which makes up 23% of global carbon emissions. Driving and aviation are key contributors to emissions from transport, contributing 72% and 11% of the transport sector’s greenhouse gas emissions respectively. (Source: http://www.ipcc.ch)

If we consider the case of Delhi, on 6th April, for the third week Delhi continued to breathe clean. The weekend before this saw the best air quality in the national capital region (NCR) in 2020, with an average AQI of 46. The weekend before that, it was at 159.  There was a remarked improvement in air quality in the NCR, as the harmful PM10 and PM2.5 levels were down by 35-40% in Delhi (source: The Economic Times).

The visible positive impacts whether through improved air quality or reduced greenhouse gas emissions – are but temporary. This is because they come on the back of an economic slowdown and human distress. During the pandemic, these emissions will stay lowered. But what will happen when the safety measures are eventually lifted?  The people will be back to regular.

  • Some Cut Downs on Wastage:

During the coronavirus outbreak, the habits that are coincidentally good for the climate might be travelling less, like cutting down on food waste as we experience shortages due to stockpiling.

  • Rethinking how we use energy:

A benefit of no travel and a lockdown is we will spend some time rethinking how we use energy.

The Negatives-

  • Increase In Use Of Single-Use Plastics:

With as many as 12,82,931 cases recorded in 211 countries ( as of 8 April 2020, 05:30 GMT, Source: WHO), the United Nations’ World Health Organization has recently declared the fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. It is natural then that citizens around the globe are hastening to take every possible measure to safeguard their health against the virus. The most widespread of these precautions is the extensive use of surgical face masks.

These masks are mainly made of non-woven fabric such as polypropylene, polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyethylene or polyester. While they keep out bacteria effectively, the masks are plastic-based, liquid-resistant products that have a long afterlife after they are discarded, ending up in landfill or oceans.  

Given that surgical masks are supposed to be worn for no longer than one day, their disposal- along with that of empty hand sanitizer bottles and soiled tissue papers- is leading to a massive trail of clinical waste in the environment.

Take the case of Wuhan, for example. The Chinese city which has been at the epicentre of the pandemic and which is home to over 11 million people, is reported to have generated 200 tons of clinical trash on a single day (24 February 2020), four times the amount the city’s only dedicated facility can incinerate per day. (source: scmp.com)

  • Mountain Of Waste:

With consumers stuck at home, there’s been a surge in the amount of household garbage as people increasingly shop online and order meals to be delivered, which come with a lot of packaging. (source: time.com)

Meanwhile, China is drowning under medical waste produced by hospitals including face masks and single-use tissues. If the waste is not handled properly, the garbage collectors are likely to catch and spread the infection

  • More Hand Wash, More Use Of Water:

Today, the only defence against the pandemic is that we wash our hands frequently — 20 seconds each time. The fact is, clean water remains the most important preventive health measure in the world.

A proper hand wash involves lathering soap and scrubbing hands on both sides for at least 20 seconds, according to WHO guidelines. A 30 to 40 second hand wash would use up around four litres of water if the tap is on, or two litres with the tap closed, while scrubbing with soap. Around 20 to 40 litres of water is used up every day, with the assumption that every person cleans her hands at least 10 times a day, instead of a usual average of five times a day.

A family of five members would thus need 100 to 200 litres of water per day only to wash hands. This would result in the generation of around 200 litres of wastewater per day, a 20 to 25 per cent increase in water demand and generation of wastewater from human settlements. (source: downtoearth.org.in)

It is also important to note that a large numbers of people in India and vast parts of the still emerging world do not have access to water, forget its portability. 

  • Climate Issues Take a Backseat:

Before the coronavirus, momentum seemed to be building behind governments and businesses taking steps to address climate change. As 2020 began, wildfires were destroying vast swaths of Australia; and the climate activist Greta Thunberg had become a household name. But the spread of the coronavirus has thrown an even more urgent crisis at governments and business: how to save the lives of millions of people, prevent health care systems from collapsing, and shore up economies that must now enter something comparable to an induced coma. 

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, the coronavirus crisis has been having short term positive environmental effects but long term negative effects on the environment. Production has decreased, there’s less pressure on energy resources, less fuel burnt in transportation, fewer carbon emissions, and less air pollution. However, all of this is temporary and in the long term, the environmental impacts of the coronavirus such as water shortage, increase in plastic production and waste and issues relating to correct waste disposable, to name a few, will pose as a greater problem.

Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before Graduating School

It’s again the time to apply for colleges while you’re just out of school. This stage in life always involves uncertainty and stress, and in addition COVID-19 has made it even more challenging for students. Here are some things I wish I knew before I got out of school-

It’s okay to not have everything figured out just yet

I’m sure you have heard all types of questions about your future- ranging from which college would you like to get into to what do you want to major in, from what type of career do you want after college to what’s your plan-B. If you know the answer to such questions then, congratulations you’re the lucky one. But It’s okay if you don’t know the answers to these right now. Most people don’t have their entire life figured out at age of 17/18. You’ll get there eventually. Try exploring one question at a time instead of stressing about all of these at once. Small steps, remember?

Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone

This is probably one of the biggest things I had to learn after getting out of school. It’s so important that you learn to step out of your comfort zone while you’re in school. School offers you a very sheltered environment, but college doesn’t. You’ll have to make ways to achieve things you want and even go and extra mile for them. Inculcating this habit will benefit you in the long run. You surely don’t want to miss out on opportunities in college simply because you were afraid to take a risk.

You and your friends might grow apart

I was fortunate enough to experience my school friendships grow even stronger after leaving school. But this wan’t the case with most of the friend groups in my school batch. It is something that happens when you all jet off to different cities, when you meet new people who you connect with better or when you see that people who you were close to in school aren’t making as much effort to communicate as you are, which happens a lot. It’s highly unlikely for your entire friend group to end up in the same university or college after graduation or for them to make the same efforts they were making when you all were meeting each day. Either way, don’t be discouraged if you realise you’re not as close as you were in school.

ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s your pride or your fear holding you back, try and get over it. You don’t have to force yourself to struggle when you can ask the ones you trust for help. Whether it’s related to academics or your personal struggle adjusting to a new environment, reach out for help. Looking back you will wish you had asked for help when you had the chance to. This will make your life a lot more easier.

PRIORITIzE your health, physical and mental

Learn to prioritize your health and pay attention to what your body needs from you. Pulling all nighters day after day after day will destroy you and your focus. And No, you can’t survive the whole day at college on a diet of lays and coke forever. Don’t skip your meals. Your health is very important.

You don’t have to be the same person you were in high school

College is the perfect time to reinvent yourself. It’s the perfect time to unlearn concepts and opinions that you no longer agree with. It’s the perfect time to to better yourself educating yourself with issues that are revenant around you. University offers you an environment suitable to reinvent yourself, it offers you the space to give educated opinions and to find like minded people who you willingly want to interact with online school where you had to interact with your classmates only. If you were the brainiac that always had a secret passion for art, then join your college’s art club. If in school you were into sports but always appreciated and enjoyed debating, then join the debate club while participate in the sports activities of your choice. You don’t have to stay the same and that’s the beauty of it.