Sunday, November 30, 2014

Magic Monday/3

Magic Monday

Mondays are full of madness! Mondays for most people brings out the colour blue (Monday Blues). But like so many things, is it just a figment of our imagination? So if change our attitute, is it possible to change Manic Monday into Magic Monday? What if we feed it into our system that Monday will be a grand day? It will be a day when our energy levels will be the higest because we will be refreshed after a break and that we will start a new week with zest and high spirits! What if we tell ourselves at the start of the week that this week we will be unstoppable, be a powerhouse and race ahead,  could it change things? I believe it could :)

And believing is the first step towards changing things for good !! :)

This is my third post in the Magical Monday series of inspirational stories aimed at motivating us to bring out our best on the first day of the week! Today I chose to write about a story on 'chasing your dreams' any why nothing  should stop you from doing so! This story is about a poor couple from India who made it possible to travel to 16 countries even when money was tight with their sheer hardwork and a passion to fulfil their dreams!

Kochi is a beautiful coastal city in South of India and Vijayan , a 65-year-old wayside tea-seller has been selling tea in this city for over 40 years now. His tea stall is the only source of income to his family but this has never been an obstacle in fulfilling his dream of travelling all over the world which include countries like Britain, France, Austria, Egypt, USE etc.

Vijayan loved traveling right form his childhood and visited various parts of india with his father as a child. On his father's demise his dreams came to a standstill as the responsibility of sustaining his family fell on his shoulders. He reignited his dream after his marriage and travelled to a number of countries with his wife, Mohana, because he believes there is no point of fulfilling your dreams if you have nobody to share it.

Despite having to work hard to make ends meet, the couple would take a loan, travel to a foreign destination, come back and spend the next three years repaying the debt they owed, and the cycle would go on. There was no stopping this couple from chasing their dreams and the next destination on their wish list is none other than United States of America!

Vijayan and Mohana have set an example on how life can be given a beautiful purpose and in the process making each day worthwhile :)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Feel Good Friday/2

Black or white head also referred to as acne commonly afflict teenagers at the time of puberty.

Mostly everyone has been through this and needless to say that mainly people remember this harrowing phase as a period of experiment with multiple products both medicinal and non medicinal. Twenty percent of individuals with acne develop severe disease which can result in physical scarring and mental and emotional stress. Although a number of products are available without prescription for acne treatment these may not be very safe.

The FDA, US Drug Regulatory Authority,  has issued a warning that certain over-the-counter topical acne products,includingProactivNeutrogenaMaxClarityOxyAmbiAveeno, and Clean & Clear may cause rare but serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions or severe irritation. Users who experience hypersensitivity reactions such as throat tightness, difficulty breathing, feeling faint, or swelling of the eyes, face, lips, or tongue or who develop hives or itching should stop using the products and seek immediate emergency medical attention.

It is important to understand the condition, the treatment options available and also to consult a dermatologist before experimenting with products available in the market.

Acne is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Acne usually appears on your face, neck, chest and back. Acne may be worsened by infection of inflamed follicle by bacteria

Various topical and systemic drugs are available for treatment. Most common are adapalene and clindamycin used topically. Oral contraceptives  pills can be used for treatment as well. 

                              Now a bit for mental wellness...
A little something to bring up a smile..
Read on..

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Magic Monday

Magic Monday

Mondays are full of madness! Mondays for most people brings out the colour blue (Monday Blues). But like so many things, is it just a figment of our imagination? So if change our attitute, is it possible to change Manic Monday into Magic Monday? What if we feed it into our system that Monday will be a grand day? It will be a day when our energy levels will be the higest because we will be refreshed after a break and that we will start a new week with zest and high spirits! What if we tell ourselves at the start of the week that this week we will be unstoppable, be a powerhouse and race ahead,  could it change things? I believe it could :)

And believing is the first step towards changing things for good !! :)

This is my second post in the Magical Monday series of inspirational stories aimed at motivating us to bring out our best on the first day of the week! Today I chose to write about a story of friendship and humanity highlighted by the inspiring gesture of a Brigadier in the Australian Army.

Brigadier William Sowry, 52, was posted to india for training in the year 1994. Here he met his friend Major Mohit Whig who was coparticipating in the training. William Sowry was a young major in the Australian Army at the time and developed a close bong Whig and his family. After a year of training in India Sowry left for Australia and Whig was posted to Kashmir, a disturbed area of India which has infamous  for insurgency and militancy.Whig was posted to the Kashmir Valley for counter insurgency duties. On 4 June 1997, while on a patrol, Whig along with three other soldiers was killed by a land mine. He left behind his wife Tina and two young children, Zorawar and Fateh. 

A few years back Sowry got in touch with Whigs family through the social networking and learnt about his late friends younger son who was suffering from Spina Bifidacongenital spinal disorder that has left him differently-abled since birth. In  his own words Sowry gives his account of the shock he felt when he learnt about the family's condition.

"I received a letter from Tina and I still remember the shock (I still have her letter) when Tina said Mohit was dead. As is always the case the tragedy hit the family even more with the severe spina bifeda that beset Fateh, his second son. Tina wants Fateh to have more independence as he gets older and the ability to self care to some extent and since one of the hospitals that can help with this training is in Australia she approached me," Sowry said. 

Sowry found out details and realised that they would need about 25,000 pounds in total. 

He decided to step in to help and built a fund-raising campaign called PUFF - Push Ups For Fateh. 

In the 23 days that the Tour De France takes place, he started doing four push-ups for every kilometre of the race. That meant for the 3,660 kilometres he did 14,642 push-ups in 18 days and  raised 12,000 pounds, which is roughly half the funds required. 

This is when very few of Whigs close friends in India contributed to this cause.

This is just such an inspiring story of friendship which proves that a true  friend will be there for you when you are alive and when you are gone, when you are close and when you are far, when you have kept in touch and when you come for help even after years of being away.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Feel Good Friday

This Friday post has been written with the aim of inspiring a few to do a bit for their physical and mental wellness. In this fast paced life we need constant reminders on the little things which can be done to improve our lifestyle.

Well I am starting this post by writing a bit about simple precautions that can help protect from the harsh effects of winter on skin. A part of physical wellness :)

  • The importance of moisturising in winters need not be highlighted but it's important to know the type of moisturiser to choose. A moisturizer that's oil-based, rather than water-based should be prefered as the oil creates a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. 
  • The skin on your hands is thinner than on most parts of the body and has fewer oil glands. Therefore it's harder to keep hands moist in winters and this can lead to itchiness and cracking. It is advisable to mosturize hands and wear gloves while go outside
  • For your feet you need lotions that contain petroleum jelly or glycerine. Exfoliants should be used periodically to get the dead skin off; this will help any moisturizers to sink in faster and deeper.
  •  Avoid using harsh peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners or astringents on your face as these strip vital oil from your skin. Instead, find a cleansing milk or mild foaming cleanser, a toner with no alcohol, and masks that are "deeply hydrating," rather than clay-based, which tends to draw moisture out of the face. And use them a little less often.
  • Some people develop dry and scaly patches on the skin which are intensely itchy. These symptoms are of atopic dermatitis , a condition which may need treatment with topical steroids for relief of symptoms.
Now a bit for mental wellness...
A little something to bring up a smile..The latest invention to hit the ostrich pillow!

A pillow that allows you too keep yourself away from all that happening around you and happily slip in to sweet slumber :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Heart Beats the Mind Again!

Sometimes life clasps you like a claw.
 Sometimes you have everything yet nothing.
Sometimes what is practical just doesn't make sense anymore especially to men with poetry in their souls.

I might be the phoenix which rose from the ashes but I can't fly again,

I might be the night that found a flame but there can't be any fire again,

I might be the lake which that has water from frozen ice again but there can't be any ripples again,

I am a man with no more poetry in my soul

This post is in remembrance of the Chinese factory worker who committed suicide because his life was not making sense to him anymore. He was a 24-year-old migrant worker in the southern Chinese city of Shenzen killed himself who jumped out of a window of a residential dormitory run by his employer, Foxconn, the huge electronics manufacturing company with a million-strong workforce that makes the majority of the world's Apple iPhones. His monotonous life got to him and this was evident in the poetry he wrote. This was probably the reason why he took this extreme step.

 A bit ov his soul stirring poetry...

He wrote, "Every time I open the window or the wicker gate/I seem like a dead man/Slowly pushing open the lid of a coffin."

We ran along the railway,
arriving in some place called ‘the City’
where we trade in our youth, and our muscle.
Finally we have nothing to trade, only a cough
and a skeleton nobody cares about.

Midnight. Everyone is sleeping soundly,
We keep our pair of young wounds open.
These black eyes, can you really lead us to the light?
‘Night Shift’

----------------------  May his Soul Rest in Peace  -----------------

Monday, November 17, 2014

Magic Monday

Mondays are full of madness! Mondays for most people brings out the colour blue (Monday Blues). But like so many things, is it just a figment of our imagination? So if change our attitute, is it possible to change Manic Monday into Magic Monday? What if we feed it into our system that Monday will be a grand day? It will be a day when our energy levels will be the higest because we will be refreshed after a break and that we will start a new week with zest and high spirits! What if we tell ourselves at the start of the week that this week we will be unstoppable, be a powerhouse and race ahead,  could it change things? I believe it could :)

And believing is the first step towards changing things for good !! :)

So this Post is Dedicated to Making this Monday Magical !!

Mondays should begin by talking about extraordinary people, who lead exemplary lives and remind us that if there is much to learn if we leave our comfort zones.

The first name that comes to my mind when I think of a person who truly inspires me is a living legend,  Stephan Hawking. He is proved to us that we can reach for the stars even when all odds are against us.

Stephan Hawking was born in 1942 in England. He was not known to be academically very strong during his early school days but gradually developed an aptitude for scientific subjects.

 At the age of 17 he enrolled in the Oxford university to study physics and chemistry and was easily bored by what he learnt there as he found all that was taught to be " ridiculously easy". Indeed he was brilliant but at the same time he was said to have a lively and witty personality. He was into many extra curricular activities during his college days and took active part in the college boat club.

During his final year in college he experienced increasing clumsiness , including a fall on some stairs and difficulties when rowing.The problems worsened, and his speech became slightly slurred. He was diagnosed wit motor neuron disease at the age of 21. This is a disease which makes the affected patients muscles progressively weak . Although he was deeply depressed but at the same time he found the love of his Life and that gave him a reason to continue.

During the late 1960s, Hawking's physical abilities declined and he began to use crutches. As he slowly lost the ability to write, he developed compensatory visual methods, including seeing equations in terms of geometryHawking was, however, fiercely independent and unwilling to accept help or make concessions for his disabilities. He preferred to be regarded as "a scientist first, popular science writer second, and, in all the ways that matter, a normal human being with the same desires, drives, dreams, and ambitions as the next person. He required much persuasion to accept the use of a wheelchair at the end of the 1960s, but ultimately became notorious for the wildness of his wheelchair driving.

The mid to late 1970s were a period of growing public interest in black holes and of the physicist who was studying them. Hawking had done his thesis and much more work in the field  and was regularly interviewed for print and television. He also received increasing academic recognition of his work.

 He is almost entirely paralysed and communicates through a speech generating device now. Even through such trying times he wrote one of the most widely read book of our times in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general; his A Brief History of Time.

There can be no better example of a person who by training his mind to something constructive created history even when all odds were against him. 

So taking inspiration from this great man, let us also make most of this Monday and create some magic of our own :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Woman on Top

Research shows that more and more women are holding top positions in all fields . In 2009 , women held 13.5% of fortune 500 executive officer positions and this number grew to 14.6% in 2013.

The ratios may gradually balance out but the fact the women are from Venus and men from Mars cannot change! So how does a woman boss fare as compared to a male boss?

Research shows that women bosses are:

  • Very emotional about their work - they take success and failure too much to heart on a day to day basis and therefore stress out too much

  • They are perfectionists - they like zero error and will not settle for less therefore can be hard on their subordinates

  • They are not very comfortable with giving a free hand to their subordinates

  • They are not very trusting of their bosses

  • They tend to work harder as subconsciously they are always conscious of the male competition

  • Are not very authoritative

  • Are not fast at taking decisions

Well from personal experience, I have had women bosses with those characteristics but I dont think its good to generalize. But honestly, till now I have had a better experience with male bosses and as a boss myself , I work on not showing these characteristics to the extreme.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dilli Haat : Delhi ' s Cultural Nerve Center

Delhi, the capital city of India, is enjoying the best weather of the year. As autumn is setting in, the sunny days are very enjoyable with the mornings and evenings having a slight chill. It's the kind of weather which urges you to step out and enjoy every second of the pleasent day. 

As a ritual, a trip to one of Delhi ' s culturally most active place is a must in this season. Delhi Haat, is an open-air food plaza and cradia. It is place where artisans and artists from different states of india come and showcase their goods and talent.

Shops in small thatched roof cottages and kiosks give the plaza a village atmosphere.Products offered may include rosewood and sandalwood carvings, embellished camel hide footwear, sophisticated fabric and drapery, gems , beads ,brassware, metal crafts, and silk and wool fabrics. A number of shows promoting handicrafts and handlooms are held at the exhibition hall in the complex.

Occasionally fests are held in Dilli Haat where in artists from different parts of India come and perform and show their talent.

It was indeed a day well spent in Dilli Haat. I was so culturally motivated by watching the performances by talented artists and by seeing the variety of handicrafts that various craftsmen had to showcase.!

Friday, November 7, 2014

What lies beyond?

At a get together this weekend with friends, talk shifted towards ghost stories and life after death over some really scrumptious steaks. While everyone was putting their point of view forward and sharing their experiences, I for one shared my strong  belief in rebirth and the fact that the soul never dies. 

The conversation on these topics always tends to get stuck at a point where our scientific teaching comes in conflict with claims which are more of hearsay and do not have evidence to support them.

In my process of discovering more about life after death theories and authentic experiences shared by people about this, the book which really influenced me was that written by Dr Brian Weiss. 
Dr Brian Weiss

Dr Brian Weiss is a Psychiatrist practicing in USA and as a scientist he was only a believer of evidence based medicine till a point. His belief started to change when all the allopathic regimens written in text books failed to treat one of his patients who was suffering from depression and phobias. He decided to try an old technique of hypnosis on this patient as a last resort and was surprised to see that every time he tried hypnosis on the patient, she drifted back to a previous lifetime recounting experiences of that lifetime.

He was overwhelmed by what he experienced firsth and was compelled to write a book on the same which he titled, 'Many Masters Many Lives'.

The book strengthen my belief in 'life after death' and it helped that it was written by a doctor who was a man of science.

I have come across other evidences since then which support this claim out of which a study conducted by

Southampton University is another interesting piece of evidence.

 Scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria.
And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted.
One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room.
Despite being unconscious and ‘dead’ for three minutes, the 57-year-old, recounted the actions of the nursing staff in detail and described the sound of the machines which is normally not possible for a man who is unconscious.

Another interesting report is that submitted by Dr. Ian Stevenson who also set up the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS), a research unit of the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
He studied and  wrote about these 20 cases of rebirth. He set up a network of volunteers to find these spontaneous past life recall cases as soon as the children began to speak of them. He then would carefully question both the family of the living child and the family of the deceased to ensure that they had no contact and that no information would be passed between them. He would obtain detailed information about the deceased, including information not fully known to anyone involved such as details of the will, that he would use to verify that the child actually did know the information required.
He saw some parralles in  these cases and noted that the case usually starts when a small child of two to four years of age begins talking to his parents or siblings of a life he led in another time and place. The child usually feels a considerable pull back toward the events of the life and he frequently importunes his parents to let him return to the community where he claims that he formerly lived. If the child makes enough particular statements about the previous life, the parents (usually reluctantly) begin inquiries about their accuracy. Often, indeed usually, such attempts at verification do not occur until several years after the child has begun to speak of the previous life. If some verification results, members of the two families visit each other and ask the child whether he recognizes places, objects, and people of his supposed previous existence.

To me the theory on life after death is the only theory which makes sense to this life on earth. The more I read about these interesting studies the more my belief in this theory is strengthened.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Epitome of Will and Determination: Irom Sharmila

In India , a special act of law called the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) can be enforced in states when the scale of continued unrest or instability in the state is too large for local forces to handle especially when in the cases of militancy & insurgency, borders are threatened.

This act gives exceptional powers to Army officers such as:
  • After giving such due warning, Fire upon or use other kinds of force even if it causes death, against the person who is acting against law or order
  • To arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offences or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest.
  • To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests, or to recover any person wrongfully restrained or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances and seize it.
  • Stop and search any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying such person or weapons.

Army officers have legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law. 

This law is considered draconian by many state citizens.  UN has reviewed this law and does not have a favourable view of it and asked India to revoke it.

On 2 November 2000, in Manipur (a state in India where AFSPA is applicable)  ten civilians were shot and killed while waiting at a bus stop as an AFSPA  operation was ongoing.  The incident, was allegedly committed by one of the Indian Paramilitary force operating in the state. The victims included a 62-year old woman, and 18-year teenager who was a 1988 National Child Bravery Award winner.
One lady Irom Sharmila, who was 28 at the time, was unable to come to terms with this incident and began to fast in protest of the killing, taking neither food nor water. The lady has been on fast since the year 2000, arrested many times for attempted suicide. Her health has deteriorated many times during these 14 years of protest fasting, requiring force feeding through nasogastric intubation. However that has not deterred her from standing up for her belief.

She is the epitome of determination and will,  a person who had dedicated her life to a cause for the people. A selfless individual who continues undettered even when her years of sacrifice and pleas have fallen on deaf yeard. A salute to her spirit for being  a hero!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dying with Dignity

The moot question of  whether or not a person can hold the right to die as per their wish has been ignited once again. Should Euthanasia be allowed? Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering.

Brittany Maynard,  a 29 year old newly married woman from America, suffering from last stage brain cancer triggered shock and controversy when she recently publically declared that she would kill herself on November 1 of this year. She decided to move from her home state of California to Oregon to fulfil this wish.

However at present she has not taken that drastic step and has said that she may wait a little longer. Her youtube video where she mentions plans for her death very candidly has had millions of views . She shares  her plans to die in her Oregon bedroom.

Some people have cheered her  while others have decried her decision and the debate on whether terminally ill should be able to decide how and when to die continues. Oregon is the first state in USA which approved the Death With Dignity law in late 1990s which gives people with months to live the right to access lethal medication. Other states in USA which approved similar laws were Washington and Vermont.

Euthanasia debate always deserves mention of Dr. Jack Kevorkian(1928-2011). He was an american pathologist who helped over a 100 people to physician assisted suicide(mercy killing). He was caught in this regard and charged with second degree murder and had to serve 8 years of prison sentence. His patients probably regarded him as a saint however in the eyes of law, he was on the wrong side.

Dr. Jacob(Jack) Kevorkian
Photo courtesy : Wikipedia

The question remains. ..if we don't have the right to chose our birth can we chose our death? or if we can't chose our birth at least can we can have the right to chose our death? Should we give up our faith in superior powers and miracles?