Explore the world of words

Month: February 2021 Page 1 of 2

How does Intermittent Fasting help in Weight Loss?

Fasting has been practiced all over the world since primeval times. Either it’s a ritual or it’s out of necessity. Thus, it is not something that humans are completely unaware of. Dieting is also a form of fasting, being practiced lately to gain a perfect figure. Owning a flawless and slim body has been a major concern for most people. Be it celebs, sportspersons, or even common people like us, everyone wants to look better. Hence, individuals have been ensuing and experts have been signifying several methods and procedures to lose weight. Amongst them all, intermittent fasting, which has recently come back into trend is one of the most effortless and manageable ways to lose weight. It was discovered around 1945 and has hit the headlines again when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey claimed to eat only one meal in a day. Conferring to the reports, IF is 2019’s most prevalent diet trend.

The idea expressed by intermittent fasting is a cyclic pattern to take long gaps between the eating hours instead of skipping meals. This time-based fasting is a weight-loss tool that encompasses scheduling meals at different intervals to procure the most out of them. It does not change the diet plan but rather,  the period of consumption. Since it has reemerged astoundingly in the past few years, more than a few methods of IF have appeared. Some of them are as follows-

  • The 16/8 method (or Leangains Protocol)– In this method, there are 14-16 hours of fasting and 6-8 hours of eating window regularly. For women 14-15 hours of fasting is recommended. Preferably, 2-3 healthy meals can be consumed during the eating window. It is as simple as discontinuing to eat after 8 pm and skipping breakfast.  Beverages like coffee and water can be consumed during the fasting hours to sidestep starvation.
  • The 5:2 diet (or Fast Diet)– This method involves consuming 500-600 calories for two days a week whereas eating normally on the other days. For women, 500 calories and for men, 600 calories are suggested. For example, eating two small meals of 250-300 calories each on Thursday and Sunday and eating habitually on the others.
  • Alternate-Day Fasting (Fast Every Other Day)– In this type of fasting method, it is suggested to ingest a few hundred calories on alternate days. For some, this may seem extreme. Hence, it is not recommended for beginners as it can lead to extreme and perhaps unbearable hunger for a long time. 
  • The Warrior Diet (Eat heavily at night and fast during the day) – It is one of the initial IF methods which involves eating lightly during the day and having a proper meal at night. Raw vegetables and fruits can be taken during the day time while a huge meal can be consumed at night. 
  • Eat Stop Eat– This method is followed twice a week, wherein eating has to be withdrawn for twenty-four hours. For instance, if you have finished the meal at 7 pm on Sunday then you can recommence eating at 7 pm on Monday. Beverages like coffee, water, juices, milk can be consumed during the fasting period. 

Other than weight loss, Intermittent Fasting has plentiful benefits like reduced risk of cancer, lowering of blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation levels. It helps in increasing metabolism, muscle growth, and human growth hormone drastically. Despite numerous benefits, intermittent fasting does not work out for everyone. The quality of healthy food is something that should be well-defined. And junk food should be sternly prevented to resist weight gain.

IF works according to a methodology of fed and fasted state. In the fed state, it absorbs and digests the food whereas in the fasted state it burns the remote fat in the body which consequently leads to weight loss. It is not a diet but rather, forced fasting and hence it is used as a weight-loss tool. 

THE CROWN OF BENGAL

Behold the fascination, 

O’ curious wanderer!

For you are about to enter

the boundaries of

a magical land….

Here the brilliant sun rises free,

shying away behind the mystical valleys.

The snow-capped peaks

of the legendary Himalayas,

towers into the infinite blue sky.

Here a breath of pure breeze, 

elates all life and soul,

as the sparkling rivers channel down,

in a symphony of viol.

A magnificent expanse

of lush green forests, 

becomes the home of exotic wild.

While it’s exquisite serendipity,

manifests a traveller’s paradise. 

O’ curious wanderer, 

Let the wonderful heritage enrich one and all,

here the fables of gallant heroes beckon you.

The rich culture of the citizens,

etch a mark across the world;

as their wholesome gestures 

make memories of gold.

It’s the abode of skilled artisans,

who create the most sensational crafts.

their incredibly sweet language,

heals all agony and hearts.

Behold the fascination, 

O’ curious wanderer!

Let the gorgeous beauty enchant you,

as you enter this place of delight,

creating permanent moments anew.

Come forth, curious wanderer,

To the crown of Bengal!

The magical place which welcomes all

ENOLA HOLMES

DIRECTOR: Harry Bradbeer

PRODUCER: Millie Bobby Brown

ACTORS: Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Adeel Akhtar, Fiona Shaw, Frances de la Tour, Louis Partridge, Susie Wokoma and Helena Bonham Carter

GENRE: Mystery

“Now, where to begin?”

Enola Holmes is a Netflix original based on the novel of the same name by Nancy Springer. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the distribution rights of the film which were originally devised to be given to Warner Bros. were given to Netflix. 

Enola Holmes is the rebellious teen sister of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft Holmes. Set in the Victorian era, the movie gives an insight into the life of a recalcitrant adolescent who finds it difficult to spend her life under the care of her brother Mycroft when she is abandoned by her wild spirited mother. All her life, Enola has thrived to be just like her mother who had taught her daughter to be different from the rest of the ladies of the time. Instead of teaching embroidery, knitting, or other lady-like activities, Eudoria Holmes taught her ward science and everything from chess to jujutsu. 

Realizing Enola cannot allow herself to go to the ‘finishing school’, she absconds to find her mother in London. En route, she gains acquaintance with a peculiar runaway young lord, Viscount Lord Twekesbury the Marquess of Basil Weather. Twekesbury himself is on a run from his family. Although both escapees part ways after Enola saves Twekesbury’s life, it seems their fate is entangled to vouchsafe a bigger mystery that could change the future of burgeoning England.

The conversation with her elders makes the movie intriguing and enjoyable. Enola is unlike the other women from her time; she does not adorn herself with fancy gowns, gloves, or hats. She comes off as an unruly girl to her eldest brother. While Sherlock seems to appreciate the sharp-minded girl, Mycroft is astonished by her uncouth personality. He blames their mother for her unacceptable upbringing. Therefore he calls on the headmistress of a finishing school to groom his youngest sibling. Mycroft and Enola never seem to agree on anything and they both seek Sherlock’s support for their stand to which Sherlock replies in his deductive manner. Enola’s creative and ludicrous caricatures of Mycroft are gently insulting and hugely comical.

However, the scenes between Sherlock and Enola are the most riveting. They both are of the same mettle and Sherlock seems to recognize that. Enola Holmes is as much a sleuth as her elder brother; she even solves a case before him! The normal indifferent character of Sherlock seems to soften when his sister disappears. Although he does not incline to find his mother he does work on finding the whereabouts of his younger sibling. He helps her on her path to finding herself too.

Brown does a splendid job in doing justice to the character of Enola Holmes. The aside conversation of the young protagonist with the audience makes the movie a unique and exciting watch. You will find yourself eye-rolling with the heroine as she descends more into her jocular and mildly perilous adventure.

 It is fast-paced and entertaining, amusing but still makes a strong political point. There is a subtlety of feminism and other reforming affairs but they do not form the main theme of the movie.

The Evolution of the Olympic Games: A Journey through Facts

206 countries, 11000+ athletes, 33 sports and 339 events across 50 disciplines — the Olympic Games is rightfully dubbed as the Greatest Show on Earth. With the vision to unite all the nations and spread the message of peace through the medium of sports, Baron Pierre de Coubertin organized the first Modern Olympic Games in 1896 and ever since, it has transformed into the dream destination for professional athletes around the world who delve into a fortnight-long sporting extravaganza of respect, great camaraderie and competitive spirit. Over the course of its 124-year-old history, the modern Olympics has undergone a lot of transitions with the inception of new technology, inclusion of contemporary sports and increasing public engagement through an in-depth coverage of all the events. What makes the Games special are the remarkable examples that tell the story of how sports itself evolved through the times.

We bring to you some of the most noteworthy facts behind the Olympics and its influence in sporting history.

·       The Summer Olympics of 1900 held in Paris was the 2nd edition of the Modern Games and it witnessed a major revolution — the participation of women. The insurgence of industrialization in Europe and the early suffrage movement of women promoted their entry into new domains. 22 female athletes competed at the 1900 Olympics, attributing to 2.2% of all the competitors. In addition to tennis, golf and sailing, women also competed in traditional games like croquet and equestrian. However, in the early years of the modern Olympics, women’s participation remained limited to ‘aristocratic’ sports only. In the subsequent games, gradually other sporting disciplines opened up for female participation. The 2016 Rio Games saw a whopping 45% share of women athletes. The London 2012 Olympic Games came to be known as the Women’s Games, because it was the first summer Olympics that displayed a genuine correspondence between athletes of both sexes. Women were not prohibited from a single sport and for the first time in Olympic history, each nation sent a female contender.

·       Shooting has long been the focus of the Olympic Games, and the sport was first published in the 1896 edition. While participants usually fired at disc-shaped targets called clay pigeons, the games of 1900 were played with traditional targets- real pigeons. The live birds were held and released while the shooters aimed at the mobile targets. More than 300 birds are reported to have died as a result of the incident. Although there was no PETA at the time to protest against the usage of animals, Olympic officials have since then decided not to use living targets. The 1908 London Games used cardboard cutouts of deers as the target for shooting.

·       Cricket was once a part of the Olympics! Played across two days between Great Britain and France, it remains the only cricket match played in the Olympics so far. It was a game that fielded 24 cricketers in all, instead of the conventional 22, and neither side had players who represented their own countries. Only 366 runs were scored across four innings with Great Britain winning the sole encounter by 158 runs. However, it does not hold the status of a first-class match as it was not an 11-a-side encounter and that it was scheduled for just two days. Mind-boggling, isn’t it?

·       You must have seen Olympians biting their medals during the awards ceremony but ever wondered why they do that? Well, this dates back to centuries past, when traders verified that a coin was indeed made of precious metal and was not a lead counterfeit by biting it. A lead coin will leave teeth marks, but a gold coin will not. The tradition of awarding medals to the top 3 finishers was initiated in the 1904 St. Louis games. Previously, in the 1896 and 1900 Olympics, the winners received valuable pieces of art as the award. The three-tiered victory stand was used for the first time in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

·       Did you know that the Art competition was a formal event in the Olympics? It was the International Olympic Committee originator Pierre de Coubertin’s incredible dream to wed the aesthetics with the athletic—in this manner, each Olympics in the range of 1912 and 1948 granted gold, silver, and bronze medals to the champions. There were five classes of individual rivalry: Architecture, model, painting, writing, and music. Fine arts were needed by legitimate Olympic principles to “shoulder a distinct relationship to the Olympic idea.” Musical arrangements, for instance, which “celebrated a wearing ideal, an athletic rivalry or a competitor, or which were proposed for introductions regarding brandishing celebrations” could be entered for survey and assessment by a worldwide jury. Different inquisitive particulars incorporate a 20,000-word limit on writing sections (a class separated into sensational works, expressive works, and epic verse) and a one-hour time slot for the introduction of every melodic work. The Art rivalry likewise ended up turning into a battling ground of German propaganda. At the initial service of 1936 Olympic craftsmanship rivalry, Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels reminded his crowd that each work entered in the opposition was needed to have been made inside the most recent four years. This limitation, he pronounced, ” enables us to derive from the Exhibition an estimate of international conditions.”  The point by point portrayals in the Official Report of the eleventh Olympic Games not just give an amazing impression of this charmingly unconventional Olympic-workmanship marvel, yet in addition a chilling depiction of Germany during the development of the Third Reich. With an apparent Home-field advantage, it extraordinarily worked in support of Germany that year. The worldwide jury comprised 29 German adjudicators and 12 from other European nations. What little proof exists proposes that not many other host countries so liberally populated their worldwide juries with their own nationals, with one vital special case: In 1932, the United States remembered 24 American adjudicators for a board of 30—to a correspondingly successful impact.

·        Olympic ceremonies are incomplete without the athletes parading with national flags. This tradition was first introduced during the opening ceremony of the 1908 London Olympics. Greece leads the march past in all the Olympics as a custom, followed by all the other teams in alphabetical order in the language of the hosting country. The team of the hosting nation is the last one to march.

·   Photo-finish equipment was first used in close finish track events in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics while the first Olympic games to be televised was the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which also saw the inception of spiked sports shoes for track-and-field athletes.

·   The 1956 Melbourne Olympics was the first one to be held in the southern hemisphere.

·       Results were stored for the first time on a computer with punch cards in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Live Transmission and Worldwide Television coverage was done for the first time in the 1960 Rome Olympics.

·       The Olympic fire is constantly lit. It has been around the world, on concord, winding white-water and even in space and is essentially weatherproof. It can withstand outrageous temperatures and thundering breezes of up to 50 mph and some way or another has not yet gone out during its extensive transfers far and wide.

·       Abebe Bikila won the Marathon race at the Rome Olympic Games in 1960. Incredibly he did it without the advantage of footwear. Running shoeless for the careful 26-mile run, Bikila turned into the principal African in history to win a Gold Medal.

·      Tarzan contended in the Olympics: Johnny Weissmuller, a sports person-turned-entertainer who played Tarzan in 12 motion pictures, won five gold awards in swimming during the 1920s.

·       At the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, two Japanese post vaulters Shuhei Nashida and his companion Sueo Oe were set for a sudden death round to choose who took silver and who took bronze. The pair chose to repudiate the tie-break situation and broadly cut the two awards down the middle. They at that point combined the bronze with the silver to make two new ‘friendship medals’.

The list will go on and on as there are a multitude of inspirational sporting stories and quirky traditions that the Olympics have given us over the years – making it one of the world’s most prestigious, exciting and eventful sporting events in history. With the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo getting postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we eagerly wait for the Greatest Show on Earth to bring about more outstanding moments and record-breaking performances from the sporting maestros.

Fact check and source: olympic.org, olympicschannel.com, champions-speakers.co.uk

A JOURNEY INTO SOLITUDE

The first rays of the breaking dawn

embrace my coarse feet;

As I wonder

How many days it’s been,

Since my soul ceased to exist.

It was a long time ago 

when I set sail;

Trying to escape the wretched humans

In the pursuit of finding,

my true place of belonging.

Time had stagnated for me,

as I was caught in the

infinite weblocks of patience,

Stretching endlessly 

In my inner horizon.

But the void in my heart

was even bigger.

Trapped in oblivion, 

my psyche goes wild. 

My existence is fruitless

For this pathetic world.

Yet, I ask myself

“Do I deserve to live?”

Questions remain unanswered.

The serene river flows,

the sound of my beating heart

resonates through my body.

Drowned in sublime serendipity;

I rejoice,

the never-ending journey.

But I am alone no more.

The sun warms me up,

with its vibrant smile.

The ripples of the water

speak to me,

in sparkling delight.

The subtle breeze,

heals all melancholy.

This is how it must feel,

to be taken care of,

to be loved,

Unconditionally.

The sluttish time never halts,

The rising sun tells a tale….

That it’s another new day.

But the world still moves on….

Without me.

STAGFLATION

Let us go  back to the USA of the 1970s. A never-observed before disturbing trend is on the rise. Soon, it comes to the notice of Classical Economists.

  1. They observe a decline in general productivity levels.
  2. Unemployment levels are on the rise.
  3. However, the prices are increasing every day.

Now, the question here is, how can price levels rise when people are unemployed and not ready to splurge on stuff? The entire situation made no sense to the Economists but they didn’t want to give up. They turned to oil to look for answers. Around that time, the oil-producing nations had imposed an embargo on the USA and refused to continue shipping oil. With the supply of oil dwindling all of a sudden, prices sky-rocketed very quickly and took the costs along with them. As energy production became expensive, retail prices inched up too. The entire prognosis was debated highly and was referred to as a unique case, leading to the coining of a special term for this phenomenon- stagflation.

Stagflation is defined as a period of rising inflation accompanied by falling output and rising unemployment levels. The term was originally coined in 1965 by a British Politician. However, it entered popular discourse during the 1970s when it was adopted to explain the happenings in the USA. A degree of stagflation was also observed in 2008, shortly before the world economies entered recession. The major causes of stagflation could be:

  1. Oil-price rise: A supply-side shock increases costs. Such increases in turn flare inflation and lower the GDP due to a shift in the short-run aggregate supply.
  2. Trading Unions: If trade unions enjoy a higher bargaining power, they demand higher wages even during low economic growth, contributing as a cause of inflation.
  3. Falling Productivity: Inefficient workers are responsible for increasing costs and lowering the output levels.
  4. Rise of Structural Unemployment: A decrease in traditional industries causes this and a decrease in output levels, adding to inflation levels.

The catch here is that the monetary policy can  either increase interest rates to counter inflation or cut rates to boost economic growth. Stagflation is an amalgamation of inflation and deflation hence, becomes a tricky business to solve. A few of its model solutions suggest decreasing economic dependency on oil and boosting the supply-side policies to increase productivity without pushing inflation.

So, if anyone flags stagflation concerns in our own backyard, we have very good reasons to be concerned. In fact, last year in November, this is what former Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh warned about, that India was going down the same rabbit hole. Months later, RBI’s household survey also pointed out the same things. You could see people being laid off, prices were expected to rise and the economy was at a standstill.

India, reeling under the immense pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic, finds itself facing this painful trend. The intermittent lockdown and the higher money supply for the flare of the inflationary pressures have added to our vows. The lockdown led to supply side disruptions for perishable agricultural goods, pushing production costs and contributing to the inflation of food items. It was quite natural to see the spurt in inflationary figures. This also led to the RBI Monetary Policy Committee to hold its rates in August.

Many people have to say that the entire process may be more cyclic in nature, due to the sudden pandemic and ensuing lockdown. As the restrictions have eased out and the economy is opening up again, ideally production costs should normalize. In the string of events that will follow, prices should normalize as well. Yes, we still have job losses and GDP to worry about, but battling inflation while grappling with these two issues is itself a nightmare. Hopefully, stagflation won’t be an addition to it.

ALL ABOUT VEGANISM

I’m anticipating that 2020 is going to be the year, if not the decade of plant-based eating. Vegan is the new black. For some, being vegan may be a dietary choice, while for others it is a lifestyle choice.


People who choose to live a vegan lifestyle may also avoid clothes, soaps, and other products that use or contain parts of animals, such as leather and animal fur. People arrogate this lifestyle for its environmental benefits and for a sustainable living as ‘Plant-Based Diets’ are more sustainable.
Enjoying more plants isn’t only good for you, it’s good for the planet as well. One of the most effective things an individual can do to lower their carbon footprint is to avoid animal products.


Talking about vegan diet, it can provide all of the nutrients that a person needs, and can eliminate some of the possible risks that research has associated with harmful animal fats. In addition, people on a vegan diet often absorb fewer calories than those on a typical Western diet. A moderate calorie intake can lead to a lower body mass index (BMI) and a reduced risk of obesity, a major risk factor for heart disease. Eating a vegan diet may reduce a person’s risk of cancer by 15%. This health benefit may be due to the fact that plant foods are high in phytochemicals, biologically active compounds in plants that protect against cancers. Vegan diets can boost heart health in several ways, are high in fiber, which the AHA link with better heart health. The anti-inflammatory properties of the micro-nutrients present in plant foods reduces the risk of urinary tract infections. Lastly it improves mental health and wellbeing. However people who wish to adopt a vegan diet will need to plan their meals carefully to ensure that they are getting enough key nutrients to avoid deficiencies.


Coming to the dark side of the food industry, data shows the production of dairy products necessitates the death of countless male calves that are of no use to the dairymen ,also because of the premature death of cows who are slaughtered when their milk production decreases. Similarly, within the egg industry, even ‘ethical’ or ‘free range’ eggs involve the killing of the ‘unnecessary’ male chicks even though some of them are just a day old.
Veganism helps solve this issue by adopting green care, a term which isn’t well known yet. It refers to a variety of organized and formal beneficial interactions with nature. Examples include animal-assisted therapy, therapeutic horticulture and care farms.
According to a report titled ‘Top Trends in Prepared Foods 2017’, 6 percent of US citizens currently identify themselves as vegan. That’s a jump from only one  percent in 2014 and  consistent with  a 2019 article within “The Economist”, 25 percent of 25-to-34-year-old Americans say they’re vegans or vegetarians.
Given its significant contributions to climate change and the intensity of the animal suffering it causes, the demise of factory farming will have many social benefits.Veganism as an industry will both provide valuable services as well as generate new, green and humane jobs of different kinds in rural communities.

Hence, Veganism is the way to go, it’s a lifestyle caring not only for oneself but for the environment as well. The following years will see a huge rise in veganism and it’s better to get onto the train as soon as possible, adjustments like practicing veganism for 2 to 3 days a week goes a long way and will help prepare one to take the next step on the road to veganism. The vegan lifestyle is destined to catch up with  the vast majority of our population and  is one of those few trends that people are actually hoping for. We all look forward to seeing how the whole thing plays out as it’s one of those lifestyle changes that can define us as a species and will probably carve a more sustainable and cruelty-free way of living for us and the generations to follow.

India-China: A Thaw Relationship

India and China share an extremely excruciating relationship for decades. The border stiffness between the two most populous nations is not contemporary to anyone. Both the nuclear powers have been valiantly stimulating each other on the border. The root cause behind the disputes spun majorly around domination on geographical extents. The Sino-Indian war laid the footing of the torturous relationship between India and China. On October 20, 1962, the military troops of China confronted the Indian forces antagonistically when India declined the tactful proposals of China over the Himalayan dispute. The war finally ended on November 21, 1962, when China declared a ceasefire on the Indian troop. Despite numerous joint pacts and countless battles, the quarrel and rigidness haven’t faded away. The two Asian giants have been repetitively discovering the political, economic, and strategic ways to subvert each other.

Possibly, two decades after the belligerent war of 1962, the process of stabilization commenced between the nations. It was during 1988 when the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Rajiv Gandhi visited China. Since then, every visit by any political authority led to a new milestone in Indo-China relations and was pertinently named as Graduated Reciprocation in Tension Reduction (GRIT). Later in 2003, Atal Bihari Vajpayee went to China and made ten agreements and a ‘Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation’ between India and China. In the concurrence, India recognized Tibet as the sovereign part of China while in exchange China conceded Sikkim as an Indian terrain, hence putting an end to another divisive episode. ‘A Strategic and Cooperative Partnership’ between the two nations was signed during the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s to India in 2005. It steered the principles and rules about the demarcating at the border with communal adjustment and consensus of both sides. It further held to enable China to ponder Arunachal Pradesh which is administered by India since independence as an Indian topographical district. Also, India consistently counted on the fact that no populated area would be swapped for any border. In barter, India settled on needed concessions on Aksai Chin through which Xinjiang-Tibet road runs.

The Doklam Incident is completely unforgettable in the history of the Indo-China conflict. It began in 2017 when the Chinese military intruded into the Doklam area, a disputed area between China and Bhutan, neighboring India. It is a tri-junction between India, China, and Bhutan. It connects Northeast India to other parts of the country. The thin borderline between the territories makes it a center for argument. China’s perpetual efforts to extend a road on the Doklam plateau southwards near the Doka La pass consequently led to a military standoff between the nations where India fought on behalf of Bhutan and upheld cordiality with the country. The standoff ended when India refused to drift apart and pushed back the Chinese force. Lately, India and China had multiple rounds of diplomatic responses over the dispute with India leading the skirmish.

The involvement of China in the military troops of PoL and Pok, which India considers to be illegally occupied by Pakistan, further kindles to the frigidity of the Indo-China relationship. Since 2002 China has been involved in the infrastructure projects of PoK. Despite continuous warnings, China didn’t cease its operations in PoK and PoL. And China’s around-the-clock meddling in these regions and diplomatic protest regarding the oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea of Vietnam (troubling India’s ONGC joint venture with Petro Vietnam) raised security apprehensions for India.

China’s unswerving sustenance to Pakistan further ignited the flame against its rapport with India. Although the nations have incessantly tried to reach to the resolutions, India has been impotent to embrace the backstabbing and treacherous attitude of China. To date, the frigidity between the nations has not liquefied and the border tension continues to persist.

ENCHANTMENT

She gingerly touched the lush grass,

The dew on them making her fingertips misty, 

She breathed in the invigorating air,

The essence of wet mud, the newly grown leaves on the tree,

She felt content. 

She felt a strange emotion in her,

Gasping for air, she stood up and followed her feet. 

Her chest constricting as she looked back, 

She wanted to halt, scream for some reason but didn’t.

Her eyes wandered around as she took in the place,

Her destination. 

She looked up, a castle, a palace or perhaps, an

abandoned haunted mansion, 

She couldn’t put a name, she was bewitched. 

She crept through the front steps as the door creaked

 open,

the darkness inside crept her, blinded her for a 

moment but slowly, the antiquated candles lit up as she

 scanned the big sumptuous hall. 

She wanted to stop, touch the old books,

The paintings hung on the walls but her feet began, 

Her chest hammering as she went up the stairs,

Tired but curiosity ignited in her. 

She opened a dark room, the spider webs tangled her 

fingers and then,

There was the spinning wheel, the spindle beaming under 

the little sunlight, sparkling like a star. 

She felt melancholic as she stepped in front of it, 

She was drawn like a moth to a flame,

She raised her hand, her breath hitching as she gulped 

with fear and painfully touched the tip and then, 

Everything went black.

OPERATION BLUE STAR 1984

Operation Blue Star was the biggest national security mission ever undertaken by the Indian Army. It was Indira Gandhi’s solution to the out of control law and order situation in Punjab. Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India at that moment, ordered the removal of Sikh militants who were accumulating weapons in the Golden Temple. The operation was held between June 1 and June 8, 1984, in Amritsar.

Bhindranwale, the main reason behind Operation Blue Star, was the leader of Damdami Taksal and influenced the Sikh youth. He convinced many people to follow Sikh rules and tenets. During the operation, Bhindranwale and Khalistan followers took over the Akal Takht complex in the Golden Temple. The Khalistan movement was a political Sikh nationalist movement which aimed at forming an independent state for Sikhs in the current North-Western part of India. Bhindranwale was seen as a supporter of Khalistan. Operation Blue Star specifically was aimed to eliminate Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale from the Golden Temple complex and regain control over the temple.

During the Operation Blue Star, the Punjab media was under a blackout. Journalists were put in a military bus and dropped at the Haryana border. There was a curfew in Punjab, and no transportation took place across the state. The incidents led to a great deal of criticism of the government. The military assault led to tensions across members of the Sikh community worldwide. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984, for permitting the Operation Blue Star.

A repeat of Operation Blue Star was seen a few years later. Operation Black Thunder took place in the late 1980s to remove remaining Sikh activists from the Golden Temple. The ‘Black Cat’ commandos of the National Security Guards were in this operation. Similar to Operation Blue Star, the operation was directed towards Khalistani militants who were using the Golden Temple as a base. The first Operation Black Thunder occurred on April 30, 1986, and the second one on May 9, 1988. The operation was commanded by Kanwar Pal Singh Gill, the DGP of Punjab Police at that time. Little damage was inflicted on the Golden Temple as compared to Operation Blue Star. It is known for its free access to the media, unlike during Operation Blue Star. Operation Black Thunder was far more successful as compared to Operation Blue Star.

CONDUCT OF THE EVOLVED

“Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” – Plato

When we were small, we were taught how to behave in front of other people. We also observed others how they reacted to certain things or situations and adapted them. And over time with experience, we learned different reactions to these situations. Human Behaviour is a certain reaction towards a change in situation, emotion which can differ from person to person and along the course of life. These depend on the person’s thoughts, maturity, experience, and feelings. A person who is composed will control his behaviour while being angry. However, on the contrary, another person might act without thinking. Someone when young might react to a situation differently than the same person when older. 

After studying the behaviour and responses to different stimuli, scientists divided human behaviour into the following categories:

  1. Molecular and Moral Behaviour: Molecular behaviour is when the person acts unexpectedly without thinking. Moral behaviour is when a person takes action after thinking.
  2. Overt and Covert Behaviour: Overt behaviour is the one which is visible to others while Covert behaviour is not visible e.g. – thinking.
  3. Voluntary and Involuntary: Voluntary behaviour can be controlled by the human whereas Involuntary behaviour is natural and happens without thinking.

As Aristotle said, “All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.” Humans have 6 basic types of emotions namely Happiness, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger, Surprise. Emotions play a major role in how a person behaves.

  1. Happiness: The feeling of satisfaction and joy is generally paired with happiness. This is characterized by either a smile or laughter. The person becomes calm and his/her tone is soothing to others. It depends on the person what things make him happy.
  2. Sadness: The person is not interested in his work, can be depressed about something. This is often displayed by crying, low energy, isolating from others, the tone is not very delightful.
  3. Fear: Heart rate increases, the mind becomes more alert and sometimes sweating can also be experienced. The mind often tends to avoid or escape from such scenarios but some manage to stay calm and find a solution. This depends on the thinking and experience of the person.
  4. Disgust: Person usually turns his face away and sometimes result in vomiting. Changes in facial expressions are evident commonly.
  5. Anger: This is a result of frustration. Generally, one loses his control over mind and acts without thinking. The tone, when speaking to someone, can be harsh and loud. Change in facial expressions such as frowning or looking at someone fiercely. Some people have a better grip in situations like these as they keep their cool. They think positively with their minds to get out of the situation.
  6. Surprise: When you get into an unexpected situation, you feel a sense of shock. The expressions evolve into widened eyes, open mouth and raised eyebrows. The physical demonstration can be jumping and screaming.

When we face these emotions, the pattern learned from childhood and experience comes into play. The brain secretes hormones which changes the mental state and the person acts accordingly. Most people have the same behaviour but others have their pattern. There are also other factors which shape our mentality of behaviour. These are Genetics, Social Norms, Creativity, Religion, Attitude and Weather and Climate. A person need not follow what he has been taught or observed but might feel differently and can convert his behaviour. The question is, can animals with different intelligence also behave differently to the same situation? Ponder upon it.

Officialising Sign Language in India

With the introduction of the New Education Policy, a new hope towards the Indian education system has risen, as it will ensure that students possess practical knowledge before joining universities and thus, further sharpening their skills. One underrated and less talked aspect of education is the Indian Sign Language getting standardized across the country. National and State curriculum materials will be developed for use by students with hearing impairment. This has brought delight to the 5 million people benefiting from sign language across the nation. 

Under the COVID 19 pandemic, the lockdown resulted in the closing of schools and universities. Everyone was affected in some of the other ways but very little has been talked about the deaf people. Most of the orders and notices along with online classes were not accessible to them and eventually they had to suffer. For years, the needs of this community have been ignored which has prevented them from getting a proper sign language education or taking up jobs. Even the family members of these people have no proper training regarding this.

In recent years, notable steps have been taken, such as the introduction of sign language news broadcasting on government news channels. Private news houses should also take inspiration from this and follow a similar methodology so that every guideline given by the government reaches to deaf people too. Also recently Actor Ranveer Singh has released a sign language song on his music label IncInk and has spoken for signing a petition for making ISL the 23rd Official Language in Constitution. One more pertinent suggestion given by citizens is that the ISL should be made a compulsory subject in the Indian Education Curriculum at the primary level so that every citizen of the country can establish smooth communication with deaf people.

We all speak various languages in our day to day life, English in schools, colleges, and offices, mother tongue at home, local language at shops, etc. We use different languages for effective communication and better understanding. Being physically abled we face no problems with indifference, but some people do face these, the reason being deafness and dumbness. This is where the sign language comes into play as by using this they can convey their thoughts skillfully.

These languages use visual ways to convey meaning and are full-fledged languages having proper grammar and vocabulary. Sign Languages have a history dating back to the 5th century BC in ancient Greece. Pedro Ponce De Leon is regarded as ‘The First Teacher for the Deaf’ as he developed the first manual alphabet of sign language in the 16th century. Today each country generally has its own native sign language eg. USA – American Sign Language, UK – British Sign Language. India follows the Indian Sign Language which is predominant in South Asian countries. It is still unclear how many sign languages are present in the world today, but the 2013 publication of Ethnologue lists 137 Sign Languages.

In the 2000s, the Indian Deaf Community advocated for an institute based on ISL teaching and research. Hence, in the Union Budget Speech of 2010-2011, the setting up of ISLRTC (Indian Sign Language Teaching and Research) was announced, on 4th October 2011. Being a government institute that falls under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

ISLRTC has laid down the various courses for everyone to learn ISL. It takes years to learn a single SL properly, but for basic communication, it requires 60-90 hours of training. India has 5 million citizens using these sign languages, but only 700 schools cater to them which are seriously understaffed.

Hence, the onus not only lies on the government for making the conditions better for deaf people but also on us by not preventing or depriving these people of life just like all of us.

PACHMARHI: THE VERDANT JEWEL OF SATPURAS

Pachmarhi, popularly known as ‘Satpura ki Rani’ is a pristine hill station nestled in the Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. It sits beautifully, bedecked by nature and history, amidst the Satpura Range. The most popular and only hill station of the state, situated at an altitude of 1067 meters,it is a treasure trove with ancient caves of the Buddhist era residing in harmony with serene waterfalls. Also called the ‘Verdant Jewel of the Hills’, its all-pervading beauty strikes every eye- tranquil emerald pools, different hues of green dominating the landscape, and lush green, dense forests that dominate the region.

The name ‘Pachmarhi’ is believed to have been derived from the Hindi words ‘panch’ and ‘marhi’ which mean five and caves respectively. Legend says that five caves were built by the Pandava brothers from the epic Mahabharata during their exile period of 13 years. These caves exist till date and are situated on a hilltop. 

For many years, Pachmarhi was a town, both undiscovered and lowly populated. It was in 1857 that Captain James Forsyth of the British Army spotted the plateau in the region while leading his troops to Jhansi. It was soon developed into a hill station and a sanatorium. It also served as the summer capital for the Central Provinces. 

UNESCO added Pachmarhi to its list of Biosphere Reserves in 2009. Sprawling in an area of around 5000-kilometer squares, it encompasses the Bori and Pachmarhi Sanctuary as the buffer zones and the Satpura National Park as the core zone. The three collectively are home to a profusion of species from the lower Western Ghats and Himalayan peaks. Its forests are dominated by teak, sal, and oak. These forests are known for their medicinal plants and herbs. Its list of endemic species includes creatures like chinkara, nilgai, Indian giant, and flying squirrels and bison. It also hosts more than seventy species of butterflies and many birds, offering lucrative options for bird watching.

Pachmarhi is most known for its waterfalls- water flowing in silvery streaks from rocks surrounded by frondescence. The most popular one is the ‘Bee Falls’. It has been named so because from a distance it sounds like a bee’s buzz. One can take a walk of around one and a half kilometers to view the fall in its entirety or rent a four-wheeler as well. Other popular waterfalls include the Dutchess falls, by far the steepest and remote one in the town; Silver Falls, also called the Rajat Prapat or Big Falls, known for its 2800+ feet of silver splotches running down a gorge, and the Little Falls. Other pacific and prominent water bodies in the place include the Apsara Vihar and Panar Pani. Facilities like boating, paragliding, and adventure camps are available here. 

Pachmarhi is interspersed with places of religious and historical importance. The three cave temples dedicated to Lord Shiva called the Chota or Gupt Mahadev, Bada Mahadev and Jatashankar hold high religious significance. The Gupt Mahadev is a narrow point in the hills, so much that you need to walk sideways at times in order to access the place. Adjacent to it is the Bada Mahadev, a giant rock formation where Lord Vishnu tricked Bhasmasura into killing himself. The sacred Jatashankar shrine is where Lord Shiva supposedly concealed himself. 

Apart from these, Handi Khoh is known for its legend associated with Lord Shiva. It is believed that in the lake that existed earlier in the place, Lord Shiva destroyed an evil serpent. In the process, the water dried up and gave the place a shape that till today looks like a pot or handi. Chauragarh, the third highest peak of Pachmarhi is a pilgrimage site dedicated to Lord Shiva. Around two lakh Trishuls are offered here during the annual festival of Mahashivratri. 

As the highest point of the Satpura Range, Dhoopgarh, true to its name is where the Sun is visible throughout on cloudless days with sunshine dancing off the surrounding peaks. Sangam or the confluence of mountain streams behind Dhupgarh offers a lovely view. Along with this, the Chauragarh Fort also offers spots for sunrise viewing and picture clicking.

Other worth mentioning places to visit in Pachmarhi include the Priyadarshini Point, earlier known as the Forsyth Point is from where Captain Forsyth viewed Pachmarhi for the first time; the Patalkot Valley, a four hour drive from Pachmarhi; the beautiful viewpoint of Rajendragiri, a garden named after our first President and cave paintings that are more than ten thousand years old.

As such the place doesn’t have its own specialties in terms of food but offers umpteen options available to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Places like the China Bowl and the Jalaram Bhojnalaya are must-visits. Pachmarhi is popular for its ayurvedic products, bamboo items, metal statues, and paintings. It’s Prakrit Silk sarees are especially famous and can be purchased from the Prakrit Silk Emporium. 

The climate in Pachmarhi is generally mild, balmy, and temperate. As compared to the winters, summers experience more rainfall. The winter season is the optimum time to visit Pachmarhi and the peak season as well. The slightly chilly breeze and the cold weather offer a great time to relish sightseeing. Tourists mostly pour in due to the confluence of Christmas, New Year, and the Pachmarhi Utsava organized by the state tourism from December 25 to 31.

All major cities of Madhya Pradesh like Bhopal, Indore, and Jabalpur are connected to Pachmarhi via roads. The nearest railway station available is Pipariya and Bhopal and Jabalpur serve as the nearest airports. The last leg of the journey to reach Pachmarhi needs to be undertaken by roads only. 

Every inch of Pachmarhi is a treat to the human eye. A visit to Pachmarhi is sure to make you feel calm; instill tranquillity into every iota of your body. It returns the feeling of putting your bare feet on grass for the very first time as a child to your heart and mind.

WELCOME TO ROME

A combination of gorgeous sights, inspiring art and exciting street life, Italy’s capital is among the most romantic and charming cities in the world. With a population of about 28 lakhs, Rome is the most populous city in the country!

After 3000 years of Rome’s urban development, it has become a city of animating sights. Ancient ruins of Rome, The Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hills, represent the golden tale of this city. Everyone can’t help but be thrilled by the landmarks, wealth of history and culture the city has. Moreover, yards and showy fountains add an extravagant flourish to the city’s captivating streets. Its historic center is recorded by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Having a mild Mediterranean climate and extreme urban energy, Rome’s society is known for its style, craze for football and the world-famous restaurants and cafes on every street! The pace rises in the evening when fashionable drinkers descend to the city’s bars and cafes for a sociable drink with delectable snacks. 

When in Rome, one should explore the great Italian food to be found in the city. Carbonara is a specific dish one should try when in Rome. This pasta dish consisting of egg yolk, grated cheese, bacon and black pepper coated over spaghetti noodles, is a simple yet creamy and delicious dish. Carciofi Alla or Roman-Jewish artichokes is another dish one should put his hands on, while  here- after all, it’s essential to ‘do what the Romans do, when in Rome’!

HEAVEN IN GOD’S OWN COUNTRY

Munnar, nestled in the mighty Western Ghats, is a tropical hill station in God’s own country, Kerala. This pristine place is home to rolling hills, winding trails and meandering roads, evergreen tea and
spice gardens, that are bound to leave you spell-bound.

Munnar falls in the Idukki district of Kerala. The name ‘Munnar’ is believed to mean ‘three rivers’. The name has been given because Munnar is situated at the confluence of the rivers Kundala, Mudhirapuhza and Nallathanni and is often referred to as the ‘Kashmir of South India’. The town is interspersed with hills and mountains, rivers and waterfalls, plantations and wildlife protected areas, offering a wholesome diversity in terms of topography.


The earliest known inhabitants of Munnar have been from the Muthuvan tribal community. The town remained largely undiscovered for many centuries, prior to which, the Poonjar Royal family oversaw its protection and acted as its custodians. It was in the early 19th century that Europeans started plantations here. Then in 1870, the then British resident of Travancore, Sir J. Munro visited this hidden beauty and instantly felt an ethereal connection to the place and also started tea cultivation in
its vast lands. It was soon developed as a holiday destination for the British Elite. The development of Munnar as a tourist spot was started in the early 20th century.
Munnar is surrounded by around eight wildlife sanctuaries and national parks with a variety of species of flora and fauna. The most popular ones include the Eranikulam National park and the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary. These protected areas also are hosts to endemic species like the Nilgiri thar and langur, sambar, wood pigeons and grizzled squirrels.
Munnar boasts of a number of bewitching lakes and waterfalls. The Devikulam Lake, set amidst hills and trees, also referred to as the Sita Devi Lake, gets the name because Devi Sita once bathed here. The lake is highly revered by the locals and has the Devikulam tree estate on one of its ends. The Attukad waterfalls, housed in between towering hills, is another mesmerizing natural beauty accessible after a walk from the forests and a pass on a wooden bridge.
Munnar also offers its own version of the Shikara houseboats, akin to the versions of Kashmir, at the Kundala river, 27 kilometres from here. The river also holds Asia’s largest and the world’s second largest arch dam. Other prominent water bodies and structures here include the Elephant Lake, the
Mattupetty Dam and the Lakkoma waterfalls.

Top Point, the highest local point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal road offers a spell- binding view of the Western Ghats and its bountiful ranges, rivers and fields. Top Point is known for the Nilakurinji orchid blossoms which bloom only once in about twelve years and turn the place and the adjacent
valleys into a delightful shade of purple. The last time the orchids bloomed was in the year 2018. Adjacent to the same is the Echo Point, known for its breathtaking view of vast stretches of tea and coffee plantations and a beautiful river flowing through the grassy green valley. Both of these spots
are considered ideal for photography.
Considered to be a haven for adventure junkies, Munnar offers a diverse range of activities from mountain biking, trekking, hiking and rock climbing to wildlife spotting and trout fishing. Munnar houses the tallest peak of South India called the Anamudi Peak that tapers to 2695 meters, making it
an ideal spot for trekking. The months from December to February characterized by pleasant weather with a whiff of cold breeze are considered ideal for these activities and the best time to visit Munnar.

The summer and monsoon seasons, on the contrary, are more suited to sight-seeing and are marked by moderate temperatures. Embarking on nature trails that include plantation walks, guided walking tours and waterfall tours are the most sought after activities. One can also indulge with the locals who are mostly Tamilians and Malayalees and very welcoming at heart.
The Blossoms International Park, yet another tourist spot, is where flowers weave their magic over tourists. It also offers nature walks and boating and bird watching facilities. Alongside this, the Tata Tea Museum takes you on a trip through the course and history of tea cultivation and the intricacies of
tea processing.
Munnar is known for its bounty of medicinal plants, herbs and fruits. Apart from the authentic taste of South Indian food that it offers, Munnar also has a thriving street food culture that comes alive after sunset. From Puttu and Kadala Curry, Appams with Stew to Kerala Prawn Curry and Stir Fried
Chicken, this place is suitable for both vegetarians and non- vegetarians. Walking along the Post Office Road only reveals the many hues and colours of their food culture.
The hill station is easily accessible through different modes of transportation. Road connectivity is offered through almost all major cities and towns of Kerala. Due to the absence of a proper railway station, Munnar can be reached after taking a road transport system from the two nearest stations, Aluva and Ernakulam. Additionally, the nearest airports include Cochin and Madurai (Tamil Nadu).
Munnar is a must visit for those who want to experience unadulterated beauty and spend time in tranquillity away from the chaos of everyday city life. The many scenic and serene places in Munnar offer you the perfect get away from our normal lives characterized by hustle and bustle.
Munnar is indeed a treasure trove worthy of all the attention it grabs. It is a heaven in God’s own
Country!

Page 1 of 2