How to deal with misunderstandings in relationships?

 

Misunderstandings happen in every relationship and I am not only referring to the romantic ones. The platonic are blood relations are also plagued by this.

Cause of misunderstanding: not people but their assumptions and beliefs!

Usually people have a set of assumptions & beliefs based on which they react to a certain situation.

For e.g. A son asked his mother for an expensive phone. She refused.

What Mom meant: Getting him a new phone would distract him from his studies especially when his final exams are around the corner. I will buy him a phone after his exams are over.

Mom’s belief: Educations is more important for his future than fulfilling his wish now. My son should concentrate on his upcoming exams.

Mom’s assumption: I should think about my son’s long term benefit and not on providing instant gratification.

BUT

What son thought: My mother does not love me. She loves money.

He is questioning his mother – not her belief, not her assumption. This creates acrimony in relationship until and unless explicit effort is made to remove such misunderstanding.

The reason I am saying that assumptions and beliefs are causes because it is far more constructive to critically analyse an assumption/belief than questioning an individual.

Let me make it easier for you. Which of the following is more hurtful?

Son:  Mom, I don’t like your belief / assumption.

OR

Son: Mom, I don’t like you.

I rest my case.

How can we deal with misunderstanding? – 10 key points

  1. Never jump to conclusions.
  2. Do not react immediately. Take time to understand the underlying belief/assumption to know where the thinking is coming from.
  3. If in doubt, ask frankly. The person will understand.
  4. Take effort.
  5. Do not always expect the other person to take effort. It is your relationship as well.
  6. Talk to the person when he/she has calmed down.
  7. You both are a team – not adversaries. There is no winner in a relationship. It is not a fight.
  8. Understand your assumptions and beliefs as well. Self-awareness is key.
  9. Give space and time to the other person to understand you.
  10. Don’t think you know someone really well. Every person is evolving. There are layers waiting to be unfolded. There is more to that person than meets the eyes.

Have a healthy relationship.

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How Mom, how do you do it?

How does she do it?

What magical powers does she have that she can sense the quiver in my voice, the pain in my eyes , the sadness in my movement…

And why simply talking to her assures me that everything will be alright…

Hopefully someday I will figure it out…

 

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Bring me some flowers…

When you want to thank me for those notes I lent you,

When you want to say sorry for being late for our date,

When you want to make me feel special on my birthday,

When you want to celebrate valentine’s day,

When you want to just surprise me at work,

When you come to see me off at the airport,

When you want to show that you love me,

Bring me some flowers…

How to deal with mistakes of the past ?

We all have made mistakes in the past, and we are making one in the present and will hopefully make in future…..

But should that stop us from living our life ?

It is important to make mistakes – it is the only proof that shows we are doing something

Mistakes are bound to happen if we are living our life to the fullest, grasping opportunities, falling in love, giving that dreaded exam, venturing into a new business, raising a kid etc.

But that’s what makes us mature and experienced…At every stage of our life, we make mistakes. The goal is to learn from them, prevent them in future and move on …. Not making mistakes is not only impractical but also impossible if you want to move ahead… Ofcourse you can choose to not make mistakes, but then your learning process stops and you inch towards stagnation…

We need to stop ourselves from beating us over them

Mistakes have to be taken with the right attitude… You cannot dwell on them for the rest of your life..You can’t feel the guilt and agony from committing them..

You have to learn from them..

You have to stop repeating them…

But You don’t have to feel guilty of committing them…

Because if you do, when will you live?

Pain is an evolutionary process …

Sheldon Cooper says in The Big Bang Theory that pain is an evolutionary process. It forces you to develop strength, maturity, insight and courage. It makes you see things in a different light, in a way unperceived in our happy state because we are too engrossed in celebrating….

Pain is necessary.

Pain is pertinent.

And whether the world is mature enough to understand it or foolish enough to berate it, it is your reality…

So deal with it because no one else can and no one else will !

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Back with a Bang ! No – a degree actually ;)

Hola Amigos,

My archives show my last post in 2016 ….. Way back !

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After almost a two-year break, I am back as a blogger and this time hopefully for a long time. First of all, my reason for taking a break was my education. I was pursuing a post graduate degree in Human Resource Management which took my 2 years for good. But now that I have graduated and settled, I thought it to be an appropriate time to awaken the blogger in me.

I tried to maintain a balance between my education and blogging, but with time it became too difficult to declutter my mind and write something. Lot of things were happening, and were happening too fast.  Although at times, amidst writing assignments, preparing presentations and solving business cases, I missed the blogger in me.

But the past is gone !! It’s time to focus on here and now…..
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This time I have bigger plans for this blog including quality content from my heart to yours, more musings, learning that I have acquired in last two years and many more.

For starters, this is my new instagram account : Amateur’s Instagram Account

Do follow me !

Cheers to a new beginning !

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Whiteboard Videos – Lo & Behold ! Featuring My blog’s whiteboard video

Remember my last post about infographic making tutorial? Well the world – especially the professional one –  is changing at a lightning pace and people are emphasizing more on presentation of ideas and their effective communication. According to me, there are two components of a successful idea presentation – spark and “impact” .

idea-sparkYour ideas should be out of the box and this is where your cognitive abilities come into play. But equally important and highly underrated is the importance of impact it creates on the audience. The concept you are trying to communicate should reach your audience in the way you want them to understand. Even if your idea or proposal have the required spark, yet if presented in a lousy and unappealing way, downloadthere is a huge chance you might lose out on that well deserved promotion or the coveted deal with your client!

A sparkling thought isn’t enough; it should create the required impact in the minds of the audience.

Usually people use power point presentations to share their plans and project ideas. But they are so run-of-the-mill nowadays that people are looking out for something creative and refreshing. Videos are  frequently usedBusiness-Meeting nowadays to present one’s thoughts and they are fun to make too. They provide a huge range of options – you can include your own footage and voice, other images, audio, subtitles etc. And they are fun to watch too especially in situations where you can’t be there in person to present.

I have come across these whiteboard videos which are very interesting to watch and easier to grasp – especially effective when trying to explain a complicated concept in  layman’ terms.

I have always wanted to make one too. And here’s my experience!

I have made a whiteboard video as an introduction to my blog !

I have used VideoScribe (Free trial version) to create it. There are other tools available as well – rawshorts, powtoon , drawshop etc. You can  search for other whiteboard video maker tools online.

Every tool comes with its own set of instructions and guidelines. You can select images and audio from the vast database that they provide. Have fun creating !

Here is the introductory video of my blog ! Do share your thoughts…

(Audio could have been better but Spare Me for that !)

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Infographics – Data in visual form

Many a times pictures serve as better medium of communication than words, especially when there is a large amount of data to be analysed or a complex relationship between two or more entities to be understood. Each one of us must have realized that seeing a table of numeric, mind boggling data is very difficult to make sense of! But when the same data is made available in a pie chart or a bar graph, we are at much ease. infographicsIn fact, whenever we think of a work, we relate it with a picture in our mind for better processing. Our brain processes image faster than words. Just imagine reading a blog without attractive pictures to assist in comprehension – It would take a lot of patience to read through that. Even we bloggers use pictures to garner attention of fellow readers !

Infographics = INFOrmation  in GRAPHICal form

This does not mean that infographics do not contain text at all, they do! But the texts are more or less a group of words or labels.

Relevance in today’s world:

Infographics form a part of our daily life, even when we do not realize it: Danger Signs, Traffic signs, advertisement posters, maps, campaign & event posters. The professional world also deals with infographics in marketing of products and brand awareness, market trends, financial data analysis and presentations and much more. Recently, I was asked to present my CV (resume) as an infographic to a recruiter. So even Human resource management uses infographics to judge the creativity of a candidate. There is a huge chance that if you are working, you might be asked to create an infographic for your client to promote your product better or to present your idea in front of your boss. In order to be ready for that day or proactively using this technique for an impactful presentation, here’s presenting to you important tips regarding creation of infographics:

  1. There free softwares available online like Piktochart, Easel.ly, Canva where you can sign-up for free and create beautiful and creative infographics for  that event/fest coming up in your college or the next product-branding pitch to your client at office! Moms can also use it to create birthday invites for their kids!
  2. Be to the point and concise. Restrict use of words in your infographic and convey more through images. At the same time, do not put irrelevant pictures.
  3. Don’t use too bold background colours that distracts the attention from the main content.
  4. In case you are creating an infographic CV, highlight your main achievements and landmarks in your career.
  5. Select the theme and look  & feel of the infographic according to the context. For example, in case you are preparing an infographic for a client at workplace, it needs to have a professional ( and not a cartoon like) feel to it.
  6. Be creative.

Example : This is a very basic sample infographic I created for this blog using Piktochart.

Happy creating  and discovering !

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For more :

What is an Infographic?

The 100 Best Infographics [Interactive]

https://www.canva.com/create/infographics/

 

 

Attitude towards life

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If you can’t be a highway, then just be a trail,

If you can’t be the sun, then just be the star,

It isn’t by the size that you win or fail,

But be the best of whatever you are.

– Douglas Malloch

The above excerpt from Douglas Malloch’s inspirational piece exactly defines the attitude one should have in life. The lines reiterate perfection in its own sense. Whether you are a giant business tycoon or a run-of-the-mill salesman, whether you are a celebrity or a street play actor, a computer genius working in a multinational company or a mechanic, a celebrated artist or a construction worker- the size does’nt matter. What matters is how you play your role to perfection. It is rightly said ,”Do your work so perfectly, that others do not have any work on your work.”

For all the pessimists out there, this does’nt mean that you should settle for something less in life. You should constantly strive to achieve more and more and fulfill every dream you have. But then, be the best dreamer you can be. Dream with conviction. Be the best struggler you can be. Struggle to zenith and don’t stop until you get exactly what you dreamt of. Be the best achiever you can be. Play every role you have in life to the best of your ability.

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Book Review : The subtle art of not giving a fuck by Mark Manson

My favourite lines from the book :

My recommendation: don’t be special; don’t be unique. Redefine your metrics in mundane and broad ways. Choose to measure yourself not as a rising star or an undiscovered genius…..Instead measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator.

Unlike any self help book, this guide puts forward a ‘counterintuitive approach to living a good life’. Now what would you expect from a self help book : assurances like ‘you are special and born to extraordinary things’, ‘ whatever you think is or isn’t, you are right’, ‘keep trying’, ‘don’t doubt yourself’ and the like. But not this book. This book tells you that you are not special. ( And after reading the book, I agree with Mark! )

Mark Manson has very adeptly laid down his counter-intuitive thoughts well- illustrated using anecdotes from his life and those of his acquaintances. Throughout the book, you will get to read lines like : ‘Don’t try’ ( the first chapter) , ‘You are not special’, ‘Doubt your own thoughts’ and the best part : his reasoning and rationale is not flawed. In fact this is what make this book worth reading – because of Mark’s candid and uninhibited way of laying down secrets of living a happy life, secrets which are not in accordance with the generally- accepted philosophy, yet holds water. He has also laced his writing with profane humour & unbridled expressions. ( The title of the book is proof itself ! )

All in all, this groundbreaking book will definitely help you in re-evaluating your mantras of life. And according to Mark,once you do that you will realise that living a contented and happy life isn’t that difficult after all.

Highly recommended.

The journey of love…

The journey might be a cakewalk for some, but for others it is a long drawn process of getting to understand each other, respect each other and learn to love each other even in the worst of times, sustaining that love and growing together…..

And it only attains its true purpose in life when it also leads to a path of self discovery and self love…

Why I write….

I am afraid of speaking my heart out in front of people,

Writing gives me a better and non-judgmental platform….

My biggest learning of life till date

Am I unlucky for you ?

I can’t fall in love at first sight

Some Active Doodling !!

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                                                   Break free from the chains of banality,

                                                  Discover your own impassioned creativity !

 

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Success is Useless

Yeah, you read it right ! 

At least that’s what I believe.

But before putting forward my arguments and letting you decide whether it holds water or not, I would put a disclaimer – making this statement is not sour grapes for me – I have had my share of successes  and failures in life and this statement is not a manifestation of my personal emotions or grudge. It is a conclusion based on careful and deep introspection, and not simply a desultory comment.

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Having said that, now there must be a tinkling in your mind – how can success be useless? After all, our entire life is spent in making efforts to lead a successful life – and hence a happy one. Every soul on this planet craves for success not only in professional life, but also in personal relationships, new ventures, family life etc.  It is on what our life is based – and here comes some random blogger who is questioning the foundation of your life ! Well, success is equally important for that random blogger. She also wants to be a successful blogger, a successful family person and a successful professional.

So how is it useless if it is important?

I never doubted the importance of success – but the utility of it – and there is a difference – a big difference. Because from where I see, I see success only as the food for life and not the food for soul. Success repays your hard work, gives you moments of happiness and revelry, satisfies your ego and enhances you self-respect. 

What lesson does it give you? How does it influence your mind, your nature, your personality – in most cases it either makes you complacent or haughty, or just languid ! In other cases, we become increasingly insecure of losing it. After achieving success in one arena, you move on to the other. I don’t  remember sitting down to retrospect on what I had learnt or what more I could learn in a field, how can I improve and so on whenever I succeeded in anything. I simply moved on to the next level – which is necessary because you got to keep moving ahead,always. But apart from that, what did one truly learn about life?  

Very little, or nada.

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On the other hand, when you fail, you learn what does not work – it gives you knowledge and wisdom. It gives you an opportunity to prove to others and to yourself how strong you are and how quickly you can get back in action after every fall. Whenever someone falls, he has to pick his pieces up and get back up on his own.  Every failure you face in life adds to your courage and inner strength – leaving you more bold than you previously were. It teaches you to be optimistic because believe me – no matter how much pessimism a person has, everybody wants to and does see the light at the end of every dark tunnel. It is just a matter of time – how early one gets over one’s doubts and incertitude. With every failure, that time period decreases – and you tend to get back faster into the game with revived energy and enthusiasm ! Failure teaches you a good sense of humor too–how to laugh the predicament  off and start afresh.

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The problem with failure is that it is always projected in bad light. Right from  childhood, we are taught to embrace success and cast aside failure. And that’s why when I projected success in a bad light – it must have been shocking for many.

Failure is not bad. It is not synonymous with darkness or evil.

In fact, it teaches about life more than success does. Failure is not something to be afraid of ; it does not eat you ; it does not leave you crumpled– but every time it comes, it gives a piece of itself to you – in the form of courage or optimism or sense of humor.

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As Sundar Pichai , CEO, Google rightly said “In Silicon Valley, part of the reason why so many people start companies is because even if you fail, it is a badge of honour.

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Failure does not and should not leave us with depressing thoughts and doubts on our capability. As proudly as we proclaim our success, we should equally embrace our failure. Because when the candle  of  our life will be on the verge of dying down, we will realize while going down the memory lane  that failure was always on our side. We were never fighting it, we were fighting WITH it – to achieve success.

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Image Source

Light up ! It’s Christmas !

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      Light up your lives this festive season , expel the darkness  away !

               There is so much beauty in the world to be seen and felt ! 

       Darkness won’t let you – both of the world and of your mind !

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DIY – A candle holder from a cold drink can

Despite of having a full time technical profession, my creative side yearns to come out every now and then, sometimes in the form of words or rhythm – and most of the times -through ART. It is an irony that I have been sharing the least frequent manifestations of my creative side, and not sharing the more frequently happening outbursts!

But that could have not been the case for a long time, and that’s exactly why I am here –  introducing a new section altogether – another small endeavor in my blogger’s cap –‘DIY (Do-It-Yourself)’ wherein I will be sharing the shenanigans my ‘less-technical-more-creative’ mind is upto! Recycling waste materials present at home and creating out of it an art with visual appeal is something that intrigues me and can keep me occupied for days on end without letting even an iota of boredom touch me. My favorite area in DIY is lighting. I love lighting up a place with different colors of light, aromatic candles etc. Wall art is another area of interest.

For the first post, I will sharing my method of converting a used cold drink can into something useful – in my case – a hanging candle holder. It is a very easy DIY and can be done with materials already present at your home. In case a can is not available, plastic bottles can also be used.

Materials Required:

  1. Used Cold drink Can or used plastic bottle
  2. Fabric Paint
  3. Glitter Powder
  4. Scissors/Pen Knife
  5. Ribbon
  6. Glue,Marker
  1. Mark the can to cut it into two halves – Precision is not required.

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2.Using scissors or pen knife cut the can into two halves – Please be cautious at this step.

3. Make random holes in the can which will let the candle light to seep through.

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4. Make two holes opposite to each other at the top of the can to tie the ribbon which can be used to hang the holder.

5. Paint the can with colors of your choice.

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6. After the paint  dries, apply glue on the can and stick the glitter powder to give a glossy finish.

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7. After the glitters have dried, tie the ribbon , place the candle inside the can, light it and hang it.

I used rasberry aromatic candles – they are so good !

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And the final product looks something like this !

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Suits the festive season ! 🙂

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Reminiscences of the past

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These little  reminiscences of the time spent with you still adorn the pages of my life !

The freshness of the petals is ephemeral, but that of the memories is eternal.  

~

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Book review – I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

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‘I come from a country, which was born at midnight, when I almost died, it was just after midday.’

–   Malala Yousafzai

Also known as ‘The girl shot by the Taliban’, and now the youngest recipient of Nobel Peace Prize ( a Nobel Laureate at an  age of 17) for her inspirational battle against the dreaded terror group and for her contributions in the field of promoting female education, Malala has become  a household name. She has rightly become the face of international activism for education for girls which is a right that many of us take for granted. But it takes stories like that of Malala to make us realize that even a right as basic as education is a privilege, as there are people in some parts of the world who are fighting the good fight simply to be able to go to school.

This autobiography penned by Malala in association with Christina Lamb is an account of an ordinary girl and her ordinary life in her beloved ‘Swat valley’ with her family comprising of her parents, two younger brothers and two pet chicken. She talks about her parents, how her father named  her ‘Malala’ after the Afghan warrior princess ‘Malalai’, the beauty of her ‘Swat Valley’, her Pashtun ancestry, her school friends, her everyday struggle from going to school to studying to competing with her best friend in school, her desires and wishes for a bright future,  her father’s educational activism, the gory capture of her town  by Taliban, atrocities inflicted on people under the seize, moving out of her town with her family for safety, living in a constant fear yet advocating girl’s educational rights, her father receiving death threats from Taliban over radio, getting shot and her miraculous recovery, her new life in Birmingham – it is an extraordinary account of a girl who has seen far enough for a teenage girl. It is evident from the book that Malala’s father has greatly influenced her daughter’s mindset making her fearless and instilling in her extreme sense of regard and pride for her motherland. She has grown up watching her father struggling to build a school and convincing girls to attend it – something that is condemned in their valley, hence it is not surprising that Malala values her  education and is ready to fight for it. She dreams of becoming a politician and alleviating the political situation in Pakistan.

The poignant recount of the ill-fated day when she was shot keeps the reader on the edge of the seat right up to the day when she wakes up in a London hospital –showing the world how a miraculous escape from the bullet can turn the table on terrorism. The bullet that was meant to silence the voice made it even louder and now she has evolved as the face of an international campaign for female education.

The book does not give a detailed account of the initiatives taken by her to promote female education worldwide, neither does it explore further on the subject of female education and its current status in the world. But what it provides is the story of a brave, teenage girl written with great simplicity and innocence who has become a role model  for every girl in the world. The book is replete with pictures from her past, her post recovery days and her new life in Birmingham.

All in all, a great book that will leave you with a sense of deep regard for the education you have received, and a compelling desire to do your bit for educating the less – privileged ones  around you .

To buy this book, plz visit : http://fkrt.it/IvVOn!NNNN

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Book Review : Impatient Optimist – Bill Gates in his own words by Lisa Rogak

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‘This is how I see the world, and it should make one thing clear: I am an optimist. But I am an impatient optimist.’

                                                                                                          –   Bill Gates

A biography but not in the usual sense of the word, this book attempts to give us a glimpse into the life and personality of one of the world’s richest businessmen who spearheaded the digital technology revolution as the CEO of his brainchild and  tech-giant Microsoft. After dropping out of Harvard University in the junior year  and later co-founding  the company  with his friend Paul Allen in 1976, there was no turning back for this ingenious scientist who at a young age of 31, became the youngest self-made billionaire in the world.  This book tries to explore various aspects of his life – from his decision to step down as CEO and engage in philanthropic work, his relationship with Paul Allen, his successor Steve Ballmer and Apple’s Steve Jobs, the nature of his philanthropic work and his foundation, his take on business, future trends in technology, his family, his legacy and his attitude towards various things in general.

His take on success –

‘Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.’

Now the surprising element of the biography is that it is not in text format. Lisa Rogak has experimented with the conventional  style , and has presented the biography as a collection of quotations by Bill Gates  collected from various sources –print media , public interactions, conferences and business events, online journals etc. At first, it is hard to realize how a book replete with his sayings can be helpful  in providing an insight into the mind of this venerated personality – but as one reads through the pages –the words  indeed prove to be the words of wisdom and open the doors of  enlightenment. As the pages are turned, the reader himself can make a sketch of his character. The process is very much similar to real life – we hear/know what people say on the basis of which we form a portrait of the person in our mind. This approach also eliminates any prejudice or bias – a figment of author’s mind – which can set in the minds of the reader if he reads through the author’s lens. All in all, a commendable effort by Lisa Rogak, I must say. A possible drawback could be that this format does  not give a detailed description of his life or incorporate third person’s views about him. The quotes are also not arranged chronologically but categorically. It does provide a list of his significant life events in brief at the end – but it is very similar to the way we list events in history matched with its year.

If you are looking for an inspirational, light reading or are simply interested in his life– this book is a good bet. But if you want a detailed description of his life, this book might disappoint you. My suggestion to the readers – go for this book for the innovative style of writing.  It will be a refreshing change. The inspiration and wisdom which you would get out of it could be the icing on the cake.

You can buy the book here :  http://fkrt.it/Iv2HT!NNNN

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Do I really need it?

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One fine Saturday evening I was having a nice get together with my friends on WHATSAPP ( read ‘digital get together’ 😀 ) when I received an update alert. I thought:

 “What could be the next big makeover after the whole enigmatic environment touch to the look and feel ?”

I accepted the challenge and the update started.

Later, I saw my Dad’s message with a thumbs up emoji. There was something different about it. So, I took the pain of going through the emoji dictionary to find out if there is any problem with my  screen  resolution or it is just one of Whatsapp’s new shenanigans. I discovered the unexpected.

Where the rest of the smileys were perfectly fine, the human manifestation of the emojis  had sub choices  and to my bewilderment – the choices were of different skin colors. Don’t believe me ? Just update yours and see for yourself if you have not done yet !

That led me back to a brown study. My curiosity led me to a thorough internet research and I realized that Unicode Consortium – the organization which coordinates the development of Unicode Standard (Basically, to set rules for handling  text in digital world ) had set the standard for emojis and Apple implemented  the ‘long awaited racially diverse emojis’ as part of its update. Whatsapp has done the same for its platform.

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The first thought that crossed my mind after becoming aware of the whole situation was –

‘Well, this could foster racism!’  – But this conclusion is subjective and moot – subjected to different people’s mindset and way of acceptance. Some may see it as respect for diversity and some may feel  that it is an insinuation to the racist mindset.  But it is not this aspect which has egged me on to write this piece. What bothers me is the fact that this era – the so- called digital era – is inundated with useless updates and innovations.  Don’t judge me yet. I am not an innovator myself so morally I don’ t have a right to comment,  I am only speaking my mind here which I am entitled to do. I know there have been various inventions and innovations that have helped humanity and nature and my statement is not meant to disrespect those. In fact, especially the digital counterparts have made our lives much easier – we can manage everything from our mobile phone sitting at home and concentrating  better on important work rather than standing in lines outside offices to pay our bills or outside banks to transfer money , or even leaving our flat for shopping. Everything is available at our fingertips, quite literally.

But (and there is always a BUT), are there not a lot of innovations that are not really needed!  So my problem is why we are wasting time developing something that is not crucial to our existence at this moment when we have bigger problems at hand. For example, what difference would it make even if we did not have the ‘racially diverse emojis’. I know I will hardly use them. Additionally it makes the whole process of sending emojis much difficult – for sending a thumbs up , you have to explicitly choose the skin color every time – Giving us a wide range of choices to make decisions whose significance is difficult for me to comprehend. Maybe it gives some people of different races a sense of inclusion and acceptance, but would it solve the bigger problem of racism at hand, which we know exists. I mean if someone is looking for acceptance in manifestations of Whatsapp emojis, there is something seriously wrong with our generation.

Innovation-Growth

After much brainstorming, I came to the conclusion that the problem I have is two-fold. Firstly, I feel that innovators who have the resource and dexterity to make human lives easier and better and eradicate social evils and environmental issues – should focus more on these goals. I commend various initiatives taken by enterprises and organizations on the social front – like Project Loon by Google to provide internet access to remote areas. There are many parts in the world which do not have electricity, proper water supply or other facilities that we take for granted in our day to day lives.  The innovators should focus more on making each human’ s life easier rather than on catering to just a part of the entire group.

Secondly, people should not get so engrossed and captivated with their digital identity  that they digress from reality. Digital acceptance is less important than individual acceptance – acceptance of our personality and traits by us. Fear for digital acceptance simply portrays an inferiority complex which again leads to the superficial life the people are living nowadays in the digital world. I have already covered it here.

As far as the Whatsapp emojis are concerned, I would like to express my gratitude to Whatsapp for giving me the impetus to write after a long time for my blog – but unfortunately I cannot say that for the diverse emojis that have been added and for the fact that I have to see it every time I will be going for a get-together or a chat ! 😉

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Confusables –  Easily Confused Words

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She excepted/accepted his marriage proposal.

Everybody came to the party accept/except Jake.

How many of you have faced difficulties in using similar sounding words – accept or except , affect or effect, canvas or canvass, dissent or descent or decent – and many more ! Well, each one of us has faced such a situation at some point in our writing venture. Sometimes, the difference is in terms of whether  you want a noun or a verb – advice (to be used as a noun) and advise ( to be used as a verb). Sometimes, the difference lies in the usage of a word in a particular context – amicable (focus on friendly relationship between people) and amiable (focus on the person’s individual disposition). Most of the times, the difference can be easily perceived, but often when the meaning is clear, we end up using wrong words because of wrong spellings – an ‘a’ and an ‘e’ can confuse too ( as in stationary (at rest )  or stationery (writing paper and other materials) !!

So here is a list of commonly confusing words we come across in English.

Happy Learning !  🙂

Word Meaning Sentence
 Aberrant Departing from an accepted standard When the astronomer looked into the telescope, he was shocked by the sight of a star moving in an aberrant path.
 Abhorrent Inspiring disgust and loathing; repugnant, loathsome When the citizens learned about the abhorrent crime, they screamed for justice outside the police station.
The abhorrent individual was spurned by his fellow citizens because of his aberrant behavior.

                           

Abjure To give up belief or activity, renounce, relinquish, reject After the tyrant took over the country, the citizens had to abjure their political beliefs.
Adjure Urge or request (someone) solemnly or earnestly to do something. He adjured the editor to cease posting silly articles.
The minister adjured his wayward congregation to abjure the sins of the flesh.

                          

Amoral Lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something. Hugh grew up to be an amoral man because his parents never told him the difference between right and wrong.
Immoral Not conforming to or violating the accepted standards of morality. They considered colonialism to be immoral.
Sometimes it seems more shocking to be amoral than to be immoral.

  

Appraise Assess the value or quality of. His merits in this respect, however, can only be appraised by the study of his works at first hand.
Apprise Inform or tell (someone). Each week, the teachers apprise parents of their students’ progress by emailing grade reports.
After we have the jeweler appraise the diamond, we will apprise you of its value.

  

Averse Having a strong dislike of or opposition to something. As a former CIA director, he is not averse to secrecy.
Adverse Preventing success or development; harmful; unfavorable. Taxes are having an adverse effect on production.
I am averse to traveling in such adverse weather conditions.

    

Allude Suggest or call attention to indirectly; hint at. The teacher asked the students to not allude to any online sources in their research papers.
Elude Escape from or avoid (a danger, enemy, or pursuer), typically in a skillful or cunning way. He tried to elude the security men by sneaking through a back door
She would often allude to her childhood, when she would elude her brothers in a game of hide-and-seek.

  

Alleviate Make (suffering, deficiency, or a problem) less severe. To alleviate hunger in our town, each employee of our company donated five cans of food.
Ameliorate Make (something bad or unsatisfactory) better Not only did he ameliorate your grades, but he also found a way to enjoy learning.
Government agencies tried to alleviate the effects of the depression. They attempted to ameliorate the job-seeking process.

   

Amicable Friendliness or goodwill between people or group It was a relatively amicable divorce and at least they remain on speaking terms.
Amiable A person’ friendly disposition One former roommate described him as amiable and talkative
With amiable people like them, it’s not unusual to have an amicable divorce.

    

Afflict To cause suffering or unhappiness, like what a disease does.(Focus on the sufferer) It’s also quite likely that he was afflicted with an eating disorder
Inflict To force pain or suffering with focus on the person/thing causing the suffering. More aggressive Five other men accused of taking part in the fight were convicted of hooliganism and inflicting light bodily injury.
I am afflicted with something terrible, so I inflict injuries upon others.

   

Canvas A strong, coarse unbleached cloth made from hemp, flax, or a similar yarn, used to make items such as sails and tents and as a surface for oil painting. The painting is oil on canvas.
Canvass Solicit votes from (electors or members). In each ward, two workers canvassed some 2,000 voters.
We wore canvas shoes while we tried to canvass the entire neighborhood.

Want to learn more of these words?

I found an excellent site for such words. You can learn more such words here

Hard Work Vs Luck

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Giving up all the pleasures

Burning the midnight oil

Way beyond all measures

That’s how hard he toiled !

       ~           

Day after day, night after night

Perseverance was his game

He never ever let out of sight,

His goal, his purpose, his aim !

          ~           

But on one arduous occasion,

Luck gave him no favor,

Left his morale with abrasions

His will power wavered.

           ~         

Disappointed and despondent,

He started doubting his merit,

Hard work was replaced by lament

Luck was something he did not inherit

          ~            

But then one fine day, he resolved

Not to give up in the fight

Failure made him evolve

Into a person of great will and might

~  

Numerous times in his struggle he fell

But he was never to be backed down

And steadily increased, his drive to excel

Toughest obstacle could not knock him down.

~  

Again he fell, and got up

And the cycle continued

Till the time when even Luck asked him

“What have you got in you ?”

~  

“Oh mighty warrior, the shining knight”

“I have tried my best to defeat you”

“But you bounce back every time

“How on earth, I have no clue”

~  

Persistent effort is the secret, he said

Hard work is the key

 Luck – “I can hold no longer, take your success

Today, you have defeated me ! “

~  

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Kingdom of Words

How many of you are of the view that English is not a technical language and that it is just a language of expression ? Well, nobody can deny the fact that all languages are medium of expressing one’s thoughts – English being one of them -but it does not end there. English is a highly technical language –  similar to all the 22 officially recognized languages in India and ‘God-knows-how-many‘ across the world. Every language has its set of technicalities and a systematic & structured approach. When you read a well structured article or a novel, you can easily understand the flow of ideas and views of the author, because he has interwoven his thoughts into words in a systematic,coherent manner. His ideas have a well defined path – not just roaming around. Following the same path, the author’s words enter your mind and get deeply engraved in it.

Just like there are various ways to solve a mathematical sum, there are numerous approaches to writing in English. I am not suggesting that only one of them is correct. The aim here is to get one’s ideas deeply engraved in the minds of the reader ( just like aim in maths is to get the answer ). Since, English is also a steadily evolving language, people have the privilege to experiment with their approaches in writing. We can enjoy the best of both worlds ! We do not have to restrict ourselves to rules all the time !

So keep experimenting and exploring the language with your own devised ways ! As for the technical part – here is a list of classes in which words are divided – often confused words ! In the future posts, I will introduce a new section – ‘Most Confused Words’ – a list of words that are most confused in English.

Happy Learning ! 🙂

Homophones – A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning, and may differ in spelling.
 Same pronunciation
 Different meanings
 Different/Same spellings (homophones with same spellings are homonyms)

(Same spellings)
We saw a grizzly bear while vacationing in the mountains.
I can’t bear this burden any longer.

(Different spellings)
My son is presently in the military.
The sun is hidden behind the clouds.

Homonyms – Same words with same spelling and same pronunciation but have different meanings when used in different contexts.
 Same pronunciation
 Different meanings
 Same spellings
e.g. A bear (the animal) can bear (tolerate) very cold temperatures.

Homographs
 Different pronunciation
 Different meanings
 Same spelling

e.g. Wind: I need to wind the alarm clock so I can fly my kite in the early morning gusty wind.

e.g. Desert as in dry climate vs Desert as in leaving alone(they are pronounced differently)

Capitonyms

 Same spelling
  Different meanings on capitalization

e.g. May: In May(month), when spring is almost over, I may(auxiliary verb) pack away my winter clothes.

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Commonly Used Idioms Part – 6

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Let me tell you a well-known trick for remembering idioms with their meanings and usage. If you learn about the origin of the idiom, it will be very easy for you to remember them and use them as and when your writing skills demand ! In the last edition, I shared the origin of ‘Achilles’ heel’ idiom which was interesting and deserving enough to pique your curiosity. This time, I come with a hilarious origin tale – ‘Murphy’s law’. Don’t get deceived– this is not a scientific law ! 😉

This is a humorous adage which means that anything that can go wrong will go wrong !

OriginEdward A. Murphy, Jr. was one of the engineers on the rocket-sled experiments that were done by the U.S. Air Force in 1949 to test human acceleration tolerances (USAF project MX981). One experiment involved a set of 16 accelerometers mounted to different parts of the subject’s body. There were two ways each sensor could be glued to its mount, and somebody methodically installed all 16 the wrong way around. Murphy then made the original form of his pronouncement.

Murphy’s Original Law – If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.

 Murphy’s Law – If anything can go wrong — it will.index

 Murphy’s First Corollary – Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.

 Murphy’s Second Corollary – It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

For more info, read here

( It was a blast from the past – reminded me of the tough old days when I had to learn the physics laws !  🙂 )

Today, when we want to remind people that even if someone’s plan is well thought of and properly planned, yet there is scope of an error – we say ‘ Do not forget the Murphy law’ ! 😀

You can find hilarious interpretations of Murphy’s making rounds on the internet ! Do check them out !

Happy learning !

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Shy of Having less of something that is needed or expected She was two days shy of her 19th birthday.
Go south To go down, to fall The economy was growing but the things went south after the recession.
One’s goose is cooked One is finished; one has been found out and is in trouble. If I get caught, my goose is cooked.
To be in the eye of the storm To be very much involved in an argument or problem that affects a lot of people International aid agencies were in the eye of the storm when war broke out in the country.
Fit the bill To be suitable for a particular purpose The city needs a strong leader, and the new mayor just doesn’t fill the bill.
Nothing to write home about Mediocre; not as good as you expected. I went to that new restaurant last night. It’s nothing to write home about.
Blue collar Relating to manual work or workers, particularly in industry Blue collar workers in the factories and shipyards were demanding wage increases.
White Collar Relating to the work done or the people who work in an office or other professional environment. The ratio of white-collar workers to production workers in the manufacturing industry was declining.
Scratch the surface To examine only the superficial aspects of something. We don’t know how bad the problem is. We’ve only scratched the surface.
Bring something/someone to knees To destroy or defeat someone or something. To reduce to a position of subservience or submission. The strikes brought the economy to its knees.
Of age Old enough to be considered an adult. He’s of age now; he can buy his own car.
Acid test A test which will really prove the value, quality, or truth of something The acid test for the product will be whether people actually buy it.
Cut the ground from under someone’s feet To make someone or their ideas seem less good, especially by doing something before them or better than them ( to weaken someone’s position) The opposition claimed today’s speech was an attempt by the government to cut the ground from under their feet.
Chase one’s tail To be very busy doing a lot of things, but achieving very little He’s been chasing his tail all week collecting data but the report is still not ready
Think on one’s feet To think and react quickly, especially in a situation where things are happening very fast A good sales man must be able to think on his feet to close the deal.
To not let grass grow under feet Don’t delay in getting something done, always on the move As soon as he finished all the registration formalities, he put the house on sale. He doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet.
Be waiting in the wings Waiting for an opportunity to take action, mostly to replace someone else in their job. The senior manager is going to retire in next 2 months. Two of his juniors who are waiting in the wings will have a fierce competition.
Fever pitch A state of extreme excitement. The football crowd was at fever pitch.
Cut someone to the quick Hurting someone deeply or offending them. Joe had worked for 10 years with all his loyalty for his company. He was cut to the quick when his boss held him responsible for the theft.
Have one’s heart in the right place To have good intentions, even if there are bad results. Good old Tom! His gifts are always tacky, but his heart’s in the right place.
Murphy’s law Anything that can go wrong will go wrong If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it. We may think we’ve covered all the details for the benefit, but remember Murphy’s law
Go up in smoke If a plan or some work goes up in smoke, it is spoiled or wasted Then his business went bankrupt and 20 years of hard work went up in smoke.
On an even keel Stable, balanced You should know the syllabus and plan well ahead so that your exam preparation goes on even keel
When the dust settles When things have calmed down When the dust settles, we can start patching up all the hurt feelings.
On the boil If a situation or feeling is on the boil, it is very strong or active The corruption scandal is being kept on the boil by a series of new revelations.
White elephant A possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of. The old building is a white elephant of the housing society.
Put to sword If someone/something is put to sword, he/she/it is killed or executed. The notion that the country’s economy is stable is being put to sword by the current market conditions.

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Build Your Vocabulary Part – 8

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Well, since the inception of my ‘Build your Vocabulary’ posts, I have been reiterating the fact that English is a diverse and evolved language, comprising of humongous number of words – many of its own and many borrowed from other languages. I had been focusing only on the quantity – but today I wish to talk about the power a word can have, on your mood, on your relationships, on your life and on you. It might be difficult to believe that words have tremendous power to change situations. A word of cheer can lift your mood, a word of trust can enliven your relationship, and a word of wisdom can give a whole new meaning to your life and change you as a person. Similarly, on the darker side, careless choice of words can be hurtful and dangerous. I intend not to scare you but to make you privy to the enormous power words have and encourage you to harness the power in the best interests of all.A marketing company’s tagline captures the essence of my message- Choose Wisely, Live Well !

Happy Learning ! 🙂

Word Meaning Sentence
Predilection Bias, a preference or special liking for something Your predilection for employees from you native state is pretty evident.
Diabolic Characteristic of the devil, Mephistophelian, wicked, fiendish, malevolent, The diabolical expression on his face was noticeable after he committed the crime.
Syncretic The combination of different forms of belief or practice Religious syncretism is at the heart of a diversified world.
Pique A feeling of irritation or resentment resulting from a slight, especially to one’s pride. Arouse interest or curiosity He was left in a fit of pique when he was denied entry to the prestigious award ceremony.  Hopefully the movie trailer will pique the interest of moviegoers and motivate them to buy tickets to see the film.
Staunch very loyal and committed in attitude Since the two countries are staunch allies it is not surprising they will work together in the war to defeat their shared enemy.
Aplomb Calm self confidence Antonyms : gaucheness Being an orator par excellence, he can deliver any speech with aplomb.
Consonance Agreement, harmony, concord, accord Consonance among all the members of a team, leads to a better performance.
Partisan Prejudiced in favor of a particular cause. Because of your partisan views, you are unwilling to look at other options.
Moratorium A temporary prohibition of an activity. Potential business owners are angry because the county has passed a moratorium on new business licenses.
Clemency Mercy, lenience In their letter to the governor, the victim’s family asked him not to give clemency to their son’s murderer.
Salubrious Healthy, pleasant Vegetables are salubrious foods which provide essential nutrients.
indefatigable Tireless, (of efforts) persisting tirelessly The director of the homeless shelter is an indefatigable woman who works almost eighteen hours every day.
Pastoral A work of literature portraying an idealized version of country life. The story, though a pastoral, has an actual connection with the life of agricultural labor.
Lingua franca  (Italian origin) A language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different. The official language and de facto lingua franca of this country is the English language.
De facto  (Latin origin) In Latin, it means ‘of fact’ Existing or holding a specified position in fact but not necessarily by legal right. The official language and de facto lingua franca of this country is the English language.
Obfuscation To deliberately make something confusing or difficult to understand The loan contract was filled with legal words meant to obfuscate trusting borrowers.
Intelligentsia Intellectuals or highly educated people as a group, especially when regarded as possessing culture and political influence. The intelligentsia of this country has a great influence on the government.
Stalemate a position counting as a draw, in which a player is not in check but cannot move except into check. The government has convened an all-party meeting on Monday to discuss ways to end the stalemate in Parliament.
Obduracy The quality of being obstinate, stubborn or intractable. Your obduracy on this deal has worsened the matter.
Buttress A source of defense or support. Increase the strength or justification for, reinforce After the humiliating way his girlfriend dumped him, his friends rallied to his side to act as a buttress to his deflated ego.
dissidence Protest against official policy The dissident ministers opposed the newly passed bill.
Dissension Disagreement that leads to discord. This maneuver caused dissension within feminist ranks
Cadence Measure or beat of movement A consistent rhythm or beat We were happy when our fast-talking professor started to speak in a slow cadence we could understand.
Perfidy The state of being deceitful and untrustworthy. If you do business with criminals, you should not be shocked when their perfidy comes back to you in the form of a bullet in the back.
Cabal A secret political clique or faction. The cabal of dissident employees is plotting against the executive group.
Cantankerous Bad-tempered, argumentative, and uncooperative. He can be a cantankerous old fossil at times. (Here, fossil means a person who is outdated and resistant to change.)
Aspersion An attack on the reputation or the integrity of someone or something, calumny I don’t think anyone is casting aspersions on you.
Maim Wound or injure so that a part of the body is permanently damaged Jake is an irresponsible driver who will most likely take a life or maim someone eventually.

Parents, you are wrong when ………

Parents are the angels we have on Earth who take care of us, when God is too busy maintaining balance and peace in the world. This position of theirs earns respect and gratitude of the child. Believe me when I say that every child feels (and should feel) indebted to his parents, for giving him life and more importantly for making it worth living, at some or all times throughout his existence on Earth. Parents are like the anchor of our boat, keeping us afloat in this gigantic ocean of worldly drifts and waves.be-affectionate

But does that mean they cannot do anything wrong? No, it does not.

Parents are wrong when they lay too much pressure on their child to excel in the ongoing rat race to prove one’s worth in this materialistic world. I am not generalizing here. I know there are many parents who support their child through thick and thin. And if you are one of them, I salute you!

But then, I also know about parents for whom boasting about their child’s success and achievement is so important to maintain their ‘status’ in the society, that in the process of creating a success story, they often lead to tales of broken dreams. They want to produce geniuses. And in this era of cut throat competition, they want their child to go to a reputed college, earn a hefty salary and marry a partner of their choice. Looks extremely well planned, isn’t it ? But I tend to disagree. Between all the meticulous contemplation and planning about a child’s future, where have they taken into account their child’s dreams and aspirations? Parents might put forth an argument that they have seen the world and they are experienced enough to judge what is good for their child and what is bad. I totally agree. 2015-02-12-13-02-59.shattered dreamBut how is crushing of a child’s dreams would do any good to him. I know ‘crushing’ is a harsh word to use in this context but I don’t intend to use euphemism when I want to express my views clearly and without any softening or exaggeration. In certain situations, parents might not even know that they are ‘crushing’ their child’s dream. Ignoring it and asking him to blindly follow the rat in the race cannot absolve them of the fact that they are killing the seed inside him which can give birth to a tree in future. Or even if it is not a tree, even if it is just a sapling – yet a sapling is better than a dead and a wasted seed.428c516b7a78d17d0abc6a7fbd726081

A child is already indebted to his parents. He always wants to give them all the happiness of the world and make them feel proud. But does that mean he has to do everything that his parents’ desire irrespective of what he truly yearns for- ignoring his own dreams? After all, parents want them to be happy, right! What if he is happy doing his own little thing rather than walking the trodden path? Parents want best for their child but what if their perception of best for him isn’t aligned with his happiness? What if he is happy following his risky and uncertain field of interest and not the conventional and certain area of employment?

What if his heart is full when his pockets are not? What if his eyes shine and not his resume?

What if a distant relative or an insensitive neighbor doesn’t approve of your child’s ‘unusual success story’. It will still be a success story for him.

What if your child scores less than what you expected – what if he is not the topper but your neighbor’s kid is ? Should that mean he does not deserve to be your kid or you should pay less attention on him and concentrate more on your younger kid who excels in his education? Should that mean he isn’t a man of good character – worthy of every happiness and love?

You might feel by now that I am too rude or too insensitive and cynical about parent’s emotions and intentions. Or I am a rebellious child myself trying to let off the steam by pouring my frustration out into words. Believe me, I am not. What I am doing here is sharing my experience, not as a victim, but as a witness of the sufferings of an oppressed child who is so low on confidence today because of his/her failure to prove his worth to his/her parents. Let’s call him/her X. X considers himself a loser because he is not able to satisfy his parents’ ever-growing expectations. He has achieved a lot in his life, but not enough to achieve his parent’s satisfaction.

00221917e13e0f4d267d1aDo you approve of this? Should parents burden their child with so many expectations that a child spends his entire life trying to prove his worth?

Why are studies and grades a metric to judge whether a child is a good child or not? Why is a resume a standard to declare a child successful and not his character or nature? Why a child is always marked on his intellectual abilities rather than humane feelings and demeanor?

This culture is so deeply rooted in our society that I fear children losing the courage to confront their parents with their dreams. And therefore, parents need to understand and the younger generation needs to learn.

I am never going to let my child feel what X felt.

I will water the seed inside my little kid’s heart and will watch it grow. Whether it grows into a big, lush tree or a tiny sapling – future will tell – neither do I care because I will be busy looking at the smile on my kid’s face !

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P.S – My idea is not to offend parents in general or doubt their sincere intentions for their kids, neither I am painting parents as dream-killers. I just want to give every parent a chance to reconsider their parenting – to make sure they do not fall into the category of dream-killers.

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Build Your Vocabulary – Part 7

Words

Ahh !! Such diversity of words in one language !!

The extent to which the language has evolved is astonishing and at the same time intriguing. Here  I present to you the 7th edition of the vocabulary building tutorial.

Happy Learning and discovering !! 🙂

Word Meaning Sentence
Perspicacious Having a ready insight into and understanding of things. Many perspicacious investors sold their tech stocks long before the market crashed.
Magnum Opus A work of art, music, or literature that is regarded as the most important or best work that an artist, composer, or writer has produced. Origin : Latin This film is going to be the magnum opus of the director.
Complicity The fact or condition of being involved with others in an activity that is unlawful or morally wrong. They were accused of complicity in an attempt to overthrow the government.
Logjam Situation that seems irresolvable. The CEO of the company has a power to break any logjam in financial issues.
Truculent Eager or quick to argue or fight; aggressively defiant. The truculent attitude of students during strike was justifiable.
Opprobrium Harsh criticism or censure. The alleged complicity of the actor in betting brought opprobrium from his fans.
Insouciant Showing a casual lack of concern. Because Bill is insouciant and not concerned about his retirement, he does not worry about saving money.
Budge Make or cause to make the slightest movement The opposition is refusing to budge on its stand against the ruling party.
Dossier A collection of documents about a particular person, event, or subject. The government will soon release dossiers containing the evidence of a planned protest against the government by the opposition.
Tome A book, especially a large, heavy, scholarly one. I prefer reading novels to tomes.
Cuckold (of a man) make (another man) a cuckold by having a sexual relationship with his wife. In the novel, the protagonist cuckolds his employer.
Motif A dominant or recurring idea in an artistic work.A decorative image or design, especially a repeated one forming a pattern. Unrequited love is a frequent motif in the playwright’s works.
Duress Threats, violence, constraints, or other action used to coerce someone into doing something against their will or better judgement. The judge overturned the case because the defendant’s attorney proved that his client’s confession had been given under duress.
Musing Characterized by reflection or deep thought She was looking over the sea with sad, musing gaze. She missed him.
Beleaguer Put in a very difficult situation The board is supporting the beleaguered director.
Nemesis A downfall caused by an inescapable agent. The enemy which constantly causes problems The whole world witnessed the nemesis of the country whose sole nemesis was poor governance
Renege Go back on a promise, undertaking, or contract. The government had reneged on its election promises.
Heteronormative Denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation. We used to live in a heteronormative culture but things are changing now.
Churlishness Deliberately rude behavior Although she is a beautiful and talented actress, she has a reputation for being churlish and difficult to get along with.
Fractious Irritable and quarrelsome. They fight like fractious children.
Debunk Expose the falseness or hollowness of (an idea or belief) to reveal the inaccuracies associated with a belief The scientist hoped to debunk the genetic theory by completing his own research.
Jingoism Extreme patriotism for one’s country that often shows itself through aggression towards other nations The dictator’s jingoism caused him to constantly rant about his nation’s superiority while threatening his rivals with war.
Tantalize Torment or tease (someone) with the sight or promise of something that is unobtainable. Excites one’s senses or desires. Since I am on a diet, I must ignore the tantalizing smells coming from the bakery.
Desperado A desperate or reckless person, especially a criminal. No one could believe that the decently dressed man was a desperado.
Livid Furiously angry After sitting in the airport for nine hours, I was livid when I learned my flight would be delayed another six hours.
Contestation The action or process of disputing or arguing There is a global contestation over the distribution of natural resources.
Annulled Declared invalid ( an official agreement, decision or result ) The elections were annulled by the general amid renewed protests.
Profligate Recklessly extravagant or wasteful in the use of resources. Licentious and dissolute During the mayor’s campaign, he swore to put an end to profligate government spending.
Bootleg Make, distribute, or sell (alcoholic drink or a recording) illegally. Government has to enforce measures to curtail bootlegging.
Hooch Alcoholic drink, especially inferior or illicit whisky. Prohibition of liquor in a state will lead to larger number of deaths due to hooch tragedies.
Pacifist A person who believes that war and violence are unjustifiable. She was a committed pacifist all her life.

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Foreign Words in English – Spanish

     language.1y10        whyspanish

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Hola Amigos !!

Here I am with my 2nd Edition of Foreign words – this time exploring the Spanish lexicon, and I must tell you this venture has been as exciting and revealing as the French voyage…..

About the language :

Spanish is one of the most popular languages in the world, next to Mandarin Chinese and English. Approximately 425 million people worldwide use Spanish as their primary means of communication. Mandarin Chinese has around 880 million users and English has around 400 million. Spanish is a romance language and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.Spanish is the official language in about 20 countries.

Well, to my great surprise and astonishment, I came across words of Spanish origin that are so common in our day to day conversation, that I did not even enlist them with their meaning and example sentences. It would be like defining what an apple is, or what a car is…..For e.g. Following words have Spanish origin :

Cannibal Marijuana
Chocolate Platinum
Cockroach Tobacco
Dengue Tornado
Hurricane Vanilla
Mosquito Tomato
Cargo Potato
Plaza

Now you tell me , do I need to define these ? 😉

That is the extent of diversity of the English language. It is breath-taking !!

Now, here is the list of often used in English but Spanish –originated words with their meanings and example sentences !!Make them a part of your creative piece to give it a distinct, Spanish touch.

Buena Suerte !!

( Good Luck )

Spanish – originated Word Meaning Sentence
Adios Goodbye Anyway, adios and good luck!
Aficionado A person who is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about an activity, connoisseur Since she is a Sudoku aficionado, she finds it very easy to pass time when she is traveling all by herself.
Amigo used to address or refer to a friend I’ll do my best. Adios, amigo!
Barbecue A meal or gathering at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors on a rack over an open fire or on a special appliance. We were invited to a barbecue by our neighbors at their farm house.
Bonanza A situation which creates a sudden increase in wealth, good fortune, or profits. Publicity seekers know that festival can provide a bonanza of media coverage.
Breeze (old Spanish + Portuguese) A gentle wind. Tantalizing cooking smells wafted on the evening breeze.
Cafeteria A restaurant in which customers serve themselves from a counter and pay before eating. We will spend Wednesday evening at the nearby cafeteria.
Stampede Sudden rapid movement or reaction of a mass of people in response to a particular circumstance or stimulus. Several casualties were reported due to a stampede at the public event.
Embargo An official ban on trade or other commercial activity with a particular country. An official ban on an activity There is a complete embargo on taking photographs in court.
Fiesta An event marked by festivities or celebration. Revelers throw tomatoes during the annual tomato fight fiesta. The main aspect of any fiesta is the food.
Guerilla A member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces. This town fell to the guerrillas.
Macho Masculine in an overly assertive or aggressive way. Let’s not say that guys don’t hurt or feel broken hearted. They are human and they get hurt, but in keeping with the macho image, they hide the pain.
Nada nothing They searched the suspect’s house but got nada.
Peccadillo A relatively minor fault or sin. Unless you’re perfect, you should never complain about a peccadillo of someone else.
Pronto Promptly, quickly Put the vegetables in the refrigerator, pronto!
Renegade A person who deserts and betrays an organization, country, or set of principles. When Clara learned her law firm was trying to hide important evidence, she became a renegade and joined the opposing legal team.
Savvy Shrewdness and practical knowledge, especially in politics or business. He is tech-savvy. We’re looking for some computer-savvy people to work for us
Vertigo a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height, or caused by disease affecting the inner ear or the vestibular nerve; giddiness. when a person feels like they are moving when they are not. Once he was at the top of the mountain, he suffered from vertigo.

                      

A Brother’s Sister

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Cynosure of all eyes,

 I was, for three years long,

 Soon, I heard joyful cries

‘Look sweetie, your brother is born’.

~

 Tiny little hands, minuscule fingers,

So delicate he was to hold,

 In the hospital, by his side, I lingered,

 ‘Let him sleep, honey’, mum told.

~

I got my first & only sibling,

My very first friend,

This was just the beginning,

 Of a friendship that would never end.

~

Sharing toys and chocolates,

He was my partner in crime,

That hasn’t changed till date

Along the years, over the time.

~

Once a kid, now fully grown

Into a tall, handsome man,

So quickly, the time has flown

Twenty years is a long span

~

But, even after twenty years,

Our bond is very much the same

Still reveling, fighting, sharing  tears

Pulling each other’s leg, calling names !

~

I don’t get to see him much

Away from home, I live

But I always keep him in touch

Sense of closeness I want to give.

~

I want him to be successful

And lead a happy, sanguine life

Filled with pride and joy, blissful

Complete with children and a caring wife!

~

A Proud sister, I will always be,

I want to see him rise and shine,

Apple of my eye, he will always be

No matter how old he is, brother mine !!

                                                                                               ~

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Mutual Admiration Sessions

The man who discovered fire meets the man who invented the wheel ('I've always admired your work).

Me: “I am feeling so low today. There is so much competition out there in the world. I feel I am not worth anything.”

Roomie (visibly panicked) : “ What happened ? Are the mid-sems result out? ”

Me : “No! It’s just that I don’t know what I am doing with my life.”

Roomie: “ Why are you in a brown study today ? ” Don’t tell me you have completed the entire Supernatural series and have no more episodes to watch. The ‘Sherlock’ episode has come out. You can watch that.”

Me : “ I am serious. I am 20 now and I am just not satisfied with what I am today. I feel worthless.”

Oh! by the way, I did complete the Supernatural series, and I have put the ‘Sherlock’ episode on download.

That’s not the point. I think I don’t have the qualities to be a successful person in life. How will I fulfill my aspirations when I am not even confident enough about my abilities and strengths? Forget the aspirations, I don’t even feel good as a human being !!”

Roomie (in a saturnine tone) : “Well, I am on the same page with you ! Indeed there are so much expectations and hopes with one’s life that I am scared and afraid of facing the world after college. I want to live a happy and successful life and the fear of failure haunts me everyday.”

Me (histrionically) : “Am I ever going to cheer up ?? Will I ever regain my confidence? Am I good for anything? Oh, how I wish someone could bring me back to life !

Roomie: Don’t lose heart! Ok, Let’s do one thing. Let’s play a game so that we can both cheer up and regain the lost confidence.

Me: What game?

Roomie : You list one strength/ admirable quality that I have , and then I will list yours. We will keep rotating the turns. But no exaggeration and pretense ! You don’t have to flatter me. It should be genuine.

Me: Will that work?

Roomie : I have not tried, but let’s check !

    ~

And man did it work! By the end of a 15 minute-long session, alternatively admiring the other person and hearing words of praise for yourself, the mood was lifted , the missing confidence regained and a lesson was learnt.

The account dates back to my college days and is one of the most vivid moments that I shared with my room-mate. That day, we learnt two things:

  1. Admiration lifts our mood and helps us regain confidence. So that day we promised to each other that if ever, either of us feels low or disheartened or worthless in life, the other would come to the rescue – not only to shower admiration on the gloomy friend and cheer her up, but also to make her see the beauty in the world by making her to praise the former.
  1. A girl understands a fellow girl’s mindset so well! 🙂

From that day, it was a secret we both had kept to ourselves, until this day when I am letting the cat out of the bag. We even gave a name to the game – ‘Mutual Admiration Sessions’.

Well the game was a stroke of serendipity, but can it not be extrapolated to our life ?

During the course of the journey we call life, we often come across predicaments which tend to shatter our confidence in our own being. Our worth becomes a blurred image and we tend to question the correctness of every decision we take, owing to the failures we encountered in the past or harbingers of discouragement we came across. Ideally, our conscience should remind us of the accomplishments we have achieved in the past and the greater heights we are capable of reaching in future – we know it as self-confidence. But at certain times, our conscience ceases to communicate and gets buried under a thick cover of apprehensions and doubt. We need an external agent to lift that cover and show us a picture of what truly we are capable.

The endeavor should not be equated to chest thumping – the intention is not to get blinded by the admiring words showered upon by the ‘mutual admiring partner’. That’s why, it is mutual. You will hear praise for yourself, but you will also have to point out qualities that you admire in your fellow participant. It will negate the probability of getting lost in narcissism. Eventually, when the cover is lifted, your mood will be lifted along with your confidence.

I also believe that some people will find it silly and childish and immature.

When somebody is depressed and low, and has lost all the trust and faith on oneself and one’s capabilities, how can such a stupid game help?

My answer to all those people:

You have been serious all your life. Try being silly for a change !

It might work for you, it might not ! I give no guarantee. But at least it will be worth a try.

Well, it helped me and my roomie ! 🙂

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Foreign Words In English – French

frenchenglishwords      Do-you-speak-English

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Starting a new endeavor, I bring to you my latest edition of foreign words which will enrich your exotic vocabulary and will give you an insight into different foreign words (and their origin), which are widely used in English. Use them in your writing and let the words do wonder for you!

For the first edition, I have listed the French-origin words commonly used in English.

About the language :

French is one of the worlds great languages, rivalled only by English as the language of international society and diplomacy.Besides in France itself, French can be heard in several other European countries, widely throughout Africa, and also in various dependencies. In addition, it is the unofficial second language of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and many others.It is the mother tongue of about 75 million people, with millions more familiar with it as a second language.French is one of the romance languages, descended from Latin. A number of dialects initially emerged but history favoured the North and Parisian French gained ascendancy over the others.In the 17th – 19th centuries French was pre-eminent as an international language, though it has been eclipsed by English in the 20th.

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During my analysis and reading to prepare this list, I came across many familiar French words which I thought had English origin. So the entire exercise had its own surprising moments.

Get ready to get surprised and start giving a French touch to your writing by incorporating these words at the right place to convey the apt meaning.

Avoir du plaisir à apprendre !

( I hope that means ‘ Have fun learning !’ in French – if not , feel free to correct me)

French-originated Word Meaning Usage
à la carte On the menu.

In restaurants, it refers to ordering individual dishes rather than fixed priced meals

The restaurant provides three course dinner à la carte on Wednesday evening
Adieu good-bye, farewell The entire school gathered in the auditorium to bid adieu to the principal.
Avant-garde The pioneers or innovators in art in a particular period Because the new tower has an avant-garde design, it does not fit in with the historical buildings in the square.
Bête noire A person or thing that one particularly dislikes or avoids. Jane was his . He always tried to avoid her.
Agent provocateur A person employed to induce others to break the law so that they can be convicted. He acted as an agent provocateur, instigating the mob for violent protest.
Carte Blanche complete freedom to act as one wishes. The architect was given carte blanche to design the restaurant by the restaurateur.
Déjà vu a feeling of having already experienced the present situation. I felt a sense of déjà vu when I walked down that lane.
En route On the way I am en route for the meeting at my office.
Esprit de corps feeling of pride and mutual loyalty shared by the members of a group The team under Jaden has no unity and no spirit de corps.
Fait accompli a thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving them with no option but to accept it. Accepting the change as a fait accompli, the best we could do was to adjust ourselves according to the change.
Faux pas an embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation The designer committed a fashion faux pas at a recent fashion event by wearing a dress made of leaves.
Haute Couture expensive, fashionable clothes produced by leading fashion houses. She inaugurated her new store that would make haute couture accessible to common people.
Laissez-faire abstention by governments from interfering in the workings of the free market.

the policy of leaving things to take their own course, without interfering.

Small business owners are happiest when the government maintains its laissez-faire management style and stays out of their affairs.
Nouveau riche people who have recently acquired wealth, typically those perceived as ostentatious or lacking in good taste. He was nouveau riche, but nobody knew how he amassed such great wealth.
RSVP Please respond (to my message). Literally the abbreviation of ‘Répondez, s’il vous plaît’. Please send an RSVP request to all the guests, so that I can estimate the number of guests attending the wedding.
Vis-a-vis In relation to Many agencies now have a unit to deal with women’s needs vis-à-vis employment.
Cliché a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. When will she come up with a new phrase and stop using that cliché in all her social media posts?
Gaffe An unintentional act or remark causing embarrassment to its originator; a blunder. Keeping abreast of fashion trends ensures that one does not make a social gaffe in interacting with one’s peers.
Panache flamboyant confidence of style or manner. She always wears her stylish outfits with panache.
Rapprochement (Especially in international affairs) an establishment or resumption of harmonious relations. The rapprochement talks between the two nations are in progress.
Soirée An evening party or gathering I have been invited to a soiree at her home on Wednesday.
Raison d’être The most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence. The company‘s raison d’être is to provide cheaper mobiles to the public.
Saboteur a person who engages in sabotage. She will go down as the chief saboteur of the monarchy.
Gourmet a connoisseur of good food; a person with a discerning palate.

Of a kind or standard suitable for a gourmet.

He was a celebrated gourmet, who travelled all around the world tasting all types of gourmet food..
burlesque An absurd or comically exaggerated imitation of something, especially in a literary or dramatic work; a parody. He has written a novel which is a burlesque of the literary life
Chauffeur Driver She always preferred a chauffeured driven limousine.
Élan A distinctive flair or style He performed with elan without getting scared of a packed auditorium.
Pince nez A type of spectacles without temple arms One of the distinctive characterization details of Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ was the pince-nez he wore.

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Silhouette The dark shape and outline of someone or something visible in restricted light against a brighter background. She paused to see the church’s silhouette against the dimming sky
Charlatan a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill. The charlatan tried to deceive people into thinking he was a minister collecting donations for the poor.
Vignette a brief evocative description, account, or episode.

Design on a book page

Her novel is a classy vignette of contemporary life.
Belles lettres essays, particularly on literary and artistic criticism, written and read primarily for their aesthetic effect. The emergence of a literature of belles-lettres reflected the success of the colonies
Pirouette an act of spinning on one foot, typically with the raised foot touching the knee of the supporting leg. The dancer fell down while attempting a pirouette during the dance.

pirouette

Silhouette of a dancer attempting a pirouette !!

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Resumé a written summary of your education, work experience, and achievements; also known as a ‘curriculum vitae’ (CV) Please ask him to forward me his resume. I will have a look and then let you know whether this job suits him.
Facade The front part of the building that faces the street

 

a deceptive outward appearance.

Behind that facade of indifference, there’s a very nice person.
Camarederie Mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together. Because of the camaraderie they shared, the soldiers trusted each other with their lives.

Build Your Vocabulary Part – 6

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For the enthusiast readers and authors, here is the 6th edition of vocabulary tutorial – more words to add to your dictionary !

Happy learning !

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Word Meaning Sentence
Debauched Characterized by excessive indulgence in sex, alcohol or drugs His father did not approve of his son’s  debauched lifestyle.
Salacious Conveying indecent interest in sexual matters, obscene This novel had salacious content.
Whet A thing that stimulates appetite or desire. The delicious food laid at the table whetted my appetite.
Gumption Shrewd or spirited  initiative and resourcefulness Although he was well paid he had the gumption to ask for a raise.
Grit Courage and resolve, strength of character Grit, perseverance and determination are imperative qualities for succeeding in any field.
Gormandize Eat good food, especially in excess “Don’t gormandize at the party ! Don’t make a pig of yourself !”
Eerie Strange, frightening The door made an eerie sound at night.
Obeisance Deferential respect In my family, we say a prayer before each meal to show obeisance and thanks.
Gory Involving or showing violence and bloodshed The king captured the northern territory after  defeating his enemy in a gory battle.
Agog Very eager or curious to hear or see something They were all agog for the exam results.
Banal, trite, hackneyed Lacking in originality, overused Eventually, the saying has become so hackneyed that people have stopped using it.
Abstemious Indulging very moderately in something, like food or drink. Following his mother’s order, Jaden was abstemious at dinner.
Saturnine Gloomy, morose, sad and solemn

(ant. Sanguine )

The dog’s eyes became saturnine whenever his owner left the house.
Fanatical Filled with excessive and single-minded zeal His wife was fanatical about tidiness.
Heresy Opinions profoundly different from dogmatic or orthodox views, deviation from a dominant theory or opinion Just because an idea is new does not mean it is heresy.
Beatific Feeling or expressing blissful happiness Her beatific smile hides all the troubles she has been going through.
Blustery Characterized by strong winds, tempestuous The blustery student is difficult for the teachers to handle
anathema something or someone that one vehemently dislikes Reading classics is an anathema to me.
inveterate having a particular habit, activity, or interest that is long-established and unlikely to change. He is an inveterate gambler who spends all his money in gambling.
frisson A sudden feeling of excitement or fear, thrill. I felt a frisson just as they were about to announce the winner in my category.
superaanuated Outdated, obsolete, old fashioned Often they are forced to write about superannuated celebrities in preference to fresh talent.
entourage A group of people surrounding or attending to an important person An entourage of royal advisors always followed the king.
accrued accumulate or receive (payments or benefits) over time. Loans accrue interests.
unbridled unrestrained The girls danced with unbridled enthusiasm after winning the competition.

Commonly Used Idioms Part – 5

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Here comes the exclusive 5th edition of Idioms. As I explore the language and its endless list of idioms, I often come across a story hidden behind the origin of every idiom – sometimes hilarious, sometimes very interesting.

For example, take ‘Achilles’ heel’ – Achilles was a Greek hero in the Trojan War, who was defeated when his enemy shot him in the heel with an arrow. Legends say that Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except his heel. So now, when we say something is someone’s Achilles’ heel, it is his/her biggest weakness! Told you – origin of some idioms are very interesting. 🙂

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Catch off guard To surprise someone by doing something one was not expecting One of the larger airlines caught its rivals off guard yesterday by suddenly announcing a cut in fares.
Have money to burn To have a lot of money and spend large amounts on things which are unnecessary Christine’s new boyfriend seems to have money to burn. He’s always buying her extravagant gifts.
House on fire If two people get on like a house on fire, they like each other very much and become friends very quickly: I was worried before introducing my girlfriend to my sister, but when they met, they were a house on fire.
It’s all Greek to me something that you say when you do not understand something that is written or said The phrases written in the letter are all Greek to me.
Achilles’ Heel Weakness or vulnerable point The team is good on attack but defense is their Achilles’ heel.
A high hand oppressively The ruler rules his subjects with high hands.
Jump the gun To start something too soon When we took the test, Tom jumped the gun to gain a lead over others.
Let off steam To release one’s pent up(not expressed or released) emotions The kids can let off steam in the gardens while mum and dad have a relaxing drink
Get out of bed on the wrong side Someone in a bad mood and is easily annoyed all day What’s the matter with you? Did you get out of bed on the wrong side or something?
Cook the book Falsify a company’s financial accounts/records An independent audit showed that they’ve been cooking the books for years.
Couch potato A person who takes little or no exercise and watches a lot of television. During his vacation, he becomes a couch potato.
Full of hot air Full of nonsense Mary’s answer sheet is full of hot air.
Live in an ivory tower Live a life away from harsh realities of life Many professors are said to live in ivory towers. They don’t know what the real world is like.
Pipe down To stop talking Please pipe down and work on your homework.
Know the ropes Informed/aware of all the details of a situation or task Don’t worry about Sara’s taking over that reporter’s job-she already knows the ropes.
A dime a dozen Very common Romantic movies are a dime a dozen.
Dead ringer Looking very similar, duplicate He is a dead ringer of his late grandfather.
To pass the buck To pass the blame, to pass the responsibility Some people try to pass the buck whenever they can to avoid work.
A good Samaritan Someone who tries to help people with their problems Jane is a good Samaritan. She comes to everyone’s’ rescue.
Come to rescue To save someone or something A big donor came to the college’s rescue.
Whole nine yards Entire amount, everything possible She is mortgaging the house, her jewelry, the whole nine yards for his son’s college fees.
Last straw The final point beyond one cannot endure When he came late for the meeting the fifth time in two weeks, that was the last straw for his boss.
In a brown study Lost in deep thoughts She was in a brown study when I called her.
Stand one’s ground Refusing to change one’s position, stand firm despite opposition She was not intimidated by the police and stood her ground and described the burglar.
Cant’ hold a candle to Unable to measure up to someone Mary can’t hold a candle to Ann when it comes to athletics.
One’s salad days A time of youthful inexperience and carefree pleasure  But that was in my salad days, before I got married and had children.

Don’t judge me before you know me

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To all the prejudice minds,

And people anxious to judge,

Who turn an eye blind

And shelter a ludicrous grudge,

~

Unaware of my strength,

Ignorant of my struggles,

You have watched my life at arm’s length

You don’t know my troubles.

 ~

Do you really make yourself believe

You have touched my soul’s every nook ?

My friend, the smiles and tears can deceive

I am not an open book !

 ~

I intend not to fool you,

Nor I wish your admiration,

But I also don’t want you

To judge me on preconceived notion.

~

You are free to have your opinion,

About me, my demeanor as a whole,

But do not let bias establish dominion

Over your righteous, sound soul.

~

Spend time to discover,

My desire and my intention,

Lift the bias cover

I am not an epitome of pretension.

~

Misunderstood by people, my intentions and gestures,

It is miserable to bear & see,

Even difficult when I know very well

Those people don’t know me

~

Love me, hate me, show me your ire

Once inside my heart, you see

Have an opinion as you desire

But don’t judge before you know me !

 
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Dance Along

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Dance, Dance
Dance to the beat,
Dance, dance
To music, tap your feet !

Dance, dance
Throw caution to the wind,
Dance, dance
Make your body swing !

Dance, dance
Let the rhythm flow,
Dance, dance
Let your face glow.

Dance, dance
Bring your friends to the floor,
Dance, dance
Groove and twirl to the core.

Dance, dance
Put your hands up in the air,
Dance, dance
With panache, elan & flair.

Dance, dance
Whenever you are sombre,
Dance, dance
Swirl around, don’t ponder.

Dance, Dance
What if you are not a pro*,
Dance, dance
You will steal the show!

Dance, dance
Dance with all your heart,
Dance, dance
It is more than just an art.

~

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A Note to the readers: It might seem more of a lullaby or a nursery rhyme than a melody , but I had to incorporate the simplicity with which dance can have an indelible effect on a person’s spirit. Being a dance enthusiast myself, I feel very relaxed and at peace after a dance session. It is a stress buster and mood lifter for me and I enjoy it thoroughly. I am not a professional. I dance not to please or entertain others. I dance for myself ! Hopefully, you can try it too and experience the magic!

*pro : professional

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Long Distance Love

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From rising sun to the shining stars,
From Monday blue to the Sunday fondue
The world around seems incomplete
The missing piece is You !

 Seeing lovers in the park,
Hand in hand, strolling together,
My heart yearns for a nice little walk
But my wishes are tethered.

 Eating ice creams is no fun,
When there is none to share,
Oh how much I miss your affection
Your warmth, your care !

 My eyes want to see you,
My hands want to feel
And I don’t mean digitally,
But for real !

I knew it would be difficult,
I knew it would be lonely,
But I soothe my heart saying,
It’s difficult, but temporary.

I know very well you too reciprocate
Emotions of this sort
But you think I am the reason, not fate
For the distance that hath us apart.

I wish a radiant life for us,
For which, apart we have to live
But not for long, this fuss,
Togetherness to us destiny will give.

Nothing in this life comes without struggle
We too have our share,
Opposing families, unstable careers we have to juggle
Before building our lair.

But one day the miles will vanish,
The struggles we will defeat,
We will rejoice together, I promise
At our magical feat !

Till then hold onto the bond of love,
Remember me each day
After all,I live in your heart,
Not too far away!

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Fondue: a dish in which small pieces of food are dipped into a hot sauce or a hot cooking medium such as oil or broth.

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‘Supernatural’ is more than just a television show!

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For those who don’t know what I am going to talk about – Supernatural is an American horror television series and as the name suggests, it is a story of two brothers hunting supernatural elements and protecting the world which takes them to different places and on arduous trips, exploring their brotherhood on the way.

Don’t Worry ! No Spoilers ahead !

It was Love at first sight
After watching 10 successful seasons and 200+ episodes, I still recollect the fond memories of the day I was introduced to the Winchester boys by my roommate. It was the night before our last mid-semester exam in 2nd year of our college. Well, I guess she wanted to have a nice, little break from the monotony of her study routine; a break I could not afford because of the not-so-monotonous study routine of mine. Oh! Those exam days – I am glad they are over!
Well, she was watching one of the episodes of the 1st season when I happened to peep at her laptop screen (owing to the lack of interest I have in studies – this was inevitable). I saw a man with scary, yellow eyes scaring off a tall, cute boy – I thought, ‘This looks intriguing’. My curiosity heightened and owing to my inability to control it any further, I asked her – ‘What is this you are watching?’ – Quite ignorant of the fact that it would become one of my favorite shows in the coming days. She explained to me the scene and the background story in a nutshell which intrigued me even more, after which she made me have a look at the Winchester boys!
I got lost in Sam’s cute looks and Dean’s mesmerizing eyes.

Love has to be patient
But even today, I give a pat on my back for inhibiting my strong desire to watch the two men fight ghosts in their luxurious Impala. I went back to study consoling myself saying that I would get freedom from the books the next day and then there would be no barrier between us.

The first date
It was magical. Not only the boys, but also the story. It was different. It was appealing. No wonder, I was hooked on to the series for the next three days, completing the entire season.

Our growing relationship
Since the first day I laid my eyes on these two boys, till now – after 10 seasons – I have felt an extreme sense of possessiveness and admiration for them. It is more than just a horror drama to me: I will tell you why :
1. I have stopped getting scared of ghosts, witches, vengeful spirits, vampires- name any supernatural entity- and I have seen Dean and Sam fighting them and coming out victorious with flying colors. So if they can, I can too! ( I have also learnt some tricks) 😛 😀

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2. My vocabulary and knowledge of supernatural elements have increased fourfold. For e.g. – I know about shape shifters , or crossroad demons, hell hounds, spells, devil’s trap, vengeful spirit and many more. ( hehehe !! 😀 )

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3. I have fallen in awe with the portrayal of brotherhood between the two boys – After all, it is all about family, isn’t it? The blood relationship – the only thing which overcomes their difference of thoughts and mindset – They taught me that ‘Nothing in this world is above family’. 🙂

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4. But at the same time, their family is not limited to blood ties. In the family business where you have to trust your partner with your life, Dean and Sam have made loyal friends whose friendship will last a lifetime. ‘Will-die-for-friend Friendship’. :’)

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5. They have shown me that no matter what, the evil needs to be punished – no matter who the evil doer is! Evil can never win- at least when Sam and Dean are around.

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6. They have always been for each other- always got each other’s back in troubled times. It is a treat to watch their brotherly moments. 🙂

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Clearly, my admiration for the show and its characters is not hard to make out. After watching each episode umpteen number of times of the last 10 seasons, I am eagerly waiting to see what the 11th season has in store for the two brothers and their coterie.

In deep love with Sam & Dean Winchester ❤

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Thanks to tumblr for the amazing gifs !

Image Source

Build your Vocabulary Part -5

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Want to make your writing skills exotic !! Here’s the key 🙂

In continuation with my ‘Build your Vocabulary’ category, I introduce the 5th chapter, filled with interesting English and some Latin words too ! Watch this space for more foreign words that are yet to come.

 

Word Meaning Sentence
euphemism a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. He used a euphemism to disguise his real feelings about the incident.
Parody an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect. His dexterity in making comical parody of different movie actors is commendable.
Non sequitur (Latin) a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement. His poem is filled with metaphors and non sequiturs.
verbiage excessively lengthy or technical speech or writing, confused, the way in which something is expressed; wording or diction. When writing an essay, you should focus more on providing facts and less on stuffing the paper with verbiage.
Sine qua non (Latin) an essential condition; a thing that is absolutely necessary. Fruits are sine qua non of my morning breakfast
specious Misleading, superficially plausible but wrong, deceptive The intruder tried to give the authorities a specious excuse regarding his presence in the building.
caveat Premonition, warning , caution
LAW:a notice, especially in a probate, that certain actions may not be taken without informing the person who gave the notice.
The caveat of the contract includes a penalty fee if the loan is not repaid on time.
bedrock Fundamental principles on which something is based Faith and peace is the bedrock of every religion.
sanctimonious making a show of being morally superior to other people. My sanctimonious aunt tends to look down upon people who do not go to church every Sunday.
tawdry showy but cheap , of poor quality Although Aunt Eloise had lots of money, she always wore such tawdry jewellery.
protégé (French + Latin origin) One whose welfare, training, or career is promoted by an influential person. The relationship between mentor and protégé has been a defining factor in the success of countless artists in the field of cinema.
voyeur a person who gains sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity.
A person who enjoys seeing others in pain or distress.
The biographer is always something of a voyeur and burglar.
hiatus a small pause break in continuity in sequence or activity After Mary had a baby, she took a brief hiatus from work.
vociferous expressing or characterized by vehement opinions. The protestors were vociferous as they screamed outside of the government building.
brunt worst part or chief impact of a specified action Young teachers are more likely to bear the brunt of increasing parental expectations.
fount source The fount for all the troubles in the country is the corruption deeply rooted in the system.
deem regarded or considered The event was deemed a great success.
pliant easily influenced The pliant head led his company to downfall because of his indecisiveness and gullible nature.
remit task assigned officially to a person or group The remit of the committee is to punish the guilty and bring reforms in the working of the autonomous body.
grist useful material, especially to support an argument. The research provided the most sensational grist for opponents of tobacco
bait annoy or taunt someone The other boys revelled in baiting him about his love of literature.
unsavoury unpleasant. disagreeable because morally disreputable. He has an unsavoury reputation owing to his unscrupulous demeanor.
cauldron A situation characterized by instability and strong emotions. A cauldron of anger and remorse gripped the city after the actor’s death.

Is the demon of suicide gender biased ?

A date with an Amateur

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                                           “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

Suicide is the aftermath of a long struggle with failure, depression, heart-break or ignominy. It is anti- God – a demon, hell bent to destroy God’s beautiful creation, creeps into a disheartened mind – lures it to kick the bucket, in order to destroy the pain. But does Suicide’s Grim Reaper prefer males to females? Is it gender biased ? Otherwise, what else could explain the greater number of men dying by suicide than women!

In today‘s world of advancements in possibly every facet of life, the responsibility on an individual to prove one’s worth increases tremendously. With the sudden surge of social media over the last decade, the social connections have increased which puts the individual in a constant limelight, as a result of which he/she has a fear of constantly being judged. The individual is not burdened…

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Letter to my Future Kid

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My darling,

How are you keeping kiddo? I hope angels are taking good care of you.

I am reminded of you everyday, sweetheart. Your thoughts flash into my mind when I see kids playing in the park or on the street – the carefree demeanor, the boisterous movements ; not a single worry in the world. I am reminded of you when I see a mother feeding her baby in a restaurant, leaving aside her own food; I am reminded of you when I see kids scared of water, clinging onto their fathers in a swimming pool. But I am also reminded of you when I hear young teenagers committing suicide either because of poor grades or failed relationships. I am also reminded of you when I hear young girls being brutally raped and murdered. There are other dark evils residing in this world, my child, that your little, innocent mind can not even fathom.

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But you don’t have to worry, my darling. I intend not to scare you but to assure you that your mom along with your dad is going to take good care of you. Every evil thing trying to come close to you will find me standing in the way.

I promise.

You are my bundle of joy ,
Does’nt matter a girl or a boy ! 🙂

I would be happy to buy t-shirts for you as much as I will be happy to buy frocks.

You don’t have to worry about your school grades. I don’t care whether you get an ‘A’ or ‘B’. If getting an ‘A’ makes your heart happy, do it. I will not mind! But don’t pressurize yourself. Do what makes you happy, because only then you will do it with your full vigor.

If you are not interested in studies after school and want to pursue any other field, I will never object. My only condition – do your work sincerely and passionately in whichever field you are. Never settle for mediocrity and be true to your passion. I will be more than happy to see you doing what you love.

I don’t want you to be successful and ambitious as much as I want you to be a good human being, kiddo.

As a parent, I might not be able to fulfill each and every demand or wish that you have – some because of my inability and some because of your greater good – but believe me – I will give you everything you need to make your life comfortable and happy. So forgive me if I do not get you a smartphone or an ipad or a play station when you are young – I would like you to play with other kids and socialize outside. It is more important.

If you fall in love, I would never object to your marriage, because of ludicrous reasons like ‘Oh, she/he is of a different caste/religion/nationality’ but I would object if she/he is not a good human being. But I will not be hesitant to accept him/her if you have confidence on your choice. One more thing, marriage does not make you less of our kid and our home – less of your home. Always keep that in mind.

You will always be the apple of my eyes, baby.

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Take me more as your friend than your mom. Do not hesitate if you ever face a problem. Remind me whenever I deviate from my promise. Forgive me if ever I am harsh on you – I just want you to be a happy and a good human being.

I will always love you, honey!

Your future Mom

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Thank you Doctor !!

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Thank you doctor for bringing me into this beautiful world and giving my parents their first bundle of joy!

Thank you Doctor for cheering me up and making me smile while giving me vaccination injections.

Thank you Doctor for offering me chocolates every time I came to your clinic for treatment of minor ailments or for vaccination.

Thank you doctor for treating me when one of my friends accidentally hit me in the eye, although you had to get up from sleep at night.

Thank you for consoling my mother and telling her I was absolutely fine, who was so scared and alone while my dad was away on business tour.

Thank you doctor for bringing my younger brother who has become the apple of my eyes, into this world.

Thank you doctor for treating my mother’s stones.

Thank you doctor for turning up at my house late at night while I was burning hot with fever.

Thank you doctor for inviting me to your yoga sessions and introducing me to meditation, which has left an indelible and soothing effect on my body and mind.

Although I failed to say this to you each time you gratified me with your care, I am saying it to you today.
Innumerable thank yous for the past and equal number of thank yous for the future, because , you, Doctor, are an indispensable part of every human ‘s life. You are the blessed creation of God and an angel in disguise. Although many a times we fail to realize this, but if God created us, you brought us into this world. Yours is the noblest profession of all.

To every Doctor on this planet, on this Doctor’s day (in India), I offer my deepest respect and gratitude.

  Happy Doctor ‘s Day !!

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For all the doctors and patients alike,  here is a must watch video : Patient Doctor Relationship

Phrasal verbs – B

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Phrasal Verbs are very interesting. Aren’t they ? With the actual meaning hiding behind a veil, the words give an enigmatic turn to your writing skills. Here is a list of phrasal verbs starting with the letter ‘B’ for your reference. Use them in your piece and let it do wonders for you !

Phrasal Verb Definition Example
back down stop defending your opinion in a debate Jane never backs down. She always wins arguments.
back out not keep (a promise, agreement, deal) Sam backed out at the last second.
back out of not keep (a promise, agreement, deal) Sam backed out of the agreement at the last second.
back up give support You need examples to back up your opinion.
back up move backwards, reverse Could you back up a little so I can open this drawer.
bawl out criticize, reprimand (inf.) She bawled him out for arriving late.
bear down on bite The soldier had to bear down on the leather strap while the doctor removed a bullet from the soldier’s arm.
bear down on take strong measures against The U.S.A. is bearing down on drug traffickers.
bear on have to do with This information may bear on this case.
bear up withstand I didn’t think he would bear up so well in that situation.
bear up under withstand How did he bear up under such extreme pressure.
bear with be patient Please bear with me while I fill out the paperwork.
blow in visit unexpectedly (inf.) My cousin blew in unexpectedly with his entire family.
blow over pass without creating a problem All this negative publicity will blow over in a couple of weeks.
blow up make explode; destroy using explosives The terrorists blew the bridge up.
blow up explode The bomb blew up before they could defuse it.
blow up suddenly become very angry When Joan heard the news, she blew up and rushed out of the room.
break down analyze in detail We need to break this problem down in order to solve.
break down stop working properly The truck broke down in the desert.
break down become mentally ill She broke down after her husband died.
break in wear or use something new until it is comfortable I need to break these shoes in before I go hiking.
break in interrupt While we were discussing the situation, Terri broke in to give her opinion.
break in enter a place unlawfully The burglar broke in between midnight and 3 AM.
break in on interrupt (a conversation) Jane broke in on the conversation and told us to get back to work.
break into enter a house unlawfully The burglar broke into the house between midnight and 3 AM.
break into interrupt (a conversation) Jane broke into the conversation and told us what she knew.
break off end something Sally broke her engagement to John off.
break out appear violently Violent protests broke out in response to the military coup.
break out use something extravagant for celebration He broke out the champagne to celebrate his promotion.
break out  of escape The murderer broke out of the prison.
break up break into pieces I broke the cracker up into pieces and put it in the soup.
break up disperse (a crowd), stop (a fight) The police broke the demonstration up before it got out of control.
break up end a relationship Sam and Diane broke up again. What a rocky relationship.
bring about cause to happen Democracy brought about great change in the lives of the people.
bring along bring with When we go to the forest, bring your wildlife guide along.
bring around change someone’s mind, convince someone She doesn’t want to go, but we’ll eventually bring her around.
bring away learn or gain (from an experience) My trip across the Sahara was difficult, but I brought a new appreciation for life away from the experience.
bring off succeed at something difficult or unexpected You robbed the bank! I can’t believe you brought that off.
bring on cause something I can’t believe she got so angry. What brought that on?
bring out highlight, stress Your new shirt brings out the color of your eyes.
bring over bring to someone’s house When you visit me, why don’t you bring over your son?
bring to revive consciousness We used smelling salts to bring her to after she fainted.
bring up mention I didn’t want to bring up the fact that she was unemployed.
bring up raise ( a child) Sam was brought up in South Carolina.
brush off ignore something or someone (inf.) Mary brushed her ex-boyfriend off at the party.
burn down destroy by setting fire to The children burned the house down while playing with matches.
burn down burn until completely gone (building) Two buildings burnt down in the fire.
burn up be hot I am burning up in here – open the window.
burn up consume by fire The papers were burned up in the fire.
burn up destroy by fire He burnt up the files.
buy out buy the shares of a company or the shares the other person owns of a business Pacific Inc. was bought out by a company from Oregon.
buy up purchase the entire supply of something We bought up all the beer in the store.

Source: www.englishpage.com/prepositions/phrasaldictionary.html

Dear Sherlock

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To

Mr. Sherlock Holmes
Consulting Detective
221-B Baker Street, London

Dear Mr. Sherlock Holmes,

For a girl who has spent her childhood lost in the world created by Sir Doyle, reading about your prowess in criminal investigation, your theory of meticulous and precise deductions, the innocuous arrogance and supremacy towards Scotland Yard, the faithful friendship with confidant Dr. John Watson, the subtle but witty sense of humor and amusement at flattery, the frivolous fights with Mrs. Hudson (the landlady) over shooting the wall to fight boredom, – Sherlock, you are an idol. The youngest of the Holmes family and preceded by elder brother Mycroft Holmes whose intelligence exceeded yours, yet you were the crime solver.

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I cannot thank Sir Arthur Conan Doyle enough for introducing you and your stories to the world. A genius who is so accurate in reasoning and deductions, yet unaware of the fact that earth revolves around the sun – what goes in your mind palace is a mystery to me. Detached from emotions and sentiments you are a cold Consulting Detective, yet your friendship with John is most celebrated; Untouched by love – yet there is an enigma surrounding your admiration for Irene Adler – The Woman who outwitted you ( that makes her even more special ! ) and whose intelligence left an indelible impression on your mind; you are a paradox to me.

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You, along with your doctor friend, – Dr. John Watson for whom I have immense respect, have solved unsolvable mysteries and brought nefarious criminals to book. No matter what it took, you risked your own life and faked your own death to doom your archenemy and criminal mastermind, Professor Moriarty. The world is indebted to you both for you bravery and valor. Oh! Your death! , How deeply it would have pained John! But your miraculous return after three years left both of us reveling. But you never insisted on becoming a hero.

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To you, Sherlock, I would like to confess my deepest love and admiration.

With a heavy heart I say, you are my favorite FICTIONAL character.

 How earnestly I wish you were for real!

– A proud Sherlock fan

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Leave your Expectations behind and let Life Surprise you !

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When has anything happened in your life according to YOUR plan or expectation? Well, in my case, everything in my life has happened in contrast to what I planned for. There is clearly a higher entity at work playing with all our minds.

Now – we, the pawns, are left with two choices – either to cry over every spilt ‘plans’ that has not turned out the way we expected, or to embrace the surprise turn of events with open arms. The latter would be an obvious choice. But it is not always easy for everyone to adjust to circumstances and throw disappointment to the wind. Each one of us has certain expectations from oneself, family, friends, beloved, relationships, career and life at large. We come across many instances where disappointment has been caused by failure of meeting expectations-be it the setting of a career or a failed relationship. Each one of us beams with joy when things turn out the way we want them too. It is an accomplishment. We get disappointed equally soon in contrast situations.

But when you look back, you realize that whatever happened – happened for a greater good.

You see, the higher entity, about whom I mentioned earlier, is not one of the nefarious criminal of a dark movie, who seeks hedonist pleasure in watching his victims suffer. He is our creator and we are not his pawns. For His Sake, We are his children! Have you ever come across a sadist mother playing dirty, manipulative tricks with her child? He has a larger picture in mind – a greater good for you. In his Universe, everything is in place and under control. You just have to sit back and gape in amazement at his wonders.

b39594521e3ab34e7941f572ef7738dfExpectations often mar the vitality & the beauty of any relationship. Two DNAs are different to the core. How can you expect the entire human being to be on the same page with you at every occasion? Difference in thoughts is pretty normal. The fact that he did not react the way you expected him to should not dishearten you. There should be an understanding of differences with all expectations dumped into trash.

To free ourselves from the chains of expectations and surrender to the higher power is not a day’s job. By surrendering, I do not imply that we stop doing anything about anything. By surrendering I mean, you do your best but have no expectations. You give your best to your family. Be the best friend to your coterie. Give your 100% to your work, relationships, life but there is a condition – You should have no expectations. Many people have denounced their social life in a quest for the secret of happiness in this world. I say, the secret is to have no expectations – not from anybody, not from life. Be prepared for the worst turn of events. In that case, you will not be saddened and discouraged when things do not happen as you planned, and when things do happen like you wished – you have a significant reason to rejoice!

Give your best to the world but don’t worry yourself over what will come back to you.

Sooner or later, whatever is destined to be yours will be yours!

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Over Expressive Social Media

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Present generation is a generation of tweets , status updates, Instagram posts, hashtags, selfies, 1000+ virtual friends – a generation of ‘ cyber socialites ‘. If all the listed things appear jargon to you –

  1. You live in a cave , and
  2. You HAVE a life !! (err , as in you have a cave life and not  a cyber social life (pun intended ) –Alas !  you are still a homosapien .You have a lot to evolve – Behold the arrival of the  ‘Cyber Socialites’.  )

The advent of the social media has brought an enormous change in the way people communicate and portray themselves. I am on the same page with the social media enthusiasts when they say this platform is a fantastic opportunity to be in touch with one’s near and dear ones. Not only that, it helps to share and promote humanitarian causes as well. But social media , nowadays , is doing everything , except for fulfilling its primary objective

For example :

1. A status update by a girl: Feeling loved with . ( I am tracking your moods on a regular basis. Noted that down. )

2. A status update by a guy: My friends gave me a surprise birthday party. Feeling blessed. ( I almost cried at this one …!! )

3. A random status update: feeling meh  ( what is that even suppose to mean ?  )

4. Location update by a random classmate :  ***** was at  Indira Gandhi International Airport. ( Okay , so you are in Delhi – 1200 kms away from me. Now I have to change my plans for the day ! Thanks for the update ! )

5. A guy uploaded 200 pictures in a album titled ‘ 2-day trip to Dubai ’  (Are you kidding me ?  Oh ! he missed to upload the pic of the dessert he had in lunch on the 2nd day  – I wanted to see that too.. 😛 )

6. Instagram picture of a girl at Goa beach : #funatGoa#beach#sunshine#family#goodfood#heaven#lifeisgood (My reply : #hardToread#whatyouwrote#usespacepleaese#Idontlikethisformat#gettingaheadache )

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The Best One :

Status Update : Earthquake !!   What should I do ? Feeling scared (You can start with getting yourself to safety first ) – Although I agree that during earthquakes, social media do help to connect people when the telecom networks are down.

Thank God !  twitterverse allows only 140 characters, otherwise our live feed would get a saga every second . but I hear, even they are going to remove this restriction & let people flow their emotions into every tweet.  over-connected-world                 19c9a43b18d7279cd1329b322a8e2840

Cutting to the chase, I believe that nowadays people are getting more superficial on social media – trying to snatch everyone’s attention with their random posts, status updates, location and entire itinerary of their vacations. There is little information and a lot of garbage. I am not against sharing one’s memorable moments, but I don’t think that means his entire routine. If one wants to give his opinion on something or share his pedantic stories, he should start a blog. Interested people will follow.

I do not want to nip the beginners’ enthusiasm in the bud. Try your hand at social media for sure. ( Being an amateur once on social media – I, too, have my share of ludicrous status updates and tweets !) . But do not become an over expressive , superficial cyber socialite. There is still more to a cave man ‘s life than meet the eyes.

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Commonly Used Idioms Part -4

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Are you falling short of idioms to juice up your writing skills – here ‘s the 4th Edition of Idioms , exclusively for you !!

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Burn bridges To permanently and unpleasantly end your relationship with a person or organization He has burned bridges with his company so badly that it affecting his career.
Be baying for blood If someone is baying for blood of a person, he wants the person to be hurt or punished Families of the victims were baying for blood during the trial.
The head honcho Most important person in an organization

Honcho : person-in-charge,leader

You’ll have to ask Alan, he’s the head honcho in our department.
Nip in the bud to put an end to something before it develops into something larger. By arresting all the leaders, they nipped the rebellion in the bud.
On the same page In agreement, have the same understanding or amount of knowledge. Jane organized a meeting solely to assure that all her team members were on the same page regarding the recent critical requirement.
Rear its ugly head to appear or become obvious after lying hidden.(for something unpleasant) The interview went very well until a question about his academic record reared its ugly head
Write in black and white write down the terms of an agreement; to draw up a written contract; to put the details of something down on paper. We agree on all the major points. Now, let’s write it in black and white.
Run amok to go awry; to go bad; to turn bad; to go into a frenzy. Our plan ran amok.
Under a cloud Under suspicion Someone stole money at work.Now , everyone is under a cloud.
Albatross on one’s back/around one’s neck something that you have done or are connected with that keeps causing you problems and stops you from being successful The Emergency of 1975 is an albatross on Congress’s back.
straw in the wind a slight hint of the future The public unrest is a straw in the wind indicating future problems for the regime.
throw caution to the wind become careless Let’s throw caution to the wind and enjoy the party !
all in a day’s work part of what is expected, typical, normal Studying after office is all in a day’s work for me.
hunky dory fine, going well Everything was hunky dory at the meeting.
black and blue bruised , physically or emotionally She is still black and blue from her breakup.
hearth and home family and home Our first loyalties are to hearth and home.
take a beating to be severely criticized, to be damaaged by something A country’s image will take a beating if it is proved to be unsafe for women to live.
not give somebody the time of day to refuse to speak to someone because you do not like them or because you think you are better than them He’s so arrogant, he won’t even give you the time of day
play hardball to act strong and aggressive about an issue with someone. Things are getting a little tough. The president has decided to play hardball on this issue.
Cock a snook to show that you do not respect something or someone by doing something that insults them In the end he refused to accept his award, cocking a snook at the film industry for which he had such contempt.
food for thought something for someone to think about; issues to be considered. My adviser gave me some food for thought about job opportunities.
bite the dust to die The soldier was too young to bite the dust.

Build Your Vocabulary – Part 4

                                                  The phrase Words Have Power  on a Blackboard

We can never have enough of words , can we ? Here is the 4th edition for you…Keep learning, keep writing !!!!

Word Meaning Sentence
Chutzpah Shameless audacity, impudence, offensively bold He is burning bridges with his near and dear ones. That requires chutzpah.
Brazen Bold without shame The thieves were brazen enough to leave a mocking note for the investigators.
Hedonism Sensual self-indulgence My neighbor is a hedonist. He parties all night.
bonhomie cheerful friendliness , geniality, affability The instant bonhomie developed between children is admirable.
ludicrous foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing. The ludicrous movie is about a dog that becomes the president of a country.
luminary Inspiration A luminary leader of a famous political party, Jane has inspired many to eradicate corruption.
Despotism Despotism is a form of government in which a single entity rules with absolute power

A despot is a person ho exercises absolute control in a cruel or oppressive way

Once the despot killed his parents, he was able to run the country with an iron fist.
incarceration imprisonment Jude remained incarcerated but Alex, facing a lesser charge, was released on bail.
Machiavellian cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics. He and his machiavellian son destroyed the country’s economy to reap their own benefits
Pedantic excessively concerned with minor details or rules; overscrupulous. his analyses are careful and even painstaking, but never pedantic
Travesty a false, absurd, or distorted representation of something. It would be a travesty of justice to put an innocent man in jail.
pusillanimity someone who is not courageous The pusillanimous student was bullied by his seniors everyday at school.
reparation to make amends for wrong doing Alec tried to make reparation for the hurt feelings he had caused, but Emily wasn’t having any of it.
evangelize to preach The teachers in school evangelize the importance of God – worship.
promiscuous having or characterized by many transient sexual relationships. It was general knowledge that Lori had been promiscuous in her youth.
archaic very old or old fashioned The original Ford Model T car is considered archaic when compared to modern vehicles
regression a return to former or less developed state While my students did well on the algebra quiz last week, this week’s test scores are much lower and show a great deal of regression
niggle cause slight but persistent annoyance, discomfort, or anxiety. The major niggle with the film is its over dramatic climax.
schmaltz excessive sentimentality, especially in music or films. At the end of the film the audience were drowned in a sea of schmaltz
calumny he making of false and defamatory statements about someone in order to damage their reputation; slander. The editor refused to publish the calumny that could possibly destroy the politician’s career.
sapiosexual One who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature. “I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. I want someone that I can reach out and touch randomly. I want someone I can cuddle with.
I decided all that means that I am sapiosexual.”
sully damage the purity or integrity of, make dirty Ashes and dirt sullied his uniform and made him sneeze.
mull think about something deeply at length government needs to seriously mull corrective measures to eliminate increasing incidents of crime in the capital.
Schadenfreude pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune. When the winning team saw their rivals saddened by defeat, they felt a sense of schadenfreude.
paucity presence of something in small or insufficient quantities. Even though the school claims to be a major university, it has merely a paucity of courses for students to take.
arrears unpaid overdue debt, unfulfilled obligation With its failure to repay the roughly 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the IMF, Greece becomes the first developed country to fall into arrears
alter ego An intimate, trusted friend My sister is my alter ego.
clairvoyance the supposed faculty of perceiving things or events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact, psychic abilities Although Heather is not a clairvoyant, she is very good at predicting how others will respond to certain incidents.
echelon a level or rank in an organization, profession or society Because Bill is at the highest echelon of his company, he receives a huge salary.
bigotry intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself. Because Helen is very close-minded, many people consider her to be a bigot.

Is celebrating Father’s Day, Mother’s day etc necessary ? I say – Yes ! It is extremely important – Here’s why …

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Of late, people have started questioning the necessity of various ‘days’ that have been given special significance by dedicating it to either family members or friends or lovers. The 2nd Sunday of May is celebrated as Mother’s day in India, while the 3rd Sunday of June is celebrated as Father’s day to commemorate the presence of our creators in our life. On a similar note, we have 1st Sunday of August dedicated to our chums and 14th February for our beloved – the latter being the most famous and most awaited by many – the Valentine’s Day. We have a long list of similar days – for your reference I have added the list at the end so that next time you do not forget – You are welcome ! 🙂

My primary grouse is that some people feel celebrating these days is redundant. They justify their stand by saying that they love their parents/friends/siblings/beloved and respect their contribution in their life – a fact known to everybody, so there is no need for a reminder – emotions count. Some ignore the significance by saying that they shower their love 365 days a year – they do not need a day to prove their love.

Dear people, neither am I doubting your love nor asking you to prove it. I am very sure that you have the greatest of  affection for your dear ones and you love them to the moon and back. The main objective behind celebrating these days is : expression of love.

I know you love your parents or friends or beloved, but how many times have you said it to them? If you do say it, I respect you because you understand that love sometimes need expression. For people like me who are shy & reserved and rarely confess their love, these days serve as a fresh breeze for our relationship ,giving us a much needed opportunity to express what we feel for them, letting us keep our shyness aside because we know we are not alone in this. It obliges us to take a break from our fast paced life, sit back, and make beautiful moments with our dear ones – take them out for dinner or shopping, pamper them, make them feel special. With beautiful moments, I do not mean social media. Of course, you can proclaim you love, but do not restrict it only to that platform. It is a time for you to re-discover your relationship with your parents or siblings – strengthen the bond with your friends, explore and experience emotions you have never felt before with your beloved.

Some readers might think – love is all that matters. Why do I need to say it a zillion times?

I agree. Love is what matters at the end. But to bring freshness into your relationship, you need to express it. You don’t have to do it a zillion times, nobody expects that – but once a year would be a good start. Another point to ponder over is that this should not be a mechanical process – do not do it just for the heck of it. If you do not want to say it on that day, say it on some other day. But say it. People underestimate the importance of expression of love, but –

Sometimes loving is just not enough – you need to express .

You need to break your silence and appreciate the presence of the special person in your life.

Remember, how happy you are when you are appreciated at school or work – it makes your day – isn’t it ? Then make somebody else’s day too…

– Amateur

As promised, here is the list of the important days:

Disclaimer: The following days are celebrated in India. Some days might differ based on geographical location. The author do not claim the authenticity of the dates.

Date Day
1st January Global Family Day
14th February Valentine’s Day
2nd Sunday of February World Marriage Day
8th March World women’s Day
2nd Sunday of May Mother’s Day
24th May Brother’s Day
3rd Sunday of June Father’s Day
13th June World Roommate’s day
1st Sunday of August World Friendship Day
2nd August Sister’s Day
11th August Son & Daughter’s Day
First Sunday after 5th September Grandparents’ Day
19th November World Men’s Day
23rd November World Mother-in-law’s Day

Is the demon of suicide gender biased ?

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                                           “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

Suicide is the aftermath of a long struggle with failure, depression, heart-break or ignominy. It is anti- God – a demon, hell bent to destroy God’s beautiful creation, creeps into a disheartened mind – lures it to kick the bucket, in order to destroy the pain. But does Suicide’s Grim Reaper prefer males to females? Is it gender biased ? Otherwise, what else could explain the greater number of men dying by suicide than women!

In today‘s world of advancements in possibly every facet of life, the responsibility on an individual to prove one’s worth increases tremendously. With the sudden surge of social media over the last decade, the social connections have increased which puts the individual in a constant limelight, as a result of which he/she has a fear of constantly being judged. The individual is not burdened by the thought of failing his own expectations, he dread failing others. Suicide, I believe, is more of a social affair than personal because it involves the society and what it thinks of the individual. But both men and women have their share of responsibilities and failures. On one hand, where man is burdened with the responsibility of earning the bread and butter to feed his family and play the role of a son, a husband and a father to perfection, the woman is under the baggage of being a good home maker- which includes the role of a wife, a mother, and many a times – she is the bread earner of the family. But failures at playing these roles hit both of them alike. Heart break shatters both hearts. But facts and figures quote that number of men committing suicide is greater than that by women. From where comes the difference then?

There have been many reasons cited for the difference in numbers. Some research says women tend to use less fatal weapons like drug overdose, while men shows strong intent by opting for weapons like guns or hanging by rope. Some sources quote a paradox, saying that women attempts more suicide, but more men die because of less number of failed attempts in men.

Whatever the reason may be, I could not help but think of the psychological differences in the two sexes. While women are more social and tend to share their predicaments with trusted ones, men are unable to do so because of their reserved nature. They never encourage the idea of taking professional help, thinking they will be able to handle it. I am not saying, dear men, you cannot handle it. But you need to draw a line between depressing thoughts and suicidal thoughts. If ever you feel you are more into the latter, seek professional help because, no matter you never feel the need of it, your family does. Same goes for you, dear ladies, because the aim here is not to decrease the gender bias – it is to completely destroy the demon.

Coming to the end, there is a dire need to decrease the rates of suicides everywhere irrespective of geographical location or gender. Nothing in this world is worth taking your own life for. Seek medical help if you think you need it. Talk through matters with your near and dear ones.

Success and failures, heartbreaks and ignominy are parts of your life – remember; only a PART – they are not your whole life.

Nothing in this world is worth taking your own life for- it might be worth fighting for.

So let’s fight and not die.

– Amateur

Commonly Used Idioms Part -3

Want to add more spice to your writing ? Here are some more idiomatic expressions that will make your piece piquant and exciting.

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Make a pig of oneself to eat too much, too fast or too noisily Please don’t embarrass me by making a pig of yourself in the party.
Leave someone high and dry To leave someone helpless. All the children ran away and left Billy high and dry to take the blame for the broken window.
Latch Onto To become closely connected to someone or something,

Get hold or grasp of something

More and more countries latched onto computer technology as an important tool for development.

Carol quickly latched on to how the sewing machine works

Rub the wrong way To irritate He rubbed many people in his office the wrong way by his cockiness.
Go hell for leather To go somewhere or do something very quickly. He was going hell for leather to go to his school as he was already late.
Have one’s moment in the sun A brief instance in which an otherwise obscure, unremarkable, or humble person draws attention. That band got their moment in the sun during the 70s
Bend over backwards to work very hard to accomplish something for someone

to try very hard to do something, especially to help or please someone else

He will bend over backwards to help you.

The government is bending over backwards to garner people’s support.

Drive up the wall To annoy or irritate someone All his talk about moving to California nearly drove me up the wall.
Bend someone’s ear To talk to someone perhaps annoyingly Jake has been bending Jill’s ears for over an hour.
Fend/shift for oneself To take care and provide for one’s own self ,instead of depending on others. Jim’s parents do not have to worry about Jim. He is very good at fending/shifting for oneself.
Duck and cover To dodge a difficult issue or a question. The candidate’s first reaction to the questions from the opposition was to duck and cover.
fight tooth and nail To fight with the ferocity and intensity of an animal, using all one’s resources. The NGO workers fought tooth and nail for the oppressed to get their land back from the crooked landlords.
tongue in cheek if you say something as tongue and cheek, you say it as a joke, although it might seem serious. “I am always the one who is responsible for anything bad that happens in Indian cricket”,Dhoni gave a tongue-in-cheek reply to a question at the post-match press conference after India suffered the ignominy of their first ever series defeat against Bangladesh.
hold one’s horse To wait for a moment Please hold your horses before disregarding my idea. Let me explain you the benefits.
make no bones about To make no bones about something means to say something in a way that leaves no doubt, or to have no objection to it, to say something frankly and directly. He made no bones about his constant failure at his job.
love you to the moon and back love you more than anything. I love you to the moon and back.
make ends meet Manage so that one’s financial means are enough for one’s needs On that salary Enid had trouble making ends meet.

A Letter from a Woman to the World

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Dear all and sundry,

I am a single working woman in my 20s, comfortably living in a metro city, earning my livelihood – in a nutshell -‘fortunate’ in many ways. But being a woman, I have faced my share of struggles and humiliation. I have been reminded of my femininity every single day since childhood – when boys in my class passed lewd remarks at my body, when I was being ogled by street hooligans the day I wore my new skirt, the wrinkles of worry on my mother’s forehead when I was late while returning from school, when men don’t look at my face but at the area below my neck – as if it is their new way of paying respect to a lady. They think we don’t pay attention to their eyes – the reality is we know how each and every eye is set on us. We can differentiate the decent from the lecherous.

But I have been fortunate in many ways – my family has given me every encouragement that a child of their family deserves. In fact, I did not know what words like feminism, chauvinism, women empowerment meant until I moved out of the realm of my protective and supportive family – because both my brother and I were equally ‘empowered’ at home – we both received rebukes from mom when we made mistakes; we both got rewarded when we achieved an accomplishment. Both of us got good food, good clothes, good education, independence of thought and a good environment to grow. Neither of us received undeserving favors from either of our parents.

My point in telling all this :

I am neither interested in being a victim nor in preaching feminism here. What I am interested in is telling exactly this to the whole world. I am not a victim. I do not need sympathy. I want equality (Gender Equality is often a misunderstood term these days). Yes, I am reminded of my femininity everyday – but I am not backed down by it. It is not a handicap. I am an independent , strong girl capable of teaching misbehaving men (or even women) a lesson. I don’t want undeserving recognition or retribution from anybody just because I am a female. I want to be treated equal to anybody and everybody –like my brother and I are treated at home. Yes, I want protection from criminal minds of the society , but don’t men also need that ? I don’t want empowerment but equal opportunities – I will empower myself. Putting myself at a pedestal above men is not my intention. All men are not bad. In fact I have met many who are gems of a person. Just because of a few rotten ones, I cannot blot the entire race – like the way not all women are respectable and virtuous- some are nastier than men.

For all the criminal-minds / so – called- feminists / misogynists / chauvinists , here is what I have to say to you :

I will not tolerate any kind of violence inflicted on me – not by men OR women. I will not tolerate assassination of my character by a man OR a woman. I will give as much freedom and respect to my husband as he gives me. Infidelity is not an option – same rules for both of us. I do not want to receive undue advantage from anybody – be it in school , college or office. I want to earn my respect . I will pay half the bill when I go out with my boyfriend. I do not want any man to get up from his seat in a bus or train until and unless I am old, unwell or pregnant (In that case, I will need it !). I will teach my son to respect girls as much as I will teach my daughter to treat boys with same respect. I will teach them to protect themselves from criminal minds in the society – both men and women alike. I will teach them equality in its purest form.

I want to be free from feminism, prejudice or chauvinism.I don’ t want to be objectified or worshiped.  I simply want to be a face of equality .

Yours Sincerely

21st Century Woman

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Hear Me Out – Let’s Beat Cancer

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To

Everyone reading this

16th June , 2015

Let me tell you a story, a story of a  beautiful girl , a bundle of joy to her parents , apple of her brother’s eyes, a dear friend to all, and a academic topper – now a Cancer patient. We all dread the word – she is living it everyday – A girl named Manuja.

She was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. She got cured and we all thought she has come victorious and defeated the most dreaded disease. But her disease relapsed in 2014. Now she is in USA for medication.

She had a dream of completing her education. She has to continue her medication for Gods knows how long ! The expensive  treatment  has drained her family ‘s financial resources.She is trying to complete her education in US while she continues her treatment.

My point in sharing all this with you ? She needs your support.

Your support can be in the form of financial aid to fund her treatment or education, sharing the detail with your friends and family who can provide aid or including her in your prayers or a simple text to her to show that she can fight the battle and come out victorious and we are all there for her. If there is any opportunity for her in US that you know of and which can help her , Please get in touch with me or her.

                Please visit the below link to know her story :

www.gofundme.com/manuja

Let’s help her in defeating CANCER. #ManujaWillWin

– Amateur

A Content Heart

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                     ‘ You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough’

– William Blake

No matter who we are, where we are born or what we do, each one of us has a single goal to achieve in life – to attain contentment. If you are satisfied with what you have and feel fortunate about it, you will automatically be happy. Whatever we do in life, everything is directed to that broader goal – to achieve satisfaction and happiness. And the one reason we are way too far from this goal is because our metrics are faulty. We tend to compare ourselves with someone who has achieved greater heights than us, or has greater number of opportunities than us, or greater wealth, health or accolades– in a nutshell, the person is on a higher pedestal than us. Without putting ourselves in their shoes, we tend to judge their life and worse – we compare ourselves with them. We have the natural instinct to feel low and beat ourselves up pondering over things we don’t have while we see others enjoying . This feeling of incompleteness brings remorse and not contentment.

If we continue on the same road, the desire of achieving contentment will be a distant goal. Being ambitious is great. But being ignorant of what you have is a disease which will never let you bask in your own glory.

The first step towards the goal would be to recognize your privileges. If you are reading this right now, you belong to a privilege class – Yes – you have access to internet – you have a computer/laptop/mobile – you have education to comprehend my words – you have mental stability to understand the thought – you have the eyesight to see the picture. Think of people living in this world without these things, and let me assure you – there ARE people living in this world without these things I mentioned – even worse – there are people living in this world without the basic needs and comfort we enjoy in our everyday lives.

So should we not be ambitious and just be content with what we have? No, that is not my idea of a content and happy life. Work hard to achieve what you want in life, fulfill every dream you have. But don’t let you heart sink by comparing your life with somebody else‘s , thinking that you have got less. Even if you want to compare, compare with someone who has much less than you have, and think how bravely he is fighting life’s battle. Probably then, we all would respect what we have in life and be happy and content– at the same time persevering to achieve a little more . This empathy towards the less privileged will keep us grounded and bring the element of satisfaction in our life. That‘s the secret, my friend, for a happy – and more importantly a content life as former is a direct consequence of the latter.

 A content heart is a happy heart.

–  Amateur

Build Your Vocabulary – Part 3

Words , words everywhere , too many words to learn ..!!

Word Meaning Sentence
Quid Pro Quo (“something for something” in Latin) means an exchange of goods or services, where one transfer is contingent upon the other. The quid pro quo between the government and smugglers raises suspicion.
contingent dependent Our purchase of the house is contingent upon having the roof re-done.
nefarious Wicked or criminal To call that handicapped woman names is not only mean, but it is nefarious.
chagrin feel distressed or humiliated. To her chagrin, Jill placed second in the beauty pageant.
shenanigan silly or high-spirited behaviour; mischief. Billy and Tom are playing noisily upstairs again. They’re up to their usual shenanigans.
statute Written law passed by a legislative body Some legal experts say conflict of interest is not an issue to be dealt with by statute.
furlough Leave of absence In cases of parole the circumstances are stricter as compared to furlough and the prisoner has to prove that someone in his family is unwell and depends on the prisoner for his well-being.
cajole persuade (someone) to do something by sustained coaxing or flattery. His wife hoped to cajole her husband into buying her a diamond necklace.
intractable difficult or stubborn, hard to deal with The economic problems of this country are becoming intractable.
fulminate express vehement protest Students fulminated against the pre-poned exams.
braggart one who boasts or brags about his achievements or possessions ; braggadocio – boastful or arrogant behaviour You should achieve great things in life but stay humble. There is no respect for a braggart.
Cynical Cynicism – an attitude or state of mind characterized by a general distrust of others’ motives believing that humans are selfish by nature, ruled by emotion, and heavily influenced by the same primitive instincts that helped humans survive in the wild before agriculture and civilization became established. After being dumped by his girlfriend, Jack was cynical about dating other women.
Redress remedy or compensation When agents of the state indulge in serious crimes and violation of fundamental rights, the judiciary is the only redress available to a citizen.
Ambit scope, extent The military powers do not come under the ambit of judiciary.
egregious shockingly bad Although the police officers had the right to approach the suspect, they did not have the right to make egregious comments to him.
culpapble deserving blame Mercy killings are less culpable than ordinary murders”
rife widespread Speculations were rife about the actress having an affair with his co-star.
coterie a small group of people with shared interests or tastes Jane and her coterie of social activists work for the empowerment of women.
grouse complaint, cause for unhappiness Jim’s primary grouse for not going to the party is his sartorial disappointment. He does not like his blazer.
gravitas dignity, seriousness or solemnity of manner A leader must have gravitas and be capable of commanding respect from others.
ignominy public shame or disgrace “I am always the one who is responsible for anything bad that happens in Indian cricket”,Dhoni gave a tongue-in-cheek reply to a question at the post-match press conference after India suffered the ignominy of their first ever series defeat against Bangladesh.
tardiness quality of being late, lateness Please excuse me for my tardiness. I was stuck in traffic.
dud failing to meet expectations,unsatisfactory, faulty Many of his dud articles were rightfully rejected.
promenade a paved public walk, typically along a seafront It is said that on a fine day, more than 1000 bikes can be found on the Promenade at a time.
belligerent hostile and aggressive While the members of the president’s cabinet wanted him to take a belligerent stance against a neighboring country, the president sought a peaceful compromise.

Humor Me

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‘Little Birdie flying in the sky,

I look up and it shits in my eye

I don’t mind, I don’t cry

But I thank god that cows don’t fly !! ‘

                                                                                                     – Anonymous

Did you have this thought when you wiped bird’s shit off your eyes or clothes? If yes, then you are probably the person I am going to eulogize in this piece. Your commendable positive attitude deserves a special mention. But it is not your optimism I am going to talk about. It is your sense of humor – which is lacking in people nowadays – the ability to laugh off your worries, the skill of facing vagaries of life with a smile, or probably a joke! Believe me, you rock!

A few days back, I was watching a famous actress’s interview, in which she revealed that she was a victim of depression during those times when she was at the pinnacle of her career. It was an eye opener. If a person like her having all the materialistic comforts–established career, financial security, fame, accolades and recognition – can lack emotional stability, it speaks volumes of the fact that depression does not take into account a person’s career or money or success before attacking someone, not even age – She is in her 20s. So everyone is vulnerable. However, she won this battle with flying colors. And now she has launched an initiative to help people fighting depression – an inspirational effort indeed.

We need to look at the bigger picture here. I just recounted one incident – there are several poignant stories of broken hearts, failures, abuse – easily falling prey to depression. Suicide is the aftermath when a heart is not able to bear more pain and wants to stop beating. The elixir which can release people from the clutches of depression is a good sense of humor – which is so rare today. By a sense of humor, I don’t hint at people becoming comedians and cracking jokes at every chance they get. In fact, humor has little to do with jokes. Humor enables you to laugh at yourself, releasing the anxiety and stress you have been carrying all around. It allows you to make fun of the troubles you are in, the predicaments you face and the tribulations you have to undergo- find the humor in life. It is the ability to let go and not take life too seriously. I am not a great fan of this author’s writing, but I truly believe what he said “Don’t be serious in life. Be Sincere.” Remember Heath Ledger , the joker in the Batman – saying in his menacing voice – ‘Why So Serious’? Well, in the movie , his intention was different from the point I am trying to make here, but his words are the key – Why so serious?

Life is too short to be taken seriously but too important to be not taken sincerely.

A short disclaimer here – a good sense of humor does not provide solutions to your problem. If you are living your life in this world and not in mountains, you have got to face troubles and YOU have to sought them out. But a good sense of humor will definitely make that journey a pleasurable one, rescuing you from the darkness of depression and giving you the courage to go on and reach the destination- no matter how many obstacles you have to overcome.

Live life sincerely.

Dance, rejoice, laugh, love, play, work – do everything you want to do , but do it sincerely and not seriously.

Find the humor in life and let it take away all your anxiety and stress while your brains find a solution.

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