Wednesday 30 June 2021

Renew Your Beliefs, Renew Your Life

Do you believe that law of life is the law of belief? Whatever we think, feel, say and do ultimately gets summed up as a belief over time. Our beliefs have a transforming power to either help us live a life gloriously or in misery. You can simply imagine your beliefs as a piece of magnet that attracts great opportunities when you're full of positivity and loses out on the opportunities when doubts occupy your mind. So basically, the need is to liberate your mind and generate a force to recognize its attributes.

A lot has been said and heard about interaction between our conscious and subconscious mind. And I always wondered what's the technique to train myself so that I may disconnect from my inner strife and redirect my energies towards faith instead of fear.  Not sure if anyone else feels the need to control their thoughts of worry, panic, anxiety, despair and further command their mind to govern their thought process; but I really do. Because sooner or later, negative thoughts tend to show up their destructive effect on a person's physical and mental health.

Let's do little efforts to change the course of our lives-  

  • When someone tries to hurt you with their obstructive remarks, choose to reject that feeling and exercise your power of moving towards positive affirmations.
  • Believe in good fortune despite temporary setbacks. Whatever your subconscious mind is fed with, will hold true.
  • Dissolve all conflicts in your thoughts that are blocking good things to happen. Make a continuous and conscious effort to reproduce thoughts of harmony, peace and joy to get desired response from your body. Because law of action and reaction works universally.
  • Pray for yourself and for your loved ones. Your prayers will be answered only if you're mentally and emotionally tied to your thoughts sincerely enough. For many of us, praying works like a healing therapy that might come alive due to one's spiritual/religious beliefs, but unfolds accomplishments miraculously when practiced with devotion.  
  • Deposit thoughts of prosperity and success in your mind every night before you sleep and magnify your strength to attract the same. While doing so, make sure to break the walls of envy for others.  
  • Be emotionally mature. Move beyond your childish tendency of responding to criticism rather create an armor that keeps people's unpleasant attitude from affecting you.    
This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Remembering Alan Turing on his Birthday

Alan Turing, who is considered as the father of modern AI, was an English mathematician, a computer scientist and a logician. He was the one who proposed The Imitation Game, a test that examined whether machines can think, and further led to his development of the Turing Test that assesses a machine’s ability to produce intelligence and behave in a way indistinguishable from that of a human.
Source: How stuff works
Today, on his birthday, while reading of his contribution how it shaped modern computing, I felt myself trapped in a different kind of thought spiral.

There was a time when robots had been the stuff of only fantasy and fictional films, but notable developments in the field of Artificial Intelligence have made it possible to expect more of those futuristic task-oriented machines seen around as a part of our modern lifestyle.

While AI is changing and will change the way our society functions, does it bother you ever what level of risk can we accept in our civil liberties, human rights, and pursuits of comfort?

As the field of AI has evolved from the idea that human intelligence, one of the core fundamentals of our identity as a species, can be replicated by a machine; I sometimes feel perturbed by a host of issues that probably are yet to fully address. 
  • If machines can think, will those be really conscious thoughts? 
  • What if machines overtake the abilities of the human brain and technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in Singularity?
  • Furthermore, what is the likelihood of occurrence of such events against human civilization?
  • What if a legal issue is raised by someone arising due to an application of AI? By the time the legal system would process and resolve the issue, a new and possibly unprecedented issue might arise because technology evolves faster than the law can keep up.
  • Yet another concern is there are chance that AI might breach fundamental rights in absence of global regulatory standards.
Probably ethical dilemmas will remain an unsolved mystery. Would love to know your thoughts on future of AI.  

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.

Get One Step Closer to be A Smart Netizen

Cyberspace has become the nervous system of the globe. But due to lack of knowledge and understanding of entire cybersecurity landscape, most of us are vulnerable to cybercrimes. Let’s pay attention to some pointers that can help us curb the risks-
  • In the era of digital literacy, when children are spending most of their time on gadgets, the propagation of child abuse material on messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram has gained momentum. Many groups/sites that have been ‘flagged’ by cyber agencies for such objectionable material are still operational. Parents are advised to closely monitor children’s online activities and report any sort of crimes to local cyber cell including cyberstalking, cyberbullying etc., if noticed.
  • Sharing seemingly harmless information on social media may involve severe privacy-related consequences. You actually leave a trail behind for the cyber criminals to exploit. So think before you share your personal information online, especially your current location that makes you easily traceable. 
  • Posting your pictures on social media might be addictive, but is equally unsafe. Those picture can be easily morphed for cybercrimes like deepfake, personification etc. to defame someone. Avoid posting them, especially the close-up angles. 
  • These days, some fake organizations/ individuals are soliciting contributions through fundraisers, claiming to extend financial help to Ex-Servicemen, dependent of Battle Casualties, Cancer patients etc. Even some cases of fake UPI handles claiming to be associated with PM CARES Fund have come into light during Corona period. Guard yourself against such claims and do not click on any such links to avoid potential cyber thefts as they might hack your linked bank account/e-wallet through which you paid. 
  • During past months, several cases of hacking Facebook (or Twitter) accounts and reaching out to friends/followers asking for monetary help have been observed. Firstly, do not send money to someone unless you have confirmed it’s the same person seeking help. And if they send you any suspicious link imitating to be a trusted link from established websites, look for any random numbers/letters/symbols in the URL that hint a scam.  
  • Refrain from downloading phone apps from unknown URLs that offer free health checkups, online KYC through fingerprint, face recognition or iris scan. Such apps might steal and clone your biometric information for wrong deeds. Remember, despite all the advancements, biometric data is still largely unprotected in most apps.
Having said that, I intend to highlight that each of us is an attractive target for cyber criminals. Cyber agencies are certainly acting as great help, but all of us need to prioritize preventive measures to address the loss of our sensitive information. So, be a Smart Netizen and follow cyber ethics to stay safe online.

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.

Friday 18 June 2021

Dining Etiquettes to Teach to Your Little Ones

It's never too early to start teaching kids the basics, table manners included. Whether we're eating with family at home or dining out with friends, good table manners are noticeable everywhere and should serve as an important tool while socializing.
  • At meal time, reach the table on time with hands and mouth cleaned to ensures hygiene. 
  • Pick up the chair to pull it out. Do not drag the chair to avoid noise which may distract everyone.
  • Sit after all the elders have taken their seats as a mark of respect. 
  • Spread the napkin on your lap or around your neck. It can be used to wipe their hands or mouth after the meal is over. Guide them not to wipe their hands/mouth with their clothes.
  • Say a short prayer before meals to thank God for the food.
  • Hold the fork in the left and knife/spoon in the right hand. Use gently without making a noise on the plate. If using hands for eating, prefer using the tips of fingers. 
  • Start eating when everyone else starts.
  • Eat with your mouth closed. Do not smack (make a noise while chewing), slurp (make a noise while taking soup or soft drinks), or crunch (make a noise while eating crispy things like chips.) Do not stuff you moth, take smaller bites that can be chewed properly.  
  • Don’t bend down on the table to reach the dishes you want which are far from you. Say “Could you please pass that bowl of rice to me?”
  • If you're the one passing the dishes closer to you to others at the table, use your left hand because usually people use their right hand for eating and their left hand is clean & dry.
  • Do not dip your used spoon and fork into other person’s food or the main serving dish as it is considered highly unhygienic and offensive.
  • Do not leave anything on your plate as leftovers. Take small servings. Do not waste food.
  • It's ok not to eat something that is being offered to you. Politely say "no thank you". 
    Do not talk continuously while eating. It can be risky and may result in choking of the food pipe.
  • try to eat your food at a pace in sync with others. It might seem rude if you eat your food too quickly or too slow. It may also imply that you didn’t like the food.
  • If you’ve finished your food early, then you must remain seated until the host or the eldest person at the table finishes his/her food. Getting up from the table while everybody else is still eating is considered ill-mannered.
  • When you have to leave the table, say “Excuse Me” and then leave.
  • Do not criticize the food preparation. On the contrary, compliment the cook/host by saying “The food was excellent. Thank you.” This will express your admiration for the efforts of the cook.
  • Remember to clear up your used plate and napkin.
  • Pick up the used chair and push it back against the table in its place.
A few of the dining manners might differ from family to family or from place to place, but most of these are important to make kids confident while enjoying their meals at home or at public places. With everyday practice, they don't even get to know that these manners become their second nature and then no extra efforts or reminders are needed by parents.

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.

Thursday 17 June 2021

A Spiritual Walk along the Banks of Ganges at Haridwar

For a family where spirituality prevails, the holiday destinations sometimes are the holy cities where one can find solace from fast-paced urban life. Just like masses of people who consider 'Twin National Heritage Cities' Haridwar and Rishikesh as one of the most religious pilgrimage destination, my father always loved visiting these mystical places. 

I've fond memories of visiting these places since childhood, so here is what delights me about the locations.

Har ki Pauri:
The most pious ghat at the banks of Ganges, Har ki Pauri, offers the most divine experience to devotees during Ganga Aarti every evening. Watching thousands of the diyas floating on the waters while the hymns being recited by the priests fill your heart with purity and devotion for Almighty. A dip into sacred waters of Ganges is believed to wash away all your sins.

Mandir Darshan:
At this major spiritual landmark of India, you'll find temples (mandir) of many Hindu Gods and Goddesses in every corner of the city. Chandi Devi Mandir, Daksheswara Maharaj Mandir, Maya Devi Mandir, Vaishno Devi Mandir, Doodhadhari Barfani Baba Mandir, Bharat Mata Mandir etc. are some popular temples of Hindu religion in Haridwar. 

Most revered of all the Haridwar temples is the Mansa Devi Mandir. The temple is located steep atop the Bilwa Parvat on the Sivalik Hills. You can either trek, climb the steps or go via Udhankhatola (Cable Car/ Ropeway) to the temple.

The view from the cable car will simply amaze you and it's highly recommended to enjoy if you have children in the family.  
Adventure Sport at Rishikesh:
The Yog Capital of the World, Rishikesh, has many adventure activities to indulge into. It depends on the preference and age-appropriateness of the participant what you're allowed to partake. Bungee Jumping, Flying Fox, Powered Paragliding, Jungle Camping, Trekking, River Rafting are the best among the long list of other thrilling Rishikesh adventure sports.  

Food Trails:
Haridwar is a heaven for food lovers. Spicy Aloo Puri, Frothy Kulhar Milk, Crispy Kachoris and Samosas, Fresh Fruits, Seasonal Juices and Flavoured Kulfis have been my super favourites. Everything is available at such pocket-friendly prices that you need not resist your temptations because of expenses.

A visit to the ancient city of Haridwar is highly recommended for a peaceful stay with tranquil atmosphere, but should avoid travelling during the Hindu month of Shrawan around July due to heavy crowd and blocked roads because of Kaanwar Yatra by Shiv devotees in many parts of the country.

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.

Wednesday 16 June 2021

The Japanese Garden Sightseeing at The City Beautiful

The City Beautiful Chandigarh is known for its green surroundings spread all over. There are several parks and gardens that not only add to the beauty of the city, but are quite happening places as various activities/events are conducted there every now n then.

Few months back before this lockdown happened, my sister had visited my place with her family and we thought of finding a vibrantly colorful place to let our kids enjoy their day in some open space.  

While looking for a family picnic spot, we discovered about a relatively new addition to city's popular gardens i.e. the Japanese Garden and we decided to explore the place.

So here is how this peaceful spot looks like-

Japanese Garden is a well-maintained park located in Sector 31, Chandigarh. The layout and design of the garden is inspired from Japanese architecture, as you must have expected. The landscape layout of the garden nicely showcases the Japanese culture, art and aesthetics. 

As we entered the garden, the kids really enjoyed the calm beauty of the garden where the walking paths take you between the plants and small ponds. Imagine the delight of kids who were literally mesmerized by the scenic view of those huge sculptures, pond-like water bodies, wooden walkways, pagoda towers, waterfalls and beautiful Japanese paintings. My son expressed his special interest in enquiring about different types of plants, trees and flower-arrangements exhibited there. 

After we were back home, the kids were bubbling with energy and discussing everything they loved at the park. It made me realize that instead of planning a kids' day out for a movie or gaming parlour, we should expose them to unexplored things where some sort of learning is also involved. Because this is when their natural curiosity is sparked. They learn to appreciate the complexity of nature that we usually take for granted. In short, such experiences extend learning beyond the walls of classrooms and is an attestation of the fact that there is life outside of technology.

For those who might be interested to visit:

Location: Sector 31, Chandigarh
Ticket Price: Free Entry 
Visiting Hours : 7:30 AM - 7:00 PM All days of the week
Cafeteria and washrooms available inside the garden premises.
Spacious parking space outside.

Add this mesmerizing tourist attraction to your list when you plan to visit Chandigarh next time.

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon. 

Reflections of My Pandemic Classroom

The COVID pandemic has prompted most teachers across the world to innovate and adapt to online formats, including myself.
Despite being an IT educator, in the initial days of pandemic, I wasn’t very comfortable handling the changed dynamics of teaching. Yes! I was well-acquainted with integration of technology in my lessons, but frankly I found it quite strenuous to replicate the essential elements of classroom teaching effectively in ‘virtual teaching’. I recall how I convinced myself to take up this two-fold challenge positively i.e. to figure out productive ways of humanizing the online classroom experience for my students and to upgrade myself in terms of pedagogical and communication tools.

For the first few weeks, I would feel a bit low in confidence and would spend hours visualizing and practicing my lectures for the next day, even for the topics that I’ve been teaching for a decade and a half. The struggle of tackling a patchy connectivity during a class would literally give me nightmares. But I was determined not to let my online interaction with students turn into a lame communication with a disembodied voice, so I started teaching them with a nice blend of firm yet friendly tonal quality.

Yet another challenge I faced during online teaching was to utilize available hardware and software resources to its best without lacking in dissemination of knowledge. And I felt proud of myself when I first synced two devices i.e a desktop (a laptop couldn't be provided by the institution where I work) for video and a phone for audio, for the first time to give a practical demonstration to my students. I felt so accomplished when students gladly expressed that they were enjoying learning with ‘remote practical sessions’. It reaffirmed my faith that using virtual tools can also make teaching a richly rewarding experience.

The process of my unlearning, relearning and upskilling didn’t end here. A few days back, I explored some new platforms to understand the process of developing a small mobile app (that was actually a part of curriculum in 8 standard). After achieving the desired outcome, I felt a great sense of contentment of trying my hand at something new.

On this journey of my professional upgradation, one of my newly developed interests has been to engage with Educational Platforms such as ‘Google for Education’ on social media platforms and insist them on bringing some favorable features for educational services offered by them to make teaching-learning more fruitful (and believe me, they really pay attention to ideas/suggestions of users and try incorporating the required features in the respective products).

Over the months, I’ve evolved to be more of a resourceful facilitator who is continuously researching and implementing ideas in my virtual classroom to make learning equally impactful for students as it was in a traditional in-person environment. 
My plans for upcoming months-
While it’s uncertain to predict the future of the ongoing academic session 2021-22 at this moment, I personally feel Hybrid Learning with support of Cloud Based Services will prevail. In the coming months, I’m planning a major shift in my methodology (if I could implement) to become a ‘resource-provider’ to promote a student-centered learning approach wherein students themselves would think logically and discard misinformation available on the web which they’ve been totally relying on these days. If I could actually execute what I’ve planned, it would lead to improved learning for my students.

To conclude, I would say the pandemic might have been devastating for each of us in one way or the other, but I’ve genuinely upskilled myself to an extent and would continue bettering myself despite all challenges.

Committed to my duty wholeheartedly during COVID-19 and beyond.
"Learning Should Never Stop."

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon. 

Tuesday 15 June 2021

A World Without Clocks

An year ago, before the pandemic showed its presence, most of us had a set routine with barely any thoughts needed to fill up those little relaxing breaks. Starting from the morning alarm to wake us up till the last chore in the night, life could almost function on an autopilot mode.
But it's been months of trying administer some structure into my days that normalcy doesn't seem setting in.
With things getting out of control every so often and especially with my son's schedule to wake up, exercise, shower, get dressed, have breakfast, and to start his 'online school day', I just lost my calm the other day and yelled at him that you should have been born in a no-clock era where you had the liberty to do anything and everything as you please. 
To my scolding, my boy gave quite an amusing lyrical reply (quoting below for your kind read) 😅

No Clocks? No Clocks! ⏰
Will this dynamic world come to a stop? 🤯
And, for my time-driven momma, all her planned activities will flop. 😢

No more pinching tiny scraps of time,
Just letting go tasks that don’t align your system fine.  🤏

I fantasize, there won’t be any wasteful time-misusing,
Just those purposeful thoughts with no fear of losing. 🤔

I envision positive diversions and no efforts for stress-coping,
But hey! The ‘No-clock’ world cannot be all promising. 🙅

With no clocks, there would be no motivation to plan and organize,
Our timely actions will also stand compromised. 👎

How will we dictate our lives each day?
Won’t it slow us down on the life’s speedway? 😩

It scares me to nerves not being able to hear that ‘ticking’,
Really don’t want to get my productive energy dipping. 😪

To avoid being a victim of unrewarding fatality,
Let’s continue relying on mindful punctuality. 👍

No points for guessing that it made me laugh and hug him, 'coz he found a cause to be creative at this juncture also. 👌

But on a serious note, we both had a long discussion afterwards because I wanted him to realize "Time is not an illusion and should be used productively." 
This is how a day in my life looked like...

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon. 


Abuse Hurts At Any Age - Stop It

Respect and manners have always been considered the placeholders for the deep-rooted moral values in our society. And we, the parents, take pride in raising a child who possesses the basic lifeskill of respecting others. I personally take this responsibility of guiding my child to respect the rights and value of other family members or anyone else for that matter. Because that's the way we may create a world of 'adults' who are courteous, considerate and thoughtful to others' needs on this planet. 

What made me address this topic today is a recent incident when I overheard a neighboring young girl shouting at the highest pitch of her voice on her grandmother and the poor lady literally burst into tears due to embarrassment, shame and awkwardness. To my utter shock, the mother had no courage to intervene and to stop her daughter from misbehaving with the old lady. 
In many households, this kind of unethical behavior has become quite a common scenario where younger generation plainly dismiss the existence of elders in the family, consider them as a burden and humiliate them every now n then. Gradually knowingly or unknowingly, this practice turns into abuse. My heart aches to accept this fact, but the impact of such emotional abuse (and also physical abuse in many cases) might leave the sufferer sustain long-lasting psychological trauma forever. It's ironical to know that the violence, abuse and neglect of older persons is the most under-reported and concealed violations of human rights across the globe. 
As a reminder to treat our elders with love, appreciation and respect that they deserve in the society, today's day i.e. June 15 is the day designated by the UN as the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  This year's theme is "Access to Justice" which particularly lays stress on moving from mere awareness for the cause to the action through a human rights-based approach for the sufferers who might seek recourse.

Wondering what all it takes to make elderly people feel needed? 
  • Rectify your family dynamics. Do not hurt the dignity of your elder family members by criticizing or ridiculing their actions.
  • Value their sentiments and give them a purpose of life by seeking their advice on important matters. 
  • Keep your elders engaged in recreational communities/clubs to save them from feeling of isolation.  
  • Help them be emotionally resilient with your kind expressions, gestures towards them. And that should not be limited to just your family, but can be for anyone and everyone. 
  • Be their source of strength and make them aware of their human rights.
  • Recognize the signs of abuse for someone in trouble, and try to help them approach the local human-rights organizations or NGOs.
  • Take up a right channel to volunteer for preserving dignity of older persons in crucial situations, when no one seems to come forward to help. It may sound insignificant to you, but can be a life-savior for the other person.
Respecting our elders should simply be a civility ingrained in each one of us. If not, then mankind is in an unseen danger. 

On my level, I'm making a promise to myself to admire, recognize and applaud my elders’ contribution to my family and to the society, while keeping myself consciously away from arguments, defiance, and other family chaos. (It is the least that each of us can do.)

Care for Those Who Once Cared For You.

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.


Friday 4 June 2021

Reshape Your Curves With Perfect Shapewear

"People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder."
Well! this quote by Salma Hayek is not only hugely impactful for those who are constantly struggling with their body image, but also challenges the fact how society views people, especially women, based upon their physical size and shape. The reality is that your life isn’t miserable because you're curvy; it is miserable because you think you would be happier if you were thinner. So one should stop spending all day obsessing, cursing and try perfecting his/her body because you’ve got lot more to offer to the world. 

With this being said, I also agree that your 'fit body' goals cannot be achieved overnight and might need to shed sweat gyming for months with consistent hard work. Probably that's the reason many women are turning towards compression garments that can not only help them look shapely, but also boost their inner confidence. With great products flooding the markets, there are a variety of shapewear essentials that women can think of adding in their wardrobe depending on the specific target area and purpose of using those.

In the past few years, waist trainers for women have revived their presence with a bang, especially for the corset-enthusiasts. Wearing a good-quality, well-fitted waist trainer is not primarily targeted on losing weight, but it’s about emphasizing your body shape and celebrating the curves you have. These actually come handy when you wish to cover-up your temporary weak spots or bulges. Many users claim that it is possible to train your waist to retain a slimmer shape by wearing the garment over an extended period. These corset-shaped waist trainers are essentially wide, elasticated belts that cinch your midsection in and gives improved posture. Infact there are waist trainers that are exclusively designed to provide extra support to women whose abdominal muscles have stretched or thinned post pregnancy or any other surgery. The extra support may help reduce pain and discomfort.
But there is another section of women who wants to enjoy a smoothing sculpting effect on their tummy, hips, and back altogether. For them, the open-bust style full body shaper is the perfect blend of comfort, function, and fashion. The body shapers or the bodysuits have an open-crotch design that allows you to wear your own bra underneath. These are an asset to enhance the appearance of your attire. Most body shapers can be worn under any kind of clothing without any hint of their use. 
In addition to open-bust style, there are more seamless all-in-one bodysuit for those women who crave more coverage. This style is thinner than most shapewears and fits your body like a bathing suit. These really work wonders at making your clothes cling to your body perfectly with zero bumps. One can even go for a variant that targets to make your bottom fuller and allows to shape your hips. 

To conclude, I would like to assert that while purchasing a shapewear, just ponder some thought on the specific garment, body part, occasion you have in mind so that you can zero in on the desired product that aids your slimming functionality goal rather meaningfully and effectively.