Make Every Day Yoga Day


Published on Tuesday, 18th June 2019 in the student Edition of Deccan Herald

21st of June 2019 is world Yoga day. Most of you will  roll out your yoga mats sometime during the day to practice a little of the ancient art on this special day. Even as you are reading this some of you must be raising your eyebrows at the use of the word art! For those of you who are still wondering, here is a quick definition of the word “Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to intellect, sense or emotion. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression.” Dancing, singing, cooking, archery etc can be considered to be examples of art.

An in depth understanding of Yoga will also reveal it is a process that helps us to align our physical, mental and spiritual identities and help us to establish our personality as a balanced human being. So, in that sense Yoga can be classified as an art!

Quite a few of you who must be reading this piece must be recollecting some of your family members, friends, neighbours and very possibly yourself going to Yoga classes to reduce body weight, to normalize blood sugar or pressure. Perhaps some of us are trying to cure their back aches, neck aches, knee aches and other such ailments through Yoga. Such being the case you have enough reasons to believe that Yoga is probably a science and very possibly medical science.

The definition of science says that, “It is nothing but a systematic project that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of verifiable explanations and calculations about the universe.” Therefore you can surmise that you are not wrong because Yoga is a systematic way in which the human body and mind are trained to become and remain healthy.

That is not all; practitioners of Yoga know that regulating our breathing through Pranayama and meditation consciously can do wonders to our mind and body too. It will help us get healthier, to concentrate better, develop patience and improved understanding about ourselves and others.

Hence it will not be wrong if we infer Yoga as a combination of science and art that can elevate the one who learns it properly and practices it sincerely.

Usually Yoga classes begin or end by paying a little tribute to Patanjali Maharishi who consolidated yoga practice in a sequential way. This great man who lived thousands of years ago must have conducted experiments on various Yogic poses by observing nature around him. He must have been in silent communion with birds, animals, trees and even mountains to arrive at certain body postures. He must have worked with a team of likeminded Rishis who must have brainstormed about the various Yoga poses. They must have practiced them diligently made observations about its effects on the practitioner under different conditions and noted down the results. The result of methodical scientific experimentation must have resulted in the composition of the “Yoga Sutra” a book which is touted as the Bible on the subject.

Scientists, doctors, physiotherapists and psychologists who have conducted interdisciplinary research on the effects of Yoga on the human mind and body have been quite impressed by findings which are quite in tune with what is mentioned in the Yoga Sutra.

Though Yoga is ancient and does not need certification of its validity and importance from time to time, sometimes it is good to be reminded of its preeminence.

Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi did the needful by appealing to the United Nations General Assembly to declare June 21st the longest day of the year to be known as International Yoga Day to remind the world about the power of Yoga. Let us look upon this occasion as a special day which ushers in a year where everyday becomes yoga day so that we can  become better than ourselves!

 

Time For New Friendships


Published in the Student edition of Deccan Herald on 11th June 2019

TIME FOR NEW FRIENDSHIPS

By S. RADHA PRATHI

A brand new Academic year has begun. There is a clean slate to begin with. You have new stationery, school uniforms, shoes, bags, pencil boxes, water bottles, sports equipment, Yoga mat et al. Everything is so new or at least squeaky clean. You cannot stop yourself from arranging and rearranging your school ware. There is a sense of belonging and happiness. When you take all of these things to school, you find that your friends have similar items which they are very keen on showing it to you. All of you must be spending your free time chattering away and catching up with what happened during your vacations. Some of you must be handing out tasty tidbits, little gifts from your vacations and even belated birthday gifts.  Then there are some of you who make it a point to speak with the teachers who had taught you in the past and then there are others who have a friendly hello to the staff members who are in the administrative and service departments. The whole school campus seems to be a homecoming of sorts. Each of you have so much to share with your best friends but you have so little time. Well that is one of the most interesting and memorable aspects of school life.

Thus far you have been reading about a situation which applies to those of you who are back in familiar surroundings amongst known people. The excitement and the elation is something that ought not to be missed by any of you. Make it a point to enjoy every bit of it. At the same time when you look around a wee bit carefully you will notice that there are so many new faces on the school premises. There are new students, teachers and assistant staff members. They have joined your school presently. So everything must be very new and perhaps a little strange to them. All the same the adult new comers will somehow figure out a way to make themselves comfortable with the help of their colleagues. That will leave out the children, who are new to the school. They could be from the local areas or from different cities and towns and perhaps even from other countries. They must have joined your school because their family or guardians must have relocated to this place. Though your new schoolmates and classmates may have all the attractive paraphernalia related to school, they have no one to show it to because everyone around them is a new face. While the confident ones try to start a friendship with a smile the shy ones dread the thought of being spoken to. They are not sure where to sit, with whom to speak or who to lunch with. They are unfamiliar with the map of the school and are not aware of the little rules that are applicable at the assemblies, washrooms, laboratories, canteens and music rooms. They are not sure how to start a conversation or sometimes hesitate to ask the questions that will make their lives easier in the school campus. True, they will eventually get over their initial hiccup and blend with the rest of you and who knows they could turn out to be your closest of friends over a period of time.

However if each of you who is comfortable in your environs make it a point to greet the new comers of your class and include them in your group the new pupil will get introduced to every person in the class. Lunch hours and leisure periods could be used to learn something about the new classmate while he or she also learns something about you. Extending a warm friendly hand of friendship will reflect warmly on your new friends face. Your generous and forthcoming attitude will make you more cheerful than ever before. Don’t miss the time for new friendships.

Coffee-Just Brew It


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It is hard to believe that the comforting aroma of coffee which rejuvenates nearly half the population of our globe was not even known to our country half a millennium ago. When Baba Budan brought a handful of coffee seeds to India on his way back from Mecca in 1670 AD, little did he realise that he would be altering the lifestyle of Indians, the southerners, in particular, in more ways than one. The aromatic beans that were first grown in the hills of Chikkamagaluru district grew ever so well as if it were their native land.

The Arabica and Robusta beans were roasted and enterprising connoisseurs of this exotic aromatic seeds experimented enthusiastically with the ratio of the beans with or without the catalyst chicory, temperature of water, various varieties of filter etc, to arrive at the perfect cuppa. Huge companies and multinational franchisees of coffee houses stand testimony to the wonderfully adaptable form of this wonder drink. Drinking coffee in the perfect ambience has taken unbelievable dimensions quite on the lines of Japanese tea ceremonies. This global drink can be consumed in a plethora of forms with or without milk in increasing and decreasing quotients of the strength of the brew.

The discerning taste buds can be suitably satiated in more areas if the aroma, flavour and the natural rich brown colour is put to good use. Coffee can be best used in the decoction form while using it to flavour. The secret of getting the perfect decoction not only lies in the ratio of coffee powder and the temperature of the boiling water but also the temperature of the coffee filter. If you are in a hurry, you cannot go wrong if you add a couple of spoonfuls of instant coffee powder to piping hot water. The decoction thus prepared can be used to flavour cakes, ice creams, chocolates, burfis, cold coffee shakes, etc.

Nourishing Neem


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It is impossible to pass an unworshipped neem tree, especially in rural India. Neem tree, also famously known as sarva roga nivarini, has proven to be a sure panacea for many physical problems. Here are the many benefits of neem:

Chewing a couple of tender neem leaves can deworm your stomach, help you recuperate from jaundice, and also help in regulating blood sugar. It can also treat mouth ulcers, bleeding sore gums, and can prevent tooth decay.

Regular intake of neem leaves after meals regulates your digestive system, and can also get rid of psoriasis.

Consuming tender neem sprouts or capsules for a fortnight to a month can detoxify the body and strengthen the immune system. A healthier immune system helps your body in fighting off many illness and diseases.

When a paste made of neem leaves mixed with coconut oil and turmeric powder is applied to the face and washed off after an hour, it can leave it glowing.

Regular consumption of tender neem leaves can help you deal with fever, cough, aches and pains, sore throat, fatigue and nasal congestion.

Make your own insecticide by making little cloth bags of dried neem leaves and leave it in your provisions, clothes cupboards and bookshelves.

Bacterial infections in the nasal passages and respiratory system can be decreased by inhaling steam from boiling the leaves with a drop of eucalyptus oil.

This neem tree was outside our home.

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Test of Truth


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Sometimes, the truths that we know or believe in can be pretty hard to establish for want of witnesses or proof. The societal values, the situation, place and time eventually end up delivering a verdict which may or may not measure up to universal justice. Different places in the world have diverse religions, belief sets and values framed on the basis of the native environment. The person at the receiving end of the situation ends up with a raw deal because his contemporaries cannot see beyond their nose. The victims and martyrs of such situations have always had unique ways of ascertaining their stand.

Panditha Jagannatha, a Sanskrit court poet of Mughal emperor Jahangir, fell in love with a Muslim maiden who he called Lavangika. The Brahmin community was aghast by the affair. They could not dissuade the already married poet from having a relationship with the Muslim woman. Eventually, Jagannatha was excommunicated and exiled. The sad poet went to Kashi. He realised that he would not be able to make his contemporaries realise the genuineness of his feelings. Hence, he decided to launch his test of truth. He sat on the fifty-third step of Panchaganga Ghat and started singing the paeans to river Ganga. He emphasised on the power of the mighty river which could liberate the worst among sinners. It is said that with the composition of each stanza, the waters rose by one step and touched his feet. The poet felt vindicated by the divine touch. The people around him realised that he was earnest about his feelings though they did not acknowledge the same.

Even now, people swear by the truth by taking the names of those they truly love. When we wonder about it and question ourselves what makes us do what we do, we are likely to realise that we are trying to connect what we believe as truth in what we believe in as truth. Most of the times, we resort to this method to reiterate our beliefs. If we, who live in this technologically advanced world, adopt this method, imagine what it must have been like for the people who did not have the privilege.

Facing Board Examinations?


Published in the Student Edition of Deccan Herald

Board examinations are round the corner. Each academic year is designed in such a way that each student is expected to gear up for the Annual examination right from his first day of each academic year .The teachers, parents and the students prepare for this mega event collectively throughout the year.

Teachers of the respective subjects take enough number of revision lessons in each subject to ensure the success of students in the final examination. The teacher has the constraint of catering to the entire class which will consist of students of every genre hence cannot pay attention to the trivialities that contribute to perfection. Hence there are variations in student performances. Though every student puts in his or her best they make lapses which affect their percentage. These lapses can be overcome by following a few tips which can surely pave the way for the student to reach the top.

  • Students should frame a tentative time-table for themselves for studying in hours of the early morning which is most conducive for studying.
  • They can first prepare for a subject they are good at so that it gives them a feeling of satisfaction and confidence to proceed with the subjects which are not their hot favourites.
  • They should make it a point to concentrate on one subject at a time so that they get a complete picture of what they are doing.
  • Many students resort to classroom notes and worked out exercises which follow the lesson. This may not be adequate and they should be encouraged to read the lessons from the text book at least once after each revision.
  • Students should avoid memorizing answers for they could be let down badly if their memory fails. On the other hand, if they grapple the concept of the subject they can always put across the answer in their own words.
  • Students can take dictation tests from every subject and perfect their spellings.
  • Poems meant for memorization should be written out a couple of times looking into the text book to grapple the punctuations and spellings.
  • Map work, graph work and diagrams of science should be practised and not glanced through in the last minute for they can easily fetch a student anywhere between five and eight marks when answered accurately.
  • While preparing for mathematics students should be encouraged to work out the prescribed varieties of sums from different text books to help them gain expertise through experience.
  • Group study should be ideally avoided except in the case of mathematics where the students can compete with each other to arrive at the correct answer at the earliest.
  • Students can be encouraged to solve old question papers without omitting any questions by way of choice and get it evaluated by the respective teachers if possible. This exercise will help them revise concepts in different ways.
  • While preparing for the language papers, grammar exercises could be worked out from general grammar books or e-exercises for getting a better insight of the concept.
  • However much a student prepares for an examination certain features of language papers like letter-writing, essay writing, précis writing, paragraph writing, caption writing and comprehension passage are unpredictable. Hence they need to work out sufficiently so that the student does not get put off by the question paper.
  • While preparing at home, it is best that students should use a pencil to write, for it has the twin advantage of not only improving the handwriting but also imbibes a sense of neatness in the student. [The student erases the errors and gets out of the habit of scratching eventually because of getting used to see a scratch free paper].
  • Students should strictly avoid answering avoidable phone calls and entertaining themselves with music or watching television during the study hour for the distraction will adulterate their concentration.

A saying in Sanskrit goes thus, Sukharthinaha Kutho Vidhya, Vidhtarthinaha kutho sukham? when translated means that a pleasure seeking person cannot acquire knowledge and a person seeking education cannot even think about pleasure. The saying may sound very harsh but it is very true even in this day and age where the academic capabilities of students are measured by examinations.

Go ahead and set your score and reach your goal! Best of luck!

Board examinations are round the corner. Each academic year is designed in such a way that each student is expected to gear up for the Annual examination right from his first day of each academic year .The teachers, parents and the students prepare for this mega event collectively throughout the year.

Teachers of the respective subjects take enough number of revision lessons in each subject to ensure the success of students in the final examination. The teacher has the constraint of catering to the entire class which will consist of students of every genre hence cannot pay attention to the trivialities that contribute to perfection. Hence there are variations in student performances. Though every student puts in his or her best they make lapses which affect their percentage. These lapses can be overcome by following a few tips which can surely pave the way for the student to reach the top.

  • Students should frame a tentative time-table for themselves for studying in hours of the early morning which is most conducive for studying.
  • They can first prepare for a subject they are good at so that it gives them a feeling of satisfaction and confidence to proceed with the subjects which are not their hot favourites.
  • They should make it a point to concentrate on one subject at a time so that they get a complete picture of what they are doing.
  • Many students resort to classroom notes and worked out exercises which follow the lesson. This may not be adequate and they should be encouraged to read the lessons from the text book at least once after each revision.
  • Students should avoid memorizing answers for they could be let down badly if their memory fails. On the other hand, if they grapple the concept of the subject they can always put across the answer in their own words.
  • Students can take dictation tests from every subject and perfect their spellings.
  • Poems meant for memorization should be written out a couple of times looking into the text book to grapple the punctuations and spellings.
  • Map work, graph work and diagrams of science should be practised and not glanced through in the last minute for they can easily fetch a student anywhere between five and eight marks when answered accurately.
  • While preparing for mathematics students should be encouraged to work out the prescribed varieties of sums from different text books to help them gain expertise through experience.
  • Group study should be ideally avoided except in the case of mathematics where the students can compete with each other to arrive at the correct answer at the earliest.
  • Students can be encouraged to solve old question papers without omitting any questions by way of choice and get it evaluated by the respective teachers if possible. This exercise will help them revise concepts in different ways.
  • While preparing for the language papers, grammar exercises could be worked out from general grammar books or e-exercises for getting a better insight of the concept.
  • However much a student prepares for an examination certain features of language papers like letter-writing, essay writing, précis writing, paragraph writing, caption writing and comprehension passage are unpredictable. Hence they need to work out sufficiently so that the student does not get put off by the question paper.
  • While preparing at home, it is best that students should use a pencil to write, for it has the twin advantage of not only improving the handwriting but also imbibes a sense of neatness in the student. [The student erases the errors and gets out of the habit of scratching eventually because of getting used to see a scratch free paper].
  • Students should strictly avoid answering avoidable phone calls and entertaining themselves with music or watching television during the study hour for the distraction will adulterate their concentration.

A saying in Sanskrit goes thus, Sukharthinaha Kutho Vidhya, Vidhtarthinaha kutho sukham? when translated means that a pleasure seeking person cannot acquire knowledge and a person seeking education cannot even think about pleasure. The saying may sound very harsh but it is very true even in this day and age where the academic capabilities of students are measured by examinations.

Go ahead and set your score and reach your goal! Best of luck!