Thursday, 28 January 2016

Digital Games And Kids- A Different Perspective

I can't meet a single parent these days who does not that my kid  is glued to the mobile/laptop screen always. I sail in the same boat. And frankly, I don't think we can evade this evil. So I found out something about this situation.

The “Wikipedia problem” which means children turning to internet for readymade answers is the new age phenomenon baffling teachers and mentors globally. There are almost equal numbers of teachers who consider technology to be a solution as much as a problem. While a common belief is that technology is hindering the students’ capacity to think and analyze, there is also a strong opinion in favor of video games and digital gadgets ability to engage students and enhance learning by using more than one sensory stimulators. In spite of the growing concern about the students’ deteriorating attention spans, institutions are incorporating digital games in the process of classroom learning.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Thank God "I" am not my mother!

Rains have different effects of different people. While some crib about the muddy roads, traffic jams and humidity, there are some who wish they could shed all the worldly inhibitions and run out in the rain to get all soaked (Some actually do). I belong to the second lot. When I see the rains, I reminisce about my childhood where I would run out and play in the rains as long I as wanted. And when I would come home, my mother would give me a cup of hot milk with turmeric. I remember she used to give me an extra pair of socks to change in school so that I could splash in the pot holes while I bicycled my way to school. Monsoons were times to enjoy in those days and not worry about the communicable diseases it brought with it.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

I am Sorry! Am I too Polite?

We are living in the era of AIB roast. Now, I don’t have anything against AIB, but presenting it as a form of entertainment is something that I don’t agree with. Hurling profanities, insults, curses and using the F-word in every second sentence is considered cool (?) and modern these days. And I am referring to the set of people who belong to good families and have had a great upbringing; not that road-side under-educated lot who make the former set squirm whenever they come near. They probably use the same vocabulary but in Hindi or any other regional language and hence are not cool or modern.

Now call it a generation gap, but I do not agree that you have to be inconsiderate or use the F-word to make your point. Many of those reading this will agree that we have had a stricter and a more disciplined childhood than our kids. We were raised in an environment where raising our voices above the elders’ voice was considered the most obnoxious form of indiscipline. In fact, I have used a “dirty” word only once in my life and that was when I was so angry that I was sure my brains will blow out of my skull and I will die anyway(Stupid, right! I know).

But the norms are changing. Expletives are being accepted in normal course of conversation and it is considered a sign of being tolerant. Yes, you read that right. You are being tagged intolerant if you get offended when somebody uses an F-word in your presence. I have come across blogs and websites which had statements like “do not bother to respond if you don’t have time”. I agree you want to make your point very clear but this is outright rude.

At the risk of sounding like an “aunty”, I must say that if you can’t sprinkle your sentences with basic courtesy, at least don’t adorn it with unnecessary harsh words. Government does not tax you if you use please, thank you and sorry. Neither do you have any subsidy for being “modern”. I mean, “please leave” sounds so much nicer than “F*** off”. Doesn’t it?

Anyway, India is a democratic country and everybody is entitled to his right to speech. So as the cool generation continues with their colorful vocabulary, I will stick to my conventional style of conversation. Does it sound boring? I am sorry but I can’t help being polite.

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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Book Review- Ramayana-The Game of Life: Stolen Hope


Why do snakes have a forked tongue?
How did Sitaphal (Custard Apple) get its name?
Why don’t the squirrels hurt themselves even after falling from heights?

Stolen Hope is the third book in the series and follows The Game of Life: Shattered Dreams and gives you answers to such simple yet intriguing facts. Shattered Dreams captured that part of Ramayana where King Dasaratha gives Rama 14 years of exile and reserves the throne of Ayodhya for Bharata due to a promise made to Keikeyi. Stolen hope is an account of thirteen years of Rama’s exile along with Sita and Laxmana who accompanied him in the arduous mission.

Rama, Sita and Laxman are supposed to spend fourteen years in exile. However, they do not perceive this as a punishment. The regret of not being able to enjoy the royal life does not cross any of their minds. Instead, they look forward to the company of august sages and the teachings that will come their way during these fruitful years. The glory of the Trio precedes them and they are welcomed warmly wherever they go. The inhabitants of Dandakaranya, Janasthana and Panchavati not only shower their love and blessings on them but also guide them for their onward journey. Every living being around them is grateful and obliged to be able to serve the mighty and benevolent Rama. Rama also religiously follows his vow to eliminate Rakshsas who torment the naïve sages and helpless humans. After spending thirteen long years in different forest habitats, the Trio was looking forward to return to Ayodhya and meet Bharata and rest of the family. They decide to spend their last year of exile in the beautiful forest of Panchvati. However, the otherwise serene life of these three ad-hoc ascetics is upturned when Ravana abducts Sita and leaves Rama and Laxmana wondering about her whereabouts.

Having read the earlier books in the series, it was convenient for me put the pieces in sequence. However, even if you have not read the Book 1 & 2 of the series, you will not feel lost because of two reasons: first, almost of all us, at least in India, are aware of the basic plot of Ramayana and second, the author has given a summary of both the previous books in the beginning. The format of this book is similar to the earlier one. Simple words and alignment of important incidents as short comprehensible stories is what makes this series stand out. I particularly like the footnotes given on each page that highlight the importance of age-old classic to our day-to-day life. Ramayana, needless to say, is full of wise teachings but its application in practical life is lost in comprehension. Shubha Vilas bridges that gap for us.

The captivating cover page is also worth a mention here. Stolen Hope captures the thirteen years of exile in 300 odd pages readable in 3 days, at the most 4. And I certainly look forward to the Book # 4 of Ramayana- The Game of Life.

My Rating:

About the Author: Shubha Vilas is a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker. He holds a degree in engineering and law with specialization in IP: Patent Law. His leadership seminars such as Secrets of Lasting Relationships’, ‘Soul Curry to Stop Worry’ and ‘Work–Life Balance’ are popular with top-level management in corporate houses. He also helps individuals deal with modern-life situations by applying the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and other dharmic traditions.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

On the Horizon of 2016

From 2015 to 2016. Only one year. Only twelve months. Or 52 weeks. But it has 365 days. 525600 minutes and  31536000 seconds. Most days in a year are those mundane, go with the flow type of days when nobody on the planet seems to be doing anything worthwhile. Same old routine, same set of people around you and the same old feeling of feeling nothing. But there are some days or even some moments which completely change your life as you know it. And that doesn’t happen very often. Once in six months, may be once in a year but when that moment passes, it leaves you thinking “what the hell just happened”. For me, 2015 had more of those life changing or attitude changing days than those mundane ones. I know its clichéd, but 2015 did pass in a jiffy and left me wondering about a lot of things.

2015 had been benevolent. Health, happiness, prosperity and abundance flowed all through the year. Made new friends, fought with the old ones but then had a great time with all of them. I will always remember 2015 as the year in which I lost a dear friend. I realized the how fragile and impermanent life is. All your plans for the future go for a toss by a mere nod of death. I also mark 2015 as the year in which I decided to discover myself. Do something I have always been planning to do, read something I always wanted to and also shun things which I abhorred.

If there is one thing that 2015 taught me, it was to be thankful. I have always been the “thinking” types. I think about the women under Taliban reign when I am freely doing what I want to do, wearing what I want to wear. I think about the refugees of war and their losses when I look at my family. I think about the farmers who commit suicide for a few thousand rupees when I spent the same amount on something not even worth mentioning. But all this thinking makes me grateful for what I have. And 2015 just accentuated that feeling for being thankful for what we have and what we could have had.

As I put up a brand new calendar of 2016 up on the wall, I feel so hopeful, so determined. No resolutions, no promises, no unrealistic goals for me. I want to live every day being healthy, happy and thankful. Yes, I am going to try something new. Do something for the first time in my life but I also want to care for what I have. I want to see love on the horizon of 2016 for every day of the year. Yes, there will be challenges, there will be those totally uninteresting day, there will be melancholy around some corners but as I look at the horizon I know a lot of love will be sprinkled over the year.

Have a benevolent 2016!

And I am glad “I’m sharing my #TalesOf2015 with BlogAdda.”

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