The Caged World

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The world is in a lockdown, its impact felt by all especially the kids, their moms the elderly and the ailing. It is really a difficult time for all without any sign of immediate respite. We all wish to go back to our normal lives and the worries related to it. The question that arises in all our minds is – When will this pandemic end?  We all want it to go away, simply vanish overnight. But logical thinking will tell us that; Wuhan which was the epicentre of the pandemic is still under partial lock down after 12 weeks. The only thing that we can do in this situation is being prepared and stop panicking unnecessarily. Try to enjoy and make the best use of this unwarranted leisure. We all hope that summer is going to bring the virus under control. I’m sure that it will.

The doctors and nurses and all those who are in the frontline services are acting as God’s own hands in their service to mankind. We, the people who can afford to stay at home must do our bit in preventing the spread; so that these angles may have lesser load. Our thoughtless acts can multiply their problems, which is already too much to handle. A little restrain and thoughtfulness on our part can do a world of good for others. Such situations call for actions and inactions which can do a world of good for others.

We must be considerate in dealing with people with whom we live. Each and every one of us is under stress, bored and worried. We must remember that we cannot change others, but we can solve many problems through our own actions. Positivity has a domino effect just like negativity; let us stay positive and spread positivity around us.  Happiness is internal and can be achieved if we really try. For people, who are grieving the loss of their dear ones, or facing sickness must take heart- for time will heal. We must give Time – time to heal our wounds.

In times of crisis we must focus on the positive outcomes. Everything has its positive and negative side. It has been a long time since the world got a chance to cure itself. The world as we are all aware is reeling under the pressure of human activities. Thoughtless acts of humans have harmed the earth and every species including humans. The world needs time to heal itself; we must let it do so, otherwise it will not let us live on earth and supply us with our wants. The ozone layer is mending itself. The wind patterns are trying to be normal. The forests, animals are happy to have the world on their own. Everything related to nature is happy. It is we humans who are in misery. We ought to be happy that after several years some cities have had pollution levels under control.

Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.

Paulo Cohelo

The truth is we are dependent on mother earth for our existence and we should not take her for granted. Mother Nature is our provider and we must worship her and show our reverence for being provided for. The pandemic is considerate towards the young ones. It is important for humanity to put a curb on their greed. The so called economic development, infrastructure, bank balances can be nullified by one stroke of nature. Every action of ours is fine as long as we think long term; for all kinds of species and preserve nature, otherwise nature will take her own course, which will make us miserable and sad.

Let us pledge to put a curb on our greed and take care of nature in future. No matter what we think, we are not smarter than our creator. If our creator has created nature for our survival it wouldn’t be wise of us to move too far away from nature’s own ways.

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The planet was here before we arrived, and will kick us out if we do not respect it.

Paulo Cohelo

The Value of Linguistic Fossils — Nicholas C. Rossis

The English language is a strange one, for sure, thanks to the Isles’ long history of war and conquest. Each wave of conquerors left its mark on the language, from the Romans to the Vikings and Normans. Antiquated rules can cast long shadows, as seen even today by certain grammar rules. A typical example is the […]

The Value of Linguistic Fossils — Nicholas C. Rossis

Lessons of Life

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Whatever happens in our life happens for a cause. Every experience is sent to us to teach us a lesson to make our future a better one. But do we learn from them? Yes, some people do, but others don’t. The ones who take life’s lesson and work towards betterment of their future emerge as winners; leading a purposeful happy life. Others fall into depression and ruin their chances of leading a fulfilling life.
The present scare is also a lesson for the contemporary generations. It seems to be blaring out the message- that without normal life everything is useless; and also the fact that we are, but puppets in the hands of nature.
The mighty humans are no match for the tinniest nondescript primitive life form. The mindless developmental work undertaken by humans will be rendered useless if we topple the balance in nature. The present scare shall pass, but will it be able to give the message of importance of life? I don’t merely mean human life , I also mean lives of those species who are sacrificed on the alter of so called development each day. They too had and have the right to live in this Earth – just as we do. They also want to survive – just as we do. The only thing they lack, is a voice to protest against the mindless development that the new generation is protesting against. For this generation knows; once the forests vanish; once the glaciers melt; once the rivers run dry… there will be no turning back.
There is time yet to awaken from the pretended sleep. The delusion that all is well. The false hope that others will take measures to make things right. The reality is each one of us will have to try our level best to put the balm on the ailing Earth. The Earth on which we come merely guests of time. There is time yet to save the exquisite Earth for every creation of God.

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REPORTED SPEECH

DIRECT AND INDIRECT SPEECH

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There are two ways of reporting the words spoken by an individual:

Directly – Ron said, “I will win the match.”

Indirectly– Ron said that he would win the match.

Direct speech – The actual words of the speaker is used within double inverted commas. (“   “)

Indirect Speech – When the words of a speaker are reported in our own words.

Reporting verb – In the direct speech, those words which appear outside the double inverted commas are called reporting verb. The reporting verb introduces the words of the speaker. This verb indicates who speaks to whom, how and when.

Reported speech : Those words which are used within inverted commas in the direct speech is called reported speech.

Direct speech example:

The teacher said, “The earth revolves around the sun.”

In this sentence – The teacher said    is the reporting verb.

“ The earth revolves around the sun.”   is the reported speech.

Indirect speech

The teacher said that the earth revolves around the sun.

[ R.V. = Reporting verb,       R.S.  = Reported speech  ]

[D.S. = Direct speech,           I.S. = Indirect speech]     

For changing Direct speech into Indirect speech, the following rules need to be observed.

Rule -1

 If the R.V. is in the present or the future tense, then the tense of the verb does not change. [ no need to change the tense of the R.S. ]

E.g. D.S-  He says, “He is in deep trouble.”

         I.S.- He says that he is in great trouble.

If the R.S. expresses a universal truth or some habitual facts, then the tense of the reported speech remains as it is.

E.g. D.S.- “ The teacher said, “God is immortal.”

       I.S. – The teacher said that God is immortal.”

RULE- 2

 In case the reporting verb is in the past tense the tense of the verb will change correspondingly.

i) A simple present becomes a simple past.

e.g. D.S.- She said, “ I am busy.”

       I.S.-  She said that she was busy.

ii) A present continuous becomes Past continuous.

 D.S.- She said, “I am writing a poem.”

 I.S.- She said that she was writing a poem.

iii) A present perfect becomes a past perfect.

D.S.-They said, “We have done our duty.”

I.S. –They said that they had done their duty.

iv) The simple past is often but not always changed to past perfect.

D.S- Veronica said, “ I drank coffee after dinner.”

I.S.- Veronica said that she had drunk coffee after dinner.

RULE- 3

If the R.S. expresses nearness in time or place then, it is changed into a word that expresses distance.

Now       –      Then

This        –     That

These    –     those

Thus     –      so/ that way

Come    –     Go

Here     –     There

Hence    –    Thence

Ago     –      before

Today  –    That day

Tomorrow  – The next day

Yesterday   –   The day before / The previous day

Last night  – The night before / The previous night

Last week/ month/ year    –     The week/ month/ year before or the  previous week/ month/ year etc.

Rule – 4 Rules regarding tenses

Said to  (in R.S.)            –              told

Said (in R.S.)                –               had said

Is saying                       –               was saying

Was saying                  –               had been saying

Can                               –               could

Will                               –                would

Shall                             –                should/would

May                              –                might    

Is                                   –                was

Am                                –                was     

Has                               –                 had

Has  been                     –                had been

Come                           –                 came

Has come                    –                 had come

Has been coming       –                 had been coming           

Is coming                     –                 was coming

Rule – 5

Rules regarding pronouns

a) Pronoun of first person change into the person and gender of the subject of R.V.

i)  D.S.- I said, “ I am happy today.”

     I.S.- I said that I was happy that day.

ii) D.S.-  You said, “I am happy today.”

     I.S.-  You said that you were happy that day.

iii) D.S. –  He said, “ I am happy today.”

     I.S.-  He said that he was happy that day.

iv) D.S. –  Robert said, “My pen is lost.”

      I.S.  – Robert said that his pen was lost.

b) Pronouns of the second person change according to the object of R.V.

D.S. – He said to me, “ You are right.”

I.S. – He said to me that I was right.

c) The pronouns of the third person do not change.

D.S. – He said, “She is an intelligent girl.”

I.S. – He said that she was an intelligent girl.

Rule 6

Rules for reporting statements or assertive sentences

i) Place suitable reporting verb.

ii)  While reporting statements ‘that’  conjunction is introduced.

iii) Change verb in reported speech.

iv) Change pointer word of nearness into that of distance.

D.S. – He said, “The bad weather last night stopped me from coming here.”

I.S. – He said that the bad weather the previous night stopped him from going there.

List of reporting verbs

said,        told,        added,          informed,         remarked/commented,        Answered/ replied    asserted,     assured,    hoped,     explained,     agreed,       admitted,     pointed out,     accepted,      advised,      insisted,       protested,      warned,       threatened,       refused     interrupted,      cursed,         offered,          congratulated        

Rule 7

Rules regarding interrogative sentences:                        

Interrogative sentences are of two types

  1. Formed by question verb. (wh-word :normal answer)
  2. Formed by auxiliary verb or helping verb. (Answers in ‘yes’ or ‘no’)
  3. If the R.S. is an interrogative sentence or a question, then the R.V. is changed to ‘asked’ or ‘enquired’.
  4. The question mark is removed and the R.S. is changed into a statement.
  5.  If the R.S.  begins with a ‘wh – word’,  then the same wh-word is used in the indirect speech.

     D.S- He said to me, “Where do you live?”

     I.S.- He asked me where I lived.

  1. If the question starts with a helping verb, then we use ‘if’ or ‘whether’ in the indirect speech.

 D.S.- Ansh said to Misha, “Is it necessary for me to meet the Principal?”

 I.S- Ansh asked Misha whether it was necessary for him to meet the Principal.

Reporting imperative sentences

If the R.S. is an imperative sentence, the R.V. is changed into a word that expresses command, a wish, a request, or an advice.

E.g. D.S.-The teacher said to Nash, “Stop making a noise.”

        I.S.- The teacher ordered Nash to stop making a noise.

        D.S.-  He said, “ Let us go for a walk.”

        I.S. – He suggested that they should go for a walk.

Rule -8

Rules regarding imperative sentences:

Reporting commands or requests

  1. While changing direct speech into indirect speech the reporting verb is changed into – advised, begged, commanded, entreated, forbade, ordered, requested or threatened.
  2. Conjunction ‘to’ is used in positive sentences.

     Conjunction ‘ not to’ is used in negative sentences.

D.S.- Teacher said to the students, “Do not make a noise.”

I.S. – Teacher told the students not to make a noise.

Or

Teacher forbade the students to make a noise.

Reporting imperative sentences with ‘let’

  1. If ‘let us’ means suggestion

Should’ is used and the reporting verb is changed into ‘suggested’ or  ‘proposed’.

D.S.- Helen said, “Let us go for a movie.”

 I.S. – Helen proposed that they should go for a movie.

ii) If ‘let us’ expresses a call to action

Then it is usually reported by urged/ advised

D.S. – The Principal said to his staff, “Let us attend the lecture.”

I.S. – The Principal urged his staff to attend the lecture.

iii) If ‘let’ is used to mean allow or permit. Then the verb let in the reported speech is retained or changed into may/ might/ may be allowed to/ might be allowed to

D.S.- I said to him, “ Let me go home.”

I.S. – I told him to let me go home.

         I told him that I might be allowed to go home. 

Rules regarding exclamatory sentences:

If the R.S. happens to be an exclamatory sentence, then:

  1. The reporting verb is changed into words like exclaimed, exclaimed with joy/ sorrow, cried out, blessed, prayed, wished, cried.
  2. The interjections like alas, bravo, curse it, hurrah and well are omitted and their sense is expressed by means of phrases.

Ah! or Alas! – Exclaimed with grief or sorrow

Aha! Hurray! – Exclaimed with joy

Bravo! – Applauded

How! Oh! What! – Exclaimed with surprise

Pooh! – exclaimed with contempt

Shit! Sorry! – exclaimed with regret

  1. Conjunction ‘that’ is used.
  2.  The sense of sentence is made assertive.

 D.S. He said,Alas! My cat is no more.

 I.S.-  He exclaimed with sorrow that his cat was no more.

D.S.- He said to us,” Bravo! You have done well.”

I.S.-  He applauded us by saying that we had done well.

D.S. – “What a beautiful scenery it is!” he said.

I.S. – He exclaimed with joy that it was a beautiful scenery.

Dictionary of Unusual Words — Cristian Mihai

Words and language are at the core of our identity, they allow us to define ourselves, to share our stories, and they are essential to our ability to communicate with others. This means that there are some words out there that are impossible to translate from one language to another, or describe incredibly particular feelings, […]

Dictionary of Unusual Words — Cristian Mihai

The Uninvited Guest

Some are invited
_________________

There’s something in the world
That’s entirely yours to keep.
You do not want to share it
Or give it to others.

At any cost.

While it is there with you,
Clinging to you desperately;
You want it banished.
To vanish into thin air
Never to return again.

You wonder why it came to you.
That abominable uninvited guest,
Refusing to leave you;
You try every trick
To make it leave.

It’s the tortuous pain,
Physical as well as mental,
Loving your dear company.
You and your presence,
When all you want is separation.

Oh, what joy it is!
When you are set free….
Free from that awful bondage,
You realise how lucky you are;
To simply…live a normal life.

The last of the Mohicans

Those were the days,
When men were honoured.
Being the best by default;
Pampered from birth to death,
Those were the days.

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Those were the days;
When strong men were shielded,
By members of the family, society.
From the back breaking jobs,
Of running a house.

Those were the days;
When simple criticism was,
Payment enough for women;
To do their work better,
Work harder to make life good.

Those were the days,
When women cried in agony;
Burdened with multiple children.
From a tender age, perplexed,
Stamped as the weaker sex.

Those were the days,
When men were respected,
Simply for being men, that’s enough.
Licensed to exploit women ,
Their characters not questioned .

Those were the days,
When boys and men were cocooned,
From the deariness of life.
The drudgery and boredom,
Of menial household work.

Ah! Those were the days;
To live life to the fullest.
Battles came and went,
Giving accolades to winners,
Killing the losers instantly.

Those were the days,
The happy exciting days.
Not ones that kill you from inside,
Slowly but surely, every moment.
Ah! Those were the days.

______________________________________

(The last of the Mohicans. The final remaining or surviving person or thing of a particular group, kind, or race. Taken from the title of the 1826 novel by James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans.)

Containing Coronavirus

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The rampant spread of COVID-19 previously known as 2019 novel Coronavirus is a matter of global concern. Awareness and containing of the virus among the infected few is the only way to stop its spread. Firstly, we must know the nature of the virus and how it spreads. The Coronavirus is a highly contagious virus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) that spreads easily through droplets from one person to another. This virus mainly spreads through respiratory droplets from an infected person within 6 feet. A single infected person can spread it to 2.2 others whereas flu virus can spread it to 1.3 others. It is somewhat big in size which makes it possible to be prevented through wearing of masks. However the main drawback is that people tend to adjust the mask too often which transmits the virus from the hands to the mask. The COVID 19 virus stays alive for nine hours on fabrics which infects the mask once a person touches it.

The novel Coronavirus stays alive in metallic surfaces for 10 hours unless wiped with a disinfectant. It means that people should be careful while using lifts, handrails, ATMs and so on. One may keep tissues while using possibly infected surfaces and ensure that the tissue is disposed in dustbins at the earliest. After handling currencies one must wash hands thoroughly with soap or alcohol based sanitizer for twenty seconds before touching the mouth, eyes or nose. Things brought from markets should be either left alone for some time so that the virus dies or they should be thoroughly washed before use.

It is best to avoid gatherings and unnecessary travel till the viral infection subsides. In case a person gets ill, he should confine himself in his home and get treatment like other viral infections. Gargling often, drinking hot water or tea with ginger, is likely to help.

Recipe for broth in case of flu or common cold:

Boil four cups of water. Put sliced ginger, bay leaf, pepper, basil leaves, cloves and boil till it is reduce to less than half the amount. Add honey and drink piping hot four times a day.    

 Clothes and articles used by the infected person should be washed with hot water. The virus is not heat resistant and is killed in a temperature of more than 40 degrees or under sunlight. The pneumonia is identified with a dry cough ,fever, sneezing, stomach upset and breathing difficulty. Eating garlic, ginger and pepper may help to fight the infection. Keeping under the quilt to raise the body temperature will help in fighting the virus. Smelling camphor and cloves also helps in keeping virus at bay.

The COVID 19 virus is dangerous for those with low-immunity therefore; care should be taken in case of people who are weak, or suffering from other ailments. For people with high immunity the recovery is like other viral infections, although people should quarantine themselves for 15 days so that the virus does not spread and prove fatal for people with low immunity. It is to be remembered that COVID-19 is twenty times more deadlier than the flu. According to recent updates there has been 100,720 cases and 3,412 deaths globally. The virus has spread to 88 countries till date. It is likely to subside and vanish with the onset of summer; till then, let us drink hot water, gargle, wash hands often and keep ourselves fit, fine and healthy.

Walking by the Sea

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The mild waves licked my feet,
As I stood on the lonely beach.
The monstrous waves growled,
Rising high before the fall.

The fall tamed them down;
Experience taught them humility.
They reached the shore,
And went back silently once more.

I watched the waves repeating,
The selfsame action eternally.
The wind caressed my hair;
Welcoming a guest of time.

Two blues met at the horizon,
Happily united forever.
None can say from afar,
That it was but an illusion.

The sand around my feet,
Moved to accommodate,
Till I remained stationary;
As I moved the footprints erased.

A mere inconspicuous speck,
In the multitudinous sands of time.
I bowed my head to the creator,
Of the masterpiece called Earth.

The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

It’s easy for us to find words and their meanings on the web. The dictionary has played a huge role in learning in our lives. This is an interesting post on ‘The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester.’

My French Quest

Meaning of Everything

In 1928, 414,825 words were discerned and discovered and catalogued for publication in the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. Before this time, no one had thought to make a list of all English words, to write down the meanings. Not even Shakespeare had means to a dictionary during most of his writing career. He essentially had to find words in other writings, note down words or expressions he had learned in conversations, or just conjure words out of thin air. In fact, many of the words that he invented are in the Dictionary today.

I find this so fascinating. I had always assumed that the great writers of the seventh, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had access to a reference of words which included usage, meaning and origin. Alas, this was not the case.

One of the books for my Holiday reading is The Meaning of Everything: The…

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