The Curse of Crackers

Are you burning crackers or your future? Photo by Suvan Chowdhury

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Festive time is here again. There’s a feeling of joy in the air and we must let it be there. Celebrations through bursting of crackers must be totally banned. It is totally against common reasoning to pollute the festive air with poisonous  gases.

Is it really celebration or mindless mass pollution drive? Is it any different from substance abuse? Well there is a big difference indeed.  While substance abuse gives momentary pleasure and harms the user. Bursting of crackers gives momentary pleasure to the person bursting it while harming a huge number of people in its aftermath.

The air after Diwali is not worth breathing in. Diwali is the festival of lights.  The celebration of victory of good over evil.  A celebration to remove darkness from our souls and illuminate our lives with true knowledge. When we turn the very air that sustains us with poisonous fumes the very purpose of Deepawali is lost.

We cannot survive without air for more than three minutes or so. Therefore it is foolhardy to burst crackers for celebrating all that is good on earth. The celebration through bursting of crackers is enough to turn the life-sustaining fresh air into foul life- threatening one.

In the year 2020, many states in India had banned bursting of crackers during Diwali. This step was welcomed by most citizens across those states. Except for some isolated cases, where some people out of habit flouted rules and were later fined, most people adhered to rules and abstained from bursting crackers. The states in which crackers were not banned showed spurt in air pollution which turned severe on the eve of Diwali.

The air became thick with incessant bursting of crackers. Children suffered from nausea and for the elderly and patients suffering from Covid, lung or heart related diseases, Diwali became a nightmare.  For most others the air created a burning sensation in the throat as the poisonous fumes were inhaled. 

Society has progressed past the need of celebrations that may cause harm to others. While humans momentarily enjoy the view of sparkling fireworks, the animal world suffers silently in spite of no fault of their own.

Therefore, everybody must come together to create an awareness regarding total ban of crackers in all celebrations across the world. Laser shows may be arranged for the public by various organizations to spread cheer during festivities.  Let us all come together and help the world heal the ravages caused by the human civilization.

RACER Strategy for Writing Paragraphs

 

RACER  strategy helps in writing the perfect paragraph for your response. This strategy is used when a text is followed with an open ended question.

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This  strategy helps you to write your response correctly using  5 steps-

  1. R – Reword the question
  2. A – Answer the question completely
  3. C – Cite evidences
  4. E – Explain the text evidence
  5. R – Rewind, reword your answer and sum it up.

Advantages of using RACER

This strategy gives you a layout to form your answer in a specific order. It gives clarity to your writing and helps people to understand your written answer clearly. In order to have a great response you need to do more than simply answer the question. RACER helps us in doing so.

Lets follow the strategy one by one

  1. R – Restating or rewording the question. 

In this step all you need to do is reword the question and turn it into a statement. This will form the introductory part of your answer. You need to paraphrase the question using synonyms or different phrases or clauses

2. A– Answering the question in an appropriate manner.

  • In order to do so you need to understand the question what is being asked. The answer must deal with the specific question, refraining from digression.

Sometimes a question has two or more parts. You must answer each part separately.

3. C– Citing evidences which strengthen your answer.

The evidences will portray how well you have understood the question and whether you can make inferences. You must use quotes(“ ”) if you are using someone else’s exact words.

        Be sure to choose the evidence that best supports your answer.

While citing evidences, it is necessary to cite the source of the example. You may use words like-

The author in … says that…

The text states …

In paragraph 4  we find…

4. E – Explaining the evidence.  You need to explain the evidence and elaborate what the answer means. You must provide reasons to emphasize that your answer is correct. In other words you must elaborately explain your answer.

You may use words like

This evidence proves my answer as…

This evidence shows…

This evidence means…

This evidence is important because…

This evidence supports my answer…

5. R– Revise and recap by restating your topic sentence through a summary statement.

That is, you rewrite what you have said in the introductory statement but in a different way to make your point clear.

Example

The Sun Goes Down on Summer

 I come to the water one last time as the sun goes down on summer.

 It’s going; I can feel it slip away, and it leaves a cold, empty spot.

 A hole in my warm memories of endless golden days

 and dreams as ripe as watermelons.

 I’d give the world to make the summer stay.

 The water is calm around me.

 It’s a warm, silent sea of thought dyed in the rich blues of night and

       memory.

 Why can’t things just stay the way they are?

 Instead, the days rush headlong into change

 and I feel like nothing’s ever going to be the same.

 Soon school will start again.  And all the things I thought I’d left behind

       will come back, and it won’t be gentle water I’ll be swimming in—

 It’ll be noise and people and schedules and passes and teachers telling

        everyone what to do.

 One more year of homework, tests and grades.  Of daily popularity

        contests and pressure-cooker competition and heaps of frustration.

 The first day is the worst.  Not knowing who your friends are, or

 what’s changed since last year.  Trying to pick it up where you left off.

 I’ll look real hard for a last-year’s friend to get me from one

 scrambled class to another, through halls crawling with people.

 I wonder if I’ll fit in.

 Football practice started last week.  It started without me.

 I had to make a choice and football lost.

 Two years on the team and it struck me—who am I doing this for?

 It’s just another thing people expect you to do, so you do it.

 School is full of those kinds of things—things that sap your freedom,

 and keep you from being yourself.

 That’s what I want most, to be myself.  But that’s hard.

 Here’s what I dread most: when summer goes, I go with it.

 I go back to school and I change as soon as I walk through those doors.

 I have to be someone everyone will like—that’s a law of survival.

 What would happen if I just stayed the real me?

 would they turn me off?  Label me “weird”?

 Would I ever get another date?

 It seems like so much to risk.

 But growing is a risk.  Change is a risk.

 And who knows.  I might discover something of myself  in the coming

          year.

 I might get closer to the person I am—what a discover that would be!

 When the doors open on Monday morning, I’ll have a fresh start,

 a fresh opportunity to find myself.

 I want to be ready.

 Steve Lawhead

What feelings does the narrator express in the first stanza of the poem?

The narrator portrays his dismal feelings regarding the end of summer in the first stanza of the poem ‘The Sun Goes Down on Summer’ . He is conscious of the fact that the happy days of summer are slipping away and feels  desolate, melancholic and oppressed at the very thought of it. His feelings come out in the saying, “It’s going; I can feel it slip away, and it leaves a cold, empty spot. A hole in my warm memories of endless golden days” He feels sad that his golden days are about to conclude, leaving a cold empty spot in his life. He is upset that his cherished golden days of summer are about to end and he needs to get back to school.  The first stanza brings out Steve Lawhead’s depressed and forlorn feelings as the sweet days of summer are about to end.

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Now try it yourself and write a paragraph using the RACER strategy bringing out one of the deeper messages in the poem.

Pressure and Performance

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Underground water is easily pumped out due to the pressure underground. When a drilling machine drills for water, it comes out with great force, throwing the water high up; creating a wonder among the onlookers. Gradually, the pressure becomes less and the water gurgles out for sometime before stopping altogether.

Pressure and performance go hand in hand.

Sumita Tah

Humans too work best under pressure. It’s the pressure at the offices, institutions, family and in the friend circles that helps us to give the best in our work. The competitive atmosphere helps in motivating us and improving our performance. Under the pressure to perform, we often give out our best, but as the pressure decreases we gurgle and placidly give our output.

Pressure squeezes effort out of winners and excuses out of losers.     

Orrin Woodward

The Covid situation has brought about the reality of our efforts in absence of pressure. During Covid moms have been forced to improve their culinary skills in the absence of eating out, and even those who are living alone are at times forced to cook up delicacies under the pressure of their tongues. This these are actions somewhat due to intrinsic pressure, which do not tell the entire story.

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The real lethargic nature of humans have come to fore in the singular area of dressing. Irrespective of status or creed, almost every person who works from home, can hardly get themselves to dress up more than what is required for the web-cam. Millions of people across the globe can be seen meticulously dressed with shirts, ties, and dresses – but without changing their Bermudas, shorts or whatever they are wearing below.

Scores of students with neatly combed hair, shirts ties or whatever uniform is necessary, sit in-front-of their laptops or computers with colourful shorts or pyjamas beneath. After all, it saves the time required to change a dress; which can be better spent binging on Netflix, or chatting over the abject nature of things.

Though funny,  it isn’t something that one should to look down upon. It simply brings out the fact that we love being involved in our work and follow rules, but only where and when it is required. Therefore, Covid has taught us that pressure, after all, is not that bad; and contributes to the quality of our lives. However, pressure should be of a balanced kind and not too excessive which would definitely harm us.

Pressure has the power to create a diamond, but it has to be the “right” pressure.     

Shannon L. Alder

The ones who are under a tremendous amount of pressure now are doctors, health care workers, IT professionals and not to mention the teachers. They are performing under excessive pressure with the dividing line between home and work having melt into thin air. They are over-worked but not laid off, which is one of the worst kinds of pressure that one has to endure; other than, of course, being directly affected by the Covid virus.

For the present let us let us try to bloom in the shade of our houses as well as we can. Revel in our comfortable house-wears till the crisis passes. Let us put a little bit of pressure on our own selves and perform as best as we can evolving as superior, self-motivated beings as the outcome of the crisis. We had never dreamt at this time last year, about the radical change that was awaiting us. Let us taste, this unwelcome change in our lives, and add a different kind of experience with a different kind of pressure – to the multi-coloured pages of our lives.

Pressure is nothing more than the shadow of great opportunity.     

Michael Johnson

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Obesity Among School Children

Obesity has become a global phenomenon across the world. It takes place when excessive fat is accumulated in the body over a period of time. Obesity is different from being overweight which implies that a person’s weight is in the upper range among people of the same age and height. A person may be overweight due to a large number of reasons like having more muscles, bone or water in the body which varies due to different body structures.

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The present generation of students are more of couch potatoes who refrain from physical activities and sports. Circumstances as well as lifestyle choices are responsible for it. In most urban areas, the children are confined to their homes right from early childhood. Lack of playing space , social security, and severe crisis of parent’s time are responsible for the confinement of children in their homes. So much so , that the artificial confinement becomes a habit out of which students refuse to budge as they grow up.

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Obesity occurs when children eat more than the body requires for normal growth and activity. The extra calories get stored as fat in the body. Over a period of time the accumulation of fat cells leads to obesity.
The present society has not only confined the children to their homes but also put them in an atmosphere that makes it easy for them to overeat, and difficult to remain active. Screen time activities on computers, gaming consoles, mobiles etc. require very little physical activity and the screen ads adds to unhealthy food choices. Junk food, readymade processed food, snacks are laden with unhealthy calories that fill the bodies with fat which harm children in multiple ways.
Obesity can lead to a large number of physical and mental problems for students. Increased risk of type 2 diabetes, liver disease, high blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol, bone and joint problems, asthma, sleep apnea are some of the negative outcomes that may arise out of childhood obesity. Obesity among students also leads to low self esteem and depression.

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Parents and teachers can play a big role in preventing obesity among students. First and foremost they must inculcate healthy eating habits in children right form birth. This is best done by acting as a role model for the children. Children should eat only when they are hungry and not merely to while away the time. Screen time for students should be reduced, and outdoor physical activities should be increased. Food must not be used as an award. Fridge and pantry should be stocked with healthy food. Junk food should not be provided in school cafeteria. All kind of junk food stalls should be removed from the vicinity of schools. Educating people regarding the adverse implications of obesity and creating awareness will help in combating the problem in the long run.

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If we don’t somehow stem the tide of childhood obesity, we’re going to have a huge problem.

Lance Armstrong

Fugitive Fate

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“Come on…. it’s getting late,” yelled Swarna at the top of her voice.  The children scampered all around with excitement. It was natural.  Soham was six and Sona ten, yet they had been on only two vacations in their entire life. The reason was Swarna’s demanding job and never ending fund crisis. 
 Swarna worked in a small firm. The income was meagre and the job demanding.  All private firms were the same – profit oriented.  In spite of her frustrations, Swarna continued her tedious tasks day in and day out in hope of a better future.  This vacation was planned by her, and executed by her husband Joy. Actually his name was Vijay, but Swarna called him Joy which meant victory in Bangla. Joy too called her Soro; a shortened form of Swarna.  She did like the endearment till Sona pointed out that it sounded like sorrow. 
 But by the time Sona had pointed it out; the name itself was ten years old and had achieved a distinct identity.
“Soro!” Joy called out, “it’s time to leave…” “Coming…”  Swarna replied as she hurriedly opened the trunk in which she kept all her expensive saris. She wrapped the small steel box, containing her jewellery, in an old sari belonging to her late mother-in-law, and kept it among the saris inside. It was a small precaution that she always took while leaving the house, she never left it in the safe inside the cupboard. She knew that would be the first place the thieves would steal from in case of a break in.  “ We must buy a locker at a bank, it isn’t safe to keep so much jewellery in the house,” she thought.
Her years of hard work had been transformed into beautiful gold jewellery which she often flaunted at various family functions.  The envious looks of the relatives and friends, gave her the reason to buy more jewellery each year.  From just a pair of earnings and a gold chain that she had during the time of her marriage, she now possessed about twenty items of gold jewellery as well as a couple of expensive saris that she had bought after several severe altercations with Joy.
Satisfied with her work she locked the trunk, and covered it with cushions which turned it into a chair.
She snatched the lunch from the kitchen and headed for the door.
“We’ll miss the train because of you,” her husband grumbled.
Everything went well, and Swarna  posted as many pics and videos as possible. The children enjoyed the beach immensely. Her relatives, friends and colleagues showered them with likes and comments in all the social media accounts that she had.
Swarna was sure they were seething with jealousy inside.
As they arrived at their house, Swarna requested her husband to buy some lunch. She was too tired to move. Joy got down from the taxi at the crossing; and told them to move ahead.  It was only a minutes walk to their home.
Swarna found the key and opened the door.  “I shall sleep for a day before I do any work,” she said to Soham and Sona. “We too,” they replied in unison. 
A wave of shock passed through Swarna as she looked at her living room.  Everything was scattered on the floor. The sari with which she had wrapped the box of jewels, lay on the floor. The window to the living room had been cut open and the thieves had taken their time to remove everything that was worth stealing.
Swarna sank on the floor.  The children hurried to find their possessions. Somewhere through the daze, she heard a voice. “Soro!” .She felt water being sprinkled on her face, and light pats on her cheek from somewhere far beyond.

Unity In Diversity

It’s a global village where-
United we stand, divided we fall.
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All humans are born equal. It is the human society that has divided mankind on the basis of colour, caste, creed, language, gender or religion. These discrimination are uncalled for and are totally unjust. Every discrimination, that exists in the world, has only been made in order to exploit a section of the society. It is wrong to discriminate a person on the basis of any existing norm in the society. With the advancement of mankind we must gain the wisdom to delve into the reason behind such discriminatory norms and overcome the tendency to discriminate.

Religion is man-made and so is the language and culture of a region. All human beings irrespective of their country of origin have been made equally by the creator. Their feelings, needs and thinking are all alike.

The colour of skin, hair and sometimes features- vary not due to a person’s own credit or discredit but because of the climatic conditions of a place. Therefore it is unwise to feel proud or dejected due to ones physical appearance or discriminate on its basis.

Religion is the outcome of mankind’s desire to live a higher spiritual life. In the ages, when education was scarce and life was difficult, religion provided guidance for the common man to live a life that would benefit the entire society. The fear of God restrained people from doing wrong things. It provided security for the society at large. A few men also wanted to create an everlasting imprint on mankind, and portrayed themselves as men chosen by God to preach on Earth. This is true for every religion on Earth. Surprisingly, religion – which is supposed to spread love and peace on Earth, has been the cause of much bloodshed and hatred throughout history.

It has been observed through history, that religion has been the favourite subject of conflict and discrimination among people. People love to fight for their religion- so much so, that in absence of a different religion, they would split up their own religion and put up a fight regarding the differences. It is high time that people learn to respect diversity and live united.

Discriminations regarding gender has continued for ages and is still going strong. In the under developed countries the status of women remain abysmally low due to absence of education and financial independence. However, in spite of equal opportunities; gender discrimination still exists in every sector in the developed countries. Unequal pay and division of labour is taking the toll on the physical and mental health of women. This is also paving a way for a society where isolation will be the norm.

Variety is indeed the spice of life. Humans are creators of different cultures, customs, beliefs, food, languages, dialects, art, dance, music, sculpture, architecture and a host of other things that add charm to our lives. Is it then not our duty to enjoy these colours of life? Whatever we have learnt and experienced since are childhood are indeed close to our heart and precious. We must then develop the understanding that other’s culture, religion and tradition is precious to them too; and it is our duty to respect them.

We as mankind have had a spectacular journey from being cavemen- to men living in space shuttles. This travel will be made even smoother and enjoyable if we learn to respect diversity and live in peace united. Unity in diversity is what gives life the colours of the rainbow.

Its time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.

Maya Angelou

Adjustment in the recent times.

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The new age is an age of oxymorons. There are contrasting views everywhere. The world is perhaps in its most confusing moments. The age old customs and traditions are under the radar and is changing rapidly. There is a complete overhaul of society and societal behaviour.

The strangest thing is the difference in thoughts , expectations and actions. People think something, expect something else and do something that is completely different in all respects.

We expect people to listen to us, accept us and do things which we like. Everything and everyone must cater to our needs, likes and dislikes. Anything apart from that makes us feel uneasy and we try to avoid such situations and people. Therein, lies the roots of alienation and isolation. The question is how far do we exert ourselves to accept others with their flaws?

People today, especially the younger generation, find it difficult to adjust. Adjust in the family, adjust with friends and in the workplace. Too much self indulgence in childhood makes it difficult for them to accept the fact, that the world will not cater to their needs throughout life.

Adapting does not mean permanent changes, it just means making small, quick adjustments.

Hany Kubba

Divorce, which was a taboo in the past, is a norm today. While, being a taboo had its drawbacks, being a norm has its drawbacks too. Being in a marriage needs some adjustments, just as being in the family you were born does. Love needs time and care to bloom. Taking things for granted is one of the disasters that ruins the charm in a relationship. Be grateful for everything and adjust to small things. However, if things are too difficult, it is better to part in an amiable manner, which is good for the heart and mind.

Adjustment with the right people, is always better than arguments with wrong people.

It is a necessity to adjust in life, be it in the workplace or a relationship. If not here, then somewhere else, but we have to adjust if we are living in a society. It is therefore better to have a cheerful attitude and enjoy life’s journey without creating unnecessary hassles for our own selves. Assess the pros and cons meticulously, before giving up on anything.

This life is unique and beautiful. ‘Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.’ We’ve got to love life to see its beauty. For that we need to adjust with life itself. A cheerful and patient attitude makes the journey of life a pleasurable one.

Isolation and alienation is a gradual phenomenon. First, we get alienated from the society, then workplace, then family and ultimately with our own selves leading to depression. So, we must try to keep ourselves engaged in the service of others. It is the only path towards happiness.

Be happy and keep others happy. Adjust as much as possible, but draw the line sharply if necessity arises. The trick is not to give up easily. Everything has a positive and a negative side. Focus on positivity, and positivity will surround you.

Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Colin powel

A well adjusted person has a mature personality and can understand the needs and problems of others. It is a pleasure to be in the company of such people.

Change being the only constant, will continue. Accept it. Our endeavour, should be to acclimatise ourselves according to circumstances and bring about a positive change.

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change;the realist adjusts the sails.

William Arthur Ward

A Guest from the Unknown

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  There was a chill in the air. The drizzle continued for a week, and temperatures dropped down rapidly. It was the All Hallow’s Eve.

Children had run around, and the doorbell rung ceaselessly through the evening. I sat alone at my desk, trying to complete the story that I had been struggling with, for about a month. As the clock in the parlour struck twelve, I stretched, and got up to make myself some coffee as the night became colder.

Coffee in hand, I moved towards the window, enjoying the solitude of the night. The trees in the park across the road always fascinated me during the night. The familiar surroundings appeared strange and eerie in the dark. I liked looking at the strange shapes that trees made in the various shades of the dark. As I watched the drizzle beneath the lamp across the street, I saw something move on the bench beneath. My eyes had not deceived me. It was indeed a person wrapped up in a shawl lying on the bench. “Oh God!’ I said to myself. It was chilling outside and the man would surely be soaked in that constant drizzle. He would certainly die that chilling night, if he stayed outside.

A wave of pity surged through me and I went over to the person across the street. ‘Hello!’ I said. A deep cough underneath the cover was all the answer that I got. The man’s boots peeped out of the shawl at his slight movement. ‘Hello, Sir! It is indeed freezing tonight. Why don’t you come over to my house for the night?’ I paused… ‘I’m sure you would find comfort inside.’

The man opened his cover which was as soaked as the rest of him.  He was rake thin and his sunken eyes could hardly be seen. ‘Please do follow me sir,” I requested as kindly as possible. “Thank ye fer yer kindness sire,” he replied, standing up inanimatedly and following me.

I heated up the soup, and buttered hot toasts to make him comfortable. I offered him dry clothes which he refused. “ I like bein’ in me own boots,” he mumbled. He sat in the darkness away from the light and kept his silence. “You must be very cold and totally drenched,” I tried to make him comfortable. He grunted something, refusing to take the conversation any further. I thought it better to show him his room and did so.

 It felt good helping someone in a chilly night. I carried the dry clothes with me and was about to switch on the light of the guest room, when he put up his hand covering his eyes, putting up his other hand as a sign to stop. He must be sleepy, I thought putting the clothes meant for him on the table. As he went in I bade him goodnight. “G’night,’ he grunted. I smiled and closed the door, shrugging my shoulders at his strange behaviour.

That entire night I had troubled sleep. I tossed and turned on my bed and dreamt of strange people moving around the house. At one point I got up and got myself a glass of water. The deafening silence added to the strangeness of the night. I checked the door of the guest room and went back to bed.

Next morning, the weather seemed to have cleared up nicely. As the bright beams escaped into the room through the folds of the curtains, I rubbed my eyes as I remembered my guest. I was late in getting up and wondered if my guest was already up. I felt grouchy sleeping late and having those strange dreams.

The living room was empty and so was the cooking area adjacent to it. “Good,” I thought, I would get time to prepare a nice breakfast. I made coffee, toast and omelettes and took them to the guest room for the guest. The blinds were still drawn and the bed empty.  I guessed he was in the washroom and putting the tray on the table, I withdrew the blinds. “Goodness! He has already made the bed.” I observed.

 “Er..Mr…” I realised that I did not know the name of my guest. “Ahem!” I cleared my throat near the washroom door. There wasn’t any sound coming out of the washroom. It surprised me to see that it was latched from outside.

“Goodness Gracious!” I rushed towards the main door repenting my decision to invite the stranger to my house. To my surprise the door was locked from inside. Thank God! The man had not escaped with anything valuable. I sighed in relief. A feeling of guilt lingered at the back of my mind; we are quick to suspect others at the smallest pretext, I thought.

I looked for my guest in the other bedroom, but found it empty. Has he by chance gone to my room, while I made breakfast? I checked my room but it was empty. The apartment had three bed rooms and the huge living room. I was utterly confused. Did my guest simply vanish into thin air?

“Hullo there!” I called out. There was no response. My heart beat faster. I went to the guest room and checked the clothes I had given him. They were as I had kept them. He must have slept in his drenched clothes. I checked the bed….. it was dry. My confusion increased. I checked under the bed and then in every nook and corner of the house.

He……wasn’t there.

I checked the main door again … it was locked.

I opened the door – a cold draught swept past me.

 It is believed that on Samhain, the walls between our world, and that of the spirits become thin enough… to allow the ghosts to pass through.

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Air- the essence of life

Air is precious, prevent its pollution.
Pedro Figueras

Air pollution is turning Mother nature prematurely grey.

Irv kupcinet

Humans can live three weeks without food, three days without water and just three minutes without air. Air is an indispensable part of our life. It is because of air that life has been possible on Earth. Yet, we humans are polluting that very essence of our lives.  And that too simply for hoarding wealth, which will be rendered useless if we cease to exist. 

We have been polluting the atmosphere in the name of development.  Is it really development, if it snatches away pure air from a new born child?  We must question our priorities. Which is more important for us and our children? Pure air and water or money?

Pollution should never be the price of prosperity.

AL Gore
Think before you buy. More consumption means more pollution.
Chris LeBoutillier

Definitely, every sane, intelligent person would choose the latter. In spite of our knowledge and our understanding, we are failing our children. We are busy in our rat race to provide more than needed for ourselves.  Becoming more isolated each day and refusing to share. Now-a -days, each family member prefers to drive his or her own vehicle rather than share. The end result is more production, more waste generation and emissions, leading to increased  pollution.

Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented.

Barry Commoner.

Air pollution is a global killer. An estimated 7 million people die due to diseases related to air pollution. Respiratory infections, asthma, stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, obstructive pulmonary disease- all are related to air pollution.

Pollution-The offspring of Greed.
Vasadi

The main pollutants are nitrogen dioxide(NO2), sulphur dioxide(SO2), carbon dioxide emissions  (CO2) , Ozone  (O3), molds, particulate matters (PM). The particulate matters of less than 10 and 2.5 microns can penetrate into blood through the lungs and affect the whole system.

The short term as well as long term consequences of pollution on human health is immense. Polluted air affects our lungs, heart, brain, liver, spleen as well as the nervous system.  The effects are more on children and elderly as they are more susceptible to damages due to their low immune levels. Children breathe more than adults and breathe in more pollutants because of their short heights.

The Paris climate summit laid down rules for the global community to combat climate change. They aimed at keeping the global rise in temperature below 2 degrees, and take it to below 1.5 degrees within this century. There has been a 3 degrees rise in Arctic temperatures in the last century leading to massive melting down of glaciers. The emission of green house gases has been the prime cause of the rise in temperatures. (Green house gases like – CO2, NO2, O3, CH4, absorb and emit radiant energy within the thermal infrared range)

We are the perpetrators of air pollution, so the onus is on us to find the solution.

We must avoid unnecessary use of vehicles and use public transport and car pools.

We must avoid burning of leaves etc and make compost of them.

Farmers should refrain from burning stubble and use modern methods to turn them into compost.

Plant trees and keep indoor plants. Indoor plants are great air purifiers.

Use a bicycle or walk as much as possible, every step counts.

Jogging and exercise should be done in pollution free areas.

Children should be picked up in traffic congestion so that they are not at the same level as the emissions.

Regular indoor cleaning is a must as indoors are often more polluted than outdoors because of dust mites and molds.

Air pollution is a great equalizer. It does not differentiate between the rich and poor. Every person in a particular place will have to breathe in the same air. It is for us to see that the atmosphere remains unpolluted.  God has provided us with everything that we require to live. Let us not spoil the best things in our lives due to wrong perceptions and thinking pattern set by the society at large. For the truth is… we all need fresh and clean air simply to exist.

Water and air the two essential fluids on which our life depends have become global garbage cans.

– Jacques Cousteau.

Optimism- The magic potion when you are down

Lukáš Dlutko

You have bled enough. Repeated illogical failures have scarred your soul, and you have had enough. You, traveller are at a junction in your life.

Now, you could command your body to separate. There is barely anything  holding your will down anymore. Now , you can close your eyes for what you believe will be a restful sleep.

Or,Or,

Or, you could snap , you could snap and turn the tables so hard, that they break. You have nothing to lose, nothing to choose. You are at a junction in life, that will decide whether your pride will live or die.

Optimism, dear traveller, is easy to reign in and feign in easy waters; that is not much optimism at all. When the ship shakes, your decision lies in holding or letting go of the wheel of your life. Optimism will let you hold on with a broken arm. Hope and belief is not naivety, it is humane.  

When you are sick of pessimism, look for a ray of hope. It will be difficult, this is no easy path in tumultuous times. Optimism is for the brave, as is success. Do not be unafraid;  fear, and do it over your fears. It is the strength of your God given soul to disintegrate, just a bit, under pressure – it is your choice – whether or not to put that  small broken piece of your soul together through nuclear fission and shine so bright that the world is illuminated.

Positivity is no mean feat in this monotonously spinning world, but it is a prerequisite to hang on to the top. Optimism is not a thought, it is a necessity. Optimism is is not the feel good factor all the time, it is hitting the rock bottom and resurfacing again.

You are at the junction, you have bled enough. Now, it is time for you to take that plunge and take the world. Till you live, it is yours to keep. Try to make a mark, so that you continue to live in the hearts and minds long after you cease to live. Serve your smile and heal the world. That, dear traveller, is your ultimate destination.

If you feel that your glass is half empty- It is in your hands to fill it.