Keep Yourself Focused Through Digital Minimalism.

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Days come and go, leaving us wondering about the accelerated speed of time in the recent times. Time, as we all are aware, develops its speed according to the activity we are involved in. If it is something that we enjoy, time flies like a hurricane; if it is something boring, time refuses to budge. After the arrival of the smart phones and the internet, time hardly ever stands still. Everyone around us, including ourselves, are forever engrossed in the wondrous world of internet, gorging on goodies for the mind. And often we find that the goodies that we devoured were nothing but junk for the brain, for which we had spent our priceless moments.

Digital minimalism is a must- if we really want to keep ourselves focused on the important things in  life. Digital minimalism involves prioritising, organising, simplifying and eliminating everything that distracts us from living a good life with specific intentions.  

Digitization has spun us into its web, and it is very difficult to live a life in which we are not completely immersed in the world of the internet. However, we must find our way out of the digital maze and keep our life focused and meaningful. Here are some ways in which we can come out of the digital vortex and keep our life simple, clear and stress free.

  1. Keep the morning hours free for doing things that need your undivided attention. An hour of work achieved in the morning will add up cumulatively over the days, increasing the productive output substantially. Do not look at the smart phone till the morning’s work is done.
  2. Avoid notifications as much as possible, as most of the information will be available in the mail.
  3. Check emails twice mid-morning and evening when the attention span related to work begins to waver.
  4. Keep an hour for social media when productive output is low. Set timer for time spent on social media as it will not contribute much in achieving aims.
  5. Regularly delete all unnecessary files, mails, pictures, videos, music and downloads.
  6. Make separate folders for different types of files and keep those folders in a separate folder to keep the desktop clean.
  7. Keep a clean background for the desktop and uninstall apps which are no longer in use. A clean workplace brings about intellectual clarity and keeps one focussed.
  8. Smart phones should not be taken to bed as it hampers sleep pattern and is detrimental to health in the long run.  
  9. Work in full-screen mode to retain attention and avoid distractions.
  10. Make a to-do list every evening and add the things not done to the next day’s list, along with allocating a specified time for doing the same. That way tasks will not pile up and will be done on a regular basis.

Keeping a digital-media free day once a week will be rewarding and will help in clearing the mind from information overload. Every kind of information is available on the web for access, when and as we need them. Therefore, it is unnecessary to overburden ourselves with extra information shared through the social media. It can take some determination to keep ourselves from investing too many hours in social media, but will be helpful in the long run.

We have come a long way from the time when W.H. Davis wrote ‘Leisure’ (1911) in his ‘Songs of Joy and Others.’ He would indeed have been surprised to see our lives truly full of care, without any time to stand and stare.

                                              “What is life if full of care,

                                                We have no time to stand and stare.”

Digital minimalism will provide us with actual leisure, which will relieve us from stress, help us think clearly and help live a purposeful life.

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More suggestions on Digital Minimalism would be most welcome.

Voice of the Virulent Virus

Photo by Polina Zimmerman

We came in absolute silence,
We’ve come without a trace;
And  within days and weeks,
We’ve shown our deadly face.
Turning life into a tizzy,
We’ve made a mockery of man;
It’s multitude that matters,
Stop us if you can.

You’re in numbers and so are we,
Both in equal killing spree.
Black death, plagues and the wars,
Ebola, dengu, COVID and sars…
Is here to give a lone  message:
‘The world is yours as well as ours.
Your insatiable greed has been a curse,
You cannot spoil things for us.’

Water’s murky, foul is the air;
Making life tough to bear.
Days of confinement has been quite bad,
Losing lives has made you sad.
But now things have to be solved,
Animals trees across the world;
Are caged or dying without food,
Life for them, isn’t pretty good.

It’s high time to mend your ways…
Without excuses, without delays;
Stop constructing buildings high!
Those concrete jungles make us sigh.
You must put up a worthy fight,
Or Nature herself will put things right.
Now, She’s trying to cure herself;
You bet she’ll do it-Without your help.

Your laws for now, you must abide,
Making sure you stay inside.
Inside your house, for a few days,
Listening to what your govt says.
For we are outside just like you;
Busy spreading the Covid scare,
Nature’s soldiers creating fear;
For, Mother Earth’s in mode of repair.

SESQUIPEDALIANS –LONG WORDS

Photo by Lisa Fotios

Etymologically a ‘Sesquipedalious’ word means a word one and half foot long.
Here are examples of some ‘sesquipedalious’ words.

  1. Antidisesetablishmentarianism (28) – opposition to the disestablishment of the church of England.
  2. Dicholorodifluoromethane (23) A type of Chlorofluromethane CF2C12
  3. Floccinaucinihilipilification(29) – habit or the action of estimating something as valuless.
  4. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (36)- Fear of long words.
  5. Honorificabilitudinitatibus (27)- “the state of being able to achieve honours’. It is longest word in Shakespeare’s works having alternating consonants and vowels.
    6.Pneumonoultramicriscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45) – a lung disease.
    7.Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (30)– a mild form of thyrodism characterized
    By normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in blood.
    8. Thyroparathyroidectomized (25) Excision of both Thyroid and parathyroid glands.

Education in Ancient and Modern India

周 康
EDUCATION IS THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON WHICH YOU CAN USE TO CHANGE THE WORLD
Nelson Mandela

Educating  citizens in the true sense; paves the way for a country’s bright future. It is the only path towards the development of a nation.The system of Education in India has passed through colossal changes over the ages. The constant infiltration of different invaders have left a lasting imprint on the education system in India.

The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.

Thomas Paine

The ancient education system in India primarily comprised of the Gurukul system. This system continued for a few thousand years before being replaced by the British ones. The term ‘Gurukul’ means ‘house of the guru’. In the Gurukul System, children would be sent to live with their Guru, till they completed their education. Learning was mostly auditory and based on memorisation which was done orally. Students usually learnt Vedas, Epics, literatures, archery as well as yoga and meditation. The student or ‘Shishya’ would help out in the maintenance of the  Ashram or Gurukul in return for their education. Princes as well as ordinary boys had to do every kind of work form ploughing  to cleaning during their schooling period. At the end of their education, they would repay their Guru by giving ‘Gurudakshina’, which was not necessarily monetary.*

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”

The modern education system was introduced by Lord Macauley in 1835. It is majorly a day schooling system, imparted in educational institutions. The infrastructural facilities and quality of education vary according to the financial and administrational capacities of the institution. Books  are provided as per age of the learner, and overall development of the child is looked into. Residential schools are also based on the same structure but students learn the skill of adjustment better than day-schooled students as they stay away from parents. Now- a- days many parents have their wards home schooled for various reasons.

Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.”

John W. Gardner

The modern schooling system has four levels – lower primary; upper primary; high; higher secondary. This is followed by college education in various streams. The modern system of education was introduced by the British and is mainly focussed on practicality, monetary gains and rote-learning. Students learn a vast range of subjects from languages, science, Mathematics, computers to whatever skills a child may prefer to learn. Although this system has contributed immensely towards national development, it leaves little space for moral and intellectual advancement. 

The ancient education system allowed open debate and had a moralistic approach towards life. The former aspect is a preliminary to a better society, while the latter contributes to the making of better individuals committed towards global development.  In spite of the spiritual and moral aspects, the ancient education system was not equal in its approach. There was rampant discrimination on the lines of Gender and Caste which has left an ugly imprint on the society.

What sculpture is to a block of marble education is to the human soul.

Joseph Addison.

Educational institutions are the building platforms for nations. Therefore, taking the essence of best educational practices and using them to teach students would ensure healthy and sustainable development of the society, the nations – and the world at large.

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.

Aristotle

The story of Ekalavya

*The greatest of all shisyas – ‘Ekalavya’ learnt the art of archery by watching his self proclaimed guru- Dronacharya in the great epic ‘Mahabharata’. As Ekalavya belonged to a low caste, Dronacharya the guru of the royal princes, refused to train him. He thereafter; made a statue of Dronacharya and imagined that he was being trained by Dronacharya himself. When Dronacharya found out that he was a better archer than his best disciple Arjuna. He demanded Ekalavya’s right thumb as Gurudakshina to make Arjuna the greatest of all archers. Ekalavya cut off his thumb and offered it to him without a word. Surprisingly, during the ‘Battle of Mahabharata’ it was Eklavya who stood by Dronacharya and fought for him. In absence of his thumb he had learnt to use his feet to shoot arrows with amazing expertise. Eklavya is hailed as the greatest of all disciples who possessed an indomitable spirit and fought against all odds to emerge as a true winner in the battle called life.

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you

Figurative Language – Writing Tips

Lorraine Ambers

Ways to use language in literature.

There are many ways in which we can convey meaning within our writing, figurative language uses words to deviate from their literal interpretation to achieve either a powerful effect, or a subtle nuanced one. Writers use techniques such as metaphors to create powerful imagery with in their settings, adding depth and substance, whilst playing with the sound and flow of the words.

What’s the most common method of figurative language you use in your writing? And what would you like to explore more of? Share your preferred writing style with me, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.

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Reflections

O Mother! Mother, I wish to be,
Like you in nature like a tree.
Giving shade, life and love,
Just like Almighty God above;
Never a sigh, did ever escape,
Tender love was your only cape.

You sacrificed so much for us,
It seemed so easy, without a fuss.
Now I tread your thorn filled path,
My feet do bleed, so does my heart.
My burden though is less than half,
My shoulders still, finds it tough;
To go about each weary task,
Every day from dawn to dusk.

My face lacks your cheerful smile;
My eyes without that look so kind.
How miserably, I fail to give,
The happiness one needs to live.
A life worth living, with love and care,
Where one can easily sorrows share,
Count on one who’s a pillar of strength,
Enduring all without complaint.

Enwrapped in Ego and selfishness,
All around I add to stress.
Oh! How I wish I cared for you,
Reflected back a love so true.
Thanked you for the things you did,
Wiped away the tears you hid,
Loved you back a million ways.
Just as you did those endless days.
Engulfed you with  care and love.
Treated you like a treasure trove.

O Mother dear, I wish I could be,
Like you in nature, like a tree.

Love you Ma, wherever you are.

Phrases and Clauses

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PHRASES

A phrase is a group of word, within a sentence or a clause, having a structure to form a unit smaller than a clause and a sentence  but greater than a word. A phrase does not contain a subject and a finite verb like a clause or a sentence. (It may however contain an infinite verb like a participle, infinitive or gerund).

A phrase does not make complete sense in itself, but can have meaning only through its relation to some part of the sentence in which it stands.

E.g.  The writer was a man of great talent.

         He shot an arrow into the air.

        It was a scene of great beauty.

         She wore a gown made of silk.

The underlined words in italics are phrases.

There are five types of phrases named after their main word.

  1. Noun Phrase
  2. Adjective Phrase
  3. Verb Phrase
  4. Adverb Phrase
  5. Prepositional Phrase.

NOUN PHRASE

A Noun Phrase is a group of words that does the work of a noun. (subject or object to a verb).

It was a very bright light.

My favourite food is ice-cream.

I enjoy playing tennis.

Thinking good thoughts makes a good man.

To know ones self is a difficult task.

She loves to paint her thoughts.

The italicised words are used as nouns and are called Noun Phrases

ADJECTIVE PHRASE

When a group of words does the work of an Adjective, it is called an adjective phrase. An adjective phrase does not contain a subject and a finite verb. It does not make complete sense in itself, but can have meaning only through its relation to the part of sentence in which it belongs.

The following sentences show the difference between an adjective and an adjective phrase.

  1 a) The Prussian army was defeated.

      b) The army of Prussia was defeated. 

2. a) The doctor was a generous man.

    b) The doctor was a man of a generous nature.

3.  a) A valuable painting was stolen yesterday.

     b) A painting of great value was stolen yesterday.

The words in the first sentences (a) are examples of adjectives, while the group of words in the second sentences (b) are examples of adjective phrases.

The following are examples of Adjectives and their corresponding phrases.

A silver spoon.
A popular leader.
A populous country.
A religious woman.
A woollen coat.
A deserted town.
A spoon made of silver.
A leader liked by the people.
A country having a large population.
A woman of religious nature.
A coat made of wool.
A town without any inhabitants.

ADVERB PHRASE

A group of words that does the work of an adverb but does not make complete sense by themselves is said to be an Adverb phrase.

Look at the following sentences:

  1. a) God is everywhere. (Where?)

b) God is in everyplace. (Where?)

  1. a) She replied rudely. (How?)

b) She replied in a rude manner. (How?)

  1. a) He was the Governor then. (When?)

b) He was a Governor in those days. (When?)

In the first sentences (a) everywhere, rudely and then are adverbs. In the second sentences (b) ‘everyplace’, ‘in a rude manner’, ‘in those days’ are adverb phrases.

Examine the following table of Adverbs and their equivalent Adverb Phrases.

                 Adverbs             Adverb Phrases
Bravely
Foolishly
Undoubtedly
Carelessly
In a brave manner, or with bravery
In a foolish manner
Without doubt
Without any care
Formerly
Immediately
Soon
Recently
In former times / Once upon a time
At once / without delay
In a short time/ before very long
Not long ago
There
Abroad
Upwards
At that place
In (or to) a foreign country
Towards a higher place or level

VERB PHRASE

A verb phrase is a group of words that does the work of a verb but does not make complete sense by themselves.

The girls were singing a song.

Each student will be given a sample paper.

The children have been playing for two hours .

The teachers are teaching in the class.

My father is going to the market.

The words in italics are examples of verb phrase.

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE

A group of words which acts like a preposition but does not make complete sense by itself is called a prepositional phrase.

The circus came to our city.

There is a bus stop near our school.

On the way home, he met his friend.

Several ducks were swimming in the lake.

Darkness comes after sunset.

The mole lives under the ground.

He left for office at 8 o’clock.

POSITION OF PHRASES

A phrase is usually placed at the end of a sentence.

E.g.

There were many people in the stadium.

There is a library near my home.

However, we may also place the phrase at the beginning.

In the stadium, there were many people.

Near my home, there is a library.

CLAUSES

A clause is a group of words that forms a part of a sentence that has a subject and a finite verb of its own.

TYPES

Generally clauses are of three types.

  1. MAIN CLAUSE
  2. COORDINATE CLAUSE
  3. SUBORDINATE CLAUSE

MAIN CLAUSE: It is also called the principal clause/ independent clause as the clause makes complete sense.

I knew that he would come.

COORDINATE CLAUSE :Two or more main clauses linked by a co-ordinating linker or conjunction is called a coordinate clause.

He would come and I knew it.

She came first as I had predicted last week.

He wished would pass and he did pass with flying colours. 

SUBORDINATE CLAUSE: A subordinate or dependent clause, does not make complete sense by itself and is dependent on the main clause for its complete sense.

I knew that he would come.

Here is another example-

 The teacher told him that he was late.

The sentence can be broken into two parts .

  1. The teacher told him.
  2. That he was late.

Each part of the sentence contains a subject and a predicate of its own. As there are two parts of the sentence, there are two clauses.

MAIN CLAUSE: The teacher told him. –It is also called the principal clause/ independent clause as the clause makes complete sense.

SUBORDINATE CLAUSE: That he was late. This clause is called subordinate or dependent clause, it does not make complete sense by itself and is dependent on the main clause for its complete sense.

Types of subordinate clause.

There are three types of subordinate clauses.

  1. Noun clause
  2. Adjective or Relative clause
  3. Adverb clause

NOUN CLAUSE

A subordinate clause that acts as a noun in a sentence is called a Noun clause.

E.g.     a)  I told him that I would get his book.

           b)  Tell her what she wants to know.

           c)  I want to know if he is telling the truth.

Note: Noun clauses are generally introduced by
That
If/whether
Wh- question words like who, why , what etc.  

ADJECTIVE / RELATIVE CLAUSE

A subordinate Adjective Clause is which qualifies a noun or a pronoun in the main clause and does the work of an adjective. It is also known as Relative Clause.

Examples:

  1. The book that you are holding is a masterpiece.
  2. The car which is steel grey in colour is mine.
  3. I respect all those people who are knowledgeable.

ADVERB CLAUSE

A subordinate Adverb Clause is that which performs the function of an adverb in a sentence.

Examples:

  1. Wait till I return.
  2. It is useless to argue as you will not understand.
  3. The suggestions were so good that I agreed immediately.

The underlined clauses, above are Adverb Clauses. Adverb clauses are introduced by the following subordinate conjunctions.

  • Adverb clause of ‘Place’ : (conjunctions used – where , wherever)
    • Wherever you go, I shall find you.
    • The child wants to go where his mother is.
  • Adverb clause of time. (Conjunctions – when while , before after, since,  whenever, till, until, as, as soon as, so long as)
    • The mother was cooking, while the children were dancing.
    • As soon as the robbers saw the police, they ran away.
  • Adverb clause of contrast. ( conjunctions –although, even if , even though)
    • He will not clear the exam , even if he works very hard now.
    • Although he is the younger one he looks older.
  •  Adverb clause of Manner. ( conjunctions- as, as if, as though, as … so.
    • She behaves as though she were a Queen.
    • Don’t treat me as if I am your servant.
  • Adverb clause of Purpose. ( conjunctions-so that, in order that, lest)
    •   Work hard lest you should fail.
    • The labourers worked hard so that they could earn their living.
  •    Adverb clause of Comparison. (conjunctions- as, than)
    • My mother is more intelligent than my father.
    • He is not as tall as his friend.
  • Adverb clause of ‘Condition’. (conjunctions- if, unless, provided that, in case)
    • If she extends an invitation ,I will surely go.
    • I will sign the invitation provided you give me the cheque.
  • Adverb clause of ‘Extent’. (conjunctions- so far as, as far as)
    • As far as my knowledge of him goes, he is a miser.
    • So far as I am concerned, I am willing to contribute.
  • Adverb clause of Result/ Effect / Consequence. (conjunctions – so, so…that)
    • The beggar is so poor that he hardly gets anything to eat.
    • He got up late, so he missed his school bus.
Adverb clause of condition.😀
Photo by Olenka

Tale of a tailor bird

Tailor bird -by Sumita Tah

The lil’ tailor bird ,
Was quite wayward;
She didn’t like making a nest,
And rather preferred to rest.

“Tweet tweet,” said she,
“Will someone help me?”
“Caw caw,” said the crow,
“What help,May I know ?”

“I need a comfy nest,
But it should be the best.”
“Well you’re a tailor bird,
for you it oughtn’t be hard.”

Advised the wise old crow,
And the bird felt really low.
“You’re so big and strong,
A li’ll nest won’t take you long.”

Said the bird to the crow,
with a curt li’ll bow.
“But your nest’s made of leaves,
which only you can weave.”

“Any nest will do
as long as it’s made by you,”
Said the lazy tailor bird.
Building a nest was hard.

The crow went to work,
picking sticks and twigs.
Hey Presto! a nest was made.
But it was a thorny little bed.

Twisting and turning all night,
In her coarse thorny bed;
She wondered what buffoon ,
That torture chamber made.

Next morn she collected leaves,
Others could hardly believe;
And stitched a comfy nest,
Which undoubtedly was the best.

That night the tailor bird,
Had sound sleep as her award;
For the hard work called for rest,
Next morning she felt refreshed.

She had learnt her lesson well,
So, she then went on to tell;
To those who chose to be losers
That,’Beggars cannot be choosers’.

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The Best Ways to Use Metaphors and Other Literary Devices — A Writer’s Path — Novel Writing Festival

by Jordan Jolley Literary devices are the paintbrush. The story is the painting. We’ve all been taught this ever since we learned how to read. Letters build words. Words build stories. Most of us have also been taught how to make our writing come to life, how to add texture and all that. […] via The […]

The Best Ways to Use Metaphors and Other Literary Devices — A Writer’s Path — Novel Writing Festival