Norwegian Wood

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Norwegian Wood. No, not the famous jingle from the 60s by Beatles. If you are an avid reader, you’ll straightaway connect it to the novel ‘Norwegian Wood’ by Haruki Murakami.This book was a hit in Japan when it was released in 1987 there. It attracted more fame to its name after its English translation by Jay Rubin hit the bookstalls world wide.

This novel is something to which every youth can connect to. A book about friends, college, struggles of life, heartbreaks, constant fear of losing someone, death and the pain attached to losing somebody.

This is one of those novels that helps you understand the deeper complexities of life. The intricate level of pain that stakes into your heart after losing someone who will never come back.

Murakami has beautifully contrasted two pictures in one story. The cold winter days attributing to death and grief and bright sunny day and blooming flowers a summer day which tells us that sadness is just temporary in life and happiness will find its way back.

Toru Watanabe is in a plane on his way to Germany when he is recalling the string of events that happened 20 years ago which impacted his life in a very significant way. How he lost two most important people in his life and the excruciating pain he felt which made him forget how to live. Wandering on the streets from one city to another, the loss of will to live and taking up the responsibilties. Although still not late, he realizes what he has done and gathers back himself to be ready to get back on track and tackle life. He makes himself understand that Naoko is dead and all her memories spent with her will stay back with him as ‘good days’ and he’ll continue his life focusing on what’s there in the present. Murakami writes “People whose existence remains only in the minds and heart and every physical attribution of theirs gone with them into their graves.”

Speaking of the title, the story though has reference to the song by Beatles. Apparently, the song ‘Norwegian Wood’ was the favourite song of Naoko. Apart from this, there are many other songs by Beatles which find its place in this book.

Murakami has expressed all the deeper emotions and complexities of life in very simple and lucid manner. To battle through the storm all alone, when the dark nights are still not over and adapting the truth is the most difficult thing of life. I think this is why he is able to connect to his readers so well. To express what’s on our minds which we are unable to speak about. may be one of the reasons why it was and still is hugely popular among the youths.

 

 

 

 

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Brain Games

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Fitness freaks often emphasize on the physical fitness to keep the mind and body healthy. No doubt physical fitness is necessary to keep mind and body healthy. But not many of us knows that even our brain needs a bit of exercise every day to keep us active and help us get rid of the enervation from all days work.

Lumosity is one such app available on Google Play Store. This app is for those people who want to spend some time online for benefitting themselves rather than wasting time on social media. Lumosity is a gaming app which focuses on Brain Games. The app offers you to create an account and start working on your brain with their specialized games designed to stimulate your brain’s working.

Unlike other websites which are cumbersome takes lot of time and energy; this app is easy-peezy! They provide you with 3 games every day each of them of around 1-2 minutes long and 5 games if you are a premium member. The team of Lumosity has designed extensive brain training program through their games which target different ways to train your brain. For example, there are memory based games, speed tests, attention as well as speed calculation games. You can analyze your progress through Lumosity Index which gives you a deeper understanding of your strong and weak areas. If you go premium, there is a personalized training program designed specially according to your needs.

The best part of this game is it hardly takes 10 minutes of your life everyday and gives loads in return. You can easily play the games while coming back from office or a small break you have taken to rejuvenate yourself. It’s not only the physical fitness but also brain which needs some attention. The synergy of brain and body fitness determines our productivity. It’s high time we start using these options available to us. So, go Brainstorming!

Revival Of Sofa Cars

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Ask your dad if he ever drove a Ambassador? The answer most of us will hear is a ‘yes’. Now, pose this same question to the youths of today and the answer will be a ‘no’. In fact, none of us would even like to own a ambassador because of its stodgy and dowdy look. But back then, several decades ago, it was a “status symbol”. Its proud owners took its name with pride. But the aura and prestige of Ambassador has gradually waned into being a taxi in the streets of Kolkata.
Recently, ambassador became the hot news of the city again when Hindustan Motors announced that Peugeot SA group, a French Automobile Company is acquiring Ambassador brand for Rs.80crore. The generation of ambassador lovers were once again filled up with nostalgia and ecstasy, reminiscing their good old memories with this car.
The first model rolled out in 1957. Gradually, the vehicle was elated to a powerful symbol of the country. Ambassador in its good old days had served as official car for the country’s president, prime-minister and even bureaucratic class. But after 1984, it started to lose its charm. Its sales were reduced from 24,000 units a year in the 1980s to mere 2,300 units in 2013-2014, compelling Hindustan Motors to put its production to a halt.
Entering the country with a relaunch of ambassador is certainly no easy a task. In order to revive the brand, the french company have to take some tough decisions in order to turn it into a success. The iconic brand which was a marquee once exist today only in old photographs. The company not only has to work on improving its efficiency with latest technology in hands but also on contemporary looks. Moreover, history has witnessed Companies making many unsuccessful attempts in reviving well established brands. Very few of these brands have proved lucky stars for these companies.
Only time will tell if Peugeot will be successful in bringing back ambassador out on the roads again or whether this endeavour will go futile.

Not so sexist Bollywood

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Men in Iran are wearing hijabs in public to show support to women who are forced to cover their heads and they are not even ashamed of it. They are even uploading their pictures in hijabs on social networking sites without any hesitation. The campaign can be followed on the hashtag #meninhijab.

Now let’s come back to India. What kind of campaigns or events are taking place in India to aware the mass about the problems women are facing. Not many I think. Infact, I believe we are taking a step back day by day rather than able to counter growing sexism in India.

Moreover, Bollywood is only coming up with kind of movies which are portraying women as ‘bimbos’ or just for objectification purpose. Instead of making more modern movies keeping in mind the current issues of the country, they are actually producing more nonsense day by day. Even if handful of movies do target critical issues, it fails to create any impact on Box office as compared to movies like ‘Housefull 2’ or ‘Great Grand Masti’.

Salman Khan’s ‘rape remarks’ are taken lightly and forgivable. Mind you, nobody from the industry criticized him for his remarks. And if few people from the industry  like Sona Mohapatra even dared to speak, they were constantly shushed and abused because Oh my God! you dare not speak about him.

His movie ‘Sultan’may have broken all records at the box office but the movie showed many wrong angles. Anushka Sharma who is a No.1 wrestler just let go the opportunity to participate in olympics because her motherly instincts suddenly overpowers her 20 years of hardwork. While she worked hard day and night to reach to that position, Salman Khan in no time achieves success. She is only setting up a bad example for every woman of this country.

This is not it. Recently in an interview, Lisa Haydon said that ‘Feminism’ is overrated. Not only her, even Kareena Kapoor once said that though she played the role of a feminist in her movie, she is not one in her actual life. I would really like to pose a question to them if they even know what really feminism means? Doing skin-whitening cream commercials and then calling feminism overrated doesn’t fit at all.

Actors and Actresses are like sacrosanct to youths. They look upon them as role models. What they say and do, their actions get communicated to their fans. They are telling youth that a particular shape and body size is sexy. So people of only a particular body shape and size can look good? they can actually contribute tremendously if they choose to select their words and actions wisely and act upon them.

On one side, there is Iran where people have more liberal outlook despite the Islamic Revolution country witnessed in 1979. They are fighting the war with the fundamentalists intellectually. Men are coming out on the roads to support women. And on the other side is our country which is ‘democratic’ yet its citizens are ignorant to take the women question seriously.

Bollywood should realize that it has a huge responsibility on its shoulder. It should try to explore areas and bring them into the movies which can make a difference to the lives of different people. Indians should  realize that our movies represent who we are. Ofcourse, Bollywood cannot survive without making commercial movies with tangy songs and saucy dance moves but it can surely work upon those movies which can help Indians to grow and change their thought process.

 

International Women’s Day

March 8 every year is celebrated as International Women’s Day to celebrate the womanhood, her social, political and economic independence. To celebrate the long struggles of women’s movement set in various parts of the world throughout history. To propagate the feminist ideas of a modern, free-thinking, young, conscious and an independent woman. A modern woman of 21st century.

But the real meaning of a feminist has been lost today. Instead of exchange of ideas, what we see on Internet on this day is discounts, vouchers at departmental stores, free meals at restaurants and things of this sort. Women celebrities and actresses coming on tv and wishing International Women’s Day to all. Why interviews of those people aren’t shown who have actually worked for empowerment of women or who can be a role model for millions of women? How many people know Tessy Thomas, Arundhati Roy, Chirtra Ramakrishna, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Dipika Pallikal, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chanda Kocchar, Tania Sachdev or Gauri Shinde. These are just handful of people to talk about.

The feminist movement which began in 1850s in the west and took its discourse in shaping the minds of so many women in Europe and America is something everyone should be taught about. How the issue of women’s property rights, issue of divorce, voting rights, wearing comfortable clothes etc came to light. How after the Second World War, Equal Pay Campaign gained momentum. Demands for child-care and paid maternity leave began.

We may have achieved suffrage rights, and many social and economic rights till now. But how many women have actually been liberated? Female Infanticide is still a common phenomenon in our country. Nearly 3 million girls go missing every year. The ratio of girls per thousand boys in every state is less in every state of India except Kerala. Around 7,000 Dowry deaths were reported last year according to National Crime Record Bureau. Cases of rapes and crimes against women are still high in India.

Girls represent up to 68% of Malnutrition cases and gender plays a very important role in this. 88% of Indian women do not have access to sanitary napkins when they are menstruating. 40% of girls lack knowledge about menstruation. Arunachalam Muruganatham, a man who worked for making sanitary napkins available to so many women in India at cheaper rates is something we should all applaud him for.

Not many women are aspired to choose a different kind of profession. We need to encourage more and more number of women to go for unconventional professions like App Developing, Hacking, Sports Media, Managers and other such professions.

India may be the fastest developing country in the world with its economy boosting and GDP almost going in two digit numbers, but we should not forget the fact a country cannot progress if half of its population are still facing such problems. Women’ struggle is for the transformation of society. A society which gives an equal opportunity for growth to all its members. The feminist movement is not against ‘men’ but against this ideology. It is important for both men and women to understand what real feminism is and together strive for reducing this inequality. On 105th International Women’s Day, let’s try to understand the broader concept of feminism and give this movement new thoughts and ideas.

Where there is a will, there is a way!

 Will power is something you need to achieve success in your life. Very often we see people cursing luck for their failure. But the actual reason behind their failure is lack of true determination towards their goal. If a person is willing to work hard then there will be plenty of gates open for him. No one can stop him to achieve what he desires. Many goals seem impossible in the beginning but as we start working on it, we get confidence to work even harder to achieve it. Only few people have the will to pursue their goal and they know how much effort they had to put through.

Humans possess a very bad habit. This habit is of procrastinating things. We tend to postpone all our tasks to future until the deadline comes and we start panicking. And the results are not very desirable. Most of us blame time. But these are all excuses. Many of us get discouraged after the first time we fail. But we should not forget that failure is a stepping stone towards success. Success cannot be achieved through shortcuts. Path to success is a rough road.

Success and failure are a part of life. Some excel in one chance while for some it takes more than one chance to achieve their goal. If we give up after the first time we fail and sit back home thinking we are good for nothing then there is no way we can ever get success in life. Hard work always pays off. If you are hard working no matter how many times life turns you down, you will stand up again and work hard to reach the top. A Hard working man has the will to try again and again to achieve his goal. He is difficult to stop. Yes, it’s difficult to try again after failing once but if a person cannot gather courage to forget what has been done and work hard in future, then he can never succeed in his life.

Even the great men encountered many failures in their life. Wright brothers did not invent aeroplane in a day. It took Marie Curie twelve years to discover radium and polonium. What if she would have lost her hope in between? These two elements would have remained undiscovered till now. Louis Pasteur failed up many times before coming up with the method of pasteurization to prevent wine from spoiling. Great conquerors like- Napoleon and Alexander were men of great determination and this will power only made them great conquerors. Not only them, but we have great men from the field of literature, art, sports as well from whom we can learn that will power can make you shake the mountains. These pioneers spread the message that will power and true determination can make you do what seems impossible.

Look at the history of human-kind. It’s actually the will and determination which transformed the world from a mere civilization to a modern society. From axes, chopper chopping tools, swords to AK-47, missiles and nuclear bombs. The reason today we have managed to reach Moon and Mars is because of the will power of the human kind.

All of us possess will power. The difference is only some of us are able to utilize this will power. Others who fail give numerous excuses for their failure. But putting the blame on others is not a solution. Ifs and Buts are just excuses. No one can stop someone with strong will power. If we actually want to pursue our goals we will definitely work hard for it to make the dream come true. After all nothing can make you happier than watching your dream come true. So work hard for your goal. Where there is a will, there is a way.wwwr

Modi and the Media

Modern World is unimaginable without Media. Media’s role is not only limited to broadcasting news but also expressing views, holding opinions and enlighten the people. In the recent years, role of media has evolved drastically. It has become symbolic. In the same way, Media has played an important role in shaping our country.

Media has the ability to fame or defame anyone. It holds the power of turning a person into ‘hero’ or a ‘villain’, a ‘messiah’ or a ‘devil. For example, the case of 1988 American Presidential Elections where the phrase used by George H.W. Bush “Read my lips, no new Taxes” made him popular among the mass and win the elections. All credits to the media.

Narendra Modi is one of the politician who knows how to use the media brilliantly. Whether it was ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyan’, ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’, Varanasi nominations or ‘Minimum Government Maximum Governance’, Modi took the help of media in popularising his agendas. He very well knows how to keep himself highlighted on the television screens of people. He understands the new media and the power it beholds. He knows how to use this tool to make him popular among the mass. How modestly he turned the ‘Clean India Campaign’ into a popular Ice Bucket Challenge and nominated famous faces of India into it and won brownie points to himself. Infact it reached as far as the walls of White House.

Another interesting thing to see is how the media houses that were unfriendly to him in the past have now become his dear ones. For decades, media houses kept painting Modi black for 2002 riots. He managed to survive the rough and harsh words said to him by the media back then. The same media is now hailing him and praising him for his way of governance. This strange behaviour has never been looked upon. Certainly this strange affection between him and the media has not gone much further because Media is still struggling to take out information from him and his government.

Modi is smart enough to use the media to reach the heights but not a fool enough to allow the media to bring him down the ladder. One can never see him in press conferences answering the questions of the journalists but one can definitely see him addressing media to popularise his campaigns or rallies. It won’t be wrong to call him ‘Anti-Media’ for he himself believes that media is corrupt and a hindrance between him and the people. According to him social media has obviated the need for intermediaries. He thinks that through social media he can directly convey his thoughts to the people but he is forgetting the fact that a fine percentage of people in India are still inactive on social media. They still use television and radio to have their opinion on anything. This one way interaction may become a drawback for him one day.

One more interesting fact on which I would like to throw light upon is the way Modi used media during his campaigning for general elections. By not giving any interviews till very end, depending mostly on the social media and getting media coverage for all of his rallies, media helped him gain popularity and transform him from a regional leader to a national figure. Modi’s shut door policy on the media has been raised by many journalists. Journalists from leading media houses are questioning him on limiting the media’s ability to reach out the government and ask questions that the government is refraining from answering.

Modi adopted an innovative communicating strategy that had him reaching out directly to people. He knows the tactics that whatever he does will be covered by the media as he is the leader of the nation. He has warned his ministers and bureaucrats not to unnecessarily give statements in order to avoid any type of embarrassing headlines. This has become a problem for the media as they can no longer take out the information because of Modi’s shut door policy. Though he is not a media friendly figure, he has not refrained himself from praising and applauding the media. Many a times he has mentioned media and their role in his speeches and praised them for taking his campaigning like ‘Clean India Mission’ to another level.

One thing that is well understood for now is that Modi very well knows how to control the media to his advantage. May be in coming days we can see a redefined and transparent relationship between the media and Modi’s government but for now it still remain a shut door policy between Modi, his government and the media.