#RiotGrams October 1-10, 2017 #WriteBravely

I am doing the Book Riot Instagram Challenge #RiotGrams this October. This is the first such challenge that I am participating in. Needles to say that it is exciting and challenging to look for books for various prompts and it’s interesting to see diverse range of books for a prompt. What also adds to the fun is that I get to show off my books too. 😉 

I thought of doing a round-up of my posts for this challenge on my blog here for the benefit of my readers who aren’t active on Instagram. I plan to do three blog posts this month, each covering ten days of the challenge. 

Today, I’d like to share my posts from October 1-10, 2017.

Hope you enjoy checking out my take on the various prompts!

But first have a look at the #riotgrams challenge at a glance…

Got any favorites from these 10 posts? 

Linking this to Day 4 of the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge#writebravely #writetribeproblogger

Life Sentence #WriteBravely

Drabble

Samit stood at the window. Outside, it was raining cats and dogs.

The weather reflected his mood, the uncertainty of the situation eating into his peace of mind.

He tried hard to disguise his feelings about the hopelessness of the situation but failed miserably.

Gloomily he looked at the road below and a thought began to grow in the back of his mind.

He looked again. Longer this time with steely determination in his eyes.

No, it will not be a death sentence, rather a life sentence for him.

Yes, he will push himself to live till his last breath.

Growing despite odds

Linking this to Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

Day 3 – Terminal

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This post is a result of love and collaboration of dear blogging friends Corinne Rodrigues, Vinay Leo R and Bhavya Leena Nandakumar. Words cannot express my gratitude and appreciation for your support. Thank you, you guys rock!! ♥

Image : Source

Lock Away the Memories #WriteBravely

Drabble

A voice reprimands, but do I heed it? I turn back nevertheless and let the mind wander through the lanes that are familiar and nostalgic. I re-play the moments of the past, turn memories over and over with hope that they turn live again. But they remain frozen in time as eyes shine bright with unshed tears.

I wipe the tears of love that did not last and a time that now is past.

It’s time to lock away the memories of the past from the light of the day and dark of the night to live and smile again!

100-words-prompt

Linking this to Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

Day 2 – Nostalgic

Pearson brings first-of-its-kind Virtual International K-12 education to India

Pearson, the world’s leading learning company has launched first-of-its-kind Virtual International K–12 Education in India with International Connections Academy (iNaCA).

Bringing accredited U.S. education directly to your desktop, the iNaCA provides a flexible world-class curriculum for students studying in classes up to class 12. It aims to help students learn in their own way and at their preferred pace through a personalized and engaging experience that includes various multimedia tools such as enhanced videos, social, adaptive and game-based learning.

iNaCA prepares students around the world for post-secondary success. The school has a 100 percent college acceptance rate, with graduates attending elite universities such as Yale, UCLA, and Julliard. iNaCA students outscore their peers across the US on the SAT and ACT college entrance exams, and beat the global average on AP exams.

Vikas Singh, Managing Director, Pearson India, said, “Education is rapidly evolving in India. Personalized learning and real-time analytics have become essential to help in a child’s holistic development. Having recognized these needs, the iNaCA brings an advanced approach to learning that can help maximize the potential of each student. Our unique curriculum, experienced teachers and an immersive global classroom experience are designed to address the challenges faced by a student today and facilitate his/her progress in the best possible manner.”

Vikas added, “iNaCA enrolls students from more than 50 countries around the world, who have multiple opportunities to interact with one another and share details of their culture.”

The virtual school serves well for:

  • Personalized academics for students pursuing passion in Sports, Music of the Arts
  • Families, both native to India and expats living in India, who are looking for an American K-12 School
  • Children who have missed their school admission cycle
  • Children with learning differences who are highly gifted or students for whom mobility is limited due to physical disabilities or those who have Attention Deficit Disorder and other special needs
  • Accredited School-at-Home Options – Personalised learning environment

“International Connections Academy was created to help ambitious students around the globe to achieve their dreams by providing a personalized, flexible American education wherever they might be,” said Mickey Revenaugh, Co-Founder and General Manager, iNaCA. “We are thrilled to welcome students from India into our innovative International Connections Academy family.”

Know More about INaCA & understand what a virtual school experience is check out this video:

The virtual school setting of the iNaCA enables students in any part of the world to make full use of its unique curriculum. The flexible learning environment puts students in touch with highly-qualified, U.S. licensed teachers who can provide essential guidance and support. The teachers personalize lessons, evaluate student progress and provide feedback and assistance through real-time virtual sessions to offer a targeted support based on student learning.

In line with the vibrant global school community, iNaCA students participate in online special interest clubs and activities from the Robotics Club to Student Newspaper, from the Chess Club to Quiz Bowl – with peers from around the world. This helps students develop extra-curricular skills and develop their personalities beyond the classroom in an international setting. Additionally, the academy offers a U.S. recognized diploma to high-school students, which is accepted by various colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Cornell University, among others.

The last date of enrolment is 15th October, 2017.

About Pearson India

Founded in 1844, Pearson is the world’s learning company, with 35,000 employees across 70 countries worldwide. We have expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives.

Our unique insight and world-class expertise comes from our long history of working closely with teachers, learners, researchers, authors, and thought leaders. Our products and services are used by millions of teachers and learners around the world every day.

We are organized around three key stages of learning –

  • K-12
  • Higher education and test preparation and
  • Vocational and professional education.

Established in India since 1998, Pearson has introduced its wide range of products and services in educational institutes as well as directly to the learners.

To know more about visit in.pearson.com and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Pattern #WriteBravely

55 Fiction

The tension was building up in him.

He needed a release, so he did what he liked doing under such circumstances.

Once finished, he stepped back to admire his bloody handiwork.

Excited, he walked out but turned around for one final look.

How could he forget that?

An incomplete knife set would drive him mad. 

Linking this to Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

Day 1 – Prompt – Pattern

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Auto Driver Offers Free Rides to Help the Needy #WATWB

At first glance, 42-year-old Prabhat Pradhan may seem like your average rickshaw driver in Bhubaneswar, but a day in his life will tell you just how extraordinary he is. For the poor who can’t afford to ride in his auto, Prabhat has been nothing short of a saviour. In the last 20 years, he has offered a ride to over 7,000 people, completely free of cost!

“Work is god. Physically handicapped, elderly persons and accident victims can avail free transport in my vehicle” – this is what’s printed at the back of his auto, and Prabhat swears by it.

It all started 20 years ago, when Prabhat was on his way home one night and spotted a man who had just met with an accident, pleading for help. Although a crowd had gathered at the spot, no one came forward to help the man. But neither did Prabhat. When he later found out that the man had succumbed to his injuries, Prabhat was deeply impacted. Two decades later he is determined about the kind of help he wants to extend to the needy and has no regrets. Fuel expense too doesn’t bother him. If he’s lucky, a few generous people help him out with the financial support he needs. (Source)

Why I like this story?

It’s because this story proves that anyone can help anyone. Ok, we can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone. Each and every one of us can find a someone out there to help. We can all do something, even if it is a small thing.

Remember that what goes around comes around! Research has shown that being kind to others increases our own levels of happiness as well as that of the recipient.

Also, it has a knock-on effect – kindness is contagious, so it makes a bigger impact on our surroundings than we might think.

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If you found this piece of news heartening, and would like to take part in this blogfest, sign up in the WE ARE THE WORLD Blogfest Linky List HERE and please help spread the word on social media via the hashtag #WATWB.
This is a Blog Hop!

This is the seventh celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

Our generous co-hosts for this month are: Michelle WallaceEmerald BarnesAndrea Michaels, Peter Nana, and myself.

Instant Noodles Myths Debunked

When I think about instant noodles, some scenes pop into my head immediately: my son’s face which lights up on hearing the word Maggi, midnight snacking with roommates during hostel days and the sight of Maggi Points en-route our journey in the hills.

At our home, Maggi noodles are our go-to meal to curb those in-between meals hunger pangs or when we want to cook something simple, easy and quick.

For us, Maggi noodles is a comfort food but usually our family and friends frown upon this ingenious convenient food. They say that it’s unhealthy or that it is low on nutritive content.

I think it’s time to debunk these myths and speculations about instant noodles…

Myth 1 – Instant Noodles are Unhealthy.

Fact – The thing is that most of us cannot think in shades of grey. For us, it has to be black or white, strong or weak, good or bad, healthy or unhealthy.

clip_image001 Actually, there is really no such thing as an unhealthy food, it is just unhealthy diets. If I were eating only instant noodles as every meal and every day, that would have been unhealthy. When I am eating the right amount for my body and getting plenty of nutrients by not limiting or avoiding food groups, I am having a healthy balanced diet. There is not a single food that can be labeled as healthy or unhealthy when consumed moderately.

A balanced diet and an active lifestyle is what really makes the difference.

Myth 2 – Instant Noodles have High Content of Fat and can cause Obesity.

Fact – It is recommended that in a day, 50-60% of total calories consumed must be from Carbohydrates, about 10-15% from Proteins and 20-30% from Fat.

It is interesting to note that Maggi Noodles has this in this very combination which is also in sync with the recommendations made by Indian Council of Medical Research. This combination of Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat is seen in all variants of Maggi Noodles including the recently launched Maggi Oats Noodles.

I read that:

“According to ICMR recommendation on Dietary Guidelines for Indians, the total Fat in the diet should provide between 20-30% of total calories. Depending on the level of physical activity and physiological status, the Fat intake in the diets can go up to 50g per person per day.”

The Nutrition Information on the pack of Maggi Noodles shows the Fat content to be between 11-13 gms which is well within the recommended guidelines. This means Maggi Noodles contains just 1/5th of the daily fat requirement. It is much when compared to food you eat without thinking like a sandwich or pulao.

Coming to Noodles causing obesity. Well, obesity occurs due to excessive amount of Fat stored in the body and usually occurs due to inadequate physical activity, hormonal imbalance and unhealthy eating habits.

Myth 3 – Maggi is Fried.

Fact – To answer this, we need to understand the cooking process of Maggi Noodles. A Maggi Noodle cake goes through 5 step cooking process before it is finally packed which includes steaming, baking, frying, cooling and drying

So yes, it is fried, but that’s part of its manufacturing process for packaging and a longer shelf life.

The Bottom Line

It’s OK to have Instant Noodles for those in-between meals hunger pangs or camping trips or just like that, but do it in moderation. Hope this sets the tangle of instant noodles, straight.

So, when are you grabbing your next bowl of Maggi Noodles?

If We Were Having Coffee…16th September

If we were having coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d thank you for seeing me. Yes, I would say that even before we exchanged the pleasantries. That’s because I am desperate to chat with you and share all that’s happening on this part of the earth.

Ok, before I get into all that excitement or rather lack of it, let me not forget my manners. So, how have you been! Hope September is treating you well.

As for me, well, I am tired. Ah! This tiredness is not because of hectic pace of life, which will always be the case and I am not complaining about it. I am tired of my internet. Yes, this thing that is now our lifeline. Pathetic does not even describe it. As I write this, the Google Chrome browser wheel is spinning and it’s been doing that since the past 10 minutes. Don’t believe me, see the number of attempts it has taken to download the above image from Pixabay.

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The TWO datacards that I use for internet are just painfully sluggish. Though the mobile data works fine, but blogging from phone is something that I don’t enjoy. So, whatever window of blogging time I got in a day, I used it to read. Yeah, no point in pulling my already thinning hair. Ah! Enough of ranting about this never-ending woe.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I have been watching a lot of videos of Indian Stand-up comedians. Zakir Khan, Kenny Sebastian, Jeeveshu Ahluwalia, Amit Tandon, Varun Thakur, Vipul Goyal, Aditi Mittal, Aakash Gupta, Jaspreet Singh, Sorabh Pant are pretty funny and good in their acts. And there are a lot more who are equally witty and laugh riots. I like the funny observations these guys make from our daily life. It’s something that we all can relate to. Have you watched any of these guys? If not, you MUST!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that Diwali is around the corner and I am in maid mode and busy sorting, discarding, cleaning everything in sight. Despite numerous instructions from KG to take it easy and do this ‘spring cleaning’ in a spaced out manner. But no marks for guessing that I am doing more than I should be doing only to get totally tired and drained at the end of the day. SIGH! When will I learn and when will I let go of my OCD for cleaning!!

If we were having coffee, I’d thank you for having coffee with me and ask you if we could meet next week, again?

If we were having coffee, I’d take your leave and wish you a relaxing and interesting weekend and a great week ahead. Take care and see you!!

Image Courtesy : Pixabay

Take a Minute, Change a Life #SuicidePrevention

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. This year the theme for this noble initiative is ‘Take a minute, change a life.’

Statistics reveal that more than 800,000 — one person every 40 seconds — die by suicide each year. Up to 25 times more, or as many as 20,000,000 people attempt suicide.

Every single successful or attempted suicide has grave and cruel consequences. It is not just the death of a person, but it is a tragedy of epic proportions for the people left behind – the family and friends.

Suicide does not take away the pain, it gives it to someone else.

As we know that suicide is preventable. And we all can do our bit and prevent it. We can do it by understanding the issues concerning suicide and mental health and in doing so we can help others in crisis, and make a difference.

Know the Warning Signs

Warning Signs Suicide

Know the Risk Factors for Suicide

Risk Factors for Suicide

It’s common for people to think that talking about suicide increases the risk. It is generally believed that if a person is going to kill themselves, there’s nothing one can do. If you try to stop them, they’ll just bide their time and do it later.

However, data shows that suicidal intention is transient.

A suicidal person is looking for help and support. He may feel relieved and cared for. He may be looking for an opportunity to share his distress.

It is our responsibility to look out for those who may be struggling, check in with them, and encourage them to tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Offering a gentle word of support, compassion and empathy, listening in a non-judgmental way can make all the difference.

So… Take a minute, change a life.

I read a story at Corinne’s blog. It said, “A man who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, left a note “I’m walking to the bridge,” begins a Golden Gate Bridge suicide note. “If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.” Sadly, no one smiled!”… If only someone took a minute…

Why take a minute? Because taking a minute to observe and think can make a difference. Because conversations change lives. So, wherever you are, have that conversation that could save someone’s life.

My other posts on  #SuicidePrevention are

Stigma : A Barrier to Suicide Prevention (2013)

Connect for Suicide Prevention (2014)

Myths and Facts about Suicide (2015)

10 Unusual Sights in Bali

Ten on Tuesdays

Work trips are bittersweet. There’s this excitement of going to a new place with plans of exploring the city buzzing in your head. But usually, these plans stay just that way, plans that is, after all, you are at work!!

When I got to know about my 3-day work trip to Bali, Indonesia, I was thrilled. Despite knowing the schedule, there was this small glimmer of hope that I might be able to squeeze in some time to check out a bit of the city.

While the days were spent working, I got the opportunity to see a bit of Bali in the evenings. Though I couldn’t go hiking Mount Merapi, one of the most active volcanoes on earth, or walk through the rainforest Canopy in Kalimantan, or chase the blue flames at sulfuric lake Ijen, or drink from the fountain of youth at Goa Gajah, or watch the sunrise from the top of Mount Batur, or let monkeys climb all over you at Ubud Monkey Forest, I did roam around on the streets of Bali.

Here are some of the unusual and interesting sights and experiences from my recent Bali Trip…

1. Malindo Air needs better translators.

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2. Offerings on the roads!! Small squarish open baskets made of palm or banana leaves with flowers, fruits, rice, cookies, money, oil, incense sticks etc, known as canag sari, are seen everywhere, on the sidewalks, streets, stairwells, ledges, temples, in front of shops, homes, hotels etc. These are the offerings for the Gods and the demons, to ask the good for assistance and appease the evil respectively. So one has to walk carefully without stepping on them. These are swept or thrown away to be replaced the next day.

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3. Udeng : I saw the hotel staff and some taxi drivers wear Udeng. It is headband for a Balinese man. Udeng is used by the Balinese, during traditional and religious ceremonies and gatherings and can be worn every day too.

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This is the ever smiling Steven from The Stones – Legian Bali, Marriott’s Autograph Collection Hotel, wearing Udeng.

4. The currency that makes you feel super rich: When our driver asked us for 2 lakhs for the drive from the airport to the hotel, we were pleasantly shocked cum surprised.

The Indonesian Rupiah is available in the denominations of Rp. 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 as bills. Rp.100 and 100 are in the form of coins, Rp. 500 and 1,000 are in either coins or bills. For the first time ever, I had Rp. 4 lakhs in my wallet.

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That’s another story that Rp 400,000 is equal to Rs 2148 only!!

5. Amazing food at beachside and roadside cafes. Had heard and seen on TV about the Indonesian cuisine which is vibrant, colourful, rich in spices and full of intense flavours. Since, our package had only Indian food (yeah that’s simply ridiculous!), I couldn’t explore much from the Indonesian cuisine. But I tried Nasi Goreng, a staple dish, comprising of fried rice with a fried egg on top and tons of other ingredients like prawns, chicken, vegetables, chilies and more at just about any local eatery. This can be had at breakfast, lunch and even dinner.

Seafood is pretty popular in Bali and we had seafood cascade consisting of tuna, snapper, lobster, squid and prawn which can be enjoyed with local beer.

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6. What’s that in Absolut Bottles? No, it’s not what you are thinking. In Bali petrol is sold in Absolut bottles along the roadsides. They say that the petrol pumps are far in the city so bikers can buy petrol from these roadside stalls. Why only Absolut bottles, I asked the vendor. ‘Absolut holds exactly one litre of petrol, other bottles hold a little more or a little less’, he said in halting English.

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7. Art on the streets. There’s something special on the walls of Bali. Yes, it’s the Balinese street art and graffiti which can be seen everywhere, even on the shutters of the closed shops.

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8. Beauty, beauty everywhere. As we drove from the airport to our hotel, I felt I was at a place which is an amalgamation of Kerala and Goa. The Legian and Kuta beach near our hotel was clean and so welcoming. And the aerial view from the aircraft is simply beautiful.

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9. Shop till you drop… if you are looking for cheap and mostly fake products. T-shirts, shorts, beach wear, sarongs, wrap-arounds, sunglasses, bags, shoes, slippers, hats etc can be bought at throwaway prices. What caught my attention were exclusive shops of dream-catchers!! And there were exclusive showrooms for just slippers!!

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10. Souvenirs galore. Bali also has a great tradition of woodcraft. Wood carved items like masks, artifacts, toys, figurines can be seen all around. It is probably rude, but I cant help but share these phallic souvenirs which are hung in huge bunches like grapes everywhere.

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How do you make the most of a work trip?

Have you been to Bali? How has been your experience and what would you recommend if one goes for a vacation at Bali?

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