Title and writer of happiness blog

Happiness at your Fingertips

Wanna be Happy at will? Wanna have happiness at your fingertips? Wanna control happy hormones in yourself and others? Read on.

We as humans experience that our desires govern our life. We live in a state of “wanting” something. Be it a good career, a loving life partner, a warm relationship, a huge bungalow, a royal car, good wealth and health, etc. And there is no end to the list. But why is that so? What do we want? What is the ultimate goal of every human being? The simple answer is: HAPPINESS!

A survey once found out that 80% of people wanted to become rich or get famous to be happy. And the impression that they carry is such that they need to constantly push themselves to achieve their goals to have a good life. But actually they don’t find happiness in the process and “miss” life. What if they learn to see the entire life as the sum total of instances and experiences? That will surely change their perception of life and happiness. But then the question is what is happiness and how to bring it under our control?

The same question must have popped up in a psychiatrist named Robert Waldinger’s head when he chose to conduct perhaps the longest and the most extensive research in human history, i.e., study on human life AKA the Harvard Study of Adult Development. This professor of Harvard Medical School is monitoring the study that has tracked the lives of 724 men for over 80 years.

Since 1938, they have tracked the lives of two groups of men. The first group involved the sophomores of Harvard College. They all finished college during World War II, then went off to serve in the war. The second group was a group of boys from Boston’s poorest community; they were chosen because they belonged to some of the most troubled and disadvantaged families in Boston. They lived in tenements without many basic facilities like hot and cold running water.

The project involved studying the journey of subjects from their teenage years into their old age and to know what keeps people happy and healthy through yearly questionnaires regarding their work, their relationships, their health, etc.

They began by interviewing these teenagers along with their parents. They were given medical exams. When these teenagers grew up into adults, they chose to be different professionals from factory workers, lawyers, bricklayers to doctors. Some developed alcoholism and some developed schizophrenia. Some became very successful and some lost their success and failed miserably.

Sometimes studies like this may fall apart within a decade due to various reasons, like people may drop out or die, the funding of the research may fall short, or the researchers get distracted. But this rare study survived all odds. Several generations of researchers were consistent in conducting this, and took it further. A few of the subjects are still alive and participating in the study even at the age of 90. Now they are studying more than 2000 children of the men who participated in the study.

So what was the conclusion from this 75-year study? Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. And there is a scientific reason behind that. Having the people whom you love around you, your body generates all those happy hormones, neurotransmitters, chemicals that can help you to lead a happy and contented life. So technically, our happiness is in our own hands. Anatomically, indeed in our own body.

Hormones act as messengers for our body that regulate our physical functioning like heart rate and digestion, our emotional well-being, mood, and feelings. Our thoughts, emotions, activities, conducts, diet, gut microbes, exercise regime, environment, relationships, and the people we surround ourselves with, all these things influence the hormones in our body. Some hormones help one to feel joy, experience pleasure, give relief from pain, boost mood, and promote general well-being. They alleviate anxiety and prevent depressive symptoms. These are called happy hormones. These feel-good hormones are dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin. Let’s have a brief look at them all.

  • Serotonin:- The mood stabilizer

Our gut bacteria stimulate the cells which are responsible for serotonin production. This happy hormone (and neurotransmitter) helps regulate your mood as well as your sleep, appetite, digestion, learning ability, and memory. Most rhythmic activities generate this hormone.

The activities which increase serotonin in the body are :

  1. Meditation
  2. Running
  3. Walking in nature
  4. Swimming
  5. Cycling
  6. Sunbathing

 

  • Endorphin:- The Painkiller And The Runners Hormone

Your body produces endorphins in response to stress or discomfort. Once released, it binds to opioid receptors (that are the body’s natural morphine). Thus, it inhibits the transmission of pain signals in the central nervous system. So endorphin is your body’s natural pain reliever.

Endorphin induces euphoria. A big rush of endorphin is the cause behind the occurrence of the famous “Runner’s high”. That is the reason why people get hooked on exercise even when it requires physical efforts and causes post-exercise DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness).

Any reward-producing activity like eating, working out can increase the level of endorphin. Now endorphin and dopamine are interconnected. When endorphin binds to receptors of the central nervous system, dopamine (the pleasure hormone) is released.

The activities which increase endorphin in the body are.

  1. Laughing
  2. Watching a comedy movie
  3. Eating a dark chocolate
  4. Exercising especially running
  5. Reading or listening to a joke
  6. Enjoying delicious dishes

 

  • Dopamine:- The motivational roleplayer in the brain’s reward system

Dopamine is a “feel-good” hormone and neurotransmitter that makes you happy. It keeps you alive and alert. That’s an important part of your brain’s “reward system” that gives you pleasurable sensations and keeps you coming back for more.

Dopamine is associated with achieving, completing a task, learning, memory, motor system function, and more. Your gut produces more than 50% of your dopamine.

The activities which increase dopamine in the body are:

  1. When you complete a task
  2. Self-care activities
  3. Enjoying a delicious meal
  4. Celebrating little wins
  5. Physical and mental pleasure
  6. Entertaining feel-good thoughts

 

  • Oxytocin:- The love hormone

Oxytocin is a “love/cuddle hormone,” that helps promote trust, empathy, bonding, and trust in relationships. It is highly active during childbirth because it stimulates contractions and is essential for breastfeeding, and strong parent-child bonding.

Physical affection like kissing, cuddling, and an act of lovemaking can increase the level of oxytocin. It’s a neurotransmitter that regulates stress responses and calms the nervous system.  It’s produced in response to touch and the right kind of eye contact.

The activities which increase oxytocin in the body are:

  1. Playing with a baby
  2. Playing with a dog
  3. Holding hands
  4. Cuddling with a loved one
  5. Paying a compliment
  6. Carrying out group activities with friends and family

 

The following are some lifestyle modification ideas that you can add to your schedule to increase the production of happy hormones.

  1. Let The Sun And Vitamin D Be Your True Doctor

Sunbathing is known to increase the production of serotonin in the body. Early morning sunlight in your verandah, nearby park, or gallery can be helpful to you to get enough yet safe sunlight required for your body.

 

  1. Work That Body Out

A regular fitness regimen is important to relieve anxiety, improve mood, and combat depression. Good exercise promotes the secretion of happy hormones in our bodies.

 

  1. Laugh Your Lungs Out

Some comedy series, funny videos, hilarious novels can do wonders to provide you  with your daily dose of the best medicine, i.e, laughter. Laughter removes or reduces sadness and pain.

 

  1. Cook And Cuddle With Your Loved One

The comfort you get from eating something delicious can trigger the release of dopamine and endorphin. Sharing the meal with your loved ones, and bonding over meal preparation help to boost oxytocin levels. Remember those community feasts? Cooking together and eating together!

 

Different types of food can trigger the release of different hormones. For example, spicy foods help with endorphin release. Yogurt, beans, eggs, meats with low-fat content, and almonds are responsible for dopamine release. Foods that are high in tryptophan tend to increase serotonin levels. And lastly, foods containing probiotics, such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut, can influence the release of all happy hormones

 

  1. Sup! Supplements

You can support your mental wellbeing by taking care of your gut bacteria and your diet. There’s a second “brain” in our gut; the enteric nervous system that is to be credited for our longevity.

 

A balanced whole-food diet promotes mental as well as physical health. Contrary to that, people who eat an unhealthy diet consisting of refined carbohydrates, fast food, and animal products tend to have less beneficial bacteria.

 

One can add foods containing tryptophan; the essential amino acid the body uses to produce serotonin, to their diet. Chickpeas, wheat, oats, milk, cheese, and potatoes are such a few examples.

Foods with tyrosine are linked to dopamine production. Green tea and green tea extract help in producing dopamine and serotonin.

 

People with certain health conditions should always consult a physician before adding any supplements as they interfere with some medication.

 

  1. Music To The Rescue

Listening to instrumental music increase dopamine production in your brain. But listening to any music you enjoy puts you in a good mood. And such a positive change in your mood increases serotonin production.

 

When a musician produces a piece of good music or performs music by dancing, singing, or drumming, he experiences an endorphin release.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23089077/

 

  1. Meditate For The Mind That Matters

Along with the many benefits of meditation, one of the major benefits is that it helps to increase the level of dopamine and endorphin in our brain by creating new neural pathways and releasing the old that doesn’t serve us.

 

  1. Plan A Rosy Evening Filled With Romance

The ‘Love Hormone” oxytocin is released even by simply being attracted to someone. Spending time with someone you care about helps increase oxytocin production. Dancing with your partner releases the endorphine in you. A word of caution: Handle this suggestion with care! 😉

 

  1. Pat Your Pet

Any dog lover can vouch for the happiness he gets when he cuddles or plays with his dog. This bonding increases the oxytocin level in both of them.

 

  1. Sleep Tight so Good can Be Your Night.

7 to 9 hours of sleep each night helps restoring the balance of hormones in your body. Without enough sleep, dompamine levels are disturbed. The majority of the healing including the balance in your hormones happens during sleep. Respect sleep!

 

  1. Stress! Stay Away

This one is a complete no-brainer. Living with regular stress and dealing with highly stressful life events can cause drops in dopamine and serotonin production. Cultivating a hobby is a good way to keep the stress at bay.

 

  1. Keep Your Massage Mode On

A good massage can boost all 4 of your happy hormones. You can choose a licensed therapist for getting a massage.

 

For a healthy body, you need a healthy mind matters. It is indeed the issue of mind over matter! So keep your mind occupied with the activities mentioned above, and have happiness at your fingertips.

Written by
Dr Krushika Shah

Pic of the writer Krushika Shah

 

 

Read More
SMC office in Surat

Why is Spoken English in Surat the need of the hour?

Why is Spoken English in Surat the need of the hour? Well, Surat is a beautiful city on the banks of the river Tapi. Let us figure out its history, culture, and financial background first. This will help us understand where English conversation in Surat stands presently and why the importance of written and spoken English in Surat is growing. Similarly, it will also help us to realise why it is important to have a good IELTS class in Surat.

Surat is well known in the Indian subcontinent from time immemorial. You can find mentions of the city even in holy books like the Mahabharata. It was a stopover spot for Lord Krishna on his journey from Mathura to Dwarka.

A brahmin named Gopi found the city in the late fifteenth century and named it Suryapur, which means the city of the Sun. It was a famous port for trade and commerce in the British era. True to its name, Surat even today is the rising sun of sarees, diamonds, and unique street food. Surat spreads the sunlight of unique embroidery designs and “jhari” work all over the world.

When anyone talks about sarees, the first thing that comes to mind is the advertisement ‘Sari mein Sari Parag Saree’, right? This saree brand is one of the many well-known brands in Surat. This is because Surat is the hub of selling Indian ethnic wear like sarees, salwar kameez, and kurtis in India and abroad.

Similarly, Surat is well known as a diamond cutting, polishing, and supplying hub. That is why it is also called the Diamond City of India. In a similar manner, Surat is well known for its unique mouth-watering Surti cuisines like Locho, Ghari, Ponk, Undhyu, Cold Coco, … the list goes on and on.

The diamond and the Indian ethnic wear make Surat one of the leading shopping hubs of India. The city provides employment opportunities to millions of daily wagers from across the country. They come here to make their career in the diamond and the textile industry. That makes Surat one of the fastest-growing cities of India.

How has the lack of fluent English Speaking hampered Surat?

Even though the city boasts of being the diamond city, only the manufacturing work is done in Surat. Major tasks such as sales, advertising, and marketing of the Diamond and the Textile industry are done in metros like Mumbai and Ahmedabad. One of the main reasons for it is that the people of Surat are not so comfortable about Speaking English. Moreover, Surties do not give so much importance to the English Language.

People here face many difficulties in trading due to this language barrier. This obstacle significantly stunts the growth of the city. In fact, this makes a handful of people who are good at written and spoken English in Surat get special importance. Since I was born and brought up in Surat, I can vouch for this. My fluency in English conversation has leveraged my career as a digital marketer and content writer. However, I faced difficulties in getting managerial-level jobs as I grew in experience.

The diamond and the textile industry do not require skilled labourers. Most educated youths are in family businesses, or job seekers like me who prefer to migrate to metros like Mumbai in search of better job opportunities. So, the use of English is very limited in Surat.

Why can’t people in Surat speak in English fluently?

When I interacted with my friends, colleagues, and common people, I came to know the reasons why even after having a good command of written communication, they were not able to communicate verbally in English.  The major reasons why the people of Surat cannot speak good English are discussed below.

  1. Lack of conducive environment at home for English

In order to learn a language, it is very important to speak that language on a daily basis. One needs to interact frequently and regularly. However, most of the people in Surat have parents and friends that do not speak in English, and converse in the vernacular.

This is also the prime reason for inhibitions while speaking in English. They are error-conscious; they fear that they might be made fun of if they speak something wrong.  This is because they have not spoken enough English either at home or with friends and colleagues.

  1. Less emphasis on communicative English during school and college study

There are many schools and colleges in Surat. However, the focus is on marks and syllabus completion, not on skills. Students don’t get enough knowledge or skills to master the target language. Students learn without understanding concepts–they study just for the sake of getting high marks.

  1. Translating from mother tongue

Another reason for this lack of speaking ability in English is that English is almost the third or fourth language for the people of Surat; the first two being the mother tongue and Hindi. Most people think in their native language and then translate it into English. This leads to errors in sentence construction because English differs markedly from Indian languages in terms of structures. For instance, English in general has a subject -verb-object sentence order while Gujarati has a subject-object-verb order. Let’s see this with an example:

Hu locho khai rahyo hato – Here “Hu” is the subject while “Locho” is the object and “khai rahyo hato” is the verb phrase.

In English it would be “I was having Locho” where “I” is the subject “was having” is the verb phrase and “Locho” is the object.

  1. Carrying over Gujarati pronunciation habits into English

The other important aspect is that there is a lot of mother tongue influence in Indian English. If you have watched the movie Sanju, you must have seen the Vicky Kaushal character pronouncing “snacks” as “snakes” and “hall” as “hole”. Similarly, another word is “zone” pronounced as “John”.

  1. Very little effort in learning the target language

Even though many spoken English classes have mushroomed in the city in recent years, the number of people using English is still small. This may be because most of the budding entrepreneurs think that they have to one day inherit their father’s business which does not need much English skills. Obviously, their own effort in learning English will be limited and half-hearted.

  1. Lack of interest in critical reading

It is common knowledge that reading boosts one’s language skills and vocabulary. However, on average, The people of Surat do not read much. In academic organisations, most students read, but do not inculcate the skill and habit of reading critically.  As a result, most people do not have enough words or structural competence to be able to use English in daily life.

The use of social media and the whole digital world also play a crucial role in linguistic incompetence. Today’s shortcut in writing on chat platforms like Whatsapp is equally responsible. For instance, “love” becomes “luv” and “we” become “v”. Moreover, there is a grammar checker and a spelling checker inbuilt in the phone or computer delivered, which decreases the need for a personal effort.

Similarly, memes and videos have taken a more important place than reading articles from a newspaper to check news or for entertainment. Moreover, today paper based work has become less common, and everything is usually read on mobiles or computers.

Spoken English in Surat

How can spoken English classes or IELTS classes in Surat help?

Gujaratis are one of the most intelligent people with excellent business skills. It is important for Surtis to realize that the English language has the lion’s share in scaling any business, because Surat is actually growing by leaps and bounds with international recognition. To acquire a good command of English in a short period of time, one can join a famous spoken English class or institute in Surat. A good language institute can help learners in the following ways:

  1. Good quality training in English conversations

People have to understand that to run a business smoothly one cannot blindly rely on a third person. When it comes to cracking a deal with an international body, it is important that one can interact with them in English. That is where a good spoken English class in Surat like FluentLingua can come into play. Good language coaching centres can not only provide good quality training in English speaking, but also enhance learners’ personality.

  1. Level-wise study for the learner

A good coaching institute of English aids an individual to know his level and face English language related challenges confidently. Moreover, they prepare courses as per the level of the learner.

These coaching institutes for English in Surat provide a curriculum that the learner can follow easily and in an interesting manner. They can help you to get over the aspects that you are lacking in. Some of them use tests to identify causes for learners’ inability to speak in English.

  1. Ease of registration for exams such as IELTS, PTE, or TOFEL?

The students of Surat are also very smart. There are ample opportunities in the US, Canada, Australia for students in the IT sector, Healthcare, Pharmacy, Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, Sustainable Infrastructure, Agricultural Sciences, Food Technology, Financial Services, Risk Management, Insurance, Hospitality, Tourism and so forth .

The students are very good in their field and just need a dash of English speaking skills in them. This can help them to clear their IELTS exam or other such exams of the respective countries. To ease the formalities, some top English coaching centers help the students to register for the IELTS or similar exams.

  1. Mock tests for better results

A good institute for IELTS coaching in Surat not only helps the students to learn English but also works as a mock test center. These mock tests equip learners to perform better in the actual test compared to those who prepare on their own. Such institutes make sure that the student clears the exam with flying colors. One such institute that I know of is Fluentlingua which is one of the best IELTS institutes in Surat because it is headed by Dr Dharmendra Sheth, a PhD holder in English and who has around 25 years of experience in teaching English and preparing students for study abroad.

Is English Coaching in Surat enough to increase the standard of verbal interactions in English?

The main question is: can just going to an institute teaching IELTS or spoken English change the face of English fluency in Surat? Well, that can’t be the only step, but yes, it can surely be a good one in that direction. These are some other strides that  pave the way for better English conversations:

  1. Catch them young

Schools should give importance to the English language as schools prepare the foundation for students’ knowledge, skill, and career. Therefore, they  should provide English speaking facilities. On top of it, they should give practical English language due importance in their syllabus rather than just theoretical.

There should be special classes for Spoken English introduced in the vernacular medium schools. These schools should arrange extra lectures for conversational practice. English is and will be a confidence booster in their personality and make them job ready or work ready, not only in their city or country, but around the world.

Even the government should put special emphasis on the effective teaching of the English language in schools and colleges. This will help the new generation to overcome this shortcoming.

  1. Creating Awareness about importance of English

There should be awareness campaigns for the importance of the English language. These campaigns should involve parents and the people of Surat at large. People should be made aware of the usefulness of the English Language for their wards’ professional career.

Parents should be educated regarding the importance of English speaking in their day to day lives to remove fear and inhibitions in the minds of budding English speakers. This will go a long way to help youths speak English fearlessly.

Hope you liked the blog. Please provide your valuable feedback in the comments section below.

Happy Learning!

Spoken English in Surat blog writer Sylvester Alvares

Sylvester Alvares

Read More

Translation — an enigma

“It is the task of the translator to release in his language that pure language that is under the spell of another, to liberate the language imprisoned in a work in his re-creation of that work.”

– Walter Benjamin

Translation–an enigma

What is translation? To what extent does it succeed in capturing the context and culture of the source text? Is there a process that one can follow?

Translation is a process that enables people to communicate in languages they are not familiar with. It is a vital part of the global economy, as it carries knowledge and cultural heritage. But sometimes poorly translated texts can cause misunderstandings, or are markedly different from the original text in terms of meaning and impact. And that happens in all areas—be it literature, the media, or movies.

Often, a non-Hindi film dubbed in Hindi for the Indian audience has several mistakes in translation. As an audience, people focus on entertainment, rather than what the original film meant to convey. It is common knowledge that when Hollywood and Tollywood movies are dubbed in Hindi, they often miss the point. For example, in Avenger: Endgame, there is this dialogue where Iron Man and Spider-Man chat about Spider-Man’s suit. The original dialogue is “Oh, Spidey! Iron Man has lent you a suit! But he’s still the boss!” But when it is dubbed in Hindi, it is “Sirjee iski darjee aap ho kya? Kya fitting hai!! Aisa kar chote, Friday isse ghar bhejdio”. Comparing both the dialogues, one can easily see how the translation is wide of the mark. Such poor translation can affect the essence of a scene.

The film Atrangi Re is originally in Hindi, and it comprises two different cultures from two states, one Bihar and the other Tamil Nadu. The best thing is that the director kept the Tamil part in Tamil, though he could have shown the it in Hindi, which made it sound authentic. While showing the two different cultures, he kept their languages as they were. For the Tamil part, there were subtitles in English, which made sense, because they didn’t change the meaning. This shows how we can deal with the essence of culture and language while translating.

Translators play a crucial role in today’s world since people are exposed to different cultures via entertainment and academics. The job of a translator is possible only when s/he is fluent in both the languages, the original and the target language. With the widespread use of social media in all sections of society, translation is gaining more and more importance every day. It demands hard work. A translator should have in-depth knowledge of nuances of both the languages to avoid misunderstandings and blunders or s/he may hurt people’s feelings. For example, here’s how ‘The American Dairy Association’ and ‘Coors’ caused blunders in their tag line because of translation.

First, The American Dairy Association. We all know their catchphrase ‘Got Milk’, their advertising campaign in America encouraging the consumption of milk. Unfortunately, when introduced it in Mexico, the tagline was translated as ‘Are You Lactating?’ Luckily, however, the error was detected soon and corrective measures were taken.

About Coors. The beer brand Coors went for the tagline ‘Turn It Loose’ a few years ago, which was fine until they translated it into Spanish. There the translation read ‘Suffer From Diarrhoea’, which definitely isn’t advisable while trying to market food or drink!

As proven by the examples, poor translation can become funny, and sometimes, offensive. This shows us how translation works in real-life, and how translation mistakes can offend people or even cause riots.

This website Top 10 Translation Problems and Solutions, gives useful information about some of the translation problems noted below.

  • Structure of the language
  • Cultural Differences
  • Compound words
  • Verbs are made up of two words:
  • Missing terms
  • Words with several meanings
  • Lack of technical knowledge
  • Limited Time
  • Personal Challenges
  • Quality Vs Expense

By Isha Parmar
School of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences, AURO University, Surat

The blog writer Isha Parmar

 

Read More
Title encouraging people to read

Reading Matters!

Do you think Reading Matters? Want to make reading a regular habit? Want to start reading, but don’t know where to begin? Well, here are 10 Young Adult (YA) books to help you with your reading goals. And, yes, reading matters! No doubt about it. These ten books will have you hooked onto reading!

I’m sure you have heard your teachers or parents say that you should read more and keep that pesky phone aside. Some of you may even have tried to read a book or two, taking that advice; however, giving up soon. Have you ever given thought to why so happens? Rather, have you given thought to why reading sounds like such a boring thing to do? Well the answer is simple: you haven’t figured out what books work for you. JK Rowling, the author of the world-famous book series, “Harry Potter” said, “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”

You must’ve tried to read a classic or  a book that’s too long or a book about a topic you’re not interested in. Let us get this straight, I’m not here to convince you to read more books, I think enough people in your life have tried to do so and that’s what brings you here in the first place. I’m here to help you out with the process of reading more. That’s why I have curated a list of 10 books that beginner readers will be able to enjoy and at the same time develop important skills like reading comprehension, building your vocabulary, sentence structure, et cetera.

1. Wonder by RJ Palacio

Coverpage of the book Wonder

August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to school till the fifth grade. Now attending Bleacher Prep, all August wants is to be treated like an ordinary boy by his peers— the question is, will they?

Why you should read this book

I read this book when I was in the eighth grade, and finished it in just one sitting because that’s how captivating it was. Wonder is a beautifully written novel about childhood and school life. It is relatable and relatively simple for beginners. The strong message and the way it is delivered through the characters is simply poignant. If you want a book that feels like a warm hug, definitely pick this one up.

Amazon link:

Click this link to explore or buy

2. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Coverpage of the book we were liars

A gripping suspense story about a group of four friends whose friendship leads to chaos on a private island. Need I say much? I think the less I say about the book, the more fun you’ll have reading it!

Why you should read this book

Trust me when I say you will NOT want to put it down until you’re done. It’s a pretty short book and you’ll literally breeze through it so it makes a perfect read if you’re not the one to go for big books (trust me I have that big book fear too). If you’re a fan of  suspense and thriller movies you need to read this book right now!  Of course, this is a spoiler free zone, don’t you worry about that. But that being said, I cannot hold back saying that there’s something that happens that will absolutely blow your mind.

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

3. A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhatena

Coverpage of the book a girl like that

In this novel, we follow 16-year-old Zarin Wadia and she’s the kind of girl that your parents warn you to stay away from. In a very deliberate and interesting way, Bhatena begins the story with Zarin and another boy, Porus, dead in a car together, crashed on a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. We follow her life, before the crash, told through different perspectives.

Why you should read this book

This book is a masterclass on how to write amazing characters. It’s a must read if you want to write mind-blowing characters. The contemporary setting and real-to-life characters makes this story extremely relatable. It’s definitely a treat to read for teens who are struggling to find themselves in this vast ocean of identities.

Amazon link:

Click this link to explore or buy

4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Cover Page

The almost eighty-year-old actor and superstar, Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the story of her glamorous and scandalous life to the world. When she chooses the unknown journalist, Monique Grant for the job, everyone, including Monique herself is surprised.

Seizing this opportunity to kick start her career, Monique takes up the task and unravels truths about Evelyn, her seven husbands, and herself.

Why you should read this book

This is the perfect book for our social media obsessed generation (and I don’t mean that as an insult at all). The first sentence had me hooked onto it and I read it in just a day because it’s a total page turner. If you’re someone who gets bored while reading, you should definitely pick this book up. I’ll rate this one 10/10 on the “un-put-downable” scale!

Amazon link:

Click this link to explore or buy

5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls Cover Page

In A Monster Calls, we follow 12-year-old Connor who’s dealing with a lot in life: his mother’s terminal illness, bullying at school and his dad. To add to his troubles, a monster comes and visits him. This book explores childhood, grief and relationships.

Why you should read this book

Patrick Ness creates a fantastical world with his writing. You should read this book for two reasons: its simple and elegant writing and its ability to pull at your heartstrings. The conceptualisation of the monster is done beautifully. Ness discusses serious topics in such a palpable manner which makes you want to devour his writing.

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

6. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Cover page of The Hate You Give

16-year-old Starr Carter witnesses her best friend Khalil killed by a police officer— a clear act of police brutality since he was unarmed. After this incident, her world completely changes as she struggles to find a voice amongst the thousands that accuse Khalil of being a thug.

Now, with Khalil’s death being sensationalised, Starr, the only witness that night, can choose to stay silent or speak up.

Why you should read this book

The subject matter of this book is heavy and it includes a potentially triggering scene so reader discretion is advised before moving on. That being said, if you’re interested in learning more about the Black Lives Matter movement and what it stands for, this is a perfect starting place. It’s one of the most critically acclaimed YA novels on this subject as it discusses it with so much sensitivity and nuance. It’s gripping and extremely interesting as well. If you like to explore different social issues, you have to read this book.

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Cover Page of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This novel follows our main character, Charlie, throughout 4 years of highschool. Written in the style of letters to an unknown someone, we don’t even know, Chbosky crafts the perfect coming of age story.

Why you should read this book

I read this novel when I was about 15 years old and absolutely fell in love with it. I think it’s  my most re-read novel of all time. What is so charming about this book is the way that the characters are written— they’re just so relatable, especially if you’re in highschool. There is a reader discretion for some sensitive topics, but I still think you should pick this one up. It’s the perfect coming of age story that will have you thinking about it for days after you’ve completed the book. It’s relatively short as well, so it’s super easy to breeze through.

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

8. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

Coverpage of The lightning thief

Greek mythology and adventure in a contemporary setting— need I say more than this? This series of 5 books follows a demigod, Percy Jackson who goes to Camp Half-Blood to learn the truth about himself. Throughout the series Percy and his friends embark on quests that will seal their fate.

Why you should read this book

There is just so much adventure packed into this series. It’s super fun to follow the main characters and their journeys as they try to complete different quests and missions. This series is also the perfect way to get started with Greek mythology and learn about Greek gods and goddesses in a fun and entertaining way. Definitely a must read series as Rick Riordan’s writing is so encapsulating— it will suck you into the world that he has created.

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

9. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

Coverpage of The Hunger Games

The YA dystopian series that started it all! The Hunger Games series follows Katniss Everdeen, a citizen of District 12 in the nation of Panem— a district riddled with poverty. When her sister is chosen as tribute for the 74th Hunger Games, a cruel game run by the rich people in the Capitol, she volunteers as tribute; a decision that changes her life forever.

Why you should read this book

This series is full of action and adventure. You’ll not be bored even for a second. The twists and turns that the series takes are so interesting to follow, you’ll just be craving for more! I read this book when I was 12 and fell in love with reading all over again after finishing it.

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

10. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Frontpage of Tuesdays with Morrie

Mitch Albom learns about his college professor, Morrie Shwart’s ALS on television one day. He hasn’t had any contact with Morrie since he graduated college. Now, knowing that Morrie is dying, Mitch makes an effort to rekindle their relationship. Follow Mitch’s journey as he flies to meet Morrie every week (on Tuesdays), for a “class” on life lessons

 Why you should read this book

 Tuesdays with Morrie is that kind of book that makes you feel all sorts of emotions. It will help you put a lot of perspective to life. But don’t you worry this book won’t tire you with endless philosophical life lessons; it’s just like listening to stories narrated by your grandmother!

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

Now that you have a list to pick your first read from, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and pick up any of these amazing titles!

I know that many of you might be a little apprehensive about spending a lot of money on books since you might not end up liking them. In that case, there are few resources you can use to try out different genres without spending a lot of money.

First and foremost, you can become a member of libraries like the British Council. You could also use websites like Zlibrary, Lib.gen and Project Gutenberg to read free ebooks online. You can also use Storytel, a subscription service where, for only 299 INR per month, you can get unlimited access to ebooks and audiobooks. Last but not least, start with shorter texts given on Fluentlingua website.

I think, by now, you’re good to go! Happy reading!

By Naqiya Shehabi
Auro University, Surat

Writer of the blog

Read More
Top 15 Podcasts to improve your English Language Skills

Top 15 Podcasts to improve your English Language Skills

Do you find it difficult to make time to sit down and improve your English speaking skills, enhance your vocabulary, or sharpen your listening skills? Well, my friend, listening to podcasts is a solution! Not only do we have a multitude of podcasts to choose from, but they also allow us to focus on certain skill/s while gathering information or learning about different areas. Ah! You must be thinking, why podcasts? Well, you can listen to podcasts at any time of day or night at your convenience, even while multitasking. So, next time you go for a morning run, cook dinner, or riding a bus, don’t forget to plug your earphones in, and in no time you will see yourself enhancing your language skills in English. To make things easier for you, I have prepared a list of 15 ideal podcasts that will help you achieve your English language goals in less than a year–be it fluency in spoken English, or vocabulary development or grammatical accuracy. Believe me!

1. The History of English Podcast

History of English Podcast

Kevin Stroud, who is a writer and a producer is the host of this podcast and has been running it for the past decade. If you are as curious as him and his audience, in the history and development of English as a language, this is the podcast for you. Quick tip: If you are new to learning English as a language ‘The History of English Podcast’ is the perfect one to start with.

Suitable for levels: Beginner to Advanced level.

Listen to the podcast:

● https://historyofenglishpodcast.com/
● Apple Podcasts
● Spotify

2. Luke’s English Podcast

The best podcast for English

Luke, who is a teacher and a stand-up comedian, has been producing the podcast at home in his flat since 2009 and has a teaching experience of 20 years. The podcast has over 700 audio episodes including transcripts and videos and has received a British Council ELTon nomination. A podcast perfect for those who wish to learn British English, join him and his audience as he explores grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and other learning strategies in a light-hearted way.

Suitable for levels: Intermediate and Advanced level learners.

Listen to his podcast:

https://teacherluke.co.uk/
● Or download the LEP app on your iPhone/iPad or Android device.

3. English with Michael

Feature image of Level Up English Podcast

The Level Up English podcast is another podcast that helps you achieve your goals in British English and is hosted by Michael Lavers.The topics include something as basic as the Seasons and ‘How to avoid being rude?’ or ‘How to make friends?’; a podcast perfect for beginners as well as intermediate level. He also hosts monthly episodes, where he invites guests to talk more about Language learning.

Suitable for levels: Beginner and Intermediate level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

https://www.levelupenglish.school/podcast/
● Apple podcasts
● Google podcasts
● Spotify

4. Culips

The man behind culip podcasts for English language learners

If you want to learn English for everyday use, you have come to the right place! Culips is a team of professional teachers, learners and podcast lovers that focuses on current English. It is one of those podcasts that feels like a string of friends chatting together. Join them to better understand common English expressions for everyday use, vocabulary building and much more; they also have a study guide that goes along with each episode in their podcast and includes detailed explanations, transcripts and examples to test your comprehension.

Suitable for levels: Beginner and Intermediate level learners.

Listen to the podcast:
https://esl.culips.com/
● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts
● Spotify

5. The Joe Rogan Experience

Man behind Joe Rogan's English podcast

Joe Rogan who is a stand-up comedian is the host of The Joe Rogan Experience which is one of the biggest podcasts globally as of 2020, and also signed an exclusive deal with Spotify. Join him and his guests as they explore a wide range of topics like science, comedy, politics, American culture and more. The show has interesting English conversations including cultural references and idioms, perfect for learning American English for intermediate and advanced levels.

Suitable for levels: Upper- intermediate and Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts
● Youtube
Spotify

 

6. English Learning for curious minds by Leonardo English

English learning for curious minds podcast image

Alastair Budge started the Leonardo English podcast with a simple idea: ‘What if there were a way for people to improve their English while learning interesting things about the world.’ The podcast began at the end of 2019 and releases a new episode twice every week. If you are as curious as Alastair and his learners join them to explore a wide range of topics from Philosophy to technology and politics; a podcast perfect for intermediate and advanced learners.

Suitable for levels: Upper-intermediate and Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

https://www.leonardoenglish.com/podcasts
● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts
● Spotify

7. Overheard by National Geographic

Overheard, a National Geographic podcast

National Geographic, which is a much loved American TV show (and magazine) is well known for its photography and stories related to the environment and science. Overheard is a podcast that covers the conversations between the employees and other wild stories from the photographers, journalists, scientists and explorers. If you are interested in improving your listening skills and learning about new things at the same time, this podcast is for you!

Suitable for levels: Beginners to Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/podcasts/overheard/
● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts
● Spotify
● Youtube

8. All Ears English

People making All Ears English podcasts

Hosted by ESL teachers Lindsay from Boston and Michelle from NYC is an American English podcast that also includes two IELTS specialists Jessica and Aubrey. The podcast is for intermediate level English learners and explores American culture and explains English expressions in a rather fun learning way. The podcast has a multitude of episodes on English Fluency, IELTS and Business English covering all the aspects of language learning, to choose from.

Suitable for levels: Intermediate and Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

https://www.allearsenglish.com/
● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts

9. Espresso English

 

If you are looking to refine your aspects of grammar and vocabulary, this is the podcast for you from among the top podcasts to improve your English. It focuses on complicated English collocations and phrasal verbs; and helps boost individuals’ linguistic abilities.

Suitable for levels: Beginner and Intermediate level learners.

Listen to the podcast:
https://www.espressoenglish.net/

10. Quick and Dirty Tips by Grammar Girl

Interesting podcast for Spoken English

The Grammar Girl is a podcast by Mignon Fogarty, the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips network, which has been named one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 best websites for writers, quite a few times. It is a weekly 5-minute podcast that focuses on grammar while focusing on individual words or idioms; a podcast perfect for intermediate and advanced level learners.

Suitable for levels: Intermediate and advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl
● Google podcasts
● Spotify

11. Learn English Podcast from the British Council

British Council podcast

The Learn English Podcast by the British Council is best suited for Beginner level learners and aims at both A1 and B1 levels, including discussions over everyday common situations.

Suitable for levels: Beginner and Intermediate level learners.
Listen to the podcast:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/general-english/audio-series/podcasts
● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts

12. Ologies with Alie Ward

Podcast for word power

Alie Ward, who is a Daytime Emmy Award- winning science correspondent for CBS’s “The Henry’s Ford Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca”, and also the host of “Did I mention invention?”, is the host of this podcast. The episodes include a wide range of ologies to learn from and is perfect to improve your listening and verbal ability.

Suitable for levels: Intermediate and Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:
https://www.alieward.com/ologies

13. 6-minute Grammar

BBC podcast 6-minute grammar image

The 6-minute podcast by BBC is perfect among the top podcasts to improve your English for those who are busy on the run. Aiming at intermediate level learners the episodes include a wide range of vocabulary, transcripts and thought-provoking questions.

Suitable for levels: Beginner and Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/6-minute-english
● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts

14. Business English Pod

Business English Podcast image

Does your firm require you to speak English all the time? Well this podcast is the perfect fit for you; it covers all the happenings and topics that are likely to take place at an organisation, in real life.

Suitable for levels: Advanced level learners and Business personnel.

Listen to the podcast:
https://www.businessenglishpod.com/

15. My favorite Murder

A true crime-comedy podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. For the past few years, every show on My Favorite Podcasts live tour has been sold out. The episodes include a two-way conversation between the hosts, where one tells the story and the other reacts to it. Perfect to improve your listening skills on intermediate and advanced level learning.

Suitable for levels: Intermediate and Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:
https://myfavoritemurder.com/episodes
● Apple Podcasts

Well my friend, now that you have a list of amazing Top Podcasts to improve your English Language skills while being able to learn about different cultures and topics altogether, then what are you waiting for? The above-mentioned podcasts provide a wide range of topics for all the ESL students to learn from and improve their English language skills, at their own pace and convenience. Hope you find the listicle helpful. Happy learning!

By Muskaan Choudhary,
School of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Auro University

The writer of the blog Muskaan

Read More
Title of the novel and the writer of the blog

Our Tools of Resurrection — The Dictionary of Lost Words

 “So difficult it is to show the various meanings and imperfections of words when we have nothing else but words to do it with.”

  — John Locke

 

In 1857, the Unregistered Words Committee of the Philological Society of London decided to succeed Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, 1755. Sir James Murray and his group of lexicographers took 40 years to publish the first volume (the letters A and B) only to find out later that one word was missing from the first edition. The word that was found missing was “bondmaid” and no one knows how that happened. However, this episode in the history of Oxford English Dictionary was enough to inspire Australian author, Pip Williams, to give her fictional narrative in her debut novel The Dictionary of Lost Words, a historical fiction set across four decades from 1887. The novel retells the compilation of OED’s first edition through her fictional protagonist Esme, the daughter of one of the lexicographers working under James Murray. This book began with two simple questions: Do words mean different things to men and women? And if they do, is it possible that we have lost something in the process of defining them?

 

Esme, a motherless child, grows up beneath the sorting table of Scriptorium, a real garden shed where Sir James Murray and his team of lexicographers compiled the first edition of OED. Her presence in the room is unseen and unheard. One day, she notices a slip containing the word “bondmaid” fluttering to the floor and flying towards her unclaimed, fascinated by the slip she immediately pockets it. From there onwards, Esme begins collecting more words that the editors have neglected or lost. As the story begins to unfold we see, young and capricious, Esme realizing that some words are considered more important than others. Dissatisfied by this neglectful treatment, she goes to the streets and interacts with poor working-class women to collect words that are considered “common” and “vulgar”. However, through her interaction with these women, she finds out that words and meaning related to women’s experiences are often unrecorded and considered unimportant and decides to make her own manuscript of “Women’s Words and their Meanings.”

 

Throughout the novel, we see the role of words, their importance and their necessity not only in Esme’s life but the life of every other character in the book. The word “bondmaid” itself is powerful because that word acknowledges the unacknowledged: Lizzie, an Irish maid who is not much older than Esme, however, is an important part of Esme’s life. Even when everyone leaves, Lizzie stays with Esme till the end. Lizzie is her “bondmaid”, ‘which means a young woman bound to serve until her death’. As Williams explains in her author’s note, the uses of the word “bondmaid” had been supplied by members of the public — which was an important part of how the dictionary was compiled in the first place — but the chit showing the final definition is still missing from the archives today. However, imaginary Esme serves the process carefully, remaining inconspicuous, as she begins collecting lost and forgotten word slips. Even as a child and later as an adult, Esme knew the importance of these abandoned words. She knew every neglected word had a meaning that was special for someone else. She knew that every lost word serves a meaning, has its own importance and needs. She realizes that those buried words have their own history that is just not important enough for these ignorant Dictionary men. Hence, Esme resolves to ensure that these important words are not lost or buried, that they need to be rescued and she will be the rescuer and starts collecting those chits in her maid’s trunk. Esme takes us, readers, with her on her journey of the formation of the pivotal ‘Dictionary of Lost Words’, a book that holds just as much importance as the Oxford English Dictionary in her eyes. The Dictionary of Lost Words is a story that exposes the weight of words and above all, it is a celebration of the English language. Through the fictional retelling of the Oxford English Dictionary, Williams is able to bridge the gap between linguistics and literature.

 

Through this novel, we as a reader realize the importance of words in our lives. As Yehuda Berg famously said “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” What is a life without a word? We forget how necessary words are in our lives, how beautiful, meaningful and sometimes impactful they can be. A simple word can start a story, can spark a conversation, can end a conversation, can change the meaning of everything. In a logical sense, words are important because we need them to communicate, but the way words are presented, spoken, and written is a whole different level of communication. Words have the ability to move something inside us, they can bring life to a sentence, meaning to a conversation, and be a part of our history. As Aunty Edith, a vital character in the novel famously says: “Never forget that, Esme. Words are our tools of resurrection.” Esme realizes that and she understands that these words are very important because they are her legacy, her book will keep her alive, even when she is long gone. The word bondmaid will keep Lizzie alive even when society has already overlooked her presence, she knew words like lie-child will keep Meg alive, just like Esme did. She knew words like morbs will record the pain a mother has to go through as she sends her son away in a war. How the word will keep a record of the anxiety and fear felt by the people they left behind. She knew words like sisters will give a whole new meaning to the fuelling desire for a financial and personal agency that has brought women together to start a war against a neglectful male-dominant world. She taught us that we can’t let ourselves forget how important words are. Whether it’s what we say or what we write, we can’t forget the power that our words hold, that they tell our stories as individuals as well as a whole, who use the same words to narrate our stories. Esme taught us that words can change someone’s life as they changed hers:

 

“Words are like stories, don’t you think, Mr Sweatman? They change as they are passed from mouth to mouth; their meanings stretch or truncate to fit what needs to be said. The Dictionary can’t possibly capture every variation, especially since so many have never been written down.”

                                                                                                Fictional — Esme

 

Moreover, The Dictionary of Lost Words is more than just a narration of the Oxford English Dictionary. It is a resurrection of a time when women were unseen and unheard. Just like Esme, they were surrounded by men who subjugated and oppressed their gender. As Williams states: “Over 90 per cent of the references [in the dictionary] were written by men. It was a gendered text.” Through Esme’s story, Williams gives a record of unrecorded words. Words like morbs meaning “a temporary sadness”, lie-child meaning bastard child, and, last but not least, bondmaid meaning “slave girl” is very significant in Esme’s life, as they are not only lost words but also a prediction of how her life will unfold. However, these words also help Williams to document significant changes in history. Through female characters like Tilda, Mabel, Lizzie, Edith and lastly her daughter Meg, Williams highlights the shift in gender politics and gives us an insight into the importance of every lost word. For Esme and Williams, the words change over time but they all have their own history. For instance, words like “sisters” are not only used for blood relations:

SISTERS:

Women bonded by a shared political goal; comrades.
Sisters, thank you for joining the fight.’
Fictional — Tilda Taylor, 1906.

 

Just like Pip Williams, the author, we all have a unique relationship with words and dictionaries.  We love them, we hate them, we get confused by some meanings, we get delighted by some. There is always a fascination with the English language and how it works, how writing words down or spoken in a particular way can create a rhythm, conjure an image, or express an emotion. Through Esme and her creator, William’s search for a story, we see that words consist of vibration and sound where these vibrations and sounds create the very reality that surrounds us. Words are the creator; the creator of our universe, our lives, our reality, our history and without them, thought can never become a reality. In the end, from local suffragette to the desire of personal agency, from the loss of a mother whose son died in WWI to a woman who has to give up her only daughter because of her illegitimacy. The creative storytelling genius that is Pip Williams encapsulates what it means to be a woman, and through time and space, she magically retells us a story that is quite often left unsaid, a story of words. In the end, Esme’s collections of words, in all their forms, trace society’s changing attitude and question its legitimacy and create her legacy.

By Ashima Seth,
School of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Auro University.

Ashima Seth, the blog writer

Reference:

 

 

 

 

Read More
Writer of Ayurved and Health

Ayurved and Health

Ayurved and Health

Ayurved and Health go hand in hand. Most people know that. But not many know exactly what to do so that we can remain healthy. Ayurved is not only about medicines, it’s a way of life. Now, let’s try to understand it in detail. Let’s begin at the beginning!

What is Ayurved?

Ayurveda (आयुर्वेद) = Ayushya (आयुष्य) + Veda (वेद)

Ayushya= Life, Veda=Wisdom / Knowledge.

 

Thus, “Ayurveda” which is a Sanskrit word, means the knowledge of life. Ayurveda includes various means and measures to protect and enhance ‘Ayushya’ or ‘Life’. More information about it are here.

  1. The guidelines for healthy living, which can prevent diseases.
  2. Therapeutic methods that act as curative measures.

Ayurveda ensures that there is complete harmony and balance in one’s physical, mental and emotional aspects of life.

Every individual has different and unique physical, mental, and emotional characteristics, which comprise their constitution (Prakriti). This constitution, remains the same throughout one’s life and is determined at the time of conception by a number of factors.

To understand this better, we need to know three aspects:

  1. Pancha maha bhuta (Five fundamental elements)
  2. Sapta dhatu (Seven body tissues)
  3. TriDosha

Pancha maha bhuta (Five fundamental elements):

According to Ayurveda, the entire world and our bodies are made of ‘five fundamental elements’ called Pancha-Maha-Bhutas.

  1. Prithvi [Earth]: e.g. solid structures, such as bones, flesh, skin, tissues, and hair.
  2. Jal [Water]: e.g.  saliva, urine, semen, blood, and sweat.
  3. Agni [Fire]: e.g. digestive fire. It forms hunger, thirst, and sleep.
  4. Vaayu [Wind]: e.g. nerve impulse, blood flow, muscle contraction, secretion of glands (where there’s movement).
  5. Aakash [Space/Vacuum]: e.g. empty space in and around our organs, even at our cellular level!

Sapta-Dhatu:

  • Rasa Dhatu – Metabolic Juices and Plasma (The Digestive System)
  • Rakta Dhatu – Blood (Circulatory system)
  • Mamsa Dhatu – Muscles and Tendons (Muscular System)
  • Med Dhatu – Bodily Fat
  • Majja Dhatu – Bone Marrow
  • Asthi Dhatu – Bones (Skeletal System)
  • Shukra Dhatu – Seminal Fluids (Reproductive System)

TriDoshas (The Three Doshas):

  1. Vata
  2. Pitta
  3. Kapha

Five fundamental elements blend into physical form as these three Doshas.

  • Vata Dosha: Vaayu + Aakash
  • Pitta Dosha: Agni + Jal
  • Kapha Dosha: Jal + Prithvi

In all of us, any one or two of the three Doshas are the most dominant amongst them, which determines the basic or primary constitution or Prakriti of an individual. For an individual to remain healthy, there must be a harmony in these three basic substances (Doshas). Any kind of disharmony of these Doshas will lead to diseases, not just at the physical level but also at the mental and the emotional levels. All the bodily functions happen because all the three Doshas work in conjunction with each other throughout the body.

For instance, when our food is digested, nutrients and waste are produced. When the nutrients are assimilated, they nourish the seven bodily tissues (Sapta-Dhatu) and the waste is thrown out of the body through sweat, urine, feces, nasal discharge, eye discharge, etc.

To maintain the balance of these Doshas, Ayurveda recommends a disciplined lifestyle, which is called Dincharya. Because these three Doshas have their influence on our body in every particular few hours of the day, there is a Vata, Pitta and Kapha time of the day, and Vata, Pitta and Kapha time of the night.

  • Vata time: 2:00 am – 6:00 am & 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
  • Kapha time: 6:00 am – 10:00 am & 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Pitta time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm & 10:00 pm – 2:00 am

According to Ayurveda guidelines, one should always get up before sunrise. The scientific reason is 2:00 am – 6:00 am time of the day is governed by Vata element, which also governs the time of transition (when the night is turning into a day!). The morning Vata time is the phase where our receptivity is at the peak. Yogis and Rishis discovered long ago that this time of day, when air and ether are prominent, is the best time of the day for yoga, pranayama, meditation, prayer, chanting and other spiritual practices. Haven’t we heard the the best problem solving ideas blossom into one’s mind via intuition when one is meditating? Yes, this is the power!

However, at the same time, Vata is the Dosha of the movement, so it is very easy to get out of balance because of its delicacy.  Exposure to screen light (mobile or laptop) or bright lights, loud noise or even some negative thoughts; all of these have the power to unbalance our Vata Dosha. Avoid them all and choose some calm soothing and a peaceful environment! Grab your mat; do some yoga, pranayama, breathing exercises and meditate! Repeating affirmations can also calm down our aggravated Vata at this time.

After 6:00 am, when Kapha is prominent, (the water and earth energy), it is a bit heavy and sluggish. That is why it is not a great idea to wake up in this time if we want to feel energetic throughout the day. If we wake up in Kapha hours, chances are we may feel a little sleepy, even if our sleep quota is over, thanks to its heavy qualities.

(Try waking up in both Vata and Kapha durations on different days and you yourself will feel the difference!)

Kapha is the best time to get our heart pumped up with some exercises and start the first meal of our day – BREAKFAST that should be light and easy to digest.

Pitta is made up of fire and water, which makes it the Dosha of heat. It is dominant in our body when the Sun is at the highest in the sky, which is 10:00 am- 2:00 pm. It affects the heat of our bodies as well as of our minds. Pitta is related to productivity. It is best to have the biggest meal of the day i.e., Lunch, at Pitta dominant hours of the day. Because digestion is a fierce process which requires heat at its optimal performance.

As the cycle continues, again comes the Vata hours of the day 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm. As it is composed of air and ether, the light and etheric qualities of this time of day enhances our creativity and expansive thinking, making it a great opportunity to engage in some creative work and problem solving or analyzing.

From 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, when Kapha becomes dominant, it is a great idea to wind up our day in these hours. We may eat light dinner, which is easy to digest.

By the time it is 10:00 pm, it is advisable that we begin our preparations for sleep. The heavy quality of Kapha help us to have a sound sleep easily, quickly and naturally! And for that , it’s very crucial that from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm, our activities should be soothing and calming instead of those which are full of agitation such as, distressing conversations, violence in any form of fiction like TV shows/movie or novel, which can disturb our sleep. Instead, a light conversation with our family/ loved ones, a warm bath and a warm cup of milk with turmeric are some good ideas to add to our routine at this time.

As we move in the PITTA hours of the night, which is 10:00 pm to 2:00 am, it is very important that we are already in deep sleep so that the body cleansing and cell repair work which happen in our body, do not get disturbed. These cleansings happen at not only the physical level, but also at the emotional and the mental, and these cleansings are very much supported by a deep sleep.

As Pitta governs these hours, if we are not in bed before Pitta hours, we may feel hungry due to digestive fire and our trips to refrigerator may cost us ruined health! So let us sleep and let our body cleanse. If not, you will stay awake, eat, and obviously disturb the equilibrium of our body. Because if we eat at late hours, our body is confused, whether it shall digest the food we are eating now or it should cleanse our body.

Whatever our body has digested in Pitta hours, when there is a Vata time followed by Pitta time, that is 2:00 am, Vata would deliver the goods that Pitta has digested to various body parts because Vata is responsible for circulation and the movement. If we disturb these processes, then we may find ourselves up at midnight between 2:00 am to 6:00 am and find unable to go to sleep again, and then suddenly in Kapha hours from 6:00 am to 10:00 am, we may find ourselves asleep, only to wake up with groggy head because we slept in wrong hours! Therefore, it is always better to follow the rhythm of nature.

Another important aspect in Ayurveda is MITAHAR, meaning moderation in food. Meaning, we should never eat too much or too less. Let our hunger and appetite guide us. We should eat only when we are hungry. Always eat slowly and chew properly, so that the digestive enzymes present in our saliva mix with the food, and make it easier for us to digest the food. That is why it is said, the digestion begins with our mouth!

At the same time, pleasant and happy mindset helps in generating right amount of gastric juice. Under stress, anxiety, anger or any such negative emotional situations, our body perceives it as a threat.  The first thing body does is to stop producing these juices. As digestion is a heavy process, it shuts that down, instead starts sending blood to our muscles, our heartbeat increases, and we are ready to fight with which body has perceived as a dangerous threat!

If we eat at wrong hours, or whenever we are not hungry, because of the absence of gastric juices in our stomach, the food is not digested properly, and it turns into AAMA–toxins in the body. This AAMA is the main reason for various disease in the body. That is why Ayurveda puts a lot of emphasis on digestive system. If we eat right food at right time with right techniques and with right frame of mind, it is digested, assimilated and excreted well. So healthy bowel movements are important to remove major AAMA – toxins from the body.

For good digestion, water plays a very important role. We should always start our day with a glass of warm/room temperature water, to hydrate ourselves after 6-8 hours of sleep. We should always drink water BEFORE our meal and never immediately after our meals. Because water drunk immediately after meal dilutes the gastric juices, so they cannot digest the food efficiently. These residuals result in AAMA. Drinking water and eating meals should have sufficient gap before and after our meals. Drinking water at correct time in fact enhances the process of digestion. Too less water in our body may result in constipation or hard stool, which is difficult to pass.

Ayurveda has wonderful ways to cleanse AAMA from the body. One of them is FASTING. We can fast through various ways. Water fast, where we are just on water for certain amount of hours or days. It is considered as one of the extreme fasts and should be done under the supervision of an Ayurveda practitioner only. Other types are, fruit fasting, juice/liquid fasting, a fast which involves eating particular light foods like khichadi for certain days, etc. The main purpose of fasting is to give our body a break from digestion, because our body consumes a lot of energy in digestion, and if given a break, that energy can be used in cleaning the cells of the body and some major cell repair work. That is why some major disorders have been cured by this best therapy!

Ayurveda is a wonderful science and can greatly benefit every individual when learnt under a knowledgeable VAIDYA, but it is equally dangerous and can haphazardly damage if the principles are not applied properly. Now you know why the title of this article is Ayurved and Health.

— Dr Krushika Shalin Shah

Pic of the writer Krushika Shah

Read More
Funny faces

Funny lines

  1. A cyclist is reported to have run away from the scene after colliding with a train and derailing three coaches. The only witness was the guard who reported the incident to a local hospital.
  2. A fire broke out in a pond near Olpad yesterday evening. The fish flew into the trees, and took shelter over there. The fire-fighters have been trying their best to put out the fire in the water.
  3. A man went to a bank to deposit money. While checking, the cashier found that those were the notes stolen from the bank a day before.
  4. A student reportedly killed about six teachers and the principal of his school on being asked to participate in the annual function.
  5. A two-seater plane crashed over a graveyard in Punjab. The rescue and relief team has already dug out ten bodies, and the search continues for more.
  6. About 700 people in the audience were found dead asleep while watching a dance performance. The organiser and the performing artists are likely to be arrested.
  7. An act of kindness at a bus depot. In a jam-packed bus, a kind-hearted driver offered his own seat to an elderly passenger. There’s no news about who drove the bus.
  8. Following the signs of a strong Indian economy, the rate of exchange stands like this: 1 rupee is equal to 80 US dollars. Many Americans are looking for jobs in India. Before they get a visa, they will have to pass a test, TOHIL, Test of Hindi as an International Language.
  9. In a test match on Vankhede stadium between India and Pakistan, the opening batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Dhoni remaind not-out for all the five days of the game. Sachin made 790 runs, whereas Dhoni made ten centuries and scored 1016 runs. The match was declared draw, and all the players of Pakistani team are in hospital.
  10. In Choksi Bazaar area, a wife beat her husband when he asked her to make a cup of tea at midnight. The neighbours rescued the husband and admitted him to the civil hospital. The husband’s condition is improving. The wife plans to serve him bed tea in the morning.
  11. The education department organized a written test for teachers. Out of a thousand teachers, 600 failed, 300 were found copying and the rest remained absent.
  12. The government has imposed a new tax based on one’s weight. The fat club members are planning to go to the court of law and appeal against this law. The judge is reportedly a member of that club.
  13. The local Mosquito Union has declared an indefinite strike to demand immediate removal of mosquito repellents—coils and electronic ones. The authorities are likely to consider their demand sympathetically.
  14. The police report arresting a cat barking at a dog at midnight. The frightened dog is admitted to the ICCU after a massive heart attack.
  15. The students in their birthday suit: A local school authorities had to declare a holiday when the students came to school stark naked following their teachers’ instruction the previous day to come without uniform.
  16. The Surat Municiple Corporation received a complaint from one Kanu Labha of Venus Apartments, Pal saying that his neighbors release mice in his house at night. The SMC has provided him with a cat. His neighbours now release a dog and mice.
  17. Yesterday a man wasn’t allowed to board a flight at Surat airport since he was carrying a bank passbook in place of his passport.
Read More
English as a global language

Learn Spoken English at Home — DIY

Learn Spoken English at Home — Free

 

Dear English language learner,

 

Do you want to study English from the comfort of your home? Do you want to get good quality and interesting self-study material to improve your English?


“Well, yes, but how?” I hear you ask.


Well, visit www.fluentlingua.com and click on “Learn” to enter into an exciting world of English. You will have instant access to six types of material, including audio-visual, to study, practise and test your English. And it is absolutely FREE. No log-in requirements, no passwords, no fee, no email registration, nothing; just your desire to learn English. What’s more, it isn’t run-of-the-mill type material. No, not at all. It is unique. It is carefully prepared, or chosen, and presented.

 

Read: Reading enriches your language and life. In this section, you will find material on a variety of topics. It can kindle your imagination. It might change your mood too. For instance, when you are feeling low or down in the dumps, read some short stories, essays, poems, inspirational passages, even prayers and you will come out smiling, relieved of your blues.

 

See: When you buy a gadget or an item of clothing, you spend a lot of time deciding what colour combinations or shades will suit you. Well, words also have shades of meaning. Almost every word has multiple meanings depending on the context and the co-text. Check this out for close to 300 words taught via vocabulary nuggets containing pictures and example sentences. You might try one per day and increase your word power daily, substantially. Surprise your friends with this new found skill of using words aptly and correctly in different situations.

 

Listen: Listening is the key to success in language learning. We have a number of audio files to improve your pronunciation—sounds, word stress, rhythm and intonation. Imitate—listen and repeat as much as you can.

 

Watch: There are many videos teaching various aspects of English such as grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. They will make you feel you are sitting in a classroom or learning personally from an experienced teacher. Quite a few videos cover different nuances of English. And learning them will be fun and fruitful. By the way, some videos contain explanations in Hindi or Gujarati for beginner level learners. Some videos, especially those dealing with fundamental areas of English such as tenses, modals and conditionals, are available in Gujarati, Hindi and English.

 

Test: The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. If you don’t honestly test your English, you will never know how much you know or what your level is. Our tests will help you do so. Moreover, our tests are not at all tedious; they are rather tantalizing, and will make you want to learn more. Go for them whole heartedly. Both results and feedback follow immediately and don’t leave you wondering how you fared in the test.

 

Study: Sometimes when you feel a little lazy but still want to use the time positively, this is the best section for you. Here we have prepared for you some presentations. You just need to go from one slide to the other and your grey matter will get lots of food for thought; I mean, language for communication.

 

Blog: Now, this is the icing on the cake. Our blog articles help you develop deeper insights into a variety of topics related to language and life. You are bound to find something that interests you. They give you ideas to brood over or talk about. People will like to listen to your views and opinions and educated comments—be it language learning, personality development, success or happiness.

 

So what are you waiting for? Make it a daily habit to visit www.fluentlingua.com and enrich your life from the comfort of your home.

 

Do please share this information with your friends, family, and colleagues. Thank you.

 

Happy Learning, Happy Sharing!

 

Best wishes,

Team Fluentlingua

 

Read More
Boost one's morale

Encouragement matters!

At times things are not as people want them to be. They want something but give up after trying for some time. In such cases, they need a lot of encouragement. You can use expressions such as the ones given below to encourage them and boost their morale.

 

  1. Well done.
  2. Keep it up.
  3. You are a hard worker, don’t give up.
  4. You have always passed with good marks. You’ll do well this time too.
  5. You must stick to your guns / decision.
  6. Look at the bright side of things.
  7. Act responsibly.
  8. You must not be sad.
  9. Be happy.
  10. Make a fresh start daily.
  11. Have confidence in your abilities.
  12. Always do right. You will not fall into trouble.
  13. Not everyone can do as much as you have done.
  14. Keep a win-win spirit.
  15. Believe in yourself.
  16. It’s how you look at things that matters.
  17. Be positive. Be optimistic. Always.
  18. Surround yourself with people who are optimistic.
  19. Remember: change is constant.
  20. Remember to be grateful for what you have.
  21. Look forward to a bright future.
  22. Every problem comes with a solution.
  23. You can play and win easily.
  24. It’s child’s play.
  25. Nobody succeeds without failing a few times.
  26. You are capable of great things.
  27. Count your blessings.
  28. Pray hard for answers to your problems.
  29. Make the most of each day.
  30. Face your problems bravely.
  31. Seek help when needed.
  32. Be your own motivation.
  33. Make a start and don’t stop till you reach your goal.
  34. Always be confident.
  35. Go ahead; you are doing well.
  36. I am with you all the way.
  37. I assure you of my total support.
  38. Don’t stop now. Actually try harder.
  39. We are praying for you.
  40. You have our full / financial / technical support.
  41. You have our moral support.
  42. Our whole family is with you… all the way.
  43. Do please let us know how we can help.
  44. Don’t lose hope.
  45. Don’t hesitate to ask for help of any kind.
  46. You are such a brave boy/girl.
  47. Be strong mentally and physically.
  48. We won’t let you fail / suffer.
  49. Be positive. Things will fall into place in due course of time.
  50. With him / her beside you, you will definitely feel encouraged.
  51. Come on, show your guts.
  52. Come on, show your mettle.
  53. Oh, you sing so nicely. Well done.
  54. Everything is going to be okay.
  55. Let’s have a pep talk.
  56. That was so nice of you.
  57. You have done such things earlier. Why not now?
  58. I encourage you to stand up and take up the challenge.
  59. Keep your head / chin up.
  60. Just be yourself.
  61. Time is a great healer.
  62. Put yourself in my place.
  63. It’s okay to cry. It makes you stronger, actually.
  64. We learn from our mistakes.
  65. It’s a time for change.
  66. Keep on smiling / laughing / trying.
  67. Discuss things frankly. Open your heart to people you trust.
  68. Don’t suffer in silence. Speak up.
  69. Say what you like. Don’t bottle up your feelings.
  70. Rise to the challenge.
  71. Show the world that you can deal with any situation successfully.
Read More