I have been MIA for the past few weeks. Exams y’all. Not the greatest part of student life. Anyhow, I’ve got a breather and this is how I’m
wasting utilizing it.
Moving on to better topics, I was recently approached by this tech startup called Appifier, who have offered to create an iPhone and iPad app for C&C! Yay! You can check it out over here.
Also a very kind blogger, Cynthia Vincent, has graciously awarded me with
Yes! The Versatile Blogger Award! According to which I am now supposed to
- Nominate 10-15 other bloggers
- Inform them of this amazing award bestowed upon them
- Share 7 random facts about myself
- Thank the blogger who awarded me (complete with the link)
And the people listed below have to do that too (I’m listing their wordpress usernames as it’s easier to link it that way. Sorry to be so sloppy. I’m usually not that lazy, it’s just something that happens when I’m short on time)
- Vina Kent
- domestic diva, MD
And now, prepare yourself, for seven utterly completely ridiculously random facts about moi
- I have this thing with reading. No, seriously. I am obsessed to the point of unhealthy with reading. Books, newspapers, tax filings, backs of cereal boxes, anything that can be read and is in my immediate vicinity will be read.
- I also have another thing about animals. Any animal, from cute and cuddly to utterly terrifying, will always have a soft spot in my heart. And not only because they’re better than majority of humans (have you noticed that they don’t lie or bitch?), it’s just because they’re awesome. Speaking of lying and bitching…
- I am blunt. Tactless says you? Forthright and candid says I. Whenever it’s possible, I deliver my comments in the most non-hurtful way possible, but I always prefer being straightforward.
- I am extremely independent. When I was a kid, the school psychologist said that I exhibited an abnormally high level of independence. I doubt things have changed since then. I can work in teams, no problem with that, but I’m most productive when left alone.
- I appreciate good manners. It’s not all about the ‘no elbows on the table’ thing, but the mere act of respectfulness. Like saying thank you to the doorman and stuff. Also chivalry doesn’t hurt.
- I am a Sagittarius with an Aquarius Moon and Aeries Rising. I have absolutely no idea why I wrote that or what it means. It’s just something my friend told me recently. And well, you asked for random (If anyone does know anything about it or what it means, do let me know!)
- I love to learn. I will and can learn anything and everything. From figure skating to marine biology, I’ve learnt whatever catches my immediate fancy. Also, I insist on learning things my way at my pace. Sounds selfish, but I’ve no tolerance for orthodox lessons and besides, it’s faster that way.
Your turn! What are some random facts about you?
PS: Another mention of Cynthia to say thanks for giving me the VB. In case you didn’t check out her blog yet, she blogs here
A brand new series! Every week I will give you the lowdown on what is awesome on the web. Fair warning, it may lead to procrastination.
Dream Controlling App: This Inception-y App called ‘Dream:ON‘ allows you to choose your dreams by playing ‘soundscapes’ designed to create your desired dream while you’re asleep. From the screenshot, you can tell there are some pretty cool dreams to choose from. You can also keep a log of what you’ve dreamed about and share it on facebook and other networks. It’s creepy though, the way you can just hand over your subconsciousness to an app. Huffington Post has a detailed article here.
Know Who’s Tracking You On Chrome: You aren’t new to how websites and companies and other malicious things in general track your web surfing. Now using this nifty plugin called Collusion, you can see which sites have dropped tracing cookies on your system. Lifehacker tells you more.
Bacon Flavored Sundae: Ice cream warms the heart. Everyone knows that. But taking ice cream to a whole new level is Burger King, debuting their Bacon flavored sundae at Nashville in the US state of Tennessee. For USD 2.49 you get vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, caramel sauce and a piece of bacon to top it off. You can read Adam M’s review of it on GrubGrade. (It’s snagged a score of 8.00 on 10 apparently)
Epic Business Card: Now this is a business card if there ever was one. It’s bound to be noticed and boy is it direct. It’s designed by The Uprising Creative, whose director Jeff Nicholas says their motto is “we make cool shit”. You sure do.
Lickable Elevator: Taking a cue from Mr. Wonka, baked goods producer McVitie’s has created the world’s first ‘lickable elevator’ using 1,325 Jaffa Cakes. This elevator took around four weeks to install at London based communications company, Engine. This campaign developed by London based agency, Mischief sounds rather disturbing, and not to mention unhygienic. Read more about it over at The Sun.
Peace, dear Potterheads! Reading the announcement of JKR’s new book does not give you authority to holler in such an undignified manner that does not befit a respectable muggle.
Anyhow, as I was saying. Publishing house Little, Brown Book Group unveiled on Thursday the name and plot of J.K. Rowling’s new book, The Casual Vacancy. As much as it describes the void left in us after The Deathly Hallows, it has absolutely nothing to do with witchcraft and wizardry. The announcement by Little, Brown Book Group as on their website is as follows:
The Casual Vacancy
When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.
Notice the last bit, for adults. Rowling’s audience has grown from little children waiting eagerly for ‘the letter’ on their eleventh birthdays to mature young adults who know the difference between good and evil. We grew with our beloved characters, and we changed as they did in every new book. So I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that her latest book will be aimed at adults.
Of course, after so many years of reading about the hidden realm of magic around us and wizard feuds spanning generations, it would be hard for fans to read about humble and (for wizards) paltry disputes of muggles. But I’m sure Rowling will not disappoint and deliver a book worthy in its own right.
What do you think?
So apparently the world thinks that Indians are smart. And that it has something to do with our nifty education system. Well here’s the thing, I speak as a fresh product of this factory, and I’m sorry to shatter that illusion. The education system is as inept and incompetent as any other but the reason it’s still working is the sheer number of students.
Let me explain. The tenth grade examinations (SSC) conducted by the Secondary Education Board and the twelfth grade examinations (HSC) conducted by the Higher Secondary Education Board are about the only things you’ve done your entire schooling for. Till tenth, you’re in school, monitored by teachers who know you well enough to tell you what your favorite movie is, and you’re doing brilliantly and pass the SSC with more than 90%. Great. But after that, you no longer go to school but get admission in a junior college for eleventh and twelfth grade. And this is where it all starts falling apart.
All kids are not mature enough to make the right decisions even though they might have passed ten years of schooling. Sure there are some genius exceptions out there, but the majority of children, like myself, won’t make the right choices every time. I’m not talking about huge things like smoking or drugs (although I do know a fair number of cases) but little things like the sudden freedom to choose what you do. As in, you get your own vehicle, attending classes is not mandatory, you don’t have much homework to deal with (except for any private tuitions you may have joined) so for the better part of the day, you’re left to your own devices.
That’s where I lost my edge. I am also to blame, no doubt, as sitting in the library reading books that had nothing to do with my syllabus was my own fault. But I can’t help but think that nothing like that would have happened had there been some kind of restriction or expectation from me. Which there wasn’t.
Then the next year, you face the HSC, which is more life determining than the now easy-peasy SSC. But you’ve lost one year in between, completing Jane Austen or whatever, and now you have to catch up if you don’t want to get left behind.
And this is what I’m talking about when I say numbers. Around 3,00,000 children appear for the HSC every year and around 75% of them pass. That leaves you with 22,50,000 children to compete with for further qualifying examinations like the CET (common entrance test), AIEEE (all india engineering entrance exam), IIT-JEE (indian institute of technology joint entrance exam), AIPMT (all india pre medical test) and countless others.
You compete not only for the best score, but for a score better than the best. Because this is India, and us folks believe in ‘unity in diversity’ and all so we are quite liberal in handing out reservations for ‘downtrodden’ classes. By which I refer to the castes that were believed to be low, back when monocles were all the rage. Oh sure, I’m not saying don’t help low income groups or people from villages, but these other backward classes (fondly called OBCs) who have a near 50% of reservation claims are people who go to the same classes as I do, and are more often than not, financially better off as well. Thus, if you are in the open category like myself, you’d better buck up and buckle down to business or else you’ll be left out of the rat race. And this is why, pressurized with doing the best or nothing, Indian students emerge as hard-working or widely known as smart. Who said living in the most populated democracy was an easy feat?
It is this stress combined with the great expectations of parents, teachers, friends and even yourself, that lead to various stress related problems. The student suicide rate has increased by a shocking 26% in the last four years. Even if the child does not take such drastic action as suicide, the stress finds a way to ruin living for him or her.
The saddest part I find is that the education system only pushes towards academic (so called) excellence. But what about sports? Art? Drama and theater? Literature? Music? It’s more than disappointing that the education Board finds these as worthless and time wasting pursuits. The Board virtually refuses to acknowledge any extra achievement by the students.
As for a solution to this unholy mess, my personal opinion is very simple.
- Instead of considering the tenth and twelfth grade examinations only, the deciding marks should be an average of the final examination results from tenth to twelfth grade. That way, students will be compelled to perform well even if they are given the freedom to do whatever they choose. Also, there won’t be excess pressure on the HSC especially, which will save the students from drastic action like taking their lives.
- Extra curricular activities must be taken seriously by the Board and due credit must be awarded to the respective student.
- The jumble of entrance examinations students have to give after their HSC must be cut down to only the necessary (like the SAT or ACT). Every college must not have its own entrance exam and admissions should be through a unified process. This will ensure the sanity of students as well as their parents while applying for various institutes.
- Reservation must be reserved only to the financially low and backward classes like villagers.
Honestly speaking, if the above points are considered and duly addressed, I don’t see why the Indian Education System can’t become one of the best. I’ll admit, the changes brought about recently by the Board have heightened the standard quite a bit and brought education up to a higher level, so a little order in the chaos is all that’s wanting. I mean after all, I didn’t turn out half as bad as I could have, did I?
Where have your manners
Gone? I think you have lost them
Somewhere down the line.
Has anyone else noticed an odd thing about etiquette books? They’re all written keeping adults in mind. As in, they’re written for adults.
I don’t really understand this. Most adults I’ve met have lovely manners. I’ve yet to meet an adult who, on opening a present, bursts into tears and says, “But I already have a PS3!” Or ask an adult to hand you an eraser – they never put it behind their back and say, “Guess which hand?” It makes me think that Amy Vanderbilt or Emily Post weren’t serious about their writing. Had they been, they would have focused on the real trouble, people below twelve. Of course, this is just generalizing. You can plus or minus a few years here and there according to your convenience.
I am well aware that small children have this attractive force that makes most people like them. But do they like them socially? Are they sought after guests? Think of it this way, when you find yourself in a large party/crowd/whatever, do you subconsciously gravitate to where the children are playing Spy under the table? I believe not.
In absence of an instructive book on the same and with firsthand experience of a younger sibling, I feel qualified enough to lay out a few rough guidelines. (Anyone who decides to publish an instructive guide will doubtlessly benefit from my observations. Hence I claim 25% royalties).
Peaceful coexistence with others, particularly other children. Children should not hit other children over the head with a Kindle, basketball, plate or any other instrument. It does not matter who started it, or even if the provocation was a threat to tattle to mother about the time you accidentally squirted all her face cream down the sink. Also, children must not, in any case destroy property of others. The tearing up of assignments due the next day just because they had to watch Courage The Cowardly Dog instead of Scooby Doo should be especially punished.
Respect for the feelings of others. I think the main reason children can be such social lemons is because they keep saying things like, “When do you think that old lady’ll die?” Of course children cannot be taught subtleties, but really. When their nervous wreck of an elder sibling is going to a party in her new dress, it is not the time to say, “I want my Halloween costume too!”
Respect for others property. Children should keep in mind, that no matter how foolish it seems, sometimes people get attached to material things. Maybe this is just me, but I have a feeling that there would be much less broken homes if children would stop trading beloved wristwatches for that cool new set of sparkle pens at the schools local black market playground. The blatant taking of clothes from others wardrobes without bothering to inform, let alone take permission, is utterly reprehensible. They must bear in mind how disconcerting it is for the owner of the clothes to get out of the bath with fifteen minutes left for class and their best clothes gone. On some rare occasions though, you may understand the logic behind waking up tangled in a whole ball of yarn because the child simply had to know how long the yarn was compared to you. I can understand that. Sort of.
But sometimes, you just don’t know what to say. Like when you overhear you clothes nabbing younger sibling talking to her friend, “I know! Isn’t this top great? It’s my sister’s!”
Well, if you come down to it, I suppose it was worth wearing that threadbare shirt to class.
NOTE: All events mentioned above have at some point happened to the author. Also the haiku attempt in the beginning was because of an awesome blogger over at Only Fragments who writes kickass haiku.
It is a well documented fact that I love to read. So it goes without saying that I’m a fan of Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ Trilogy (The Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass). Ever since I first learnt the concept of a dæmon, I’ve been utterly fascinated and completely taken by it. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with this concept, think of it as a physical extension of your conscience in animal form.) I mean, who wouldn’t want their own personal animal capable of human speech and intelligence? The idea is so remarkable, that I’d rather have a dæmon than get a chance to play Quidditch. And it seems like I’m not the only one. I found this WikiHow that tells you how you can make your own dæmon. Of course, that is completely overboard, but it’s nice to know there are crazier people than me out there. Anyhow, I have finally figured out what my dæmon is through this Golden Compass Dæmon Test. And the verdict is *cue drumroll*
You are calm and logical, but not unemotional. You are an introvert, at heart, preferring to read alone than be subjected to the crush and noise of a big party or bar. You have a few friends and family, whose presence you welcome – to a point. Even they can wear on your nerves eventually, and you need to retreat back into your personal space for a while so you can recharge. Your energy comes in bursts, after which you need a long nap or a couple of evenings at home to recuperate.
You are comfortable with yourself, and reasonably confident. You want the friendship and goodwill of others, but you are not willing to sacrifice your principles in order to get it. If your close friends need something that you can provide, however, you will be the first to offer it.
You are a good and sympathetic listener, and are aware of your friend’s emotional states. With your very close friends, you will open up, but rarely – you don’t like to burden people with your problems. At the same time, though, you are honest and are not willing to alter the truth for the sake of convenience. Among strangers you are reserved, and may resort to making jokes to disguise your true feelings.
While you are not afraid of conflict, you do not seek it, either. When you are hurt or insulted, you feel that you have a choice to make. You can choose to take the up on it and defend yourself, or you can let it pass. Your decision may depend on how well you know the person, how personally you take the insult, or simply what mood you are in that day. Your friends may not always know how you are going to react, for that reason. Whatever you reaction, though, you will be logical, rational and unnervingly accurate: a measured strike.
Your daemon’s form would represent your calm, introverted nature, your cool logic, and your impatience with crowds of people. He or she would probably whisper ironic comments in your ear, give logical advice and try to hide his or her soft side from everyone, even you.
Peregrine Falcon, Snowy Owl, Snow Leopard, Siberian Tiger, Osprey
Aha! Just what I’ve always wanted!
What’s your dæmon?
I’ve been missing from my blog for three days. Things like that do not happen. Unless a larger duty beckons. Like *gasp* spring cleaning!
It’s an annual routine. My mother brings up the topic during dinner. My sister drops her spoon, I choke on my rice and my father looks at his plate. The next day, it begins. I’m somewhat of a hoarder, so it’s hard for me to just chuck things out when they’ve outgrown they’re use. Sometimes borderline traumatic. I keep on insisting that I’ll need them and just keep them just in case, because well, I’ll need them. I suppose my mother wouldn’t have had a problem with that had I been a tidier person. Let’s face it, I’m just not the most systematic person you’ll come across. My cupboard in an eternal state of disorganization.
In my defense, I regard organization a virtue of the bored. (The fact that I’m the least organized person might have something to do with this). But seriously, if you’re always systematic, doesn’t that mean you’re too *excuse me* lazy to find what you’re looking for in a disarranged pile?
You see, searching vehemently through a mess of miscellaneous articles is something that I do at least twice a day. Have I told you about it’s added health benefits? No? Well then, allow me.
Most of my activities would doubtlessly flourish with a little organization, but it would be at the loss of spontaneity and exhilaration. Take this common scenario- I have class in twenty minutes and somehow cannot find my textbook. A little effective management on my part could have easily avoided that, but effective management is so tedious. Half of one’s life nowadays is spent in effective management.
So there I am, running dangerously short on time, with my textbook lost in the dark recesses of my cupboard. It occurs to me that it might have been eaten by the friendly monster who is a non-paying tenant there or teleported to Narnia, but of course my teacher would be buying none of that. So I must keep up with my relentless pursuit. This is where the health benefits kick in.
After an exact three minutes of throwing items from place to place, I start performing a series of hop aerobics around the room, thus exercising my cardiovascular system. Which is followed by sprinting up and down the stairs in a rapid and highly agitated manner, hollering for my mother to do something. Then my mother calmly finishes her tea and sets it aside. She ascends the stairs in a dignified manner paying no attention to the blurry streak of fury that threatens to pull the house apart. She reaches in the cupboard and within five seconds pulls out the textbook in question. Then I rush to class full of vim and vigor.
So you can see, this is the only workout which promises to burn most of your calories through sheer fretting and exercises your muscles, both upper and lower body, heart, lungs and vocal cords. Particularly the vocal cords.
I might add that the hours I put into cleaning and organizing since day before yesterday will last for a day, three days tops. But that’s good, because if it didn’t then how would I stay fit?