Friday, July 29, 2016

Fiction is born out of a fact!

A mesmerizing and a thrilling tale of love, hate, and revenge
Fiction is born out of a fact! True, isn’t it?
But, this holds true when the facts are presented in a right manner in a fiction. And, that’s what Ayan Pal has done in his book, Confessions on an Island where he have presented the facts in a well thought off manner. This book is intriguing and at the same time has a prefect recipe of thriller. Hats off to Ayan to pull out such a gripping tale of love, betrayal, and revenge. Ayan is a wonderful human being and now he is also a bestseller novelist in the making who has a unique way of storytelling that would keep you engaged and glued to the book right until you finish.   

Confessions on an Island is a tale of an abducted woman who is trapped in an island by a man in a mysterious manner and there is only one option for her to escape—she needs to tell stories. But the clue is that the stories must relate to the ones that are told by the abductor himself. Though, she feels clueless as to why she who is also a bestselling author has been asked to play such a game but she has no choice but play along. And, then, the thrilling tale in the deserted island begins. In addition, the book touches upon some social causes as well while trying to tell the readers about what wrong is happening in the society. And, I am even impressed to see the kind of details Ayan have put in and this also shows how much research he might have done like for example, there is one story where the author mentions about the food in Rajasthan or even a restaurant in another story. In this book, Ayan have very nicely woven all the stories in a manner as if we put all the beads together in a thread. In addition, all the stories are well connected and relate to each other. Ayan is a master storyteller already as he has coauthored several books like Chronicles of Urban Nomads, Crossed & Knotted, Rudraksha - When Gods Came Calling, and When They Spoke and with his debut novel he has proved it right.

Now, I am really looking forward for the sequel or another part of Confessions on an Island as it suggests in the end of novel and that is even more compelling and thought provoking.
Confessions on an IslandConfessions on an Island by Ayan Pal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Intriguing, Mind Blowing, and Terrific. Hats off to the author to pull out such a gripping tale of love, betrayal, and revenge. He seems to have a unique way of storytelling that would keep the readers engaged and glued to the book right until you finish. The book is full of emotions and at times I even empathized with the characters. In addition, the book touches upon some social causes as well while trying to tell the readers about what wrong is happening in the society. And, I am even impressed to see the kind of details the author has put in and this also shows how much research the author might have done like for example, there is one story where the author have mentions the food in Rajasthan or even a restaurant in another story. I especially also like the way all the stories has been woven just like the beads are woven together by the thread. For more details, click here:

View all my reviews

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Interview with Ayan Pal

Chat with Ayan Pal - Author of Confessions on an Island

You are currently working in the IT Industry. Have you always wanted to be a writer? Was there a particular moment when you thought, ‘Yes, I can do this!’?
I wanted to be a writer ever since I realized how much I enjoy creative writing - yeah, even essays as a part of the school curricula! But it wasn’t until I watched the movie ‘Signs’ by M. Night Shyamalan that I actually began to piece together several incidents in my life as being much more than mere coincidences. This slowly led me to a place where I was able to confidently proclaim ‘Yes, I can do this!’

What inspires you to write?
The thought of making my imagination come alive in the readers’ minds. And the ability to inspire and / or influence them through my words.

Talk to us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
I don’t manage to write on a regular basis due to my professional commitments as an IT professional. I usually write late in the evenings, early mornings, or over the weekends. A typical day would involve waking up in the morning, reading the newspaper, shifting to my favorite part of the room, and playing some ambient music before slowly drowning myself in the process of writing. I do take breaks in between, but usually try not to hamper my flow of writing when I manage to find a rhythm.

How is the market like for the new writers in India who want to start their career as a writer?
It’s both easy as well as difficult. While self-publishing has made it easier than ever before to become an author, it’s the crowd of often mundane books that makes it difficult to distinguish oneself from others. The money is there, but through content writing, technical writing, editing, and of course freelancing. However, if one has faith in his or her work, and is willing to give it the best shot, no matter what, then with some clever marketing, the sky is indeed the limit. But yes – it will take one a combination of passion, patience, and perseverance which isn’t the easiest thing in the world!

Is there any specific genre you target when you start writing a story or a novel? How did you choose the genre and title of your book?
As a short story author, I have tried several genres so far. My solo debut novel Confessions on an Island is a psychological thriller with several sub genres in it.  I chose to attempt this genre based on the feedback received on my short stories and anthologies so far. This helped me understand what is it that my readers connect with more and accordingly I set about writing this novel, which in a way combines the elements of my favorite stories so far. Naming the novel wasn’t easy but I was able to come up with it after discussions with my editor, publisher, and a wonderfully supportive group of beta readers, who also happen to be my co-authors over the years. I am also keen on attempting a series of books under fantasies, magic realism, and literary fiction provided my debut does well!

Please tell us a bit about your book?
Confessions on an Island is a story narrated by an island, a bestselling author, and a seemingly heartless abductor. The following is a blurb of the book:An abducted woman trapped on an island is given a chance to escape, provided she tells stories emerging from the stories her intriguing abductor tells her. Clueless about why she is being forced to participate in this game of Russian Matryoshka Dolls, the woman, a bestselling author, decides to play along. And therein begins a thrilling tale narrated by an island. Of a man and woman consumed by the power of their imagination and truth, even as the stakes are gradually raised. Soon the only way out is in – into the past, heart and mind. The island is ready to confess. Are you ready for the truth?

Does social media help the fiction writers? What role does it really play? Does constructive criticism play any role in the age of social media?
Social media does help an author reach out to a wider audience and connect with fans beyond one’s home town for instance. But social media by itself is not enough. Nothing can beat a reader and author interaction through a book reading or panel discussion for instance. But not everyone is in a position to utilize that, and hence social media helps one better one’s cause, so to speak. Having said that, it can also be detrimental. Here not just praise, but also criticism is for all to see. So it’s important to be careful and to try and strive a balance between online and offline / print presence. Having said that, constructive criticism, provided it’s not a paid review, always helps and that’s where social media comes in – to help one spread the word.


Do you have any role model or an influence as a writer? Tell us about a few of your all-time favorite authors and books.
Of course I do! I will always remain grateful to the following list of storytellers whom I have never met, but who inspired me through their passion, perseverance, talent, hard work and determination: Agatha Christie (especially the books featuring Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot), Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things), Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake, and Unaccustomed Earth), JK Rowling (Harry Potter series), JRR Tolkien (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series), M. Night Shyamalan (for his stories & scripts of The Sixth Sense, Signs, and The Village) and Satyajit Ray (Professor Shanku and Feluda series).

I also love The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk, Animal Farm by George Orwell, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.
I have also enjoyed the works of Jodi Picoult, Mitch Albom, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Jeffrey Archer, Rick Riordan, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, and Enid Blyton at various points in life.

Have you re-read any book from the list of your favorite books?
Yes, or course! On the top of the list would be the Harry Potter series of books, which I have read several times. I have also read The Alchemist at various points in my life, and many books by Enid Blyton multiple times while growing up.

How do you build your characters? 
I start off with a basic idea of what I want, but as I start writing, the characters almost always develop a mind of their own and end up chartering their individual journeys themselves.

You have published various short stories and now you have just written your first novel. How different are both of them?
It’s funny really, but I started off by writing a novel which took years to complete, and unfortunately isn’t quite ready yet. But then, when I switched to short stories, I almost immediately began to see the results for myself. I was able to not just try my hand at different genres, but also effectively gauge my readers’ reactions to my writing, thereby being able to identify my strengths and weaknesses.
Since 2014, I have had the opportunity of seeing my work published in as many as 10 books, some of which also went on to become Amazon bestsellers. My first composite novel Crossed and Knotted also found a mention in the ‘Limca Book of Records’. But the creative satisfaction of coming up with a solo novel is entirely different. As a writer, a short story is at times quite difficult, due to restrictions in terms of words to completely narrate a story, but a novel is an exercise in commitment and much more difficult, for it requires planning and a huge amount of investment time wise. But the writing of short stories can ultimately help one develop ways of plotting a chapter of a novel much better – at least it did for me! This, for me, was a wonderful way of getting my bearings right and come up with the perfect novel – which I hope Confessions on an Island is.

Any advice for aspiring fiction novel authors…
Start with simple plotlines and ideas. Try your hand at short stories, and read. A lot! The best way to learn writing is by reading. Especially recent books, be it from the genre you wish to pursue or otherwise. To try and understand what works and what doesn’t. It’s important to recognize your shortcomings, identify areas of improvement, and at all times to believe in your dreams. The rest will automatically follow. All the best!

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

A blissful journey of rejuvenation to Dharamshala and Dalhousie

Finally, we are back to the heat and dust of Delhi with the temperature soaring to 37 degrees and we are surviving to the artificial air of air conditioner.  But, when I look back to the memories of our blissful vacation trip with my family, it feels wonderful. It all started a month ago when we were still deciding where to go. We had a variety of destinations to choose from like Goa and Darjeeling. We even thought of Srinagar but nothing really worked both from cost and weather perspective. We were told that Goa will be too hot and humid in this month. So, we chose Dharamshala, Dalhousie, and Khajjiar for our summer vacation. I am glad that we chose these three destinations to relieve ourselves from the heat for a while. It all started with a month of planning when we were choosing a hotel in Dharamshala. We had searched on various travel sites, like goibibo, yatra, and makemytrip and finally we put our money on Gandhi’s Paradise as I got a good deal (around 60% discount) from makemytrip. We chose to travel by road and had booked the Volvo tickets through HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation). After having booked our hotel in Dharamshala, we chose Hotel Grace Mount in Dalhousie and booked the luxury Suite directly from the hotel itself as we didn’t get any deal for Dalhousie in any of the travel sites.  Finally, the day arrived when we had to travel to our vacation and I still remember it was 25th May. Even God was in favor of our journey so much so that the weather had suddenly become cooler than before.  Few hours before our departure, a thunderstorm had started and it rained heavily with hailstorms as well. But, thankfully, it stopped raining when we had to depart for our journey and I had booked a taxi from OLA to Kashmiri Gate ISBT. We reached Kashmiri Gate ISBT by 7:30 PM as our Volvo bus was to depart by 8:05 PM and it was spot on time. It had stopped midway for about 20-25 minutes to give some break to the passengers. It took us around 11 hours to reach Dharamshala and we reached McLoedganj bus stand at 8 AM where we boarded a taxi to reach our hotel as it was a little far away from the bus stand in McLoedganj and it cost us around 200 Rs. Our hotel, Gandhi’s Paradise was in Mcloedganj i.e. Upper Dharamshala. We reached the hotel in about 10-15 minutes and we were really surprised to see the location of the hotel. Though, it was at a distance from the market but it had an excellent view of the mountains. There was an initial hiccups at the hotel as we had little early before the checkin and the room was still needs to be prepared though we had already informed the hotel in advance about our time. However, the hotel staff were polite enough and I must say that the owner of hotel Sanjeev Gandhi took special care to make us feel at home. They made all arrangements to make us feel at home in their restaurant. The hotel also had a kids play area where my son really enjoyed. We refreshed ourselves and had our breakfast from their Ala Carte menu before we got our room at around 10:45 AM. The room was well maintained and t had an independent balcony with a spectacular view of the mountains, and the beds were aligned in a manner that the sun rays fall upon us in the morning and it looked amazing. Upon reaching the room, we refreshed a bit more before moving to sightseeing trip. As it was already 1 PM so we decided to go only for local sightseeing in McLoedganj and we had boarded the same taxi that had brought us to the hotel from the bus stop. The taxi cost us around 800 Rs for local sightseeing tour.  Mcleodganj is located in upper Dharamsala at an altitude of 1700 meters above the sea level, and is a home to the holi highness, Dalai Lama. Mcloedganj offers you a variety of places to visit such as Dal Lake, Naddi point, Dalai Lama temple complex, Bhasunag temple, Bhagsu waterfalls, and St John’s church.
Our day ended with bhagsunag as it was near to our hotel and since we were really tired from the overnight journey and the sightseeing tour so we decided to call it a day to relax ourselves at the hotel. We decided to move to the terrace to embrace the beauty of dhamarshala at night and ordered our dinner at the hotel’s restaurant before dozing off to sleep. Next day when we got up, we were greeted with the sun rays that fall directly on us and the view looked amazing. We had a morning tea and ordered breakfast of masala omlette and toast and parathas before proceeding for sightseeing tour of Dharamshala.  Dharamshala also offers you a variety of places that you can explore. A must visit is the war memorial garden that is situated before the main bus stand near Dharamshala college. The garden is dedicated to all those brave men who have sacrificed their lives while defending their motherland. Its walls embark the names of the brave martyrs as a sign of respect to all of them. About 1 km from the memorial is the International Cricket stadium, which is also a must visit. This stadium has a unique architecture that would immediately catch your attention.
Next, we went to explore the tea gardens that offers a splendid view and we even bought tea as a souvenir and then we also visited the kunal pathri mandir. Our sightseeing ended with the last and final destination of Gyuto Monastery, which is one of the most famous monasteries in Tibet and is known for its study of Tantric meditation, Tantric ritual arts and Buddhist philosophy. We stopped our sightseeing at the Mcloedganj Main Square market. This place is a centrally located in McLoedganj and is lined with shops that allows you to buy variety of stuff, such as handicrafts, clothes, gifts, and restaurants. There are various famous restaurants in the main square market, such as Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen, McLlo, Tibet Kitchen, Namgyal Café, Lobsang's Four Seasons Café, Taste of India, and so on. We had our lunch at the McLlo restaurant we ordered a pizza and a beer and costed us around 300 Rs. We also decided to taste some of local delicacies so we ordered few veg momos and thukpa from a street food vendor and I must say that quality was as good as any 5 star restaurant. We also did some shopping and bought some gifts and souvenirs for our family and then booked an auto rickshaw from the auto rickshaw stand to proceed to our hotel. We were very tired when reached our room in the hotel from the whole day sightseeing so we decided to call it a day and have the dinner at the hotel restaurant itself. After taking some rest, we took some time to take some selfies of the views from room (do not forget to carry your selfie stickJ).  After having dinner at the hotel, we decided to call it a day and bid a last good night to Dharamshala as next day we had to travel to Dalhousie. The next morning was really special for me as it was my 39th birthday and it was first ever time when I was celebrating it outside. My wife and son had made plans and already had ordered a cake from the hotel. I must say that it was a pleasant surprise for me to make me feel at home. We got up early as we had to leave by 9 AM. I had already hired a taxi the earlier day to go to Dalhousie. The taxi arrived sharp at 9 AM and we checked out from the hotel at 9:30 AM and had our breakfast midway at Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen where we ordered tomato pasta and omlette and then continued our journey to Dalhousie. We reached Dalhousie at around 1 PM and checked in to the hotel Grace Mount at 1:30 PM. I had already booked a Luxury suite room at the hotel as most of the hotels were booked due to heavy rush but I really got a good deal and hotel was on a good location. It was right on the khajjiar road and gave an excellent view of valley. The weather in Dalhousie was different from that of Dharamshala as it was bit cold. To our good fortune, it started to rain in the evening and it became really chilly at night. So, on that day, we really couldn’t do much of sightseeing apart from going to Punjpulla and do some adventure activities. We reached hotel after having stuck in the traffic for over 3 hours and ordered a lavish dinner at the hotel itself. The next day, we went to Khajjiar and I must say that experience was really wonderful. Khajjiar is called the mini-Switzerland of India and rightly so. It has lake called the Khajjiar lake at the center and is surrounded by trees on all sides and has a huge ground with lush green grass and also has an excellent view of mountains. Though the sun was brightly shining but it looked wonderful and we didn’t feel the heat. We really felt that we have come to the heaven. And, as the name suggests, it looked absolutely mini-Switzerland of India and is a must visit spot in surrounded by hills, sceneries and lush green landscapes. The place is ideal for picnics, photography, strolls and more. Khajjiar offers a lot of activities to keep you and your family busy for both children and adults. For kids, there are various kinds of rides such as horse riding etc and for adults, you can plunge into the adventure activities, such as zorbing and paragliding. Out day at Khajjiar ended with a visit to the nearby Khajji Nag temple, which is rich in history. This temple dates back to the 12th century and still stands in the magnificent splendor in Khajjiar. You do not have to worry about where to stay or what to eat. Khajjiar has budget hotels, luxury hotels as well as resorts for accommodation.
Almost every hotel offers panoramic views of the snow-clad mountains. We came back exhausted at the hotel and took a plunge into the bed to take some rest and then we took a walk into the hills to proceed to the Gandhi Chowk, which is the main market of Dalhousie. Gandhi Chowk is the most happening shopping area in Dalhousie with a number of shops and delectable eateries scattered all over the place. It is the central area of Dalhousie, with the most important buildings, post office and restaurants along with a small Tibetan market selling handicrafts items situated in the vicinity. We had our dinner at the Gandhi Chowk and then boarded a taxi to reach our hotel. We were so tired because of the day-long journey that we just plunged into the bed for a last night at Dalhousie. The next morning was very pleasant with sun shining brightly. It was our last day at Dalhousie so we decided to take an early breakfast. The hotel’s restaurant offered buffet breakfast with a variety of dishes being served from vegetarian to eggeterians. After having our breakfast, we got ready to check out from the hotel as the checkout time was at 11 AM. Since our bus was supposed to leave at 8:30 so we had ample time for our departure but the hotel were wise enough to advise us to visit the Dainkund peak, which is a gentle, sloping walk near an Air Force base in Dalhousie, leading to a Hindu temple. Daikund peak is a tourist destination perched at an altitude of 2755 meters. We relished a 360 degree view of the entire valley of Dalhousie from this peak. The view from the top of the Daikund peak is breathtaking and stunning, and the noise of the breeze passing through the trees makes a musical sound, due to which this peak has also obtained the name, the singing hill. You need to walk at approximately 5 KMs to reach to the top of the Daikund peak but once you reach the top, scintillating view of the mountains will leave you mesmerized and another 2 KM trek will lead you to the Bholani Devi temple. Dainkund is the highest peak in Dalhousie and gets maximum snowfall during the winter season.


We stayed there for a while and had our snacks at the temple complex. There are few eateries at the temple that offers little variety of food like maggi, pakodas, tea, and cold drinks. And, then we stared to move down when we came back at around 3 PM. Finally, we came back to our hotel to pick our luggage and then we proceeded towards the Gandhi Chowk to give a final touch and collect few souvenirs for our family and then had a heavy lunch at the market. And, then we left the taxi at the bus stand where our bus was to arrive to move towards our destination. We boarded the bus at around 8:30 PM and as the bus was about to leave Dalhousie, we bud fare well to the mesmerizing hill station with a hope to come back one more time.  

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 5 key learning trends in 2016

May every great new day

Bring you sweet surprises–A happiness buffet.

Happy New Year to you,

And when the new year’s done,

May the next year be even better,

Full of pleasure, joy and fun

As we are all geared up on the New Year’s Eve today to bid farewell to the year 2015 and welcome the New Year—2016, we all hope that the next year will be full of pleasure, joy, and fun. The year 2015 was the most exciting year and especially for learning professionals as it saw a lot of advancements. There were a lot of interesting developments that had happened during this year in the field of learning, such as micro learning and gamification. So, let us have a look at the key learning trends to watch out for in the year 2016.

Automation in learning will hold the key
Many experts believe that that the year 2016 will see the rise of automation in learning and it will be become a key aspect in the content development and processing. In a most likely scenario, next year will see utilization of increasing number of automation tools to develop new courses and learning content. This will help the organizations to save both money and time invested on conventional processes. The learning professionals will develop various courseware components such as quizzes and assignments using various automation tools that are able to effectively scan the course content and determine its most critical aspects that must be tested.

Rise of videos and gamification
With the rise of smartphones and other technological advancements, video-based learning is flourishing and will continue to rise in the year 2016 as well. According to Google, 98% of 18-24 year-olds reported watching video content on smartphones on a typical day and professionals are 2x more likely to be focused while watching video on their smartphones. Video is fast becoming a preferred medium for learning with 91% of smartphone users turning to their devices for ideas while completing a task. Furthermore, 67% of professionals believe that they can find a YouTube video for anything they want to learn. Video-based learning will also offer a great way of tracking progress. Gamification is another major trend that is bound to flourish in the year 2016. Today, it is a key trend that most of the people are still waiting to explore, in particular, on the learning scene. Experts believe that using game mechanics to non-gaming contexts brings amazing outcomes, most importantly, in motivating users to attain their goals.

Social learning is on the rise
Social learning will continue to be another powerful tool to engage the learners and shall produce great results as the learners catch on faster to information when socializing. It will be allow them to share their knowledge and experiences with others. More and more organizations are now using social media tools for easy and fast communication. Learners can ask questions, share their concerns and give advice to others on course modules or team projects, therefore creating a community of practice.

Everything will be on cloud
Cloud is already on rise in every sector, and it will also continue to grow in the field of learning. According to the eLearning market trends and forecast report, it has been predicted that the use of cloud-based authoring tools and learning platforms will grow by 9% in the US – each year counting from 2013.   

Personalized learning
Learning will going to be more personalized in the year 2016 with focus of learning will be more learner-centric and the courses will be more focused to address the needs preferences and requirements of individuals rather than groups. It is more about experience so Learners will have greater control over their learning experience, from setting the pace of instruction and choosing their own learning paths. Learning will be a much more enjoyable experience with custom options that are tailored for each individual learner, which will lead to higher engagement rates and of course better results.

It is very likely that 2016 will see a drastic change in the field of learning and we are bound to see a change in our approach to instruction, knowledge management and learning methodologies. These may not be the exhaustive list so please feel free to add your own predictions for the following year.

Wishing you all a very happy & a prosperous new year!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Intolerance is rising: Is this really true?

“Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding” --- Mahatma Gandhi
Last few days, we have seen and heard about the word, Intolerance and this has been particularly because of the statement from one of the finest actors, Aamir Khan. In one of the award ceremonies, Aamir had said, “When I chat with Kiran at home, she says ‘Should we move out of India?’ That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day.”

He also said, “That does indicate that there is this sense of growing disquiet, there is growing despondency apart from alarm. You feel why this is happening, you feel low. That sense does exist in me.”
He specifically mentioned that there is growing intolerance in the nation. Before we proceed further, let us first understand the meaning of this word. Intolerance refers to unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.

So, are we really tolerant? Are we willing to accept views and beliefs posed by others? And, the answer is, Yes, we are very tolerant people. We have been really tolerant since 1947 or 1984 or 2002 or 2008. Since so many years, there have been so many instances of riots but we have been really tolerant to even talk about it. So, why the talk about intolerance now? Kiran Kher, BJP MO from Punjab very rightly pointed out in the lok sabha yesterday that India had been tolerating misrule and corruption for 65 years under the regime of the grand old party. She also strongly reacted against the intellectuals who gave away the awards and slammed them while asking them that where were they when the Sikhs were being massacred in 1984 or when Kashmiri pundits were been thrown out of their own state that is Kashmir. She mentioned, “Intolerance is rising they say in comparison to what and when because you say something that intolerance is rising in reference to what; when we would be more tolerant than we are now.” She asked, “Do we have a reference pint in recent history?” She also stated that that incidents that occurred in Dadri and rationalists are regrettable and should not happen anywhere in a civilized society but stray incidents have been happening all over India for many years.  Well, Kiran is very right in her own sense and I would also like to ask all the writers who have protested over the so called growing intolerance that where was their conscience in all these years when so many things that should have shaken their conscience any why they didn’t wake up then. Is it that we were very tolerant then and suddenly our conscience have risen and have become intolerant?
So, coming back to what Aamir Khan and other people in the film fraternity mentioned about the growing intolerance, I would definitely agree that intolerance is rising and it has been rising many many years and we as common public have been really tolerant and patient enough. A soldier who is guarding our border against the enemies is also very tolerant. A widow of a soldier who had been killed in an encounter with the terrorist has also been tolerant and patient because if there were not tolerant then we wouldn’t have been living safely in our homes and watching the debate on growing intolerance. So, let us finish this debate on intolerance and tolerance and let us all work collaboratively to make this place a better place to live in so that our future generation would not have deal with another debate in the future about growing intolerance.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Life is a biggest teacher!

“Life is like a great teacher …. she will repeat the lesson until you learn”, Ricky Martin

On Teacher’s Day today, I would like to thank all my teachers in school, college, etc. to provide me the knowledge and wisdom and make me what I am today. It is only because of them today to be what I am today. Today, I also would like to thank my parents who have me by biggest teachers on this earth and I would specially like to mention my father. I know he would have been really proud today as I have always considered my role model. 

In addition, I would like to thank my friends who have also been my biggest teachers because as it has been quoted, “A friend can be a good teacher too”. I would also like to thank my son who have been teacher too. Yes, my son because sometimes children can teach you what even the expert teachers can’t do it. And, finally, I would like to thank this life and most importantly, “God” to being my biggest teacher. As, indeed, life is the biggest teacher because you get to learn various lessons in every phase of life. Wherever you go or whatsoever you do, there is no better teacher than life. Whether you fail or succeed, it will be an experience for you and will remain with you forever. 

As Bruce lee have rightly said, “Life itself is your teacher and you are in a state of constant learning”. Most of the greatest learning that happens in our life is when we either fail to do something or when we succeed in a task or an assignment. In addition, life is the only teacher who tests you first and then gives you a lesson—that will remain with you throughout until you breadth your last. Experts believe that life is a biggest school, God is the best teacher, problem is the best assignment, and failure is the best revision. Life is full of experiences, and those can be either good or bad or they can be also enjoyable or painful. Let’s say you fail in a certain task, it will be values more as it will give you experience to make you stronger and give a chance to give you learning so that you do not repeat your mistakes. It is even believed that bad experiences are actually a face of God as they come especially to teach you a lesson but it is absolutely up to you how you perceive it. Life is a teacher that gives you an opportunity to learn so that you can do more better later.

Friday, September 04, 2015

5 tips on using social media in a responsible manner

Few weeks back, a post got viral on Facebook where a woman posted a picture of man and accused him of eve teasing. There was a lot of hue and cry in the social media, where everyone was posting their comments or tweeting their reaction and were trying to defame the man. No one for once tried to think if the post that was posted by the woman was indeed true. They just followed their own instinct and even gave a judgement, and few even called the man as a “pervert”. And, then we come to know from the same social media that woman was indeed lying. So, was it really necessary? Who are we to provide a judgement? There is a court of law to decide whether the man is a culprit and no one is bigger the law. So, who has given us the right to defame anyone even if he / she may have committed a shameful crime? This gives me a point to think that whether we are using social media in a responsible and sensible manner. So, what do we do? Do we just comment on any post that we see on Facebook or tweet about anything? Isn’t it really necessary to think before we start to comment on Facebook or tweeting on twitter?
Here are some tips on how we can be sensible enough while using social media:

  1. Be attentive while responding in social media: We often receive links or posts from several people who have shared without actually reading them. More often, people comment on posts after they have only scanned them. One of the greatest gift that we give anyone is our attention on social media. We should always ensure to respond thoughtfully to any comment on a post or a tweet to indeed make a difference.
  2. Be active and not reactive: “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” If you are a science student then you should indeed remember this Newton’s third law of motion. But, this doesn’t hold true for social media. It is indeed important to be active on social media but it is not necessary to react to each and every comment or a tweet. We should always think before responding to any update on social media. We must first think before joining the crowd to react on any post or a tweet. We must ask ourselves that whether is it really true or is it necessary or is it indeed kind enough. Before you react on social media, always ask yourself that if it indeed is helpful and will not harm anyone. 
  3. Recognize your purpose: It is very important to be mindful before you start to post anything on social media or tweet anything. We must ask ourselves that whether I will be seen or will be need to be validated. In addition, we also must ask ourselves that whether we post anything is constructive enough or is it destructive. Doug Firebaugh of has identified seven psychological needs we may be looking to meet while using social media: acknowledgment, attention, approval, appreciation, acclaim, assurance, and inclusion. 
  4. Follow the “Let it go!” syndrome: As a good citizen, it is good to voice your opinion on social media but it is not always necessary to react to each and every post or tweet on twitter. Rather, we should follow the “Let it go” syndrome though it may seem unkind to disregard any update on social media but you must follow you own instincts. 
  5. Finally, have fun with social media: Social media have become an important part of our daily life and it has also become a platform to communicate and collaborate with various people. It has given an opportunity to be social so we must use social media to stay connected in order to build relationships.
So, while it is utmost necessary to voice your opinion but it is also important to be responsible while using social media. However, at the same time, have fun and enjoy the time over social media as this is a wonderful gift that we have today. 

Social media today has taken the online world by storm so we just need to be a little mindful while using social media.