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When I get time, I read or listen to music. If any is left, I blog!

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Legacies of The Genius

'Harry Potter' is not the end of a great legacy; neither is he the beginning! Surveys continue to reiterate that the world of books is indeed a treasure trove of eponymous characters, lighting up young minds.
To many, this may be kid's stuff! But, as a parent, if you haven't heard of those titles which have excited and enticed growing generations, shame on you! If you don't feel it, here are five reasons why you should:
  • Reading Arouses Curiosity
  • Reading Stimulates Thinking
  • Reading Encourages Learning
  • Reading Improves Communication
  • Reading Builds Character
Essential are these factors to support your child's mental, emotional and intellectual growth! Introduce your child to reading. It is never too late to do that.

7 Easy Steps
Take that first step. And keep going, until your child finds joy in the company of books.
  • Read books yourself.  Let your child see it.
  • Narrate to him/her, what you read in simple language.
  • Demonstrate the use of a dictionary.
  • Take the child to a library, bookshop, or book exhibition.
  • Teach your child to handle books with love and care.
  • Gift books for a child's birthday, not dresses or sweets.
  • Encourage the child to spend pocket money on books.
To help you, here is an author-specific list. It is only a starter kit, and hence maybe far from being comprehensive. But, as you go along, the list also will grow, making it an excellent reference for your child.
  1. A A Milne- Winnie the Pooh
  2. Alf Proysen- Mrs Pepperpot series
  3. Arthur W Ryder- Panchatantra
  4. Beatrix Potter- The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  5. Charles Dickens- A Christmas Carol

  1. Rajagopalachari- Ramayana; Mahabharata
  2. Dr Suess- Cat in the Hat; Green Eggs & Ham
  3. E B White- Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little
  4. E Nesbit- Railway Children; Enchanted Castle
  5. Enid Blyton- Famous Five; Secret Seven

  1. Eric Carle- Hungry Caterpillar, Grouchy Ladybug
  2. Francis Thomas- The Jataka Tales
  3. Hans AndersonEmperor's New Clothes; Mermaid
  4. J K Rowling- Harry Potter series
  5. J M Barrie- Peter Pan series

  1. Jerry Pinkney- Jean De La Fontaine Aesop’s Fables
  2. John Masefield- Midnight Folk;Box of Delights
  3. Jonathan Swift- Gulliver's Travels
  4. L Frank Baum- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  5. Lewis Carroll- Alice in Wonderland

  1. L M Montgomery- Anne of Green Gables
  2. Mark Twain- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  3. Narayana & Haksar- The Hitopadesha
  4. Pamela Travers- Mary Poppins
  5. R L Stevenson- Treasure Island

  1. R L Stine- Fear Street, Goosebumps...
  2. Roald DahlBFG, Charlie & Chocolate Factory
  3. Rudyard Kipling- The Jungle Book
  4. V Goyal- Fix Your Problems - Tenali Raman Way
  5. W E Johns- Biggles series
As Katherine Paterson said: "It is not enough to simply teach your children to read. Give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imagination. Something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own."
I leave you with a memorable quote by Ruth Crowley who used to write advice columns under the pseudonym Ann Landers:
"In the end, it is not what you do for your children,
but what you have taught them to do for themselves
that will make them successful human beings.
"

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Head Over Heels...!

You look after your hair, face, skin, hands..., but not your feet. Doesn't it sound strange? Maybe you think, beauty is in the face, and your feet in no way contribute to it. You are wrong.

Heels talk a lot about your sense of beauty, hygiene, health, and self confidence. For example, who does not dream of wearing sexy high heels, stilettos and designer sandals? But if you have cracked heels, you would not dare do it, because you know how embarrassing that could be!

Cracked heels are both painful and unattractive. With a bit of care and attention, you can make them healthy and beautiful. Remember, cracking of heels does not happen overnight. It takes time and neglect to get it.  Like any ailment, signs and symptoms precede in the case of cracked heels too.
Common Causes
  • Neglecting the thickening of skin around the heels
  • Extra pressure on the heels because of being overweight 
  • Standing too long on cold and hard floor 
  • Ill-fitting footwear that lets the fat-pad around the heels to expand
  • Diseases like Athlete’s foot, Psoriasis, Eczema, Diabetes etc.
  • Lack of hygiene, vitamins etc.
The slower you notice the symptoms, harder it will be to prevent the problem.

5 Ways To Take Care

  • Clean your feet, soak in warm soapy water, and pat your heels dry every night.
  • Rub in a mix of one teaspoon of Vaseline and the juice of one lemon.
  • Apply a paste of ground coconut and ripe banana. Leave it on for 15 minutes.
  • Massage Petroleum jelly on the heels.  Go to bed wearing a clean cotton socks.
  • A mixture of glycerine and rosewater can also do wonders.
Be Food-wise
Cracked heels are often caused by a deficiency of vitamins and minerals. Hence, consume a diet rich in Calcium, Iron, Zinc and Omega-3 Fats:

  • Vitamins: Carrot, Sweet potato, Spinach, Pumpkin, Cereals, Nuts
  • Calcium: Milk, Cheese, Yoghurt, Broccoli
  • Iron: Meat, Chicken, Fish, Eggs, Beans
  • Zinc: Oysters, Chicken, Crab, Kidney beans, Yoghurt
  • Omega-3: Fish, Flax seed, Walnut
Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Your skin will turn soft, supple and healthy.

Easy Tips

  • Keep your feet clean
  • Avoid walking bare foot
  • Wear soft, right sized footwear
  • Wear clean and dry socks
  • Walk barefoot on grass every day
How true was the German poet Bertolt Brecht, when he said:
. "Everyone chases happiness  
not knowing that happiness is right at their heels."

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Make Room For More Rules

Rules can be funny, stupid, at times even annoying. No wonder, some say: “Rules must be broken. If it is for a good cause, do not hesitate...” But there are others who caution: “No. Rules should never be broken. They bring into our lives a sense of right and wrong, order, and discipline.”

Far from these contrary views, it is the logic behind rule-making that surprises me. And it is not without reasons.

Recently, I happened to call on my family physician.  As usual, I followed the instruction at the entrance of his clinic: “Please remove your footwear.” The doctor sent me over to the pathological laboratory nearby for a blood test. There, a rather unusual instruction greeted me: “Do not remove your sandals/shoes.” I read it a second time. Although confused, I decided not to think about it any more.

That brought to my mind a funny incident.  Years ago, I had to shift to another city, and had to take a flat on rent. The first thing I noticed as I entered the premise, was a series of stickers. Each one had an instruction for the tenants and the visitors.

The one at the entrance read: “Do not leave the gate open.” Closing the gate, I walked in. “Do not pluck flowers”, read the second sticker. As a nature lover, I only knew to enjoy and admire their beauty, never to pluck them. A series of instructions followed: “Do not throw litter around”; “Do not smoke”; “Do not chew pan and spit”; “Do not play music loud.”

Thoroughly amused, I met the Secretary of the housing society and asked 'tongue-in-cheek': “So many dos and don'ts there! Are you sure, you haven’t missed any?” The secretary said earnestly: “Well. We could have. If you have noticed any, let us know. We will have them put up immediately.”

Rule-making gives those in authority, ample opportunities to wield their power. Assuming a 'larger-than-life' demeanour, they ignore the purpose, logic and realism behind the rules they conceive. Naturally, we are tempted to challenge them, at times jumping the traffic signal at a deserted junction or filing a 'shortened' tax return because of a clause perceived as unfair. Yet, we do not attempt to break free. Perhaps that was why E F Schumacher said:
"It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage 
to move in the opposite direction."