Living now.

If

I die

Today, Would a

leaf  Fall to earth?

Would my soul have touched,

A single life, a

Memory for a

Single tear

Drop?

Is

Life so

Dramatic, theatrical, fantastic

To place in me

A soul of any worth?

A grand creator upon

A mighty throne

Truly feels

This?

An

Animal of

Today perhaps gone

Tomorrow for all eternity

Am I to wait

For this

End?

To

Wait for

A better now

Than Now?

I

Was that

Instant,

Gone.

 

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A chicken Story III

Lets go back to our brave, inquisitive and thoroughly confused friend doodles once more. Doodles finally has proof that what Roodles is saying and doing is wrong; That the Holy Egg- If such a thing exists for that matter- Would not have wanted poor Coodles to die so painfully.

Doodles decides to give his old friend one more chance and goes to the palatial white marble mansion right in the middle of the street where Roodles now lives, where he finds him sitting on a golden throne.

He talks to him about thee house he now lives in, and Roodles replies that the finery is representative of the House of the Holy Egg, and thus deserves to be resplendent.

To this doodles asks him why he chose to build a mansion for himself, and not move on. Why he decided to stay in one place, the very wrong for which Coodles died.

Roodles, sitting on the throne, being fed grapes by one of his many servants replies that it is the will of The Egg. Doodles is angered by this, and he tells his friend about how he had arranged cameras, and now knew that the feed and death were never caused by any God; That they were just random occurrences. Most of all, he reminds him that Coodles didn’t have to die.

Roodles fumes, and tells Doodles to take down the cameras, or else. Doodles refuses, and Roodles tells the world that Doodles has gone over to Beelzebub, that no one is to listen to what he says. Secretly, he also tells his followers to find him, and burn him.

Doodles, now a very resourceful chicken, places around pamphlets telling the world about the hypocrisy that Roodles was following, and how The Holy Egg does not exist. He goes around the street telling the chickens about how they were being manipulated, and gradually he gains a following of his own.

Many of Roodles’ followers try to kill doodles, but they fail, and their attempts create more followers on doodles’ side. Doodles appeals to the good within each chicken, and tells the chickens that the Holy Egg is simply a concept of the good within them all, and to truly follow in such a being’s steps, they would have to follow the good within themselves.

Gradually the world turns against Roodles, and one day he is  dragged into court, along with the many chickens who took advantage of the world with him. For his crimes against the world, he was to hang.

And so, the chickens looked within themselves, and found that the world was good because of their own morals. Hence the chicken story ends, with Doodles leading the world to see the power in each chicken: to change the destiny of their race, for good or bad.

 

 

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A dreamer’s craft

Dull grey robe, jet black hair

But eyes that see beyond despair

Skin of flesh, body of bone

Within a soul unturned to stone.

Dull table before, stone stool below

But a thousand seas he’s roe’d

The dreamer, a child of little talent

With stories called fraudulent,

But one who in his prison tries

To see beyond mere mortal’s eyes

A gray world, of death and lies

In each nook he sees surprise

Tomorrow comes death many say

He responds, I must see today.

A world of comfort and joy

Nothing any other may employ.

So one may ask, what would he do?

For one with so little, who will stew?

For one must fill his body

T’is fact beyond shoddy.

The dreamer climbed down

And walked into town

And wondered, what can I be?

And there lay crying a boy for all to see.

He holds the child and tells, let it be;

For I will give my eyes to you,

And thus set you free.

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The topper

The topper sat at his table, eyes fixed upon the sagely man attempting to teach them for the umpteenth time that semester. As usual he could hear the sounds of chatter, gasps as chalk missiles hit their mark and the odd ringtone buzzing across the class. He paid them no heed, turning once in a while to clear his bench mate’s doubts. He knew he was having less of their version of ‘fun’. He nodded his head in understanding as the teacher turned to them.
He knew that they probably mocked him for the way he acted, for how he studied, for the passion he had for his studies. Truth was, he didn’t mind. He sympathized with them. This was the age, after all, when one considers oneself the hero of his own story, a person who would bravely face the world in their own way and one day gain a pile of gold, a beautiful mate and a chariot with ‘Happily ever after’ engraved on it.
Standing up, he clears the doubt that formed in his mind.
It wasn’t naivety, its the age playing on their mind. The truth would come later. The world is filled with hardships, but they hide in the shadows of a child’s eye.
They considers him a villain, one who brings the GPA of the entire class down, a selfish being. Yet they never remember the countless times he has cleared their doubts, the exam mornings where he would patiently explain things to a friend who didn’t bother studying. The countless assignments he had done in advance so that they could copy and submit as well.
The teacher asks the class to quiet down. No response. He notes down the formula the teacher just gave.
They couldn’t understand that he had different interests; That solving sums and reading up and understanding concepts filled him with joy along with knowledge.
The teacher turns around, glowers at the class and asks a question, menace in his voice.
But that was OK, because it’s the age for innocence, and he would not fight that.
Desperation fills the teacher’s eyes, and the class has finally fell silent. He can feel their gazes searching around for someone with an answer, a listener, a savior.
He stands up, and speaks the words that have long been playing at his lips. The teacher calms down, and returns to the board. All is usual.
Whether they wanted him or not, they needed him. For them, he would remain the forgotten hero, the hidden savior.
He would be…

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Unheard stories and Unseen perceptions

Do you see the larger picture?

All of us know the stories of Bhima and Duryodhana, Arjuna and Karna, David and Goliath. One thing common in all these historic face offs is that they are considered to be Good versus Evil, White against black, Super hero against the super villains. After decades of these stories going unquestioned, years of these tales forming our basic and fundamental values it’s time we look back and read the fine print. Figure out with what we pride to have today, logic and reason, who is black and why is it bad by default?

Let us look at the other similarities between these stories, all of the heroes were considered underdogs compared to the villain, weaker in strength yet, righteous in nature and thus they walk away on the winning side, winning the battle, millions of hearts and histories’ crown of fame. Are they really underdogs? Were they denied a fair chance?

Bhima and Duryodhana, they were among the five equally powerful princes in their times and history said, the five will perish in each other’s hands alone. Duryodhana performed a penance to attain the strength and energy, Bhima had Krishna on his side. Both of them were equally equipped I must say, except, Duryodhana had a weakness Bhima did not. The portion above his thighs is the most vulnerable region of his body. Not a problem, because ethics of warfare don’t allow the opponent to target that area. History has always made exceptions to ensure the victory of its heroes, Bhima never adhered to these rules and he was hinted to do so by none other than Krishna, I’m sorry LORD Krishna.

David and Goliath, well, it’s not a similar case. They were not equally equipped, one was stronger the other, weaker. One had a mightier weapon the other, less powerful one, one played by the books while the other did not. The question you have to answer again is who is that one person? Goliath. David carried a sling, a weapon considered most accurate with the ability to out beat infantry; the latter being Goliath’s strength. Goliath challenged David “Come to me”. This sentence only means he was throwing a challenge for a face off. Not an unexpected random attack. Goliath was as recent scientific research says, suffering with a tumor in his head which was the reason he was a giant, the reason he had blurred vision. “Why are you coming to me with sticks” he says, while in reality David was carrying just one stick. The call for a fair battle was unheeded to by the so called underdog, if you still believe he was one.

 

Arjuna and Karna had a similar situation.  Karna was on his feet trying to pull out his chariot from the

Employing deceitful methods in face of a strong enemy, breaking the ethics of warfare which in those times were considered sin and to top it all doing this in the name of righteousness; I present to you, our super heroes. ground when he was killed.

There is evil in everyone, it is just situational that the evil never sees the light of day. Just because there are black spots on the sheet, you cannot choose to ignore the white bits or give the one with a pure white sheet an exception in the name of “greater good”. Think.Percieve.There is a lot more behind the scenes.

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The Leaning Tower

Architecture is man’s most magnanimous way of expressing himself, the world his canvas. Sometimes, he uses it to pull a fast one on science, and the results are awe inspiring. Some of the greatest architectural works are those which dare to defy the laws of science, seemingly.

While such many architectural wonders exist throughout the world, one that has never ceased to capture the imagination of onlookers, was the result of a mistake. Ever since Galileo supposedly dropped objects from it’s top to verify his theories, the Leaning Tower of Pisa has been the poster boy of unconventional architecture for it’s six degree tilt.

Completed in 1372, the tower was built as the bell tower to the cathedral in Pisa. By that time, it already had a substantial tilt. This was due to weak subsoil, an architect’s nightmare, and an unforeseeable event.In 1178, after the initial stages of construction, by which time the tower had already started to tilt, construction was halted for close to a hundred years as Pisa was continually at war with neighbouring provinces. This gave time for the soil underneath to settle. If not for this, the tower would have certainly toppled. Therefore, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually a testament to war.

inside the leaning tower

To compensate for the tilt, the upper floors are built with one side taller than the other, resulting in a curved tower.

Now, the biggest most important question- will it ever fall?

There is good reason to believe that it will not. The leaning tower has had close calls ever since it’s construction, and has come through. In fact, in 1911, the top of the tower was moving at 1.2 inches a year. In 1990, after decades of studies, the tower was closed to public following the collapse of the Civic Tower of Pavia. In the end, engineers took an ultimate measure of reducing it’s tilt to three degrees by removing soil from the lopsided end. After further studies, the tower was reopened to the public in 2001 and was declared stable for at least 300 years.

The leaning tower is here to stay.

 

 

 

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The Outsider

A spectator to the game yet an integral part of it. His involvement lasts a few moments but this brevity belies its very decisiveness. He dons the robes of the hero and the villain at a blink of an eye. A lone wolf, left to the turbulence of events unfurling ahead of him. He is a narcissist. An anomaly. He bears the brunt of his colleagues’ shortcomings. Or inversely, he is considered their Achilles Heel. He is alone. He is tasked to prevent the natural, beautiful conclusion of the game: a goal. He is solitary. He is the outsider.

On the opposite end of the field, the attacking players are showered with the praise and prestige. Their gloved teammate however, places his physical integrity on the line to keep the scores intact; a trivial matter when viewed with potential costs in mind. Rarely can he count on someone to assist. The blame he is burdened entire. An anomaly of psychology can only explain the inner workings of a goalkeeper’s mind.

The romanticism of the above lines notwithstanding. The goalkeeper has a rather unique function in football. Designed to prevent the ball from crossing the goal-line, he has been afforded a few aberrations within the Laws of the Game to do the same. Any extension of his body can be used to handle the ball within the confines of the 18 yard box. His clothing remain differently colored and he has been awarded the squad number ‘1’ by default. And most importantly, he has been provided with extra protection by the referee when in possession of the football.

There are certain traits valuable to any goalkeeper: an advanced ability to read the game and position oneself accordingly, an acute sense of anticipation and agility to complement these mental capabilities. From the above statement, one can infer the importance of psychology the typical goalkeeper. He may not do much during the match: collecting wayward passes from the opposition, taking goal-kicks or redistributing the ball. But in those split-seconds of magic: a blistering drive from outside the box, a curler from the edge of the box or perhaps a wonderfully threaded pass that wreaks havoc within the defense. What happens next defines the goalkeeper and is an acid test of his ability. A test only a few can pass unscathed.

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The science behind Fear - Part 2

 

In the previous article we found how the brain processes the signal and induces what we call fear. In this article we’ll have a glimpse of the typical symptoms associated with the brain’s response and why they are necessary.

The fight or flight response is characterized by

a)      increased heart rate and blood pressure

b)      pupils dilating

c)       experiencing a “chill”

d)      tensing of muscles resulting in goosebumps

e)      shutting down of non-essential systems like digestive and immune system

f)       relaxing of smooth muscles

g)      trouble focusing on small tasks

Each one of these response is directed by the flood of hormones in the body as ordered by the brain through various channels but before finding out how this is achieved, let us analyse why this kind of a response is necessary in the first place.

In case of danger, any human being has two options (any organism for that matter) – either face the situation and overcome it (fight) or flee the danger (flight). In either case, the body needs to be ready; it needs to take action, and take it fast. Increased heart and blood pressure ensure that enough oxygen is being supplied to all essential part of the body so that quick action can be taken. This would also mean the oxygen intake to the body itself has to be increased. Thus, the smooth muscles relax to let in more oxygen into the lungs. (These are the muscles which do not need any conscious thought for their activation, for example those in lungs, walls of stomach, bladder, walls of blood vessels etc., and are also called involuntary muscles as opposed to the voluntary muscles which are activated only by conscious effort viz. the muscles used for locomotion. The latter are also called skeletal muscle as they are anchored by tendons to the bones.)

Efficiency of circulation is also increased to make sure the requisite organs receive the most amount oxygen. Veins in skin constrict to send more blood to major muscle groups. This is what causes the “chill” as there is less blood in the skin to keep it warm. To allow more energy for emergency functions, non essential systems shut down.

To make sure enough sensory data is being received, pupils dilate to take in as much light as possible.

The level of glucose and adrenaline in the blood rises to energize the muscles. As the muscles tense up, a person experiences goose bumps. The hairs are forced upright as the muscles attached to each hair on the surface tense up.

Since the brain is directed to focus only on the big picture in order to determine where the threat is coming and how best to survive, it finds it difficult to concentrate on smaller tasks.

Thus, every single part of the body is utilized and prepared to combat the danger. And how exactly are all these things coordinated?

There are two systems attached to the fight or flight response – the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system. Let us not worry too much about the complicated names and instead just focus on their functions.

As seen in the previous part whether it is the low road or the high road, they both end at the hypothalamus. Now, hypothalamus activates the two systems mentioned above. Once activated, the sympathetic nervous system uses nerve pathways to initiate reactions in the body. All these reactions have only one goal – to make the body alert. Impulses are sent to glands and smooth muscles and the adrenal medulla is asked to release epinephrine and norephinephrine into the blood stream. These hormones, also called adrenaline and noreadrenaline cause several changes in the body including the increased heart rate and blood pressure.

The adrenal cortical system is activated when the hypothalamus releases corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) into the pituitary gland. A hormone called ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) is release which moves through the bloodstream and ultimately reaches the adrenal cortex. This then activates the release of approximately 30 different hormones responsible for the aforementioned symptoms.

Thus, this tsunami of hormones prepares us for the threat.

But then these threats differ for different people. What arouses a deep fear in one person might not ruffle the other in the slightest. Why this disparity? In the next part we’ll analyze the psychology behind fear.

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It’s About YOU!

What is Youtube? The question brings a spontaneous answer from anyone who has visited the website – the third largest on the internet. It is a video sharing website, on which users can upload, view and share videos. This definition is a rather modest way to talk about something as powerful as Youtube, which has commanded a ground-breaking change in the face of mass media.

Youtube was created by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim in early 2005. They were formerly employees of PayPal. Youtube has been owned by Google since late 2006. The story of how it began is a peculiar one. One night Hurley, Chen and Karim were frustrated at having difficulties in sharing a video which they took at a party, with their friends. On that weary night, the three of them realized that the world was short of a place where people could share videos with ease. But the real inspiration for the website came from the rather frivolous rating and dating site called hotornot.com. What fascinated them the most about this site was the fact that the website ran purely on the user’s terms. The users submitted pictures for other users and rated pictures posted by other users. In a conventional website, the developers would have to regularly update the website with content that their users could relate to. But this website was different – the users generated their own content, and the developers were brought down to mere onlookers.

Founders of Youtube

The trio found the concept to be divine. It challenged a certain status quo in the internet world. It shifted the purpose of a web entity from being a user-developer interaction to a user-user interaction. Interestingly it was a similar concept that inspired Mark Zuckerberg to create Facebook.

Youtube was born when the three friends decided to pool in their resources to create a website that solved their problem and satisfied their ego. It allowed people to share videos easily and at the same time, it made the user the centre of the website. The results were surreal.

Over the years, Youtube’s stronghold has been the way it has effortlessly connected itself with all kinds of audience. It a literal sense, Youtube has a place for everyone. The developers would consider it a success to have had their website withdraw itself from the convention of displaying movie trailers and music videos, and instead, branch out to various other precincts in the world of visual entertainment – some of the more famous and yet common ones being fun videos and podcasts. Padilla and Hexcox’s experiment with Smosh is a good case in point. The college duo used the name Smosh to upload video content related to their day to day activities. The popularity of these videos grew to a point where they became viral. Today, although Smosh’s Youtube Channel has just 323 videos, it has amassed an affluent 13 million subscribers. It makes Smosh more popular than traditional bands, film studios and music group channels. Such is the potency of Youtube – it has broken tradition barriers and quite literally imposed a certain freedom of expression, in the form of videos. Anyone can be a creator.

But the strength of Youtube, as of today, cannot be merely accredited to the diversity of videos it displays. The brand Youtube stands for much more. As the tagline puts it, Youtube urges you to “Broadcast Yourself”. The brand intends to be a place where people can broadcast and express themselves. The user centric identity of the website which inspired the PayPal trio a decade ago has been an essential part of Youtube’s strategy to ascertain its dominance ever since. That aspect of the user being in control of the viral trends in video expression is an uncompromising factor for the Youtube developers. It makes the brand stand a cut above the rest.

Although Youtube does face a few problems like censorship and streaming issues, no other website in the world had displayed such potency in excavating user involvement in their website. More than anything else, Youtube is a tool which can be used to better the lives of potentially millions. And it all starts with You!

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A chicken Story II

Going back to doodles, we find he’s in a difficult situation. He knows what’s happening is wrong, that the holy egg wouldn’t want to harm poor coodles, who’s never hurt anyone. But he looks around, and he sees everyone else who believes, and he decides all of them can’t be wrong. Right before his eyes, they burn coodles to death.

As years pass, more and more chickens believe in the holy egg and his love, and how he taught his followers to follow the one path across the street. In the mean time, roodles has become a leader among the chickens, and goes place to place preaching, and living in luxury because he’s the chosen voice of the holy egg. He tells people that if someone doesn’t believe in the holy egg, they were created by the evil cat Beelzebub to destroy Egg’s goodness. He also tells them that the Cat’s favourite pastime is stewing his own followers, and that the sins of believers will be forgotten no matter how heinous, if they pray hard enough.

While they cross this large street, sometimes a car would run over a chicken, or a chicken would find a bag of feed lying on the ground. Roodles tells them that it’s the will of God, that anyone who angers Him will get run over, and those who love him will get bags of feed or other goodies.

Doodles doesn’t like this either. Why would Egg run over the poor chickens when they hadn’t crossed the street yet? What if a good chicken got run over? Why did Egg not let him cross the street? So one day, he gets on with his pals and puts up cameras at different points along the street. When they check the videos, they find that it was humans and some other creatures who put up the feed and killed the chickens. When noodles tried to find out whether humans did work for Egg, he finds that they don’t know about him and really don’t care.

Now doodles is confused. A lot of the stuff roodles said was proved wrong, and he could explain why Egg wasn’t behind the feed or the cars.

The story doesn’t end here. So wait for the sequel, and be ready for it!

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