All posts by Harshita

To Err Is Human; To Forgive, Divine

Each and every being in this world has sinned countless times. In this world full of sinners like us, we can never expect someone to be perfect. Each one of us commits mistakes at some point in our life because it is, after all, human nature to commit mistakes. We humans have our strengths and weaknesses. So when someone does wrong to us why can’t we forgive them when we expect them to forgive us for the same mistake if we did that. Forgiveness is not a thing that we practice in our lives for other people. We do it for ourselves – to get well and to move on. Forgiving a person brings out the god-like nature that lies in humans.

Also, practically speaking, no one would like his mistake being brought up again and again and thrown on his face. So, why not to forgive the other person and let it be?

Forgiveness is seen as a divine act and the one who forgives is seen as being of divine nature. For such was Jesus Christ, who, even on the cross, during his last moments was able to ask for forgiveness from the Holy Father for the people who had put him to death.

Even Lord Rama showed no hatred against his stepmother, Kaikeyi, for sending him to the forest for 14 years so that her son Bharat could become the King.

But to play the devil’s advocate, you just can’t keep on forgiving a person for repeating his sins again and again. You can’t let yourself be used as a doormat.

And then there are those people too who don’t care a penny whether the other person is forgiving them or not, or what he thinks about them. While some of them just forgive others to show how divine they are. However, deep inside their hearts, they devoutly pray to their gods to punish their sinner for his sins.

Forgiveness is considered a divine act. But in this materialistic world, words like divine and holy do not exist. People believe in the philosophy that if you have done something wrong, you ought to bear the brunt of it.

If you are working in an office and do something wrong, do you think your boss forgive you and give you another chance? Definitely not! He’d fire you out of the job immediately.

And if forgiveness is a good virtue then why are those criminals being hanged till death or serving life imprisonment.

Also, going back to the era of Ramayana, why did lord Rama leave his wife, Sita, on the basis of the comments passed by the washerman?

Ultimately it all depends on the situation and our thinking. What our situation is and what we feel about that sinner. If we want to forgive someone from our heart, we will forgive him or her even if he or she has done a huge crime. On the other hand, we may not forgive a person for committing a minute mistake also. And while we are considering these two factors, we can never forget another vital factor that is the nature of the sin. At the end of the day, it is all relative.

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For All My Life I’ll Wonder Why

Are you still waiting for some last words of reason and explanations? Perhaps you were never really meant to get them ever. For if you think about it, what is closure really? Is it the memories left behind by those lilting words? Or is it the agony of those harsh words that you keep replaying over time in your own head?

Most people have someone in their lives with whom they lost contact over a period of time. Some goodbyes were intentional on both sides while many of them were aided with a sudden abruptness for no apparent reason at all. Or better still; some goodbyes were all out bitter. Yet somewhere in your mind, you might still be expectant on some form of communication regarding why.

Closure is a very funny thing; it has widely different meanings for different people. But at the end of the day, all someone wants is to feel some sort of resolution to a relationship. What will break your heart, although, is the fact that most people never get to really experience the closure that they want. And even if they do get closure, it will be in some unexpected form.

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For some people, closure is having the person who wronged them admit to the said wrongdoing. As rarely as it happens, this will not help you reach a space of healing though.

For some, closure means the other person providing an explanation for his actions, right or wrong. The wronged party truly feels that this will help them move on in their lives and move past that one past experience.

Then there is another form of closure which is closure in the form of revenge. You wait to witness something bad happen to the person who wronged you or you take things in your hands and try to wreck their lives. This one is always empty. It will give you only a false sense of satisfaction because, in the end, you are still hurting. On top of that, you will most probably end up regretting your actions.

Closure is like the last chapter of a book, a book that you are writing. And whenever you finish a book, you move on to the new one. If you get stuck on that one book and just look back on the past, it will always leave you feeling salty. Instead, you could decide what you want as your own ending and move on with your life by resolving your issues.

Imagine what closure means to you. Is it an apology you are waiting for or something you wanted to say to the other person? If it is revenge, figure out why you need revenge instead of a revenge plot. Now write it down as a letter, rant all you want, and burn it.

When you are finally free of all you wanted to say or be said, figure out your future strategy. Focus on your life ahead. Whatever your need be for closure, the endgame remains moving on.

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How Books Influence Our Lives

Reading something is like giving food to your brain. Your brain then analyses, contemplates, and absorbs the information it deems worthy of knowing. And the best way to feed your brain is by reading books.

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Those of you who have a taste for literature will vouch for the fact that a book changed their life during a dark hour or an idle point. It provided them with a sense of direction and taught them a lesson. For some, books help them articulate their thoughts and emotions and helped them find a voice.

Books, especially the good ones, have a sort of magical power. If you let them, they can change your whole life, give you an interesting outlook on things and help you grow as a person. Here are four ways in which a book can make you feel at home and simmer down your anxious minds.

  1. A sense of belonging

When you slowly build up your interest in a book, you begin to connect to the words on the paper. The book you are reading could have been written decades ago or maybe it is a second-hand book and many people have read it before you. You start to feel as if you have known the characters all your life. You begin feeling connected to the previous owner of the book. While reading this book, you are having a conversation with the said author. It is like your dreams and emotions are understood by someone else too. You finally feel like you belong somewhere, you are a part of something bigger than yourself.

  1. Widens your mental horizons

When you read more books, you travel to places mentally all the while exploring new places, vistas, and emotions in the fine print. You begin expanding the horizons of your mind. You learn more about the individuals and their customs, culture, traditions, and laws. All the great personalities have drawn inspiration from a character in a book at some point in time in their lives, whether it was knowingly or unknowingly.

  1. Self-confidence

Reading a book challenges your mind. It makes you question everything you know. The conviction with which a carefully crafted book will shake your beliefs to your core will demand you to stand up and rethink those flabby truths in your life. Your truth will be put to trial many times, inevitably forcing you to defend it and in the process making you stronger than before.

  1. Feeling of joy

If you start a book and don’t have any interest in that particular genre or that author’s writing style, you eventually keep the book down without reading it. You only prefer to keep reading a book that interests you with its plot or the delivery of its contents. This happens because you are reading a book to find pleasure. You look for a return on investment in every book you read, some sort of joy that you experience while reading it, or some sense of knowledge that you gain from it. Life is too short to read what doesn’t matter to us. So read what gives you joy and enriches you, letting it take you to new heights along with it.

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Who Does This Body Belong To?

Remember the Magic Mirror from Snow White? The one who always answered in the affirmative that the Queen was the fairest of all in the whole world?

I feel this was specifically scripted for young little girls who are coming of age just so they could understand that each of them is the fairest (read: unique).

Whenever you look into the mirror what do you see? Is there anything about your appearance that you like? Is the anything you want to change, or maybe alter in some way? Is the number of things you want to change more than the number of things you like?

Most people see at least one aspect of themselves that they don’t like. Worrying about the body image has been rooted deep in our minds from a very young age. Constant media exposure of flawless human beings without an ounce of shortcomings has been fed to our minds since birth. Magazines are filled with articles on how to get a toned stomach or six-pack abs, those sharp cheekbones or, a sexy summer body. No wonder there is an increase in the number of people facing body image issues.

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Someone is slightly annoyed by a tiny birthmark above her left eyebrow. Someone spends all her time to exercise for leaner legs. Then there is almost every other girl not happy with her flabby stomach. Many-a-times people develop an obsession with a small body part that comes to rule their lives. These flaws intrude every waking moment of the people suffering from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) which is a mental health disorder, characterized by a continuous obsession a body part. This is the cause of severe distress that interferes with their daily functioning and the worst part of it all is the flaw that is affecting the person so much may even be nonexistent or barely visible to others.

The issue is so deeply ingrained in the minds of people that they don’t even realize they are body shaming someone. A little remark here from your grandmother and a little poke there your brother could make all the difference. Even if at first you feel there is nothing wrong with your body, the frequent gibes and quips add up one day and you slowly give in to the cultural expectation that everybody is inherently flawed.

Then there comes a point when, if something cannot be changed, you simply accept it for what it is and stop wishing for something different before it consumes you wholly. This is your moment of acceptance.

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Even if you feel you are flawed in some way, be grateful that you are still breathing. Listen to the needs of your body; no one knows it better than you do. It is the home of your soul and it needs nourishment and nurturing. Rewire your brain to interrupt your negative thoughts. Most importantly, re-evaluate your self- worth. Meditation makes you more aware of your body and soul. A radical shift in self-worth can be experienced in a few days’ time.

People get so caught up in one small thing they don’t like about themselves. You need to remember that salt and baking powder go into a cake and those things taste funny alone but the cake turns out to be pretty delicious.

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I’ll Do That Later

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If you can relate to even one of these memes then you, my friend, are a procrastinator.

Many of you won’t even know what procrastination means. So let us begin with that. It is the act of delaying or postponing something. Perhaps an example would help you better.

It is Sunday night. Or Monday morning, whichever way you want to classify 2 a.m. at night. You have to get up at 6 in the morning for a presentation for which you started working just two hours ago. The clock is ticking and you’re working furiously all the while cursing yourself for not starting sooner.

How did this happen? Where did all the time go? What were you doing earlier?

Now you remember that you were not motivated enough to do the task at hand. The hours you were busy scrolling through your various social media accounts are slowly starting to haunt you. The time you spent on all the coffee breaks is coming back to you in flashes. You regret doing small and comparatively less useful tasks that could safely be left for a later time.

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Procrastination is a common trap that many of us fall into without even realizing it. It is often confused with laziness but they are not the same. Laziness is an unwillingness to act. Procrastination, on the other hand, is ignoring an important task in favor of one that is easier simply because you find it more interesting. So, how do you deal with this everyday evil in your lives?

Dealing with Procrastination

  • Realize: To overcome procrastinating, the first step is to realize and accept the fact that you are procrastinating. Some signs include your day being filled with low priority tasks, or you wait for the right time to start a task, or you switch focus when you want to avoid doing something.
  • Work out the why: The next step is working out the why of the problem. Sometimes the task could be boring or it could be your poor organization skills and decision-making skills. More often than not, perfectionists avoid doing a task completely assuming that they don’t have the required skills for it rather than doing something imperfectly. Many people also fear success as much as they fear failure.

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  • Strategies: The final step is adopting some of the anti-procrastination strategies to make your life better. Commit yourself to a task and promise yourself an immediate reward. Tackle the tasks as soon as they arise and avoid a buildup. More importantly, know that peer pressure works. Ask your friends and family to check up on you. Minimize the distractions in your day. These include surfing on the web, watching television while doing your work, or killing time in other creative ways. The most important thing is to do the task that you find unpleasant the first thing in the morning. This will clear up your day to concentrate on things you find enjoyable and will leave you in a better mood throughout the day.

Act bravely daily. Starting today. Take a first step, then another, and then another. After all, life rewards action.

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Can You Give Up?

“You can do it. Just a little more effort. You’re almost there. You’re the hero. I know you have it in you. You can’t give up.”

Well, here’s some newsflash for you. You can give up.

Be it movies, songs, books, everyone’s pushing the protagonist to do a thing which is clearly out of their scope. They may not have the physical or mental strength to do the thing but we still expect them to. It doesn’t matter whether you want to do that thing or whether it’s actually for a greater good. You just have to do it. You cannot give up. Because giving up is for losers. And the hero cannot be a loser, right? Or it’s the opposite? A loser cannot be a hero?

Shah Rukh Khan’s character from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was a scrawny guy who tried to fight with a samurai. Since they are selling their movie to you and it’s ‘the SRK’, obviously he’s going to win that fight. But think about this. You are up against some buffy wrestler let alone a professional sumo wrestler. Do you think you stand a teensy bit chance? You have your answer right there.

Provided this whole notion of not giving up works on some people, but it’s warping the minds of others. Most people cause some irreversible damage while not giving up. And more often than not, this damage is to them. I am not saying giving up is a good thing. But it’s not a bad thing either. Don’t you think, it would be nice to have an option of giving up, backing down from doing a particular thing when it is clearly out of our reach, and not be judged for it?

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Most of you might not know this but there is a Disney movie Moana whose scene would be apt in a situation like this. When Moana confesses she couldn’t defeat the villain, Te Fiti, her Grandma clearly says that it is not Moana’s fault. She states that the burden is too much for her granddaughter and that she would be with her even if Moana wants to go back home.

Moana did end up defeating Te Fiti in the end. But that wasn’t because someone pushed her to do that. Instead, she realized her power and strength on her own. This just shows that even if you don’t have enough strength to do something, you are not a loser. What matters is you gave your best. And there will be people who’re there for you, supporting you even when you get defeated in life because it’s not your fault. It was just too much burden.

Or a more relatable example would be Aamir Khan’s character in 3 Idiots who fought against all odds to study not because someone was pushing or cheering him but because he himself wanted to do that.

Having said all that, I’m not against actually working hard. But the focus remains on working hard because you yourself want to achieve something. What I’m saying is we should all try to find our inner voice and be happy with whatever outcome there is to our situations.

Flavors of Delhi

Aloo Tikki, Afghani Street Bites, Chaat, Kebabs, Kachori Aloo, Chhole Bhature, Rajma Chawal, Parathas – these are reasons enough to call the Capital Delhi-Belly.

Delhi has always been a diverse city with people coming from all over India to settle and start a new life here. Many people know Delhi to be a city of rich cultural heritage. But Delhi, as a city, is so much more than that. And one aspect of this is the food in Delhi that makes it a great tourist place. The people of different cultures and traditions have brought with them their unique tastes to Delhi too.

It is not a hidden fact that Delhi has no particular food culture; the city acquires the identity of all types of people living here in its food preferences. The maze-like alleyways and marketplaces of Delhi are known to lure foodies with their curbside kiosks serving rich in taste street food while the studded restaurants add their own charm and elegance to the cuisine of the city.

Being an amalgamation of several cultures, Delhi is among the few places where you can find a South Indian devouring a serving of Butter Chicken and a Bengali enjoying Idli Sambhar, and it is not even astonishing anymore. The best part about this is that all these recipes are age-old, being handed down from generations after generations, helping them stay true to their original flavors.

Here’s what Delhi has to offer, apart from the traditional cuisine from all the states:

  • Mughlai Cuisine: One of the oldest cuisines being served to the Delhiites is the Mughlai cuisine. Even today the taste of the Mughal era can be felt in the Kebabs from the time of Delhi Sultanate while Nihari and Biryani have become a household name. The delicious fruit-flavored sorbets or Kulfi as we know them today were originally served in the Mughal kitchens. Karim’s and Ghantewala, famous for their Kebabs and Karachi Halwa respectively, have also served many of the Mughal emperors in the past.
  • Street Food: Another group of delicacies bringing the people together is the street food available in almost every lane of the city. Names like Sita Ram Diwan Chand, Bittu Tikki Wala, Nataraj Dahi Bhalla, Daulat Ki Chaat, and Al Jawahar have been churning out some of the country’s best street grub. There is a street named Parathe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk which in itself is enough to show the love people of this city have for Parathas.
  • International Cuisine: Along with the traditional dishes, Delhiites have also truly embraced the authentic International cuisines which means there is no trouble finding Chinese, Thai, Italian, and French cuisine to name a few. The Churros with chocolate sauce at La Bodega, the Glass Noodles at Gung, and the Cheese Kunafa at Zizo are gradually making their way into the hearts of Delhiites.

The diversity that Delhi shows in its food culture is a mere reflection of the people who have lived here in the past and the people who call it their home in the present. It is this diversity that brings the people together and makes Delhi a better tourist spot.

Mental Health: Children, Young People, and Families

Mental health is a widely overlooked aspect of a person’s health. People don’t consider it as important as their physical health, mostly because the injuries are not visible. However, they often forget that the signs are always there. Mental health problems are often directly proportional to the day-to-day happenings in our lives. Most mental health problems start developing at a very young age, but parents often ignore the warning signs. At such an impressionable age, children need to be taught about their mental well being too. It is imperative that we address the issue of mental health among children, young people, and families.

Children and Young People

It is seen many-a-times that the physical needs of a child are obvious, but his or her mental needs may be neglected. Even when the red flags are identified, there is a stigma associated with mental illness.

Some problems that children suffer from are ADHD, autism, anxiety, anorexia (eating disorder), depression, and bipolar disorder. Warning signs include intense mood swings, self-harm, substance abuse, sudden appetite loss, fidgeting, and continuous nightmares.

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A few suggestions to nurture a child or adolescent’s mental health could include talking to them about their day; asking them if they are facing any problems at school. This strengthens your bond with them and they start trusting you more. As a parent, make sure that your ward eats a healthy and balanced diet, is physically fit, and takes part in outdoor activities.

Provide children with a healthy environment at home; a child should feel secure in his surroundings. Help them build their self-esteem and confidence while talking to them. Encourage their first steps towards new interests. This would enable them to open up more and express their feelings and doubts. And most importantly, don’t condemn them when they do something wrong. Instead, let them know their mistake and work together to improve it.

Families

It is obvious that an individual’s mental health problems will have consequences for others within his social networks and most importantly his family. When it comes to mental illness, the emotional and behavioral consequences for family members go largely ignored along with having a huge impact on their financial component.

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Family life often becomes unsettled and unpredictable as the needs of the ill become paramount day by day. The afflicted often feels that he’s isolating those close to him. Children may find it difficult to understand why their parent is not his/her usual self. Therefore, many tend to blame themselves and grow up feeling abandoned, lonely, and isolated.

In case a family member suffers from a mental health problem, you should not let him feel dismissed and disregarded. Instead, you could try to understand what he is going through, his inner turmoil, and try to help him cope with that. Children need special care at this time as they are perplexed by the happenings in their lives.

You should try to mend the broken relations, leave the toxic people in your lives behind, and create a positive impact on others’ lives.

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Falling Apart

Our life is never about the destination. Life is a beautiful journey with a lot of stops along the way. We feel if we know what to expect in our future, we will be ready for it. This imagery has become so much a part of our language that we don’t even stop to think about what it actually means for us.

When things don’t go our way, it feels like everything is falling apart. Despite having our bouts of feeling depressed we try to remain in a continual state of happiness. However, this is possible only if we accept the fact that everything is as good or bad as one’s opinion makes it.

Everyone is in a constant state of falling apart. How you deal with it is dictated by your outlook on life. You could, after all, try these few things.

  1. Never hide your emotions

Some people like to cry when they are overwhelmed. Tears are, in fact, a way for your body to get rid of those excess emotions, and if you hold these emotions too long they may corrode your insides. Talk to people – your loved ones, your friends. You will find that every one of them has something difficult going on in their lives.

  1. Be honest

Be true to yourself. If you cannot admit your problem to yourself, you can never openly talk about it which means you will never be able to take the first step towards solving that problem. So much pain mostly comes from not telling the truth. Lying is mostly the reason for things falling apart. After admitting the truth to yourself, make sure you always tell the truth to those around you. It may hurt for a second but eventually, things will fall back into place.

  1. Ask for help

The society inherently and subconsciously teaches us that asking for help is pathetic and a sign of weakness. This makes a person feel trapped and alone, inevitably hurting him and those around him. Accept the fact that everyone struggles at some point in the journey of their life. Instead of acting like it is not universal, start hailing vulnerability for what it actually is – a sign of strength, openness, and hope. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

  1. Have your cheat moments

Just like people have their cheat days from diets, have your cheat moments from the problems you are facing. Do not let your pain entirely rule every aspect of your life. Enjoy some trivial and jovial moments of life guilt-free.

  1. There will be days when you are not okay, and that is okay

The journey of life is a bumpy one. There will be days where the pain and reality of your situation will consume you. Allow yourself to feel helpful on such days. But never forget that tomorrow is a good day and the sun will eventually shine brightly again. When it seems like life is falling apart, it may actually be falling into a place better than expected.

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Instagram Envy

Today’s world is full of influencers. What you eat, what you wear, where you go on holiday, and even what you speak is heavily influenced by social media. Although people today are smart enough to realize that it is not okay to compare yourself to other people, social media still provides you numerous opportunities to do just that.

Recall that heavy feeling in your heart when you see your friends and celebrities posting photos doing exciting things like going on long drives, attending glamorous parties, and visiting rare places. This sinking feeling is known as Instagram Envy.

Instagram is all about unadulterated voyeurism. You will not find Facebook’s messiness or Twitter’s relatable content in the posts here. Instagram is almost a photo site with built-in vintage filters idealizing your every moment. It encourages its users to create these perfect layouts of their lives, almost as if everyone is living their fairy tale.

Why Instagram Envy Happens

There is an unspoken rule adopted by the users worldwide to avoid populating the feeds with any mediocre or unedited pictures. Now you might feel that it is all about showing off to your followers, but that is not the case here. It is trying to level with everyone else posting one amazing picture after another; it is trying to feel good about yourself that you are in no way less than any of your friends. Owing to this rule, people often end up spending hours in hopes of composing an image of food as simple as a glass of coke over a dish of pizza worthy enough for their Instagram feed.

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The followers, on the other hand, are expected to indulge in the ethics of impress rather than confess, all the while being swept away from the sumptuous photos and chipping in with beautiful comments. Even the likes are shaped like little hearts, reinforcing in the minds of the viewers, the idea that each shot is a performance worthy of applause. Every last image is an advertisement for the self.

In a society focused on physical appearance, this is perhaps no surprise that there is an element of narcissism to Insta-bragging. People with a higher level of narcissism post more self-presented photos and update their profile picture often.

Dealing with Instagram Envy

One approach to counteract Instagram envy is to showcase love, not luxury. People who generate Instagram envy can also use the same platform to demonstrate that they understand and embrace the value of citizens of all social and economic strata by posting about them. They will gain more followers than foes by showcasing love.

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Another aspect you need to understand is that living through the lens is not all bad. Social media has made us all social, without a doubt. You catch up with long lost friends in no time because you already have an idea of what is going on in their lives. But you need to accept social media for what it is – it is social and it is, after all, media. You really shouldn’t blindly believe everything you see. You learn through experience that it is better to know how to post than to boast.

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