Yellow PilloW

Yellow Pillow

Author … Rhea Kanuparthy, a Class 6 student in United States

The glass shelf housing me was a formidable foe, as I searched upwards for anything different around me. This was my normal routine, a ritual I performed religiously. I have been here for a long time, so long that my hopes to ever find a loving friend were almost diminished to the point of nonexistence. I waited as the joyful cheer of children faded away, waited as the lights blinked off and as the eternal darkness approached me only to be broken again in mere hours. Every time that I heard a child walk by, ignoring me and my kin, I looked down self-consciously at my fuzzy, yellow skin and soft figure. I wondered what monsters they saw in me, what made me so repulsive to them. My self esteem degraded every time they left me there. What I didn’t know was that that was all about to change. Two gentle but calloused hands reached down. Excitement flared inside me. Would they take me home? The hands enveloped me in a way that radiated pure love, not towards me but towards the child that they were thinking about. I was finally going to have a family.

The road was blocked by a strange white wall, nothing like the shelf that was no longer my home. It was shiny and had weird shapes on it. “Silverspoon”, it wrote out in curly lettering. The drive was bouncy and hard, but even the turmoil that swirled in my stomach could not detract from the pure elation that bubbled from underneath the warm fabric that held me together. I moved out of a strange machine that the human called a car to a room with the most jovial sounds I have ever heard. I was set down, and the rustling of that strange white wall was deafening. Two tender hands with skin much softer than the last hands pulled me out and cuddled with me with a passion that I had never felt before. It was love and I was finally home.

Everyday those same hands held me , played with me and showed me more attention than everyone else combined. I learned that her name was Rhea and those other hands were her grandmother’s. Rhea couldn’t leave me and her parents were forced to get that extra seat for me or to make sure we are together no matter what. When she learned about birthdays, she even gave me one! Her mother didn’t like us taking over Mother’s Day for that too much. One time, they even gave me a cake. Rhea became the best and only friend I had, her black, curly hair entwined with love and affection. She continued to love me forever, but it was never the same.

She started something called school, someplace where you learn. At first, I was excited for her to able to do new things and she made sure that her mother took care of me. She still held me with that same love and affection, but other things were always on her mind. She never plays with me in the same way and her mother finally got her to “ understand” that Mother’s Day wasn’t an appropriate time to celebrate my birthday, though Rhea does anyway. I know that I am her best friend still, she has said that several times, but I still miss the way things used to be. Though things have changed and no doubt will change again, she still holds me close both in her sleep and in her heart. I got my wish of a loving family and I hope I stay in their wonderful embrace forever. If you ever see her after you hear this, tell her that I miss her and love her. Also, tell her that I am waiting for her on the bed and I hope she never lets me go.



Syria Conflict through a Class 7 student’s eyes

The Syrian Conundrum

Author .. Vineet Karlapalem, Class 7, Vidyashilp Academy, Bengaluru

Section 1… Arab Spring
Arab Spring was a revolutionary wave of mass protests that rocked the Middle East starting 2010. These protests took place in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia and finally engulfed Syria. This caused unprecedented instability in Libya, Yemen, and Egypt. President Assad didn’t flee like his counterparts in other Arab states. Instead, he stayed out and decided to fight back. Syrian government forces under him intervened with full force, and this has caused the single largest armed conflict in the world since the Vietnam War. The Syrian government under Bashar-al-Assad barrel-bombed major cities to scare civilians away from protesting. But, all this did was to show the callousness the Syrian government had towards its citizens. This started a three-way civil war between the Syrian government forces, the rebel groups like the Free Syrian Army, and the Kurds, who are fighting for their autonomous region between Iraq and Syria.


Section 2… Islamic State of Syria and Iraq
ISIS came to the world’s attention in June of 2014 when it overran the Iraqi city of Mosul, and then moved fast westwards to Syria, taking control of another major city Al-Raqqa, that became their de-facto capital. ISIS grew out of what was before, Al-Qaeda in Iraq. This organization was formed by extremist Sunni militants after the U.S-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. In 2011, the group joined the rebellion against President Bashar-al-Assad in Syria where it found a safe haven and easy access to weapons. In 2013, it started capturing territory, and changed its name to ISIS. In 2014, ISIS captured huge tracts of land in north-western Iraq, and proclaimed the creation of a world-wide Caliphate. After the group started enslaving members of the Yezidi religious group, the U.S. was stirred into action and created a multi-national coalition to launch airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Mosul and al-Raqqa. The coalition has launched a battle to reclaim Mosul. The campaign appears to be going really well forcing ISIS fighters to flee to al-Raqqa in Syria.


Section 3… Aleppo
Aleppo is an ancient metropolis, and the second oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, after Damascus, another Syrian city. It was Syria’s largest city with a population of 2 million 132 thousand, but this was all before the Arab Spring and the beginning of the Syrian Civil War. Now, it is a major site of conflict between Bashar-al-Assad’s government and anti-government rebels. It has now become the most important front in the Syrian Civil War, and will decide the fate of the government, if reclaimed or lost.


Section 4… Conclusion
The Syrian Civil War is a long, brutal war, and is dragging on very painfully. After four years, there are four different sides, with each side not having a decisive advantage over the other. It is a disaster, with no end in sight.



Of Adversity by Bacon — explanation

Of Adversity

IT WAS an high speech of Seneca (after the manner of the Stoics), that the good things, which belong to prosperity, are to be wished; but the good things, that belong to adversity, are to be admired.

A word about Seneca .. Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca,also known as Seneca the Younger) was an erudite person with profound wisdom. He was an intellectual of renown – a writer, philosopher and statesman, all rolled intone. From AD 54 to AD 62, he was the advisor to Emperor Nero. He sang the praise of Stoicism and counselled people to face sorrow and suffering with courage and forbearance.
Meaning … In a memorable speech, Seneca expatiate that all good things like happiness, wealth etc. In one’s fate must be joyfully and gratefully received and enjoyed. At the same time, sorrows and sufferings dispensed by fate should also be accepted gracefully and with equanimity.

Bona rerum secundarum optabilia; adversarum mirabilia.
Meaning .. This Latin sentence literally means, “Goods of success are desirable; opposing wonderful”. More or less, it is a reiteration of what has been explained above – Humans must learn to treat grief and joy equally.

Certainly if miracles be the command over nature, they appear most in adversity. It is yet a higher speech of his, than the other (much too high for a heathen), It is true greatness, to have in one the frailty of a man, and the security of a God.

Meaning …. During times of adversity, miracles do happen to completely neutralize the agony and angst caused by the mishap. It is God’s hand that brings the suffering, and it is His hand that brings the deliverance from it. Humans are powerless before Him.

Vere magnum habere fragilitatem hominis, securitatem Dei.

Meaning … When translated into English, this Latin sentence means, “The frailty of man is truly great to have the security of God.” So, the frail, powerless man must seek refuge in God.

This would have done better in poesy, where transcendences are more allowed. And the poets indeed have been busy with it; for it is in effect the thing, which figured in that strange fiction of the ancient poets, which seemeth not to be without mystery; nay, and to have some approach to the state of a Christian; that Hercules, when he went to unbind Prometheus (by whom human nature is represented), sailed the length of the great ocean, in an earthen pot or pitcher; lively describing Christian resolution, that saileth in the frail bark of the flesh, through the waves of the world.

Meaning ….. Miracles find place in poetry rather frequently. Poets resort to miracles to add charm, intrigue and suspense to their writings.
Prometheus was a Titan. But he had great compassion for humans. He gave the mortals n the gift of Fire and the ability to heal. On one occasion, Hera wickedly stole the Eternal Torch from Prometheus. Without Fire, the entire human race was put to great peril. Unfortunately, in this time of distress, Prometheus lay frozen in his abode. He was immobilized and still. Luckily, Hercules discovered him after sailing through the turbulent ocean seated inside an earthen pot, and in a great noble Christian act, restored the torch to its rightful place.
Bacon alludes to this Greek mythological episode to underscore the virtue of stoicism and fortitude.

But to speak in a mean. The virtue of prosperity, is temperance; the virtue of adversity, is fortitude; which in morals is the more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of the New; which carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer revelation of God’s favor.

Meaning … Prosperity and adversity come hand in hand in life. Prosperity must bring with it an urge to abstain from indulgence. In the same way, adversity should foster fortitude.
Both are the gifts of God: Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, and adversity is that of the New Testament. Adversity is the greater blessing, and is a manifestation God’s benign nature.

Yet even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David’s harp, you shall hear as many hearse-like airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath labored more in describing the afflictions of Job, than the felicities of Solomon.

Meaning … Even the Old Testament has umpteen descriptions of sorrow and happiness going together. There are laments pertaining to death and burial. There are, at the same time, songs of joy and celebration.
Job was a God-fearing person of high moral. Yet, he suffered a very long period of suffering and distress as a result of the curse of Satan. Job and his friends endured the pain with great patience and beseeched God for respite. Finally, God relented and Job was freed from his afflictions.
In the Bible, the Holy Ghost has described Hob’s story in much greater detail, than it has done to felicitate Solomon.

Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. We see in needle-works and embroideries, it is more pleasing to have a lively work, upon a sad and solemn ground, than to have a dark and melancholy work, upon a lightsome ground: judge therefore of the pleasure of the heart, by the pleasure of the eye. Certainly virtue is like precious odors, most fragrant when they are incensed, or crushed: for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.

Meaning …. Finally, Bacon says that prosperity is not always full of joy and gaiety. In the same vein, adversity is not always barren and hopeless. In embroidery, a lively design juxtaposed on a dull and staid background looks better than a sedate pattern in the midst of a lively background.
So, one must discern between what pleases the heart and what feasts the eyes. A source of aroma or scent exudes its goodness when it is crushed. In the same way, in the midst of vice, prosperity (genuine wholesome joy) feels better. Adversity, likewise helps us to discover virtue.


Of Revenge by Francis Bacon — Explanation

Of Revenge
by Francis Bacon

Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.
Meaning .. The urge to avenge the humiliations, injustices and wrongs heaped on us by others gives us some pleasure, relief and satisfaction. Such tendency to pay back our tormentors in their own coins is so pervasive and universal. However, such a toxic and in-born tendency must be curbed through legal means.

For as for the first wrong, it doth but offend the law; but the revenge of that wrong putteth the law out of office.

Meaning .. When the tormentor inflicts harm on his subject, he breaks the law, as no member of the civilized society is permitted to take law into his hand and cause physical or mental harm to a fellow human. In the same vein, the person who has been wronged, can’t hit back at his adversary. Logically, he should seek legal recourse to the injustice meted out to him, but if he impulsively harms the enemy, he breaks the law himself. Such acts of instant retribution is not permitted under law.
Certainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior; for it is a prince’s part to pardon.
Meaning …. Avenging a wrong, or a defeat or a humiliation lets the wronged person to draw level with his foe, and derive satisfaction. However, he chooses to forgive and forget, and does not allow the perpetrator’s evil act besmirch his self, he emerges as the true victor. Pardoning the evil-doer is not a sign of weakness or timidity. It takes great courage, moral strength, and magnanimity of mind to pardon the sinner. Such ability to ignore the scars left by the wrong-doer needs a big heart and a sagacious soul. Ordinary humans can not bring themselves to rise to the occasion and let the quality of pardon come to the fore.
It is, therefore, seen that a person in exalted position such as a prince is given the authority to grant royal pardons to sinners. A prince, because of his status and clout is seldom harmed or belittled. So, he is not generally gripped by anger against commoners. This allows him to pardon the evil-doers.

And Solomon, I am sure, saith, “It is the glory of a man to pass by an offence.” That which is past is gone, and irrevocable; and wise men have enough to do with things present and to come; therefore they do but trifle with themselves, that labor in past matters.

Meaning … Prophet Solomon had proclaimed, “It is the glory of a man to pass by an offence.”. This means that a person who ignores the hurt and humiliation caused to him by others can lay claim to great glory and adulation.
An evil, once done, becomes history. It can not be reversed. There is little prudency in grumbling and burning in the bitterness left behind. Wise and conscientious people choose to think of works at hand and the tasks in the future. They realize the folly of crying over spilt milk. No doubt, they discern that whining over past injustices is futile, and unproductive. Worrying over the unpleasant past is an unnecessary and ruinous exercise.

There is no man doth a wrong for the wrong’s sake; but thereby to purchase himself profit, or pleasure, or honor, or the like. Therefore why should I be angry with a man for loving himself better than me? And if any man should do wrong merely out of ill-nature, why, yet it is but like the thorn or briar, which prick and scratch, because they can do no other.

Meaning … Seldom does a man indulge in a wicked or immoral act just for the heck of it. What motivates him to do an abominable act can be just anything – the lure of profit, getting some pleasure, get some un-deserved honour, or any such urge. In the process, he stands to gain some material benefit or some mental pleasure.
With great equanimity, and rare sense of accommodation, Bacon asks himself why he should be annoyed if someone does something to amuse himself. In instances where a person does something that is really very upsetting, we must pause and reali8ze that he has been cursed to have a mind that loves sadistic pleasure. Such people are condemned to miserable existence. In a way they deserve to be pitied and forgiven, because, like a thorn, they can’t do anything other than pricking others and inflicting pain. An ill-natured man is like a thorn condemned to live like a mischief-maker and a nuisance in society. This is enough punishment for him.

The most tolerable sort of revenge is for those wrongs which there is no law to remedy; but then let a man take heed the revenge be such as there is no law to punish; else a man’s enemy is still before hand, and it is two for one. Some, when they take revenge, are desirous the party should know whence it cometh. This is the more generous.

Meaning … Bacon now proceeds to make certain concessions for the revenge seeker. He feels, there are can be certain loathsome and irritable acts for which there is no legal remedy. As a result, the perpetrator can not be brought to book, and so, get away with his crime. In such circumstances, taking revenge can be an acceptable recourse. Bacon, however, adds a caveat here. The act of revenge must be carefully chosen. It should be outside the purview of the prevailing law, so that the victim (wrong-doer, earlier) can’t sue the avenger.
In some cases, the avenger sets up his act such that the victim (wrong-doer, earlier) gets to know the source of his trouble. This gives the avenger some satisfaction. Such a move could not be as evil as the leaving the victim to wonder who harmed him. Bacon seems to approve of this as it limits the chance of the person turning on other innocent people.

For the delight seemeth to be not so much in doing the hurt as in making the party repent. But base and crafty cowards are like the arrow that flieth in the dark. Cosmus, duke of Florence, had a desperate saying against perfidious or neglecting friends, as if those wrongs were unpardonable; “You shall read (saith he) that we are commanded to forgive our enemies; but you never read that we are commanded to forgive our friends.

Meaning …. When the perpetrator gets to know that the person he wronged has come back to him with vengeance, he will be deterred from repeating his earlier mischief. He may feel some remorse thinking that he should not have, in the first place, indulged in the evil act. However, vile and crooked persons do not have the moral strength to admit that they did the wrong thing. This complicates the situation.
Cosmus, the Duke of Florence, had some friends who were either deceitful or insincere in their friendship. Their nature used to annoy Cosmus a lot. He admonished their supercilious and favour-seeking attitude rather strongly. He warned them that he would never pardon them, although he was fully empowered to pardon offenders.

” But yet the spirit of Job was in a better tune: “Shall we (saith he) take good at God’s hands, and not be content to take evil also?” And so of friends in a proportion. This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well. Public revenges are for the most part fortunate; as that for the death of Caesar; for the death of Pertinax; for the death of Henry the Third of France; and many more. But in private revenges it is not so. Nay rather, vindictive persons live the life of witches; who, as they are mischievous, so end they infortunate.

Meaning … Job, the Biblical character, gave some sound advice in the matter. He wondered if we gratefully accept from the hands of God only those things that we like, and refuse those, not to our liking. This is also true in friendship. Both good and not so good friends are to be adored. A vengeful person never allows the scars left by other’s misdeeds to heal. Had he not been so vindictive, memories of hurt and humiliation would fade off with the passage of time.
Acts of revenge, committed in full view of the public, can often have some salutary effect at times. The events such as the death of Caesar, the death of Pertinax, the death of Henry the Third of France were generally considered desirable, although these events were driven by revenge.
On the other hand, urge for revenge lying deep in one’s mind can be really toxic. Surely, but slowly, this devilish passion consumes the bearer. These people live miserably and die miserably.


A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream – Act 1 Scene 2

Summary.. A Mid Summer Night’s Dream Act 1 Scene 2

In the build-up to the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta, the air in Athens is festive. Citizens are agog in excitement, just the same way the lovers in the palace are. In another corner of Athens, away from Theseus’s palace, a few commoners have thought of a novel idea to contribute to the festivities by enacting a play befitting to the occasion. They have assembled at the house of Peter Quince to rehearse a play that would be staged as part of the grand celebrations.
Quince, a carpenter, has taken the initiative to make preparations for staging the play. He calls the folks to attention. The weaver Nick Bottom, a chatterbox by nature, interjects unnecessarily. He is a busybody and can’t restrain himself. He has an opinion and a suggestion to offer at every step.
Quince brief the armature actors about the play. The name of the play was to be: The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisb. The story is based on two lovers, who find their romance hindered by the animosity of their parents. The lovers manage to speak to each other at night through a hole in the wall.
In the play, a lion appears from nowhere and springs on Thisbe one night. Her attire gets shredded to pieces. But, she manages to flee. Pyramus discovers the tattered dress, and concludes that his beloved Thisbe has not survived the lion attack. Devastated and unable to bear the shock, he takes his own life. Later, Thisbe finds Pyramus’s blood-stained corpse, and decides to kill herself out of grief.
Quince starts to name the actors and their roles. their parts:
Bottom is to play Pyramus
Francis Flute, Thisbe
Robin Starveling, Thisbe’s mother
Tom Snout, Pyramus’s father
Quince himself, Thisbe’s father and
Snug, the Lion.
As Quince announces the roles the parts, Bottom starts his ill-conceived comments, claiming for himself the roles of Thisbe, and the Lion. He said he had a feminine voice that made him eminently suitable to be Thisbe. Quite laughably, he said roar like a lion and that qualifies him to play the Lion’s role. Quince pleads with him to forgo all these claims and settle for the role of Pyramus. ‘Quince was handsome, so he was cut out for being Pyramus,’ reasoned Quince.
Snug wondered if he had a voice as loud and coarse as that of a lion. He sulked to play the lion. Quince coaxed him to agree, as he didn’t have to utter a word because lion do not speak. Lions growl and roar, and do not speak. This assurance, however, had an unintended consequence. Those present there feared that a lion’s roar on stage could set off a panic among the elite ladies in the front rows. That would be disastrous as such ill-conceived plot could result in the stage artists being sent to the gallows as punishment. Fraying the nerves of the wealthy and the powerful was too risky, thought they.
Bottom has a solution for this. He says he could tone down his roar to make it sound like a melodious song. That would not frighten anyone. Quince persists with his suggestion that Baottom could only play Pyramus, not the Lion. The group of farmers end their consultation there agreeing to meet in the woods the following night. Rehearsal could start then.


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Mental Healthcare in Pakistan

Mental Healthcare in Pakistan

Mentally ill people do not get a fair deal in Pakistan mainly due to lack of adequate modern facilities. Regrettably, this subject is a taboo for most Pakistanis who shy away from discussing it openly. Such secretiveness makes the treatment of mentally deranged people all the more difficult as the victims do not come out to the open to seek redress.
Affluent patients can afford going to mental hospitals where they receive scientific treatment. On the contrary, the poor patients, already rendered incapable of any gainful employment, prove to be a burden on their families. Naturally, the caretakers’ resources are stretched to the extreme in trying to get them treated. Such patients and their families have little recourse to anything modern and effective. Other than hoping for a miracle to happen, the near and dear ones can do little to enable the hapless victims to find their feet again.
Safia Bibi, hailing from Gujranwala, is one such woman whose young able-bodied son is afflicted by this debilitating illness. She has left no stones un-turned to get her son cured, but has had little success. She is broke now. Already at the end of the tether, she has fallen back on ‘Hope’ –the last recourse for all those crushed under fate.
She has come with her son Ahmad (20) to the centuries-old Sufi shrine in rural Punjab hoping that the shrine’s healing power would rid Ahmad of the disease.
Safia has a pensive look in her face, and Ahmad stares vacantly at her. An iron chain binds his ankle to a tree, so that he can’t flee, or cause trouble to others. The mother looks searchingly at Ahmad’s face as she puts some food into his mouth. Signs of misery caused by years of battling with poverty, and her son’s doom are writ large on her face.
She bemoans her fate narrating how Ahmad used to run away from home to wander aimlessly in the alleys. Soon, he became a target of street boys who pelted stones at Ahmad for childish fun. Her eyes wells up as she lamented her fate. Grief compounded by poverty gnawed at her relentlessly.
Quite close to her lies an old man chained and made immobile. He struggles to break free, but, obviously, he can’t. He groans and grunts as his wife looks on pitifully.
Dozens of such unfortunate families have poured into the shrine. They all lie like lumps on the sprawling floor of the shrine. Each has his own story to tell, but all have their cups of woe full. The floor looks to be in a shambles with heaps of clothes and sick people all over the place.
In a society where mentally ill people are subject of much derision, the shrine offers the last haven. Some are indeed healed, some are not that fortunate. A few of such incurable patients are abandoned by their family members, who simply walk away leaving the patients to their fate.
Atta Mohammud is the custodian of the shrine. His job is to chain the patients to pin them down. He provides some frugal meal to the inmates. For his work, he wins accolades, but faces a lot of criticism for the basic living conditions there in the shrine. He takes both with equanimity, saying wryly that with his limited resources he can provide only this much.
Mental illness is not incorrigible. It can be cured by trained psychiatrists, but Pakistan has too few of them to cater to the teeming mentally ill people.
Life in the shrine is not all that dreary all the time. To cut boredom, some patients erupt to Qawwali singing and dancing. The iron chain in their ankles can’t chain their spirits. But such gaiety is illusory, at best. The shrine will continue to beckon those who need its succour.



Civi Service essay — Post-URI National Mood

Post-Uri national mood

Bruised by the Uri attack, Prime minister Modi has been mulling over possible non-military options to convey to Pakistan India’s extreme anger over the incursion. MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status for Pakistan is almost going to be withdrawn. Sharing river waters with Pakistan as per the Indus Water Treaty is no longer a pleasant idea. PM Modi has been holding confabulations to see if the treaty can be abrogated, and water flow be stemmed to hurt Pakistan.
His intentions are writ large on his remarks that “Blood and Water cannot flow together.” However, it seems certain that India will honour the IWT for now. Instead, the Centre intends to make full and optimal use of India’s share of waters as per the Treaty. Curiously, India has not been doing so, till now. Abrogating the IWT is a fraught and pungent option that would have serious ramifications. Holding of the inter-ministerial meeting on IWT options at this point was, therefore, not going to be useful.
In his Kozikode message, Modi had given a statesman type call to the Pakistanis to jointly fight poverty, with India. It was a positive message, but talking loudly about cancellation of the IWT was not. It has to be borne in mind that the World Bank had midwife the IWT of 1960. The treaty that outlines the way the water of the five rivers are to be shared by India and Pakistan has stood firm, despite the wars the two nations fought in 1965 and 1971, and the continual flare-ups along the LOC. India would find itself in the wrong side of law if it reneges on the treaty. Global condemnation would follow.
In what way India can make use of its balance share of the water of the five rivers is not clear. Only some parts of Jammu and Kashmir can be irrigated better with the water. For holding back the excess unused water now flowing into Pakistan, dams would have to be built. It could take years. Most international funding institutions and banks will frown upon such a plan that would surely impact environment.
Now it appears that the frenzied media coverage of the Prime minister’s ‘review’ of the IWT was anything but a damp squib. Such an ill-co0nceived move and the hype created about it later have damaged the credibility of the PM. Regrettably, the media storm continues apace, and do not show sign of slowing down. The pros and cons of going back on the Treaty are not seeing the much-needed dispassionate analysis. Instead, we hear a lot of irrational but potentially dangerous jingoism. The need of the hour is a cool head and a cool nerve. Revoking the MFN status will hardly ruffle Pakistan, given the low volume of bilateral trade.
Pre-empting Uri and Pathankot style attacks needs a whole gamut of strategies – strategic, intelligence and political. Discussing these matters in public reduces their efficacy. India’s strategic restraint in the past against cross-border terrorism has helped the country build its image as a dependable, stable and responsible country. This approach must not be abandoned. After all, India and Pakistan will have to return to peace, one day.

ICSE English literature Class 7 — The Flower School

The Flower School
Introduction ..
Rabindanath Tagore is the iconic Bengali writer who brought India its first (only, so far) Nobal Prize in Literature. Through the innocent eyes of a school-going child, the poet captures the thrill and excitement of the blossoming of flowers with the onset of rains. The childlike description of the seasonal appearance and departure of flowers on and from the face of the earth touches everyone’s heart. A child’s fascination with flowers, her dread of the school, and love for her mother are depicted in this short poem with remarkable vividness. This is why this small poem has such time-less abiding appeal.

Explanation … When storm clouds burst and rains begin to fall from the sky in June, moisture-laden winds from the east brush past the bushes with great speed. A shrill sound emanates from the bamboo bushes.
A huge carpet of yellow-coloured tiny flowers seem to descend down on the grass, as the seasonal flowers erupt with astounding glee.
Prior to appearing on the grasses, the tiny flowers seem to go underground to finish their home tasks. Only after they finish the tasks, they venture to come to the open. Just as a child is pulled up for coming to class with incomplete homework, the same way do not dare to prematurely blossom on the earth. Such likening of the wild flowers with school going youngsters is nothing but a figment of imagination conjured up by the poet, but it is so apt and enjoyable.
The rains arrival brings the respite from studies. The flowers come out to the open with frenzied excitement, the same way students welcome the start of the holidays.
As the winds sway the trees, the branches rub against one another and the leaves flutter filling the air with strange sounds.
The clouds roar with vigour and flowers of myriad hues make their appearance in unison.
The child is bewildered to see all these. He imagines that the abode of the flowers is in the starry sky, and they come to the earth on short annual sojourns.
In his innocence, the child perceives that the flowers are keen to go back to their homes. The flowers’ mothers are there in the sky and they can not remain away from their mothers for too long. So, they come, but go back hurriedly.
The child’s innocence is so endearing.

——————————————————The End————————————————–

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Odisha State Board English — The Cancer Fight – from Hiroshima to Huston

The cancer fight, from Hiroshima to Nagasaki
Think it out 1…
1. The atomic bomb explosion by the U.S. on Hiroshima in 1945 and the deadly aftermath of radiation exposure made it a part of the world history.
2. The three traumatic events of Ritsuko’s childhood were the death of almost half of her relatives including her father & Sadako Sasaki, her closest friend, and finally, the fact that she grew up in the shadows of the killer radiation unleashed by the bomb explosion.
3. Ritusko was devastated by the tragic loss of her near and dear ones. At the same time, she became determined to understand and fight cancer.
4. Dr Komaki’s specialization is proton-based radiation therapy.
5. She is famous for her extensive research in the safe and most effective proton radiation beam therapy.
6. For oncologists, the effective proton radiation beam therapy is the safest yet the most effective way of therapy available today.
7. Komaki prefers university over private institutions when it comes to her work and research as she firmly believes that pioneering cancer treatment work is done very efficiently and rigorously in a university. Private clinics and hospitals lack the manpower and organization to vet the patients and conduct and monitor treatment on patients.
8. Dr. Komaki likes to teach as she is keen on propagating her new ideas and findings among many more number of cancer doctors.
9. Komaki is a dedicated and pioneering cancer doctor. She is keen to find ways to alleviate the sufferings of cancer patients. For a person of such missionary zeal, money is much less than conducting path-breaking research.
10. Her mission in life is to develop new and effective means to cure cancer and pass on her skills to as many new doctors as possible, so that doomed cancer patients get a new lease of life.
11. “She no longer fears it”- means that she no longer fears the deadly disease of cancer.
12. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, & photon therapy were used for treating cancer before proton therapy got added to the cancer surgeon’s array of tools for treatment of the disease
13. Initially, Komaki learnt that surgery was the only recourse for both the doctors and patients to combat cancer. She came to know about the efficacy of radiation later.
14. In the U.S., she came to learn about the revolutionary proton therapy.
15. She learnt that localized radiation treatment was less harmful than the chemotherapy. She also realized that it was un-focused nature radiation that caused so much collateral damage to the patient’s body.
16. Komaki and her husband started proton therapy in the Anderson Cancer Center by pushing the same unit they had in Houston.
17. The advent of proton therapy happened in 1954.
18. Komaki’s expertise on proton therapy holds immense promise for future of cancer cure and research. It would prove to be a giant stride to alleviate the sufferings of and even cure cancer patients.


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Odisha State Board English ..London in Minus Four

London in minus fours

Think it out 1
Answer 1.. .. Gandhi represented the voice of large sections of Indians. His charm and personality made him eminently qualified to represent India in the Round Table Conference. So, he was chosen as the sole representative of Congress in the London Conference.
Answer2 . .. Gandhi made his way into the hearts of the poor Londoners by his jovial nature and his disarming modesty. During his morning strolls, he charmed everyone whom he encountered on the way through his smiles and greetings. Even the children were attracted to him. At times, Gandhi used to call on people at their homes. The rapport he built with the British endeared him to one and all.


Think it out 2
Answer 1 .. .. To the journalists question about his scanty dress, Gandhi replied saying that they wore ‘plus-fours’, where as he wore‘minus-fours’.
Answer 2 ….Gandhiji wore his usual frugal dress even while going to meet the King. He wore a loincloth, sandals, and a shawl. His dollar watch hung from his waist.
Answer 3. ..Gandhi had a ready repartee who asked him if he was properly dressed for his meeting with the King. Gandhi quipped that the King had enough clothes on his body for both of them.

Answer 4 ..Gandhiji enjoyed himself in London by meeting many famous personalities like Lord lrwen, David Lloyd Geroge, Marshal Smuts, Bernard Shaw. He also had some public meetings. However, Winston Churchill refused to see him.

Answer 5 ..Gandhiji’s idea was to completely severe all links of India with the British colonial authority. However, he was not in favour of cutting off relations with the Britain. To this end, he wanted India to remain in the Commonwealth as a free nation rubbing shoulders with the British government in equal terms.

Answer 6 .. By ‘creative independence’, Gandhi visualized a free India. Freedom had to foster love, friendship, work, progress, prosperity, unity, and security for the independent people. Freedom for namesake was not what Gandhi wanted.

Think it out 3 – In London in Minus Fours

Answer 1. Gandhij’s qualities like charm, frankness, humility, and accessibility turned his opponents into his friends.

Answer 2 ..Gandhi remained steadfast on his noble principles. He never allowed jealousy, vengeance or rivalry to creep into his mind. He was fair and honest with both friend and foe alike. His life was open and transparent. He readily apologized for the smallest discourtesy to anyone. Thus, he won many friends even among those whom he criticized.

Answer 3 ..Mahatma Gandi’s work outside the Round Table Conference was to convince the people about the genuineness of India’s sorrows and her craving for freedom.

Answer 4 ..The second Round Table conference failed as Lord Reading stubbornly refused to give any tangible relief to India with regard to the demand for freedom. Lord Reading reiterated that Britain would continue to colonize India.

Answer 5 ..Mr. Gandhi built a rapport with the Scotland detectives by treating them equally and in the friendliest way. He visited their homes. He didn’t maintain any distance with them during public appearances. On returning to India, he sent them two watches as his personal presents.


If you are requesting answer for any question relating to this topic, I would be willing to give you the same on payment in the following terms ..

  1. Rs.300 for one page answers
  2. Rs.200 for each subsequent page

I need to state that the amount goes to fund the education of disadvantaged children. You may remit the amount in advance to ..

Account holder -Gokulananda Lenka,
Account number ..30939789437

email id ..