• 02 Feb
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Are we inherently racist?

    inherently racist

    Racism, as understood by treating someone as inferior because they look different (because their ancestors grew up in different geographical and climate conditions, thus ‘race’) is a controversial topic.

    Some people say people who look different are meant to stay apart, and that is why we inherently dislike someone who looks different, some others say that racism is a thing of the past.

    Often, politicians use the racist tendencies of one group to garner votes and increase the divide.


    Biologically speaking, when we were going through an evolution and still living in tribes.

    For us, it was important to know which tribe can be trusted and which cannot be.

    The geographical region and climate that we stay in starts to affect our looks over time, may give us flatter or longer noses, for example. Therefore, when someone looked very different from us, we had good reason to be suspicious of them.

    We did not know whether this person who has come from elsewhere will harm us to take over our land, or not.

    This evolutionary tendency continued and was used to justify colonialism and slavery, with the claim that Indians, and Africans and almost all non-white population is somehow inferior.

    History obviously says something else, because Egypt, one of the forward civilizations of the ages, was from Egypt and India had flowing prosperity and education before any other country.

    Times have changed, but we have promoted this thinking, which though useful when we were evolving, is no longer useful in a mixed world.

    Politicians and other parties with vested interests have led to more visibility of one group over another in TV, news and so on.

    This is not limited to just black or white people.

    Our lack of diversity affects differently abled people and women too, we tend to see them as lesser people and give them less rights.

    So, yes, there is an inherent mechanism in us which helped us to survive the stone age and the tribal age.

    However, times have changed and our brain can adapt into not thinking that way, if we wanted to.

    Research suggests that giving children exposure to people and faces who look different ensures that they do not grow up as racist adults.

    Therefore, it is all a question of making ourselves familiar to the diversity out there and helping ourselves understand all the people out there.

    Although people are not openly expressing racist tendencies, they do however tend to be covertly racist with or without knowing it.

    This can lead to discrimination in the workplace and during interviews and even when selecting a marriage partner.

    This may also have law enforcement consequences, with reports that black and Indian youth are more likely to be mistrusted and arrested for crimes than white people.

    Therefore, it is obviously a dangerous bias to carry. It was useful at one time but no longer is.

    We should not let some antisocial elements use this to increase the divide. We can and should work to reduce differences and racism.

    Further reading:1 2 3




  • 01 Feb
    Dr. KV Anand

    10 Habits that help Change Your Attitude from Negative to Positive

    negative to positive attitude


    Many a times we refer to ATTITUDE. We refer to the positive attitude and negative attitude. We’ve all heard about the power of our attitude and that it is our attitude that determines how much we succeed in life. We even know positive attitude plays an important part in many attributes in our life, whereas a negative attitude shatters our life itself. Usually positive attitude leads to Success and Happiness. A negative attitude can lead to sadness, depression, stress, and giving up on life. So having an uplifting attitude is critical to success and achievement.


    How to cultivate habits which leads to positive attitude?

    First, let us know what is the attitude.

    What is an attitude?

    In psychology, "an attitude is an expression of favor or disfavor towards a person, place, thing, or event”. In other words

    “attitude is a settled way of thinking or feeling about something”.

    Positive attitude is having positive thoughts, feelings and expression.
    Negative attitude is having negative thoughts, feelings and expression.


    How to have a positive attitude?

    Here are some habits which should help you cultivate positive habits.


    1. Maintain a gratefulness diary.

    Once in a while one single occasion can destroy a whole day and an unpleasant interaction or involvement with night can dominate the enjoyable parts of our day. With this awareness that our mind tends to stick to the negative, we can deliberately concentrate on the great parts of our day to counterbalance this irregularity. Try writing down 5 things that you feel thankful for every day and see how your attitude changes. Science has found that appreciation can fundamentally increase your happiness, and shield you from anxiety, negativity, stress and depression.

    2. Reframe your challenges.
    There are no deadlocks, just re-directions. Despite the fact that we may attempt, there are not very many things in life that we have complete control over. We ought not to let wild events from the outside turn our inner to mush. What we can control is the effort that we put in and when we give our full effort, there is no reason to regret. Play around with challenges, hold onto them as adventures instead of attempting to resist an experience for growth.


    “Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn.” – Robert Kiyosaki

    3. Feel good, even though you are rejected.
    Rejection is a skill. Understand the failure you went through, because no one gets to slide through life without being rejected. Don’t let it trouble you and never expect the worse to happen. If you wait for bad things to happen, chances are it will. When you worry, something worse may happen, the chances of bad happenings are more. Feel good when you are rejected. So that is alright, I always have next chance.

    4. Describe your life using positive words
    The words we use are more powerful than we think. You are what you think about yourself. How you talk about your life is how your life will be. Your mind listens to what you say, what you mean and what your brain perceives. If you use the words simple, involved, familiar or lively, you will see your life in a whole different light and find more enjoyment in the way you chose to shape your life. Always be positive with your words. For example, whenever possible say,

    “I am perfect, I am happy and I am positive”.

    5. Replace “have” with “get”.
    I have to do something? We use this sentence many a times in a day. . I have to go to work. I have to go grocery shopping. I have to pay my rent. You need to learn to rephrase. Replace the word ‘’have’’ to ‘’get’’. I get to go to work. I get to go grocery shopping. Even, I get to pay my rent. Your attitude rapidly changes from expecting to satisfy commitments to being appreciative of the things that we get to be usual to have.

    6. Try not to give yourself a chance to get dragged into other individuals' complaints.
    Your day was going really well and afterward you get the opportunity to work and your colleague can't quit griping about the cool climate. You didn't generally consider it before he/she brought it up and now you wind up concurring and joining in on the complain fest of how tired you are of this cool climate. In a month you'll be maneuvered into protests about how it's excessively hot. Try not to fall into the trap. A study done at the Warsaw School of Social Psychology demonstrates that grumbling prompts lower states of mind and negative feelings, diminished life fulfillment and idealism, and passionate and motivational deficiencies. You may find that your collaborator will whine less without the approval of another person having the same protest.

    7. Breathe.
    Our breath is specifically associated with our feelings. Have you seen we hold our breath at times when we are focusing on something? Will you feel your breath change when you are furious or on edge? Our breath changes relying upon how we feel. The great news is that the association goes the other much as well. We can likewise change how we feel utilizing our breath! Take ten deep, shallow breaths whenever you are free.

    8. Notice the “right” in times of “wrong”(tragedy).
    It's difficult to have a trust and stay positive when scorn and viciousness is everywhere throughout the media. What we don't see as much is that in each example of normal catastrophes, war, traumatic experience, you will discover individuals ascending, connecting with one another and indicating crude empathy and affection. Learn to see the right news, articles, writings, etc. among wrong / bad news.

    9. Have solutions when pointing out problems.
    Being positive doesn't imply that you must be unaware of the issues. Constructive individuals have useful reactions to enhance conditions. On the off chance that you are going to call attention to issues in individuals or circumstances, put the same amount of exertion into proposing arrangements. Rather than indicating out everything that aren't right, offer ways improve it. Have a solution ready when you point out problems.

    10. Make someone else smile.
    Who do you consider more often than not? In the event that we addressed truly, a large portion of us would say them. It's great to consider ourselves responsible, assume liability for our life parts, cleanliness, sustenance, and so forth, however set an objective for every day to make another person grin. Consider another person's joy and it will help us to understand our monstrous effect that our mentality and expression has on the general population around us.

    Author: Dr KV Anand

    Image source

  • 01 Feb
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Why laughter is contagious?

    laughter therapy



    “Laugh and the world laughs with you” may be more than just a saying that we learnt in childhood. It turns out that there is scientific evidence that laughter is contagious. Research suggests that when we see emotional expressions of any kind on other people’s faces, our brain will try to mirror them so that we can have a shared reality with the other person, helping us to bond with them. Bonding with group members was important from an evolutionary perspective and still continues to be, and that is why the brain acts this way. This ability helps us to survive in our social environment.


    However, it turns out that for positive emotions, our brain responds a lot more and much faster. This is because more bonding is likely to happen over positive emotions. These are also considered to strengthen the immunity system, and so the brain responds more to them. Therefore, when we see someone laugh or when we hear a joke, our brain involuntarily prepares the facial muscles to laugh, but forming a smile.

    Dr. Sophie Scott, head of this research project, commented:

    "We usually encounter positive emotions, such as laughter or cheering, in group situations, whether watching a comedy programme with family or a football game with friends. This response in the brain, automatically priming us to smile or laugh, provides a way of mirroring the behaviour of others, something which helps us interact socially. It could play an important role in building strong bonds between individuals in a group."


    This is perhaps the reason why humour is used as an ice-breaker in most situations where two unknown people are interacting. This could also be why one of the most important social skills rated over time in both formal and informal situations.


    Laughter therapy helps depressed to feel good.

    For depression and other psychological disorders, laughter therapy tends to help a lot for the same reason. In laughter therapy, no jokes are used, but simple laughing of the instructor tends to induce laughter from the participants.

    This is where the brain mechanisms of mimicking a positive state of emotions tends to kick in and be useful. In depression, it can be very difficult to find anything pleasant, however, laughter therapy works on the automatic systems of the brain and tends to trigger positive emotions and a release of the feel good emotion, dopamine. The effect multiplies as one sees the whole group laughing.


    Your minus points ignored if you have ability to make us laugh

    Laughter also promotes liking. For example, children tend to like adults and teachers that can make them laugh. It makes it easy for us to ignore the person’s minus points if they have an ability to make us laugh and put us at ease.


    Laughing boost our immune system

    There is also research which suggests that the reason some of yoga’s facial exercises include laughing poses and expressions, is because our ancient ancestors had already discovered the health benefits of laughing. Along with it being contagious, it is also healthy. Even using the same facial muscles as those which are used in laughing tend to make us feel good, boost our immunity and promote our health.



  • 29 Jan
    Oyindrila Basu

    Tips to utilize Home alone weekend for something productive.

    woman working at home

    For housewives who feel that staying at home is a boring job, even after the full-time job of cooking, dusting and cleaning  there are plans for you. If you have some weekend plans of kitty party, and the weather has been a foe, don’t get upset. Use your #HomeAloneWeekend for something productive-

    • Decorate your interiors with new color, but out of simple things, which are present in your house. For e.g. make some origami birds (following the you tube tutorials), this can give a sudden freshness to your bedroom, so no longer you need to derive freshness from #Barfi


    • Alternatively, start a brand new painting for your drawing room, if you are an artist.


    • If you are into writing, this is the day, to begin a new book or article.


    • If you have been thinking long for making your skills, productive, use a lazy day at home to check out the plans, start sending applications and submissions at the relevant places. Stop thinking, start doing.


    • If you are at leisure, and want some shopping, start surfing the online shopping sites, more than enough varieties and options will make you swoon, and possibly you can choose the best one, without being interrupted occasionally with “how can I help you mam?” J


    Generally, being at home is not bad at all. If you think, staying in the house means, you have to be idle, you are wrong. The work structure is changing drastically.


    Many a time, wives on a dependent visa, with their husbands in a foreign land feel, that is the end, ‘I don’t have the permission, so I cannot work, so what do I do! Build up a ladies’ association in the locality, and start regular meetings to prove that I am engaged, I am busy; I am social like my husband’. Well socializing in the common group is not bad at all, but it is better to be proactive on the Internet, than in the PNPC class of the social association.


    There are thousands of opportunities online, which asks you to work from home, without drawing anything from the foreign government. Just find one, which suits your profile.


    You can upgrade your professional skills by joining an edx course; this is the right opportunity to get yourself certified by universities like Harvard or MIT.


    If you are a housewife in India, with good academic background, the same is applicable to you.


    If you want to complete your educational status, start looking for distance courses today, from home, rather than engaging yourself in miffy arguments within the family (which often leads you to think that you need a social life outside).


    Keep yourself busy with your hobbies, (doesn’t mean doing Facebook the whole day), but something like reading fictions, or journals, writing a review for a recent movie and posting it on LinkedIn, can be some common productive works.


    If you are good at some art like knitting or cooking or painting, you can start practicing it today.


    Indulge yourself in pleasurable music or dance (if you have the skill), that can help you think better, control your mind and body.


    In your regular schedule, do not forget some indoor exercises, if you are unable to go for jogging due to bad weather, or in general, if you are at home.


  • 28 Jan
    Oyindrila Basu

    Being home Or Home Alone-Not Such A Bad Thing

    boy reading

    It is winter time friends, chilly winds outside. #PostChristmas, actually, the weather in our country or some of the abroad countries, do not remain very friendly for trips or picnics or #MallHopping.


    This year itself, Delhi and Kolkata have witnessed sudden temperature drops with #GooseBumpyWinds that does not allow you to dress your style and go out for a movie date or dinner, or just window shopping if you feel like. Along with it, there have been long days of bad clouds, with not a spec of the sun.


    In the eastern time zone, USA has been swept away by the torments of #Snowzilla, when it is just next to impossible, for you, to plan your weekends outside.


    So what do you do?

    You do not probably want to spend an inactive, boring weekend, without anything to do! Especially, you have known since your childhood, that winter is the season of fun, frolic, food and festivity. Winter is the best time to eat whatever you want, dress up like yourself and party, isn’t it? But unfortunately, the recent change in the global weather forecast is going against the prediction and teaching of our forefathers :P


    These days, odd weather conditions are no longer odd; they are most common throughout the year. However, do not spoil your mood, if your plan for a recent movie outing or long drive, has been spoilt by the bad weather outside.

    What to do at home if you are alone, while your parents are away to ‘chachi’s’ or ‘maami’s’, and the weather outside has dumped you, while you had some hopping and shopping plans with your pals, don’t worry, just chill!


    Instead of getting frustrated, sort yourself and think about those things which you have been thinking of for a long time-


    • Probably, finish up the last section of the novel you had left halfway.


    • Turn on the FM, and listen to your favourite program, which you have been thinking of hearing all over again, after a huge gap, but was not being able to make it.


    • Live for yourself. Pamper yourself with a cup of ice-cream with chocolate sauce, forget dieting, and start up a new movie which you have been planning for quite sometime.


    • Or just go for an extended nap lazily.:)

    If you have a partner, Then enjoy your day with these beautiful tips


    • Wake up with a strong aroma of beaten coffee, and sit with your partner to decide on the list of exciting things you can do for the day, being home. (of course, if it is not a working day:))


    • You can start cooking up a good brunch for both of you, that is complimentary to the weather outside. For e.g. ‘khichdi’, if it is rainy outside, or probably a platter of grilled peking duck with some sparkling white wine and spaghetti can be a sumptuous enough to nurture your taste buds. This is also the right opportunity to brush up your #Cuisineart.


    • Holidays, for working couples, have become the ‘odd’ event in the current scenario, preferably try to be at home, on this weekend with your partner. Spend a few extra minutes of the morning nap with each other, when you are not actually sleeping, but may be peeping at each other from your quilt’s other end, or sharing a few old memories or your childhood or your relation, when the sun’s golden rays bathe your bedroom walls.


    • Do something special. Engage in some activity, which requires both’s efforts. Like take out some pictures from old albums and make a collage, or change the location of the furniture, to give your home a new look.


    • Sit for an afternoon movie together, and jointly start reviewing it with points of criticism. This is very effective. It not only helps you spend quality time with your partner, but also prunes and sharpens your creative analytical skills.


    • Try disseminating a detective novel together. You will suddenly realize; you have hit upon a new theory with your partner.


    • You can always invite some of your old friends (with whom you have lost touch since long) with a surprise call, and together cook up a delicious dinner for them.


    • Play a game of chess or scrabble with our partner. Simple things often make life prettier.


    • If you have some recent plans for a long trip or outing, this is the best day to sit with your partner and make the necessary decisions and plans of arrangement.







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