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Friday, 18 January 2019 08:41

Digital India versus Real India

In the run-up to the general election, global tech companies must find ways to live with populism, pandering and paranoia.

As a digital destination, India is red-hot. After all, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his maiden appearance at Davos, had declared that he was replacing red tape with a red carpet; his administration had already embraced Digital India, the brand poised to displace the Incredible India of palaces, camels and yoga retreats. While Digital India is a mix of many public sector initiatives as well as private ones — such as a 4G network blanketing the nation with Internet access at throwaway prices — it needs the digital players from the outside. And these outside players have responded. Amazon was so gung-ho that it pledged $5 billion on cracking India. In response, arch-rival, Walmart, raised the bar by putting down $16 billion to secure its own toehold. Nevertheless, Amazon has dug in for the long haul; after “Prime” and “Alexa”, apparently, “India” is the third-most frequently used term in its recent letters to shareholders. Beyond the retail giants, there are the usual Silicon Valley suspects — Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc. — hoping to be the stewards of a digitally-emergent nation. Even Indian startups have felt the love. Ventures, mostly digital ones, have raked in over $10 billion in funding from overseas for two years in a row.

Modi’s “red carpet” call was issued from the Swiss mountains a year ago — in 2018. But, for now, welcome to 2019, notably, an election year. The digital CEOs jetting in expecting that red carpet must recognise that this is a year when “real” India takes precedence. They must also be able to distinguish between the many faces of real India and frame their strategies appropriately.

First, there is the India of small towns and villages that makes for riveting case studies in business school classrooms. This is the India where the nawabs of the Net go native: Finely calibrated products and processes are re-calibrated to suit the uniquely Indian context. Websites and apps are stripped-down to work with low-end phones. Local shopkeepers, whose businesses will be eviscerated by global e-commerce, are re-deployed to become the distribution agents of those e-commerce giants by taking to bicycles and two-wheelers to navigate the unpaved roads and unmarked addresses that Google Maps cannot locate. This is the India where digital players put aside their allergy to the analogue world and accept cold hard cash. This is the India where the Googles and Amazons must invest in translation to multiple language to ensure they are truly making inroads. Suffice it to say, any digital player serious about the Indian consumer has been working hard to figure out how to crack this facet of Indian reality.

Then, there is a second face of real — mostly urban — India attempting to grapple with the same struggles as their counterparts in the rest of the world: Balancing the conveniences and the sheer thrill of digital connectivity with concerns about violation of privacy and manipulation by nefarious groups. WhatsApp, India’s prime conduit for digital rumour-mongering, has taken several steps, ranging from public service advertisements and appointing a grievance officer (albeit one who is still based in California) and limiting forwarding of messages. It is unclear how effective these measures will be, particularly in advance of an election season. If the recent experience prior to the elections in Brazil — marked by an “unprecedented industrial use of disinformation” (according to the fact-checking organisation, Aos Fatos) — is any indicator, the Indian voters should brace themselves for a whirlwind ahead. The digital players are still fumbling in their attempts to address these concerns and will continue to grope around in the dark looking for a solution.

This brings us to a third face of real India that shows up prior to election season: A reality that is a perfect storm of populism, pandering and paranoia. For populism, one needs to look no further than the world’s digitally most connected politician. Prime Minister Modi continues to brand himself as a champion of the aspirational middle-class and has seized the political narrative using digital tools, such as the NaMo app. This is just fine, except that when the NaMo app comes pre-installed in 40 million Reliance Jio phones, the branding begins to feel a tad Orwellian. When Modi’s image is, in turn, used in advertisements for “Jio Digital Life”, the Orwellian circle is complete.

Then there is the pandering. Apart from the cozy connections with certain large businesses as evidenced above, pandering takes place in the form of protectionism on behalf of local businesses, both large and small. Recent draft government rules suggest a plan to require that Indian users’ data be stored locally. Since international digital players typically store data in servers around the world, this would drive up their storage costs disproportionately. This would, obviously, please local businesses and work in the current administration’s favour in an election. To pile on the munificence to local businesses, the Modi administration recently tightened rules on international e-commerce players, effectively preventing them from selling products from affiliated vendors or selling proprietary products at discounted prices. This, too, builds much-needed goodwill prior to elections. One can only hope that there is no demonetisation 2.0 that is sprung on the country given how well that worked in pandering to the “ordinary man”.

Finally, to see paranoia in action consider the home ministry’s recent authorisation extended to 10 government agencies with rights to access user data “for the purposes of interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received, or stored in any computer resource”. All of this, of course, runs counter to the Supreme Court’s determination of citizens having a fundamental right to privacy. Even though government surveillance can, in theory, be carried out on anyone, it is fair to assume that it could have a chilling effect on the administration’s critics and political opponents.

Each of these pre-election moves can be confounding to the uninitiated international CEO and it is unclear if they are in the best interests of the users. I am afraid, even the world’s most sophisticated digital players haven’t figured out how to deal with this face of real India, that is, the politically charged India of the election season where the red tape abruptly returns and replaces the red carpet.

The lesson is clear: Digital India can never out-run the real India; the two must share the same road. Much like on the very real roads of India, digital players must learn how to swerve, speed up and hit the brakes at any time. They must constantly “blow horn” to make a noise and ensure their presence is felt. If it doesn’t figure out how to do the swerve-speed up-brake and blow horn routine, digital India will be on a collision course with real India — and there is little doubt which India will win.

Ever the wordsmith, Prime Minister Modi had remarked in an early trip to Japan: “We used to play with snakes, now we play with the mouse. When we move a mouse, the whole world moves.” My one piece of advice to Amazon, Walmart, Google and all others of their ilk: Don’t get too comfortable with that mouse. We still play with snakes.

Courtesy - Indian Express

"Looking at ultra-processed food for children as something that is as big a threat as smoking, which is injurious to health. All junk foods should come with this warning, including tetra-pack juices or fibre-filled biscuits." as per “Rujuta Diwekar” a famous nutritionist opinion.

Popular nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar needs no introduction. Be it her food myth-busters on social media or her books answering queries on health and well-being, Diwekar has become the go-to expert for a lot of people. The author recently penned another book, this time, on children, titled Notes for Healthy Kids, which focuses on going beyond just the assimilation of nutrients in the body to really enjoy food and its heritage. Express Parenting got to know more about the book from Diwekar through a brief tete-a-tete. Here are some excerpts:

What inspired you to write the book?

This is actually something that I had been thinking about for the longest time. Wherever I would go for a talk, people would constantly ask me when I was writing for kids. So, to me, writing this book almost feels like the completion of an unfinished project. And now, with diet fads and us staring at climate change and wars over food and water, god knows what the future has in store for us! I felt that it’s just the right time to write a book for children. One more reason for this is also because India currently has the second highest number of obese children and also the highest number of malnourished children. These were a few motivating factors for writing this book.

In your book, you’ve emphasised on passing the “grandmother test” before choosing what to eat. Can you explain what that means?

This basically means that you need to be eating food which is local to the region that you live in, which is in season and prepared in your kitchen using traditional recipes. It is something our stomach and palette already knows and identifies with. So, we would be able to digest this food quite well. Almost everything that our grandmoms don’t recognise as food is that which has travelled a very long distance to land on our plate or it may just be something that is ultra-processed and being positioned as good for our health. The grandmom-test essentially allows you to tell the real stuff from marketed food.

Can you bust some myths about what is healthy and what isn’t?

Ghee: Ghee is extremely nutritious. Ghee has a very unique kind of fatty acid structure, which allows your body to assimilate all the nutrients from anything that you are eating. I would say, ghee is a health tonic.

Milk: Try and buy milk from a local dairy; Indian cow milk is better than from the Jersey cow. If your child, by any chance, doesn’t like milk, you don’t need to force feed it by mixing a powder or switching to almond or soya milk. A lot of parents think that milk is the only source of calcium and protein but that’s not the case. You can very well derive these nutrients from a wholesome diet. So, even if you give your child a ragi dosa or moringa, it will serve the purpose.

Traditional sweets: All our traditional sweets are a complete package of macro and micro nutrients. They are rich in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Most of them are prepared using millets or pulses, like a nachni laddoo, besan laddoo or nariyal barfi. They invariably have nuts, which add to their nutrient profile, along with ghee, sugar or jaggery. So, they really are balls of energy. We should ensure that we are routinely making them at home.

Also Read: When can babies start having walnuts, almonds and other nuts?

There seems to be a lot of paranoia among parents about children’s diet and health. What could be the possible reasons?

I think a part of it is because we are constantly talking about diet and one can’t escape it. Now, there is a lot of focus on just nutrients. And once you start having a very reductionist view of food, then it is natural for fear and apprehension to grow. Most advertisements are also geared towards this form of fear. And that becomes a narrative. The apprehension comes more out of the narrative than the fact. The body is used to a very wholesome and holistic approach. It’s about the big picture. It’s about eating your food properly, enjoying what you are eating, going to bed on time, having healthy relationships, and so on. Good health is much more than just acing a nutrient.

Is junk food a strict no-no?

Identifying junk food and then having it once in a while is totally okay. For instance, if you are on a highway and there’s nothing else but a burger place, you can have it. But going to junk food places to celebrate birthdays or opting for them as a return gift for a birthday party or buying chips or chocolates out of habit is something we need to stop. I look at ultra-processed food for children as something that is as big a threat as smoking, which is injurious to health. All junk foods should come with this warning, including tetra-pack juices or fibre-filled biscuits.

Can you suggest some tips on how parents can teach their child to appreciate food?

One of the first things that I would like to tell parents is to not take their child to a mall every weekend. At least once a month, take them to a farm. That is what will help them appreciate food better because that’s how they will understand where it comes from. And once you understand the source of something, then you are more likely to take interest in food. Children love being out on the farm, planting and harvesting. You can help them plant a tree in the neighbourhood so they understand what it takes to grow something.

Speak to them in your local native tongue. We are under the threat of losing so many of our indigenous languages. Without knowing your local language, you cannot possibly understand or appreciate your cuisine. And when you don’t do that, you stay disconnected from health, harmony and happiness that your cuisine brings you.

Involve your child in the cooking process. Have him or her come to the kitchen, get them to set the table, have them pick the food, and so on.

How would you define a “healthy child”?

My definition of a healthy child is one who is energetic, enthusiastic, has an open green space to run in, doesn’t need a gadget to eat, who can just hit the pillow and sleep and wake up fresh. A healthy child is an integral part of the sustainable development for the future.

Courtesy - Indian Express

Parents need to ensure that toxic substances used at home are kept out of their child's reach. We bring you some ways tips to ensure your child is not exposed to harmful chemicals, and also what to do in case of an emergency.

Have you ever worried that your little one would pick up anything lying around and put it in his or her mouth? Young children, especially toddlers, can hardly identify what’s edible or not, which is why parents need to be alert and keep children away from potentially dangerous items.

A five-year-old child, Abhay, for instance, was critically ill after swallowing a naphthalene ball. He was admitted to Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield, in Bengaluru, with severe jaundice, complaining of vomiting and decreased urine output. He was finally cured.

Naphthalene balls are commonly used in households. Dr Senthil Kumar, Consultant Paediatric, Neonatal & Cardiac Intensivist, Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield, who treated Abhay, suggested some tips for parents on keeping children safe from naphthalene balls:

1. Parents must ensure that naphthalene balls/ mothballs are kept away from the reach of children.

2. Directions to use naphthalene balls must be followed carefully. These balls are suggested to be used on or around clothing and not in the attic area, on the ground or in the eaves.

3. Proper washing of clothing and bedding has to be done before wearing or using it.

4. Disposal of old/ unused naphthalene balls should be done timely.

Keeping your child safe from toxic items

Not just naphthalene balls, there are several other items kept at home, from medicines to disinfectants, which, if consumed, can prove detrimental to children. Dr Kumar suggested ways in which parents can ensure children’s safety:

1. Keep toxic substances not only out of children’s way but also hidden from their sight.

2. Keep all medication behind locked cabinets.

3. Properly label items.

4. Use child-resistant containers and packaging.

5. Avoid highly toxic substances at home.

What to do in case if a child accidentally consumes toxic substances

Despite all measures, if a child ends up consuming a toxic substance, here are steps that parents can consider, besides, of course, immediately contacting a medical professional, as recommended by Dr Kumar:

1. Watch for warning signs like recurrent vomiting, fever, bluish discoloration of lips and fingers, breathing difficulty, persistent cough, fits, increased irritability or drowsiness, jaundice, abdominal pain, decreasing urine output and poor oral intake.

2. Rush to the nearest hospital.

3. Don’t induce vomiting in case of acid, bleach, detergent, petroleum distillates, mosquito repellents or ingestion of toxic oils.

4. If possible, carry the alleged poison with you to the hospital to help them understand the nature of poisoning and the antidote, if available.

Courtesy - Indian Express



As we mature into adulthood and older age, it is our social relationships, not the number but their quality, which will determine how long we live and the quality of these years of life.


If the pursuit of a long and healthy life is the central goal of medicine, indeed humanity itself, then love is its most powerful intervention. This may seem like a fatuous declaration, and I might be undermining my own academic pretensions by using this word in preference to the scientific jargon which medicine shrouds itself in, but the facts speak for themselves. These facts come from a number of scientific studies focusing on different stages of our lives and examining the diverse ways in which love expresses itself.




From the earliest hours of our lives, being loved by our parents is the most important predictor of our well-being. Some of the mechanisms are obvious, for example being fed adequately. But there are more potent, less visible, pathways too. Parenting, the technical term used to describe the way a parent responds to their child with affection, attention and admiration, is profoundly important to stimulate the brain to learn effectively and manage one’s emotions competently, both essential to a healthy and long life. The experience of being loved by one’s child is, in turn, a driver of the parent’s well-being. During our youth, the range of relationships through which love can be expressed expands significantly to include our peers, teachers and even strangers in our neighbourhoods. Being excluded or friendless, or spending time in schools or neighbourhoods where hate or violence breeds with impunity, greatly damages our health. As we mature into adulthood and older age, it is our social relationships, not the number but their quality, which will determine how long we live and the quality of these years of life.


Perhaps the most celebrated study which provides compelling evidence on the potency of these factors is Harvard’s Grant and Glueck study which has been in progress for over 75 years. The study followed up two distinct groups of men, one comprising 456 men from poor families in Boston and the other comprising 268 Harvard graduates. Successive generations of researchers regularly carried out extensive health assessments of these men. Over time, many men died, and the researchers were able to study which factors, across the life course, predicted mortality. Not surprisingly, the usual medical suspects, from smoking to high cholesterol levels, were important predictors. But the factors which out-weighed all others, as the most important predictors of a long and healthy life, were the quality of the relationships the men had with others and the extent to which they were engaged with their communities.


There are other strands of research which complement this evidence, perhaps most vividly the impact of the loss of love on our well-being. The most grievous loss of love any of us will experience is that of our intimate partner, particularly after a long and fulfilling period of living together. An example of a study examining the impact of such loss is the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study. Researchers followed up 12,316 people for 10 years, observing who lost a spouse and then recording when they themselves died. Losing a partner dramatically increased the risk of dying, especially in the first three months after the loss when compared with those whose partners were alive, the risk increased by a whopping 66 per cent.


Many people will mock the idea of love being a potent medicine simply on the basis of such observations. They will demand proof, in the form of a plausible biological mechanism. How, for example, can soothing one’s crying baby and experiencing their joyful smile in response, hugging a friend and feeling their arms tighten around you, caring for one’s neighbour and knowing they will stand by you in your hour of need, experiencing mutual pleasure during sexual intercourse, enhance our well-being and extend life? We now know that such acts are associated with a range of bodily changes, for example due to the increased amounts of oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love hormone”, released in response to such behaviour. And, when acts of love are life-long investments, their effects are incremental because of sustained biological processes and behavioural choices.


The science pointing to the fact that our social relationships are profoundly important for our health would come as no surprise to most of us: After all, we can each look into our own lives and recognise the magical effects of being loved by someone and, equally importantly, loving them, on our own well-being. It would also not surprise evolutionary biologists who have long recognised that a foundational feature of our species is that we are social creatures. We need — indeed we thrive on — connections with others. And, importantly, these “others” are not restricted to our small circle of family and intimate friends. The power of love works just as well when we care for those who are lonely as they grow old or suffer mental health problems, those who are excluded or marginalised because they are different from the majority in one way or another, those whose lives we have authority over such as the persons who serve us in our homes or work-places. The important point is that, far from this being an act of charity for someone we perceive as being less fortunate than ourselves, caring for others, through direct acts of compassion or by standing up for their rights, ultimately stands to benefit us just as much. It triggers the biological mechanisms which make us healthier and happier, and fuels the social mechanisms which make our communities harmonious.


The evidence is clear. It isn’t money, medicine or power, but our acts of love and caring for others and being loved and cared for by others, two mutually reinforcing pathways, which are the most potent influences on our well-being. To top this, the best news is that you don’t need to look far to find opportunities to exercise this potent dose, for people whom we can care for are abundantly present in our homes and our neighbourhoods. If you don’t already know this, just reach out to someone with love and experience the well-being seep into you.



Courtesy - Indian Express


The narration of stories clubbed with images makes it easier for a reader to travel to distant lands and explore other cultures. Pictures help one to understand and imagine the meaning of the text better.

Gone are the days when reading used to be a popular habit among many people. In today’s hectic world, the habit of reading is almost getting obsolete. Bringing it back, especially among children, is becoming a challenge. With changing times and life becoming fast-paced, there is a shift in reading material as well. People are gradually moving towards something that is easy and quick to read and consume. In such a scenario, graphic novels can be a great fit as reading material.

What are graphic novels? Graphic novels can be understood as comic books with slightly more mature content, and lengthier than serialised comic books. They can perhaps be perceived as novels but with images along with words to narrate a story. There are many benefits that graphic novels can offer:

Inculcate the habit of reading in children

Lengthy novels are difficult for children to grasp, whereas the length of graphic novels does not deter children from reading them, the reason being the interesting way the story narrative is accompanied by images. This helps kids develop a taste in reading, which goes a long way in making them avid readers in future.

Quick to read

For energetic children, making them sit patiently and read something is a difficult task at times. Graphic novels are quick bites, easy to read and consume. The storylines are exciting and engaging, which leaves children hooked to them. Even for adults, who are always occupied in their hectic work schedules and miss their reader mode due to the paucity of time, graphic novels would be the best option to rekindle their love of reading.

High quality language

A good graphic novel is a combination of precise words and great illustrations. Since the text is complemented with pictures, it is crisp and hence chosen with great care. Reading graphic novels can hold a child’s attention very well while nurturing and enriching their vocabulary.

Easily transports one to new cultures

It may not be possible for everyone to be well acquainted with the art of languages and it could be a barrier in reading novels across boundaries. However, the narration of stories clubbed with images makes it easier for a reader to travel to distant lands and explore other cultures. Even if one is not completely familiar with the language, pictures help one to understand and imagine the meaning of the text better.

Available in all the genres

Graphic novels are not synonymous with comic books alone any more. One can find graphic novels as per one’s reading appetite. The novels are spread across genres like fiction, history, comedy, mythology, fantasy, romance, drama, etc. The various genres of graphic novels are enough to satiate one’s reading palate.

Courtesy - Indian Express



In order to arrive at the result, accelerometers were attached on the waists of 3,974 healthy men and women by the researchers. This was done for over seven nights in order to examine the duration and the quality of the sleep.


While it is very important to sleep, a new study, published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, has revealed that sleeping less than six hours during the night or even sleeping poorly can lead to heart disease. In order to arrive at the result, accelerometers were attached to the waists of 3,974 healthy men and women by the researchers. This was done for over seven nights in order to examine the duration and the quality of the sleep.


According to the report in The New York Times that quotes this study, all these men and women underwent the three-dimensional ultrasound that keeps a check on the blood flow through the blood vessels, and other physical exams. Factors like diabetes, smoking, fasting glucose and cholesterol were controlled and it was deduced that those who slept for less than six hours were 27 per cent more vulnerable to suffer from heart problems. Those who slept fitfully or moved a bit are also more susceptible to have more accumulations of plaque as compared to those who slept soundly.


“We’re detecting disease in its earliest stages in apparently healthy young people,” Dr Valentin Fuster, co-author and director of the Mount Sinai Heart Center said. “This is something that was done only at autopsy until now. This is an alarm system, telling you that there is another cardiovascular risk factor you should pay attention to.”


Courtesy - Indian Express

We all have a deep desire for perfect kids as that would, in turn, make us feel good about ourselves. When they do not fall into the socially prescribed narrative of ‘good kids’, we try to 'fix them' by criticising, complaining, shaming and blaming them. And when they push back in frustration, we react with anger and censure.

Rahil’s mother was very upset with him. “He is rude, aggressive, and of late, he has also started lying to us. If I try to scold him, he answers back or just walks out of the room. There is no respect for us.” Rahil sat sullenly looking at the floor and refusing to make any eye contact. I checked with him if I could spend some time alone with him and after some reluctance, he agreed. After a while, I asked him what he thought the problem was. He was quiet for a while and then said, “Nothing I do is good enough for my parents. They are constantly comparing me to my older brother who is good in studies. In school, my teachers are always criticising me. I don’t think anybody likes me.”

He sat twisting his hands, fighting back his tears, sharing his pain of hurt and rejection.

We all have a deep desire for perfect kids as that would, in turn, make us feel good about ourselves. When they do not fall into the socially prescribed narrative of ‘good kids’, we try to ‘fix them’ by criticising, complaining, shaming and blaming them. And when they push back in frustration, we react with anger and censure.

Our relationship with our children is like an emotional bank account — we make deposits but we also make withdrawals. The deposits are in the form of spending time, playing, chatting, hugging, cuddling, words of recognition, making them feel special by doing things for them and so on, whereas the withdrawals could be criticism, comparison, shaming, blaming, complaining, hitting, abusing etc. Now in most homes, some withdrawals are inevitable as we all are human and will end up withdrawing unwittingly. However, it is only when the withdrawals outweigh the deposits that the emotional bankruptcy manifests in the form of aggressive behaviour, lying, stealing, rudeness, not listening etc. We are quick to label these ‘behavioural problems’ which needs ‘disciplining’ but we do little to understand the underlying emotions which might be causing them.

There are some children who are more vulnerable to a higher level of ‘withdrawal’ from this emotional bank account – for example, children with learning difficulties, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, or other disabilities. All these children are wired differently and do not fit the society’s criteria of a ‘good child’.

Then there are children who are emotionally intense and struggle to regulate their emotions or are going through difficult transitions in their life such as family conflicts, parents’ divorce or childhood trauma. Sometimes it is very difficult for them to identify or express their feelings.

When I see my children being rude, it is very easy for me to blame them and difficult to look within and reflect on my emotional bank account, or what I call ‘Connect’, with them. If I am honest with myself, I invariably find that I have been preoccupied with some work, been snappy or just not been mindful of their presence.

Therefore, without realising, we end up feeding and energising the negativity in our children. Let’s look at ways we can flip the energy and strengthen our Connect:


We all have a dream child in our mind and if our child does not match that, there could be feelings of disappointment and inadequacy — “I must be a bad parent, that’s why my child is not good enough.” Children can pick up this feeling of “not being good enough” and react to it either by seeking approval, becoming withdrawn or just reacting with anger. Each child is wired differently and acceptance of that can be liberating for both the parent and the child. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if every child got the message, “I love you just the way you are. You are unique, you are different, you are you.”


The greatest gift we can give our children in the present-day world is our attention. With our rushed lives, always running against time, our compulsion of checking our phones through the day, we do not have much time left for being really present for our kids. Mindfulness is about being in the here and now with our complete being – eye contact, full attention, relishing every moment of being with our kids.


Kids want to do well, that is the way they are wired. However, when they face rejection or criticism, they give up and fight back. Once Rahil’s mother started listening and empathising with Rahil, she noticed a tremendous change in him. He seemed much happier, willing to listen to her point of view and open to making changes. We have to work with our children and not against them.


Rahil’s parents had got into this negative pattern where they would notice everything he was doing wrong. They thought by calling out these behaviours, they would stop him from doing them, however, it actually worked the other way round. It made Rahil resentful and fight back, which, in turn, led to an impasse where both sides ended up feeling inadequate and frustrated and stuck in a vicious cycle. I suggested to them that instead, they could flip the energy and recognise every smallest thing he did well.

“I saw how you shared your chocolate with your brother; that was generous”, or “I can see that you have put in a lot of effort in your homework today”.

I want to highlight that there is a difference between praise and recognition — praise is like junk food which gives a quick high but does not have much nourishing value — for example, “You are so smart”, “you are beautiful”. There is clear research evidence which indicates that what really works is recognition which is specific, focuses on a skill, something that you value in your child that you want to nurture – for example, hard work, honesty, generosity, compassion, kindness, grit etc.


The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voices and the way we talk about them become their life stories. These stories create their core identity and sometimes they start living according to them. Rahil’s stories at home, extended family and school were that he was “aggressive”, “a liar”, “lazy”. It took his parents and him time to change his stories around so that the other stories of being “adventurous”, “kind”, having “leadership skills” and being “an out of the box thinker” could emerge. As Rahil reauthored his stories, it restored his confidence and sense of agency on how he wanted to live his life. Last time I met him, he said with a big smile, “I am the same person I was earlier but I see myself differently and so do other people.”

Courtesy - Indian Express


A new study, conducted by Ipsos, a market research company, has revealed some interesting patterns in food habits. As per the findings of the study, Indians are more likely to order in groceries and look healthy meals in the next year.

Going by how multicultural and diverse India is, the food habits of the people are bound to differ and be eclectic even. A new study, conducted by Ipsos, a market research company, has revealed some interesting patterns in the food habits of Indians. As per the findings of the study, “Indians are choosing organic food, saying no to genetically modified food and are willing to choose a plant-based substitute for meat; most Indians are happy with their appearance and don’t have much faith in diet plans.”

The study shows that food is the main incentive for them to work out or even follow an exercise regimen. “Food is the key motivation for them to follow an exercise regimen and they would rather eat well than look emaciated”, the study states.

While the study mentions that “due to sheer paucity of time, Indians plan to get groceries and food home delivered more frequently in the next one year”, it also reveals that in the next year, it is highly likely that Indians will eat a healthy diet and focus on preparing healthy meals at home.

“Consumers are clearly stating what they want; there is a plethora of opportunity to capitalise on. So, from merchandizing to distribution, to mobility and accessibility, these opportunities should be leveraged, by marketers. Also, there is no stereotypical Indian consumer”, says Rinku Patnaik, Chief Client Officer, Ipsos India.

Continues Patnaik, “If she orders-in grocery and food, she eats out with equal élan and she even prides herself in rustling up great meals at home. And there is no point in body shaming her. She will not stop eating to appease to the spiel of brands. She is very clear about what she wants and how she should be prioritising”.

The findings have been gathered from those staying in urban areas. It says that 57 percent of Indians consume organic food, or are claiming to do so.

Courtesy - Indian Express


The findings mark the first time NASA scientists have confirmed by direct observation the presence of water on the Moon's surface.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has a vision for renewed and “sustainable” human exploration of the moon, and he cites the existence of water on the lunar surface as a key to chances for success.

“We know that there’s hundreds of billions of tons of water ice on the surface of the moon,” Bridenstine said in a Reuters TV interview in Washington on Tuesday, a day after NASA unveiled its analysis of data collected from lunar orbit by a spacecraft from India.

The findings, published on Monday, mark the first time scientists have confirmed by direct observation the presence of water on the moon’s surface – in hundreds of patches of ice deposited in the darkest and coldest reaches of its polar regions. The discovery holds tantalizing implications for efforts to return humans to the moon for the first time in half a century. The presence of water offers a potentially valuable resource not only for drinking but for producing more rocket fuel and oxygen to breathe.

Bridenstine, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot and Oklahoma congressman tapped by President Donald Trump in April as NASA chief, spoke about “hundreds of billions of tons” of water ice that he said were now known to be available on the lunar surface. But much remains to be learned. NASA lunar scientist Sarah Noble told Reuters separately by phone that it is still unknown how much ice is actually present on the moon and how easy it would be to extract in sufficient quantities to be of practical use.

“We have lots of models that give us different answers. We can’t know how much water there is,” she said, adding that it will ultimately take surface exploration by robotic landers or rovers, in more than one place, to find out.

Also Read: Optimistic about Mars Opportunity rover, says NASA

Most of the newly confirmed frozen water is concentrated in the shadows of craters at both poles, where the temperature never rises higher than minus-250 degrees Fahrenheit.


Although the moon was long believed to be entirely dry or nearly devoid of moisture, scientists have found increasing evidence in recent years that water exists there. A NASA rocket sent crashing into a permanently shadowed lunar crater near the moon’s south pole in 2009 kicked up a plume of material from beneath the surface that included water.

A study published the following year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that water is likely widespread within the moon’s rocky interior, in concentrations ranging from 64 parts per billion to five parts per million. Bridenstine spoke to Reuters about making the next generation of lunar exploration a “sustainable enterprise,” using rockets and other space vehicles that could be used again and again.

Also Read: NASA’s InSight spacecraft crosses halfway mark to Mars

“So we want tugs that go from Earth orbit to lunar orbit to be reusable. We want a space station around the moon to be there for a very long period of time, and we want landers that go back and forth between the space station around the moon and the surface of the moon,” Bridenstine said.

NASA’s previous program of human moon exploration ended with the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Trump last December announced a goal of sending American astronauts back to the moon, with the ultimate goal of establishing “a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars.” The Trump administration’s $19.9 billion budget proposal for NASA for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 includes $10.5 billion for human space exploration.

Also Read: NASA tracks monsoon rains behind Kerala floods

The budget supports development of NASA’s new Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft designed to carry a crew into space. The administration envisioned a SLS/Orion test flight around the moon without a crew in 2020, followed by a fly-around mission with a crew in 2023. As part of the budget proposal, NASA also is planning to build the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway – a space station in moon orbit – in the 2020s. NASA said the power and propulsion unit, its initial component, is targeted to launch in 2022. In May, NASA canceled a lunar rover that was under development, a project envisioned as the first mission to conduct mining somewhere other than Earth.

Courtesy - Indian Express


Saving may not be a high priority when you’ve just started working, but when it comes to saving and investing, it’s always better to start early.

Started a new job? Doesn’t the money just seem to disappear at the end of every month? Savings may not be a high priority when you’ve just started working, but when it comes to saving and investing, it’s always better to start early. And it’s best to start no matter how much you earn.

Take a look at few smart moves that can help you save money:

Make a budget

One common challenge that people face is controlling overspending and setting aside enough funds for savings. The key here is to save first, and then use the rest on other expenses. Divide your monthly income in a 70:30 ratio to allocate sufficient money for expenditure and savings. This will help you save in a disciplined manner. Budgeting for a few months will help you assess your expenses, understand your spending pattern and indicate where you are going overboard. You can review it from time to time to make changes.

Set goals and invest

Saving money without mapping it to a goal might not fetch effective returns at the right time. It’s better to list your important goals and then work towards achieving them. Have a time frame in mind, and figure which investment options best fit your goals. If you wish to buy a house in 10 years, opt for an equity mutual fund, or Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS), to earn over 12 per cent returns in the long run. Estimate the amount of money you need at the end of the term to fulfil each dream, and calculate how much you would have to set aside every month to get there. Don’t forget to factor in inflation when you calculate the amount.

Start SIPs

For long term goals such as retirement, you can start setting aside an amount as per your capacity and invest in mutual fund SIPs. Remember it’s never early to start. The longer the investment tenure, the bigger the fund you can accumulate. So even if you start with just Rs 2000 a month, you would be building a corpus worth Rs 70.6 lakh in 30 years if you were to get interest at 12 per cent a year. The amount you would have invested over that time would be Rs 7.2 lakh. And, SIPs allow you to start with an amount as small as Rs 500 per month. You can always increase your contribution once your income goes up.
Unlike the stock market, you don’t need to time the market here. The risk associated due to market fluctuations in mutual fund SIPs is mitigated in the long run through rupee-cost averaging.

Buy health insurance

This is not an investment, but much needed to protect you if you were to face a health emergency. Healthcare is expensive and you might be pressed for money to cover such expenses out of your pocket during medical emergencies. While you might be fit at this age and can ignore the need for insurance, emergencies occur without warning and you need to prepared to tackle it effectively. Also, the premium cost is lower at a younger age. Health insurance premiums offer you the additional benefit of tax saving under Section 80 (D).

Create an emergency fund

This one is for additional protection against unforeseen circumstances such as job loss, accident, any severe illness etc. In case of contingencies like these, an emergency fund works as an alternative source of income and will take care of your bills and rent payment, cover your insurance premiums and take care of your day-to-day expenses. The last thing you want to do at a time like this is borrow from as it will only increase your financial burden. You can prepare for such unforeseen circumstances by setting aside an amount every month to build a fund worth six months to 1 year of your income. You must keep this money in a liquid fund which can be easily accessed.

Courtesy - Indian Express

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