Captain Shikha Surabhi is the first woman to lead a formation of 36 men and 9 Royal Enfields of the Indian Army’s motorcycle display team on Republic Day.
She tells Rediff.com‘s Archana Masih how she made space for herself in a team that has never had a woman before.
It is after a long time that Captain Shikha Surabhi is getting two consecutive free days, and she is on her way to the railway station in New Delhi to pick up her father, an LIC agent in Bihar.
Her family is arriving to see her on Rajpath on the nation’s grand day when she will lead a formation of 36 men and 9 Royal Enfields of the Indian Army’s motorcycle display team on Republic Day.
She will stand on top of the bike for a distance of 2.4 kilometers to salute the President of India, the supreme comander of India’s armed forces. The bike will only be maouevered by her legs and will move at 22 to 23 km per hour.
The team called ‘Daredevils’ consists of 136 jawans, two male officers and 34 motorcycles.
She is the first lady officer to be part of the team.
Born in Arrah, Bihar and raised in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, Captain Shikha learnt to ride a bike around her home as a girl and picked up serious biking after her first posting in Arunachal Pradesh.
She did a bike trip from Shimla to Ladakh over 8 days last year. “It brought strength to my arms and taught me how to handle rain, mud and difficult situations,” says the officer from the Corps of Signals who was encouraged by her commanding officer to be part of the Daredevils team.
Posted in Bathinda, Punjab, she volunteered to be part of the Daredevils team three months ago.
Selected after a month’s training in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, the team has been undergoing rigorous practice for three months.
IMAGE: Leading a human pyramid formation that will be at the parade on Republic Day. Two male officers are leading other formations.
“My team members were initially worried about how they would teach me. They weren’t sure if I would be strong enough, but they now tell me I have learnt fast, perhaps faster than them,” says the officer who will soon complete four years of service in the army.
“It is tough to prove yourself. You have to put your mind and body to it, but they have accepted me as a Daredevil officer.”
“I have had some injuries, but thankfully nothing major,” she says over the phone from New Delhi.
The team arrived in Delhi on December 18 and has been practicing every day, rising at 3.30 am.
Not really nervous about the big day, her only concern is the chance of rain. Heavy rain can make the bike unsteady.
“Rain or no rain, we have to perform 100%.”
Captain Shikha’s main motivation to pursue sport and a career in the army was her mother, who is a sports teacher at a school in Ranchi.
“I am from a Hindi medium school and because of sports, I participated in three National Games,” she says.
Hand wrestling and kick boxing were her events. She was even part of the army’s mountaineering team that trekked to the Gangotri glacier in Uttarakhand.
“I wanted a job with some physical activity,” says Captain Shikha who earlier wanted to be an IPS officer but seriously considered the army as a profession while studying computer science in college.
“The armed forces are a very good profession for girls. You have respect within the army as well as outside.”
“It also gives you many opportunities like a life of adventure. I wanted to do something for the nation and nothing is better than the army.”
Her younger sister, who is in Class 12, wants to follow her in the armed forces while her brother is in Mumbai trying to pursue an acting career.
Such was the officer’s commitment to the Daredevils display on Republic Day that she and her fiancé, also a captain in the army, postponed their wedding from December to May.
Fiancé Captain Ankit Kumar will be there to watch the parade with his parents and has been her biggest pillar of support as far as biking is concerned.
He is immensely proud that she has worked hard and made space for herself in a team that up till now only comprised men.
As Captain Shikha Surabhi’s big day dawns, she is overwhelmed with the opportunity and the privilege given to her.
“I am too happy, nothing could beat this feeling but in life you should crave for the next thing — and there are more things to do ahead — for the country and myself.”
Source….. Archana Masih in http://www.rediff.com
How many times have you believed a video or a message you received without verifying its contents? I am guilty of doing this and can say that I have learnt my lesson.
While fake news and videos spread malice about all kinds of events, people and things, the FSSAI recently started a campaign to safeguard consumers against misinformation about food products in India.
To curb the spread of such content on social media, the government has instructed Google and Facebook to take down ‘false and malicious’ content that spreads wrong information about the safety and quality of food in India.
Here are 5-hoax warnings that have created panic among consumers:
1. Melamine in milk
Several news reports last year mentioned that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Agarwal had allowed the use of melamine in milk.
They spoke of a WHO advisory that ‘if adulteration of milk and milk products is not checked immediately, 87 per cent of citizens would be suffering from serious diseases like cancer by the year 2025 (in India)’.
A viral video shared by Rohit Borana on Facebook garnered a whopping 1.8 million views and was shared over 87,000 times.
Fact: FSSAI had ascertained that no such advisory was issued by the WHO at all. It appears that the report first appeared in one newspaper, and later was picked up by other newspapers. FSSAI and/or WHO was not even approached for clarifications.
Subsequently, as of November 2018, the advisory by which the messages were being circulated has been deleted.
2. HIV contamination in Frooti pack
I remember the scare this message caused. In 2013, a message was doing the rounds, allegedly from the Delhi police. It spoke about a worker adding his HIV/AIDS-contaminated blood to a batch of products and warned people to stay away from buying them.
Fact: The message turned out to be false. The Delhi police had neither sent it nor had such an incident occurred.
Subsequently, Parle Agro, the company, which manufactures Frooti, also issued a statement, which can be accessed here.
3. Plastic cabbage from China
There is a very high probability of your having seen this video and feeling enraged at the level of contamination in our fruits and vegetables.
A mobile video that emerged from Ambala in Haryana showed a man ladling colourful liquids in a large bowl of water and then shaping the substance to look like a “real” cabbage.
Several media houses picked up this story, and it invited outrage on the thought that a majority of the cabbage we were consuming was made of plastic and was being sneaked into the country from China.
Fact: A little bit of research revealed that the video was actually about wax food replicas used as displays outside restaurants in Japan. The video was also at least two years old and had Korean subtitles with a logo of SBS (Seoul Broadcasting System) and a dubbed voice-over.
4. Kurkure contains plastic
This is something I believed for the longest time after watching videos claiming that Kurkure contains plastic. PepsiCo, the company that manufactures Kurkure, had to legally take action and get a court order against Facebook, requiring the company to censor all posts linking the product to plastic.
Fact: Products like Kurkure are fried at a very high temperature to ensure their crispiness. A compound called acrylamide forms during the process of frying. Due to its presence, the final product burns when lit with a matchstick, also turning black due to the unburnt carbon particles. It does not, however, contain any added plastic.
5. Plastic rice
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were rife with speculations about the prevalence of plastic rice in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. While there was no real evidence to show that plastic rice existed, there were several videos online with tips on how to verify whether or not the rice was real.
Fact: According to the Rice Traders Association, the cost of rice is cheaper than the cost of plastic rice. Also, all scrutiny in a scientific lab also proved that there is no such thing called plastic rice.
While the videos and messages will continue to pour in, it is imperative that we exercise caution as well as restraint while believing in them and spreading them among others.
You could also report such messages by doing the following:
- Register complaints via the app
2. To complain via e-mail
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As informed and conscientious citizens, we should report content that is malicious, false or even derogatory rather than being a part of the problem.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
Source…….Vidya Raja in http://www.the better india.com
In Panama, a new study finds that kids are more likely to drink healthier beverages if you speak the truth — subtly.
What’s the best way to persuade children to drink water instead of unhealthy, sugar-laced beverages? Do you:
A) Tell them it will make them more popular.
B) Tell them it will make them healthier.
C) Tell them it will make them smarter.
D) Just tell them to do it without explaining why.
The correct answer: B.
Turns out honesty is the most persuasive tactic, even for kids, while exaggerated claims and ungrounded mandates can potentially have a negative effect, according to new research by Szu-chi Huang, an associate professor of marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business. The field study, performed in collaboration with UNICEF, was designed to determine the most effective way to steer schoolchildren in Panama away from unhealthy sodas and other sweetened drinks toward drinking water instead.
Cowritten with Daniella Kupor of Boston University, Michal Maimaran of Northwestern University, and Andrea Weihrauch of the University of Amsterdam, the paper will be published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research in January. The research is the first to examine the effects of associating actions with goals in a real-world environment, in this case four elementary schools, where children encounter countless messages daily, Huang notes. Additionally, unlike previous research that has centered on adults, Huang’s study is the first to test the effectiveness of such associations on kids.
Targeting Pre-existing Associations
The researchers put up posters in four elementary schools located within 10 miles of each other and of similar size and socioeconomic status. Each school had a kiosk selling bottled water. In a preliminary questionnaire, the researchers found that children strongly associated water consumption with health but saw only a moderate association between water and intelligence. The children held an even weaker association between water consumption and the ability to make friends.
In the main study, each school put up posters with a message unique to its campus. At one school, the posters implored students to drink water and “be healthy.” At another, the signs said that water would help them “learn faster.” At a third school, they declared that consuming water would help students “make friends,” and at a fourth school the signs simply told them to “drink water,” without further explanation. The posters remained on display for a month.
The researchers found that children at the school where posters declared that drinking water leads to good health increased their water consumption by 31%, suggesting that targeting the students’ pre-existing association (that water is healthy) led them to the desired outcome, says Huang.
At the school with posters associating water with learning faster, consumption didn’t change from the pre-study level. And at the school highlighting the questionable association between water and making friends, consumption marginally decreased. That decline may have occurred because the posters linking water to making friends “may have seemed dishonest or confusing,” causing children to shun the advice to drink more water, Huang says.
Avoid Blunt Directives
At the school where posters simply advised the students to drink more water, without stating why, water consumption declined significantly, by 48%. Like the children who were turned off by the attempt to associate drinking water with being popular, these students also may have regarded the blunt directive to drink water as manipulative.
“People don’t want to follow an order without any reason,” says Huang. “This rule applies to children as well.”
In the weeks after the posters were removed, water consumption generally reverted to the pre-study level.
These results suggest that children may need continuous reminders, whether in the form of posters or some other messaging, over time to alter their behavior. Regardless, Huang says, these most recent findings shed light on what kind of messaging and what mode of communication may work to encourage children to modify their habits and help them live healthier lives.
‘விளக்கு ஏற்றிய வீடு வீணாய் போகாது’ என்று ஒரு பழமொழி உள்ளது.
வீட்டிலும், கோவிலிலும் ஏன் விளக்கேற்றுகிறோம் தெரியுமா?
தீபத்தின் சுடருக்கு, தன்னை சுற்றி உள்ள தேவையற்ற எதிர்மறை சக்திகளை ஈர்க்கும் சக்தி உண்டு.
அவ்வாறு ஈர்க்கும்போது, தானாகவே, ‘பாசிடிவ் எனர்ஜி’ அதிகரிக்கும்.
நம் சுற்றுப்புறம் தெளிவாகவும், பலத்தோடும் காணப்படும். இரண்டு நாள் வீட்டில் விளக்கேற்றாமல் இருந்தால், வீடே மயானம் போல் தோன்றும். எல்லாருமே சோர்வாக இருப்பர்.
நம் உடலில் இருக்கும் ஏழு சக்கரங்களில் மூலாதாரமும், சுவாதிஷ்டானமும், நல்லெண்ணெய் விளக்கு ஏற்றுவதால் துாய்மையடைகிறது. அதேபோல், மணிபூரகம், அனாஹதம் இரண்டும் நெய் விளக்கு ஏற்ற, துாய்மை அடைந்து, நற்பலன்களை அடைகிறது.
நம் உடலில் இருக்கும் நாடிகளில் சூரிய நாடி, சந்திர நாடி, சுஷம்னா நாடி ஆகியவை மிக முக்கியமாக கருதப்படுகிறது.
* சூரிய நாடி, நல்ல சக்தியையும், வெப்பத்தையும் தருகிறது. சந்திர நாடி குளுமையை தருகிறது
* சுஷம்னா நாடி அந்த பரம்பொருளுடன் சம்பந்தப்பட்டு ஆன்மிக பாதையை வகுக்கிறது
* நல்லெண்ணெய் விளக்கு ஏற்ற, சூரிய நாடி சுறுசுறுப்படைகிறது
* நெய் விளக்கு, சுஷம்னா நாடியை துாண்டிவிட உதவுகிறது
* பொதுவாக நெய் தீபம், சகலவித சுகங்களையும் வீட்டிற்கு நலன்களையும் தருகிறது.
திருவிளக்கை எப்போது வேண்டுமானாலும் ஏற்றலாம்; இதற்கு தடையேதும் இல்லை.
ஆனால், பொதுவாக மாலை, 6:30 மணிக்கு ஏற்றுவதே நம் மரபு.
சூரியன் மறைந்ததும், சில விஷ சக்திகள் சுற்றுச்சூழலில் பரவி வீட்டிற்குள்ளும் வர வாய்ப்பிருக்கிறது.
ஒளியின் முன் அந்த விஷ சக்திகள் அடிபட்டு போகும். எனவே, அந்நேரத்தில் விளக்கேற்ற வேண்டும் என்கின்றனர்.
ஒரு நாளிதழில் வெளிவந்த நிகழ்வு இது: அமெரிக்காவில் இருக்கும் தன் மகனின் வீட்டுக்கு சென்றிருந்த ஒரு தாய், மாலையில், மகனும் – மருமகளும் தாமதமாக வீட்டுக்கு வருவதை பார்த்தார். இருவரும் வேலைக்கு செல்பவர்கள்.
ஒருநாள் மகன் முன்னதாகவும், ஒருநாள் மருமகள் முன்னதாகவும் வருவர்.
மகனை அழைத்து, தாமதமாக வரும் காரணம் கேட்க, ‘உனக்கு இதெல்லாம் புரியாதும்மா…
‘எங்கள் இருவருக்கும் பயங்கர, ‘ஸ்ட்ரெஸ்…’ இருவரும், ‘கவுன்சிலிங்’ போய் வருகிறோம்… ஒரு மணி நேரத்துக்கு அந்த டாக்டருக்கு கொடுக்கும் தொகை அதிகம். மிக சிறந்த டாக்டர், அவரது சிகிச்சையில் எல்லாம் சரியாகிவிடும்…’ என்று கூறினான்.
அதற்கு அந்த தாய், ‘நாளை அந்த டாக்டரை பார்க்க போக வேண்டாம்; சீக்கிரம் வீட்டுக்கு வரவேண்டும்…’ என்று கூறினார்.
அடுத்த நாள் மாலை, வீட்டுக்குள் நுழைந்த மகன் – மருமகள் மூக்கை சுகந்த மணம் துளைத்தது.
இருவரையும் கை கால் கழுவி, உடை மாற்றி, பூஜை அறைக்கு வருமாறு கூறினார், தாய்.
அவர்களும் அவ்வாறே செய்தனர். மணம் வீசும் மலர்களின் வாசம்… அழகான தீப ஒளி நிறைந்த அந்த அறையில் சற்றுநேரம் அமர்ந்து, இருவரும் தாமாகவே கண் மூடி அந்த சூழலின் இன்பத்தை அனுபவித்தனர். பின், கண் திறந்தபோது, ‘கவுன்சிலிங்கில் கிடைக்காத அமைதி கிடைத்ததாக சொல்ல…’ தாயார் மகிழ்ந்தார்.
வீட்டில் பெண் குழந்தைகள் இருந்தால், அவர்களை தினமும் விளக்கேற்றும்படி சொல்ல வேண்டும்.
இப்படி செய்தால், அவர்களின் முகப்பொலிவு பன்மடங்கு கூடும். விளக்கேற்றிய வீடு, வீண் போகாது.
– பி.எஸ்.புஷ்பலதா in http://www.dinamalar.com
Lord Buddha underwent great hardships to realise the truth that everyone was endowed with the same principle of Divinity. Many noble souls who were contemporaries of Buddha acknowledged His greatness. They said that Buddha experienced the truth that they were unable to realise. As Lord Buddha gave up all desires, he became an epitome of total renunciation. There was nothing in Him except love. He considered love as His very life-breath. He further taught that people should not have anger, should not find faults in others, and should not harm others as all are embodiments of the pure, eternal principle – the Divine. He urged people to have compassion towards the needy and help them to the extent possible, understanding and respecting the underlying principle of unity and Divinity in all. Never have narrow considerations that some are your friends, and some are your enemies. All are one, be alike to everyone. These are the most important teachings of The Buddha.
Source :::::: http://media.radiosai.org
He just wanted to see some snow. But he got much more than that.
Samanyu, all of 7, scaled Africa’s loftiest peak and proved that no dream is impossible.
And that age is just a number.
Rediff.com‘s Divya Nair speaks to the mini mountaineer.
On April 2, 2018, when Samanyu Pothuraju, 7, from Hyderabad, was woken up at 3 am by his expedition leader Bharat Taminneni, he didn’t want to wake up.
He begged, “It’s too cold outside. I don’t want to go. Please let me sleep.”
It was the very last leg of their ascent to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro so Bharat would not give in.
Recalls Lavanya Krishna, Samanyu’s mother, “Finally, Bharat told him that if he reached the summit, his favourite (Telugu film) hero Pawan Kalyan would (surely want to) meet him.”
Mention of Pawan Kalyan did the magic.
Samanyu woke up with a start.
Eight odd hours later that day, at 11.52 am, to be precise, little Samanyu made it to the top of Uhuru, the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. And clinched a world record.
At 7, Samanyu is the youngest person in history to scale this peak, 5,895 metres above sea level.
But the Class 3 student, who “loves karate, computers and math,” did not have the faintest idea about the significance of his journey.
“I was wearing a thick jacket and gloves. My legs were paining, but I was happy,” Samanyu tells Rediff.com from Hyderabad.
Last year he was one of the youngest to reach the Mount Everest base camp in Nepal.
What inspired him to go to Africa?
Mount Everest actually.
Says Lavanya, who accompanied Samanyu till Kilimanjaro’s second base camp and not beyond, “When we reached the base camp of Mount Everest, some months ago, he (Samanyu) was disappointed that he couldn’t see much snow.”
“When I told him about Kilimanjaro, he asked me if there would be snow and if he could touch it. I said yes. He said he wanted to go and see the snow.”
For Lavanya, a bank employee who quit her job to take care of her children (Samanyu’s elder sister is 13), sending her seven year old to the top of Kilimanjaro wasn’t an emotional decision.
It was about letting Samanyu have his dream.
She consulted Raji Thammineni of Boots and Crampons, a Hyderabad-based adventure logistics company, to find out how safe the journey was.
“Raji is a friend and she advised I first send Samanyu to a training camp to see if he was fit to go.”
Samanyu passed the camp last year with with flying colours.
“He could climb 50 steps up and down with ease, trek to mountains and even made it to the Everest base camp in October 2017,” says Lavanya.
In November, Samanyu signed up with Boots and Crampons to prepare to scale Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.
In addition to his training, Lavanya helped her son get mountain ready by showing him a video of the terrain daily.
“He saw how people climbed it in different situations — rain, sun, snow, etc.”
Samanyu was keen to see snow. But he also wanted to see East Africa’s famous blue monkeys.”
“He saw three blue monkeys,” Lavanya says.
Lavanya and Samanyu flew to Tanzania on March 27.
“It was supposed to be summer. When we reached it was raining and snowing. My head was paining on reaching the second base camp, so I was asked to rest,” says Lavanya.
The next climb, from the second base camp to the last camp, took approximately 10 hours.
The final stretch from the last camp to the summit was equally long. But Samanyu finished it like a pro, says Lavanya.
‘It required meticulous planning to achieve this mission. We took all the care and precautions to keep the child safe and help him realise (the importance) of his mission to the summit of one of the most challenging mountains in the world,’ Bharat and Raji posted on Facebook about Samanyu’s achievement.
‘Master Samanyu fought bravely with different terrains — rainforest, moorland-rocky landscape, Alpine desert and crater rim — before summiting this wonder of the world. We are extremely proud to support Master Samanyu’s achievement which brought laurels to our country,’ the post added.
To prepare for Africa, Samanyu had to wake up early and religiously maintain a schedule so he could balance school, extracurricular activities and mountaineering.
“He’d wake up at 5 am and go for his karate classes followed by cycling. After school, he’d train for mountaineering,” says Lavanya.
Samanyu had to follow a strict diet. Not too much sugar. No ice cream.
“I had to eat canned food,” Samanyu tells Rediff.com. “It was tasty though.”
“After we climbed down, they gave me ice cream. I was very happy.”
His next challenge?
“I want to do the 10 peaks challenge in Australia.”
Lavanya and Krishna spent Rs 15 lakhs funding their son’s expedition, but they feel helping Samanyu attain his dreams was their most important mission.
Here’s their message to parents: “Never stop your child from dreaming big. You can guide her /him on what is right and wrong. But support their dreams as much as you can.”
Samanyu is now waiting to meet Pawan Kalyan, as promised. His parents have tweeted the Telugu superstar about their son’s wish to meet him.
Hey, Pawan, if you are reading this feature, please do give lil’ Samanyu a call.