Monday, 15 April 2013

Real life example of success - Lulu Mall, Kochi, Kerala, India!

Lulu mall is one of Asia's largest!

They are now open at Kochi, Kerala in India. This is the first one on a very large scale in the state of Kerala with world-class facilities. Many multinational brands now have their presence in this Mall in Kerala in South India.  

There is also a huge hypermarket in this mall. I think here you will find almost everything that you may see elsewhere in the world. Truly world class!

Hats off to Mr. M. A. Yussuf Ali, owner of this wonderful mall, who dedicated such an expensive gift to his native place. He is a prominent businessman who has outlets in many countries in the world. Lulu hypermarkets are a common sight in almost all middle eastern countries.

Kerala has the highest literacy rate in India and there are Keralites everywhere in the world. Rapid developments are taking place here recently.

Lulu mall - world of happiness!

Or is it the happiness of our small world here? Or both?
  • Here is a real-life example of successful fulfillment of a dream of a distinguished person. The hard work, dedication and strong willpower for a noble cause resulted in huge success!
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Relax, refresh, recharge - some cool mantras!

I like this video very much! 
Uploaded it today on YouTube! 
Watch it, you surely will like it.

I still remember the time spent during a weekend at the Dubai Creek. A cool breeze was blowing, I enjoyed chirping of the birds, it was very much refreshing!
  • Replenishing depleted energy stores, finding the time and ideal place to relax and unwind; look into all such things, they are very much important to balance life!
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Reduce stress...Abu Dhabi, Corniche, a gorgeous spot!

Abu Dhabi Corniche is a beautiful place. These snaps were taken at the far end where the Emirates Palace, Marina mall and the Centrepoint are located. 

A cool place to chill out and spend the evenings!

 The entrance to the Marina Mall.

Beautiful flowers!

A beautiful city has been built in the desert within a short period. Rapid developments are taking place in this region. Numerous projects with world-class facilities are already there and many more are in the pipeline. All of these are the result of effective leadership, professional coordination, and hard work.
  • Converting dreams into realities is possible by proper planning, efficient coordination, hard work and a determination to succeed with a flexible attitude.
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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Adversities - face them with courage and confidence

There is not a drop of water anywhere! Still, these plants survive in the desert! Look at those tiny flowers! How beautiful!

These photos were taken during a desert safari in Dubai. 
  • We have to face adverse conditions boldly. Try to thrive in difficult situations with courage, optimism, and confidence.
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A shelter, a simple and a cool place

A shelter...! lucky...! 
  • A peaceful place to rest, a hand to hold, someone to hug, a shoulder to cry on... precious things in life!
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Friday, 12 April 2013

Motivation - some tips to improve it

  • What motivates us in life?
  • Who motivates us? 
  • How we get motivated? 
  • Why we need motivation?
We all need the motivation to be successful in life.

We have to fill ourselves with lots of energy to attain our goals. Something in life will motivate us. Someone might motivate us at some point in life. Somewhere on the planet, we become motivated. Somehow we get motivated.

Let us examine this in detail.
Goal oriented strategies work well to get motivated in life. Be hopeful in life.
Try to avoid drifting like a plank of wood in a river aimlessly in life. Tide may take you somewhere building up a lot of pressures inside you. Negative influences will shatter you. If you don't take control of your life somebody else will step in as Captain and steer you in some direction they think suitable. Try to change the course of life purposely in a positive direction. A small positive change in the course of life might bring surprising success. There will be so many negative strings that will try to pull you down during this process. Identify those distractions, be aware of it but remain focused with goal-oriented behavior;  but be true to yourself. Formulate goals. Try to include something in your goal that will be of help to others as well.

If you are not sure what actually you want in life to make yourself happy, meditate to find it out. Ask your conscience. Be honest with yourself! Listen to what our mind is trying to say to us! There is no need to wander here and there or all over the world “seeking” truth. You very well know the answer. Your subconscious mind is repeatedly telling you about it. If you turn a deaf ear to it nothing can be done. After searching for 'answers' years and years traveling to strange places finally,  even great people have found out that the 'answer' was already there within them. Only problem was they did not have the eye to see or ears to hear about it or the mind to know when they were seeking for it. Great Gurus 'help' you find it, see it, feel it and hear about it! They cannot simply give you your answer, but they can help you find it! Once you find it you will be the luckiest person on the planet! You have attained enlightenment! Then you radiate warmth, you shine like a beacon! No more boredom, no more stress, you are at peace with yourself! You are happy and contented! No more problems for you!

  • FOCUS 
If you are one hundred percent convinced about your goal(s) then nothing can distract you. If you are not sure of what you actually wanted or if your goals were very vague and if you yourself were not very much convinced about it, then you lose your focus. Distractions and negative influences drain your energy. You become weak. You lose your passion in what you were doing. So always bear in mind that you need to focus to attain what you want. Expect distractions, it is quite natural. Every now and then reinforce your goals in your mind. Fantasize about your goals. Modify goals if needed. If you feel some vague, irrational, unexplained resistance either within you or from the environment in spite of doing everything you can positively, to attain your goal(s) then its time to have a thorough introspection. Unknowingly something might have rubbed mother nature on the wrong side. There could be some type of disharmony. Something was not in sync with nature. Correct the flaws.


Write it down. Discuss it with your team. You can include anyone, anything that helps you in getting motivated and inspired to attain your goals, in your team.

Look for creative plans. Look for innovative ideas to attain success. Our brain has infinite capacity. Utilize it fully. Think out of the box. BETTER TO TAKE ONLY CALCULATED RISKS. Make constant evaluations. Ask professionals, if needed, to evaluate your plans. Correct flaws if any.
If you want to be a world class athlete you just cannot lead an irresponsible life partying whole night every day, smoking and drinking. Remaining focused, undeterred by distractions you need to propel yourself in the direction of success by cultivating goal-oriented attitudes and behaviors. Aim for over-all improvement in every aspect of life including physical health.

Try to have a healthy mind in a healthy body and be in a healthy society.




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Monday, 8 April 2013

Teak museum, Nilambur, Kerala, India - a success story!

The world famous Teak Museum is situated in Nilambur, Malappuram district of Kerala state in India. This was established in 1995 at the Campus of the sub-center of the Kerala Forest Research Institute in Nilambur. Here you will find comprehensive information about the teak tree (Tectona Grandis). Botanists and nature lovers will find here everything they need to know about this wonderful tree. 

This is a very attractive statue depicting artistically the mighty tree! 

An exhibit of the root system of a huge tree at the entrance!

Inside you will find portraits of the famous persons who pioneered teak plantation in Kerala like Mr. H. V. Conolly, Mr. Chathu Menon, and Mr. Thomas Falton Bourdillon. Mr. H V Conolly, who was the District Collector of Malabar during the British rule in India, initiated teak plantation in this region to ensure regular supply of high-quality timber to them for shipbuilding and architecture. He entrusted Mr. Chathu Menon, a Keralite Sub-conservator of Forests to experiment growing teak trees on a large scale. Mr. Chathu Menon almost single-handedly developed techniques to germinate teak seeds and looked after the teak plantation in Nilambur which eventually became the first teak plantation in the world paving initial steps to proper forest management in the Country way back in 1844. This famous teak plantation is about 4 km from this museum. I have already blogged about this plantation, see the previous post.

The research details carried out by the Institute on teak cultivation are also depicted here. Numerous displays picture interesting facts about the habitat and the botanical and ecological details of this rock solid tree. There is a good library too. The tallest teak tree in the world was discovered recently in the Malayattoor forest range in Kerala, which grew naturally and a life-sized replica of this giant is kept here. Beautiful boxes and furniture carved artistically with teak wood are also on display. 

Adjacent to this museum is a Bioresources Nature Park. It is a beautiful place where you will find plenty of butterflies, flowers, bamboo and a variety of plants and trees. A beautiful orchid garden is also there.

Such nature conservation projects will make people aware of the importance of preserving natural habitat. Good effort! 

Hats off to everyone right from the pioneers to all the members of the team who proudly carry the baton now and also to the people who are waiting to carry it forward!

For more details:
  • A dedicated effort by people with integrity and earnestness yielded valuable results. A simple idea got germinated and has grown leaps and bounds that helped mother nature to provide us with more and more resources! 
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Sunday, 7 April 2013

Conolly's plot - the story of hard work, optimism and success!

Kerala in South India is known as the "God's own country". Nilambur is situated in the Malappuram district of Kerala. One of the attractions here is the world famous 'Conolly's plot', the oldest teak plantation in the world. Teak (Tectona Grandis) wood, as you all know, is widely used in household architecture and for making a variety of furniture. There was great demand for teak during the time of British administration in India to build ships for the British troops and also for architectural purposes in India as well as abroad. Mr. H. V. Conolly, the then District Collector of Malabar, decided to plant teak plants to meet the ever-growing demand and to discourage felling of immature trees. After crossing many hurdles he and Mr. Chathu Menon, a Keralite Sub-forest conservator, were able to grow trees successfully here. 

The felled trees were transported as rafts through the Chaliyar river to Kallai, which was known as the hub of the timber industry in Kerala. From here the huge ships carried the cut timber to England.

There is a very big teak tree here and its girth is about 420 cm. It was raining profusely when I visited here. The views from the hanging bridge were awesome. This hanging bridge connects the main entrance to the teak plantation across the river. This bridge is said to be the longest of its kind in Kerala.

I wonder how many Keralites are aware that such a beautiful place exists here, let alone foreign tourists. We all can be proud that this pioneering effort by Mr. Chathu Menon and Mr. Conolly paved the initial foundations of proper forest management in Kerala. It was not easy to germinate the teak seeds and grow the trees at that time, but by trial and error, they were able to achieve success. Mr. Chathu Menon perfected the 'Silviculture technique' which involves pre-burning of the seeds. These seedlings were planted in 1844. The entire plantation was looked after by this eminent Officer efficiently and the result was evident to the future generations as well. In 1858 Lord Harvis, the president of the East India Company visited the plantation and honored Mr. Chathu Menon by presenting him a memento. 

Just imagine, they planted the trees in about 1500 acres land! Trees in about 500 acres were cut during the world war to build ships for the troops. Mr. Chathu Menon has buried here itself. Some portion of the original plantation is still kept as such by the Department of Forests, Kerala. There is a teak museum also in Nilambur, about that I will blog later. 
  • A classic example of the saying - "if there is a will, there is a way".      
They attained success solely depending on their own intuition and not by the complex technologies which during the 18th century were simply non-existent! Let us salute them! 

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Badmouthing, destructive criticisms, gossips - how to deal with these things?

A countless number of creative, talented people have been reduced to mediocrity just because of the bad and tricky games their toxic colleagues and their not very 'true friends' have played with them that had involved bad mouthing, destructive criticisms, and venomous gossips. Every day we hear and read stories about people being destroyed either career-wise or personally. Each one of us will surely have something to tell about at least one such bad experience of being victimized. Such stinging incidents that had occurred at a crucial time in a person's career can have long-lasting negative impacts in the future.

It is surprising to note that such negative things exist almost everywhere in the world. I need not elaborate upon but we can see problems like these widely prevalent in varying degrees in families, societies, Companies, Government and private organizations etc. It is a human tendency that common men tend to believe such things because of the saying “No smoke without fire”. Naturally, people form their own opinion about the person being targeted, influenced by the bad mouthing, destructive criticisms and venomous gossips initiated by somebody or by a group of persons/lobby having some vested interest(s) or sometimes they simply do it for fun. People almost always enjoy such shows when they were not the victims but once they see themselves as target the whole thing becomes a nightmare for them as well with devastating consequences sometimes. Their self-esteem gets eroded, confidence level dips, happiness threshold goes up, more stress is induced, productivity drops with depression setting in some cases.

We can see so many instances like this right from childhood onwards as examples of such negative influences that made wonderful people shrink into self-made shells. They were made to believe that they were mediocre, imperfect, not good enough, untrustworthy etc. Envious classmates, bullies, the so-called “true friends”, relatives and later on some colleagues all actively take part in this game of “bringing down others”, a fun-filled exercise, to get intoxicated themselves. Ultimately the “soft” hearted souls suffer. Some victims adopt a “tit for tat” policy and join the mainstream group of fun seekers. Some try to develop thick skins. Some become rebellious.

Very few only get professional training to deal with such situations. Some seek professional help and benefit with positive outcomes. But the majority are simply clueless about what to do. We don't see any type of professional help being offered in schools where young minds are moulded and that is exactly where such problems usually occur for the first time in life. How can parents tackle such a problem when they themselves were victims and doesn't know what to do?

Let us look into the ways to tackle such problems.

Make a list of all such incidents where you have been hurt in the past.

Be honest with yourselves. Write down everything in detail. Note down even the silliest, simplest thing that had occurred in childhood, in detail. Even if it is shameful, disgusting, involves somebody who was or is dear to you, it doesn't matter, just put everything into words. Let your mind speak out openly. Have the courage to express your thoughts!

Let the lava flow freely out of the volcano!

Now analyze those situations one by one. First, take the case that occurred for the very first time in your life.

This may be an incident that occurred when you were just 10 years old, like this imaginary story.

One of your friends lost his / her precious pencil somewhere. She/he immediately suspected it was you who had stolen it. But you were innocent. He/she promptly began telling everyone that you were a thief. Other students began looking at you suspiciously. The class teacher, to your surprise, question you and it hurt when you felt she also suspected you. You cried. Other friends began keeping a distance with you watching their possessions closely when you were around. You were very much hurt when you found your "best friend" trying to distance from you. But to your surprise one student who was not at all close to you before, whom you thought a bore began to smile at you and started talking to you as if nothing had happened. She/he told you to forget about the whole thing telling you that no one has proved that you were a thief by recovering the loot from your school bag. Moreover, there was no reason for you to steal because you had the best pencils in the class. He/she assured you that the 'lost/misplaced/ stolen by some other student pencil' would one day surface out of the blue. You felt happy, go home and discuss the problem with your parents. They both were actually arguing over something, what exactly you don't remember now when you presented your case. You felt they did not give adequate attention to the 'serious' problem you have had. Anyhow hearing your story dad became furious and told you to be bold and ignore the whole thing and be a real tough guy. You didn't know at that age how to "ignore" and be "tough". Of course you had seen a lot of action movies, the bold and tough hero thrashing the villains and coolly shooting them but in this case, you knew you simply can't shoot or thrash anyone. Mum did not say much. She told you that you are a good kid and was innocent. But you had seen her searching your school bag, why she did that you were not sure, while you went for play outside. Finally to end the story, after two days the "lost pencil" was retrieved by the student who “lost” it from one of the innumerable zipper pouches in his / her own bag. The precious thing was immediately shown off to everybody. But no one seemed to bother about the earlier accusations made against you and no apology was offered by anyone. But by that time things were almost back to normal in the class like before the incident and you didn't feel bad because everybody became friendly. Later on, the student who accused you became your best friend and still remains as one even after so many years. You tried twice to bring up this childhood issue to let your best friend know that you were badly hurt at that time but strangely he/she just laughed it away not even allowing you to start the story. To your surprise you also found yourself joining with his / her laughter. start documenting your first such incident.

What was the incident?
How it happened?
Who actually told you about it, if its a gossip?
If you happen to be somebody important or a celebrity where did you read about the gossip?
Why actually it occurred according to your judgment?
Did it affect you negatively and if so how?
Who all were involved?
How the incident affected your future life?
What did you do to get over with it and did you move on?
Anyone offered help?
Who all turned their faces away from you?

Now that you have all the data about the incident start analyzing the whole thing in detail.

Ask yourself questions even if such questions were disturbing to you.
Make a truthful assessment of the issue.
One of the troublesome questions is - Is this a constructive or destructive criticism?
Make a judgment fairly and not allow your negative ego to influence it.
Next thing to assess is - are we in any way responsible for such a badmouthing issue to occur in the first place? 
Did we offend consciously or unconsciously the said accuser(s)?
Find out with a balanced state of mind, without in any way getting carried away
with negative emotions, what actually has resulted in such a problem to occur?
Any hatred? Any envious issues?  Just boredom that made people spread such malicious rumors?
The key thing is that we must be truthful to ourselves in this dissection procedure.
It is important to control your anger.
It is important not to adopt a tit for tat tactic so sooner.

What we aim here is to tackle this problem in a positive way so that you emerge as a winner. If you find it difficult to do this exercise because of the magnitude of the potentially destructive criticism, badmouthing or stinging, venomous gossip seeks the help of your close friends with whom you can confide. If there is no one like that, you find yourself helpless and think you find it difficult to solve the problem by yourself or if it is making you suffer better seek professional help as soon as possible. If the problem is of corporate nature and you or your colleagues are the targets do the exercise together as a team.

By doing this exercise we may come up with some surprising facts that were totally out of your view till that time. You may suddenly recall that you have offended the accuser long before but never did care about it and when the time came he/she returned the same coin to you. You might have noticed many subtle signals of envy at your success that was given off by one of your close “friends” but didn't take those seriously and never thought he/she will become venomous later on. Your parents, relatives or friends could very well warn you about certain people who were your acquaintances but the reasons why they didn't warn you were not clear. There will be endless situations like this.

Like this analyze each and every incident in the list that you have made.

This exercise sometimes might give you the insight that you were attaching undue importance to many such incidents. In some cases, a simple confrontation would have solved the problem that you didn't attempt. In some cases, you never bothered to explain your situation to anyone. You just tried to digest the whole bitter thing. Some of the "friends" were venomous cheats but you still considered them as true friends and never distanced from them giving them chances, again and again, to make fun of you. Even you have taken them into confidence again by telling them about many of your life events and future plans. Instead of adopting a proper assertive attitude towards them you just suffered for no fault of yours. Some of the "mistakes" you thought you had committed were not at all serious or not even mistakes in the true sense but at that age, you considered them seriously and the accusers reinforced that belief in you. In some cases, you attacked the accusers with vengeance promptly inducing more stress in yourself. In certain cases, you also joined the team and adopted a tit for tat attitude later on.

So this exercise has given you a lot of insight into your life experiences.
  • How would you have handled those past situations in the background of your experiences now if given a second chance? 
  • Are you applying the essence of what you have learned from those experiences in the present situation to tackle it? 
  • Or are you still reverting back to the same infantile type of reaction that you adopted when you for the very first time were faced with such a problem?
Now start applying the positive things you have learned from those past experiences to the present situation.

Collect data.
Ask yourself the questions written above. 
Now the picture is getting clearer. You have found out the motive, you have found out who actually 
was responsible for the problem, how the damage was done, what actually was the intention etc.
Now stop being a pain sufferer.
Stop whining.


There is no one who has not ever been unfairly targeted in the history of the world. Even Gods were severely subjected to harsh criticisms. Every day we read so many gossips, most of which are bad, about celebrities even. They also feel bad when they hear or read about it especially if it involves something that is potentially detrimental to their personal or professional life. The general belief that they enjoy these types of gossips isn't true. Many actually suffer the pain.

So it is how to deal with this in a professional way to bring a positive outcome that is important.

Now it is time to take action.

First and foremost, you must sit and have a detailed discussion about the incident with whom who have told you about the bad mouthing that was going on. Only somebody like a close friend or relative will tell you about such things. Ninety percent of your acquaintances and that includes your colleagues as well, will not tell you openly or discuss with you but they will enjoy the drama that was going on. They think they will hurt you if they tell you directly or you may misunderstand them. But you will notice some extra-verbal signs and sometimes subtle verbal expressions if you are careful enough. You are not a fool not to notice such things that indicate they knew about it and is playing along with it. Some of them don't want to take any part in this drama and will keep away. They don't want to add oil to the fire. They also will not do anything to put the fire out. They will remain passive. Some others will add their own unique colors to the story and keep the fire alive. Less than one percent of people will show integrity, concern, and sincerity and might tell the accuser(s) directly they are not interested in such gossips and bad-mouthing. But such people are hard to be spotted nowadays.

You must explain in detail your version about the incident to your friend. If you have in any way caused embarrassment to the accuser(s) express your intention to apologize. Try to clarify your stand and express clearly what actually happened and how the incident occurred and how was it twisted by the accusers that resulted in bad mouthing. This friend or person, if convinced, will be able to dissipate the information to others resulting in damage control and will help in better image building for you.

This step will instill courage in yourself, improve your self-esteem and build confidence thus preparing you to take the next step. Now you will find someone approaches you and will direct the conversation to the problem at hand and this will give a chance for you to be heard by others. Most often this will take place in an Office during the break-time. Utilize the chance well but never get emotional. Use clear, well-rehearsed expressions leaving no chance to any sort of confusion. Practice self-control and deep breathing techniques. If the other party is also present you have to be cautious. Sense if the other party is looking for an argument scene and don't fall into that trap; the cunning person who opened up the issue may be looking for an open fight between you two to enjoy the bloodshed. Never fall into such traps!

By this time you will have some idea about which way the tide is turning. Modify your next step accordingly. If you are honest, sincere and open,  things will be in your favor. If your reputation is good and you were a team-player definitely you can expect many supporters. The moment the other party sees that you are taking positive action unperturbed he/she will lose the steam of the attack. There won't be too many listeners for him/her next time. You didn't confront directly but in a way, you have won the race without getting wounded.

Sometimes you will have to confront. This is not an easy thing to do at all. If you lose the cool then the other party wins. If both of you lose the control you can imagine what will happen. Many disastrous things have occurred by barbarian acts and physical violence. Always remember that people who initiate such venomous gossips are crooked and shady characters and they are looking for a fight scene. But you can confront not blowing your cool, in an assertive way and not in any way attacking the accuser. This type of confrontation shows that you are not jellyfish-like. Just let him/her know that you knew what sort of a person actually he/she was. Either he/she will keep a distance afterward or you also can do it for your own good as well.

If the Company you are working for is really professional the superiors might interfere in this matter and try to bring an amicable solution. But in reality, this often doesn't happen. If it happens, be open to everything. If they try to mediate to bring an amicable solution let everyone win. Compromise!

Sometimes it may be necessary to bring to the attention of the superiors the problem. But how far personal accusations can be brought to their attention is something very difficult to define. It depends on the Organization you are working for. Here trust your common sense and gut feelings.

Its surprising to note that even in top-rated organizations there is a lot of Office politics going on and partiality. Some organizations give a lot of importance to people who make more profit for them and tend to ignore their venomous behavior. It is sad to note that instead of devoting one's time and energy to be more and more productive people engage in such bad Office politics. No creative thinking takes place. No such activity like brainstorming. No group activities. What actually takes place is only mud throwing at each other. Unfortunately, there is no system in place even in very prestigious organizations to tackle such unprofessional incidents professionally. If a sense of team spirit is instilled, the giant-sized egos downsized, staff and the management think they are one family no doubt world will be a better place to live and work!

Well, this may be an unrealistic dream!

What I feel is there should be some qualified professional in each and every Organization who should identify such incidents at the earliest and take appropriate action. They must be responsible for the mental well-being of everybody in the Company including the CEO and the directors. Those people should not be practicing Counseling sitting in their arm-chair expecting people to come to them with their problems. Instead, they should mingle well with everybody in the Organization.

Such professionals can build bridges between everyone in the Organization thus minimizing or even eliminating venomous Office politics. Petty fights, envy, jealousy, unprofessional relationships, ego clashes etc. if nipped off early from the bud itself will greatly better the psychological health of the human workforce resulting in increased productivity.

It is always better to refrain from engaging in bad-mouthing, spreading venomous gossips and destructive criticisms. Tactfully discourage the accuser(s). Such a good reputation will come to your help when somebody targets you. And you might have noticed that such individuals have a knack of nullifying the negative effects of such dirty attacks. They seem not in any way affected or influenced by them. They just remain cool. It seems they gain more power out of it. It might even energize them more!

Direct your attention to the work at hand and let the creativity flow and energize you. If you are as hard as a rock, totally focused on what is more important and concentrated on the larger picture then nothing, not even the dirtiest personal attack can in any way affect you badly. Nature will defend you in ways we cannot comprehend. Universal forces will somehow protect you and punish the accuser(s). Moreover, don't lose your faith in humanity. There will be many who will be of help during difficult times.

If none of the above is possible and you are losing control don't be ashamed to ask for help. If you truly believe that you can confide in someone do it. Together try to solve the problem. If there is no one seek professional help as soon as possible.

If you believe in God and read religious books you will find how to pray when you feel bad in such situations. Prayer surely will strengthen you. Miracles do happen.

Practice makes you perfect and strong. Always tackle things in a real professional way. Never resort to immature ways to solve a problem. Don't make a mountain out of a molehill. Don't overreact. You may tend to over-react if your mind is disturbed. Always try to be in a well balanced, stable state of mind. A multi-pronged approach is necessary to live well in tackling all the challenges in life in a winning way.

Develop a strong personality strengthening your weak traits and developing further the already strong ones. Train each moment to energize willpower. Always audit your thoughts and actions and take appropriate corrective measures if needed. Share the knowledge you have acquired with others. Instead of painting gloomy pictures about everything in society try to instill enthusiasm during casual conversations with other fellow human beings. Always be creative. Creative ideas stimulate your brain neutralizing the effects of negative influences. You are a unique person with a wonderful personality! Never portray yourself as someone mediocre.
  • Always keep these in mind - If there is a will, there is a way... There are solutions to each and every problem in life.  
All the best!

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How to pass tests easily? Win over the challenge of examinations easily

Do we really like tests? Honestly answer this question... !

Yes or no, examinations, regular assessments, and appraisals still remain as evaluating tools to determine a student's knowledge and training. The practice of evaluation of a three or four-year course including training with just a final examination lasting some hours is not a very reliable method of assessment of a candidate's abilities. Overall assessment periodically taking into consideration the performance during the whole duration of the course including personal development would be a better evaluation tool than the traditional questionnaire examination method. Most examinations can be passed by going through the questions asked in the previous examinations; it might take repeated attempts for someone who performed poorly before attaining a pass. Repeated attempts make a candidate pass without any real effort or improving knowledge than before; the pass most of the time being granted out of humanitarian considerations. Some good candidates have examination phobia that makes them nervous only to perform poorly in examinations but they actually are the best in business. It is interesting to note that some poor candidates who have failed repeatedly in their examinations have become successful in life quickly and fare better than their topper colleagues. Academic performance alone cannot be taken as a reliable indicator of real-life success. 

However, let us look into ways to win over the challenge of examinations.

Common knowledge...isn't it?
Well... it is not the routine homework that we all do.

You will have to collect in detail everything about the course, what to study?, the study hours, the pattern of  examinations, the evaluation/grading system, the scope of getting into a job after studies or start a business after years of study, your life in the campus, your instructors' attitudes, the fee etc. etc. before you join the course. Always remember that you will be influenced by the whole process of education and training during the years you spent at the educational institution. Try to talk to the alumni. If possible visit the campus and get a first-hand idea about what is going on. Interact with students at all levels. Shop around; you may get better deals and better places to study according to your liking. Even if an Institution is prestigious it may not be suitable for your temperament. Choose wisely!
The more you think of it the clearer the picture will be. If you think the end justifies the effort you are going to put in, well... go for it and this glittering goal will uplift your spirits. If you are optimistic about the wonderful and exciting opportunities that await you the moment you clear your examinations, you have already won the race before you actually have started the race. If you think you will enjoy the studies and campus life you are right on track.      

Finish your day's work that day itself. Complete the assignments on the same day. Be methodical and systematic. Always reinforce your goals. You have joined for this course at this prestigious University to undergo training and studies to become a professional. Learning is your most important activity and that must be given top priority. All other things are secondary and never give undue importance to such things. Don't be distracted.

First of all acknowledge the fact that you are also a human being like all others on the campus and you also have weaknesses, shortcomings and your own personal problems. Nothing to be ashamed of. No one is hundred percent perfect. There can be jealousy, hatred, and bitterness in many students but don't get put off by such things. The campus is a cross section of the society you live in and always expect to interact with different types of people. If you think you need help you can find a student counselor; most of the schools will have one. It is always better to go for professional help than suffering from your problem. Win over those things and pursue your goals to win the challenge. Great things await you!

Attempt mock examinations. If your instructor doesn't conduct one you yourself can do it. Be your own examiner. Honestly do it. The more you practice it the more your chances to win. Collect old question papers if possible. Find out details of examinations from your instructors. Discuss your concerns with them. Be bold enough to do it. They are also human beings like you.  Talk to students in senior grades and get advice. The more data you collect, the more prepared you will be to tackle the challenge.

You can find countless memory improvement techniques in books and internet like pegging, association techniques, mental visualization, mind maps etc. Our brain has a tremendous capacity to store complicated things for a long long time. It retrieves information fast. Improve your memory.

Reputed academic institutions give a lot of importance to psychological issues. Make use of the services of a counselor if available. Discuss issues with them openly. Emotional issues if becoming troublesome should be addressed as quickly as possible. Instructors and seniors also may be able to help you in different ways to attain your goals.

Learn meditation.

The best way to win over the challenge of examinations is to be prepared well ahead of it. Approach examination in a confident way. Be optimistic. Cultivate a positive attitude. Make use of the time in the campus to develop your personality in a positive way.

Well...this is a very tricky and sensitive topic. You must know who is a true friend. A true friend will inspire you, motivate you, support you, correct your mistakes, advice you, will ask you for advice if needed, co-operate with you to attain your professional and personal goals and share with you their experiences. You also will reciprocate by doing the same things. It is a harmonious relationship where you two win all the time. No losers here. Cultivate such good friendships. Co-operate to attain your goals and help others as well. Build a good reputation in the Campus about yourself.

Campuses all over the world have many types of unhealthy negative influences. ALWAYS KEEP AWAY FROM SUCH THINGS. If you don't like to party or drink don't do it for company's sake. No true friend(s) will force you or stop their friendship with you for not joining for something you don't like. You have a great vision and your goals are clear. You are focused on your studies to attain success. You have prioritized activities according to their importance. Strengthen your willpower.

Learn new hobbies. Make your life colorful. Enjoy each and every moment of your life.

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Saturday, 6 April 2013

Make holiday travel a pleasure, some tips

Following are some tips to make holiday travel a pleasure.

1. Start a diary

Start a diary exclusively for the holiday travel. This will later serve as wonderful memorabilia! Might help in blogging, updating Facebook and Instagram as well :) It will be interesting to read the notes that you made afterward. Make it a point to record everything on it including your initial thoughts about which destination to visit. You can, later on, refer to it and write an honest review about the place for the benefit of others! If you blog, it will be an interesting read to all your friends. It might also help them to make well thought of plans for their travel as well as other things.

2. Group leader

If you are travelling as a group it is better to designate somebody as the group leader. He/she will be responsible for all aspects of travel. But that doesn't mean that the other team members are just followers. They all must make their own plans for travel, be responsible and co-operate. Convene group meetings at regular intervals. Each team member must carry out the tasks allotted to them efficiently within the time frame allotted to them. Each member must research and contribute to the travel. So the selection of the group is very important.    

3. Where to go?

Have a definite idea about the destinations you plan to visit. Its is a common tendency to be in a dream world going through beautiful photoshopped pictures in glossy magazines expecting paradise like living conditions over there only to get disappointed later on when you reach there being welcomed by virulent mosquitoes and dirty, stinking lakes and ponds. Most of the travelogues are written by people who were sponsored by hotels or tour operating companies. So expect bias in their writings. If you are traveling to a place where you never have been ever before, try to read positive as well as negative reviews about the place in the Internet. Before deciding where to go it is better to research and decide about the destination in whatever ways possible. It is very important to read the negative reviews as well. So-called 'negatives' may well be realities! Yes! Try to form your own opinion about the place. Watch videos of the important attractions. Talk to your friends and relatives who had been there previously. Research the internet thoroughly.

4. Budget

Once you have decided where to go, make a budget. It must include the following.
  • Cost of travel
  • Visa fees
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Transport at the destination
  • Shopping expenses
  • Entertainment 
  • Miscellaneous 
  • Unforeseen expenses
Find out from different travel agents about a better deal of travel costs, the best mode of transport and the easiest route. Estimate the cost and plan your budget accordingly. Don't forget to include airport taxes, entry fees and other types of hidden travel costs, if any.

Call upon the embassies, if you are traveling abroad, to find out about the visa fees and other formalities. Check if they have issued any cautionary notices or warnings about travel to that particular country! Check their websites.

You can read so many reviews about the different types of accommodation available all over the world in the Internet. Here also you may see a lot of wonderful photoshopped pictures of hotel rooms on the Hotel's website. Cross-check the information and have an idea about the costs. If possible book well in advance. You may get a better deal if you book early.

Find out what type of food is available. In most hotels staff will assist you in finding good eateries outside once you become bored of trying their delicacies. But before arriving at the destination have an idea about what you are going to eat and how much will it cost.

Have an idea about the transportation facilities available. Find out how much the taxis, buses, metro trains, and ferry cost. Always choose safe, convenient and reasonably priced modes of transport. Try to download a map during the planning stage itself.

Be careful with your spending if you are traveling with your credit cards. It is better to have an idea about how much you are going to spend every day. Resist the temptation to be on a shopping spree while on holiday. You may see so many attractive things at your destination but think carefully about your needs and wants before you reach for your wallet.

Plan the entertainment expenses even before you actually start your journey. Try to be safe and have everything ready for having fun safely. Be in control all the time and enjoy with full confidence and peace of mind. Booze above normal limits blurs senses and that is where the trouble starts. Be safe!
5. Travel plan

Okay, you have decided where you want to spend your holidays, you have included everything you wanted and made a very reasonable budget. You have enough funds to cover all the expenses. Now is the time to make a travel plan.

Decide the dates. Inform your employers, colleagues, and friends online as well as offline about your probable dates of travel well in advance.

Contact your travel agent and request them to block the dates of travel. Many Airlines will do it without you paying any fee. You will be given a date before which you need to buy the ticket. But with most of the low-cost, no-frills airlines this is not possible. Cancellation or even change of dates for that matter will cost you money. So be one hundred percent sure about your travel dates if you plan to fly with them.

If you are planning a journey by road have a route map ready and discuss with your travel agent and their drivers your travel plans. This will give you as well as the drivers better idea about your journey ahead.

Get a Railway map and timetable and note down the details of important stations and other details. If you are planning a cruise by sea ask for a map and travel plan and have a better idea about your trip.

Now plan your travel at the destination. Find out the different modes of transport over there and how much it is going to cost you. Try to download a map of the area you are going to visit. Nowadays GPS systems are available; if you can afford it is always better, your smartphones if equipped with one will come in handy. Bilingual maps will be an added advantage, if available. Try to get the addresses typed in the local language so that it will be easy for the taxi drivers to understand where to take you. Also, it is better to learn some words in the local language as well. Always learn to pronounce it well and have it written in the local language in your notebook so that you can show it to people when you ask for directions, eateries or for toilets. You will find plenty of such things in the Internet.

Plan your return journey also. Did you book the return ticket? Make a travel plan for this part as well.

6. Pack your bags

This is a very important part of travel.
Find out how much you can carry without paying anything extra if you are traveling by airplane. Also better to inquire how much they will charge for extra kilos, just in case. You will be shocked to hear the exorbitant cost of the extra weight of the luggage. Less luggage more comfort! In addition to searching the website of the airlines, chat with them about their latest luggage policy. Weigh your hand carry and luggage before your journey. Attach a name tag with destination details and date of travel along with the name of the airlines.


Buy only good and reliable bags. Lock it securely. Keep the keys safely. Find out if there is some specific requirement by some Airlines about the bags and cases you can carry. It is a good idea to keep the duplicate keys safely.

Make a list of everything you are planning to carry. Here are some suggestions.

In order to keep your freshly pressed clothes without wrinkles, you can wrap each one in plastic bags. But its better to pack a small, portable electric iron. Some hotels will provide free ironing facilities.

Take with you a Universal electrical plug adapter with you. Find out details of voltage.

Don't forget to carry your cell phone charger. Also, carry your camera battery charger.

Keep a flashlight or a small torch in your bag.

You also buy some candles and lighter at your destination and keep in your hotel room. It may look like an unwanted item but you may never know when power failures or natural disasters occur especially in tropical countries. Also, carry or buy mosquito repellant gels and other paraphernalia, serious diseases are quite common in many parts of the world spread by mosquitoes.

Note the location of the fire exits in the hotel.

Pack some chocolates, cookies and canned food items. These will come in handy sometimes. Always check with the Airlines what food items they allow you to bring into another country. Be aware of the customs regulations too.

Check your toiletries bag. Fill it with everything you might need. Don't forget to carry Antibacterial hand gels and wipes. Check with your airlines what all things you can carry. Pack some face masks and sunscreen if you are planning to get a lot of Sun.

First aid materials and medications for common ailments are very important. Don't forget your regular medications. Get a prescription from your doctor even for over the counter medicines for simple ailments before travel to avoid problems in another country. If you are a frequent traveler keep some of these things in your bag so that you need only to check and replenish when you travel next time.

Keep a card filled with your full addresses and contact numbers inside all your bags. No harm in packing a small handy electric kettle and a glass. Some tea sachets or coffee bottle will not be a big burden to your luggage especially if you are in the habit of taking such drinks at odd hours.

Mobile phone - very important. Find out the roaming charges, do not get ripped off! Try to get details of the SIM cards and their cost at your destination. Better to have a stand-by phone while traveling.

Keep copies of all these as well.

7. Travel

Relax and pray for a safe journey. Do some breathing exercises and relax well. After all, you are going somewhere to spend your holidays, so try to be calm and cool all the time. You have prepared everything well and now its time for you to enjoy the travel. Make notes, take pictures and videos. Have fun!

There can be flight delays and other things but try to enjoy your time. Everything might not go well according to your plans sometimes but take it as part and parcel of holiday travel but the important thing is to enjoy maximum. Buy travel and health insurance.

8. Touts

Always watch out for touts and pickpockets. Try to locate somebody responsible like a Policeman while asking for directions etc. If possible hire a registered guide. Let common sense be your guide in unfamiliar places and uncomfortable situations. Looking like a tourist at odd times in a foreign country can bring about trouble sometimes. Give paramount importance to safety wherever you go!

Have a pleasant and comfortable journey. Always travel light with ease. Enjoy your travel. Don't squeeze in so many places to visit within a limited time span and hurry with everything.

Always be familiar with the sensitive sociocultural issues relevant to the particular region and respect them.

Bon voyage!

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Relaxation techniques to reduce stress

Many of us are unaware of the state of being stressful.

We believe we are perfectly well both physically and mentally. There is a lot of confusion with the terms anxiety, stress, and fear. Some think they are all same. Considering the behavior and actions as "normal"; people resort to smoking, drinking and violence not acknowledging the fact that it is something called 'stress' that is driving people to seek solace in those things.

It is a common tendency to fill the mind with all sorts of garbage. Hatred, vengeance, envy, jealousy, greed, anger etc. dominate the thoughts of people forcing their brains to produce chemical substances that eventually induce more stress. There is only very little place for positive emotions in a polluted mind. Some people were forced to live like this because of the particular environment they were living in. Some just drift unknowingly into a maddening and stressful life for no reason.

It is interesting to note that many super successful, high-level achievers lead a very stressful life. One might wonder - "is the high level of stress an accompaniment of success! ?"

The truth is that Stress exists in every one of us, even the children are not spared, the level of it may vary from people to people though. Rich and the poor alike suffer from this problem.

Some stress is normal but its level should be within the normal range. But our stress levels shoot up most of the time and it becomes uncontrollable. Few people start doing some remedy to counter stress at an early stage but majority seek a remedy or outlet rather late. It is better to start remedial measures as early as possible; the response then would be better. Earlier the better!

Our body and mind need a lot of fine tuning just like the machines. The only difference is it is much more delicate and intricate than them. There is no operating manual or handbook available for humans that is universally acceptable for such a purpose. What works for me may not work for you.
  • How to relax our body and mind?
  • How to unwind?
  • How to control stress?
The following technique worked well for me. Allow me to share it with you.

If you think you really have a serious problem it is better to seek professional help. Always remember that nothing else will substitute professional help.

Those who have not practiced some form of relaxation techniques before will have to lie down and practice when they feel like doing it any time suitable for them. They must get the feel of 'relaxation', only then will they be able to apply the method to relax when they feel stressed out in day-to-day life.

Always keep in mind "practice makes one perfect".

Now let us begin.

First I will describe the method for those who are going to do this for the first time. This is meant for those who have not experienced any sort of relaxation before or who have just begun to realize the problem of stress and its seriousness.

The whole process may take about 20 to 30 minutes.

Select a place where no one will disturb you. The place should be comfortable. It should be calm, quiet, peaceful and clean. This can be indoors or outdoors. The setting may preferably be natural if possible. I need not tell you how relaxed we become without any effort on our part if we go to a beach or to a place of abundant natural beauty. Mother Nature makes us relaxed automatically! I have highlighted this fact so many times in the posts on this blog.

Lie down on a soft bed or any surface where you will feel comfortable. Wear loose clothes. Jewelry etc. may be removed. No music or any form of electronic activity in the vicinity, please! Some dislike music in any form, some might like! Individual preferences, of course!

First, you may lie down on your back. You can use a mattress if needed. Use a neck and head pillow if you like or use pillows under your knees if you have discomfort or some ailment in the knees or legs. The most important thing is that you must feel good in this position. So make yourself comfortable, in any position you like.

Once you have attained some grip on your performance you can lie sideways or on your tummy with face turned to one side and practice relaxation. Gain control over your mood in whatever positions you want to lie down.

Some people tend to fall asleep the moment they lie down. For those, I recommend relaxation in the sitting position.

Once you are comfortable close your eyes and breathe deeply. Just be aware of your breathing process. Inhale and exhale deeply. Concentrate on your breath. This breathing process should be effortless and slow. Try to imagine that you are filling your mind and body with the vital energy through this type of breathing.

Find a keyword, for eg: "Relax", "Cool" etc. Chant it slowly, really imagining the meaning in a detailed way. Feel it. Let the energy fill you wholly. Relaaaaaaaaax...!

This method of diverting the direction of thought processes to something pleasant makes us feel better giving a break to the production of stress-producing chemical substances in the brain. The vicious circle of 'bad thoughts - more bad chemicals - more stress - more bad thoughts' is broken giving relief to the mind and body.

Now try to deepen the level of relaxation you just now have experienced. Slowly and effortlessly breathe in and out.

Now loosen the tight muscles in the body. Concentrate on each and every inch in the body and try to loosen.

Imagine that you are feeling weightlessness as though you were in Space.
  • You are feeling light.
  • You feel secure and safe. 
  • You feel confident. 
  • You feel better. 
  • You feel like you are getting what you wanted in life.  
  • All your wishes are getting fulfilled.
  • You feel great happiness.
Deepen this state of relaxation further and further. Loosen more. Slowly chant the keyword. Avoid getting into sleep.

This is a state of 'active' relaxation. You are in control, your mind is under your control. Your body is under your control. Your mind and body are now stress-free. Good!

Once you feel like you are better, slowly come back to reality. Open your eyes slowly. Move your limbs slowly. Turn over to one side and get up. Return to the normal activities of daily living. This phase is also equally important like that of relaxation; slowly come out of it. Take your time! Never rush through this process.

Practice this daily as much as you can. You can do this anytime you want whenever you feel like doing it.

Once you have learned the technique of relaxation you are going to apply it during the daytime when you need it while doing the activities of daily living. The moment you feel some external stimulus like an environmental event or emotion inducing stress in yourself apply relaxation technique to calm yourself. This state of relaxation is going to become your normal state sooner.

Now let us train in a different way.

Sit on a chair wearing your work clothes. Don't loosen the buttons.
Keep the palms facing up on your thighs with elbows bent. Feet on the floor.
You can keep your footwear. If you wear spectacles, keep them if you like.
Here we are simulating your work environment where you are likely to experience a lot of stress.

Concentrate on your breathing. Inhale and exhale deeply, slowly and smoothly. Imagine everything like you did in the above session that I have described. Relax. Feel better. Feel confident. Feel calm and cool. Narrate the keyword. Let it resonate in your mind. Chant it.

After some time, once you feel better, slowly come out of this state and engage in the activities of daily living. As days go by, with more and more practice, you will notice that you have slowed down your pace in life and is feeling more in control of your thought processes. You will feel that you are tackling challenges in a cool and relaxed way. Now you want to win over the challenges or solve problems. Thus you will enjoy that winning feeling. You are sure to win. You are a winner!

Practice this and get more control upon yourself. With more and more practice you will be able to attain better control upon your emotions thereby reducing stress.

You can also do this at your workstation if you have privacy. If not, don't practice this while at work but once you attain some sort of control you can relax just by thinking about the keyword. Induce relaxation by chanting your keyword in your mind while at work when you feel stress. Your breathing becomes regular, you relax and feel better. Negative thoughts just disappear. You become cool in no time. A smile appears on your face.

Now try to be actively relaxed, calm, cool, well adjusted, balanced, with better control of your life, confident, secure, and contented all the time. Practice being in this relaxed attitude always. Anytime, anywhere you need, induce relaxation by chanting the keyword in your mind. Feel the wave of relaxation sweep through your mind and body.  Practice more and more. Train your mind and body.
  • Don't allow stress to build up. 
  • Anytime you feel too much pressure, take deep breaths, or take a short break and relax. 
  • Put some real effort to loosen up. 
  • Try not to be angry.
  • Cultivate a positive attitude. 
  • Radiate warmth. 
  • Never allow destructive criticisms to affect you badly. 
  • Wipe off negative influences as quickly as possible. 
  • Repel negative vibes. Don't pollute your mind, be kind to yourself.  
  • Try to get out of the artificial environment and enjoy the beauty of nature at least for sometime every day.
  • Wear comfortable clothing always that makes us relaxed.
  • Tight clothes and stilettos may be fashionable but those make us uncomfortable.
  • Exposure to electronic machinery can induce stress. Limit it. Take short breaks to calm yourselves.
  • Too much TV,  music that is too loud, smoking (both active and passive), alcohol, drugs etc. are all bad, they make you more stressful ultimately.
  • Jokes, humor, and laughter are good but avoid making fun of people and enjoying at the expense of others' peace of mind.
  • Let everyone be a winner.
  • Sleep well.
  • Avoid comparisons. Never compare, you are unique !
  • Limit listening to the so-called 'advisors and 'Didn't I tell you? You never listened'...type of people. 
  • Limit social media :)
  • Practice, practice, practice... 
Good luck!

Note: Please read the DISCLAIMER attached to this blog.

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Relaxation - for our mind, body and soul

Abu Dhabi Corniche is a beautiful place!

This was a surprise snap one day while strolling through this beautiful place. I think this team was practising here; a very rare sight in this part of the world.

It stretches from the Marina Mall to Mina port. People flock to this place to escape the hustle and bustle of the City after their work to relax. There is no entrance fee.

At night the place will be well lit. Weekends people come here for barbecue get together.

This is an ideal place to jog and for those who would like to exercise can go through the different set of work out routines at designated stations meant for the same. There are stations for chinning the bar, tummy toning exercises etc.               

This is a beautiful place to relax enjoying the breeze and the beautiful sea.
  • Relaxation is something very important we all need. Purposely set aside a little time every day for ourselves, for our mind, body, and soul. 
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