#1. Don’t use LOL unless you mean it.

Acronyms today are part and parcel of everyone’s life. You use them on facebook, while texting, while tweeting and some even have the urge to use it in examinations. And the most overused one is LOL.  Today people use it when they bored, have nothing to say, or maybe when they just smiled in silence or at best chucked a bit. To me, LOL now just means “I have no idea what you just said, but I have got to reply” or maybe “Dude, this conversation is totally dead”. So please, stop overusing it or worse misusing it and save it to really applaud something which is the cause of much hilarity.

uWatch

safe_imagewfsdfcThe latest Bharti Axa Life Insurance Advertisement is one of the few advertisements which doesn’t give me the instant need to switch the channel.

It shows a situation where a hapless customer goes to the Insurance Office and is made to run around to get the various documents photocopied, and attested etc. After sweating it all out, he’s asked to visit again as the office closes at 5pm. With the catchy,  “Aap Yahaan Aaya Kisliye” song  playing in the background,  the ad draws instant empathy since the viewer easily identifies with it.

Bharti-AXA-LifeNext, the ad promises promptness and commitment as the agent awaits the arrival of the man at his own home. The ad is directed at reducing the skepticism with which today’s consumers look at products and promises. An extremely creative, and powerful way to convey the message across.

I would say Kudos to the Creative Team behind this!

Religion, A teacher?

I often wondered if Religion is really a teacher. Does religion really teach us hatred, or anything at all? No it doesn’t. Here’s why.

 

Quite contrary to what most people around the world think, I believe that religion is a medium to express one’s feelings or interact with a higher power, if one believes there is a higher power.

Like I said in my previous post, Religion was only created by our ancestors to give us a tool to interact with the higher power, and is just a way for Man to connect to his God.

You might ask me, if religion is a medium, what then is Hinduism, Christianity, Jainism, Islam? According to me, all these are differentiated approaches of religion created, developed and followed byMan.What we on normal terms call teachings of Religion, have been developed by man, but Religion as such is abstract, what we make of it, is what is portrayed. So religion by itself does not teach anything.

You might now ask me, what about the numerous religious texts that we have with us today like the Bible, The Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, and so many others. You might say that these texts form the very basis of religion that people around the world follow.

These texts were often prescribed by one among the people like Moses and Jesus. And legend has it, that these people preached those things, not to carve out a particular sect but to teach people how to live, religion or no religion, god or no god. It’s important that even an atheist is loving, and giving.

Thus these texts are not exclusive bases to religions but are a set of universal values.

To explain the working of religion better, I would like to make an analogy. Religion is like a Language. A Language is a medium for people to communicate and express what they think. It connects a person to another. Religion is that language that creates the link between man and god. It’s not the language that teaches you emotions, but the emotions you express through language.

I could use the English Language to tell person ‘A’ Hello, and tell him how much I respect him. I could also use the English Language to tell the same person ‘A’ how much I hate him, and wouldn’t like to meet him ever again. The words I speak, come from thoughts and I use the language as a mere tool to convey my message.

These same words would sound and be inherently different if spoken in another language. Similarly, the various havens, poojas, animal slaughter and other such actions have been developed by Man to express his belief in God.

Without man’s ideas religion cannot exist, so it’s really what man makes out of religion and not what religion makes out of man.

It’s only fair to assume that crime or charity happens as a result of man’s feelings in the name of religion. At this point, if you ask me, whether religion teaches hatred, I would tell you point blank that it does not.

If there is an extremist group that bombs the twin towers out there, its probably because they are psychotic neurotic and just about every other word that explains that they need psychiatric help, with the only impossible explanation being Islam.

The same soap that cleanses you can be instrumental in causing a dirty explosion. You can’t blame the soap, really, it’s just lifeless. The user however, is breathing, living and thinking. Thinking positive or thinking negative. That’s the question.

 

Why Religion?

At 17, like any other teenager, I began to question the conventions prescribed and followed by the world at large, and like every other teenager, I formed my own set of beliefs, principles and values.

Belonging to a country like India, with its varied yet rich cultures and traditions, one such area that attracted my attention was Religion. I often wondered what religion is.  And after a lot of speculation I came up with my own definition.

But before that, let me tell you Why I think we have religion.

I believe that our wise ancestors formed Religion, for two major reasons.

First being that Man could have a pillar of support and strength at all times. There are many instances in a man’s life when he feels lonely, gives up hope, and might feel the need to show his anger, distress, or jealousy. Religion plays a vital role at these troubled times. It makes Man believe that there is a super power that is watching everything, and there will be justice delivered at some point of time. It gives him hope that he can survive the troubled times, and experience the light at the end of the tunnel. Religion is not important only when there’s trouble in man’s life. At relatively happy times, the same belief that God is watching from above, gives Man the motivation to be good. And that is why, Man helps the poor, develops compassion for nature, animals, and fellow human beings too.

Secondly, Religion instills a sense of fear in man and keeps him from doing wrong which could be harmful to fellow human beings.

When a man follows this, he feels good. He feels satisfied, as if he has completed a task at hand and achieved in full. This feeling of satisfaction, provides Peace. And when a man is at peace with himself and his environment, he will not cause any harm, and instead will be instrumental in helping his fellow beings and help them find peace too.

Having this ultimate goal of Peace achieved in his life, Man can live in perfect harmony with nature, and lead the perfect life, with no qualms and worries.

In addition, Religion gives him the strength to deal with grief caused by loss of another human as Man takes it to be the working of the Higher power, that he so strongly believes in.

Hope?

“Don’t Worry, You will succeed”

“Tomorrow will be a bright day. It will bring peace, prosperity and happiness into your life”

“There is light at the other end of the tunnel”

“There is a dawn after dusk”

And the list goes on and on…

For ages now, we have been hearing these words from different people, in different situations, at different places. These very words, they say, give hope. They say, hope gives one strength to fight. They say, “Hope is the only Rope in life.”  But is it all true? Is hope a good thing?

To be very honest, I don’t know. Do you?

The dictionary defines Hope as :  Hope is the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life.

It’s a belief.  The question remains though, does it do us any good?

Let me tell you, this belief is very powerful. It can do a lot of harm too. Hope can make us believe that at the end of everything, it will all be fine. It will all go back to normal, when in reality, that might be a far-fetched fantasy.

Hope can be disastrous. This is how:

The belief that there will be a bright day tomorrow, can lead us to expect. And, these expectations might not be fulfilled. If that happens, and we can’t face the disillusionment, we could go into depression. As we can all see, the result is the total opposite of what was desired.

In a nutshell, hope might be a good thing, since hoping helps people to not lose heart, to be patient enough to wait and see the result. BUT. It can also lead to ends which are dreadful and undesirable. So watch out! As the saying goes, too much of anything is bad. And hope is no exception.

Media – The Voice in our heads.

The Media is a distinctive feature of our society today; its growth has supplemented an increase in the complexity and degree of societal actions, rapid social change, and the decline of some traditional forms of control and authority.
In this world, overwhelmed by television, commercial, billboards and the Internet, I believe that the media is an instrument both more powerful and flexible than anything in previous existence, for influencing people, especially the younger generation.

Arguably, the proliferation and globalization of media are among the key factors that have shaped and defined the current generation of young people. In many countries, youth have access to a greater number of multi-media choices than ever before—conventional, satellite and cable TV channels; radio stations; newspapers and magazines; the internet and computer and video games. In addition, many are exposed to the same programs, the same characters and the same marketed spin-off products. Today there is greater availability of foreign programming and media, and less official censorship and control in many parts of the world. Information, email and images flow around the world faster and more freely than ever. Indeed, mass media are making the world smaller, and culture and media are increasingly inextricable, especially for young people.

A look at the world media landscape for children and youth immediately presents two opposing themes: opportunities and risks. For example, globalization of media brings opportunities to broaden children’s outlooks and provide more equal access to information, but it also threatens cultural identification and values. Technological advances bring the promise of new skills and greater youth participation in society, but also increase the risk of child exploitation and informational divides.

Media, in its various forms can be either detrimental or beneficial for the youth today. How it influences the younger generation is subjective as it depends on a variety of factors, like the perspective of the audience and also the method the news is presented and what purpose it serves.

Celebratory  endorsements & personalities have a  great impact & the youth follow their icons very closely by not only using the products they endorse, but carrying the attitude, impersonating them as they are visible.  Size Zero figure among the young women & girls is a classic case in this direction. The same goes for the young lads who are hitting the gyms all over to get their six-pack V body figure even going to the extent of using steroids to achieve the results without their realizing the mid-long term detrimental affects on their health.

A classic example of  changing perspective among the children  was the reporting  by media on the presence of pesticides found in cola drinks of  extremely popular multinational companies which the world had accepted , that though they were not healthy drinks but at the same time were not harmful for consumption now proved otherwise with the truth out  through research & lab analysis. This brought about  a virtual movement among the children who started anti-cola campaign by just refusing to consume  which in turn was being reported by the media bringing in more non-consumers to the fold. This ultimately brought down the giants to their knees who were  now forced to widen  their  product portfolio to include more healthy drinks which is now become a movement in itself-consuming fruit & health based drinks.

That is the power of media.

A final look at the world media landscape and one can safely conclude sans doubt that Media definitely does influence youth opinion and their positions. Nowadays, it’s a fact that the potential of Media is enormous, in fact immeasurable, as it does make a real difference in the lives of the upcoming generation around the world by informing, listening and ultimately empowering them.

Expressions

Letters strung together make words.
Words strung together make phrases.
And so it goes on…

They say a pen is mightier than the sword. No doubt, it is.

Words can make you laugh. They can make you cry.
They can excite you. They can instill fear in you.
They can make you dream. They can shatter your dreams as if they were nothing.
They can change your life, change forever.

Words can do wonders – beyond our imagination.

So friends, let’s make a lesson heard, a lesson learnt.
Express yourself.