When I started on WordPress 5 years ago, the first intention was to check if content was really King (SEO ranking), and over a period of time, it has proved right for me. Most of my blog titles when written along with Perceptions ranks on the first page of Google. This would not have happened without you, devoted readers who have been following my posts and commenting and liking them. For to the writer, there is no other inspiration than a good following of readers…
Celebrating today on the eve of the occasion of Holy Thursday
Health is wealth, an old age saying that we have been hearing quite too often but still it fails to attract attention as most of us are still believing in the new age saying “Wealth is health”.
We seldom give attention to our health and eating habits which is so important to manage the several organs of our body and their various functions which constitute the general well being of a person.
Gone are the days when we had set times for eating our breakfast, lunch and dinner that had wholesome meals. It had a proper assortments of cereals, pulses, vegetables, fish and fruit. All of these were cooked at home by our mothers, sisters or grandmothers or aunties especially when it was a joint family.
Now work pressures and times, studies and preparation, sports and other extra curricular activities that also include using our cell phones have eaten into and taken a major chunk out of our eating times and also the preparation time. So all the 3 eating times put together have been reduced to under an hour.
So we have situations wherein once in a week at home or daily lunches at work we might be using food prepared at hotels by people who are rarely connected to us like our relations. It seems everywhere, the mantra is to make money at the expense of others and in this case their health too. Food prepared in hotels seems tasty with a lot of spices and what nots added and unhealthy oils that are re-used many times over to cut down costs at the hotel side but that only leads to major costs that we need to bear at the hospital end later as time progresses and such unhealthy food practices continue.
Every week we hear of hotels being raided and health officials closing down such hotels that do not adhere to standards by the health authority. But still we persist in eating from outside just to save an hour at home cooking and spend countless hours in hospitals thinking we will be always immune from all of this.
A lot of hotel and junk food brings on various diseases that are both water borne and from the putrefied food prepared in unhealthy environments. How many of us care to visit the restaurant kitchen or at least peek into them as we wait for our food. That could have been time well spent as we waited for the so called delicacies that they served. A variety of diseases like food poisoning, jaundice, acidity, stomach ulcers, liver, heart and kidney diseases spring out of the potions that we considered harmless as we ate them from such poorly prepared food.
Corruption has seeped into all types of food that we cook and that includes high pesticide farmed vegetables and fruits. Sometimes we wonder whether the consumer is also considered as a pest by such farmers who are least bothered about who ate their produce. So care should be exercised in consuming these.
So let us summarize what can be habits that we can follow to improve our food habits.
Eat regularly. Do not skip a meal especially your breakfast.
Drink sufficient water that your body needs to remain hydrated.
Have a mix of cereals, pulses, vegetables and common fruits in your diet.
While having food, do not be distracted by other things, chew properly and enjoy it.
Have home cooked food as possible or search for good restaurants in your locality if you cannot have food from home.
Do not eat at unearthly hours and that too junk food prepared by junkies.
Drink hot water at hotels and clean water at home. There is no point in having the best food had with unpalatable water.
Exercise properly or walk at least for half an hour daily whenever you get the chance.
Always maintain a proper posture while eating, that is eat at the table and not on the sofa.
Remain at peace with yourself and others so that the digested food is put to good use.
I have come this far and out of college or high school and have become what they say a job aspirant! Popping a long tablet of aspirin is easier but communicating in English especially when it is not your native language becomes a tongue twisting vexation. There are so many books available to improve upon it and some come so cheap from the street vendors, you doubt their efficacy…
When I came out of high school, I could not communicate in English even though my medium of instruction at school was in English. I thought I could make amends but the situation remained more or less the same when the same me came out of College and landed a job as an instructor. When I started giving instructions , it was then I came to know that I was a below average speaker and needed to bring the level of fluency to a level where my students didn’t get frustrated or dozed off so much so, that they fell off their chairs.
To cut a long story short, here is my recipe for fluent communication in the English Language for those whom it is not the native language. It should work out for other languages too, but then English is a language which you hear often but have trouble speaking when the need arises…
1. You should have a good reading base.
If you never had any affinity for reading, this is the right time to catch up with whatever time you have lost in the bygone years. A strong vocabulary will come to your rescue when you started speaking in sentences, otherwise you could never frame a sentence without a lot of conjunctions in between. The poorer your choice of words or the scarcity of the right word, you would start sprinkling if’s and buts & and’s more than the amount of pepper in a soup. I don’t have to tell you where you would land..
2. What should you read?
Read the newspaper or pick up any book on any subject that might interest you. It could be on the Arts, pure science, religion or even Humanity. I am sure there would be one or a couple of subjects that might interest you..
Is there any rule to read a book so that my communication improves?
Yes there is. You are not going to read the book or the newspaper at least in this context to memorise it. You are going to read the book fast, slow and loud (not necessarily in that order) so that your articulation of words and training your tongue on how to pronounce words becomes easier. Loud reading is a must for you to be a good communicator. Read some paragraphs of the book loudly as if you are reading to a small crowd that has gathered to see what is wrong with you. Silent reading for an hour is also important as that helps the brain to store them somewhere up there.
3. Why can’t I learn new words and improve upon my vocabulary rather than reading a book?
Good question but honestly reading a book helps you not only to understand the meaning of most of the words automatically based on the context in which they were used and fitted, but also to reproduce them the same way whenever such contexts arise in your communication. How does this work you might ask? Don’t worry, your brain takes care of it, you need to just do the reading part. Sometimes you switch to a fast gear of reading some paragraphs, so that you can talk fast when you are in a situation where you might get only a minute to explain what happened in an incident ( or an accident) before you pass out. Also check up on those words that acted as speed breakers, this means you are not confident on them, hearing it for the first time or do not understand their meaning. An online dictionary helps with their meaning and how they should be pronounced.
4. Ok the reading part is going on, what next?
The reading part has to be a continuous exercise like the one you do at the Gymnasium in case you want to remain fit in communication. The next step, jokes apart, you have to start communicating now…
5. Who is going to be my audience? And what Topic should I select?
Ok let us put it this way. There is a small dummy invisible group of people who have assembled in your bedroom wanting and waiting to hear from you on the book you have just read. You do not have to blurt out everything you have read, but can tell them a summary on what the book was all about. Wait a minute. If this sounds scaling or climbing the Himalayas, let us make a small note of it on paper. Go through the main points and once you are confident, it is time to face the group. If you can give some 5 to 10 speeches to such an invisible audience, then you are ready to face your close friends who would like to listen how you have improved on your communication levels.
6. When you start speaking, always know that it would turn out to be interactive.
Which also means that the sort of preparation that you did for your dummy audiences won’t help. It has to be more of a dynamic talk with your friends. Ask them to be a bit patient with you in your trials of surmounting your hurdles. Instead of using your native language for day to day talk, supplement your talk using English.
7. Start listening too…
Switch on your Television and let news channels in English take at least half an hour of your siesta at home. It would be good to listen to the BBC or the CNN or any such native channels in English, so that you know and learn how to pronounce words correctly as you hear them right from the horses mouth as they say…
8. When I start speaking, to whom can you speak?
Start speaking to yourself first silently. For example, narrate to yourself the entire events of yesterday at work or at home and see where you stumble in your silent talk. Imagine yourself being the expert commentator of a cricket or a football match and let go of what ever emotions you think of the rascals on the ground making mockery of the game and the nation they represent..
9. Changing your notes.
Once you have gained ground on your silent speaking, you can switch to a more resonant audible note, yet not strong enough to attract attention. It can be a murmur which you can practise while travelling or commuting as they say or while you are just standing for that idiot friend of yours for the past one hour with still no sign or sight of him or her …
I understand that all this won’t happen in a day. It may take at least a few months before you are confident of yourself to be a good communicator and once you are confident enough having practiced all that has been written above, please let me know by Email so that I can send a certificate to you 🙂
Just to list some of the hurdles below that keep you from communicating in English. My humble suggestion would be to kick all of these to the nearest bin and out of your mind.
1. My Grammar is poor.
2. What would others think of me when they hear me out?
Let others think of you or have perceptions based on when they hear you. Let them see your progress and then commend or comment. Be steady, calm and sustained in your efforts to get there.
Your grammar should improve faster once you start communicating because somewhere at the back of your mind and based on the amount of pages that you have read so far (especially if the books had been well written), your brain immediately tries to correct you as you speak, first slowly and then On Demand as you gain in confidence…
I do not know how many of you have read this lovely story of Orpheus and Eurydice that ends in tragedy. I am repeating this story for the benefit of my readers as this mythological incident teaches us something important.
If anyone who reads the story wonders what we learn or why Orpheus failed to regain Eurydice in his memorably journey to Hades or the so called netherworld, it will come back to two simple words.
It teaches us how important it is to use faith and patience as our two legs in our journeys, and if you use them well, you will reach your intended destination with the person whom you set out with…
Orpheus is known as the most talented music player of the ancient times. It is said that god Apollo was his father, from whom he took his extreme talent in music, and the Muse Calliope was his mother. He was living in Thrace, on the northeastern part of Greece. Orpheus had a divinely gifted voice that could charm everyone who heard it. When he was presented first the lyre, as a boy, he had it mastered in no time at all.
The myth says that no god or mortal could resist his music and even the rocks and trees would move themselves to be near him.
Humans and beasts alike would be enchanted by it and often even the most inanimate of objects would yearn to be near him. Well into his youth he had mastered the lyre and his melodious voice garnered him audiences from near and afar.
It was at one such gathering of humans and beasts that his eyes fell on a wood nymph. The girl was called Eurydice,who was beautiful and shy. She had been drawn to Orpheus enamored by his voice and such was the spell of beauty in music and appearance that neither could cast their eyes off each other. Something inexplicable tugged the hearts of the two young people and soon they fell dearly in love, unable to spend a single moment apart. After a while, they decided to get married.
There was one man who was despising Orpheus and desired Eurydice for his own. Aristaeus, a shepherd, had plotted a plan to conquer the beautiful nymph. And there he was, waiting in the bushes for the young couple to pass by. Seeing that the lovers were approaching, he intended to jump on them and kill Orpheus. As the shepherd made his move, Orpheus grabbed Eurydice by the hand and started running pell-mell through the forest. The chase was long and Aristaeus showed no signs of giving up or slowing down. On and on they ran and suddenly, Orpheus felt Eurydice stumble and fall, her hand slipping from his grasp. Unable to comprehend what had just happened, he rushed to her side but stopped short in dismay, for his eyes perceived the deathly pallor that suffused her cheeks. Looking around, he saw no trace of the shepherd for Aristaeus had witnessed the event and had left. Few steps away, Eurydice had stepped on a nest of snakes and had been bitten by a deadly viper. Knowing that there was no chance of survival, Aristaeus had abandoned his try, cursing his luck and Orpheus.
After the death of his beloved wife, Orpheus was no more the same carefree person he used to be. His life without Eurydice seemed endless and could do nothing more than grief for her. This is when he had a great but yet crazy idea: he decided to go to the underworld and try to get his wife back. Apollo, his father, would talk to Hades, the god of the underworld, to accept him and hear his plea. Armed with his weapons, the lyre and his voice, Orpheus approached Hades and demanded entry into the underworld. None challenged him. Standing in front of the rulers of the dead, Orpheus said why he was there, in a voice both mellifluous and disquieting. He played his lyre and sang out to King Hades and Queen Persephone pleading that Eurydice was returned to him. Not even the most stone-hearted of people or Gods could have neglected the hurt in his voice. Hades openly wept, Persephone’s heart melted and even Cerberus, the gigantic three-headed hound guarding the entry to the underworld, covered his many ears with his paws and howled in despair.
The voice of Orpheus was so moving that Hades promised to this desperate man that Eurydice would follow him to the Upper World, the world of the living. However, he warned Orpheus that for no reason must he look back while his wife was still in the dark, for that would undo everything he hoped for. He should wait for Eurydice to get into the light before he looked at her. With great faith in his heart and joy in his song, Orpheus began his journey out of the underworld, joyful that he would once again be reunited with his love.
As Orpheus was reaching the end of the Underworld, he could hear the footfalls of his wife approaching him. He wanted to turn around and hug her immediately but managed to control his feelings. As he was approaching the exit, his heart was beating faster and faster. The moment he stepped on the world of the living and was in the light, he turned his head to hug his wife. Unfortunately, he got only a glimpse of Eurydice before she was once again drawn back into the underworld. When Orpheus turned his head, Eurydice was still in the dark, she hadn’t seen the Sun and, as Hades had warned Orpheus, his sweet wife was drawn back to the dark world of the dead…. In conclusion, when one runs out of patience, he loses faith and vice versa…