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How to be polite?

Article of the Week

How to be polite?

Be gentle, not forceful or insistent. This doesn’t mean you need to act like a meek, quiet pushover. It means that when you do something, offer something, or make a request, you do it without pressuring the people around you and making them feel like they’re being pushed into a corner. If you’re having a conversation, it’s one thing to ask a question or offer your opinion, but it’s rude to push the matter when someone has expressed discomfort (verbally or non-verbally) about the subject. Even if you’re trying to help, like offering to pay for lunch or wash the dishes, don’t be too insistent. If the person says “No, thank you, I’ve got it” then say “Please, I’d really love to help.” If they still say no, then let it go. They obviously want to treat you, so let them, and return the favor some other time.

When in doubt, observe others. How are they greeting and addressing each other? What are they doing with their coats? What kinds of topics are they discussing? Different settings require different standards of formality, and those standards often define what is polite and what is not. A work-related dinner, and holiday gathering, a wedding, and a funeral will all demand a different tone.

Be nice. Treat everyone the same way, even if you are not fond of them. Never make any enemies. Always be courteous, you might meet this person again in another setting and wouldn’t want to have caused negative memories that would give you a bad standing. If someone annoys or even insults you, don’t get into an argument. Say “Let’s agree to disagree” and change the subject, or simply excuse yourself from the conversation.

Start a conversation by asking questions about the other person. Try not to talk about yourself too much. Be confident and charming. Do not hog the conversation, that is arrogant. Look interested and listen to the answers. Don’t look over the person’s shoulder or around the room when he/she is talking. That implies you are distracted or not interested, i.e. he/she is not important to you.

Be honest. It is always much worse to be caught in a lie than to tell the truth.

Shake hands firmly and look your acquaintance in the eye. You might want to practice this a bit so you don’t squish people’s hands, depending on how strong you are. That would make them feel uncomfortable. Beware especially when shaking hands of women who are wearing rings. Too much pressure can be very painful.
Remember too that many people with an “old-school” etiquette background (especially if you are inEurope) find it inappropriate to offer your hand for a handshake to a lady or an older gentleman if you are a gentleman, or to an older lady, if you are a lady. Always greet the other person first, but wait for them to extend their hand. On the other hand, if you are the older person/lady, keep in mind that if you do not extend your hand, the other person may feel rejected, as he/she is not permitted to shake your hand. Usually this situation only takes half a second in checking whether the other person is moving towards you for a handshake. Be alert.Do not approach someone with an already outstretched hand. That is pushy. If you want someone to know you are moving towards them, establish a firm eye contact and smile, maybe opening your arms a little (bent at the elbow) to make a welcoming gesture.

Know the proper dinner etiquette. For silverware, go from the outside, in. And put your napkin on your lap, and do not add anything to the table that was not there when you got there (cell phone, glasses, jewelry). Put your purse between your feet, under your chair. Women should not apply makeup at the table. It is rude and demonstrates a lack of refinement. If you want to fix your makeup or check if something is in your teeth, go to the restroom.

Have a laugh which shows you are having fun, without being loud. Loudness either indicates arrogance or insecurity. A charming polite person makes another person feel good. Keep this goal in mind, be considerate of other people’s needs and opinions. Don’t make derogatory remarks towards any kind of ethnic, political or religious groups under any circumstances.9

Be graceful and show elegance. Carry yourself smoothly, with a sense of calm, yet involved in the moment. People will notice this subtle charm and this will help you greatly.

Be aware that etiquette and manners vary depending on the cultural region you are in…be sure to study the local customs before you travel!

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Aravind Adiga

Author of the Week

Aravind Adiga

The winner of the Man Booker Prize 2008 for his debut novel The White Tiger, 33 year old Aravind Adiga is a journalist and author by profession who is an Australian citizen of Indian origin. His debut novel, The White Tiger won the Man Booker Prize of 2008

Born in the year 1974 in Madras, present day Chennai, Adiga grew up in Mangalore and received his basic education at Canara High School and at St. Aloysius High School from where he graduated out with a SSLC degree in 1990.
He studied at James Ruse Agricultural High School in Sydney, Australia where he and his family emigrated during the 90s.
He further went on to study English Literature at Columbia College, Columbia University in New York in the U.S. from where he graduated in the year 1997.

Adiga’s career in journalism began as a financial journalist as in intern at Financial Times, Money and the Wall Street Journal. His area of coverage was the stock market and investment.
He wrote a review on Peter Carey’s book, the winner of Booker Prize 1998 Oscar and Lucinda, which appeared in an online literary review called The Second Circle. He was eventually appointed by TIME where he worked as a South Asia correspondent for about three years before he started freelancing. This was the time when he wrote The White Tiger. Adiga currently lives in Mumbai, India.

Winning the Man Booker Prize of 2008 for his debut novel, The White Tiger made Adiga the fourth Indian born author to win the prize since Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie and Kiran Desai. Adiga’s novel is about “India of darkness” or the rural India and the “India of the light” or the urban Indian. Its about the protagonist Balram Halwai’s imminent journey from “darkness” into “light”. Keeping Balram’s story in view, the novel studies the antithesis between the rise of India as a modern global economy – where the rich zoom around in their egg-like shelled cars which only crack open to let a bejeweled hand of a lady to throw an empty mineral bottle into the street – and all that Balram represents, – the poorest section of rural India where life itself is smeared with dark and struggle-some reality right from one’s birth to one’s death.
Adiga points out that it becomes significant for writers like him to feature remorseless injustices of Indian society especially during a time when India is undergoing great changes with China presumably inheriting the legacy of the world from the west. He makes it clear that his endeavor in doing so is not an assailment on the country, instead it’s about “the greater process of self-examination.”
He further defends his point by elaborating on the fact that criticisms by writers like Flaubert, Dickens and Balzac during the 19th century helped England and France improve their ways becoming a better place to live in.

Between the Assassinations, Adiga’s second book featuring 12 short stories was released in India on the 1st of November 2008.

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How To Become Smarter

We all are inherited with a smart mind. But improving it a step forward towards a smarter mind is what we have to work on. For a mind not kept active will become less alert and lose its brilliance and intelligence in due course of time. Just like a broken arm, when freed from the sling after a couple of weeks, takes time to get back to its original functionality, the same is the case with your brain. The kind of exercise you provide to your physical body, your mind demands the same implementation and training. When left aside and idle for a while, your brain tends to become inactive and less energetic. Thus, to become smarter than the smart and the smartest, you have to pep up your mind in the right route. After all, it’s not the same as wearing the best clothes or portraying a know-it-all kind of image. Find tips on how to become a smarter person by glancing through the tips listed herein.


How To Get Smarter


Exercise Your Brain

Just like you workout to build and strengthen your muscles, your brain, too, requires proper exercises to sharpen itself. Often, it is assumed to be a useless body part, but this is not true. As such, whenever you are engaging yourself in some activities, you are exercising your brain. Consider practicing activities, such as puzzles, crafts, reading, painting, gardening, and other recreational activities that will refresh and rejuvenate you and your mind, in particular.


Read Quality Books

Most of us love reading. But we often end up reading fiction, suspense, or romantic books. However, these books do not mentally stimulate us. So, if you really want to improve your thinking and writing skills, pick up books that force you to really focus. Read a classic novel that changes your perspective towards this world and exposes you to precise, elegant English. Do not feel shy to pick up new words and find their meanings. This, in turn, will make you smarter with a more comprehensive vocabulary. Make reading fun as well as useful.


Avoid The Idiot Box

What do we do after a long tiring working day? Pick up a bag of chips and a can of cola only to land up in front of the television. Though there is no problem with refreshing yourself while watching a reality or a talk show, it doesn’t really put your mental capacity into use. Further, watching television continuously does not relax you, instead, it exhausts you. Hence, pick up a book or magazine when you want to relax. Or, switch off the idiot box when you have friends or acquaintances around and indulge in a conversation instead.


Learn A Foreign Language

Researches indicate that learning an unknown foreign language boosts brain power. Quite smart, indeed, right! Learning and understanding the foreign culture through the language induces your brain to implement its muscles.


Identify Your Qualities

All of us have had our share of several idols and dream jobs during childhood. A scientist, a social worker, an airhostess, a 40-wheel lorry driver, an astronaut, or even a rock star! But, in reality, how many of us are really able to convert our childhood dreams into a reality? Probably, just one out of hundred. That’s because to move onto their paths, we need to understand the values, commitment, and endless efforts to meet the requirements and achieve our goals. However, this should not be mixed with our idols. For if we try to imitate our idols, we will only land up making a fool out of ourselves and not creating a niche amongst the rest. Hence, it is important to identify your qualities and be yourself rather than being others.


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KALIDASA, (kaalidaasa), India’s greatest Sanskrit poet and dramatist


In spite of the celebrity of his name, the time when he flourished always has been an unsettled question, although most scholars nowadays favor the middle of the 4th and early 5th centuries A.D., during the reigns of Chandragupta II Vikramaaditya and his successor Kumaaragupta. Undetermined also is the place of Kaalidaasa’s principal literary activity, as the frequent and minute geographic allusions in his works suggest that he traveled extensively.

Numerous works have been attributed to his authorship. Most of them, however, are either by lesser poets bearing the same name or by others of some intrinsic worth, whose works simply chanced to be associated with Kaalidaasa’s name their own names having long before ceased to be remembered. Only seven are generally considered genuine.

Plays. There are three plays, the earliest of which is probably the Malavikaagnimitra ( Malavikaa and Agnimitra), a work concerned with palace intrigue. It is of special interest because the hero is a historical figure, King Agnimitra, whose father, Pushhpamitra, wrested the kingship of northern India from the Mauryan king Brihadratha about 185 B.C. and established the Sunga dvnasty, which held power for more than a century. The Vikramorvashiiya ( Urvashii Won Through Valor) is based on the old legend of the love of the mortal Pururavaas for the heavenly damsel Urvashii. The legend occurs in embryonic form in a hymn of the Rig Veda and in a much amplified version in the ShatapathabraahmaNa.

The third play, AbhiGYaanashaakuntala ( Shakuntalaa Recognized by the Token Ring), is the work by which Kaalidaasa is best known not only in India but throughout the world. It was the first work of Kaalidaasa to be translated into English from which was made a German translation in 1791 that evoked the often quoted admiration by Goethe. The raw material for this play, which usually is called in English simply Shaakuntala after the name of the heroine, is contained in the Mahaabhaarata and in similar form also in the PadmapuraaNa, but these versions seem crude and primitive when compared with Kaalidaasa’s polished and refined treatment of the story. In bare outline the story of the play is as follows: King Dushhyanta, while on a hunting expedition, meets the hermit-girl Shakuntalaa, whom he marries in the hermitage by a ceremony of mutual consent. Obliged by affairs of state to return to his palace, he gives Shakuntalaa his signet ring, promising to send for her later. But when Shakuntalaa comes to the court for their reunion, pregnant with his child, Dushhyanta fails to acknowledge her as his wife because of a curse. The spell is subsequently broken by the discovery of the ring, which Shakuntalaa had lost on her way to the court. The couple are later reunited, and all ends happily.

The influence of the AbhiGYaanashaakuntala outside India is evident not only in the abundance of translations in many languages, but also in its adaptation to the operatic stage by Paderewski, Weinggartner, and Alfano.

Poems. In addition to these three plays Kaalidaasa wrote two long epic poems, the Kumaarasambhava ( Birth of Kumaara) and the Raghuvamsha ( Dynasty of Raghu). The former isconcerned with the events that lead to the marriage of the god Shiva and Paarvatii, daughter of the Himaalaya. This union was desired by the gods for the production of a son, Kumaara, god of war, who would help them defeat the demon Taaraka. The gods induce Kaama, god of love, to discharge an amatory arrow at Siva who is engrossed in meditation. Angered by this interruption of his austerities, he burns Kaama to ashes with a glance of his third eye. But love for Paarvatii has been aroused, and it culminates in their marriage.

The Raghuvamsha treats of the family to which the great hero Rama belonged, commencing with its earliest antecedents and encapsulating the principal events told in the RaamaayaNa of Vaalmikii. But like the Kumaarasambhava, the last nine cantos of which are clearly the addition of another poet, the Raghuvamsha ends rather abruptly, suggesting either that it was left unfinished by the poet or that its final portion was lost early.

Finally there are two lyric poems, the Meghaduuta ( Cloud Messenger) and the Ritusamhaara ( Description of the Seasons). The latter, if at all a genuine work of Kaalidaasa, must surely be regarded as a youthful composition, as it is distinguished by rather exaggerated and overly exuberant depictions of nature, such as are not elsewhere typical of the poet. It is of tangential interest, however, that the Ritusamhaara, published in Bengal in 1792, was the first book to be printed in Sanskrit.

On the other hand, the Meghaduuta, until the 1960′s hardly known outside India, is in many ways the finest and most perfect of all Kaalidaasa’s works and certainly one of the masterpiece of world literature. A short poem of 111 stanzas, it is founded at once upon the barest and yet most original of plots. For some unexplained dereliction of duty, a Yaksha, or attendant of Kubera, god of wealth, has been sent by his lord into yearlong exile in the mountains of central India, far away from his beloved wife on Mount Kailasa in the Himaalaya. At the opening of the poem, particularly distraught and hapless at the onset of the rains when the sky is dark and gloomy with clouds, the yaksa opens his heart to a cloud hugging close the mountain top. He requests it mere aggregation of smoke, lightning, water, and wind that it is, to convey a message of consolation to his beloved while on its northward course. The Yaksha then describes the many captivating sights that are in store for the cloud on its way to the fabulous city of Alakaa, where his wife languishes amid her memories of him. Throughout the Meghaduuta, as perhaps nowhere else So plentifully in Kaalidaasa’s works, are an unvarying› freshness of inspiration and charm, delight imagerry and fancy, profound insight into the emotions, and a oneness with the phenomena of nature. Moreover, the fluidity and beauty of the language are probably unmatched in Sanskrit literature, a feature all the more remarkable for its inevitable loss in translation.

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Happy New Year 2014

National Book Week, 14-20, Nov.2013

Happy Book Week , My dear Readers !!! Expand your horizon of knoweledge via books........all through.......always....all ways

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