All posts by Guest Post

Remembering Indelible Strokes of Cartoonist Toms

Cartoonist Toms

I do not know Cartoonist Toms well though I like his old cartoons. Thought provoking humour at its best and which would stand the test of time. There are some who makes you think and some who makes you laugh, but very few who could do both…I remember my Professor once pointing my views to the dog in the cartoons; to check the actions and reactions of the tiny dog in each situation.  The finesse in even the smallest of details……. Every frame filled with thoughts but yet with a few strokes. The pen has stopped but the ink will remain indelible and will continue to spread for generations………..

About the Author: ManuManu Varghese Stephen is the CEO of Trade Integre Ltd, UK. He loves to work with people to help them achieve their full potential, be it a graduate student get a dream job in the Big 4 OR a Company with absolutely no history or experience with their new service launch to become the leader among their competitors in less than 6 months. In his motivation talks he often uses Boban and Molly stories by Cartoonist Toms, to inspire the listeners

Hepsiba, the Chennai Girl, won gold at street child games in Rio De Janeiro

Once a hapless little kid, 16 year old, Hepsiba never travelled in an express train in her life though once her home was just a stone throw away from South India’s largest railway station, Chennai Central . But last month this wonder girl made her first flight and travelled more than 14000 km crossing oceans from Chennai to Rio De Janeiro in Brazil to achieve something. And she returned with a few medals: one gold and two bronze won in a Street child games in Rio De Janeiro.

Relocated from her dwelling

Few months back Hepsiba and her widowed mother were evicted, by the Chennai corporation, from shanty home along the Sydenhams Road near the Nehru Stadium in chennai where they were living for years. Along with many other dwellers, they were shifted to a shelter home.

An NGO discovered the prodigy

It was Karunalaya, and NGO in Chennai that discovered the talent in her and gave Hepsibah the opportunity that finally took her to Rio. Few weeks ago, Karunalaya organised a sports meet, in Chennai, for the street children, and Hepsiba was one among them. Paul Sunder Singh of Karunalaya says that they found this girl had sheer talent and they decided to take her to big events. But before leaving for Rio she had to jump many hurdles: not in the filed but in many other ways. “Actually, she just about made it; it was a miracle that her passport came through on time,” Mr. Singh says. The team could not win any sponsorship from any corporates or philanthropists but International NGO Street Child United who organised the entire meet has helped a bit and Karunalaya took some loan for the children to make the trip. The London based NGO works to empower marginalised street kids and give them a platform of sports to nurture their talents.

Trained like a Pro

Intensively trained by coach Prabhakar Suresh for about two weeks, Hepsiba and team left for Rio in the second week of March and spent one and half weeks there. Hepsiba won gold in 100 meter sprint and and silver in 400m and bronze in 100m hurdles. Her team mate Ashok won a bronze in boys’ shot put and Sneha stood third in 4x100m relay race and bagged bronze.

24 Carat Friendship with participants of other countries

They interacted with other participants mostly from third world countries like Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, Burundi. Hepsiba says that now she has won many friends from these countries and she values the friendships are larger than the medals she won and that makes her ‘very very happy’. Another participant, Usha spoke at the Street Child Games General Assembly  and stressed the need to protect street children from people especially police who find a way to  harass them in a regular basis.  “Everyday we fear the police. Police are supposed to support and safeguard us, but we don’t experience this. To protect children from violence at the hands of the police, street children need to be invited to speak at police training so they (police) can understand and empathise,” she said.
In Hebrew Hepsiba means ‘My delight is in Her’. The Lord’s delight and grace are indeed there upon her. She has to win more medals and has to reach new heights.


About the Author:  

SudhirSudhir Athekkattil is a digital creative artist from Kerala and now working in Chennai who has a flair in creative writing too. His interests range from cricket to cooking and movies to music. 

 DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

How to celebrate Eco-friendly Holi

In an ideal world, the joyous festival of Holi is meant to celebrate the arrival of Spring while the colours used in Holi are to reflect of the various hues of spring season. But unfortunately, in modern times Holi does not stand for all things beautiful. Like various other festivals, Holi too has become ruthlessly commercialized, boisterous and yet another source of environmental degradation and health problem. Hence many consumers are on the look out for Holi Colours made from natural materials and safe for health and environment.

Toxic Elements/Chemical in Holi Colours

According to many research and previous studies related to Holi colour products, the pastes contain very toxic chemicals/elements that can have severe health effects.You can also get tested your holi colour products at NRCLPI ( National Referral Centre for Lead Projects in India) , St John’s Medical College, Kormanagala , Bengaluru.

Few examples of colour and the chemical content with their few health effects on human and environment:

Eco-friendly Holi COlours
Table 1: Holi Colours and their chemical content

Harmful Chemicals in Gulal & Harms of Wet Holi Colours
The dry colours, commonly known as gulals, have two components a colorant that is toxic and a base which could be either asbestos or silica, both of which cause health problems. Heavy metals contained in the colorants can cause asthma, skin diseases and adversely affect the eyes.

Wet colours, mostly use Gentian violet as a colour concentrate which can cause skin discoloration and dermatitis.

These days, Holi colours sell loose, in the market and traders are also unaware about the source of the holi colour products as it comes from a group of networked people/sellers exchanging hand to hand from different parts of the country. In few instants, the colours come wrapped that specifically say for industrial purpose/use or without any origin/manufacture details.

Make your own Eco-friendly Holi colours

Holi festival lovers will be thrilled to know that it is possible to make simple, natural colours in one’s own home. Here are some very simple recipes to make natural colours:

eco-friendly holi colour
Table:2 Ingredients to prepare eco-friendly holi colours

Safeguarding Water

Just on 22 March we all observed World Water Day, across the Globe. In the current scenario, when India and the rest of the world is facing acute water shortage, the water wastage in the name of Holi in the extreme, is also being unjusticable. It is usual or general using buckets of water during Holi but please keep in mind that you are not only wasting water resource, but also polluting it with harmful and toxic chemicals. If a single person uses 2 liter of water on Holi on splashing/playing just imagine the number of liters of water used across India with a billion+ population .

So, make sure we don’t waste and pollute water, which is most needed for our coming generations too.

Tips to celebrate a safe Holi

  • Use homemade natural and safe colours-Learn the art of preparing the colours yourself and enjoy teaching your younger’s and your neighbors too.
  • Use natural, skin-friendly and herbal colours are the ones made by reputed companies using natural products.
  • If you opt to buy/purchase colours, commercially be sure to purchase naturally made products from reputed companies also ensure about the source.
  • Apply a nice layer of oil to your hair before playing Holi so that residue from the dyes does not get stuck to your hair and scalp.
  • Ensure that your eyes remain protected at all times. Wash with plenty of clean water should any colour get into your eyes accidentally. See a doctor if the irritation still persists.
  • If you are playing Holi, apply a thick layer of coconut or any oil on your body and hair until they glisten and you become slippery.
  • Wear dental caps if possible to protect your teeth.
  • Avoid flashing on the face and as well protect your face from the Holi colours.
  • Wear clothes at the maximum to cover your body.
  • Apply an oil/cream of good quality to protect your skin.

Traditional Background

The Holi is an ancient Indian festival of colours symbolizing signs of happiness, joy and growth engaging all ages of people. The celebrations in India cut across section and religious conviction. This festival, now also draws a world attention and many countries are also celebrating the festival of colours and enjoying with sharing of sweets.., love.., peace and brotherly hood.

Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar. Holi festival may be celebrated known by different names among people of various states and would be following different rituals & traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit and enthusiasm of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.

This festival celebrates the arrival of spring on Fagun Sud Purnima. Also known as Falgunika, people celebrate the changing season and the beauty associated with spring blossoms by spraying colour.

In the Gita (10/35), Shri Krishna proclaims spring as the foremost season and one of his Vibhutis -forms: Rutunaam kusumaakaraha

The ritual of offering roasted grain to Agni – fire-deity is known as Navaanineshti. In Sanskrit, roasted grain is Holaakaa, from which the Hindi ‘Holi’ is derived. Since Vedic times people availed the newly harvested grain only after offering to the devas. This offering of new grain is Holi.

The Bhavishyottara Puran associates Holi both with man and Yagna. Therefore the Yagna performed for man’s salvation is Holi.

About the Author:  
vinay kumarVinay Kumar. C is an Environmental Researcher at NRCLPI – The National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India. He is a multi-skilled professional having an excellent track record of managing complex functional projects in various environments.  

 DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

Few facts about Mosquito-borne Zika Virus in India

There is an alarming spread of the Zika virus in various parts of the world by the Aedes aegypti mosquito that is also the carrier of dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya viruses.  The outbreak which is spreading fast across the globe due to human alterations of their environments. Scientists and Ecologists state can empower disease-carrying organisms such as Aedes, and the viruses can eventually add on in various forms.

Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys through a monitoring network of sylvatic yellow fever. It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Papers published by National Institute of Virology (NIV), in Pune in 1950’s, by a team of experts and the published paper in 1953, indicates that India is also prone to Zika Virus attacks. They conducted tests on the exposure of Indians to 15 insects-borne diseases, one of which was by the Zika virus. It was found that ‘significant numbers’ of people were exposed to the virus as early as in the 1950s, even before the first official registering of a case of humans in Nigeria in 1954. Only thirty-three of the 196 people tested for the disease had immunity to it. The NIV had concluded in their paper that “It, therefore, seems sure that Zika virus attacks human beings in India.”

Malaria, dengue and chikungunya affected 1.13 million people in India last year. For a decade, the number of reported confirmed cases of malaria is nearly 1.87 crore, and the number of reported deaths due to Malaria case in India is approximately 12,000. At the outset, last year dengue cases and deaths had reached an all-time high in India with 97,000+ cases and 200 deaths in 2015 itself. Our country bears an enormous burden of mosquito-borne diseases, contributing 34 per cent of global dengue and 11 per cent of global malaria cases and with mosquito-borne diseases like  Malaria, Dengue and Chikungunya being widespread in the country for many decades, India should focus how to handle the scenario in case the Zika virus outbreak.

The virus is transmitted by the same mosquitoes that carry other tropical viruses such as dengue and yellow fever. Global health officials are alarmed because of its potential link to brain defects in infants as well as a rare syndrome that can lead to paralysis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that because the Aedes species mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, it is likely that outbreaks will spread to new countries”. The Zika virus is carried by mosquitoes and people but spread by mosquitoes. A few recent studies indicate that Zika continues to be an STD (Sex Transmitted Disease) too. Zika is an RNA virus related to West Nile, yellow fever, and dengue viruses, and caused by the bite of the Aedes mosquito.

 According to WHO (World Health Organisation), Symptoms of Zika virus infection is usually mild. The most common Zika virus symptoms are fever and rash; it can also cause muscle and joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes, and conjunctivitis (itchy, red eyes).  Unborn babies and pregnant women are most at risk. Healthcare workers in Brazil were stunned to learn that, throughout all of 2015 and up to the present, there have been more than 3,500 total new microcephaly* cases that were suspected to be caused by Zika — more than 20 times higher than the numbers in prior years.

The blood-sucking pest has been just increasing with of lot environmental issues, and human intervention with the environment and the dense population of the country also need to be blamed for the rise in the unhygienic way of lifestyle.  Mosquito-borne diseases just spread in, no matter in a particular geographical and before the medical intervention/ control of the scenario it just outbreaks into nuke and corner.

So, the best way of handling the bloodsucker by an individual is to manage our environment. Here are few listed preventive measures to avoid the growth of mosquito and it’s borne disease:

  • Source reduction: Keep the containers such as flower pots, birdbaths, pet water dishes, cans, gutters, tires and buckets free of water storage to avoid the mosquito breeding cycle.
  • Screen & Avoid: Possible ways of mosquitoes entering homes through doors, windows- Keep them netted / pre-close during the morning and evening session. 
  • Proper Clothing & Netting: Make sure you keep away from mosquito bites by wearing full-covered clothes. Use nets/ mosquito repellent while you sleep/ during travel.
  • Environmental Survey of Locality: Report the unused swimming pools, abandoned lake/pond zones in your area to authorities for proper/regular maintenance. Park zone equipment should not cater to mosquito breeding.
* Abnormal smallness of the head, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development.

About the Author:  
vinay kumarVinay Kumar. C is an Environmental Researcher at NRCLPI – The National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India. He is a multi-skilled professional having an excellent track record of managing complex functional projects in various environments.  

 DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

How the helmet wooed my heart…  sorry my head!  and a bit on Life coaching…

When I started with bikes, I never liked the inconvenience of wearing a helmet.  First of all, it messed up my hairstyle and made my head look like that I have been glued with my hair; maybe a fashion statement today, but not so in that age….  Second, it covered my mouth and people who smiled at me didn’t know that I was also smiling back at them.  I don’t know even today whether that helmets saved my head from being hurt but surely cost me a few friends and thereby did hurt my heart…

But on long journeys, I preferred even then to wear helmets.  You will not ask me why if you are familiar with driving in Indian roads, even via youtube videos.  If I was to travel more than 10 miles without a helmet, and if I was to meet somebody, that somebody was very unlikely to recognise me because of me wearing a suit, sorry, soot over my face..  I was fortunate that I never had any major accidents with the bike except when I hit a dog which was trying to chase me, changed its mind to get ahead of me, and block my bike with its torso…  That was the only time in my life I managed to do a semi-somersault with the bike which I was on, changed roles and was on me within a few seconds.

Well, though I hated helmets and deemed it an inconvenient necessity, my attitude towards helmets changed one afternoon while  I was travelling with my friend in a car. I was witness to an accident where a bike which was hardly travelling at 10 miles per hour at a speed breaker on a highway (speed breakers sometimes could be spelt as life breakers the way they were implemented at that time) got hit by a jeep.  Both the bike travellers didn’t have helmets and the pillion passenger fell down at the impact of the hit.  His head was sliced open at the back and ‘gruesome’ would be an understatement to describe that sight…  He was unconscious yet breathing and I don’t know what happened to him after that.  But, that was the defining moment where it was impressed on my heart indelibly, how important a helmet was to a biker….

And, now you might be thinking!  What is all this have to do with Life coaching?

Life coaching is more like a helmet or better, since it saves not only your head but has the power to enhance exponentially the quality of your lives be it in the area of body, mind, soul, career, finances, relationships etc.  The benefits are mostly overlooked probably because of ignorance, neglect or the uncomfortable or rather depressing acknowledgement of things you always know but seldom do.   One might think why he has to pay for something, which he already knew, though in his heart he would agree that he didn’t do those things he knew…  

Many a times, the organizers or attendees don’t know the importance of life coaching or rather life transformation (which I would like to call them) seminars.  They are clueless on what to expect or they expect an overnight change.  They expect it to be a magic pill of sorts for an immediate and long lasting transformation of all aspects of their life without any conscious effort from their part.  Well, it does have an immediate impact and depending more on the attendee; his expectation, receptivity, decisions and follow through, the effects could increase and multiply and impact all areas on one’s life and even last for generations…  

Since they themselves don’t know the value, they try to get such courses cheap, a seemingly smart move.  We all think (we are) smart when we do some of the most stupidest things.  We all do, have done it and will do it again…  They think about it as an expense rather than an investment.  They would have no second thoughts when it comes to solving a heart problem.  They would go for the best medical support they could afford or even beyond their means.  Life transformation classes are meant to provide long lasting solutions which would avoid lot of heart and head aches for oneself and the ones who they are in contact with…  Just as one won’t neglect seeking the best medical support for life support or enhancement, one should never neglect or devalue such courses in academic institutions or organisations or even social units and should always try to invest in the best and on a continuous basis…  It is better not to spend on cheap alternatives because that would be worse than having nothing at all.  

I was recently having a discussion with another coach and he was saying how during the economic recession, in the west, the Companies who never neglected people training or rather invested more in that area were the ones who thrived (not survived) the tough times and the ones who tried to save on such investments on maximizing the utilization of human potential ended up closing down their business.  It is true for a business, it is true for a student, a family, a professional…  When you invest in yourself, you gain; when you neglect, you risk harm to yourself and others who care about you…  

And, please don’t wait until tragedy happens to learn what is best for you.  Remember, it is no benefit to anyone to learn the advantage of wearing a helmet after one has lost his head….  And once the head is gone, there is nothing you could learn really and the helmet then is of no use…  Don’t wait until it is too late…

For Life Coaching Videos in Malayalam and English by Manu Stephen please visit here

About the Author: ManuManu Varghese Stephen is the CEO of Trade Integre Ltd, UK.  He can be reached at, linkedin profile at

Trade Integre Ltd are turn-around experts (of course towards the best!).  They have a history of turning the worst case scenarios to best case testimonies for individuals as well as corporate. They love to work with people to help them achieve their full potential, be it a graduate student get a dream job in the Big 4 OR a Company with absolutely no history or experience with their new service launch to become the leader among their competitors in less than 6 months. “Their success and then ours”, is the passion that drives us…  

Major direct and indirect accounts they have worked with / working with include Saudi Aramco (the world’s largest Oil Company),  Woodfarm High (Scotland, UK top Senior School), Saudi Ministry of Interior, Motorola, Kuwait National Petroleum Co, SAIC (US Fortune MNC), Atos Origin, Cisco, Saudi Telecom Co, Philip Morris etc.

In brief, though they do have multiple lines of business, they like to term themselves as solution providers for their clients be in the area of products, services (Headhunting / Specialized recruitment) and enhancing the quality and empowerment of their personal, professional and social life.  They have decades of experience in solving impossible situations for individuals or organizations be it in the area of sales maximization, academic and extra academic performance maximization, bringing about massive improvement in lifestyles, physical and emotional energy levels for best performance etc.  They have experience offering direct and indirect consultancy to varied industries be it the World’s largest Oil Co or UK’s top Senior Schools; professionals who worked with, or went on to work with, world’s leading Companies after just a few hours of life transforming sessions formally or informally..

Solar Power: A wonderful boon

The survival of life, human culture and the very existence of our planet Earth largely depend on developing and using renewable and nonconventional sources of energy. The first source of such a form of energy that comes to people in their right minds is solar energy. There are a wide variety of reasons why solar power is most beneficial to humankind. The Sun’s light and heat make life possible on the Earth. As such, energy from the Sun is the only source of every other form of energy including nuclear power. Read about a Weird Museum which has a rare collection of toilets included solar powered commodes.

solar power

Solar energy is green energy. It is virtually free from pollution. The use of solar power does not result in the emission of gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide which are deleterious to humans and other living beings in several ways. Moreover, solar power causes no noise pollution since solar panels and other devices have no moving components.

Solar energy is perennial albeit variations. On cloudy and winter days solar energy is a less efficient form of power. However, the emergence of photo voltaic technology means that we are not solely dependent on heat from the Sun. Even on cloudy and winter days we get light from the Sun. Photo voltaic technology is capable of converting solar radiation into electricity.

Solar power is useful in operating several devices such as heaters, cookers, lamps and calculators. Manufacturers of mobile phones, laptop computers and other gadgets are exploring how solar energy can be used for the functioning of these tools.

Using solar energy for cooking is advantageous. Depending on firewood will result in the destruction of forests, food chain and biodiversity. Besides, the development of technology to improve the quality of wood means that we can use rubber trees and pine trees as good sources for the construction of buildings and the manufacture of furniture.

The successful use of solar energy for street lighting in several parts of Africa deserves attention. This is possible by the use of solar batteries. By using solar batteries we are able to enjoy the benefit of solar technology at night. Even though these batteries are heavy and need to be replaced at present; scientists are working for the development of better battery technology.

The use of solar energy gives people energy independence. Setting up of solar panels on rooftops of houses and offices will make people energy independent. Putting solar panels on rooftops is expensive. Nevertheless, thanks to constant efforts to improve solar devices, it is coming down considerably. After establishing solar devices; people do not have to bother about paying electricity bills. In addition, solar technology needs little or no maintenance. Solar panels will continue to supply electricity for thirty plus years. Undoubtedly, the technology will become better in the days to come.

Solar power is capable of serving energy needs of people living in remote areas. People in several parts of the world have no access to power grids. The need not to depend on power cables is a major advantage of solar energy.

In today’s world, we are dependent on fossil fuels for our energy needs. These sources are dwindling rapidly. We are unable to get energy from these conventional sources of energy for another century. A conscious consideration of this reality will make us come to the right conclusion that solar power is the most dependable source of energy for the sustenance of our planet and life on it in the days and years to come.

About the Author:  
swami  sirSwaminathan Pillai is A senior academic and Journalist with specialties in history, politics, current affairs, health, disability and social issues. Well developed multi-media skills & experience in Broadcast Journalism. He is congenitally blind who with his wealth of knowledge has enlightened many.

 DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

Importance of personality development for teachers

The managements are emphasising on the quality behaviour and focusing personality development for teachers as they are the link of trust between parents and the school.  Parents communicate with teachers to judge their children’s activities and progress in school. The personality of a teacher just doesn’t play a crucial role on students in enhancing their growth and development but it builds confidence among the parents.

personality development for teachers

Personality doesn’t mean just the characteristics and appearance of a person which grows and develops as age proceeds instead it needs constant self-direction towards sincerity, personal integrity, sociability, courtesy, morality, wisdom etc. These characteristics should be a part of one’s teacher life. They are the necessary ingredients of a successful teacher.

Dr W. H. Burnham said, “everyone knows what personality is, but no one can define it.” Has he said rightly, understanding and developing a personality is quite tough and everyone has their own statement to define? One can improve their personality by admitting that our personality can and could be changed which is not inherited. At the current scenario personality trait of a person dealing with the public is given lesser importance both by our society and educational system.

With competing edge in the educational field branding of an educational institution is in hands teacher for maintaining parental and children relationship. Speaking in general, teachers act as a brand ambassador of a particular school.

Here are four success mantras for Personality Development of teachers:

  • Communication Skills: Being a teacher communication and presentation skills are critical in teaching and as well to commute with the parents from different class and field who are concerned in particular of their ward. A teacher has to understand the parent’s needs and then communicate with them at a horizontal platform. It needs to be effectively satisfactory and meaningful. It should neither be confusing or incomplete nor suppressive.
  • Trustworthiness: As said earlier teacher and parental relationship with effective communication provide guidance towards a child’s growth and development on a timely basis. The teacher enhances the faith and trustworthiness of the parents towards the institution/school.
  • Morales: Teachers are a vital part of the education system, and their level of morale has a direct influence on student achievement and learning. Parents trust the teacher and their promise. So, the teacher needs to adopt a mutual helping attitude with them to meet their expectations in bringing up their child. A teacher needs to be active, optimistic, convincing and committed. With these traits, one can win the faith of parent’s and create a joyful working atmosphere at the institution.
  • Motivation: Mainly, appropriate and planned teaching behaviour is the key to motivate students and every teacher has to keep motivating their pupil to succeed in academics and in life. A teacher in his professional can’t depend on other external sources to support and stand by him. He needs to be self-motivated.

About the Author:  
vinay kumarVinay Kumar. C is an Environmental Researcher at NRCLPI – The National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India. He is a multi-skilled professional having an excellent track record of managing complex functional projects in various environments.  

 DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.