Excerpts from…Reader, Come home!!

Reader, Come home (2018) is a meditation on the future of reading in the age of digital revolution and diminishing attention spans. Authored by Maryanne Wolf, the John DiBiaggio Professor of citizenship and Public service at Tufts University and co-founder of Curious Learning: A Global Literacy Project, the book draws insight from latest neuroscientific research and unpacks the cultural and cognitive dimensions of a technological transformation that has reshaped our relationship with the written word. At the heart of her investigation is a question whose answer will determine how our societies will look in the future: What will reading mean to our children, a generation which has never known a world without Google, smartphone and e-books?

1) The days when the distinction between our digital lives and what used to be called IRL or “in real life” are long gone. Today, they’re two sides of the same coin. We upload our supposedly offline activities and talk about what we’ve seen and read online with our friends, colleagues and families. That, critics claim, is wreaking havoc across society. We’re sleeping less, being increasingly anxious, arguing more and – ultimately – losing touch with reality.
So are we looking down the barrel of total civilization collapse?

2)The human brain is a miraculous machine capable of all sorts of astounding feats. Some of that is innate: we’re born with genes that allow our bodies and minds to acquire certain natural abilities without needing to be taught them. Most people, for example, enter the world with an astounding ability to pick up language.

3) Reading is an entirely different matter. Unlike speaking, it isn’t hardwired into the brain. It is a cultural invention rather than an innate trait.

4) We’ve seen what our changing relationship with information and knowledge is doing to our ability to learn and read. Does that mean we should shun technology and revert to analog lifestyles?
Not really. A better bet is encouraging kids to become fully fleunt in both print and digital mediums just as bilingual children achieve fluency in two languages. After all, each medium has its own strengths. By learning to work with the unique strengths of both physical books and digital devices, children can develop a bilateral brain capable of making savvy and informed choices about what they consume both online and offline.

6) This last excerpt is the longest and my most favourite! Enjoy!
Title: Protecting our third life as readers preserves our ability to turn knowledge into wisdom.

In the Nicomachean ethics, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle identified the three “lives” of a good society: one devoted to knowledge and productivity, another to entertainment and the third to contemplation. That is a pretty good model for the lives of readers.
Like members of Aristotle’s ideal society, readers must balance their three lives if they wish to be their best selves. Here’s how it works. The first life is all about learning and gathering knowledge – think of looking something up on Google or in a dictionary. In the second mode, readers relish the things which entertain them like testing their wits as they follow with the deductions of a sleuth in a murder mystery or discovering fascinating historical facts. This is ultimately where we find an escape from the pressures of everyday life. Taken together, these two lives lead to the third: the life of contemplation. This is a deeply personal realm where we let the things we read- whatever genre they are – guide our thoughts about the world around us. Spending time in this third zone allows us to translate the knowledge and experience gained in our first and second lives into wisdom.
That is not something that will take care of itself – rather, we have to commit ourselves to this pursuit of wisdom. The third life is a delicate flower that needs to be carefully cultivated, and that takes time, patience and effort – all things in desperately short supply in our fast paced, digital world! It was this realization which led billionaire investor Warren Buffet to tell Bill Gates that he should leave plenty of free space in his calendar. After Gates credited him with this discovery, Buffet pulled a small calendar out of his pocket. “Time,” he said, “is the one thing no one can buy.”

*****************************

In this fast paced and ever changing world, reading is a dying hobby! Reading through the blinks of this book in the blinkist app made me realize how different my own interest in reading and the volume of my reading has slowly crumbled over the last few years!
In my journey of rediscovering life, I want to get back to my first love of reading and redisover my passion for reading in an altogether new manner. And this time around, I will let reading celebrate me!

I am leaving all you readers out there with this one quote to ponder over, for I know it is very true..
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

Advertisements

a question of proportion — Kate Davies Designs

I’m working on new designs and have found myself musing upon questions of proportion. (please don’t laugh at my shoddy sketching. I am useless with a pencil and Fashionary is a genuine godsend for me!) It recently occurred to me just how much, over the past twelve months or so, I have been enjoying experimenting […]

via a question of proportion — Kate Davies Designs

SIGNS…

As medical trainees and practicing doctors, we are familiar with the importance of identifying objective findings in cases to clinch the final diagnosis. Now, to simplify objective findings, is to say we listen to the patient symptoms and see the clinical signs, analyse the investigation results, deduce the final diagnosis and proceed to manage accordingly.

To quote William Osler, the renowned physician of the late 19th century, he said,  “There is no more difficult art to acquire than the art of observation, and for some men it is quite as difficult to record an observation in brief and plain language.” He also said, “The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.”

Medicine is replete with signs for innumerable conditions, ranging quite literally from –“The womb to the tomb.” And most of us, grey younger or grow bald faster or wrinkle earlier in the process of learning these signs and their implications. There are many that you see everyday in your patients and your heart does that somersault to let you know you clinched it, but there are a lot that you never get to see. They remain in your rot memory and fade away one day.

But today, what caught my was the serenity in the word “signs”. It did take me sometime to move away from “science” to ponder over “signs.”Amidst the green woods and the flowing stream, finding a sign saying “TRAIL” speaks a thousand words in my mind.

An anecdote I remember distinctly at this point, is one that I read not long ago, about a man called Gideon! I am not sure how many of you are aware of him, but he comes up in biblical reference as a wheat thresher. Apparently, he was saving food secretly in a time of severe oppression for his family when he encounters an angel and is chosen to fight for his nation against a mighty army of strong and chivalrous men! He just had to pick the weapons and fight..but he chose to confirm from the angelic being that it was indeed what he was seeing and hearing! Further, there is mention of him asking God directly for a sign to show he would be victorious in the battle! (I suggest you read the version yourselves for the joy of it. It is encouraging!) He asks for dew on the ground surrounding a dry shawl first. And than a wet shawl on dry ground. And so, he believes he is chosen to fight and win the battle, which he does.

This idea of relying on signs from the Almighty is prevalent since time immemorial. The Hindu mythology quotes innumerable instances of deities and demons relying on signs. The practice continues to be followed till date to rely on planetary positions and star alignments for performing rituals or for astrological purpose. The Persians cast lots to decide war and the outcomes! The Egyptians are known to have relied on astronomical signs as well. And so on.

Even Christopher Columbus relied on signs from people of the new culture he encountered during his voyage. To quote, “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts. And so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very serviceable.” And this as well, “The Indians on board said that thence to Cuba was a voyage in their canoes of a day and a half; these being small dug-outs without a sail. Such are their canoes. I departed thence for Cuba, for by the signs the Indians made of its greatness, and of its gold and pearls, I thought that it must be Cipango.”

As time passed, the early and extinct creatures left imprints of their fossils as a sign of their existence, adding to our anthropological knowledge. ‘The Early Man’, as we are taught in school, chose to leave signs and symbols engraved in his habitat to enlighten us today of what their life was and, look, how much we have changed!

Jane Goodall mentions, “Chimps can do all sorts of things we thought that only we could do – like tool-making and abstraction and generalisation. They can learn a language – sign language – and they can use the signs. But when you think of our intellects, even the brightest chimp looks like a very small child.”

And than the language of signs and symbols for those with special needs. Every region has a dialect of its own even in the special language and its not less than an art to learn and teach them.

In fact, our everyday life is so full of signs – there’s traffic signs, post office signs, metro signs, airport signs, restroom signs, restaurant signs, etc etc etc. Most significant today is the signs of changing climate! You live in the city and all the time there are signs telling you what to do and billboards trying to sell you something.

Would we able to function without signs in our everyday lives? I sit and imagine, how would it be to drive without knowing the traffic signs? Would i actually ask around for restrooms? Would we really know how much longer is the distance to the destination without that milestone sign?

Worth pondering isn’t it? Maybe, with that hot cup of chai in your hand and that furry creature cuddling by your feet, you would like to ponder, signs have survived the test of time and the evolved to more meaningful impressions. Words are but the signs of ideas.

And as I watch that ‘TRAIL’ sign in the picture, I am reminded, “No memory is ever alone; its at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails, that each have their own associations” – Louis L’Armour

                                                 Image result for quotes on trails

The 70’s batting…

IMG_7509

 

Meet Mr.NER..a jovial, starry eyed, elegantly graying, dignifiedly wrinkled, enthusiastic septagenarian!!

I have known him for four years and odd now, and he is definitely the redefined, new age elderly! His curiosity in everything intrigues me.

By profession he is a man with magic hands on machines, but his real talent is in the field of those furry, adorable creatures we so lovingly call “dogs”!!

Today we celebrated his 73rd birthday. And he remembers as if it were yesterday..

that flower power, dropping out, pirate radio, hot sex, progressive rock, hip fashion, free love..!! Yes.. been there and done that!

He also remembers as if yesterday..

that flower arranging, drooping out, saga radio, hot water bottles, progressive memory loss, and free bus passes!!

Well, well, well..time indeed flies !

Its a a fascinating journey..his life is full of mystery and drama and comedy and of course thrill!! He is sharing his life in an autobiography he is currently writing and i am looking forward to it!! Will surely share some exerpts from it!!

To simplify, Life is the best thing that happens to everybody and its best to live it up!!!!!!

Love and Life

The-Greatest-of-These-is-Love-Regardless

In joy and through the storms,

Amidst the laughter and the tears,

Close to your heart, Shall I live forever!!!!!

Thus, the magical journey of togetherness begins.The dawn lights their faces and the silence of dusk brings calm. Together they enjoy the meal and the serenity of lying close together in sleep. The wet towels on the couch, the strands of hair across the floor, the unkempt lawn, the piling dishes, that laundry that takes forever, and yet, they wait to run into each others arms as that long day ends. The fondness in their eyes and the silence that speaks. Forever shall they dwell in each others love!

Alas!!! This too shall pass and it did pass. For one into loneliness and the other in eternity. But, there is still a promise lingering. A hope of love.

For not in vain does God unite man and woman, but for holy matrimony into eternity. Love shall prevail in eternity! A love that trespasses all known love, a heavenly warmth, a childlike fondness and a hope in those eyes..!

In holy matrimony, in togetherness, and In love did they rediscover life….!!!

My favourite book quotes, “Love is patient and kind. It rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails!!!”

In Love there is life!

 

 

 

Me..!!

A free spirit at heart, a doctor by profession, a furry friend’s best friend, a blessed child of God, a travel freak, an avid reader and an enthusiastic new blogger!!!!!

That’s me to sum up!

Let’s rediscover life together and hopefully, enjoy a cup of chai too through the journey!!!!

Mr. & Mrs. Krishnappa

During the hot summer months of March and April 2016, I was posted to a missionary hospital as part of my rural training. One day, an elderly,frail gentleman walks in with crutches and a more frail wife! He said,”Amma, I have come today for follow up of my wound. I need a change of dressing today.” I said,”Very well. Wait for your turn near the treatment room area and I will see you there.”

I saw him after nearly two hours. His surgical wound was a non-healing ulcer at the amputation site just below the right knee. I set about the usually ritual that we are taught in Med school for dressing and he din’t wince once in pain! He looked at the ceiling constantly and finally, tears rolled down his cheeks. Somewhere, the pain was overpowering him. Finally I was done. The couple thanked me and left. There was something in that silence and that moist pillow he left behind that made me wait for his next visit eagerly.

And I did see him three days later for his next dressing. I could not hold myself and asked him what actually brought him there. And here’s the story..

This couple were blessed with three sons whom they educated in the nearby town and are placed in official positions now. They were abandoned by their three grown up sons after his amputation for an underlying medical illness six months ago over a property dispute. Mr. and Mrs. Krishnappa left the hospital six months ago after surgery and sought shelter for two nights in a cow shed! They moved to the railway station for the next four days, and than the bus stand and the village market and every smelly, musty place you could find there! Nearly a month later, they found shelter in a small room with a thatched roof, that leaks during rain till date, in the farm of a wealthy man in the neighbouring village. The deal was they provide shelter and in return Mrs. Krishnappa makes flower garlands daily for a wage of twenty rupees!!!! And they continue to survive that way till date. They eat one meal a day and drink ganji for the night. They don’t know hunger now.  They hardly feel hungry. They sleep staring at the sky amidst the smelly cattle barn next to them. Their toilet facility unfortunately continues in open air in the fields. They cannot afford medicines but by God’s grace, and i mean it, literally by God’s grace alone, they are holding on! I don’t know what’s kept them alive. Medically, to me, its nothing short of a miracle. But humanly, I am speechless.

At the end of the consultation, they thanked me, but today it was not for attending to them but for listening to them. Over the next two months, what ensued was a special bond that is hard to name. I looked forward to seeing them every three days and she once brought me a small jasmine garland. At the end of two months, I told them this would be my last rendevouz with them and another doctor would see them from next week. They said bye with tears and also that they would miss me.

I still wonder, whose fault is it anyway? Parenting? Education? Society? Destiny? Money? And also, when and how and where will this end?

Through their grit and willingness to live they taught me what life meant to them. In their simplicity and zeal I rediscovered life.

As is wisely said by a wise king a long, long, long time ago:

“There is always something meaningless that occurs on earth. The righteous get what the wicked deserve and the wicked get what the righteous deserve. This is meaningless. So I commend enjoyment of life, for there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Than joy will accomapny them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.”

Let’s Live Life….!!!!!!!

 

 

Chai….!!!!

This is my very first post. Also my first ever blog!!!

I have always enjoyed writing but honestly, i never thought of writing as my hobby until recently. What changed is to do with Life!!

Last month witnessed one important event in my life history and that is that i turned 30!!! Considering the average Indian life span of 60 years, I am nearly half way through and i discovered i needed to actually pen down (or rather type) these thoughts that run through you maturing brain!! So, here I am, one rainy evening looking out of the balcony with my dog(my life) and this journey begins.

The meaning of the title is, of course, our favorite beverage( which i enjoy most evenings with my mother) , but its true inspiration is from its Hebrew meaning. It means life in Hebrew, and I wish to connect with all of you out there about ‘Life..as it stands!!!’

I hope you enjoy my blogs and we rediscover life!!!!!life