Staying fit a challenge?

Staying healthy and maintaining a diet which is fat free and fit is very difficult to adhere to and follow without being tempted. Obesity, a rising concern among the youths of today only seems to be increasing each year. With the rise of fast food chains and numerous number of sweet shops, getting tempted by them and going off track a healthy diet almost seems effortless.

Giving in to temptations

Giving in to temptations

According to WHO, obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. Being obese leads to numerous health hazards such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and so on. Obesity is seen on a rise in the low and middle income countries according to the organization.

In a research conducted by the BMC Public Health in 2012, revealed shocking results wherein Kuwait was considered to be the heaviest country across the Middle East. This going to show how obesity is on the rise, followed by United States in second place. The other countries which followed United States are Qatar and Egypt in fourth and fifth place respectively with United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in the tenth place. According to a BMC Public Health journal report, “Tackling population fatness may be critical to world food security and ecological sustainability.”

Based on the report, an average adult in the U.A.E. and Qatar consumes over 3000 calories per day, with the recommended border line for men as 2500 and women as 2000 per day. A weakness for sweets, sheer laziness or otherwise known to be a couch potato, being an insomniac are some of the main reasons that causes a person to become obese. In order to lose the extra pounds, people often go on crash diet that will help them to shed the extra pounds in a matter of a few weeks or even sooner.

Obesity, a rising issue

Obesity, a rising issue

According to an article published in Gulf News, a senior doctor at the UAE Ministry of Health had warned the rise of people dying of non – communicable diseases such as heart diseases. Yet another alarming factor published was on how children are being less physically active and this will lead a larger part of the population to become obese by 2015, which is just 2 years away. Jon Dean, who runs a weight loss programme called the Spoon Fed Fitness in Saudi Arabia has urged people to do regular exercises in order to remain healthy and fit.

Often ones self esteem and confidence is affected due to the way they might look or with the kind of clothes they might wear. Being conscious of our body weight often tends to lead us to wear over sized clothes to hide all the extra flab or just stay in our homes or bedrooms away from the public eye and away from the criticism the world showers one with, this leading one to gain more weight.

To overcome this issue of obesity, it will only be possible when one takes it up as a personal challenge to reduce or shed those extra kilos to stay healthy. The only way one will be able to bring this “disease” under control, is when it is taken up with complete dedication to stay healthy by changing the diet plan, and at the same time, not completely changing the course of the meals that will harm the health in the future.

Through the lens of a camera

Art is observed in various ways and photography being one of them brings out an individual’s creativity in the best possible way by projecting this on the final outcome. A simple object can be showcased brilliantly with the click of the camera button. How a picture is taken by the photographer always matters in order to get the best results. To bring out the best, extra elements such as lighting are often used to give the picture that different look, which comes as a plus point for the overall picture.

Wine glasses are something which has a simple, yet elegant look due to its shape. With the help of lighting it transforms and gives the wine glasses a different appearance.

Wine glasses

Wine glasses
PC: Christine Cherian

Shadows are yet another element which plays an important role in making a picture look good. With the help of shadows it can bring out the mood and emotion showcased in a picture.

Silhouette PC: Christine Cherian

Silhouette
PC: Christine Cherian

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Shadows created with the help of lighting
PC: Christine Cherian

Playing around with the focus also gives a lending hand in making a picture look artistic in its own unique way. Bokeh photography is one such way where the image is either completely out of focus or only certain areas are out of focus. The lights of sky-scrappers and street lights seen at distance which are completely out of focus (pictured below).

Sky Scrappers PC: Christine Cherian

Sky Scrappers
PC: Christine Cherian

Celebrations, another aspect which is captured through the camera that brings out the joy and happiness of individuals during festivals. Through the art of photography cultures of different nations are captured as countries celebrate festivals differently, and capturing some of these moments on camera is probably the best way of presenting it.

Streets lit up during the Shopping festival PC: Christine Cherian

Street lit up during the Shopping festival
PC: Christine Cherian

The Women's dances of Armenia PC: Christine Cherian

The Women’s dances of Armenia
PC: Christine Cherian

The art of photography is displayed by individuals in their own unique manner. These distinct features and emotions of people and various other festivities need to be captured in order to keep them alive, and this can lead to the building of a memory lane, with over the years.

The girl behind the curtain

Her smile, those beautiful eyes, that’s what people always compliment her on, and never has she once not kept a smile on her face. It is in her nature to always be a bubbly person, enjoying the company of her friends. A very out-going person and an extrovert to an extent, many at first may not take her to be as one. To them she may seem the quite, naïve, gullible person, yet friendly also, who would prefer keeping to her own friend circle. To a point, keeping to her friend circle may be right, but not always. For those who know her personally would be able to tell how much of a talkative person she is, and probably would have to literally tell her to shut it. But that again will never bring down her spirits or stop her from talking. She can also be extremely loud, that it takes her no effort to bring an entire class to attention by speaking on top of her voice.

She is someone who can adapt to any situation and probably liked by all, ‘a people’s person’. She can never say “no” to anyone, and regardless of what tough circumstances she may be in, she is forever ready to help them. This quality of hers can be seen in two ways, either people genuinely need help or they just take plain advantage of her and get their work done. Despite this, it doesn’t stop her from lending a hand to the other person, no matter how many times she has been advised otherwise.

Though this may be who she is from the outside, on the inside she is a person who is trying to mend her wounds and scars from over the years. Each time she thinks it’s healed, the wound opens up, causing the pain and suffering only to keep going on for her. She tries to find solace in her close and dear friends, who knows her real identity. She finds that comfort for a brief period of time, but soon that temporary relief dies out. From time to time she questions herself why this is happening or for how long she needs to put up with it, but she gets the same answer as always, “just for a while long.” Now, she has become numb with the overdose of pain that she goes through, and wonders whether she should give up fighting.

Some of her friends tell her to fight back, but each time she does try, she is pushed back to that same pit again and again. Maybe to a few, they think she isn’t trying enough, but she knows she is giving it her all. The fear in her has become so much that she often wonders how this happened to her that it came this far. These questions rise in her mind time and again, but she is left with blank answers. All she can do now is just wait and see where it will lead her over the period of time. She hopes that the frustration doesn’t kill her soul which is buried deep inside her, that it will be too hard to bring it back to life. As each day passes on, she just hopes that the day will go smoothly, just so that her scars may not be brought to life.

The Sound of Music

The rhythm, beat, lyrics and tune are some of the elements that listeners base their choice of music upon. It is effortless to grab the attention of people when it comes to music. When a certain song is being played, they often pause to listen to it and if it is a familiar song, they may either sing along or may hum the tune.

Music is one of the best ways through which people often communicate to the world. Songwriters write songs in a way that it connects to them personally and what their inner feelings are which, they may find difficult to converse. This connection tends to relate to the listeners and the effect a particular song has on an individual is difficult to point out. A person gets attached to a song when they are able to relate to it and this leads them to listen to it more frequently.logo mix2

Music has become an integral part of our day to day life, where most of us begin by listening to songs of personal preference that will enable us to start our day with. It is considered to be a medium through which many can calm themselves or relax their minds. One is sent into a trance or into the world of the unknown while listening to music they prefer. Music also brings people together, and this was portrayed through the song ‘We are the World’ by Michael Jackson featuring different singers who came as one and sang for the Haiti earthquake victims.

A decade ago, the choice of having one’s favourite song in the palm of their hands may not have been possible. Those days one will have to buy their favourite album or music from the record store, which were expensive. Now, the technology being so advanced, one either has a music device or cell phone, where they are able to listen to the song of their choice at their convenience and on a repeat, which is a complete opposite to the earlier years.

Over the past few years, one has heard various songs that have become famous such as the Gangnam Style by PSY, Kolaveri Di by Dhanush and Wakka Wakka by Shakira. Music transcends all races and language, and both, young and old, get involved in the song, instantly making it popular.

This goes shows that music has no boundaries and can never grow old. It plays a vital role in today’s world, as it delivers a message in its own unique rhythm, beat, lyrics and tune that connects to the individuals.

Being Sandy: Talent Extraordinaire

Young, ambitious, beautiful, confident and multi-talented; these are the five words that would describe Sandy Mathews best. It is not a regular sight where one would find a 20year old extremely focused at what she wants to do. A goal which is firmly set, she knows what she wants to do in life.

Multi-talented, as the word suggests, this would be the most outstanding factor in Sandy. Currently doing her Bachelors in Dental Surgery (BDS), in Davangere, her ambition is to become a doctor in the field of Dentistry. Though this may be her ambition, it is her dream of helping people. “I have always loved helping people”, she says. Though she didn’t want to enter this field at first, she realized through this way she would be able to be closer to people and help them out better. With her parents also in this field, she had her family’s complete support and encouraged her to follow her dreams.

“For many, dentistry is very much misunderstood. It is often thought to be as only related to issues with the teeth”, she says. Sandy throws some light into this aspect, saying that it includes everything else that is learnt in a normal medical field. “It deals also withthe anatomy of the face and neck. There are further specializations such as, Prosthodontics, Pedondontics, Dental Forensics, Oral Pathology and many more.”

Speaking to Sandy further, she talks about her other talents, with complete justice shown to each. With a beautiful voice and a passion for music,her face beams as she mentions about how and when she began singing. “My father is my role model when it comes to singing. He is a wonderful person who brought out my talent” she says cheerfully. Her earliest recollection is of her singing at the age of three. She recalls winning the 2nd prize at that tender age in a competition which was held in Mumbai, among all the churches. To her, singing makes her feel free, forget everything, and does it because the love she has for it. She says, “My father is my critic, judge and coach through it all.”

For Sandy, in whichever talent she masters, she wishes to help people through it. Similarly, through her singing, she hopes and believes that she is able to touch people. “My love for singing will resonate in my song. It doesn’t matter if the tune goes off pitch or doesn’t sound right. If I put my heart into it and mean what I sing, I believe people will feel touched.”

Sandy Mathews

Sandy Mathews

Her talents don’t end here and the excitement in her voice builds up as she continues to talk about them. She recalls her entry into drama with a funny story of how she landed the lead role for her school skit unknowingly. “Unfortunately I had to take part in our school annual day, in the 11th grade. I didn’t want to take part in anything related to dance, and ended auditioning for the skit. Unaware that I had auditioned for the lead, it was only once I was selected I realized what had happened.” Sandy has also enacted in many skits in church and also scripted and directed one of them.

She goes on talking, which she loves to do, her smile widens as she talks about cooking and baking, the two things which she inherited from her mother. With the twinkle in her eye she describes her mother as a “Magician” as she tells how her mother would put in a few ingredients and “Voila! You have a dish ready in front of you!” she exclaims. Gradually as she began baking, many have asked her why she didn’t get into that instead of getting into dentistry. When inquired if she would like to start a side business in baking, she says, “I do get that a lot. Anything can happen, and I would like to take it as it comes. I bake and cook because I find happiness, have a passion for it and like to see others happy as well.” She believes and follows her father’s motto, “Be happy and make others happy.” She mentions how she has started to bake in a professional way, with results that were very encouraging.

Sandy believes everyone has some talents in them, but are hidden away and if the skills are left to rust it will only get tarnished, over the period of time.  Among her others, she has a flair for sketching and painting. Like any young girl who always fantasizes watching Disney cartoons related to Prince Charming and lovely princess, Sandy grew up drawing them. Only improving over the years, her father began framing her artwork, thus boosting the young girl’s passion further. She also began doing pot painting, this making her room very creative and fascinating. Amid the other things related to art, she also does card making and bookmarks. “It is more personalized and from the heart. I believe it can touch lives, make the person feel special, loved, and my way of saying I think about you”, she says.

Public speaking and writing was developed over the years. Due to the love she has for reading, the symbolism each story had, she began writing stories and poems. “My best writing is when I’m low”, she says. Being a talkative person by nature, public speaking is no doubt an in born talent in her.

Finally, she talks about animation, on how she learnt it out of interest she had for it. Though she has slightly lost touch, she hopes to refresh her memory and learn further soon. She mentions of how she took up a course in Flash, made an animation and uploaded it on YouTube.

“For now, I have enough on my plate!” she exclaims. Sandy wishes to concentrate and complete her studies. Giving justice to the word ‘multi-talented’, she believes on taking it as it comes. At the end of it all she is surprised with herself as she wonders how she had known so much and feels that though she is the jack of all trades, she is the master of none; something anyone with an overflow of talents, would say.

Sane to Insane

The world from a slightly sane place is now becoming a total insane place where all one can see on the news is how everyone is accusing each other for their own selfish needs. What has gone wrong with the world? Gone are the days where people would lookout for others and ensure their needs and safety is taken care of at all times. Today, you open any page of the newspaper or browse any online news website all one can see is how “Pune Politician wears a Rs. 1.25crore shirt made of gold”, or “After lavish wedding, held during drought, Maharashtra minister sees income tax raids” or “Man turns himself in after wife’s murder” and so on. With so much violence happening around the world, I dread to read the newspapers or online news websites.

These days finding headlines which talk about anything apart from murders and bombings are fewer in number. When reading news such as “Mohammed makes school girl’s wish come true”, it brings a smile on ones face. Wonder what is happening around the world, that people have completely lost it and couldn’t care less of another person’s feelings.

When one looks at India, there are several cases happening at one time in different parts of the country and all of which are equally insane. Either they have been uprooted after several years or they just want the limelight to be on them for a while. Every other person has something to say and that leads on to another riot or strike and what not! Agreed India is a country where one has the freedom of speech, but does that mean one can say anything and cross the line?

It is coming to a state where politicians have the most ridiculous requests just for the boost of their political career and to win elections. It is sad to see that citizens are completely blind folded by the nonsense and false promises spoken by the politicians who in turn vote for them and end up on the suffering side. The victims in these situations are mostly those of the lower class, where they are not media literate. Due to this, they eventually end up doing what the media portrays and are not able to differentiate between right and wrong.

The case on the Delhi Gang Rape which took place on the 16th December 2012 is still on trial. It has been over two months, and a fast track court was also set up after this incident, but the case doesn’t seem to be going any faster. Yet another three more months are required for them to come to a final verdict; reason, “so many witnesses”. The case is expected to end only by the end of May, which is a good five months in all. The injuries suffered by the girl and her testimony before she died wasn’t sufficient enough for the court to come to a final verdict?; or the testimony given by the sole witness and friend of the 23 year old girl who was with her on that bus on that dreadful night not enough for the court to come to verdict? What are they trying to find out and cross examine now? Even after this, hundreds of rape cases have come up over and over again. Will there ever be a change and where women can walk on the streets without the fear of being raped?

When looking at other countries around the world, the situation is no different. There are killings of wives, grandmothers, fathers, burning people alive as they feel that they have done black magic on the deceased and many other cases that are completely insane.

Wonder if there is ever going to be a solution to all this, or if this is going to continue for generations to come. A time when people were more civilized is long gone, and to see people like them is a sight which one really looks forward to nowadays. The only thing one can hope is that things change for the better, where people are able to live without having to fear for their lives and that it is a peaceful environment to live in.

Rising Indie Artist

With her passion and love for music, Evangeline Jessica Johnson started playing the guitar and singing four years back when she joined college. Learning how to play the guitar is not as simple as it may seem and this didn’t stop her from wanting to play the guitar. Even so, Jessica took it up as a challenge to prove the boys wrong that even girls could play the guitar. “One day when I was jamming with my musician friends in college, a guy told me that I could never play like him. So I took it up as a challenge and tried my best to play the guitar as best I could.”

As one may see how the world is becoming a more media saturated place, Jessica with the help of YouTube videos and her friends, learnt how to play the guitar over the past four years. For Jessica, her guitar was her friend during times when she was lonely.

Today, she has been ranked as number one Indie Artist on the charts and has been having the title for over one and half months on ReverbNation, a website that helps independent musicians get recognition.

Jessica Johnson
Photo Credits: Zainab Das

With absolutely no background of any musicians in her family, her inspiration to music are none other than Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and P!nk and as for guitarist, her inspiration is Orianthi.

She started playing songs initially which were sung by other artists. Soon she began writing her own songs, playing and uploading it online. Jessica also has her own YouTube page where one will be able to find many of her songs. Her title has helped her in getting international recognition and also feedback from various other artists. She has gotten the opportunity to sing with American singer, songwriter, pastor and producer of Christian Worship Music, Don Moen.

Jessica prefers playing classic music and likes listening to almost any type of music. She plays the guitar and sings as a hobby, and wouldn’t want to make it as a career. “I wouldn’t mind making music a side career, but I don’t intend on pursuing it full- heartedly. Being an Indian with a passion for western music, I don’t really get many opportunities, but when I do, I make sure I grab them. I put a good education before passion, once I complete my post graduation, I intend to get a PH.D and it’ll be wonderful if I can manage both music and a professional career simultaneously.”

Currently doing her Masters in Media and Communications in Manipal University, Dubai she sees herself married with children, two to three years down the line and will continue to play music for the love and passion she has for it.

Graduated!

The most awaited day ever since the date was announced was finally here and now I can say FINALLY GRADUATED!

Graduated!

My day couldn’t have started any better, coming along with my bestie to the venue, just like how I came along with her for the orientation three years ago. There is only one word that can explain and summarize this; Memories.We started together and here we are with our degrees.

With my bestie a.k.a. Zeba

The day just got even better when one of my classmate had an extra pass which she didn’t need and I was lucky to get my brother in too. Thank you Luvlyn!

With Mom and brother

As the ceremony started, everything went on well; our degrees conferred and as our names called out, each one of us went up on stage and got our degrees from our Director; as they say the best is always for the last.

Awarded with the degree
Photo Credits: Kevin Sebastian

“There are moments that make me tear up, Watching @Airmeith get her degree was one of them. #MUgrad12” – Moments like these can’t be explained. Thank you so much for being there through thick and thin.

With Kevin…Thank you for everything..
Photo Credits: Neha Kalvani

To get here this far it wouldn’t have been possible without the 3F’s in my life; Family, Friends and Faculty. Thank you so much for guiding and supporting me through every step in the past 3 years.

And to all my friends, WE DID IT!

With the smile on our faces and degree in our hands; Class of Media and Communications..
We are definitely one hell of a class!
Photo Credits: Kevin Sebastian

Black gowns and caps on our heads – Graduation Time!

Three years have gone by and now it is that time of the year where we are almost set to wear those black gowns or robes and the cap on our heads. With Graduation just less than 3 days away, I’m filled with so much emotion, which is difficult to express so easily. When each of us started college this day seemed so far away, and now here we are all set to get our degrees and go out into the world and show what we are good at and how we can bring about a difference.

Last year I was on the other side of the stage wearing a blue T – shirt with ‘Media Crew’ written on the back with jeans, and wondering what it was like to be in a line waiting for my name to be called out and walking up on stage to get my degree. How time went by so fast I have no idea, and now it is time for me to be in that position where I have to wait in line, extremely excited and nervous and go up on stage when my name is called out.

The feeling is even more overwhelmed when my batch is considered to be the best batch so far. I could almost picture all of the excited faces of my classmates and our proud faculty, parents and friends looking up at us and cheering for us.

The 2012 graduating batch of Media and Communications

This being my first graduation the emotions are mixed and I’m trying hard to control the excitement. As time is ticking by and days going by faster, I’m really looking forward to this Saturday the 20th October. Can’t wait to see all my classmates once again and this time with all of us wearing those black robes and caps on our heads.