All posts by Divya

India

India is a wonderful country, all of my international friends have always wished to visit it for the food, the culture, and the monuments. Although I was born and raised in Dubai and it will always be my home, India is somewhere I will visit often for the food.

There are many factors that I like and hate about India. The street foods are extremely spicy and finger-licking delicious. We eat bread glazed with butter and enormous amounts of spices with friend cutlets, hand made swirled ice cream on cones, round fried crisps dipped in sweet and spicy flavoured waters and a lot more. I love the culture, the way in which we celebrate festivals such as Diwali, Holi, Janmashtami, Navratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc. We gather in large family groups, about 200 people and more, to worship our Gods and our beliefs. Although I am an atheist, I do enjoy celebrating these festivals with my cousins and having fun.

Besides the food and culture, the factors that I hate about India are the people, the pollution and the environment. India is one of the most unsafe countries for women to live in, over thirty-thousand women are raped every year. The amount of pollution in the air is extremely unsafe to breathe in, most of the people leave trash on the sides of roads. I do not like the uncleanliness, and the thinking of our society is horrendous. There is a gradual change happening, but it will take a lot of time.

Besides all these factors, I am proud of my country. Coming from a nation of culture and tradition is amazing. I will stand up for my land’s national anthem with pride and hope in my eyes for what we as a country have been through.

 

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John Anderson, My Jo

John Anderson, My Jo, is a love poem written by Robert Burns. The poem is written in a Scottish dialect and is about the beloved referring to her lover, saying that it is now time for them to “totter down” the hill of life together and reach the end, that is death. Life has been compared to the descending nature of a hill. When they are on the top of the hill, life is beautiful and giving but as they go lower, they will reach the end of life. 

The poem My Jo differs from many of the other poems in the poetry handout provided. One of the major differences we see when we begin reading the poem is that the speaker is the beloved referring to the lover, instead of the other way around. The speaker describes how her lover has aged and life is coming to an end, they wish to spend their afterlife together. In some other poems, the main convention is about intimacy, whereas here it represents true love. 

 Another difference is that the poem has a mixed rhyme scheme, most of the other poems either have a standard rhyme scheme or no rhyme scheme. The speaker has also added use of repetition into the poem, “Your bonie brow was brent;” (I-4), “John Anderson, my jo” (II- 1,7,8,15). Through the way the poem has been portrayed, I get a sense that the lover is old, tired, and does not want to do anything much, maybe he doesn’t love her anymore. 

This poem is suggesting that even women can try and persuade love, sometimes even more than men. The poem is filled with emotions, it shows the sadness of separation, ever-lasting love, and faith that their love shall last all eternity. Many readers might view the poem in a sing-song manner as many of the lines repeat often, this gives it a more mellow and soothing effect. 

 

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Friends

It really hurts me how people these days don’t care about someone’s feelings. I met someone at Brookes two years ago. We never spoke, once, but in a way when we saw each other, we could tell how the other was feeling. We’d try making each other laugh by cracking stupid jokes with our friends, so the other could overhear and laugh, and this always made my day.

When we started talking a year ago, it was very uncomfortable, because we didn’t know each other that well and were socially awkward. I said something embarrassing once, and every time this thought flashed past my mind, I laughed at myself. We did not converse for months after this. Although we did try to talk sometimes, it was not as fun and relaxing as it used to be.

A few months ago we started talking again. In one week, we spoke about everything we could think of. This ranged from our likes and dislikes, clothing, shoes, food, favourite holiday destinations, universities, sports, family and friends, etc. We made so many memories and our talks were really entertaining. I always think that if someone overheard our conversations, they’d think we were crazy and belonged in an asylum. We told each other our problems, and acted like therapists, our advice and ideas went through the roof, they were either extremely helpful and knowledgeable or extremely funny and foolish.

I wrote about this because this is one of the best friendships I have ever seen in my life. This is a reminder that everyone deserves a friend who will understand them and stick with them through thick and thin. So find yourself a friend who will be there for you no matter the circumstance, and someone who can be the most mature yet the most childish person you’ll ever meet.

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Longing – April 7th Personal Writing

The Maldives- The country of blues. I have always wanted to go deep-sea diving, so I thought, which place could be better than the Maldives. It is a chain of 1192 islands, located south-west of Sri Lanka and India, in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is known for its environmental beauty, water sports, and laid back beaches. The deep-sea diving sessions include watching the vibrant coral reefs, swimming between sea turtles and reef fishes. The Maldivian culture is incredible, its eye-catching folk dancing is often held on the beach.  I wish to go to the Maldives for a relaxing vacation. Waking up and having a refreshing breakfast, going for a swim, or doing some watersports, and enjoying sleeping on the beaches with seaside dining, it would be the most delightful vacation.

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Sentimentality in Love Poetry

I personally enjoy reading poetry because it is different from prose and is often succinct. From the olden times, poetry has been a great source of pleasure because of its spontaneity and its rhetorical beauties. People like to read and write poetry for its amazement of words to express emotions. Some might even say it is the best way to define who you are. Poetry is like a puzzle, creative and challenging but fun to solve. In the Love Poetry handout, one of the most sentimental poems is George Gordan, Lord Byron’s, When We Two Parted. 

In the handout “Melodrama and Sentimentality,” Sentimentality is defined as the ”indulgence of easy emotions” and often involves imagery that is ”vague, flowery and poetic”. (Mr. MacKnight). When We Two Parted demonstrates examples of sentimentality.

The writer is trying to express feelings of sorrow and sympathy throughout the poem. It comprehends the sadness we feel when losing someone or something dear to us. Rhyming schemes are an important observation in determining the sentimentality in poetry. In When We Two Parted, each quatrain has a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD, which also produces a ”sing-song” effect.

“In silence and tears, / Half broken hearted” (II 2-3). The writer is trying to create a sorrowful and vague image for the readers. These are emotions similar to the ones created in “Thy vows are all broken” (I-13). “In secret we met- / In silence I grieve,” (II 25-26). “How should I greet thee?– / With silence and tears.” (II 31-32). The author describes the feeling of hard times, pain and depression one goes through after a rough break up.

The poem speaks for itself and does not require much explanation. It is a poem regarding separation and indulges with the audience’s emotions through vague imagery and poetic rhythms. When We Two Apart is a magnificent and transparent poem. The audiences can understand and empathize with it.

 

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Loneliness

You are all alone in this world. We have close friends and family with whom we are able to communicate our emotions. While struggling with problems, one realizes that they are technically alone and warring with their sentiments to save themselves.

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” (Dale Carnegie). Everyone has their own demons to fight against and obstacles to overcome. No one is ever going to be fully interested in helping you fight yours. “You are alone because no one can truly empathize with every single emotion you go through in your life.”

You will fail while fighting against your problems, but it is not where the journey ends. You need to overcome that fact because it is reality. Some youngsters and adults might be going through the same dilemmas as you. What I am trying to impose here is that you are not alone in bearing the problems, but alone in facing them.

You shouldn’t punish yourself for failure or thinking you aren’t good enough for the people around you. Become comfortable with yourself, embrace your self-sufficient nature, and feel the ecstasy after your successes.

 

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IRJE: Paper Towns (4)

As I was reading the book Paper Towns by John Green, I came across a quote that Quentin said:

It is so hard to leave–until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.

This quote is ironic because most people don’t want change, and want everything to stay exactly the same. They are deeply attached to something/someone. Change should not be too concerning for anyone. When you let go of something/someone you are deeply attached to, there is a kind of mental weight that is lifted off from your mind. One should let go of what hurts them, and live their life without worries.

 

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IRJE: Paper Towns (3)

In Paper Towns, Quentin starts reflecting on the false image he had constructed about Margo, in his mind.

What a trecherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.

When Margo disappears, she leaves a bunch of clues, but some of them were not intended to be found by Quentin. Margo was someone who broke rules without getting caught, someone who went on wild adventures, and she liked being a ‘paper girl’ (a girl who is someone what other people want to see her as).  When Quentin found clues left behind from Margo, that weren’t intended to be found, Margo says that Quentin just wanted ‘a girl to save’. Her actions and words suggest that she was ungrateful and a complex person. People project various different personalities of themselves to everyone.

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My favourite food

Food is heaven for me. I am a picky eater but I love most kinds of food, from green salads to Lebanese food to even cakes, chocolates and chips. I have eaten Indian food for most of my life. And I think living in a boarding school, you sometimes miss home food a lot. My favourite foods are Pani Puri and Aloo Paratha (potato pancakes). Pani Puri is a round fried crisp filled with flavoured water. People usually set up food stalls on the streets and sell delicious food. Aloo Paratha, which can also be referred to as potato pancakes in English, is usually homemade, and consist of flour and spiced potatoes. A spoonful of butter is added for more flavour.  If you are a foodie, I definitely recommend it.

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IRJE: Paper Towns (2)

As prom approaches, the three musketeers (Q, Ben, and Radar) are trying to find a date. Q is romanticizing about his neighbour, Margo Roth Spiegelman. Margo has a mysterious personality. She leaves clues everywhere she goes, the narrator thinks that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.

That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people would want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on colour instead of taste.

This quote is ironic because many people project various personalities of themselves to various people. Margo was so mysterious that no one knew anything about her, even her boyfriend Jase knew close to nothing about her. In today’s society, many people make friends based on their beauty and wealth, instead of their personality. It is one way of saying that you should never judge a book by its cover.

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New York

If I could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Since I was 10, I have always wanted to go to New York, at least once. I have a crazy obsession with the city. I have posters of New York all over my bedroom, my computer wallpaper is the New York bridge, I even have jewellery that says, “I love New York.” This obsession began when I started watching the T.V show F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I mainly want to visit it because it has great shopping centers, amazingly delicious food and the city would look beautiful from a rooftop at night time. Since I am a huge fan of chocolate, and the city has The M&M Chocolate World and Hershey’s Chocolate World, is another reason why I wish to visit it.

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IRJE: Paper Towns

Paper Towns written by John Green, is a book about high school seniors and is primarily based upon the character Quentin Jacobsen, also referred to as “Q.” Quentin is romanticizing about a girl Margo Roth Spiegelman, his cool next-door neighbour, who is known for being mysterious. In the prologue of the book, Quentin mentions;

If I had a nervous breakdown everytime something awful happened in the world, I’d be crazier than a shithouse rat. (pg.6.)

Someone close to Margo died, Quentin understands that it is quite dramatic and upsetting, but he wasn’t upset because he didn’t know the guy. He explains how awful things keep happening to people around the world, all the time. This does not mean that someone is supposed to have a nervous breakdown every time something happened. He compares this to being crazier than a shithouse rat. If one has empathy for everything and everyone, it is most likely that they are going to be constantly depressed. Whereas, it is different if someone has empathy for their loved ones.

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My Winter Break

My 2019 winter break was extremely exhausting. I took twelve flights in three weeks, something I never did before. I travelled to Amritsar, located in Punjab, North India, Beas, Bombay (also known as Mumbai), and my home town-Ahmedabad.

In Amritsar, I visited The Golden Temple, which was breathtaking. The temple is surrounded by a sacred pool and a group of buildings important to the Sikh religion. Located on the local highway in Amritsar, Beas is a city of Radha Soami that was created by Jaimal Singh in 1891. Every year, millions of Radha Soami travel to the city of Beas for religious practice.

The city of Bombay in Maharashtra, India, is one of the best-known cities to visit when in India. I travelled to Bombay twice in three weeks for a good wedding shopping experience. It has a ton of clothing and jewellery items for Indian weddings. My home town Ahmedabad, Gujarat, will always be my favourite place to be. It has the most delicious food I have ever tasted.

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The City of Ember

Some people are extremely selfish and unworthy of respect:

“Silence!” said the mayor. “I am speaking.” He wriggled slightly from side to side, wedging himself more firmly into the chair. He’ll need to be pried out of it, Lina thought.

The mayor is a greedy hypocrite, it’s almost painful to watch him in action. He gorges himself while planning to let the citizens of Ember starve, and he demands that people respect his authority when he’s clearly done nothing to earn their respect. We’re starting to wonder if he’s greedy for power as well as for food.

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Television

Since the beginning of television, parents, teachers and mental health professionals have wanted to understand the effects of television programs on a person’s health, particularly on children and teenagers. There has always been a special concern for the portrayal of violence since children have a tendency to imitate what they see.

According to Google, by the age of 18, the average person has seen 200,000 acts of violence on TV, including 40,000 murders. The most common effect of seeing violence on television are: Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, they might be more fearful of the world around them, and they may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways towards others. A 2002 report by the US Secret Service and the US Department of Education targeted 37 shooting incidents in schools and found that over half of the attackers demonstrated some interest in violence through movies, video games, books, and other media.

Although television can be useful in some ways, we should always be aware of the consequences it could have on our minds and we must also make sure to not spend a lot of time watching violence on any kind of media.

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The City of Ember

Friends and family are a very important part of one’s life, and it is one of the things the book ‘The City of Ember teaches us.’

She’d always had fun with Lizzie. But their fun was usually with games-  hide-and-seek, tag, the kinds of games where you run and climb.

Lina and Lizzie were close friends when they were kids,  but as they grew, they started to grow apart. This is pretty common with most youths because many of us have lost friends and had fights, therefore many of us can associate with this. Broken friendships and fights can affect us and hurt us in many ways but it is always best for us to talk it out.

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The City of Ember

The city in which Lina lives and works is the only place left in the world that has electricity. Outside of the controlled space of Ember, it is completely dark. Due to the dark and potential danger, the citizens of Ember never leave the confines of their city.

All it would take was the courage to walk away from Ember and into the darkness, and then to keep going.

This quote was said by Lina at one of the times she was talking to her friend Clary. Lina came to understand that Ember is in danger of extinction if someone does not figure out a way to repair the generator of the city. Lina wants to help her city, but she has responsibilities to her grandmother and her little sister as well as her job as a messenger. Leaving Ember would mean going out into the dark, unknown and unprotected world where she would have no information about what to expect or how to protect herself. In spite of all these concerns, that’s what she is determined to do. Lina was very brave in taking the risks she felt were necessary to try to preserve the life of Ember and its citizens.

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Child Abuse

Child abuse is where a parent or a guardian, causes injury, death, emotional harm or a risk of serious harm to a child. There are many types of child maltreatment, this includes neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, and emotional abuse.

Physical abuse involves non-accidental harming of a child by, for example, burning, beating, or breaking bones. Verbal abuse involves harming a child by, for example, belittling them or threatening physical or sexual acts. All this results in emotional trauma. Studies show that one in four girls and one in eight boys are sexually abused before the age of eighteen. There are various signs to take into account if you suspect that a child might have been abused. Some of these signs are injuries, fearful behavior (depression, unusual fears, attempts to run away), sexually transmitted diseases, a sudden change in self-confidence, desperately affectionate behavior, etc.

If you suspect that a child has been abused in any way, if you are older, you can try contacting a pediatrician or a local child protective agency for help. Although, if you are younger, you may try talking to the person who has been abused, understanding and supporting them will help them gain back their confidence. Whatever the nature of the abuse, steps should be taken immediately to report the abuse and obtain help. Delaying a report decreases the child’s chances for a full recovery.

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Phobias

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that causes an individual to experience extreme, irrational fear about a situation, living creature, place or object. When an individual has a phobia, they try to shape their lives in a way to avoid encountering what they consider to be dangerous. But, phobias are diagnosable mental disorders.

If a person is faced with their phobia, it can prevent them from functioning normally which can likely lead to panic attacks. Approximately, 19 million people have phobias in The United States. There are various types of phobias such as Acrophobia, Zoophobia, Social phobia, etc. When individuals are exposed to the source of the phobia, they go through uncontrollable anxiety, sweating, abnormal breathing, accelerated heartbeat, nausea, headache, etc.

Phobias are highly treatable, and individuals are usually aware of their disorder which helps diagnosis a great deal. Speaking to a psychologist or a psychiatrist may help as they may recommend speaking to a mental health professional, or behavioral therapy. Whereas, if the phobia does not cause severe triggers, people try to simply avoid the source of their fear.

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A Parallel Universe

The dreams we often have while asleep are extraordinarily vague and include thoughts, images, scenarios and even some of the emotions we might be experiencing. Taking into consideration the enormous amount of time we spend dreaming, the fact that researchers are unable to identify the purpose of dreams may seem mystifying. Although, there are a few theories that might account for the occurrence of our vivid dreams.

Google suggests that dreams are the result of our brains trying to interpret external stimuli during sleep. Another source exhibits a theory which claims that dreams serve to ‘clean up’ clutter from the mind, like a computer, to prepare for the next day.

A few weeks ago, I heard an appealing psychological fact, stating that the dreams we witness are indeed a co-existing parallel universe. This fact left a mark in my mind, as recently I have been having dreams about myself having the perfect desired life, as I would like to think everyone should have. Dreams about having a greener and safer environment, having the perfect job and the perfect family.

Knowing that a parallel universe might exist somewhere in the multiverse, gives me a sense of hope that there is a safe and happy place for people. Visiting the parallel dimension would be a magnificent possibility. Although this might not be as realistic, using science and acquiring the knowledge might make it acquirable, which I believe is achievable in the future.

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Reflection on War

The armed conflicts between states, governments, and countries, etc, include consequences such as extreme violence, destruction, and aggression. World War 1 is remembered due to the heavy loses faced but also the advances in warfare. It is memorialized by celebrating Remembrance Day on November 11th, which marks the end of the war. People wear artificial red poppies on their clothes to symbolize the memory of those who died in the war. Citizens pause for two minutes of a silent tribute and attend commemorative ceremonies. People have tried preventing wars before but did not succeed. Wars can only be settled by the will of the majority if they choose to think wisely about the effects and consequences.

As I was reading poems about the war and the novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ I came to understand what soldiers and their families go through during the times of war. The sights were awfully discomforting and unpleasant. The war affects soldiers physically and mentally through severe injuries, shocks, and traumas. WW1 had a big impact on the families. As most soldiers had gone to fight in the war, women had to replace men in the workforce, this put a lot of pressure on the older members of the families as they had to work and support the youngers. The families were scared about the dads or brothers going off to war as they might not be able to see each other again, whereas, some children were confused when their dads or brothers did return from the war because the did not understand the effects of the trauma they had and didn’t know how to communicate with them.

On Remembrance Day these families remember their loved ones who gave their lives for their beloved country. If I were to organize a Remembrance Day ceremony for the fallen martyrs, I would invite their families for a silent lunch and ask them to spend time near their tombs if they wished to. In schools, there would be a flag hoisting ceremony and a moment of silence for our martyrs. The news channels around the country could talk about how much we appreciate their courage and determination. There would be a national holiday and a few hours of silence on the streets. The government would give the families better-living facilities as soldiers do not have proper incomes.

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All Quite On The Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel written by Enrich Maria Remarque and was published in 1928. The book describes the physical and mental stress the German soldiers went through at the time of war, and the feeling of detachment they felt from the civilian life. It captures all of the existential terror faced by the men who fought in the great war.

The novel revolves around the views of Paul Baumer, a young German soldier that fights against the French army in WW1. Their trench experience involves the terror of shellfire, diseases, and death. In chapter 9, the German soldiers were discussing how wars exactly benefit them.

“I think it is more of a kind of fever,” says Albert. “No one in particular wants it, and then all at once there it is. We didn’t want the war, the others say the same thing- and yet half the world is in it all the same.” (9.206)

In this quotation, Albert is using fever as a symbol to explain how war is contagious and spreads without anyone actually wanting it. It also tells us how Albert believes that war is spreading like a disease and killing everything in its path. Wars usually start by one country badly offending the other. The effects of war are devastating and can have physical and psychological effects for a lifetime.

This scene is significantly important to me because the citizens and the government of a particular country must try and maintain peace throughout their land. Wars are capable of destroying cities and having long-lasting effects on a country’s economy, public health, social order, etc.

 

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The City of Ember

The City of Ember is a good book to read as it teaches you many life lessons. As I was reading, a great quote that I came across was –

The trouble with anger is, it gets hold of you. And then you aren’t the master of yourself anymore.

People often are affected by anger, especially in situations where they don’t get what they desire. Anger is one of those emotions that will gain power over you if you let it. You must learn how to control your anger, as it can be dangerous to express your anger in some situations and can have serious consequences, physically and mentally.

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The City of Ember

The City of Ember has been struggling to organize their use of resources, facing a shortage of food, electricity, etc, has been hard for the citizens.

The farther I went the darker it was, and you can’t just keep walking into black dark, can you? it’s like a wall in front of you. I keep turning around to look at the lights of the city, because that’s all there was to see, and then I’d say to myself, Don’t look back, keep moving. But I kept tripping and falling. The ground is rough out there.

This quote mainly describes the way the city of Ember is, the physical features, etc. But when you look at it the other way, it is a motivating quote about life. It says that life is rough, but it always has a silver lining. Life has its own ways, there are tragedies and surprises that you have to deal with. There are mean people out there who will put you down and bully you but on the other hand, there are people who will pick you up and help you when you are sad. When you feel like giving up, remember, that there will always be a way.

 

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