Life Lessons From a Nobel Laureate

My daughter, in Grade 12, is planning to study abroad and is busy completing her applications, due sometime end December. Many of her classmates however have chosen to apply early to a college of their choice and have been receiving positive outcomes since last week. This year in fact her batch seems to have had a great start with kids getting into MIT, Caltech, Stanford, Swarthmore, Mudd, Pomona, Carnegie Mellon, NYU and the like. Clearly the mood is jubilant and the children believe that they are all ‘set’. After all, this is an important milestone in their educational journey, one that will have a lot of impact on their future. There is tremendous pressure on kids in high school and those that handle it well and come out with flying colours deserve kudos.

Now, fast forward to the last week-end. NDTV celebrated its 25th anniversary and decided to recognize 25 Indians from various fields who had made a global impact. One of them was Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, the 2009 Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry. In his acceptance speech and message for youngsters he said something very interesting. Out of high school, he neither got admissions into the IITs nor a medical school (something that would have dipped the confidence of any aspiring youngster in India at that time). He therefore chose to pursue Physics. He later went to the US to pursue graduate studies in Physics at Ohio University, (not in one of the top brands) a school which may not even be in the consideration of many of today’s ‘bright’ youngsters. Upon completing his graduate program he realized he did not have an aptitude for Physics and decided to switch to Biology and went to University of California at San Diego. And that is not the end of the story. After completing his har gobind khorana transition in two years, he applied to as many as 50 job positions to be rejected by all! Undeterred Venkatraman continued his search to finally get an interim job where he spent 15 months before he found what he really wanted.

So, there, isn’t it fascinating that someone who started his professional journey as an 18 year old in a fairly unremarkable fashion ended up being one of the few Indians to have ever won a Nobel Prize?

What does this teach both parents and children?
• The value of resilience
• The importance of treating life as a continuous learning journey and to
• To be passionate about what you do.

These are not easy to do things though; parents can transfer their anxiety and also their ambitions to their children very easily, while kids can easily capitulate to peer- pressure, and get stressed out with all the hype around them. Parents need to be the unconditional support system for their children during these transitioning years, guide without forcing their decisions and to be understanding when things don’t always work out the way they are supposedly meant to. Most importantly teaching children that doing what you love or learning to love what you do, and being at it, is the one sure formula for ‘success’.


The Holy Hindu Pilgrimage

The Kumbh is an extremely sacred and popular Hindu festival in India which attracts people from all parts of the country. Steeped in culture and tradition, the Hindu religion has festivals for almost every occasion. In fact, these festivals are a perfect instance of unity among diversity. The festivals form an integral constituent of our art, music and architecture. It casts an immense impact on our literature as well.

It is a common feature in India that the places of pilgrimage are usually located in the mountains or dense forested areas or even, on the banks of rivers. The word ‘Kumbh’ literally means ‘Pitcher’ and ‘Ardh Kumbh’ means ‘Half Pitcher’.Both are human fairs in which, millions of people participate from all over the world. People attend this fair on the banks of the holy rivers; Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati in Allahabad. The confluence these 3 rivers at Prayag is considered holy by the Hindus.

Ardh Kumbh and Kumbh has a mythological background to its credit. People take a holy bathe in these rivers. They believe that by doing this, they will be purged out from their sins. This is the reason why people come to the Ardh Kumbh even when transportation is a major problem and the temperatures are unbearably cold. Maha Kumbh, also known as Poorna Kumbh, is held after holi festival every 12 years at Haridwar, Prayag, Ujjain and Nashik. It is interesting to note that the venue of the Ardh Kumbh is based on the planetary position of the Sun, the moon and Jupiter.

It is interesting to note that if the Kumbh at Allahabad happens to be on a Monday, then it is called ‘Somvati Amavasya’. In this case, the spiritual advantage of the Kumbh increases immensely. According to the legend in the Puranas, a war broke out between the Gods and the Demons in order to seize the pot which contained the holy ‘amrit’ or nectar. However, the Demons managed to run away with the ‘amrit’. During their flight, few drops of the holy nectar fell on 4 places of the earth. These 4 places eventually became the venues of the Mela.

When the fair is held at Nasik and Ujjain, it is known as ‘Simhastha Kumbh’. This is due to the location of the planet Jupiter in the ‘Simha’ (Leo) constellation. At Prayag, it is known as ‘Vrishastha’ (i.e. when Jupiter is in Taurus). When Jupiter is in Aquarius, it is known as ‘Kumbhastha’ and the venue is at Haridwar.During the Ardh Kumbh, the ‘sadhus’ (Indian sages) go to Ujjain along with their ‘Akharas’. The interval between the ‘Simhastha Kumbh’ at Nasik and Ujjain is usually one year.


Fake Rock Training For the DIY

The art of fake rock both in the field of construction and secondly in the design/architecture is in high demand. Fake rock is now being used in vast number of fields.

Faux Stone consist of synthetic materials that resemble real rock, stone, and brick. With so many variations of rock is used in many different size projects.

Many landscaping and construction contractors are using this synthetic composite material to create the look of real rock or stone.

Construction methods have changed the way masonry contractors are installing their trade. Masonry contractors are applying faux rock construction methods in both residential and commercial environment.

The architecture and design fields are using fake rock more and more. It is a very creative way to bring Nirvana or Zen into a home or office. Water falls that trickle like babbling brooks, smooth surfaces of rock that are natural looking in Fake IDs spas and wine cellars all aid the owner to build there perfect natural, peaceful environment.

Another way that imitation rock is being used is outdoors. Outdoor kitchens, fire pits, barbecue areas are just a few examples of ways faux rock are being used. It can also be used to cover up a pile, store items under them because they are lightweight and easy to move from place to place.

Fake stone siding is another way that fake rock can be incorporated into any construction project. The manufacturing processes are efficient so that many homes and businesses feature some type of fake material. Fake stone siding is made with the aid of molds that are made from real stone. Light weight concrete is poured into a chosen mold and gives the fake stone its color. It is sold in flats, by the square foot, and lineal foot this siding is designed to be user friendly.

The use of fake stone panels or fake rock siding can aid the landscaper, project manager, mason, or the novice home owner allows for greater creativity, cheaper projects, and ensures the integrity, and ultimately beauty of a home or building for years to come.

If you’re interested in learning how to make faux projects there is a free training video guide on fake rock and stone that is highly recommended.