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Cozy stay-at-home activities for rainy weekends

Opting for an at-home movie night can be a great idea to spend the weekend indoors. Make a list of movies you want to watch with your friends and family, read it out aloud and ask everyone to pick the movie they want to watch…reports Asian Lite News

The monsoon season is the perfect time to spend cozy indoor weekends with friends and family. Catching up with your loved ones and indulging in some fun activities without stepping out is a great bargain, especially when it’s pouring outside! From enjoying games to relaxing self-care sessions, here are 5 ultimate stay-at-home activities to enjoy with your loved ones and make memories together, shared by Dr Nimarta Bindra Parenting and Lifestyle influencer,

Game Night: Thinking of spending time indoors this weekend? What better way than getting together to enjoy some board games? Board games like Monopoly, Game of Life and Cluedo are all-time favourites and have been a source of entertainment for kids and adults alike. Get ready to witness sessions of laughter, fun, teasing and competitive spirit while you bond with your loved ones over board games. Card games like 5 Alive, Guess Who? and Monopoly Deal can enliven your rather dull rainy afternoons with its fast-paced gameplay. Gear up for exciting rounds of immersive playtime with these fun and interactive games.

Movie Night: Opting for an at-home movie night can be a great idea to spend the weekend indoors. Make a list of movies you want to watch with your friends and family, read it out aloud and ask everyone to pick the movie they want to watch. The movie with the most votes wins! You could also have a movie marathon. Arrange for some snacks to go with it and you are all set to have a cozy weekend indoors watching your favourite movies with your favourite people.

Make an elaborate meal together: If feeding your loved ones is your love language, there is no better way to spend the weekend than enjoying catching up over cooking great food. For people who enjoy cooking together, go ahead and cook an elaborate meal together and set the ambience for a delicious cozy indoor weekend with the perfect music to go with it.

Plan your next vacation: Planning a family trip or a friend’s trip can be a great way to spend the weekend together. Invite your folks over for a detailed discussion of your next trip and plan out the places you want to visit and the food you want to try. Planning the itinerary for your travel together leads to moments of fun, and laughter, and gets everyone excited and thrilled. So, go ahead and make a plan to explore new places and delicacies this weekend!

Spa time: Who doesn’t like a relaxing spa session? It is all the more fun when you invite your folks over for a tranquilising spa session at home. Unwind with friends and family over relaxing massages, manicures, and pedicure sessions. Light some aromatherapy candles or oil diffusers to create the perfect lighting for some extra effect and indulge in some much-needed self-care while you unwind and rest together.

ALSO READ-Dining delights in Dubai: A culinary journey through diverse flavors

Lifestyle Lite Blogs

How to improve work-life balance

“The simple message of this study is that if you want to be an effective leader at work, leave work at work,” said Klodiana Lanaj, a professor in UF’s Warrington College of Business who led the research…reports Asian Lite News

According to a recent study, turning off notifications and ignoring your email at the end of the workday might help you to become a better leader.

Managers who disconnected from their jobs at home felt more refreshed the next day, identified as effective leaders and helped their employees stay on target better than bosses who spent their off hours worrying about work.

Less-experienced leaders were especially prone to becoming ineffective if they spent their time focusing on their jobs at home.

The upshot is that the key to effective leadership in the office might be a better work-life balance. Led by scientists from the University of Florida, the University of Arizona and Florida State University, the new study was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

“The simple message of this study is that if you want to be an effective leader at work, leave work at work,” said Klodiana Lanaj, a professor in UF’s Warrington College of Business who led the research.

“This is particularly important for inexperienced leaders, as they seem to benefit the most from recovery experiences when at home. Leaders have challenging jobs as they juggle their own role responsibilities with the needs of their followers, and they need to recover from the demands of the leadership role,” Lanaj said.

The study surveyed managers and their employees at US businesses in 2019 and 2022. The researchers assessed leaders’ ability to disconnect from work when at home the night before and their level of energy and how strongly they identified as a leader in the morning at work. Employees rated their bosses on their ability to lead their teams.

“What we found is that on nights when leaders were able to completely turn off and not think about work, they were more energized the next day, and they felt better connected to their leadership role at work. On those same days, their followers reported that these leaders were more effective in motivating them and in guiding their work,” Lanaj said.

“But on nights when leaders reported that they were thinking about the negative aspects of work, they couldn’t really recuperate their energy by the morning,” she said. “They saw themselves as less leader-like and they weren’t as effective, as rated by their followers.”

So how can leaders – and businesses – promote this kind of work-life balance to build effective leaders?

“My hope is that this study will give managers data to support their decision to be present at home and to disconnect from work,” Lanaj said.

While Lanaj’s study didn’t ask managers how they relaxed at home, other research points to well-known ways to unwind and reset: Exercise, socialize with friends, spend quality time with family, or engage with TV shows, books or hobbies. What helps one person leave work at the office might not help another. The key, Lanaj says, is to find the methods that let you decompress from work as much as possible. And businesses that want the best out of their leaders on the job should help them recharge at home. Reducing after-hours emailing and expectations for on-call work is one way to do that.

Tech fuels a lot of this after-hours work, but also might offer a solution. You can set your phone to disable notifications after a certain hour or leave work devices in a dedicated office.

“You can start small,” Lanaj said. “Say, ‘After this time in the evening, I won’t check my work email.’ See where that takes you.” (ANI)

ALSO READ-Work life balance through spirituality

Lifestyle Lite Blogs

Work life balance through spirituality

Our ego makes us believe that success is happiness. People are trying hard to work, live and achieve pleasure but we can’t achieve happiness rather, we have to learn the art of being happy. This is Spirituality – evolving from achievement to contentment and fulfilment and then finally, to Enlightenment…reports Asian Lite News

What is the true meaning of Life? Life is liberation from ignorance and finding enlightenment, to be able to transcend our mind and the myth we have grown up with. What are we humans working for? We learn and we earn, only for others to burn what we earn. We don’t realize that what we are working for has no meaning. We are working but there is no purpose and before we realize it, our life escapes us.

In Spirituality, we develop a purpose. We find out, ‘Who am I and why am I here?’ Spirituality is the science of the spirit. It makes us realize that life has a purpose and while it must be lived with optimism, work must be done following the ‘ABC Principle’ – A – Accept life without protest as it is the result of our Prarabdha Karma or past actions. B – do our best in whatever we do. In that way, our Agami Karma or present actions are positive. Then C – surrender in Consciousness, in thoughtlessness where thoughts come one after another and don’t disturb our peace. Therefore, when work is done as Karma Yoga and when we start working as a Divine Instrument, our life becomes Divine. This is Spirituality. Spirituality is realizing the simple truth that I am not this body, mind, and ego but the Divine Soul. As long as we live by our ego, then our Mind and Ego, ME will create Karma – good or bad – and we will return to this earth in a rebirth.

If we want to balance work and life through spirituality, the only way to do that is to remove the ‘balance’ itself. There is no need to balance but we need to devote and dedicate our life to SIP – the Supreme Immortal Power we call God. Yes, we have to do our work. Yes, we have to live our life but we have to live it with Spiritual Realization. We must live life with the Enlightenment of the Truth that ‘nothing is mine, I come alone and I go alone and nobody is mine.’

Our ego makes us believe that success is happiness. People are trying hard to work, live and achieve pleasure but we can’t achieve happiness rather, we have to learn the art of being happy. This is Spirituality – evolving from achievement to contentment and fulfilment and then finally, to Enlightenment.

Spirituality leads to Liberation from the triple suffering of the body, mind, and ego that can be experienced as the pain of the body, misery of the mind, and agony of the ego. A Spiritual person need not balance life and work. Our work becomes our life and our life gets dedicated to working as a Divine Instrument. This is being Spiritually enlightened. This is evolving beyond body, mind, and ego and living as a Divine Soul.

Hence, Spiritual life is where work and life blend in the Realization that I am the Divine spirit, I am the Soul. SOUL is a Spark Of Unique Life. When we realize that we are the Soul, life becomes a celebration and work becomes a matter of complete surrender to the Supreme Divine and one starts living as an instrument of the Supreme Power that we call God. As a Divine Instrument, we seek nothing because we know that desires are the cause of disappointments and misery. We transcend the Mind and Ego, ME, and we live in a state of Consciousness. Spirituality is thus realizing that this world is a show, we are actors, we come and we go!

Balancing work and life through spirituality

We must transcend Karma. Normally, people work and live trying to create good Karma but they don’t realize the simple truth that creating good Karma also means that they have to return to the earth to reap the rewards of their Karma and undergo the suffering of the world. Spirituality liberates us from Karma because we can’t be free from the action but can be free in action. When whatever we do, is not done by us but the Divine did through us, we experience oneness with the Divine. We don’t own Karma anymore. We don’t perform any action. Everything is done by the Divine and we become Karma Yogi. We are always connected with the Divine through Karma Yoga. When we live as a Karma Yogi, our life ceases to have a separate identity because we transcend our ME, the Mind, and Ego. We become nothing and thus we become everything. When the wave becomes an ocean, then there is no difference between the wave and the ocean.

With Spirituality, when we become one with the Divine, then there is no need to balance work and life. When we balance, we are going in two opposite directions but when we blend, we live as a Divine Soul. We move towards the ultimate destination of Realization of the Truth, Liberation from all suffering, and ultimately, Unification with the Divine. Work and life then become only a matter of Purification and Illumination.

Are we going to continue to exist just like that till we die or are we going to find out, ‘Who am I and why am I here?’ We need to be liberated from ignorance and become enlightened with the truth. This is our life’s ultimate goal – to realize that we are the Divine Soul. Only then, will we be able to blend our life and work and live as a Spiritual Soul.

(AiR – Atman in Ravi, is a Spiritual leader and Founder of AiR Institute of Realization and AiRCenter of Enlightenment)

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Food Lite Blogs

Healthy eating habits for a wonderful life journey

Eat Dinner before 8 pm: Eating anything heavy after the sunset is not recommended as per our circadian rhythm and hence, you should try to have your last meal of the day before 8 pm…reports Asian Lite News

There is no escaping the fact that there are no shortcuts to healthy eating, which is the only way to achieve holistic and sustainable well-being.

Millennials who make for around two-thirds of the Indian consumer market are also known for unhealthy eating habits and this explains the high percentage of Gen Y contending with lifestyle diseases. However, lately, millennials are becoming aware of healthy eating habits for good health and well-being. So if you too belong to Gen Y and are taking the first step toward a wholesome life then the following healthy eating habits can help you to perfect your journey to health:

* Make a Schedule and Stick to it: Making a schedule and then sticking to it religiously will help you to discipline your own eating habits. To perfect the habit, take a diary and write everything that goes into your tummy. In addition, keep a close track of the intake of calories. And count how much you need and how much you spend. This calculation will help you keep tweaking your intake and spending and accordingly, adjust your eating habits. Within 21 days, you will find a considerable change in your eating habits and if you feel, don’t hesitate to take the help of a professional nutritionist in the journey.

* Evaluate requirements and never skip meals: Depending upon the activity and profession, the nutritional requirements vary from person to person. Your body’s needs in terms of macro and micronutrients are unique and hence you must first evaluate your requirement and then make a plan for it. Also, it’s important for the millennials never to skip the meal, and even there is no harm in snacking in between to calm your hunger pangs. Rather than opting for fried foods, popped chips, dark chocolates, and energy bars make for a healthy and filling snacking option.

* Choose intelligently and say no to Junk: Millennials are part of the specific lifestyle and work culture and hence, eating out comes naturally to this chunk of the population. The option is not best from the health perspective but still, you can choose intelligently on those party nights or weekend trips to save your health plans to go haywire. One of the smartest things you can do is to avoid junk food and rather opt for healthier options available on the menu. Consuming Colas and alcohol should also be off your list as both these things can severely hamper your health in the long term.

* Choose Food Over Supplements: Today convenience and nutrition are the challenge for most millennials. To stay healthy, it is important to read the label carefully to know what has gone into the making of the product. Also evaluate the nutritional information, especially the content of fat, sugar, and carbs before buying. “Make sure that products you’re consuming are free from added sugar and unnatural substances,” says Apoorva Gururaj, Co-founder, Sugar leads to many lifestyle diseases, hence best to avoid it. Another important healthy eating habit is to keep up the intake of your liquid to the optimum. Water not only maintains our body’s temperature but also helps in flushing out the toxins from our system. Hence avoid sugar-sweetened beverages too.

* Consider Plant-Based Options: Plant-based diets are increasingly becoming popular and for a good reason. Vegan products pack all essential nutrients and are quite easy to digest for our system. In fact, vegan products are now recommended to get rid of many lifestyle diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems among others. Vipen Jain, Founder, of Fitspire reveals that the craze of vegan supplements is on the rise among athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness freaks. These plant-based supplements don’t cause any bloating and help in the fast and quick recovery of muscles.

* Eat Dinner before 8 pm: Eating anything heavy after the sunset is not recommended as per our circadian rhythm and hence, you should try to have your last meal of the day before 8 pm. If you can’t eat before 8 then it’s better to take a light dinner with the preferred option being the green salad or a cup of milk. Also, make sure to walk at least 10-15 minutes after dinner to help the body digest the food properly.

Eating healthy is not rocket science. However, it requires careful planning and dogged determination, especially when it comes to implementing the schedule and sticking to the fundamental principles of health and nutrition. The good thing is that you need not follow fad diets nor do you require some fancy ideas for good health. Just stick to basic, fundamentals rules, closely monitor the unique requirements of your body and you’ll be sure to achieve your health goals in an effortless manner.

ALSO READ-How does diet play a role in body odour?

Lifestyle Lite Blogs

Yoga for super immunity

According to yoga and psychology, other than the physical body, we have a conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind. A health problem can start from any of these three…writes BIJOYLAXMI HOTA

For yoga therapy to be fully effective, the initial treatment should be done away from home in a yogashram. At home, it may not be possible to relax deeply, and tension slows down the healing. Also, at home, the conditions that created the health problems in the first place, are still there and may counter yogas effects. The peaceful atmosphere of an ashram automatically relaxes the inmates.

Healing will be enhanced if the yogashram is in the mountains, surrounded by greenery. At such a place, not only will the relaxation and oxygenation of the body tissues be better, the concentration of prana will be the maximum. It has been seen that 300 cubic feet of the mountain air contains 5,000 units of prana against 50 units of this energy in a city office. Sea shore and riverbanks are the next best alternative.

Furthermore, at home, one cannot spare much time for yogic practices. Mostly, people spend about an hour on yoga, and that too doing only Hatha Yoga, i.e. asanas, pranayamas and occasional satkarma. But Hatha Yoga does not comprise the entire practice of yoga; it is just a part of this system. Hatha Yoga is meant to rectify faults only in the gross physical body. But we are much more than just a body.

According to yoga and psychology, other than the physical body, we have a conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind. A health problem can start from any of these three. However, it manifests on the physical body as that is the only aspect that can be seen. Therefore, unless the root cause is corrected, the resultant ailment cannot be cured.

Freeing the mind of a deep-rooted fault may not be achieved through one yoga. The ancient yogis realized that and developed other yogas, mainly Bhakti Yoga (the yoga of devotion), Raja Yoga (the yoga of concentration and meditation), Karma Yoga (yoga of action, where one does physical labour without expecting any material gains) and Gyana Yoga (the yoga of enquiry) to do that. Therefore, it is necessary to practise them all, at least in the beginning. People without any ailments also benefit from them as it clears their psyche of all unwanted past impressions that could lead to a disease later.

According to Swami Satyananda Saraswati, it is necessary to practise all the four yogas. He says that if one does not practise “Karma Yoga, you will experience frustration and disappointments and the consequent reactions in life; if you do not practice Bhakti Yoga, passions will rise high; if you do not practice Raja Yoga, your mind will be jumping like a drunken monkey; if you do not practice Gyana Yoga you won’t know why you are practicing all these things; and if you do not practice Hatha Yoga, you may not be able to practice any of them”.

In the yogashram, the entire day is filled with various other yogas besides the four main ones. They are: Nada Yoga, Mantra Yoga and Tantra Yoga, etc. Each yoga caters to one aspect of the human character and together they take care of the complete personality making the practitioner feel uniquely calm, elated, healed and invigorated. It is as if one gets a fresh body and mind. Everybody should experience the ashram life to realize how wonderful the effect of real yoga. The feeling cannot be described in words. One has to experience it to believe it.

The ancient wise of India knew the value of the combined yoga and made rules such that people practised them from childhood. At the tender age of seven or eight, every child was sent to a gurukul, i.e. the abode of a guru. There, while learning their future professional skills, the children were made to do yoga. For Gyana Yoga, they studied scriptures; for Raja Yoga, they meditated and practised asanas and pranayamas; for Bhakti Yoga, they performed religious rituals such as yagnyas and for Karma Yoga, it was hard physical labour.

Whether one was a prince or a pauper, he was made to do various chores such as gardening, chopping wood, drawing water from wells, tending to cattle, etc. All these yogas, along with the strict disciplined life, went a long way in building their health and character.

According to the vedas, the vedic man’s lifespan was at least a hundred years, and they spent the second half of their life alone in the forest, catering to their own various needs. Such a lifestyle indicates the physical and mental strength of people of ancient times. It is a far cry from the contemporary times, when after a certain age, we cannot do without drugs, hospitals, doctors, nurses and attendants.

Ideally, all yogas should be done every day, although in shorter versions. But if that is not be possible, one should go to the yogashram periodically. Those who do that find it helpful in remaining in the best of their health and face the challenges of life with equanimity. According to my Guruji, it is like recharging one’s inner battery to withstand the vagaries of living in complex society.

Rules of Yoga

* Yoga should be practised on an empty stomach. Food can be taken 10 minutes after the completion of the routine.

* Use a folded blanket or rug for yoga practice. No soft spongy mattress or mat should be used as they do not provide the needed support to your back.

* Face the east. Even when you lie down, your head should be towards that direction.

* Wear loose cotton clothes. Tight or synthetic ones restrict proper oxygenation of the system.

* Avoid plastic neti pot and non-stick pan to heat the water.

* No microwave for any heating. The vitamins may remain intact, but the prana will be gone.

(Excerpted from ‘Yoga For Super Immunity’ by Bijoylaxmi Hota with the permission of Rupa Publications)

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Lifestyle Lite Blogs

Fix a goal…and make it happen

Monitoring your progress is key to creating lasting change. Assessing improvements on a regular basis can be enough to keep you motivated…writes N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

When we think about New Year resolutions, losing those extra pounds, reading that book, switching to a healthy diet are some of the few things everyone wants to do. The key is to choose your resolutions wisely and make it happen. At study conducted by researchers at the University of Scranton found that 23 percent of people quit working on their resolution just two weeks into the new year, only 19 percent of resolution setters stick to their goals over the long haul.

Here’s a smart guide to identifying the right resolutions to improve your life, creating a plan on how to reach it, and becoming part of the small group of people that successfully achieve their goal.

Measurable goal

Vague resolutions give no one clarity. A statement like “I want to get healthier,” or “I want to be happier” has more weightage, when it is linked to a number. You can tell yourself; I want to go to the gym three times a week,” or “I want to go for a nature trail twice a month.” This will add tangibility to your goal.

Plan for success

If you decide to eat healthily, create a plan that details out your meals in advance. This way there is no room for cheating on your diet. Think about the obstacles you’re likely to encounter in the first weeks after establishing your resolution. Consider how you’ll navigate these challenges, and develop a plan. Planning ahead for the probable challenges can help you feel equipped to handle the unexpected obstacles that crop up along the way as well.


Monitoring your progress is key to creating lasting change. Assessing improvements on a regular basis can be enough to keep you motivated. There are smart self-monitoring tools and products such as MyFitnessPal, that help count calories or FreeStyle Libre that help monitor blood glucose levels. There is a smart wearable that makes your life easy and one should leverage them to their advantage.

Internal motivation

Internal motivation to do something, makes you feel more confident and stronger through the process. You’re not going to hate it so much because you know you’re training for better habits in yourself. One of the biggest reasons pledges fail is because they’re externally motivated as it is defined by how other people react to you.

It is important to stick to a handful of resolutions instead of a list of countless goals. Adapt targets at a realistic pace so that each victory boosts confidence and carries you forward in ticking them off the list.

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Interview Lite Blogs Social Media

Kubbra reveals three secrets to success

Throughout the podcast, I tried to just have fun and talk about my experiences, rather than focus on what the “idea of success” is. I’ve tried to talk about small things that make a difference, like my gratitude jar, and it’s all available on the episode for everyone to listen to…Kubbra Sait speaks with Siddhi Jain.

Being happy is the first and foremost thing in life. For ‘Sacred Games’ actor Kubbra Sait, the idea of success is much beyond ‘gaadi, bangla and bank balance’ (car, house and bank balance), the concept of success is purely based on the larger emotion of happiness. In a new Audible podcast, the quirky actor revealed her three secrets to success — one of them being, ‘get lots of sleep’!

“My 3 Secrets to Success” is available exclusively on Audible, produced by FirstAction Studios, a Rainshine Company. It reflects on Kubbra’s journey to success and her mantras that have led to it. It is a series that features prominent personalities from various fields speaking about success, its definitions, evolution, and the three principles that have led them to what they are today. Catch Kubbra being funny, philosophical, and downright crazy as she shares her insights on success and the importance of gratitude, on the podcast.

Kubbra Sait reflects on the podcast in an interview with us:

In the Audible podcast, you mention the concept of success has largely been rooted in personal happiness for you, since childhood. What are your thoughts on this cookie-cutter idea of success installed from a young age?

A: I think the concept of success is purely based on the larger emotion of happiness. I think that happened to me when I grew much older and when I started doing things that I actually loved, but until that point of time it was always the cookie cutter idea of success. We’ve been raised as a subcontinent to be people who save for tomorrow, and not who live to experience the today. Everything’s always been based on a settlement of value that has been instilled in us since the time we were babies. Throughout the podcast, I tried to just have fun and talk about my experiences, rather than focus on what the “idea of success” is. I’ve tried to talk about small things that make a difference, like my gratitude jar, and it’s all available on the episode for everyone to listen to.

It’s only when we look back at it, that’s when you discover that one moment where you literally go “Damn, that’s funny I actually enjoyed that”. That’s when it clicks that what if I could make money, live a decent life or live doing what I love to do. Or what if I have limited resources but hey, at least I really love doing what I do. I think the minute you tweak your mind to think that way, automatically success comes your way. And in the new age, we’ve got people like Vijay Varma, Taapsee Pannu who encapsulate that. They love what they do and they’ve worked so hard to get to where they are, that you actually look at them and see a quality career based out of doing what you love. Even me for that matter, now that I know what I love to do, I want to work harder towards what I love to do rather than chasing the money. That is always a byproduct so if success is directly correlated to money, then I think that’s the short game that you’re in, not the long term solution.

You decided to give your life the Bombay spin at the age of 27. Give us a glimpse of your mind back then, what were you thinking?

A: I was thinking of burning bridges with what I was doing at that point. I was pretty clear that if Bombay doesn’t work out, and isn’t kind to me, which it truly was, then I would have said that I’m going to drop everything and go look for another job in some other part of the world. But it would not have happened if I would have said that “Oh, I’m still going to have my safety net in Dubai, then I probably would not have been able to do what I’m doing in Bombay”. So yes, there was a little bit of fear of failure but there was also breaking out of the fear knowing that it’s only beyond this fear that I will truly discover what I want to do in life.

“In life, you should appreciate the lows as much as the highs. Like in Music.” were your inspiring words on the podcast. Why is acknowledging and accepting low points so important?

A: I was trying to tell my story. I think each person’s story is so unique and storytelling is so important. Accepting highs and lows truly define who you are. I think the character of a person comes through how you can be when you are going to the lowest of your lowest phase. I think it’s the true test of character when you’re at your lowest low because you tend to hold other life rafts to yourself, which are beyond your success… which are beyond what you do, and it all starts coming down to who you are, and the tenacity of you as a person. Which is why it’s really important to appreciate the lows when they come to you. I don’t mean it’s easy to appreciate your lows, but it’s just about going through them as you would go through the highs, but if you think life is all about the highs then we wouldn’t be living life, then we would be playing a game, and even in games you have to lose a couple of lives.

Has the lockdown, in any way, shaped or changed ideas of happiness or success for you?

A: Oh my god, yes. In a gazillion ways. I think you look around you and learn to be appreciative of the many things that you have and what you can do for your immediate circle. I’m not saying this is a Miss World answer where you go and say, I want world peace, but I’m just trying to see as an individual, if I can impact even one other life. I think that for me it has been life altering to be able to sit in one place without being edgy about yourself. I’ve come close to meditation during the lockdown so that’s helped me a lot. So in many ways it’s been a personal journey for me.

On the work front, what’s keeping you busy these days? What’s upcoming?

A: I’m really excited about ‘Foundation’ that’s about to release this year. It’s I think one sole project that I have put in about a year and a half of mine, and that feels extremely valuable because I don’t think today, your currency is money, your currency is time. So if I have been able to break out of that mental block and invest time in a project that I believe in, I think it’s going to pay off pretty well and I’m quite excited about it. Apart from that, I’ve got three work projects in process and when they come to realisation, I’ll share them with you. But otherwise I can say that, I’ve got a book coming, I’ve got a show coming out, I’ve been on this Audible podcast. Also, I’m in a state of solitude in a state of Zen. I am being that person. And it’s just allowing you to recognise the past, the present and the future as it’s going to be. I think it’s very important to be in a state of Zen so that you can allow the future to unfold. It’s exciting. So, what’s keeping me busy, my Zen is keeping me busy.

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-Top News UK News

Life Is Back On Track

After several months, millions of Britons are enjoying new freedoms, such as indoor entertainments, hugs with loved ones besides foreign holidays, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

As UK has further eased lockdown and resumed international travel to select countries on Monday, thousands of Britons have begun taking holidays to countries including Portugal and Israel – which are on the government green list.

Also, pubs, bars and restaurants in England have reopened indoors, while indoor entertainment resumed, including cinemas, museums and children’s play areas.

For the first time in months, millions of people have been enjoying new freedoms – such as indoor pints, hugs with loved ones and foreign holidays- under new ease of restrictions.

Meanwhile, travellers from England, Scotland and Wales are jetting off to some countries in what the crisis-hit tourism industry hopes is the start of a recovery, the BBC reported.

So far, 12 countries have been added to the government’s green list, including Portugal and Israel, without isolating on their return.

The chiefs of British Airways and Ryanair told BBC that confidence was returning.

However, majority of tourist destinations remain on the amber and red lists, meaning travellers must quarantine when they get back.

Bookings also remain well down on pre-pandemic levels, it was reported.

@C – By Tim Green from Bradford, UK

Meanwhile, another 1,979 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,452,756, according to official figures released Monday.

The country also reported another five coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 127,684. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

The latest data came as the lockdown further eased on Monday across Britain despite concerns over risks posed by coronavirus variants, especially the one first detected in India.

Also on Monday, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in giving lawmakers an update on the country’s latest coronavirus situation that Britain has been engaged in a race between the virus and the vaccine and as a nation, “we’ve taken huge steps forward,” he said.

While there can be “further careful progress” taken today, with the easing of restriction, “we must all stay vigilant,” he said.

There are fewer than 1,000 people in hospital with COVID at the moment and on average there are nine deaths a day, he added.

Vaccine calls amid variant fears

The Ministers is stepping up calls for people – especially those living in hotspots of the Covid-19 variant first found in India – to accept a vaccination as soon as they are offered one, the BBC reported.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said anyone who is unsure to “look at…Bolton” – where he said most people in hospital with Covid were eligible for a jab but refused it.

Hancock told the House of Commons on Monday that 86 local authorities now have five or more cases of the Indian variant, with 2,323 confirmed cases across the UK.

But amid concern over rising numbers of India variant cases, the government has warned its next review of social distancing rules may be delayed.

According to the Times newspaper, the government is said to be considering contingency plans for local lockdowns if the variant cannot be brought under control.

A review of further easing of the restrictions is set to take place by the end of May. But the prime minister’s official spokesman warned yesterday that the Indian variant “could pose a threat to this process” and that the government’s decision would be based on the “latest data”.

The government’s plan was to end all remaining restrictions on social contact by 21 June, which could face some delay. (with inputs from ANI/Xinhua)

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Arts & Culture Lite Blogs

Distinctive fusion of contemporary art

The well-curated Week is also being hailed as a much-needed restart to the city’s physical art engagements….writes Siddhi Jain.

Delhi Contemporary Art Week is more special this year, by which brings seven art galleries under one single roof. Turning the spotlight on Indian contemporary art and artists for a whole week in the national capital, the Delhi Contemporary Art Week (DCAW) will open on April 8 with the participation of seven city-based art galleries.

The participating galleries include Blueprint 12, Exhibit 320, Gallery Espace, Latitude 28, Nature Morte, Shrine Empire and Vadehra Art Gallery. Contending that contemporary art in South Asia is more exciting than it has ever been, the seven galleries have come together in this latest edition to showcase a new wave of artists from India and the subcontinent at Bikaner House.

According to the organisers, the Week was initiated as an attempt to generate discourse that befits the shifting lens of the contemporary. This year DCAW is taking place at Bikaner House to add vigour with its grand colonial era architecture and spacious exhibition spaces. There is also an additional exhibition by Reha Sodhi. The galleries will also host exhibitions at their own spaces creating a citywide fervour around contemporary art.

Notably, among the exhibiting artists is Manjunath Kamath who displays a group of drawings that draw on motifs from Indian, Chinese and Persian cultures. Arun Kumar HG’s artistic engagement with the ecology and the disharmonies created by unbridled consumerism find expression in a large sculpture in reclaimed wood that draws on the ‘samudra manthan’ (churning of ocean) myth from the Puranas. Chitra Ganesh presents three small drawings in her customary visual vocabulary interpolating Hindu and Buddhist iconography, surrealism, and popular visual culture forms such as comics, graffiti and street art, to present a culturally layered, feminist narrative.

There are also works that draw inspiration from the pandemic and recent lockdown. Manisha Gera Baswani’s two pin-drawings enact a personal encounter with pain and disease. Puneet Kaushik’s series of works in black and red titled “Sacred marks of a lockdown” trace the fragile and tenuous negotiations of the self with the new realities of the lockdowned world.

Emerging artist Ishita Chakraborty will present post-card sized works that articulate her feelings of homesickness and spatial alienation, living in cold, sparsely populated Switzerland far away from her home in Bengal, and Purvai Rai will present drawings titled ‘People in Prayer’, whose stark geometry evokes the concept of space ordered by culture and religion.

New works by Thukral and Tagra looks at the idea of ‘escape’ more in the light of cyber realities, as seen through the use of emojis and other familiar symbols of play. Reena Saini Kallat traces the borders between countries that are in conflict over the sharing of their common river waters. By rearranging these lines of separation, she carves a new topography with a flowing river forming the landscape.

A group show ‘Cloud Burst’ features a diverse set of expressions around the general human condition and undertakings, articulated either through more intimate mental and bodily experiences. Titled ‘Bachpan’, Vicky Roy’s collection of candid photographs examines the psychology and principles of childhood games as performed specifically by underprivileged children living in major Indian cities, who have limited access to toys and equipment.

The well-curated Week is also being hailed as a much-needed restart to the city’s physical art engagements.

Exhibit 320’s Director Rasika Kajaria holds that Art truly reveals itself only when we connect with it in person. “It’s important to engage with the art and the artist and to celebrate it as a community.”

Latitude 28’s Founder-Director Bhavna Kakar feels that these times call for a new level of creative and collective thinking and this edition of DCAW, “which despite the times we’re going through, will give art connoisseurs an engaging interactive space to experience the best of contemporary art”.

“As we mark our physical return to cultural institutions, we are enthusiastic about celebrating access and spirit through the ingenuity, diversity and sensitivity of our emerging artists and their excellent art practices,” says Roshini Vadehra, Director, Vadehra Art Gallery.

Catch DCAW from April 8-15, 2021 at Bikaner House, New Delhi. Highlights can also be seen online on Instagram at @delhicontemporaryartweek.

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Lifestyle Lite Blogs

A change from routine work life

Writing, designing, creative visualising and ideating aren’t functions that can be dictated to work for 12-hour stretches…writes Puja Gupta.

Work life has entirely changed after pandemic and India Inc has joined the global chatter on the four-day workweek. A recent announcement about the much-talked-about new labour code suggests that organisations may be allowed to offer the option to employees. However, the ministry keeps the 48-hour cap on the workweek “sacrosanct”.

Much before the pandemic, remote work and flexible work policies became a part of our lives, companies around the world had begun litmus testing a three-day weekend for employees.

Zahara Kanchwalla, co-founder & COO, Rite Knowledge Lab, lists down a few things to consider if you’re giving the four-day workweek a thought for your workforce:

More hours in exchange for extra off

One of the primary arguments in favour of the four-day workweek is that the extra time off leads to better productivity at work. However, look closely and you find that it’s only when a four-day workweek is accompanied by reduced weekly work hours that the concept bears fruit.

Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand-based company, the first to grab headlines for testing the four-day workweek in 2018, asked its employees to work 30 hours a week and paid them for 37.5 hours. Similarly, Spain experimented with the four-day workweek in response to the pandemic, asking workers to clock in 32 hours a week. Finland’s Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, has floated the ambitious idea of 6-hour 4-day work weeks.

In effect, the employee continues to work between 8 to 10 hours on working days and enjoys an extra day off from work. However, in India, the weekly work hours remain 48. Adding the option for an extra day off by stretching out the other four days of work is counter-productive at best and threatens employee well-being at worst. One must consider that it’s adding almost 50 per cent to the average 8-hour workday. It’s a drastic shift for employees to switch into.

Longer hours means less focus

The brain is known to concentrate for 2-hour stretches with 15 to 30-minute intervals in between. Employee focus is usually at its peak at the beginning of the shift with concentration levels gradually dipping as the hours pass. By the 8th or 9th hour of the workday, workers are fatigued and unlikely to be at their productive-best for the additional hours they now have to clock in. It also raises the likelihood of mistakes, errors and accidents.

Just like one can’t make up for sleep lost in the week by sleeping for 48 full hours, the additional day off may hardly matter when one works a 12-hour shift for four consecutive days. Add to that an average of three hours of commute to and from work, makes it a total of 15 hours a day that the employee is out of their home for work.

Creativity can’t be clocked

In a digital agency where a majority of the roles are of a creative nature, twelve-hour workdays are impractical. Sure, pulling a caffeine-fuelled all-nighter a day before an important pitch may get those creative juices flowing but that’s just the pressure of the deadline in action on a creative brain.

Writing, designing, creative visualising and ideating aren’t functions that can be dictated to work for 12-hour stretches. Besides, one can only focus on the same project for so long before mental fatigue and the infamous creative block sets in.

To be able to look at the same problem afresh, taking breaks at regular intervals throughout the day is a crucial part of the thinking and ideating process. It cannot be crammed into four days and switched off for the other three.

Always connected

Beyond the creative functions of a digital agency, the nature of the business itself is interdependent on many external factors and stakeholders. As a digital agency, by default one has to be connected to what’s happening in real-time and be of service to clients. Twelve hour-long shifts can be demanding on those in customer-facing roles too, with the possibility for poor judgements and reactions graver in the final hours of the shift.

In addition, like the rest of the services industry, in these hyper-connected times, one is also expected to be available to clients at all times. A company may put a rotational system in place but that means a further restructuring of the workforce. Work from home inspired many organisations to finally embrace flexible work policies. If your company already allows its workforce to tailor their work schedules around their personal lives, a four-day workweek may not add further value.

A long break is priceless

Having said that, a long break away from work is indeed priceless. Employees have long grumbled about the two-day weekend passing by in a blink. On the flip side, a four-day workweek could prove as motivation for the long weekend. Knowing that the workweek is now shorter may encourage employees to complete tasks faster. The promise of three full days to oneself may inspire employees to focus fully while at work.

Besides, a three-day weekend allows one to plan longer holidays out of the city. It may also open up opportunities for employees to engage in long-forgotten hobbies, sign for an upskilling program or take up gigs on the side!

Long weekend or mid-week break

While some companies may make Thursday the new Friday by giving employees a three-day weekend. Some may place the extra day right in the middle of the workweek, on a Wednesday, for employees to return afresh to face the latter half of the week. Companies that want to stay available to their clients and customers through the week will put their employees on a rotation system.

As long as the length of the workday remains the same, the four-day workweek seems to bear sweet fruits. So, you may think announcing a three-day weekend may position you as an attractive employer but giving an extra day off by adding lost hours to rest of the workdays may just end up being like repackaging the same thing in a new gift wrapper. Make sure you take into account all aspects of the decision. Ultimately, if your workers are tired, it’s your product and business that will suffer.

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