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British adventurer and host of the popular adventure show “Into the Wild”, Bear Grylls first came to India when he was just 18. Since then he has made various visits to India and traveled all through the mountains in Northern India. Over the years, he says much has changed over the years, but the warmth and kindness of the Indian people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and south superstar Rajinikanth have joined Grylls in the show while he took an expedition in the country. Actor Akshay Kumar has recently shared a teaser on his social media handle, confirming that he is going to be the next Indian personality to feature in the show.
In an exclusive interview with IANSlife, Grylls, who has been roped in as the global brand ambassador of Swiss watch brand Luminox, expresses his love for India, his best expedition in the country, besides sharing his travel essentials and how he keeps himself motivated to fight all odds. Excerpts:
What do you like the most about India? How is your connection with the country?
Grylls: I first came to India aged 18 and trekked and travelled all through the mountains in Northern India. Much has changed over the years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the wonderful warmth and kindness of the Indian people. I was so happy to see that warmth and strong spirit still so strong throughout the country when we have filmed here over the last two years. India has always been a country I love so much, not only for the remarkable wildernesses but above all always for the people.
The most difficult expedition you took in India and the one you would like to take?
Grylls: Probably climbing in some of the remote parts of Sikkim. India has so many wild and such spectacular corners of the country and there is always something special about hill people. There is often a connection and respect for the mountains that bring people together. I have always loved that.
How does your family cope up with what you do?
Grylls: Considering my close ties with adventure, my family has also embraced it. We love escaping to our small island hideaway in North Wales – this really is where I feel most at home. We have no mains electricity or water and run everything totally off-grid, but we love it. Our three boys, Shara and I are happier there than anywhere else on earth – adventure and solitude mixed with fun and family. We dive, train, paraglide and climb. It’s a very special place.
If you have to pick five things before going on an expedition, what would it be?
Grylls: A good knife is number one. With it, you can then make shelter, fire, a natural roof, and mattress. You can also create traps, hunt food, and then with fire, you can boil water and burn animal dung to keep mosquitos away.
In truth, beyond a knife, what will serve you the best on a night in the woods is the mindset of a survivor and choosing a strong attitude. In the wild, positivity, resourcefulness, courage, determination and a sense of humour are kings. And with dealing with other people, kindness and humility are the heart of how to build strong relationships.
What keeps you motivated?
Grylls: Adventure has been the driving force of my life ever since I can remember – from growing up climbing with my late dad, to being a Scout and then through my job with the British Special Forces as a combat survival specialist, climber and skydiver. Adventure has been the one constant through so much and it is always rooted in endeavour, friendships, risk and resilience. My goal is always to do my best to inspire those values in young people in any way I can. That’s the mission.
You recently shot with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and are going to work with actor Akshay Kumar in your show “Into the Wild”. Tell us about it.
Grylls: It has been a huge privilege to adventure with all of these Indian icons, and what they all shared was a natural humility and warmth, as well as a love of the wild places of this world. The wild and adventure always brings people together and our goal was unified across all these episodes: to show how amazing India is and to show why we have to do all we can to protect our planet.
You recently collaborated with a watch brand. What impressed you about it?
Grylls: It’s incredibly important to me to work alongside world-class trusted partners and Luminox have proved that and more. I’ve been wearing Luminox since my early adventuring days, so it’s great to now be a part of the family.
The rugged watch range has been carefully crafted featuring multi-functional design and state of the art materials ï¿½ set to inspire and encourage the adventurer in everyone ï¿½ men and women, boys and girls, outdoor novices and experts.
Luminox has its self-powered Luminox Light Technology with other functions – rugged materials, a compass, walking speed scale, and more, has helped me and my team in survival situations.
What are you next working on?
Grylls: We will be coming back soon to India to film some more adventures with Indian superstars – I can’t wait. And I also am hoping to return to attend a rally and support the incredible Indian Scouts who are inspiring so many millions of young people to be able to learn about the wild and adventure. Scouting also helps young people learn so many key life skills. I love that, and it is part of why there has been such phenomenal growth in Indian Scouting in recent years. (IANS)
Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.
Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.
The Plague broke out from improper disposal of garbage and poor sewage conditions. Fleas from the rats that lived in the sewers spread the disease that killed more than half of London's population. Many people fled from their homes as there was no medicine available for those who were infected.
Beak-shaped masks worn during the Great Plague of London Image source: wikimedia commons
It was around this time that masks began to be invented. The first masks were shaped like beaks, and were worn not to protect the wearer from the disease, but to the prevent them from being able to smell the decay and death around them, which they called 'miasma'. The beaks were filled with floral herbs that allowed doctors and nurses to tend to the sick without being reviled from the smell.
Children are often seen forming circles by holding hands and reciting loudly,
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down"
An illustration of the Great Plague of London, 1665 Image source: wikimedia commons
When the last line is sung, they break the circle and fall down. The roses and posies are believed to be the preferred fragrances inside the masks, and a single sneeze (a-tishoo) was enough to infect the one who was exposed to the disease. Consequently, they fell down, ill, and later died.
An alternative version of this rhyme is sung about the fall of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath of World War II. The roses and posies are interchanged with geranium and uranium, to symbolise what was used in the atomic bomb. But this version is not as famous the original.
Keywords: Rhymes, Ringa-ringa-roses, Great Plague of London, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Folklore
In modern times, many social movements aim to bring reform to the society we live in, on the basis of certain existing patterns. Patriarchy is something that many aim to cleanse our cultures of, to usher in the era of social and gender equality. Despite all these so-called movements, in southern India, certain societies that patronise matriarchy have existed since before India's independence. The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country.
Kerala remains separate from the rest of India in many ways. Be it literacy policy, form of government, or cultural practices, this state does not always conform to the ideal that India is known for. Even so with their social structure. Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.
The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country. Image source: wikimedia commons
A male member, who is the close confidante of the matriarch is chosen. He plays a crucial role in representing the male members of his family, and his opinion is highly valued. He is called karavanan. The men reside in separate rooms or in separate houses, and do not interfere in the upbringing of children. Property is also passed down along the lineage of the eldest female. Among the Nairs, matriarchy is more prominently adhered to than the Ezhavas, who have some patrilocal connections.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Their matrilineal descent is known as Aliyasantana.
The story is told of a demon who threatened to destroy a kingdom if the king did not sacrifice his sons, but the king's sister comes forward to offer her children in sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. The demon is touched and does not destroy the city. Since then, the kingdom, or the property is inherited through female lineage.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Image source: wikimedia commons
In the recent past, many of these matriarchal societies have been reduced to matrilineal societies by certain governmental laws. They fall under the patriarchal scheme of the rest of the state but have reserved the right to pass on property and heritage through the female line. In the North east of India, matriarchal dominance is far more resilient than the south.
Keywords: Bunts, Billava, Nair, Ezhava, Aliyasantana, Matrilineal, South India, Karnataka, Kerala
Apple inc. Is an American multinational tech firm specialized in consumer electronics, computer programs, and internet services founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to manufacture Wozniak's Apple iComputer. It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation. Apple is the fourth-largest PC seller by unit sales and the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. On the day of the live event, Apple announced the iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. | Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini.
iPad: The 10.2-inch iPad is equipped with a solid A13 processor that delivers 20 percent quicker performance than the preceding version. According to Apple, it is now three times faster than a Chromebook. A new 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, which utilizes machine learning to optimize the front-facing camera during FaceTime video chats, as well as more incredible accessory support, including compatibility with the first-generation Apple Pencil, are among the new features. For 64GB of storage, the iPad costs $329.
iPad Mini: In addition to reduced borders and more rounded edges, the 8.3-inch iPad mini also has improved front and back cameras. A liquid retina display, USB-C compatibility, magnetic support for the Apple Pencil, an enhanced speaker system, and new hues such as pink and purple are all features of the new Apple iPad Mini. The starting price is $499.
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini. | Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash
The other major unveiled products include:
iPhone 13 and other variants: The iPhone 13 range is almost identical to the iPhone 12 lineup, with a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. It was also revealed that the Watch Series 7 has a smaller "S7" processor, which may allow for a bigger battery or other components to be housed in a smaller footprint. The gadgets have a revolutionary design that includes a dual-camera system, placed diagonally. Apple's iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have longer-lasting batteries than the previous generation of devices. In addition, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 will have a battery life that is 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, and the iPhone 13 mini will have a battery life that is 1.5 hours longer. A more energy-efficient display, an upgraded 5G chip, and functionality called "Cinematic Mode," similar to the famous Portrait mode function but is only available for movies, are among the other enhancements. The A15 Bionic chip present in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini is also used in the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, also 6.1-inch devices. However, it also has a five-core CPU, which promises graphics that are 50% quicker than previous models. Other notable features of the Pro devices include a brilliant Super Retna XDR display with a higher refresh rate and long-lasting battery life. Now, for the price, it will start at $699 for the iPhone 13 mini with 128 GB of storage, $799 for the iPhone 13 with 128 GB of storage, and the Pro and Pro Max have starting prices of $999 $1,099, respectively.
Apple Watch Series 7: The new Apple Watch Series 7, which is smaller and has a larger screen than its previous model, was introduced by Apple on Wednesday. There is a 20% increase in screen size over Series 6 on the new watch. A complete keyboard that you can touch or slide to write out text messages can show 50% more text. It starts at $399.
Keywords: Apple, iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone Mini, Apple event 2021