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Do you remember an Indian Army recruitment campaign that went along the lines of “Do you have it in you”? Then, during the Kargil War of 1999, the late Captain Vikram Batra raised this to a new peak with his oft-repeated quote: “Yeh dil maange more”.
In a world filled with cynicism, few stand tall to carve their own path to success with courage, determination, and grit. In the case of Supriya Paul, 26, the CEO and co-founder of the hugely successful “Josh Talks” show on YouTube, her father’s dictum when she was 13 that there is no place for mediocrity in this world has kept her going and overcoming disappointments like not being able to enter a Delhi University college of choice.
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“He told me irrespective of whatever I choose to do in life, if I am not the best person to do it, then I will be replaced. After hearing those words, my life’s mission was to become irreplaceable. My father’s advice stayed with me throughout my entrepreneurial journey as well. Every time we pilot a new project or build a new product, that is the spirit that I approach it with. Even though it took me some time to convince my parents that I wanted to work on building ‘Josh Talks’ full-time, I am grateful to have such a strong support system in them who always have my back,” Paul told IANS in an interview.
She has more than justified the faith reposed in her.
“While we started with one YouTube Hindi channel in October 2017, we have expanded to 10 languages including Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Marathi, Punjabi, Odia, Kannada, and English. We recently crossed one billion total views across all our channels and have a dedicated community of 11.5-plus million subscribers. In the last six years, we have released over 2,500 Talks online and conducted 1,500-plus events (including workshops) offline,” Paul said.
She has now taken the show to the next level with “All You Need Is Josh” (Bloomsbury), a book that relates the stories of 30 unique individuals across India who have it in them: the aspiring astrophysicist who wanted to walk on the moon; the first person with a disability to top the civil services examinations; the domestic help who is now a published author; the army officer who amputated his own leg; the transgender woman who was expelled from her house; the Dalit child bride who now runs a business worth Rs1,000 crores, and many more.
Filled with anecdotes and life-changing missives, these stories are a reminder that it does not matter the circumstances into which one is born – what matters most is having the josh to overcome all odds and chase your dreams.
Little wonder then that Paul has been named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Asia in 2018, and “Josh Talks” has been awarded the National Media Award by President Ramnath Kovind along with being named one of 2018’s Top 100 startups by Economic Times and Sutra HR.
How did she select the 30 individuals whose stories have been featured in the book?
“We (Paul and co-founder Shobit Banga) have been bringing inspiring stories to our audience for the past six years. So far, we have recorded over 4,000 stories from across India. Our in-house research team picks individuals whose life journeys are extraordinary and can offer impactful takeaways to our audience so that they can become do and be more in their lives as well. The book contains stories that stood out the most amongst them. These individuals come from diverse backgrounds, and their Talks are some of the highest viewed on our channels. We wanted these stories to reach every household in India and decided to curate them in this book,” Paul explained.
Following the dictum that stories “have the power to create phenomenal social change”, Paul said the “Josh” stories “are different from the usual inspiring stories that are online because we make an effort to identify speakers that our audience can relate to. More importantly, we don’t just focus on their achievements but also their failures. We also try to include actionable tips and clear pathways for our audience to adapt and learn from”.
The common theme of the individuals in the book is that they have overcome incredible failures to make something of their lives. Does she remember her first failure? What role does she think failures play in life?
“I remember my first failure; it was when I was 17 years old. I couldn’t make the cut for my dream college, Shri Ram College of Commerce. In my desperate attempt to be the best at everything, this is the place where I thought I had lost. Even though I did get into Sri Venkateswara College, which was also among the top colleges, I couldn’t help but be thoroughly immersed in what I thought was my failure.
“However, after several months of feeling sorry for myself, I realized that fixating on my failure was the worst thing I could ever do to myself. So, I pushed hard towards what I wanted to achieve. I don’t believe that failures are the opposite of success; they are just a part of it. And, in order to fully appreciate your success, it is important to have the same attitude towards your struggles as well,” Paul elaborated.
“Josh Talks” has also expanded from being a content-first platform to a product-focused organization with the Josh Skills app. How did this happen?
“As the viewership for our Talks grew, we realized it was important for us to build more tools and products that would create not only social but also economic value for our audience. We wanted to address the more pressing challenges faced by the youth in India today, such as limited access to career information, lack of relevant skill sets, and unemployability.
“In 2020, we launched the Josh Skills app, which offers short-term and affordable technical courses and important soft skills to upskill the youth in Tier II and III cities in India. Keeping our mission of unlocking human potential as the guiding light, we are committed to developing more such tools and products to serve Bharat. Through Josh Skills we want to be the bade bhaiya (elder brother) that our audience needs and help people improve their lives by building an ecosystem that stays with them through the entire journey from inspiration to action,” Paul said.
The Josh Skills app has 1.5 million downloads and over 150,000. paid users learning critical soft skills from Tier-II cities and beyond.
The timing of the book’s release – in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic – couldn’t be more appropriate.
“When we decided on the launch date of our book, we had, of course, never anticipated the crisis that we as a country would be grappling with today. However, we decided not to push (back) the release date because we believe that in current times, the need for us to have faith and josh is crucial. I would also like to share that ‘Josh’ Talks will be donating the royalty that it receives from the book towards COVID relief efforts in India. So I would like to urge all readers to go and order their copy of the book right away and help us spread some josh when India really needs it the most,” Paul concluded. (IANS/KB)
Indian origin girls -- New Jersey-based Natasha Peri (11) and Dubai-based Priyamvada Deshmukh (12) -- have been named in the worlds "brightest" students list based on results of above-grade-level testing of 19,000 students across 84 countries, according to Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY), a part of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
"Peri, a student at Thelma L. Sandmeier Elementary School, was honored for exceptional performance on the SAT, ACT, or similar assessment is taken as part of the CTY Talent Search," said a statement from the CTY.
Deshmukh, a student of GEMS Modern Academy, Dubai, has been honored for her exceptional performance on the SCAT assessment taken as part of the CTY Talent Search, a university statement said.
She was one of nearly 19,000 students from 84 countries who joined CTY in the 2019-21 Talent Search years. CTY uses above-grade-level testing to identify advanced students from around the world and provide a clear picture of their true academic abilities.
Peri took the Johns Hopkins Talent Search test in Spring 2021 when she was in Grade 5. Her results in the verbal and quantitative sections leveled with the 90th percentile of advanced Grade 8 performance.
"This motivates me to do more," she said, adding that doodling and reading J.R.R Tolkien's novels may have worked for her.
Deshmukh took the Johns Hopkins Talent Search test in Spring 2020 when she was still in Grade 6. Her results in the verbal sections leveled with the advanced Grade 10 performance. She made the cut for Johns Hopkins CTY 'High Honors Awards'.
Due to the Covid19, induced delay in Global logistics support, she finally received her much-awaited "High Honors" pin this week, which she lovingly kept in front of her Grandparents photograph as a tribute to her roots.
The delay in officially getting the certificates did not stop her from attending the summer program at John Hopkins University's CTY in English literature where she studied the confluence of Art and Science in literary writing and completed the course scoring 'A' Grade.
She followed up with top-scoring the second level of Asset Talent Examination which also qualified her for the summer program at Northwestern University this year, where she is learning about world-building in fiction writing this year.
Her elder brother was among the first UAE students to have cleared the Duke University TIP (Talent Identification Programme) when he was in Class 8.
Her parents joke that it's nothing but routine sibling rivalry that she wanted to achieve the same, just a year ahead of her brother. Even though she loves Physics and Computer Science as subjects, unlike her elder brother (who is Chancellor's Scholarship holder student of Astro Physics at the University of Massachusetts), Deshmukh wants to pursue humanities and literature when she goes to college five years down the lane.
As part of Johns Hopkins policy, granular information is not broken down by age or race.
Likewise, it is left to the guardian to disclose the prodigy's name. Within the US, awardees come from all 50 US states.
"We are thrilled to celebrate these students," said Virginia Roach, CTY's executive director.
"In a year that was anything but ordinary, their love of learning shined through, and we are excited to help cultivate their growth as scholars and citizens throughout high school, college, and beyond," Roach added.
The quantitative section of the Johns Hopkins CTY test measures the ability to see relationships between quantities expressed in mathematical terms, the verbal section measures understanding of the meaning of words and the relationships between them.
Basil scientifically called Ocimum basilicum, and also known as great basil, is a culinary herb from the Lamiaceae (mints) family. A common aromatic herb, it is usually used to add flavor to a variety of recipes, but what may astonish one is that there are various health benefits of basil that make it well-known for its immunity-enhancing properties.
Basil seeds or basil essential oil are proven to help prevent a wide range of health conditions, which makes it one of the most essential medical herbs known today. Basil has vitamin A, C, E, K, and Omega 3 components including cooling components too. It also contains minerals like Copper, Calcium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Potassium. An ancient Ayurvedic herb, basil has various proven benefits including being anti-inflammatory, ant-oxidant, immune-booster, pain-reducer, and blood vessel-protector.
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This herb also contains cooling components thus making it really helpful for summers. It detoxifies the body and maintains one's body temperature pace. Adding to the benefits Basil contains antioxidant-rich volatile essential oils, which are considered hydrophobic, meaning they don't dissolve in water and are light and small enough to travel through the air and the pores within our skin. Basil's volatile essential oil is something that gives the herb its distinct smell and taste, but basil contains some great healing properties.
In the long history of Ayurveda, basil seeds were also called tukmaria seeds. These seeds may support one's gut health, may complete one's fiber quota, reduce blood sugar, help in weight loss, and also reduce cholesterol.
The herb has rounded leaves.Pixabay
There are more than 60 varieties of basil, with sweet basil being one of the most widely used. The herb has rounded leaves that are often pointed. It is a bright green plant, although some varieties have hints of purple or red in their leaves, basil makes a colorful and flavorful addition to many different dishes.
It has been observed that many of the cooks use basil to thicken their dessert instead of using any artificial/ unhealthy powder to do so. Sometimes people are not able to differentiate between Chia seeds and basil seeds, to make it clear basil seeds are different in nature they are larger and a bit duller in their color. These herbs are used in various recipes as a cooling component in desserts, drinks, and fruit juices for refreshment, also beating the summer heat.
For better digestion, weight loss, and immune system, I suggest this simple recipe which can be easily made at home:
*Take 2 tsp of Basil seeds (sabja) + Add in 1/2 liter of water +10 mint leaves crushed
*1/2 tsp cinnamon powder + A little bit of sendha salt (pink Himalayan salt)
*Or to make a sweeter version one can add organic honey.
*Mix it well and drink it.
This recipe will help to flush out toxins from our body making it feel light and healthy. (IANS/SP)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)