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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)
Some women say they experienced period changes after getting a Covid-19 vaccination. While the reported changes are short-lived, research into this possible adverse reaction remains critical to the success of the vaccination programme, according to an editorial published in The BMJ.
"A link between menstrual changes after Covid-19 vaccination is plausible and should be investigated," wrote Dr Victoria Male, a reproductive specialist at Imperial College London, in the editorial. Reports of menstrual changes after Covid-19 vaccination have been made for both mRNA and adenovirus-vectored vaccines, she added, suggesting that, if there is a connection, it is likely to be a result of the immune response to vaccination, rather than to a specific vaccine component, she said.
While changes to periods or unexpected vaginal bleeding are not listed as common side effects of Covid-19 vaccination, more than 30,000 such reports have been made to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) surveillance scheme for adverse drug reactions till September 2. However, most people find that their period returns to normal the following cycleand, importantly, there is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccination adversely affects fertility, Male said.
Most people find that their period returns to normal the following cycleand, importantly, there is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccination adversely affects fertility, Male said. | Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash
The MHRA states that its surveillance data does not support a link between changes to menstrual periods and Covid-19 vaccines, since the number of reports is low in relation to both the number of people vaccinated and the prevalence of menstrual disorders generally. However, the way in which data is collected makes firm conclusions difficult, Male noted.
She argued that approaches better equipped to compare rates of menstrual changes in vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations are needed, and pointed to the study that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has undertaken. Indeed, the menstrual cycle may be affected by the body's immune response to the virus itself, with one study showing menstrual disruption in around a quarter of women infected with SARS-CoV2.
If a link between vaccination and menstrual changes is confirmed, this will allow individuals seeking vaccination to plan in advance for potentially altered cycles, Male contended. In the meantime, clinicians must encourage their patients to report any changes to periods or unexpected vaginal bleeding after vaccination. And anyone reporting a change in periods persisting over a number of cycles, or new vaginal bleeding after the menopause, should be managed according to the usual clinical guidelines for these conditions, she suggested. (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: vaccine, menstrual cycle, period, covid, women, health
A garage sale in the 21st century needs a tech-savvy platform. This is where Poshmark comes into the picture, the platform with a community of over 2.5 million Canadians has products listed with over half a billion dollars in value by their users.
It began expanding outside of the United States in Canada in May 2019 and has now launched in India. So its become simple and easy for anyone to sell items from their closet, enabled by a full suite of end-to-end seller tools and services, including seamless listing, merchandising, promotion, pricing, and shipping. Indian consumers will be able to join Social marketplace Poshmark, Inc. (Nasdaq: POSH), a booming community of more than 80 million users and a vibrant network of millions of shoppable closets to make money, save money, connect with others, and foster entrepreneurship.
The platforms scalable model and infrastructure enables continued expansion to new countries and categories in the future. | Photo by Duy Hoang on Unsplash
"As an Indian who grew up exploring the marketplaces of Old Delhi, I know firsthand how important it is to come together and connect as part of the shopping experience. I am confident that our social marketplace will resonate with Indian consumers and allow us to build a thriving and successful community here." The platform's scalable model and infrastructure enables continued expansion to new countries and categories in the future. (IANS/ MBI)
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
Keywords: Clothes, garage, Poshmark, India, Old Delhi, social marketplace
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