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By Salil Gewali
This time we have known about life more clearly than ever before. Death is just one step away from healthy respiration. If our lungs and hearts cannot pull in the fresh air from outside, we are gone! What we all must understand is that our life on earth here, which is so vulnerable to various external forces, let alone the internal sickness, is very "impermanent". The pandemic COVID 19 has emerged to ram home this very point.
True, the Wuhan virus has virtually broken the back of the global economy. It has also given a big jolt to civilization. Not just that, it has literally deflated our egos, it has shrunken our arrogance too! Have our modern technologies not helplessly failed in to save so many of our beloved relatives and friends during this pandemic? Of course, the respective governments across the globe left no stone unturned to keep their citizens as safe and healthy as possible. They upgraded their medical facilities to the maximum extent. The government administration consistently reminds us through the phone messages that we must follow all COVID protocols with utmost alertness, though we seldom heed those warnings.
But I'm afraid, sometimes I feel it is just the tongue-in-cheek diktats. Don't we see the government holding public events every now and again? Some public leaders are going about without masks. How do we describe this? Those who make the laws should not be the first to break them.
One wonders why it is so "very essential" to celebrate Independence Day, community festivals et al as we are most likely to get infected with the virulent virus. Our achieved freedom cannot be taken away by the Britisher anymore! If I am not mistaken the "social gatherings" are more dangerous than any other thing. Why don't we put off all kinds of gatherings, social festivities, and celebrations until we are fully able to defeat the virus? The ways people went around on India Independence Days in some states or in some odd festivals and celebrations in the USA and UK send chills down the spine. Of course, some states had a very subdued independence celebration.
More lockdown relaxation means more vulnerability to the virus variants. So extra caution must be taken even if we have taken both the COVID doses. Many countries have again started witnessing the increasing number of cases such as UK, USA, Brazil, Russia and some parts of India. There is nothing to be complacent now. Vaccination hesitancy is another worrisome concern in many countries.
However, we can no longer ignore the essential business activities ---- particularly that involve the weaker section of people and daily wagers.
Majority of Governments have taken the right decision by easing the restriction in many of the cities. The continuous lockdowns have caused tremendous hardship to underprivileged communities. For them, the government needs to lift the restriction/lockdown but not for the celebration of festivals, social and religious events.
God will continue to shower His blessings even if we abstain ourselves now from participating in religious gatherings and so on, I am logically sure. God may not help those who sing the hollow prayers by risking their lives. What has come down now may go up again if we do not learn from our past mistakes.
(An India-based writer and researcher, Salil Gewali is best known for his research-based work entitled 'Great Minds on India' which has earned worldwide appreciations. Translated into Twelve languages, his book has been prefaced by a world-acclaimed NASA Chief scientist – Dr. Kamlesh Lulla of Houston, USA.)
Keywords: Covid Restrictions Ease ,Covid19, Pandemic, Wuhan, Vaccination
During the pandemic, people's relationship with clothes has shifted significantly, as people prioritize comfort and convenience over appearance. Furthermore, the lockdown has left most of us with little or no desire to prepare a new look daily. For working women, it has actually become an even greater burden and source of anxiety.
Amid the pandemic, Qua launched 'Embrace', a new collection designed for WFH- Work leisure! The collection has become a huge success given that it adapted perfectly to the growing need for more comfortable yet presentable clothing for Zoom meetings.
Rupanshi, founder of Qua says, "Dressing up can motivate you and increase your productivity as well.
The flared and relaxed fits of the shirts, co-ords and dresses make dressing up easier, without compromising on comfort. On days when you are feeling uninspired, you can wear the co-ord or dress as it is and still look dressed up. These outfits can be elevated further by layering them with shirts and blazers, on days when you want to feel like a true professional."
The collection includes already built ensembles that require little to no styling, lightweight and breathable fabrics, seamless finish combined with comfy-style garments.
- The key garments of the collection namely smart co-ords, casual shirts and chic dresses are made of premium fabrics like moss crepe, viscose and cotton, which provide optimum breathability and homely comfort. These practical wardrobe must-haves have been a great help to working women in order to maintain a work-life balance, as the garments are comfortable to wear, chic, and a great addition to the 9-5 and beyond wardrobe.
The key garments of the collection namely smart co-ords, casual shirts and chic dresses are made of premium fabrics like moss crepe, viscose and cotton, which provide optimum breathability and homely comfort. Photo by Valerie Elash on Unsplash
There have been studies that show how dressing up for work can improve performance. The brand also conducted a poll, where 100 women participated, which revealed that 84 per cent of women felt unproductive while working from home and 85 per cent of women agreed that dressing up for work increased their productivity.
Despite the shift in the workplace due to the pandemic, dressing up for work still holds much value as it gives people a sense of professionalism. By dressing up appropriately even for zoom meetings, you can adequately prepare yourself for the day ahead, otherwise you might get caught in the 'working from bed' vortex. (IANS/MBI)
(Originally written by Puja Gupta)
Keywords: Dress, Culture, Covid19, Pandemic, Co-ords, Clothes, Dressing, Wear, Garments
India is renowned for its diversity as it is home to not only a mix of cultures and cuisine, but also varied landscapes. While the country houses a plethora of well-known tourist attractions, it also has a myriad of such lesser-known jewels that make even the most intrepid traveller swoon in awe struck delight.
With travel restrictions easing and Covid cases consistently dropping across the country, domestic travel is booming. In fact, visiting smaller, unknown destinations, far from the city, away from the crowds and stress helps to satiate your travel appetite.
Avoid the crowd with EaseMyTrip.com shares list of India's most enchanting and lesser-known destinations:
A hidden gem in India for tranquillity seekers is Jawai, named after the river with mesmerising views. The experience offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to engage with nature and wildlife. The granite landscape and highlands that surround Jawai are a sight to behold. As leopards dwell wild and free, Jawai symbolizes human-nature coexistence. The leopard safari is one of its kind in this wildlife haven, the city is home to wild animals, including nilgai, bears, wolves, hyenas, and chinkaras. In addition, Jawai is a well-known winter haven for migrating birds.
The leopard safari is one of its kind in this wildlife haven, the city is home to wild animals, including nilgai, bears, wolves, hyenas, and chinkaras. In addition, Jawai is a well-known winter haven for migrating birds. Wikimedia
Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh:
While rolling over Scotland's lush green pastures may appear to be a distant travel goal on your bucket list, you can get all of this in India for half the price and twice the joy. With abundant reserves of untapped natural beauty, Ziro is a modest picturesque town, nestled away in the enchanting mountain-scape of Arunachal Pradesh. In addition to its unrivalled scenery and wildlife splendour, the tranquil town is known for its distinctive Apatani tribe. Verdant greenery and breathtaking paddy fields, a fascinating tribal culture unlike any other, and a pleasant weather all year round makes it a must-visit travel destination. Since the past few years, there has been a growth in airline routes to the region resulting in swifter travelling options.
Morachi Chincholi, Maharashtra:
Located 50 km away from Pune, this quaint village is the unofficial peacock sanctuary of Maharashtra. As the name suggests, Morachi Chincholi is a village of tamarind trees and dancing peacocks. Legend has it that the tamarind trees were planted during the Peshwa dynasty, which attracted peacocks to the village. A visit to this picturesque village will provide travelers a unique Maharashtrian village life experience as the villagers here offer visitors a bullock cart ride to the farm and help them get a practical experience of irrigation and farming life. One can also enjoy a simple meal of organic vegetables against the backdrop of lustrous ruby-green farms and dancing peacocks, which is a perfect escape into tranquility.
A visit to this picturesque village will provide travelers a unique Maharashtrian village life experience as the villagers here offer visitors a bullock cart ride to the farm and help them get a practical experience of irrigation and farming life. Wikimedia
Varkala, located in the southern part of Kerala, is known for its calm ambience and vibrant, serene beaches. The red sandstone cliffs and lush greenery around is a sight to behold. The coastal area is home to a black sand beach which is a hidden gem within the area. It is also a hub for the adventure enthusiasts as it is known for its water sports and adventure activities such as paragliding, rafting and parasailing. The destination is home to several fisheries, freshwater springs, hills and forts. Apart from holding the charms of a quiet beach, the coastal area is also home to pilgrimage sites such as the 2000-year-old Janardhana Swamy Temple and the Sivagiri Mutt, which can be spiritually rewarding as you travel to explore the unexplored.
With majestic Himalayan peaks and verdant woods surrounding it, Chaukori is a lesser-known hamlet with jaw-dropping splendor. It is one of India's finest and most distinctive hill stations, with breath-taking views of Nanda Devi, the Panchachuli peaks, and Nanda Kot. It is noted for its numerous Hindu temples, picturesque scenery, and tranquil ambience, and should be in the travel wish list for a peaceful getaway. In Chaukori, one may engage in leisurely walks and high-intensity treks, both of which provide a magnificent perspective of the landscape. Right from the scenic hill stations to gorgeous beaches to peaceful getaways among nature and culture, there is an interesting melange of landscapes across the country which are perfect alternatives for curious travelers looking for something different from the hustle and bustle of big, crowded cities. While travel slowly resumes in the country, it is important to ensure that safety remains paramount. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Travel, India, Covid19 , Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttarakhand
An international system to share coronavirus vaccines was supposed to guarantee that low and middle-income countries could get doses without being last in line and at the mercy of unreliable donations.
It hasn't worked out that way. In late June alone, the initiative known as COVAX sent some 530,000 doses to Britain – more than double the amount sent that month to the entire continent of Africa.
Under COVAX, countries were supposed to give money so vaccines could be set aside, both as donations to poor countries and as an insurance policy for richer ones to buy doses if theirs fell through. Some rich countries, including those in the European Union, calculated that they had more than enough doses available through bilateral deals and ceded their allocated COVAX doses to poorer countries.
But others, including Britain, tapped into the meager supply of COVAX doses themselves, despite being among the countries that had reserved most of the world's available vaccines. In the meantime, billions of people in poor countries have yet to receive a single dose.
The result is that poorer countries have landed in exactly the predicament COVAX was supposed to avoid: dependent on the whims and politics of rich countries for donations, just as they have been so often in the past. And in many cases, rich countries don't want to donate in significant amounts before they finish vaccinating all their citizens who could possibly want a dose, a process that is still playing out.
"If we had tried to withhold vaccines from parts of the world, could we have made it any worse than it is today?" asked Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior advisor at the World Health Organization, during a public session on vaccine equity.
Other wealthy nations that recently received paid doses through COVAX include Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, all of which have relatively high immunization rates and other means of acquiring vaccines. Qatar has promised to donate 1.4 million doses of vaccines and already shipped out more than the 74,000 doses it received from COVAX.
The U.S. never got any doses through COVAX, although Canada, Australia and New Zealand did. Canada got so much criticism for taking COVAX shipments that it said it would not request additional ones.
In the meantime, Venezuela has yet to receive any of its doses allocated by COVAX. Haiti has received less than half of what it was allocated, Syria about a 10th. In some cases, officials say, doses weren't sent because countries didn't have a plan to distribute them.
British officials confirmed the U.K. received about 539,000 vaccine doses in late June and that it has options to buy another 27 million shots through COVAX.
"The government is a strong champion of COVAX," the U.K. said, describing the initiative as a mechanism for all countries to obtain vaccines, not just those in need of donations. It declined to explain why it chose to receive those doses despite private deals that have reserved eight injections for every U.K. resident.
Brook Baker, a Northeastern University law professor who specializes in access to medicines, said it was unconscionable that rich countries would dip into COVAX vaccine supplies when more than 90 developing countries had virtually no access. COVAX's biggest supplier, the Serum Institute of India, stopped sharing vaccines in April to deal with a surge of cases on the subcontinent.
Although the number of vaccines being bought by rich countries like Britain through COVAX is relatively small, the extremely limited global supply means those purchases result in fewer shots for poor countries. So far, the initiative has delivered less than 10% of the doses it promised.
COVAX is run by the World Health Organization, the vaccine alliance Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a group launched in 2017 to develop vaccines to stop outbreaks. The program is now trying to regain credibility by getting rich countries to distribute their donated vaccines through its own system, Baker said.
But even this effort is not entirely successful because some countries are making their own deals to curry favorable publicity and political clout.(IANS/VOA)