Precis Writing with answer Exercise 1

July 29, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Précis writing for students – Exercise 1

Passage ….. A drop of water fell out of the cloud into the sea, and finding itself lost in such an immensity of fluid matter, broke out into the following reflection: ‘Alas! What an inconsiderable creature am I in this prodigious ocean of waters: My existence is of no concern in the universe; ‘I am reduced to a kind of nothing, and am the least of the works of God’. It so happened that an oyster which lay in the neighbourhood of this drop chanced to gape and swallow it up in the midst of this his soliloquy. The drop, say the fables, lay a great while hardening in the shell, until by degrees it was ripened into a pearl, falling into the hands of a diver, after a long series of adventures, is at present that famous pearl which is fixed on the top of the Persian diadem. [No of words = 147]

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NCERT Ennglish literature Class X — Frog and the Nightingale

July 28, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NCERT English literature Class X

The Frog and the Nightingale by Vikram Seth

Once upon a time a frog
Croaked away in Bingle Bog
Every night from dusk to dawn
He croaked awn and awn and awn

Other creatures loathed his voice,
But, alas, they had no choice,
And the crass cacophony
Blared out from the sumac tree
At whose foot the frog each night
Minstrelled on till morning night

Meaning … A sunmac tree stood inside the Bingle Bog. A bog is a wet soft muddy ground. Such place is the favored habitat for frogs. Comfortably seated at the feet of the tree, the frog sang away to its heart’s content from evening till morning. Its loud and relentless croaking was heard for quite a distance. The high decibel and hoarseness of the frog’s din caused considerable nuisances for other creatures living nearby.

Neither stones nor prayers nor sticks.
Insults or complaints or bricks
Stilled the frogs determination
To display his heart’s elation.
But one night a nightingale
In the moonlight cold and pale
Perched upon the sumac tree
Casting forth her melody
Dumbstruck sat the gaping frog
And the whole admiring bog
Stared towards the sumac, rapt,

And, when she had ended, clapped,
Ducks had swum and herons waded
To her as she serenaded

Meaning … The creatures beseeched the frog to stop its noise that they found too disagreeable to put up with. But, the vainglorious frog paid no heed to them, and continued with its night-long rendering. Finally, the irate creatures could stand the nuisance anymore and began to use sticks and stones to subdue the irrepressible singer. Neither the neighbors’ taunts, nor their physical threats could deter the frog’s dusk-to-dawn guttural outpourings.
One night, a nightingale flew in from somewhere and perched on the branch of the sunmac tree. It began to sing in its natural melodious voice in the cold lonely night. Its voice left the frog flummoxed. All other inhabitants in the marshy land around began to listen to the new singer’s voice with great pleasure. At the end of her singing, she got a standing ovation from the audience listening in to it. Ducks swam and herons waded through the mud and slush to be nearer to the nightingale. She sang her way into the hearts of all the creatures in the bog.

And a solitary loon
Wept, beneath the summer moon.
Toads and teals and tiddlers, captured
By her voice, cheered on, enraptured:
“Bravo! ” “Too divine! ” “Encore! “
So the nightingale once more,
Quite unused to such applause,
Sang till dawn without a pause.

Meaning ….The applause the nightingale received unnerved the frog. He became swagger was replaced by circumspection and doom. He became a miserable soul. In the meanwhile, the nightingale’s audience swelled. All the listeners were enthralled with her music. Showering praise on her profusely, they prodded the nightingale to continue to sing one after another. The adulation she received from her audience kept her going till dawn.

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Jokowi in Jakarta –Indonesia has a new president

July 28, 2014 at 3:40 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jokowi in Jakarta — Indonesia breaks with the past

Joko Widodo will soon assume the reigns of presidency in Indonesia. This became apparent as the long and complex electoral process came to a close with the official announcement of the results by the authorities in Jakarta. Joko Widodo, fondly called Jokowi by his supporters, enters the presidency with a whiff of fresh air. He is not the stereotypical Indonesian politician. With no military roots, no backing of old political parties, and no financial muscle, he took on a formidable opponent of the tradition type, and won. In many ways, he was a green-horn having held no political office earlier. Nine years ago, he had been elected Mayor of the central Javan city of Solo.

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India’s Aviatiob Sector – Six new entrants – Civil Service essay

July 26, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More entrants to India’s aviation sector – Are they welcome?

By   Ansuman Tripathy, B.A, MFC, LLB

India’s Union Civil Aviation Ministry has issued to six no objection certificates to applicants who propose fly in both national and regional sectors. India has already eight carriers both in the public and private sectors. Air Asia has just taken to the skies in India raising a storm of expectations from the flying public. The Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture will soon enter the fray with formidable management and financial muscle. So, competition is going to get tougher and tougher. Air Pegasus is in the queue and is most likely to begin its operations soon adding to the fierce competition in the sector.

Air India is plagued by the many debilitating owes any public sector undertaking in India has to grapple with. Its debt burden is huge, and its operational efficiency is abysmal. Flying the VVIPs and paying for staff who do not have much work to do hemorrhages it continuously. It can’t expand its fleet strength due to paucity of capital. In fact, State Bank of India’s bulging NPAs have a major share of loans made to Air India in the past. Air India is able to fly because the government doles out periodic dozes of cash assistance to it. Except Indigo Airlines, most others are struggling to keep going. The competition in the coming months may prove to be tragic for some of them – the same way Kingfisher Airlines found itself grounded.

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Budget Clarity and Succor for Real Estate sector

July 25, 2014 at 9:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Removing the muck from real estate financing — the REITS way

It is common knowledge that the real estate sector in India is known for its windfall profits, insolvencies, black money, mafia raj, environmental problems, and the non-performing assets of banks. Despite these negatives, this sector has shown impressive growth in recent years. Registering exponential growth, it has created huge commercial and retail spaces across cities and towns. A growing economy needs large buildings to house the increasing number of offices, malls, factories, markets etc. Going hand in hand with this, the real estate sector has built apartments both small and large in and around the growing urban centers. Thus, housing the middle class – a big problem for any economy– has been taken off the government’s shoulders. Additionally, it has generated round-the-year jobs for thousands and thousands of skilled, semiskilled and unskilled workers.
Like any other sector, the real estate entrepreneurs go through cyclical ups and downs. Presently, most real estate developers have large number of completed but unsold flats. Many other semi- complete building projects have stalled due to cash flow problems. The excess unsold inventory has made borrowers from banks to default on their loans. The large scale failure of borrowers to service the mounting debt burden has caused great distress to banks to as their NPA portfolio has bulged beyond acceptable limits. This creeping sickness wanted some succor from the central government.

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Stopping by the Woods in a Snowy Evening Analysis by Robrt Frost

July 22, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (1923)

by Robert Frost

 Introduction … Robert Frost finished writing this small, simple poem in just one night. He had never imagined that it would attract such universal attention, and readers would discover so much meaning in it. This poem got him the prestigious Pulitzer Prize – the highest literary award of America. The poem has been acclaimed as a very powerful, thought-provoking, and inspiring literary work. Although the text is so simple and clear, critics  have interpreted it in so many philosophical ways. Such intense interest in this poem both pleased and surprised Robert Frost. In fact, he felt a little embarrassed to see critics discovering so deep meanings in the poem which never crossed his mind when he penned the poem.
As regards the central message of the poem, it can be said that it is an intensely inspiring poem. Because of its underlying message, it strikes a chord in the mind of even the most insensitive reader. Like the Hindu epic Bhagvat Gita, it gives a clarion call for duty-bound action. Responsibilities to the family and the society must outweigh all other distractions — moral or immoral.  It implores the reader to eschew escapist tendencies, and shun languidness. He must prod on, despite all odds.

Jawaharlal Nehru, the visionary prime minister of India was so much moved by the poem that he kept its last three lines under the glass of his work table in his office. In his struggle to re-build India, he drew inspiration from it till he breathed his last.

The poem’s meaning

Robert Frost reveled in the serene natural setting of New Hampshire. It gave an impetus to his creative mind. He loved the woods, the silent environment, the trees and the snow that fell so exuberantly on them.
It was the day of the Winter Solstice – December 21 of each year, when darkness descends on the earth earlier than all other days of the year. Mounted on his horse, Robert Frost had set out on a long journey along a very lonely road that winded through a forest. The darkness of the dusk was setting in. He was tired. He stopped for a while in a spot that overlooked a solitary house belonging to one of his known persons. There was the frozen lake, the majestic trees, but no farm house in the vicinity. The sound of the chilled winds blowing and the falling snowflakes broke the silence of the place.
Frost was lost in the bewitching landscape of the spot. He wanted to feast his eyes in the beauty of the forest and its trees. So captivated was he by the scenery that he thought of standing there longer to savour the beauty of the forest and the trees — possibly forever. He had no intention to go to the comforts of the lonely house visible from there. Going there would have deprived him of the intoxicating pleasure of gazing at the woods.
Just then the horse shook its body making the brass bells tied to its harness make some sound. Perhaps, it was signaling to its owner (the poet) that any thought of hanging on in that place in the cold night would be a foolhardy idea. The sound the horse’s bells made disrupted the poet’s thoughts. He came back to his earthly senses. He remembered that he had an enormous, unfulfilled task ahead. To discharge it, he must move on. Forsaking the unfulfilled obligation that loomed ahead, just to enjoy the charm of the woods, would be an abdication of duty, he reasoned. That would result in painful moral indignation, and the un-forgivingly critical society would heap insults on him.
The underlying message ..
Repetition of just one line, “And miles to go before I sleep’ transforms the simple and short poem to a masterpiece. The charm of the woods and the trees can be likened to the worldly attractions which makes most human beings stray from the right path. The pleasures of life uproot our moral moorings, entice us to forget the call of duty and find virtue in escapism. Thus, lost in the indulgences of life, we degrade ourselves.
Only the most steadfast and righteous individuals conquer the attractions of life and cling to the path of ‘duty’, despite very heavy odds and painful sacrifices. They trudge on to fulfill the duties the society has thrust on them.
This core message makes the poem such an inspiring one.


GM CROPS — Adopt, but with caution -Civil Service essay

July 21, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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GM Crops – Adopt, but with caution

After what appeared to be an interminable wrangle, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has green-flagged the field trials of several food crops. Now, Indian scientists will be able to conduct studies to ascertain the usefulness or otherwise of Genetically Modified (GM) crops for Indian conditions.

Towards the end of the UPA 2 rule, the government had agreed to lift the moratorium on trial cultivation of some varieties of GM crops. Additionally, the government allowed experiments aimed at gathering bio-safety data. The GEAC has now gone a little further. It has allowed field trials of rice, brinjal, mustard, chickpea and cotton. Import of GM soyabean oil is now permitted too.

Clearly, the over-riding priority for India is to produce enough food to feed its surging population. In order to boost agricultural productivity, it has to develop high-yielding, drought and pest-resistant plants. Only science can accomplish this objective. Restraining the hands and brains of agricultural scientists to discover ways to boost farm output is, therefore, a regressive idea. The arguments against the use of scientific tools in agriculture are irresponsible, ill-informed, and motivated by antiquated ideas.

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NCERT English literature Class X – A Shady Plot by Elsie Brown

July 21, 2014 at 8:40 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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NCERT English literature Class X..

A Shady Plot by Elsie Brown

Para 1, 2 &3 .. Jenkins, the publisher, implored me to write another ghost story, because these were the sort of stories that titillated his readers. Such contents boosted his circulation. He felt his readers.

Para 4 .. I couldn’t disregard Jenkins’s words as his magazine was the only one to accept my writing.

Para 5 .. I had no inkling of a ghost story plot then, but I didn’t worry much as the ideas spring up unexpectedly inexplicably. It had happened like that in the past often. Somehow, the host stories find me; not the other way. My first fiction was a ghost story. The plot would elude me for months, but when I decide to give up, it comes rushing in.

Jenkins had sought a ghost story from me in the past, and I could produce one on demand. It is strange when I need money to pay off my grocer or the landlord, he begins to pester me for a story. Such ability to conjure up a plot in the spur of time had made me overconfident about my ability.    

Para 6 .. I headed home. Sitting down at my desk, I began to nudge my mind to think of a plot, but it refuse to activate. Soon, it wavered off to other mundane things. I began to think of my wife’s incorrigible love for shopping that strained my purse so much. I soon realized the problem was there to stay. Feeling powerless, I brought back my truant mind back to the task of thinking about ghosts and their ways.

Para 7 .. My struggle to enter the world of ghosts was turning to be a fool’s errand. I was getting annoyed with myself.

Para 8 .. I heard a voice that seemed to share my frustration.

Para 9 .. I sprang to my feet both in wonder and delight.

Para 10 .. Darkness was beginning to engulf the earth. Lost in my thought, I had forgotten to light the lamp. The room was semi-dark. Shadows of furniture were visible. As I stared into the darkness, some strange thing appeared to be forming. First to appear was an arm, then came a white blouse`, then a leg and a plaid skirt. Finally the full figure of a woman stood before me.

Para11 .. The woman was tall and scrawny, with large eyes. She wore big bone-rimmed spectacles. Her hair made into a ball hung behind her head, but strangely it was visible through her head. It was a weird view. She had nicely formed jaws almost akin to a living being. Over all, she had all the human features, but she wore a very unpleasant look.

Para 12 .. She came near, and looked at me with a piercing gaze. I had never met a woman like this before. I was puzzled at her intent.

Para 13 .. I sat still, thinking how to respond to the situation. At this time, in a very hoarse voice, she yelled, “What are you gaping at?”

Para 14 .. The shriek sent a shiver down my swine. I gulped down involuntarily although there was nothing in my mouth.

Para 15 .. I was nervous. I replied that I just wanted to know the purpose of her visit. Unable to hold back my curiosity, I asked her how she managed to gather herself limb by limb and how she got the sequence of assembly of the parts right.

Para 16 .. She appeared to be surprised at my ignorance. Very curtly she said that I had called for her.

Para 17 .. I was both bewildered and shocked at what she said.

Para 18 .. I expressed my great surprise at her claim.

Para 19 .. Very assertively, she asked me if I was not indeed looking for a ghost the whole afternoon to be able to write a story on.

Para 20 .. I agreed. In the next moment, a very troubling thought left me shivering in fright. I had advertized for a stenographer to help me out. The vacancy didn’t exist anymore as I had recruited someone. Was this lady aspirant for that post? I proceeded to explain the fact, but she cut me short.

Para 21 .. She confronted me with a question that really confounded me. She said she had come to attend the interview in time after finishing an earlier assignment, but I had been very perfunctory towards her. Instead of interviewing her, I had engaged in some frivolous chat.

Para 22 .. Accused of this neglect, I had no option but to apologize.

Para 23 .. She tersely told me not to bother her community anymore as they had decided not to respond to my summons. She even said that they were going on strike.

Para 24 .. I was quite taken aback.

Para 25 .. Again she showed her abrasive self. As if admonishing me, she asked me not to yell at her.

Para 26 .. My fear of the trespasser rose in the same way as my bewilderment. I told her that it was never my intention to raise my voice at her. Saying this, I told how clueless I felt about who she really was.

Para 27 .. Instead of clearing the air, she continued with her threats. She declared that they were going on strike, and that meant no more ghost plots would be available to me anymore.

Para 28 .. The rude words left me gaping in horror.

Para 29 .. I asked her if my earlier ghost stories emanated from her domain, her community.

Para 30 .. Yes, she said authoritatively.

Para 31 .. But I remonstrated saying none of the ghosts in my stories bore ant resemblance to her.

Para 32 .. She declared that my readers would be incredulous if my ghost characters looked like her. Saying this, she came forward menacingly. With little grace, she sat on the table disregarding the pens and pencils she was trampling on with her weight. Then she towards me.

Para 33 .. To add to my puzzle and discomfort, she declared that she had been a writer in her previous life.

Para 34 .. I was amazed.

Para 35 .. She nodded coolly.

Para 36 .. Then came her startling revelation. She said she had switched her career from a writer to a reader in a magazine in her earlier life. While uttering these words, she appeared to be immersed in thoughts. She confessed that she had passed through very torrid times. During that spell, she assumed that her enduring of extreme hardship was leading her to heaven. Finally, she died and became a ghost. She decided to avenge the misery that had been heaped on her.

Para 37 .. She proceeded to narrate how she came across others who had suffered similar ordeal. She joined hands with her fellow sufferers to form ‘The Writer’s Inspiration Bureau’. She and her coterie went around looking for writers who were mild-mannered and impressionable, and were short of ideas for ghost plots. On spotting the right target, they report the discovery to their main office which deputes one of them to call on the idea-less writer. After the encounter was over, the caller submits a report.

Para 38 .. In great awe, I told her that I had never seen her before.

Para 39 .. As if to show her magnanimity, she said she had come to inform me about the impending strike. That was why I was granted the opportunity to see her. Then came her shocker. She said how she had bent over my shoulders when I was trying to conjure up a plot.

Distraught and utterly confused, I grunted pulling apart my hair. The weird abominable character had touched me. This very thought made me convulse in disgust. What would my wife make of it when she got to know of this, I wondered. The odious visitor’s presence made me tremble with rage and distress. As if to further depress me with another doze of vulgarity, she said how her friends have often been called out of their beds in recent years. She said she was done with me.

Para 40 .. I was eager to assert that I never had any truck with her. I was keen to end the encounter politely.

Para 41 .. Mt diabolical visitor was in no mood to end there. As if to comfort me, she said that it was not me whom she was referring to. It was the fanatics from Ouija Board, she told me in a reassuring voice. As it appeared, they had a harrowing experience with Ouija Board guys. She said that their earlier errands for spotting gullible targets had been discontinued as a result. They were simply answering questions sitting at their desks in the office. She relapsed to a reflective mood.

Para 42 .. Restless at the incoherent things she was talking about, I wanted a quick end to the conversation. I earnestly told her that I had nothing to do with what had happened to her.

Para 43 .. Looking at me with a condescending stare, she rose.

Para 44 .. She wanted me to mobilize my friends and relations to rein in the hideous Ouija Board characters. Only after this, she and her community would be willing to help me, she said.

Para 45 .. I was about to tell her that I was not up to the task.

Para 46 .. I could hear someone coming towards the door.

Para 47 .. It was my wife. She was calling out to me by my name, ‘John’.

Para 48 .. I frantically waived my hand at the visitor. I wanted her to disappear.

Para 49 .. I begged the bespectacled intruder to leave at once. I certainly wanted not to be embarrassed when my wife came in.

Para 50 .. The ghost understood my plight. She became motionless and started to evaporate. First her gumboots became misty. The vanishing proceeded apace till her whole self began to become invisible. May wife was just entering the room then

Para 51 .. Before vanishing, she sternly told me not to forget the strike threat. As Lavinia, my wife came in, the visitor made her exit.

Para 52 .. My wife wanted to know why I hadn’t switched on the lights when it was so dark all around.

Para 53 .. I could answer nothing other than saying that I was engrossed in some thoughts.

Para 54 .. My wife was dismissive. She had heard me talking to somebody.

Para 55 .. My wife went a few steps forward to light the lamp. The awkward face I develop when nervous remained out of her sight as she faced the lamp with her back towards me.

Para 56 .. Ashe said she had bought a very exciting item that had everyone around her swoon over it.

Para 57 .. I was always in awe of her penchant buy new items. Her excitement made me very depressed as I had to foot the bill anyway.

Para 58 .. I fumbled to say something. I couldn’t dare to ask her what she had bought and what was the cost.

Para 59 .. With great sense of joy and exhilaration, she told me what it was. It was the Ouija board! She said what a bargain it was. But my face became sullen instantly. She was a bit surprised at the sudden change in my mood.

Para 60 .. I was beginning to feel disoriented.

Para 61 .. I dreaded the possibility of my lady visitor getting to know my wife’s new possession, and returning. The resulting shock would have driven my Lavinia to a frenzied eruption of shock, anger and jealousy.

Para 62 .. My wife was amused at my rapidly changing demeanor.

Para 63 .. I had to say that my keen interest in her new Ouija board made me look a little different. But I couldn’t help commenting that it was a foolish thing to buy.

Para 64 .. My wife was clearly upset at my failure to appreciate the item she had bought for me.

Para 65 .. May curiosity knew no bounds. How could a Ouija board interest me, I said.

Para 66 .. She proceeded to explain how the Ouija board could get me any information in a jiffy. Write a book on history would need no visit to the library and no endless pouring over books. By resting my paper on the board I could summon Napoleon, William, the conqueror, or even the Helen of Troy. It was a board with magical properties that could make ideas flow through my mind like a brook cascading down a hill. I could write stories and novels with great ease.

Para 67 .. I told my wife that she was no believer in Ouija boards supernatural ideas.

Para 68 .. Liviana admitted that she had been thrilled by its appeal. The shear excitement had driven her to buy it.

Para 69 .. Liviana vaguely looked around the room as she sat on the arm of my chair. There was nothing to catch her attention. I was relieved.

Para 70 .. I expressed my displeasure to my wife about her purchase. I made no secret of my extreme dislike for that object. In no uncertain terms, I demanded that she should at once go and get the item exchanged for something useful.

Para 71 .. She looked at me puzzled and somewhat annoyed.

Para 72 .. With a stern voice, she addressed me formally by my full name. She said the seller won’t exchange the item as it was under bargain sale. Secondly, she told me firmly that she had interest in otherworldly affairs, and that is why she must retain the Ouija board despite my loathing it. Exasperated, she stormed out of the room. I had no time to react.

Para 73 .. The situation remained rancorous the whole evening. I shudder to broach the Ouija board matter anymore that evening hoping that the tension would wear off in due course.

Para 74 .. After the supper, I want to restart my effort to write, but gave up as my mind’s doors remained shut to anything creative.

Para 75 .. The next day was Saturday. I had to leave early as I had a hectic day ahead. I couldn’t see Lavinia. I was making some money from my writing, but it was not enough for my purpose. I worked as an accountant in a lumber company to augment my income. The money I made from here helped me pay my grocer’s bills and meet the expenses of my wife’s erratic purchases. Friday had been a half holiday causing work to pile up. The pressure of work and my wife’s haughty mood left me with no room to take to writing.

Para 76 .. I disembarked from the taxi, and went in to my house upstairs. From a distance, I felt that the houses appeared brighter than usual, but as my mind was still in turmoil, I didn’t take notice of it.

Para 77 .. In the hall inside my house, Gladolia met me.

Para 78 .. In her faltering way, she told me how keen my wife had been to see that I returned early, and had called me to say so. Then she asked me not to start an argument with Lavinia over this which could spoil the occasion.

Para 79 .. I remembered having been given a message by our clerk, but as I was briskly searching for three misplaced receipts then, the message hadn’t registered in my mind.

Para 80 .. I don’t know what was passing through my mind then that made me to blurt out, ‘Company? What company?”

Para 81 .. She reminded me that it was my wife’s Ouija board party. Saying this, she winked towards the kitchen.

Para 82 .. Absent-mindedly I went upstairs, freshened up, wore a party suit and came down. But, I did all these so mechanically that nothing remained in my mind. I was so lost in my thoughts.

Part 83 .. The guests appeared to be in high humour as the decibel level was high. I went to the door which was ajar and peeped inside.

Part 84 .. The guests were all elderly women. They were the members of the Book Club which my wife patronized too. They sat in pairs with an Ouija board sandwiched between them. The triangular tables moved making a squeaking sound, but it was drowned by the noise of the animated discussion going on. Apprehensively, I looked around to see if the ghost had sneaked in. That would be a disaster for my wife. A hideous intruder might drive her nuts, I feared. Just then, my wife came in and tapped my shoulders from behind.

Para 85 .. My wife approached me with a very persuasive charming way. With her make-up, she radiated beauty and grace. She told me to pair up with Laura Hinkle in the Ouija game as her partner Mrs. William Augustus Wainright had dropped out in the last moment. Laura wanted a partner.

Para 86 .. I sulked at the suggestion. Before I could do anything to wriggle out of the difficult situation, I found myself led to the seat opposite to Miss Laura Hinkle. The Ouija board was placed on my knees. Laura looked into my eyes so solicitously that I felt a little awkward.

Para 87 .. I persisted with my reluctance.

Para 88 .. Miss Laura wouldn’t let me escape. She nudged me to play with her, but the way she lunged forward made me more determined to resist.

Para 89 .. I was adamant. I stuck to my position.

Para 90 .. Laura was persistent. Oblivious of the reasons behind my refusal, she felt I was hesitating because I didn’t know the rules of the game. Then she showed me how one partner has to put their finger tips in between those of the partner.

Para 91 .. Laura had taken my hand to hers and was holding it tenderly. She was manipulating it to the desired position. She released my hands and the board began to slide erratically. Was it the spirit at work? I was nervous, and wanted to see if my partner was moving the board herself. In that case, the idea of the wicked spirit would prove to be a humbug. I earnestly wanted to discover that my partner was indeed moving the board.

Para 92 .. Laura uttered, ‘Ouija dear, won’t you tell us something?’. No sooner had she finished saying this, than the board appeared to spring back to life.

Para 93 .. Then something very puzzling happened. The Ouija rushed to the upper left hand corner of the board and moved over it with its front leg on the word ‘Yes’. Then it began to fly around so fast that I failed to grab it. Laura bent forward to scribble ‘T-r-a-i-t-o-r’. I was clueless. Why she wrote this word, I wondered.

Para 94 .. I spoke to myself, ‘I don’t know.’ Nervousness and fear gripped me around my throat.

Para 95 .. Laura begged Ouija to explain herself more clearly.

Para 96 .. “A-s-k-h-i-m”. Ask him, Ouija had replied. Laura asked Oujia, whom it meant by ‘Him’.

Para 97 .. In utter disgust, I got up to leave, but the board appeared to drag me down. I dropped back to my seat.

Para 98 .. Laura was intently following the board that had begun to be moving about more briskly by now. She appeared to be trying to decipher what the board was trying to convey. In the background, there appeared to be the blue-eyed huntress overlooking us.

Para 99 .. Laura got to conclude that the messages emanating from the board were directed towards me. She didn’t know why and who was doing the talking. She asked Ouija to clarify who was behind the cryptic messages.

Para 100 .. I was unbearably distraught. Miss Lura Hinkle, my partner, was struggling to spell out a spelling. H-e-l-e-n. ‘Helen’. She uttered the name very loudly. In desperation, I called out my wife to find out if she knew anyone by that name ‘Helen’.

Para 101 .. In the din of the gathering, my wife couldn’t hear the name ‘Helen’. She rustled past her Book Club mates towards me.

Para 102 .. Then came the stunner. She told me how someone by the name of Helen was trying to contact Mr. Hunt through Mrs. Hunt’s and Mrs. Sprinkle’s Ouija. I was thunderstruck and became speechless.

Para 103 .. Struggling to get over the shock of her revelation, I remained quiet. My wife couldn’t comprehend my mind and wanted to know why I showed no reaction.

Para 104 .. I simply gaped at her as if to grasp what she said.

Para 105 .. Seeing my apparent disorientation of mind, my partner Miss Hinkle smiled that looked so silly.

Para 106 .. My Ouija partner disclosed that someone identifying herself as Helen was calling through her Ouija board too.

Para 107 .. I asserted that we knew no one by that name Helen.

Para 108 .. My wife suddenly became unduly inquisitive. Her piercing gaze was trying to delve into the mystery.

Para 109 .. There was a chorus emanating from the Ouija boards in the room. The cry was for my name. I was in a quandary trying to cope with such an unusual and embarrassing development. The Ouija boards hummed with activity and my name got to be heard louder and louder. I was a miserable soul by then being beaten down by so much unwelcome attention. I tried to pull myself up, but failed. My fright and discomfiture was so palpable. I sulked at the crowd of guests.

Para 110 .. Miss Hinkle was watching me intently. She felt I was hiding something very wicked. Her comments made me so flustered that I rushed out of the room.

Para 111 .. I was very agitated. There was no way I could pacify my irate mind. I changed my dress quickly and jumped on to my bed in total darkness. I didn’t like to think of the guests whom I had left so unceremoniously behind, nor did I like to think of the embarrassment I had caused to my wife, the hostess on that occasion.

I could hear the guests departing one by one thanking my wife customarily. She came upstairs. I lay still in my bed, my mind buffeted by the tumult of the Ouija party. Sleep eluded me till 3am. I dozed off after my nerves couldn’t take it anymore.

Para 112 .. When I came to the breakfast table the next morning, my wife was conspicuous by her absence. I assumed she was still in bed. I asked Gladolia, our domestic help, about her. Through her vague gestures she said something which O couldn’t understand. My breakfast over, I went to my study to resume my effort to begin my story.

Para 113 .. I had just seated myself on my chair when I heard a tap in my door. A white piece of paper was pushed in.

Para 114 .. It read, ‘DEAR JOHN’.

Para 115 .. There was a terse, heart-breaking message. She wrote she was going back to her grandmother and her lawyer would soon write to me.

Para 116 .. It was a bolt from the blue. I was utterly devastated. My anguish and sense of loss was overwhelming. I broke down.

Para 117 .. The message did not end there.

Para 118 .. I heard a very hurtful curse saying that I deserved this calamity.

Para 119 .. The letter and the reproachful voice coming out from nowhere had made me slump on my chair. I straightened, but dropped back again. The chain of devastating blows had frayed my nerves beyond my endurance limits. Just then, I could see a pair of white ladies shoes approaching me menacingly across the floor. With a chill racing through my spine, I looked on. The gait was not so unknown as I could remember having seen it before.

Para 120 .. I challenged the intruder.

Para 121 .. The voice seemed to come from a point right above the shoes at a height of five and half feet. When I looked up, I could see a wide protruding mouth. It said, she had no other way.

Para 122 .. I dared her to appear in full rather than in pieces.

Para 123 .. With anger and disgust, she said she needed time to appear in one piece.

Para 124 .. She appeared surprised at my change of attitude towards her.

Para 125 .. She appeared to be trying hard to gather her physical self. The eyes and the nose came out first.

Para 126 .. She blamed me for all the bungling that had happened and the resultant agony for me. As she was saying this, her hair and plaid skirt began to make their appearance.

Para 127 .. I was puzzled. How it could be my fault, I exclaimed.

Para 128 .. She implied that I had kept her awake the whole night before and had summoned her again. She was too tired to reappear again so soon.

Para 129 .. I asked her why she was bothered if she was so tired.

Para 130 .. She said that she was sent to ascertain when my wife was going to get rid of her Ouija board.

Para 131 .. I threw up my hands in despair. I said I regret my misfortune of having seen her. I cried out how she had robbed me of my wife, home and happiness. I persisted with my blame vociferously.

Para 132 .. I heard a voice from outside the room. It was apparently of Gladolia, MY COOK. She said she was going to leave. She had had enough of the witchcraft.

Para 133 .. I continued to castigate the devilish visitor.

Para 134 .. The visitor told me tersely that she had not come to hear my spiteful accusations.

Para 135 .. Then came in my dear wife Lavinia attired in her brown hat and coat which normally wore while travelling. She carried a suitcase which she kept down on the floor.

Para 136 .. The air was full of some dreadful expectation. The suitcase appeared to portend some approaching evil.

Para 137 .. I lounged forward with all my energy to somehow keep the odious devil out of the sight of my wife.

Para 138 .. My wife avoided my gaze. With a hurt look, she eyed the waste paper basket trying to glean some dark secret out of it.

Para 139 .. She told me that rather detachedly that she was leaving.

Para 140 .. I didn’t know how to react. With no prior thought, I conveyed my readiness to accept her proposition, although I knew I was talking disconertedly.

Para 141 .. Somewhat surprised at my dispassionate response, she demanded to know if I indeed wanted her out of my life.

Para 142 .. I was very keen to avoid a confrontation between my dear wife Lavinia and the wretched witch Helen. My wife was too timid to bear the sight of a ghost. If only, I could make my wife leave the room before I drove away Helen quickly enough, I could save the situation from turning uglier. With this priority in mind, I replied to my wife rather inhumanely that the parting of ways would her a lot of good. But, my intention was to get some free time with my wife to explain the whole matter.

Para 143 .. Lavinia was incredulous about my indifferent stance towards her. My capricious attitude made her suspicious.

Para 144 .. Just then Gladolia barged in to tell my wife to leave my place at once.

Para 145 .. My wife was curious to know why Gladolia was in such panic.

Para 146 .. Gladolia told how mortally she was scared of the Ouija boards. She loathed that devious device, she averred with great force.

Para 147 .. Lavinia wanted to if the Ouija board was the only thing that upset her so much as to leave the job.

Para 148 .. Gladolia readily agreed.

Para 149 .. Laviana commanded her to go to the kitchen and use up the Ouija board as firewood.

Para 150 .. At my wife’s suggestion, Gladolia recoiled in horror. She swore never to touch that Ouija board again.

Para 151 .. I volunteered to do that job. I said I was ready to stoop to handle the board and consign it to flames.

Para 152 .. Gladolia proceeded towards the kitchen.

Para 153 .. With a look that reflected her torment and disquiet, she demanded to know why I was keen to turn my back on her. What was the secret behind my loathing for her, she wanted to know.

Para 154 .. I wanted to make sure the damn ghost had left before I could open up to my wife. I said something silly to distract my wife as I scanned the room.

Para 155 .. With a stern and commanding voice, she told me to reveal the plot. Why was I so willing to dump her, she must know.

Para 156 .. I gesticulated vaguely to say that there was nothing like that. She had concluded that I had developed a romantic relationship with the elusive devil woman through the Ouija board.

Part 157 .. I protested with all the vehemence at my command. I swore there was nothing secret, nothing sinful. All the while, I was trying to ensure she didn’t look behind me lest she discovered the devilish Helen.

Part 158 .. With a violent jerk, she pushed me back. She screamed to discover who the Satanic Helen was.

Part 159 .. Helen announced her presence.

Para 160 .. Helen stood there with her wretched repelling look that no man on earth would ever like to have a liaison with. Her look would instantly attract disdain rather than love, my wife surmised quickly.

Para 161 .. In a barely audible voice, Lavinia murmured that she had expected to see a real paragon of beauty akin to the Helen of Troy. Now, she was seeing a disgusting witch!

Para 162 .. The visitor remonstrated saying she used to be the Helen of Troy of New York one day. Saying this, she got ready to depart.

Para 163 .. With that she fell down and sank quickly. We got to see her hand vanishing fast.

Para 164 .. My lovely Lavinia fell on to my arms. I kissed her warmly a couple of times. Then, I pushed her to the side. A strong impulse to write seemed to grip me. The scribbling papers and notes were lying on my table.

Para 165 .. I knew I had the most sizzling plot ever in my mind.


MH17 – Babarism invades aviation –Civil Service Essay

July 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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MH 17 Crash –Barbarism invades aviation

The ongoing fratricidal conflict in Ukraine has taken a tragic turn; the Malaysian airliner with 298 people has been brought down inside Ukranian borders. The plane and its passengers were not remotely involved in the conflict, and the un-suspecting pilot flew over the space at a height of nearly 30,000 feet, the usual cruising height of most modern passenger jets. It is not that the MH17 pilot was foolhardy and didn’t have the wisdom to avoid the conflict-ridden airspace. Many other airliners belonging to other airlines fly over this zone because it is assumed that the height of the plane and its radar signs will keep it out of the reach of any type of hostile ground fire.

Sadly, the MH17 flight was targeted by some trigger-happy military men with the lethal Buk missile in their possession. It is an instance of the un-intended consequences of a dirty festering conflict where irregular fighters fight a regular army. These militia men drawn from dubious backgrounds are half-trained, and operate under no clear chain of command.

The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace on Thursday was a sitting duck for those who fired the missile at it. It puts the whole international aviation industry in great risk. Life in the world today will come to a grinding halt if civil aviation is stifled in anyway. Thousands of flights take off and land every hour crisscrossing the airspaces of all sorts of countries, but no one ever harms them to settle military scores. International rules, practices and protocols are scrupulously followed by all countries to ensure maximum safety for the passengers. In this case, those, who brought down the aircraft, broke all the rules.

The whole world mourns the dead. Now the focus must turn to ascertaining who brought down the plane, and who else were accomplices in this ghastly crime. The perpetrators must face the law.

In the last 75 years, at least 20 such aircrafts have been struck down by a missile or military jet. This time, the sides involved in the conflict have started to blame the adversary for the shooting down incident. Any one or two of the three parties — the Ukrainian government, the pro-Russian rebel forces fighting the separatist war in the eastern part of the country, and Russia, as the backer of the latter could be responsible. A few days ago, one large transport aircraft belonging to Ukraine was brought down by the pro-Russian militia. It is intriguing to find that some international carriers have been still using this air corridor knowing well that it is an area of intense military activity. After this ghastly incident, the airlines have decided to avoid the route altogether. The needle of suspicion points towards the rebel fighters. Being ill-trained, they do not understand the implications of firing a missile at a plane flying well above the visible range. In the past, they have rejoiced whenever they have brought down Ukranian fighter planes and helicopters. Past success might have spurred them to more dare devil acts.

The Malaysian Airlines was still reeling under the consequences of the MH370 loss when this disaster has come. Despite the deployment of the most advanced under-water search technology, the debris of the MH370have remained elusive so far.

The creeping danger of the conflict is now a subject of global attention. No doubt, it is gnawing at Russia’s reputation and goodwill. Russia now faces increasing disapproval of its role in arming the ill-trained militia groups with such lethal weapons. The clamour for more active involvement of the United Nations in ending the conflict has grown louder after this disaster. There is a growing demand for independent and UN-supervised investigation into the circumstances that led to the shooting down of the plane. Russia has said it will support such a probe. To what extent, it keeps its promise will be keenly watched in the coming days.

A few more passenger aircrafts were in the area when this incident happened. The Air India plane carrying Prime Minister Modi was one among them. Luckily, it diverted its flight path.

Such accidents only accentuate the demand for more proactive role by international aviation organisations in tracking or monitoring flights to ensure the safety of passengers. Airlines will have to accept such a monitoring mechanism sooner rather than later. The Civil Aviation Organisation has to step in now to reassure the air travelers that all precautionary measures, both short and long term, are being taken.


BRICS BANK –Civil Service essay

July 19, 2014 at 3:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

BRICS takes a giant leap — A new bank spanning four continents and five countries

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – Five countries in four different continents with very different economies, divergent political cultures and facing different challenges. Pundits, bankers and analysts had all unanimous in their view that they can’t gel in any tangible way in the world arena. Thinking of a co-funded bank was an exercise in absurdity, they all opined. It was the position just five years ago.

But the absurd idea has becoming a reality now. The five giant countries have 40 per cent of the world’s population and 20 per cent of its GDP. This statistics is impressive.

In the sixth BRICS summit in Brazil, the five countries have signed an agreement to create a development bank, similar to the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. The new bank, christened New Development Bank, will provide financial assistance to developing countries and emerging market economies. Its focus will be the financial of infrastructure projects mainly.
The coming into being of the New Development Bank marks a watershed in the history of international financing. It marks a departure from the practices and procedures of the west-dominated IMF and World Bank.
New Development Bank will have a capital of $100 billion bank. Initially, it will have a subscribed capital of $50 billion. With no great haggling, the five member countries overcame their differences over details. It has been agreed that the five founding members will have equal share for each in the bank, so as to ensure that no powerful member overshadows the less powerful ones. India and South Africa both wanted the headquarters to be located in their countries. After some discussion, the members veered towards Shanghai because of the clout China enjoys financially with its soaring economy and burgeoning Forex reserves. The Bank will also have an African Regional Centre in South Africa and India will assume the first presidency of the bank.
The idea of a BRICS bank was first floated at the fourth BRICS summit in New Delhi in 2012. With its formation, the Bank will in some ways upend the financial architecture conceived in the historic Brenton Woods agreements that resulted in the births of the IMF, World Bank in the aftermath of WW2. Smaller countries will find a voice in the new bank.

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