John Ruskin

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JOHN RUSKIN (8/02/1819-20/01/1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian Era, also an art patron, draughtsman, water colourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist.  He wrote on subjects, ranging from geology to architecture, myth to ornithology, literature to education, botany to political economy.  His writing styles and literature forms, were equally varied.  Ruskin penned essays and treatises, poetry and lecture, travel guides and manuals, and, even, a fairy tale.
The elaborate style, that characterised his earliest writing on art, was later superseded by a preference for plainer language, designed to communicate his ideas –more effectively.  In all of his writing, he emphasised the connection between nature, art and society.  He was hugely influential, in the latter half of the 19th Century, and up to the first World War.  Today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognised as having anticipated interest in environmental sustainability and craft.
He argued that the principal role of the artist is TRUE TO NATURE.  From the 1850s, he championed the Pre-Raphaelites, who were influenced by his ideas.  UNTO HIS LAST (1860, 1862) marked the shift in emphasis.  In 1869, Ruskin became the 1st SLADE PROFESSOR of FINE ART at the University of Oxford, where he established the RUSKIN SCHOOL OF DRAWING.  In 1871, he began his monthly “letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain”, published under the title FORS CLAVIGERA (1871-1884).  In the course of tis complex and deeply personal work, he developed the principles, underlying his ideal society.  As a result, he founded he GUILD OF SAINT GEORGE, an organisation that endures today.
Some of his sayings :
(1) SUNSHINE is DELICIOUS, RAIN is REFRESHING, Wind BRACES US UP, SNOW is EXHILIRATING; there is no such thing as bad weather, only DIFFERENT KINDS OF GOOD WEATHER.
(2) A little thought and a little kindness, are often worth more than a great deal of money.
(3) The essence of lying is in deception, not in words.
(4) Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty.
(5) When love and skill work together, EXPECT A MASTERPIECE.
(6) There are no such things as FLOWERS, there are only GLADDENED LEAVES.
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Hair fall

Most people never get to the root cause of hair-fall, and start reacting when it is too late.  Hair-fall may be due to prolonged illness, dandruff, inadequate diet, stress, hereditary factors, no hair-care program and the type of water and shampoo used.
Here are a few tips :
(1) Massage the hair with a combination of pure almond and castor oil.  Steam the hair twice a week.
(2) After massaging, make a hair pack : 2tsp each of amla, reetha, shikakai, fenugreek, triphala and brahmi powder.  Mix with 2eggs and apply on hair.  Leave for 30-40mins.  This is to be done after oiling the hair.  You will see the difference within 2wks.
(3) Diet plays an important part.  Eat lots of raw foods —carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, celery.  Also eat spinach and cauliflower.  Eat lots of fruits and dairy products —milk, paneer, curds, cheese.
(4) The use of HENNA thickens and conditions the hair, and also acts as a natural dye.
(5) Taking multi-vitamins is also essential.
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(6) Avoid using the comb and brush of others, and disinfect your own comb and brush with Dettol.
(7) If you have dandruff, massage your hair with warm coconut oil and apply the juice of two lemons.  Steam the hair and leave the oil on for about 2hrs.  Use a mild shampoo, 2-3 times a week.
(8) Drink at least 10 glasses of water daily.
(9) Avoid sugary foods, fried foods and too much spice in your food.
(10) Stress leads to severe hair-loss.  Relax, take up a hobby or listen to music.
(11) Never brush or comb wet hair.  Wait, till the hair dries naturally and then comb out with a wide-toothed comb.
(12) Chemical colours and dyes —-a total disaster for hair —–AVOID THEM

Just Think…

Blast from the past…

SPEAKZEASY

(1) One desiring happiness should strive after a perfectly contented disposition and control himself, for happiness has contentment for its root, while the root of unhappiness is discontent. 

(2) It is much better to acquiesce than to engage in angry words and fruitless contention. 

(3) Words of contempt should not be spoken, even to the meanest. 

(4) That code of conduct, which avoids all desire, anger and offensive speech, deserves to be called DHARMA. 

(5) As one acts according to ones conduct, so does he become.  The doer of good becomes good; of evil, evil.  One becomes virtuous by virtuous acts and wicked by wicked acts. 

(6) It is to perceive the avoidable in others and difficult to see them in ones own self.  Indeed one spreads out the avoidable in others like chaff, and then conceals them in one?s own self like a wicked gambler hiding his foul throw. 

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Count your blessings

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We should always thank God for everything that comes.  Our lives should be one of thanksgiving.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him all creatures here below.  I once saw a man draw some black dots.  I could make nothing of them.  Then he drew a few lines, put in a few rests, then a clef at the beginning, and I saw that these black dots were musical notes.  There are many black dots in our lives, and we fail to understand WHY they are there.  If we let God into our lives, and adjust the dots in the proper way, and draw the lines He wants, and separate this from that, and put the rests at the proper places; out of the black dots, in our lives, He will make a GLORIOUS HARMONY.
“Would we know that the major chords were sweet
If there were no minor key ?
Would the painter’s work be fair to our eyes
Without shade on land or sea ?
Would we know the meaning of happiness
Would we feel that the day was bright
If we’d never known what it was to grieve
Nor gazed on the dark of night ?
When the musician presses the black keys on the great organ, the music is as sweet as when he touches the white ones, but to get the capacity of the instrument HE MUST TOUCH THEM ALL.  So,
Count your blessings, name them one by one
And it will be surprise you what God has done”.

The key to happiness

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Most of us do not know HOW TO BE HAPPY.  We search for happiness outside.  “No one can be happy for you ——YOU’VE GOT TO FIND HAPPINESS WITHIN YOURSELF”.  Most of us feel happy, when we are praised or when our needs and desires are fulfilled.  We feel sad, when our expectations are not met or our ego is hurt.  Does our happiness depend on others ?  No, and those who know that, will live happily in all situations —favourable or unfavourable.
At a party, a lady asked her friend whether her husband made her happy.  This is what she asked, “You always seem to be happy.  Does your husband look after you so well ?”  The husband, who was quite near to hear the question, paid attention to the conversation.  He had always been a good husband.  So he knew that his wife would answer in the affirmative.  However, to his surprise, the wife replied, “No, he doesn’t make me happy”.  The husband was horrified.  He couldn’t believe his ears.  She continued, “No, he doesn’t make me happy.  I MAKE MYSELF HAPPY.  The fact, that I’m happy or not, doesn’t depend on him, BUT DEPENDS ON ME.  I make the choice  —–to be happy in each situation and in each moment o my life.  If my happiness were to depend on my husband, other people or things or circumstances on the face of this earth —–I WOULD BE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE”.
Everything that exists in this life, changes continually : people, wealth, emotions, behaviour, body, climate and choices, and if you depend on these factors ——YOU WILL NEVER BE HAPPY.  The wife continued, “I decide to be happy and the rest is a matter of experiences or circumstances.  It’s not the responsibility of my husband to make me happy.  he has his emotional us and downs, and when I see them not being compatible with me, I remain silent and do not react negatively.  Despite everything, I love my husband and he loves me”.
Unknowingly, we give the remote control of our happiness to others around us, to the situation that we face, to the amount of money we earn.  But what we forget is that only we have the ability to bring happiness into our lives.  BEING HAPPY is an attitude towards life and each one of us must decide whether we want to stay happy, temporarily in phases or we want to stay happy perpetually.  WE NEED TO FIND HAPPINESS WITHIN OURSELVES.

David ‘Poirot’ Suchet bows out

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British actor, David Suchet, has spent a quarter-century, bringing to life a certain FUSSY Belgian Sleuth, with a moustache as impeccable as his intellect and crime-solving skills.  He has been rewarded with the sort of critical praise ——- ‘miraculous’ and ‘splendid’ applied adjectives, for his dedication to HERCULE POIROT, through 70 adaptions of Agatha Christie’s works.
There is a lot of fan-reaction, too.  “The most extreme example happened to me in Canada”, Suchet recalled recently.  He was there, taking a coffee-shop break, during production of a movie, when suddenly, a scream pierced the quiet.  “A lady shrieked, ‘I would know the back of that head anywhere’.  She rushed across the room and planted a kiss right there”, he said, gesturing to his cheek.
Suchet’s beautifully realised POIROT is a remarkable feat of sustaining a character, through an uncertain production schedule, in which seasons were separated ——–BY LARGE GAPS.  It took 25 yrs, to bring the supremely confident, 1930s-era sleuth to his 12th season and LAST CASE, a reward for the actor’s and audience’s patience.
Suchet’s final TV turn, as Poirot, was to begin on PBS with THE BIG FOUR on Sunday, and on August 3rd, DEAD MAN’S FOLLY.  The episodes will be available on British TV streaming service www.Acorn.TV and on Roku and other platforms, followed by Acorn TV’s exclusive presentation of 3 more new episodes.  The trio, includes —ELEPHANTS CAN REMEMBER (Aug.11) and LABOURS OF HERCULES (Aug.18), and culminates with Curtain : POIROT’S LAST CASE on Aug.25.  It is going to be a poignant finale.
The 5 new episodes and the 65 previous ones, then will be available on Acorn TV, part of RLJ Entertainment Inc.  Miguel Penella, RLJ Entertainment’s Chief Executive said.  The off-screen Suchet, who was in los Angeles, in June while touring with the stage drama —“THE LAST CONFESSION”, shares a set of prominent, deeply arched eyebrows with the fictional detective.

True friends

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“In the end you’ll know, who your real friends are.  They are the ones who see you for WHO YOU ARE, and, NO MATTER WHAT, always find a way to BE AT YOUR SIDE”.
Can you imagine a world WITHOUT YOUR REAL FRIENDS ?  Today, it is UN WORLD FRIENDSHIP DAY.  True friends must counsel and criticise each other, so as to bring out the best in them.  “Faithful are the wounds (criticisms) of a friend”  and, ” the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his/her earnest counsel.  I am not a TRUE FRIEND, if I do not counsel and criticise my friend when he/she is wrong.  Friendships must be of equals.  The Psalmist says, “You my equal, my close friend, within God’s temple we walked in fellowship”.  Without equality, friendships become fetters of domination-subjugation.
The Bible speaks of David & Jonathan,” The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved David —–AS HIS OWN SOUL.  Naomi and Ruth (Naomi was Ruth’s MIL) ——-there was friendship between them.  Ruth said, “Wherever you go, I shall go, wherever you live, I shall live, your people will be my people”.
Whether Friendship is promoted for commercial purposes by Hallmark or Archies, to sell cards, gifts and friendship bands, is immaterial.  What matters, most, is what former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon envisaged, “On World Friendship Day, let’s cultivate warm ties, that strengthen our common humanity — what our Indian Constitution terms ‘bandhuta’, and promote the well-being of the human family.  Friendships involve rewards, responsibilities.  May God, our Friend, help us to knit our souls with many TRUE FRIENDS ————FRIENDS FOREVER.