What does this actually represent???

Hey, it’s me, the blogger back with a new post! Most of you of have seen this symbol right? It can be seen everywhere from public toilets to houses.

We know it as the wheelchair symbol, but its formal title as per the ISO( International Organization for Standardization) is the International Symbol of Access.

When I first heard about this, I was thoroughly confused. Everyone from my peers to even my Lawyer cousin were unclear as to what the symbol means. At a certain point, even I began to wonder, is this just some rumour spread through WhatsApp or a genuine fact? So I did some digging & what I found was really interesting.

One of the main reasons that people are perplexed about the meaning of this seemingly plain symbol may stem from how the symbol came about & why. In 1968, The International Commission of Technology & Accessibility held a design contest ( though I’m not sure how they would have had the time to say all that every time they gave an award) They were looking for something that would be recognizable no matter the distance( self descriptive), simple, practical & couldn’t be confused with existing symbols.

The winning design which for some weird reason didn’t have a head, was designed by Susanne Koefed, a Danish designer. With the addition of a head the following year made it more relatable & boy did succeed in doing that, because by the next ten years, it was endorsed by not just the ISO but by the United Nations themselves!!!

Without pizzazz or commotion, a global icon was born. But come the 2000s & even this simple sign needed an update. So the Graphic Artists’ Guild took it upon themselves & added more rounded, human-ish features. Then in 2012, The Accessible Icon Project came up with a more, shall we say, souped- up variant.

But this doesn’t really answer the question about this sign’s purpose. To put it simply, it is a sign which is used to indicate where there are accessible amenities like toilets or restaurants  . The strength of such Globally recognizable image is that no matter the tongue you speak , the country you are in, or the clothes you wear, if you require such facilities, the sign shows the way. So the next time you decide to visit a foreign country & are caught in ” I need a bathroom” situation but don’t understand the language? Don’t  worry, because the trusty wheelchair will show the way.

Ok, now you’re probably thinking ” If it’s that simple, then why is there so much confusion about this?” . That comes from the term accessibility & what it actually means.  Many people assume that since the symbol is about a wheelchair, the accessible facilities are only meant to be used by those who use wheelchairs or those who have a visible physical condition. But accessibility is a diverse concept that applies to plethora of conditions, ranging from people with autism to autoimmune diseases, like lupus.

In fact the World Health Organization estimates that they are approximately 1 billion people who suffer from some form of disability. So look to your left & look to your right because statistically you live in a world where even your best friend could differently abled. And people who use wheelchairs make up only 15% of the total amount. The vast majority suffer from non-visible disabilities. So these accessible amenities have to be designed keeping this whole group in mind.

In recent years, several people have begun to question whether the symbol is really appropriate for what it’s meant to do. This is not just about encompassing the masses but also because people tend to be abusive & intolerant towards people without visible disabilities. This symbol, which was meant to unite the human race has sadly been warped & instead used to further divide us.

There is however a ray of hope. The recent redesigns have attempted to address the concerns about the current symbol. There is a growing acceptance towards differently abled people & this new generation of movers & shakers is to be given much of the credit. In order to highlight this & signal the beginning of a new era, some advocate a complete re-design, but it’s a strenuous task, how do you replace something that is familiar through out the globe. And what will be it’s successor?

I hope this post has given you a better understanding of this universal symbol & its origins. Hope you enjoyed reading this post & are eagerly awaiting more. Until next time, May The Force be with You.

 

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Youthquake!!!!

Hey guys it’s me, your favourite blogger!!! Today’s post is all about Youthquake, don’t worry it’s not some new natural calamity or another ” covefefe” incident.  No, Youthquake is the Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year !!! Now you’re probably wondering, ” Ok, but what does youthquake even mean?”. Well, the Oxford pocket dictionary defines the word Youthquake as:

A significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.

And you have to admit, it does have a nice ring to it. But seriously this is an amazing word & what I love about it, is that it accurately describes the new era that has dawned upon mankind. I mean, I am now a new species, as a matter of fact, everyone in my generation is a new species, Homo Sapien Sapien or ” Futuristic Man”.  This doesn’t mean that we have an extra pair of arms & legs or a 3rd eye, no it just means that our bodies & brains are very slightly different from the generations before us. They are more focused, more adaptive & are better configured to move in synchrony with the new, more technology-oriented world.

You have to admit, though that the youth are becoming more & more involved in matters that have global or at the very least, national impacts. From the Jallikatu protests here in Tamil Nadu to the Catalonia movement in Spain, it appears that we the youth, want to be recognized. We want our voices to be heard, our opinions taken seriously. We are a generation filled with keen problem solvers, leaders & those who will not take “no” for an answer.

Some say that the youth aren’t ready, that they haven’t seen the outside world, they know not the complications & conundrums that this world poses. But that is what makes us so deadly, the very fact that we aren’t ready.

Let me propose a simple thought experiment. Imagine a busy, crowded road, outside a school & imagine a child, with a heavy schoolbag, tired after a long day of school who has to cross this chaotic mess & reach his Bus, which is about a block away & is set to leave within 10 minutes. Now as an adult, this situation will puzzle & frustrate the best of you. But a child, has only 1 objective, getting from Point A to Point B as soon as possible & he will do anything to get there. He will climb over cars, he’ll weave through the sea of motorcyclists, he’ll use by lanes that no one knew existed & he will get to his destination.

Same rule applies here , while adults have to struggle though the red tapes of bureaucracy, children can mobilise the masses, start quick response teams & fix buildings with just a snap of their fingers. However, there is one drawback. This natural instinct to belong , to change the world is often curtailed as its seen as immature & utopian. Now there is some merit to this, sometimes kids tend to go overboard for the wrong reasons or the wrong causes. This is where we need adults, to help reign us in when our good intentions are for the wrong causes. That is how Life was designed to be like, But now, over the years, the scales have shifted severely in favour of the adults.

But there is hope, several people are now awakening to the possibility of a balanced society, a society where the voices of youth aren’t muffled, but heard & accepted , a society where there is mutual growth & understanding between the youth & the adults, a society which truly embodies the ideals of “Pro pace et fraternitate gentium”  

Before I sign off, I happened to notice that the comment box in my blog has been awfully silent for some time, so maybe you can help me fix that? So hope you guys enjoyed this post & are eager for more!! Till next time, Farewell!

It’s Tikki Takka time!!!!!

All those who love a good football match, please raise your hands!!!!! A vast majority of you would say heck ya because this Beautiful Game is celebrated throughout this Universe ( Uni= One, Verse= Song, so essentially One Song). Well some of us are great at playing the game but aren’t so great when it comes to managing( I’m looking at you Maradona) while others aren’t great players but are the greatest managers ever. Well I belong to the latter half, I’m certainly not up there with the greats like Sir Alex & Jose Mourinho but I am a mean strategist & my FIFA 17 records prove it!

But some of you would say ” That’s just a game, it’s very different in real life”, Well I agree with you so for the past few months, I had been pestering my class football team to let me manage them for just one tournament. Finally about 2 weeks back they had caved in & had made me their manager for an under 18 tournament that they were going for.

I was Super excited, it was going to be my first time managing a real team. So I decided to get a few formations & tactics ready. My friends were highly sceptical of my abilities(by highly sceptical, I mean Comments dripping with enough sarcasm to fill the ocean)This seriously unnerved me( as it was meant to) & I gingerly sent some pics of my formations in our WhatsApp group, seriously expecting them to treat it like a joke.

A 4-4-2 Football Formation

But to my surprise, The first comment wasn’t a GIF of laughter but was one praising those formations. This nearly caused me to faint! Several such comments were to follow & suffice to say that I was acting like someone had fed me Coffee & Red Bull at the same time, such was my level of joy.

The next day was D- Day so as to speak & when we gathered at the indoor stadium, we were given quite the rude shock, Every single one of the opponents was built like a bull & had beards that would give Santa Claus a run for his money! I went nuts! I ran around screaming” We’re all going to die!!!” about 50 times until my friends managed to calm me down. Taking a deep breath, I decided that the best course of action was to use our tactics & strategies to counteract their superior strength & pace. While my team was warming up, I was busy observing our opponents, learning their weaknesses & strengths & trying to see which formation would increase our chances of winning the most.

Finally with all my research was done, I briefed my team about what to do & made sure that each one of them understood their roles perfectly. But that wasn’t a difficult job because these guys were some of the best players in our entire school & had some fantastic footballing brains up in their craniums, so this was super easy for them to understand.

So prep done, we headed out to battle. We played 2 matches, lost one & won the other, but we didn’t to qualify as the team that had beat us had won both their matches, including ours, thus automatically qualifying for the semi-finals & nothing could have been done about it. Deflated we returned to the dugout where the two teams that played against us congratulated us! We were confused as to why they would do so when one of them explained that they were 2nd-year college students & they had never gone up against 14 yr olds who put up such a fight or had such efficient strategies. We were stunned for a few seconds but then we burst into celebration, due to the fact that we had beaten a group of 2nd-year college students( Ironically the scoreline in that match was 2-0) & had impressed another group of them.

Compliments flew around, each one crediting someone else for the win, my name included! But the kicker for me was that they declared that I would be their manager in every tournament from now on. Once more I fainted but not on cement flooring, instead of like an act of fate, on the green turf right in front of Sir Alex’s Painting.

 

 

How I taught my Grandmother YouTube

Hello world, it’s time for my 1st set of weekly posts! And this one is a kicker! The reason for this title is my own grandmother & my desire to create a more modern-day version of  Sudha Murthy’s award-winning book” How I taught my Grandmother To Read”, a delightful book whose rainbow colours were obscured by the monochromatic fact that we had to mug it up, just to get a measly letter on our report cards (Curse you Education System). Aside from the fact that my post which will tear up this decrepit system is on track to get published very soon, the inspiration for this particular post began about 2 days ago.

My Navaratri holidays had begun & I was in paradise, beating my friends in online FIFA 17 matchups, wanting to watch Kingsmen: The Golden Circle, Praying to God that both Lukaku & Dhoni should get an Oscar when I caught sight of my usually chatty & lively grandmother, looking sullen & crestfallen. So I walked up to her & so began the ensuing dialogue:

Me: Patti (Tamil for grandmother), what’s wrong?

Patti: Nothing Vaageesh, I just feel so bored these days (Ok a bit anti-climatic but hey it’s the truth), there is no excitement in my life anymore.

So I thought to myself, how do I bring excitement into the life of someone who had seen more than seventy years of this world, when it hit me, she hadn’t seen the one thing that had turned Homo Sapien (wise human) into Homo Sapien Sapien (futuristic human), The internet! So I bolted upstairs, grabbed my laptop, a chair & prepared to send my grandmother into the world wide web.

This was easier said than done, it was an exhilarating & curious experience trying to explain to her this world which was like second nature to me but a conundrum to her. I enjoyed explaining simple concepts like Google to her & I saw that this was opening new doors for her.

The next step was, of course, the most popular destination in this Universe, YouTube. I was floored by my grandmother’s excitement about a place where she could binge watch just about anything from the weather to Trump’s toupee (I think this was due to the fact that I had used south Indian soap-operas as an example). She made remarkable progress, subscribing to half of South Indian TV’s YouTube channels, getting brand new material to discuss with her friends & generally getting a brand new lease of excitement. She is quite the multi-tasker, watching Big Boss, chatting with my aunts, skyping her relatives all at the same time.  I am astonished that her love of learning hasn’t diminished after so many years, it truly does inspire you to want to be the same when you reach that golden age.

I am planning to introduce her to WhatsApp very soon, but I am currently busy trying to explain to her why a mouse is called a mouse, so I have to go, till next time my people, till next time.

 

MUNing

MUN stands for Model United Nation & Muning, is an oratory skill, like debating, but what separates it from other such skills is the fact, that MUN is internationally funded & encouraged by the UN & is considered as an equivalent to joining a 2-year Cambridge English course, minus the sleepless nights, inane grammar & stiff British accents!

You may be wondering why I am babbling about all this, well I have recently just started Muning & it’s a fantastic experience! It’s so invigorating & challenging at the same time, you get to meet so many people & it’s literally a melting pot for ideas!

MUN simulates the operations of a real UN committee. What happens is you are given a country, say Ethiopia & a committee, like CCC (Climate Change Committee) for example & you are given an agenda i.e. what the committee has gathered to discuss. What you do is present your country’s stance on the given agenda. In a MUN, you become the delegate of our nation so your personal opinions or views don’t matter & frankly shouldn’t exist during the MUN, you must full & full follow your country’s perspective & opinions.

The idea is to help you see things from another’s perspective.

Now you must always prepare at least a week before every MUN, researching about your country, its stance on the issue, its allies, enemies, economic status & the agenda in general. Also, there will be delegates representing other countries so research about their countries as well.

Since MUN simulates UN procedure the whole session has formal phrases & codes that must always be followed, like referring to yourself in 3rd person, always using we, not I, with the permission of the Chair etc.

If you want more in depth & detailed info about MUN procedure, visit  bestdelegate.com

If you want to watch a Mock MUN, watch this:

These links will help you get a basic idea about MUN procedure but the spirit of MUN is not that, it’s in the camaraderie between delegates, the tough situations you are given, the amazing Chairs ( Not the furniture, the person who oversees the committee) the crazy antics of fellow delegates, missing school,😉 learning new information, your new perspective on the world, all this & more are what defines the very essence of Muning.

Granted, MUN does at first seem a touch too formal but once you get into it, you will find that that’s a small price to pay for rewards that will last through out your life. How? Well for all our “I just want a good paying job, a house & 2.5 kids” people, having 1-2 yrs. of MUN experience on your resume increases your chance of achieving what some call the American dream by over 40%! And yes, it isn’t restricted to 1st world countries alone.

But for those who joined MUN because they were actually interested, you are going to reach something greater than this my friends, you are not going to become a Corporate Mogul or an orange faced president, instead, you are going to be a part of an amazing Global Community of ideas, knowledge & harmony.

My second marathon

Hi guys, I’m back with another new experience to share with you today. It’s about my 2nd marathon!!

The marathon was organized by TiE Chennai to celebrate entrepreneurship & also to venerate the TiE Global Summit which was to take place in Delhi (India) for the 1st time. The marathon had two categories, 3 KM & 5 KM. The event was to take place in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai, the home ground of Chennaiyn FC (A popular football club in ISL. They have sort of acted as a replacement for CSK). Now, before I get into all the nitty gritty of the event, I would like to talk about something remarkable that I saw while I was there. Now don’t expect me to say something crazy like Aliens singing & dancing or Batman enlisting me as his new sidekick (Though I would’ve loved for that to have been true).

tie-chennai-dec2016-marathon

What really wanted to talk about is concerning a dog. Yes, you read that right, a dog! Now this dog had been watching the marathon from the start all the way to its end & even joined in at the last. So if a dog could write about this event, this is how I think it would.

Yawn!!! Good morning world.

Hey what’s going on today?!!!

(Looks around) What the heck are all this humans doing here today & that to this early! It’s not 1 of those loud ball kicker days, is it?

But those infernal things are never this early & they’re never this many humans around my potty line. Hmm! Why are all of them gathered around that big stand thingama jiggy? And why in the name of Bhairava are they wiggling their tails & paws all over the place??!

And they’ve brought their cubs too! Humans are weird but their cubs are even weirder! Some of them wear weird bits of the “Stone that burns & freezes” in their mouth & others wear objects of the “Stone that bends like water” with the “Stone that sees through all” within it! Another group douses themselves in “Smoke that chokes”. The list goes on & on.

Now what’s this, they’ve all gathered & are listening to a person, who judging by his midriff & the 2 stones he holds, appears to be their alpha. He is growling into 1 of those stones which has greatly magnified his voice, so much so that the other humans have stopped peering into their “Stones that Show the Lights of others” & started listening to him. He is madly gesturing towards my den & when he finishes, there is a thunder of approval from the other humans. I suspect that he is planning to drive me & my brothers from our home so that the humans may raze it down & build another one of their queer mountains of grit. The other humans must be here to assist him in this & the cubs have been brought here for their first lesson in human greed. I can’t let this happen! I’ve lost enough of my brothers & sisters to these maniacal humans.

Oh no, they’ve readied themselves into a pack! I must hurry (Runs down from the stands) Arrgh, Bow! Bow! Bow! (Stop! Stop! Don’t you dare touch my home or there will be severe consequences) (Sees them running) NOOO!!! Stop! Don’t you dare! What’s this, they’ve all turned away from my home!! Ha-ha, run puny humans, run for you can’t defeat me!!! (Lops to his seat) I’d call that a success!!

But wait, why are they running around on my scent trail again & again! This is one the weirdest things I’ve ever seen humans do! Ok this is getting very boring, I’m going back to sleep!( Wakes up later) What they’re still going !!! And some of them are wearing shiny versions of the “Stone that burns & freezes” on their necks & dancing about in joy! Well maybe I should help these remaining humans finish their chase of stone. Well better go now .

Well see you, bye!!

United Nations Day at my School

Hi guys, today I’m here to talk about something that concerns us all, UN! Now don’t worry this isn’t going to be about Donald Trump or Brexit or demonetisation so you can stop worrying about that. This was something I was chosen to do. And pray tell what was I chosen for? Ok, I’ll tell you, but 1st, deep breath everyone because this might just stun you, “I’VE BEEN CHOSEN TO COMPARE, MANAGE, DIRECT & PRESENT A 2 hour PROGRAM ON UN 2016!!!! Now you’re undoubtedly wondering where, why & when?

Well, it all started about a month ago, at my school. It was lunchtime & I was busy bargaining with one of my friends for a spoonful of his noodles in exchange for my Lays chips when suddenly, a towering 9th standard student barged in & proclaimed that I had been summoned to the Principal’s Office!!!! Now I’m not exactly Mr Rules follower so as you can imagine, my knees were shaking & my heart was in my throat as we entered the Principal’s Office or as we like to call it, “The Point of No Return!!!!”.

Once we had exchanged pleasantries & seated ourselves, I waited to hear my judgement. With tension in the air evident, the principal opened her mouth to utter the immortal words” You have been selected to present a program on UN & its policies within a week’s time.” All the terrifying thoughts that had hijacked my mind vanished as I breathed a sigh of relief & replied “Yes”. And so, began a week of turmoil, late nights & training that all were to attain culmination on a Friday.

But of course, I couldn’t have done this without the support, encouragement & wisdom of our school’s Head of the Social Science Department, Shanthi Chandrasekaran Mam.  She was the guiding light for this program & fun fact she was the very reason why I had been selected for this. So big thanks to her. And so, we toiled & trained in preparation for a gem of a program whose script is right below. Now you’re all probably wondering how the show was received & how we trained the actors. Well fear not, for the details are given below. The actors were selected by Shanthi Chandrasekaran Mam & I, with my 5 yrs of experience in the field of theatre, trained them. At first then results weren’t promising, what with actors forgetting their cues or lines & in some cases, turning into emotionless robots. But as the days wore on, the actors began to exhibite their skills & the future of the show seemed bright.

Now fast forward to D-Day, we were busy rallying our forces & readying the stage for our audience of entire middle school to watch & enjoy. Having been in the audience myself for countless amounts of time, I had designed the program to invoke as much joy & interest as I could from my audience. There were a few minor hiccups in between, like the projector not working & actors missing but they were all sorted out & we were ready for battle. And needless to say, we blew the socks of our audience! This program was touted as the best in the history of our school by our Advisor Chandra Srinivasan mam.

You can read the script for Child Rights Denial Plays” (PDF) I wrote for the programme and the speech I gave (PDF).

All this & more sent me to cloud nine. I had never imagined that I could pull off something this big. But I’m glad I did, because I met & worked with some amazing people who have left a deep impression in my life.

Well that’s all for today guys, but don’t worry because I’ll be back.  So until then, Take Care, Bye.