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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Definitely Abroad With #DefinitelyPTE




A good education is undoubtedly the foundation of a successful and rewarding life. The importance of education cannot be overestimated and right from school to college, every institution one studies in, shapes the life greatly. In fact, a person is all about what he has learned and experienced in his years of education. Even though there is no dearth of good educational institutions in India, many other macro factors limit the seats and hence, students look towards other lucrative option in foreign lands. Some of the greatest educational institutions are situated abroad and boast of an enviable alumni list. Many Universities offer very affordable fee structure while some, an extremely rewarding cultural life. To experience such education is indeed a matter of great privilege. However, to join a good university abroad, apart from funds, there are many things that are needed to be taken care of. After one chooses his or her preferred university on the basis of criteria like the course of choice, fee structure, location, scholarship alumni, and the like, comes the next steps- the paperwork and the English Language Test. The paperwork including visa and passport formalities, medical certificates and travel insurance can be managed without much trouble but the latter requires knowledge and skills to crack the barrier and move ahead towards the goal. This test is taken by students whose native language is not English. The valid score card of an English language test like ILETS (The International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is necessary for admission to universities abroad.


IELTS comes in two variants, viz, ‘The Academic’ and ‘The General Training’. While the former is for those aiming for higher education in foreign universities, the latter is for those wishing to migrate to Canada, Australia and the UK or to apply for secondary education, training and work experience in an English-speaking country. More than 10K institutes and training organizations across the world accept IELTS score while more than 9K colleges in 130 countries accept TOEFL. A good score in these can ensure the success of the endeavor to study or work abroad.

Studying abroad is definitely not a cakewalk; there are problems like financial aid, tax issues, and medical certifications apart from competitive test scores. Some universities offer hostels while for others, students need to manage their own accommodations. This can be daunting a bit but can be managed with a good professional help. English tests like ILETS and TOEFL too can be successfully cracked with professional help like that of Pearson Academic. Foreign countries that have English as native language prefer a good score in such tests so that the student faces no major issues when he or she arrives to the institution.
PTE Academic is by far the best way to crack the English Language Test. Scores arrive as early as within five days and the testing system is fully computer based. These scores are accepted in all the universities in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand and also in most universities in other major education hubs like UK, USA, Singapore, Canada and Europe. Moreover, one can send the scores to as many universities as he or she desires without any additional fee! #DefinitelyPTE is the best choice in this regard!

PTE Academic is a hassle free three hour computerized test that can be taken round the year and is highly accurate and unbiased. It comprises of three parts after a one minute intro in the beginning. Part I is ‘Speaking and Writing’ with is 77-93 minutes long. Part II is ‘Reading’ and is 32-41 minutes long and Part III is ‘Listening’ which is 45-57 minutes long. An optional scheduled break of ten minutes is given as well making it easy on the nerves of the student! A good score can push up the chances of being accepted by the dream university. Thus for this, we can refer to PTE Preparation Course that come in three packages namely, Silver, Gold and Platinum Test Preparation Kit and can be purchased online on pocket friendly prices!

Once you are prepared, the test centre needs to be decided. PTE Academic has no dearth of test centers round the world. In India, 25 recognized centers including PTE’s own test centers are available for choice to the student. Thus any centre across the country that is most suitable can be easily booked! These centers are available not only in metros like new Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, but in smaller cities as well like in Rajkot, Patiala and Nagpur, to name a few. The process is trouble-free; PTE Academic test can be booked on phone by calling the PTE Administrators or online by logging in to their web page. The candidates have to register themselves with the basic information and once the registration is successful, a test can be scheduled as per the student’s convenience!

PTE Academic is widely accepted by thousands of universities and educational institutions around the globe. Even Ivy League ones like Harvard and Stanford accept PTE scores! Some universities in this long list are-
·        INSEAD (Fontainebleau & Singapore)
·        Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
·        Tokyo International University
·        Birmingham City University
·        Durham University
·        Princeton University

Studying abroad is an enriching and rewarding experience. Travel and cultural mixing takes one out of his or her cocoon and throws wide open the doors of success through which several amazing opportunities come rushing in! Trust PTE Academic for making your dream of securing a foreign degree a concrete reality!


#DefinitelyPTE gives wings to your dreams!
Check out this video!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dr. Shashi Tharoor


Dr. Shashi Tharoor (born 9 March 1956) is an Indian politician and a former diplomat who is currently serving as Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha from ThiruvananthapuramKerala since 2009. 

He was born in London to a Malayali family from Palakkad, Kerala. His paternal uncle was the founder of Readers Digest in India. 
Read more@ Wikipedia

Medium- FC Polychromos color pencils and white gel pen




Wednesday, April 4, 2018

It’s A Yes!


The dictionary defines the verb ‘Travel’ not only as ‘to move or to go from one place to another’ but also as ‘to proceed or advance in anyway’. I believe that the latter resonates more closely with the verb these days. Even in this era of technology where everything is available on one touch or click, physical travelling remains unmatched in the kind of expansion it can bring to one’s life. Travel fills you up not only with memories but dreams and hopes too; it teaches you much about life, people, exploration and most importantly, surviving. It makes you see what a huge universe lies beyond you little plush room or cabin. Travel is nothing short of a panacea for it can make one creative, cure depression to a good extent, makes you independent, wiser and can break old attitudes and notions like it did in my case.

Many years back till I visited the happening and beautiful Goa, I had very different notions about the place. If I were asked to define Goa in few words then, I would have said ‘drugs’, ‘dates’, ‘foreigners’ and ‘nudity’ but after one visit everything changed. Let me share this unforgettable experience of mine in short-

I visited Goa many years back on a college trip, long enough to travel and explore the place. Initially we were wary and were asked by the more cautious classmates who did not join us on the trip to keep a ‘safe distance’ from ‘that sorts’ and drugs. Many boys regarded Goan girls as ‘free’ and ‘available’ and Goan locals something as sloshed country idiots living a dull life. I will be honest here that when we reached that place, our perceptions were colored by these notions to a large extent; but that is what travel always does- it makes you unlearn and relearn the facts, breaks old molds and fills new colors into your lives. We noticed a different air. Coming from plains, I was usually not dexterous in enjoying beaches and beach parties. Women roaming around in skimpy clothing were observed with raised eyebrows. However, few days into this smallest Indian state, the only one to have two official languages- Konkani and Marathi, made me shed my old attitudes. By the way, I did not know Konkani was an altogether different language! Beaches can be enjoyed far more in swimming costumes and the humid climate of the place can discourage anyone from putting on too many clothes or heavy garments like sarees and salwar suits. The Portuguese (Goa was ruled by the Portuguese for more than four centuries and gained independence only in 1961), the aboriginal Konkani and the colonial catholic influence have led to a potpourri of cultures that is also quite charming. The dresses and skirts people wear in Goa suit the place, culture and the climate. The people are fond of liquor, particularly a local one made from cashew called ‘Feni’

The churches provide a cool and serene quietness, no less soothing than what I feel in temples. We visited many churches and found the love of Jesus pronounced in the very air of the place. Smiling locals, happy in their little lives closer to nature, merry and helpful foreigners giving you tips on swimming on beaches, old couples enjoying their sunset years and girls celebrating their freedom far from the peering eyes and filthy tongues of those around (unlike in Northern India), the multicultural cuisines and wonderful baked food items and a vibrant nightlife that could give wild Delhi a good complex, opened my mind and gave me a different perspective on life. If someone is different or has lesser inhibitions from you, then it does not make him or her cheap and degraded. Goa tells us precisely this thing. This place teaches us in its own subtle blithely way to coexist and enjoy life before it slips. As I said before, travel is indeed a panacea; it helped me to form some friendships that have stood the test of rough times.

I am happy that I stepped out of my little room, traveled and became more open-minded and tolerant of many things.

I am so happy to have said yes to the world!


You too can say Yes To The World with Lufthansa, the largest German airline and with its subsidiaries, also the largest airline in Europe!


Check out this beautiful video-


Images from Pixabay.com

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Say Yes To Travel


What do we have in mind when we think of hills and hill stations? I am sure around 7 in 10 people will say something on the lines of ‘serenity’, ‘calmness’, ‘joy’ and the like. However, reality can be shattering sometimes and can wash away all the notions we often have of distant places. Most of the times, movies, literature and stories make up our notions but travel can bring real knowledge into our lives. I mean to say travel is not only uplifting but can be immensely educative at times like it happened in my case.

Many years back, I went to a famous hill station named Manali. It is a small hill station in Himachal Pradesh and is located in the Beas river valley. All through the way we were looking forward to exploration, greenery and freshness. I also traveled to Rohtang Pass but came upon some shocking truths

The place is green and breezy indeed but there are many things that demand urgent attention like the issue of plastic waste. Numerous hotels and mini resorts have mushroomed in the place churning out plastic waste at an accelerated pace. The amount of waste generated is worrisome can be seen prominently in a small place like Manali. The snow at Rohtang pass was dirty and semi-melted as well, much to my disappointment.

The second issue is of lack of good schools and colleges. There were no good government schools and most children aided their parents in shops around the city. Many times I notice school kids trying to sell local fruits to passing tourists instead of being in classrooms. Illiteracy is prominent and worrisome.

Most of the roads are unpaved and some are very steep, too steep for the safety of lives. The huge number of Israeli tourists enjoying their small stay on their Military stipend had led to too many Israeli food joints to open up. The factories and the poor waste disposal systems were already polluting the place. Isolated clusters of habitation and poor electricity supply and connectivity make it tough to manage during times of flood and emergency.

I am not focusing and ranting upon the negatives only. After all Manali is place to visit and enjoy but I mean to say that it was only after travel that I came to know that hills demand attention and care. Things we read in books and watch in movies and TV many not be all rosy. Only one thing can make us see the both sides of the coin and that is travel.

The locals were cheerful and hospitable, the waterfalls are breath taking, and the Hidimba Temple was lovely. Overall I must say that the place has its own slow pace that cannot be rushed and its own rustic beauty that is charming despite being wrinkled by swelling population and uncared for natural resources.

This visit is etched in my memory because I said Yes To The World!

You too can explore, observe the real picture, become open minded and discern both sides of the coin! Just connect with Lufthansa by #SayYesToTheWorld.


Lufthansa is the largest German airline and with its subsidiaries, also the largest airline in Europe!

 Check this out



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Friday, March 23, 2018

We Owe Not Own


Have you ever wondered why of late most scientists have been keen on discovering water on other planetary bodies like the fiery Mars or one of the Jupiter’s moons called ‘Europa’? It is because the simple transparent liquid we take for granted is the first step towards life. History states that all civilizations started near rivers. We are nothing without water and dehydration is far worse than hunger pangs.

A few days back, a friend while searching for a rented accommodation told me that his only criterion was availability of water notwithstanding a higher rent. This is today’s reality- areas that boast of a good water supply are considered ‘premium’ compared to others. However, the real picture is much dark and ugly. India’s water tables have been depleting fast and in many areas- as fast as more than one meter every year in NCR, and in some areas near Ghaziabad, people have no option but to drink arsenic laden poisonous water for survival. We have taken water conservation so casually that it is now hitting us right in our faces. Already, thousands of people from Indian plains are migrating to places with water availability. Many rivers have dried up and the rest are badly polluted. With major rivers like Ganges, Yamuna, Krishna and the like turning into sewers and dumping yards, fresh drinking water has become a precious commodity. The ‘World Health Organization’ estimates that in the developing world, around 80% of all diseases are water related. Sadly, the revered river Yamuna is technically dead; its oxygen content is zero and it has little aquatic life. Lakes too have become extremely filthy. Looking at the world as whole, only 2.5 % of the water on Earth is drinkable and most of it is getting polluted faster than we can even imagine. Formation of water-mafia, quarrels, gang-wars and even murders over water have become ubiquitous.


We need to understand that we do not ‘own’ but ‘owe’ resources to our coming generations, just as we preserve the property in a school or college for it to be used by the forthcoming batches. Not just our country, the whole world is facing water crisis of one type or another.
To combat the problem effectively, little steps taken at home and office will be very helpful-

1.  Saving Leftover Water- The leftover water in glasses at home and office can be collected in a bucket or a container and can be used for various mundane activities like for plants, car washing and floor mopping. In my home, one person uses one glass throughout the day and glasses are kept covered so the unfinished water is not wasted.

2.  Car Washing- Wasting gallons of tap water in car washing is one thing I openly condemn. Wiping with a damp cloth works well too.

3.  Fixing Faulty Faucets- Leaking faucets are a leading factor in water wastage which can be massive in the long run. Fixing them will result in much conservation over time.

4. Avoiding Frequent Washing- Using washing machine only when load is full and avoiding garments that require much water to wash has become a must now.

5. Low Flush- Using half-flush or low flush toilets that use only 4-5 litres  of water per flush helps in reducing water wastage.

6. Cutting on Meat- Reports suggest that a vegetarian diet decreases per capita water consumption very much because it take gallons of water to rear animals for meat.

7. Rainwater Harvesting- This idea, though not new, is indeed the most brilliant and important idea for water conservation and can be applied in residential societies and even individual houses. The concept is simple- the rain water is collected through pipes in a pit or tank for reuse. This has worked well everywhere it has been applied. In fact, it is a part of life in many North Eastern states in India.

8. Spartan Baths- I suggest the bathrooms should be used not for long luxury baths or elaborate beauty procedures, but quick baths. Use of bathtub should be avoided as it leads to colossal water wastage.


On an average, 150 liters of water is used per person per day and 70% of all freshwater is used in producing food. For this we can add more efforts like, keeping taps off while brushing teeth.  If per-capita water consumption decreases on a macro scale, it will surely help a lot in marathon. Another important thing is to teach our children to save water right from a tender age. Such a generation will grow up and conserve resources in far better ways.

I personally believe that concrete pavements do not allow water to percolate down to ground hence negatively affecting the water tables. Also, city sewage must not be discharged into rivers directly but only after a proper treatment in sewage plants. This will help a lot to keep our rivers clean and alive.


Livpure that started under the SAR Group, is India most trusted brand of water purifiers in India and aims to spread the message of #CuttingPaani wherein the unfinished water must be collected and used. This is just one initiative by Livpure; there are millions of ways in which we can save water. Before venturing out on far away planets in search of water and life, we need to focus on our planet by conserving water, for water is life and life begins only with water.

I will leave you with this little poem by writer and parliamentarian, Shashi Tharoor in which he emphasizes importance of water-

पेड़ों के बिन यूं लगती है जैसे धरती नंगी है
कैसे होगी वो हरी भरी? जब पानी की तंगी है
मातृ भूमि की सेवा को हमें अपना फर्ज़ निभाना है
जितना पानी बच सकता है उतना हमें बचाना है!

Check out this awesome video- 



I have contributed to this cause and you can help too 
by signing this wonderful petition@ https://www.change.org/p/cuttingpaani


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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Portrait

I am excited to share a recent commissioned work I did. 
This is a portrait of Dr. Reddy, a distinguished Indian academician. 


Below is the ref. photograph I was given for the portrait. 


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For commissions, please contact me through my blog or 

my website ankitasharma.co.in



Sunday, February 25, 2018

Book Review- Sputnik Sweetheart



Title:     Sputnik Sweetheart 
Author:  Haruki Murakami
Transl.:  Philip Gabriel
Publ.:     Random House
ISBN:      978-0-099-44847-1
MRP:      Rs 499
Pages:    228

I was looking forward to reading more works by the famous writer Haruki Murakami after I read the very inspiring ‘What I Talk about When I Talk about Running’ about a year back. It is still one of my favorite non-fiction works. My latest read was ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ which was originally penned in Japanese. It has his characteristic elements such as loneliness, alternate reality, unrequited love, Greece, and of course, cats. The novel does not have a concrete ending and leaves the reader wondering about many possible outcomes, may be similar to the satellite Sputnik- II’s remains still floating in the outer space.

In a nutshell, the plot goes like this-
The author, a school teacher, is in love with his best friend, an eccentric girl named Sumire who is a struggling writer and lives alone in a small apartment. He longs for her but she falls for Miu, a much older businesswoman. Sumire is open and unapologetic about her sexual orientation but the author cannot let go of his love for her. Sumire travels to Europe on a business trip with Miu for whom she works and then disappears suddenly on a remote and non-descript Greek island. Author reaches Greece and Miu reveals a strange and eerie incident happened 14 years ago that had changed her life forever. As he returns, he gets into trouble when one of his students is caught shoplifting. This incident alters his relationship with his girlfriend and he returns to his apartment, pondering over many things.

The novel ends on a very abstract note and is somewhat philosophical in certain parts but not stuffed with long convoluted and didactic sentences. What I could gather from the linear plot narrated in first person is that we all are broken and move in our orbits. Sometimes, we come across each other for brief moments much like the remains of Sputnik II and then go our own ways, all alone. I think the author is trying to convey that in an alternate plane (which was earth for Sputnik II where it was one whole) we live a whole and perfect life the way we desire but in reality, we all are broken pieces, revolving all alone within the orbits of our banal and mundane lives.

My rating is 3.5/5.

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Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages.








Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dignity


Tough as a diamond and fragile as a delicate piece of chinaware, a woman’s dignity is a queer thing. Still, it needs to be protected from scratches and dirt and is to be carried like a child everywhere. This is indeed the biggest responsibility. This is a woman’s strength that her dignity is alive and kicking and it is also the most perilous thing for her to live like this in a world where everything, from rules to laws and from religion to mindsets have been designed to smash it like it were a poisonous weed, that could claim tall snooty trees, standing upright, looking down upon little sprouts feeling insecure over their growth.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Ego Hassles


Love, every time I look into your eyes,

My heart whispers

That life is too short for ego hassles