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Big Fat Indian Weddings and Social Responsibility: A Case

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Big fat Indian wedding

Photo by flickr/rsmith4321

Indians like weddings. Big ones: with all the pomp and show. In these occasions there are third and fourth degree, almost unrelated relatives and friends of friends of friends. From Indian standards, you are made aware that you are not doing that well in life if half your town is not present at your wedding. The matches made in heaven are also no less interesting than the festivities. These matches tend to be made by Auntijis (all women older than you by 5 to 10 years), Shaadi.com (and several other similar websites), love-arranged marriages, arranged-love marriages and once in a while by people being stupid enough (or smart, depending on one’s perspective) to really fall in love.

While these moments to remember can be made more personal or traditional or both, at a lot less expense, somehow investing in house, gold and big fat weddings is a national obsession. People take loans to pay for the arrangements and then there is a Stone Age custom of dowry. Even wedding invitations come with gifts and dry fruits these days. Guests at wedding have to shell out expensive gifts or cash as well, that tends to be compared after the event, to judge the affection of benefactor to the couple. It is basically a big fat event where everyone loses a lot of money. One can keep on writing more scathing critique of big fat weddings or even try to defend some of the good parts of this over-bloated new tradition but I am only interested in making a pragmatic and patriotic argument against excessive materialism.

While there is enough money in with middle class and upwards in the country very little of it gets spent on things that should matter. A large amount is spent on pomp and show. Why is that we are so averse to investing back in the economy and growing our own personal fortunes? The distant relatives that one usually never meets or cares about can anyway happily go about their business, without having to attend few more mandatory weddings.

If you think money is to spend and to hell with future investments, then too why spend it on feeding the well-fed? Why have a pretentious large affair? Make the spending count. Take a longer break than a touristy honeymoon. Go explore the world or for that matter, India. How many non-touristy destinations in India you have spent a week at? If you are conscientious how about opening a school or doing something for street kids or health care for poor? I can write several more suggestions but I am sure you can think of what matters to you. Anyway I need to stop writing, as I need to come up with a good excuse or an argument with my parents, who want to drag me to a big fat wedding in few hours and convince me that my India visit can be best utilized if they get to arrange a fat one for me too.

Dr. Sukant Khurana is a New York based scientist, artist and writer of Indian origin. His basic research involves neurophysiology, computational neuroscience, sensory perception, addiction, learning and memory, while his applied research extends into many areas of drug discovery and problems of the developing world. Both his visual art and writing explore the issues of modernization, displacement and identity.

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Culture and Lifestyle

12 Travel Podcasts To Inspire Your Next Trip

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As the COVID-19 restrictions ease up, travel is on the cards again. If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about traveling, you might be glad of a little inspiration. These podcasts have plenty of traveling stories and tips to share. Whether you’re traveling solo or in a group, you’ll find lots of great ideas here.

1 . Active Travel Adventures 

ATA curates travel adventures for people who love to paddle, bike, hike and more. If you love exploring the planet in an adventurous way, this is the podcast for you. Active Travel Adventures want to inspire people to dream big when it comes to travel.

The podcast is hosted by Kit Parks who also curates the traveling trips. Here you’ll learn about everything from trekking Nepal, to hiking Machu Picchu, or rafting in Colorado. In recent episodes Kit talks about hiking the canyons of Sedona. Throughout the shows you’ll learn everything you need to know about exploring the USA by campervan, and Gorilla trekking in Uganda.

2. Extra Pack Of Peanuts

Extra Pack Of Peanuts is brought to you by Travis Sherry, a world traveler and entrepreneur. Throughout the shows you’ll learn all you need to know about traveling more, (without breaking the bank). Travis interviews plenty of famous travelers including Chris Christensen and Bruce Poon Tip. You’ll get tips on cheap hotels, budgeting and flyer miles. In a particularly interesting episode Travis chats to Mike Savas. Mike talks about his recent travels, ‘learning 12 skills in 12 countries in 12 months.’

3. Girls Talk Travel

In this awesome podcast, hosts Alice and Megsy bring you all you need to know about female travel. The show provides practical and inspirational info about traveling as a woman today. Each week they’re joined by guests who have been there, with plenty of motivational stories to tell. 

Girls Talk Travel dives into a range of different topics including ‘How to be assertive during your travels’ and ‘Kickass female travelers to follow’. You’ ll get traveling safety tips, and advice about adventure activities. The ‘Hometown Highlights’ feature invites female travelers to talk about their hometowns, explaining why other travelers should take a trip there.

4. Outdoorsy Diva 

The Outdoorsy Diva is hosted by Lauren G, a top travel blogger. Tune in for travel trends and interviews with travelers. Throughout these episodes you’ll get lots of advice about making your life more adventurous! Episodes cover a diverse range of themes including ‘swimming with manatees’, ‘a tour of Florida Springs’ and ‘empowering black women’. Lauren interviews Dr. Kim Walker, founder of the Abundant Life Adventure Club. Kim shares what inspired her to create the club, along with her plans for the future. Expect a freshly unique podcast, with plenty of wisdom to share.

5. The Thoughtful Travel Podcast

Amanda Kendle brings you an awesome travel show, packed with fun stories from travelers across the world. Explore topics like getting lost, meeting locals and learning languages. The Thoughtful Travel Podcast offers advice about planning a big trip, single parent travel and travel trends.

Here you’ll find plenty of useful advice to inspire your next trip. Check out themes like, ‘emotional travel’, ‘volunteering experiences’ , and ‘traveling for a sporting event’. If you’re a sports fan you might consider researching the best NFL stadiums when booking a trip.

6. Women Who Travel 

The Women Who Travel podcast is hosted by Meredith Carey and Lale Arikoglu, (both 

Condé Nast Traveler editors). WWT wants to inspire you to get out there and have a real adventure. Lake and Meredith discuss subjects like outdoor hiking gear, traveling in a van, solo travel and meaningful souvenirs. Check out episodes such as ‘what we wish we knew before moving abroad’, and ‘traveling post COVID-19.’ Learn about how traveling can help you to process grief, and the beauty of meeting new people. To ease your worries about traveling solo, Women Who Travel have got all the tips you’ll need.

7. Alpaca My Bags

Alpaca My Bags is a podcast about responsible tourism. Each week Erin Hynes and guests discuss what it means to be a responsible tourist. Erin explores plenty of different themes including authentic travel, travel privilege, sustainability and more. Throughout these shows you’ll get to learn unique perspectives, helping you to be mindful when you travel. Themes on the show have included, ‘colonialism and travel’, ‘is voluntourism ethical?’ and ‘the complexities of adventure travel.’

8. The Family Travel Podcast

The Family Travel Podcast helps families to plan their next trip. The idea is to show families that they don’t need a huge budget to plan the trip of a lifetime. Here you’ll find plenty of inspirational stories from families who are traveling the world. There are plenty of highlights, tips and hints, and more. You’ll get advice on home schooling, funding, destinations, documenting your travels, and lots more. There’s plenty to learn including preparing for family travel and using YouTube to fund your trip. Traveling full time with a family is possible, you just need to be prepared to get a little creative.

9. Wild Ideas Worth Living

If you love adventure and the outdoors, you’ll certainly love Shelby Stanger’s podcast. During these shows Shelby talks to travelers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and authors, about how they’ve made a ‘wild idea’ come to life. To inspire your next escapade, Wild Ideas is what you need. Tune in for a great interview with Angela Tucker, the creator of an epic wildlife documentary ‘The Trees Remember’. Throughout these shows you’ll get plenty of awesome ideas. If you’re looking to do more outdoor activities, Wild Ideas can show you how.

10. City Travel With Kids 

This show is brought to you by Keri Hedrick, Marianna Rogerson and Marta Correale. City Travel With Kids help families to plan their trips, with all the best advice. Learn about the best places to travel, dining recommendations, and managing your itinerary. Whether you want to take your kids to Melbourne, Singapore or Tokyo, you’ll get all the recommendations you need. Get great advice on ‘family travel products’, and ‘flying with babies and toddlers’. Many families worry about traveling with children, but with this podcast, you’ll keep your trip stress free!

11. The Indie Travel Podcast

Craig and Linda Martin are the globe hopping pair behind the Indie Travel podcast. The couple started traveling full time in 2006. Check out the tips and stories, to motivate yourself and get planning. The Indie Travel Podcast offers plenty of ‘how-to’ guides. Learn about budget travel in Auckland, or how to travel with kids. There’s advice about road trips, long flights, and plenty of interviews with fellow travelers. Whether you’re traveling as a family or traveling alone, the Indie Travel Podcast has plenty of wisdom to share. 

12. Between The Mountains 

This is a show for all the explorers, hikers and kayakers. Each week Chris Kilworth interviews traveler guests, with a range of epic stories to share. Here are stories of mountain climbs, forest treks, extreme sports and more. These stories will inspire you toward a different kind of traveling experience. Between The Mountains will give you lots of amazing ideas for your next trip. Expect plenty of entertainment and laughs along the way.

Planning a traveling trip takes a lot of preparation. From choosing your destinations and itinerary to booking your transport and accommodation. Some people like to get super organized, while others like to have a bit of more of a relaxed itinerary. Wherever you are on the scale, don’t forget to check out a few of these handy podcasts.

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Common Places To Seek Motivation and Inspiration

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As a social species, we humans thrive on interacting and learning from others. When there are problems to be solved, we can pool together our experiences to find out the right solutions. That’s kind of the basis of how humans have come so far–because we’re an intelligent species that understands the importance of cooperation.

But there’s another reason why we humans like to socialise and learn about one another; because it can help give us direction in life. When we’re struggling to overcome a plateau or need inspiration for something, we can typically look at what other people have achieved, what they’re doing, and also what they could become.

So here are some of the most common places to look if you’re lacking motivation or want to seek out something inspirational to help push your life forward.

Seeking out inspirational figures and learning about them

A surprisingly inspirational and valuable resource that is available to everyone is Wikipedia. We can search up almost anyone and find out plenty of information about them, what their life was like, where they came from, and how they rose to success. We can learn about entrepreneurs that we want to mimic, we can learn from famous people in our field, or we can even learn from influential figures.

But it doesn’t always have to be someone extremely famous. We can also look at people such as Mitch Vanhille, a successful athlete that understands the power of inspiration and shares their journey for others to learn from. Similarly, we can learn from YouTube videos that discuss interesting or difficult topics.

Wherever we look, there is someone out there that could inspire us and give us the motivation we need to break our limitations and reach new heights. We just need to drop any pride that we have and start looking up to other figures.

Understanding a different way of life

Another great way to inspire yourself is to look at another worldview. For example, the process of understanding different cultures can help you embrace a unique way of life. You don’t need to adopt it yourself, but understanding their motivations, what inspires them, and also what compels them can be an amazing way to learn about humans and their actions.

There are so many different ways to approach life that it can really be eye-opening to see how other people plan to make their journey through life. Some people might be hyper-focused on reaching their goals, while others might have a more laid-back approach. Whatever your reasons or motivations, these are both extremely valid ways to tackle life’s challenges.

So whatever struggles you encounter, it’s important to reach out and learn from other people. After all, we’re a social species and we tend to learn more when we start engaging others, interacting with them, and just talking about things. So if you ever need some motivation in the future, we hope these tips can help you overcome life’s challenges and get you back on the right track to your own definition of success.

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DIY Bathroom Repairs Everyone Should Know

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They say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but if something is stuck or clogged, one should be on the know-how. Reaching almost a year since quarantine began, people have been spending longer than average locked inside their homes. With this, homes may have experienced more wear and tear than usual, especially bathrooms.

It can be frustrating to feel helpless when dealing with something as tedious as a leaky faucet, a broken toilet, or a clogged drain. Considering this, small do-it-yourself remedies may be resourceful. 

That began said, if challenges are too drastic, larger renovations may be in order. If that is the case, consider commercial bathroom renovations instead. 

For the meantime, these are some nice and easy-to-do remedies than can offer your bathroom a quick fix. 

Uncloging a Bathroom Drain

When taking a shower or washing your hands, having water rise from the drain is the least you would want. Slow bathroom drains are often caused by a build-up of soap-scum and hair. Many resort to using chemical drain cleansers to remedy this; however, these products carry toxic chemicals and can be ineffective at times. 

Instead, use a plastic hair snake. This product resembles a long zip-tie which can bend inside pipes to snag the accumulated gunk.

To begin, remove the drain stopper before inserting the wand. This will require unscrewing and disconnecting the stopper’s horizontal and vertical rods. After doing this, you may finally insert the snake. Once the cleaning process begins, beware: it’ll get gross. As a tip, try to girate or make sweeping motions with the snake in order to grab as much gunk as possible. 

Fixing a Broken Toilet

Dealing with a broken toilet can be a common issue. 

If the toilet won’t flush, check inside the it’s tank. To do so, remove the toilet’s rectangular lid; the lid can be found behind the toilet seat. Look for the chain which connects the flush lever to the plug at the bottom of the tank; the plug is also known as the flapper. If a toilet isn’t flushing, the likeliest answer is that the chain is disconnected from the lever. To resolve this, simply reattach the chain. 

Meanwhile, if water keeps on filling your toilet, it most likely means your toilet is flushing by itself. This isn’t good as it is wasteful. The likeliest reason would be that the toilet has a leaky flapper. To fix this, turn off the water valve from behind/ underneath your toilet. Flush your toilet until emptied. Check the flapper’s size and purchase another flapper. Brands do not matter as long as they match in size. Replace the old flapper with a new one, and voila! 

Replacing a Leaky Faucet

Fixing a leaky faucet often requires replacing the parts inside the handles. To do so, first turn off the hot and cold water valves. Doing this will help prevent any unwanted water geysers from jumping out of the faucet or handles. 

Once you’ve turned off the water valves, check if water is still trickling down. If so, rather than replacing the handles, this means your faucet is in need of a plumber. If it isn’t leaking, you may proceed. 

Pry off the handles and loosen the screws underneath. Once both items are removed, remove the top with an adjustable wrench and pull out all the parts. The best tip is to use needle nose pliers to do this. Head to a home improvement store and ask for help in searching for new replacements. To reassemble, repeat the steps in reverse and test the faucet.

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