Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
AS LONG AS YOU EVER CAN.
–John Wesley (1703-1791)
One who loves Right cannot be indifferent to Wrong or Wrong Doing. If he feels warmly, he will speak warmly, out of the fullness of his heart
*The Sky Gets Dark, Slowly*
Mao Dun literary prize winner Zhou Daxin’s latest novel to be published, “The Sky Gets Dark, Slowly”, is a sensitive exploration of old age and the complex, hidden emotional worlds of the elderly in a rapidly ageing population.
In it he writes, “…Many elderly speak as though they know everything, but of old age they are in fact as ignorant as children. Many elderly are in fact, completely unprepared for what they are to face when it comes to getting old and the road that lays ahead of them.
In the time between a person turning 60 years old, as they begin to age, right until all the lights go out and the sky gets dark, there are some situations to keep in mind, so that you will be prepared for what is to come, and you will not panic.
The people by your side will only continue to grow smaller in number. People in your parents’ and grandparents’ generation have largely all left, whilst many your peers will increasingly find it harder to look after themselves, and the younger generations will all be busy with their own lives. Even your wife or husband may depart earlier than you, or than you would expect, and what might then come are days of emptiness. You will have to learn how to live alone, and to enjoy and embrace solitude.
Society will care less and less for you. No matter how glorious your previous career was or how famous you were, ageing will always transform you into a regular old man and old lady. The spotlight no longer shines on you, and you have to learn to contend with standing quietly in one corner, to admire and appreciate the hubbub and views that come after you, and you must overcome the urge to be envious or grumble.
The road ahead will be rocky and full of precarity. Fractures, cardio-vascular blockages, brain atrophy, cancer… these are all possible guests that could pay you a visit any time, and you would not be able to turn them away. You will have to live with illness and ailments, to view them as friends, even; do not fantasise about stable, quiet days without any trouble in your body. Maintaining a positive mentality and get appropriate, adequate exercise is your duty, and you have to encourage yourself to keep at it consistently.
Prepare for bed-bound life, a return to the infant state. Our mothers brought us into this world on a bed, and after a journey of twists and turns and a life of struggle, we return to our starting point – the bed – and to the state of having to be looked after by others. The only difference being, where we once had our mothers to care for us, when we prepare to leave, we may not have our kin to look after us. Even if we have kin, their care may never come close to that of your mother’s; you will, more likely than not, be cared for by nursing staff who bear zero relation to you, wearing smiles on their faces all whilst carrying weariness and boredom in their hearts. Lay still and don’t be difficult; remember to be grateful.
There will be many swindlers and scammers along the way. Many of them know that the elderly have lots of savings, and will endlessly be thinking of ways to cheat them of their money: through scam phone calls, text messages, mail, food and product samples, get-rich-quick schemes, products for longevity or enlightenment… basically, all they want is to get all the money. Beware, and be careful, hold your money close to you. A fool and his money are soon parted, so spend your pennies wisely.
Before the sky gets dark, the last stretches of life’s journey will gradually get dimmer and dimmer; naturally, it will be harder to see the path ahead that you are treading towards, and it will be harder to keep going forward. As such, upon turning 60, it would do us all well to see life for what it is, to cherish what we have, to enjoy life whilst we can, and to not take on society’s troubles or your children’s and grandchildren’s affairs on for yourself. Stay humble, don’t act superior on account of your own age and talk down to others – this will hurt yourself as much as it will hurt others. As we get older, all the better should we be able to understand what respect is and what it counts for. In these later days of your lives, you have to understand what it means, to let go of your attachments, to mentally prepare yourself. The way of nature is the way of life; go with its flow, and live with equanimity.
*******For all of us, a nice read, very beautiful, very true …. !
Hardly the day started and … it is already six o’clock in the evening.
Barely arrived on Monday and it’s already Friday.
… and the month is almost over.
… and the year is almost up.
… and already 50 or 60 or 70 years of our lives have passed.
… and we realize that we lost our parents, friends.
and we realize that it is too late to go back …
So … Let’s try to take full advantage of the time we have left …
Let’s not stop looking for activities that we like …
Let’s put color in our greyness …
Let’s smile at the little things in life that put balm in our hearts.
And yet, we must continue to enjoy serenely the time that remains.
Let’s try to eliminate the "after" …
I do it after …
I will say after …
I will think about it after …
We leave everything for ‘later’ as if "after" was ours.
Because what we do not understand is that:
after, the coffee cools …
after, priorities change …
after, the charm is broken …
after, health passes …
after, the children grow up …
after, the parents get older …
after, the promises are forgotten …
after, the day becomes the night …
after, life ends …
And all that afters, we find it’s often too late ….
So … leave nothing for ‘later’ …
Because in always waiting for later, we can lose the best moments,
the best experiences,
the best friends,
the best family …
The day is today … The moment is now …
We are no longer at the age where we can afford to postpone until tomorrow what needs to be done right away.
This artist’s impression shows the planet K2-18b, its host star and an accompanying planet in this system. K2-18b is now the only super-Earth exoplanet known to host both water and temperatures that could support life. UCL researchers used archive data from 2016 and 2017 captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and developed open-source algorithms to analyze the starlight filtered through K2-18b’s atmosphere. The results revealed the molecular signature of water vapor, also indicating the presence of hydrogen and helium in the planet’s atmosphere. Credit: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser
Its size and surface gravity are much larger than Earth’s, and its radiation environment may be hostile, but a distant planet called K2-18b has captured the interest of scientists all over the world. For the first time, researchers have detected water vapor signatures in the atmosphere of a planet beyond our solar system that resides in the “habitable zone,” the region around a star in which liquid water could potentially pool on the surface of a rocky planet.
Astronomers at the Center for Space Exochemistry Data at the University College London in the United Kingdom used data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to find water vapor in the atmosphere of K2-18b, an exoplanet around a small red dwarf star about 110 light-years away in the constellation Leo. If confirmed by further studies, this will be the only exoplanet known to have both water in its atmosphere and temperatures that could sustain liquid water on a rocky surface. Liquid water would only be possible if the planet turns out to be terrestrial in nature, rather than resembling a small version of Neptune.
Given the high level of activity of its red dwarf star, K2-18b may be more hostile to life as we know it than Earth, as it is likely to be exposed to more high-energy radiation. The planet, discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope in 2015, also has a mass eight times greater than Earth’s. That means the surface gravity on this planet would be significantly higher than on our planet.
The team used archive data from 2016 and 2017 captured by Hubble and developed open-source algorithms to analyze the host star’s light filtered through K2-18b’s atmosphere. The results revealed the molecular signature of water vapor, and also suggest the presence of hydrogen and helium in the planet’s atmosphere.
The authors of the paper, published in Nature Astronomy, believe that other molecules, including nitrogen and methane, may be present but they remain undetectable with current observations. Further studies are required to estimate cloud coverage and the percentage of atmospheric water present. A paper from a different team of scientists using Hubble observations has been submitted to the Astronomical Journal.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA (the European Space Agency) and NASA.
The archbishop prostrated himself on the floor in Amritsar and apologized for the ‘deep stain’ on British history.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has published remarkable images of himself lying prostrate at the memorial to the victims of the 1919 Amritsar massacre in India.
Writing on Facebook, Justin Welby, the leader of the Church of England and symbolic head of the Anglican Communion worldwide, described his "deep sense of grief" at the "terrible atrocity" committed in Amritsar a century ago.
On April 13, 1919, British troops fired without warning on a peaceful protest of thousands of unarmed Indians in Amritsar, in the northern state of Punjab, in what became known as the Amritsar or Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
While the number of those killed is a matter of dispute. A report by a British-led committee following the massacre put the number of victims at close to 400, with three to four times as many people injured. Indian observers said more than 1,000 people lost their lives.
Cameron marks 1919 Amritsar massacre by British troops in India
The bloody event marked a turning point in India’s modern history and was the prelude to Mahatma Gandhi’s commitment to Indian nationalism and the fight for independence.
In 2013, David Cameron became the first serving prime minister to visit the site, while earlier this year his successor Theresa May described the slaughter as "a shameful scar on British-Indian history." Nevertheless, Britain has never formally apologized.
The archbishop visited the city on Tuesday to pay his respects at the city’s Golden Temple, which is sacred to Sikhs and close to the site of the massacre.
Indian expats in Dubai call for eco-friendly conclusion to Ganesh festival
Dubai: After the seventh day of Ganpati Visarjan (a Hindu ritual in which the deity’s idols are immersed in water bodies in a farewell gesture), an occasion that fell on Sunday, members of the Indian community are appealing to their compatriots to observe decorum and discipline for the bigger immersions coming up on September 10 and 12, corresponding to the 9th and 11th days of the festival, which are the closing days of the Ganapati festival.
The emphasis this year is on eco-friendly idols and pollution-free celebrations.
Many families in Dubai observe the Ganesh festival and idols are also kept for public display in community events by the Shiv Temple in Bur Dubai and at the Danat Al Rolla building on Rolla Street, Dubai.
Dial down the noise and pollution
Dinesh Khiara, an Indian businessman and prominent representative of the Thattai Bhatia community in Dubai who has been installing the Ganesh idol at home for the last 12 years, explained: “The deity’s idol is welcomed into homes on the chaturthi day (fourth day of the waxing lunar calendar). After that, people as per their convenience, can immerse the idol in the sea or any other water body on any of the remaining days of the festival – 1.5, 3, 5, 7 , 9 or 11th day.”
“I am appealing to people to not create noise pollution or clog arterial roads. This beautiful country has been generous enough to allow us to practise our religion freely, we must keep in mind their Islamic traditions and conclude the festival in an orderly manner.”
Opting for eco-friendly idols
The emphasis on eco-friendly idols is high in Dubai and many families prefer keeping pure mud idols painted in vegetable colours.
Dhanashree Patil from Dubai, who has been celebrating the Ganesh festival in Dubai for the last seven years, told Gulf News: “We stopped immersing the plaster of Paris Ganesh statue in the creek for the last five years. That has become our permanent idol which we wrap and preserve after the festival to be used again the next year. For the traditional immersion this year, we have a 100 per cent eco-friendly idol made of Shadu clay which we will immerse at home. It takes one and half hours for the idol to completely dissolve in water.”
What is Ganesh Festival?
Ganesh Chaturti or Ganesh Festival celebrates the arrival of deity Ganesha to earth from a celestial mountain abode, accompanied by his mother, deity Parvati/Gauri. The festival falls during the months of August or September based on the lunar calender. Ganesh idols are installed in homes and propitiated with offerings and hymns, and on the 10th day, the idol is bid farewell by immersing it in the sea, river or a water body.