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  Home » Melange » Feature
Importance of CV and Resume
By Ranjan K Baruah
One of the most common terms found in conversations of recent graduates or students is CVs. Well, we are going to write in detail about CVs in today's edition. I am writing about this topic because I have seen that our students are yet to be aware about CVs and how to prepare an effective one.
Not just in colleges, I have found that even students studying in universities are not aware about preparation of effective CVs. While some students are aware of CVs, they think that this document is required merely for acquiring a job. In our region, students studying management courses are ready with their CVs but those from humanities and other social sciences are least bothered about preparing a CV.  
CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, which is Latin for 'course of life'. It is a summary of your experience, skills and education. There are some differences between a CV and resume. We are more familiar with the term Bio Data. Most of us must have heard about "bio data", which stands for "Biographical Data", and this was used extensively while applying for different jobs.
A Bio Data includes every bit of information of a person, like guardians name, marital status, nationality etc. It also contains personal information i.e. gender, date of birth, race, residence, etc. On the other hand, a resume is to the point. It is short and talks exactly to the point without any divergence. The basic use of a resume is to land you till the interview. The CV, which is a detailed note of your academic qualifications, gets you through the interview.
There is no page limit when it comes to your CV. One may include research papers and everything under the umbrella that have been done. CVs could be different for students, freshers and experienced persons. One needs to prepare their CV according to qualifications and other skills and experiences.
There are many ways to create an exceptional CV but we need to concentrate on certain points while making our CV.
l Grammar: There should be no grammatical mistakes in your CV. Try and include as many active words as possible to increase the impact of your CV.
l Layout: Place your most attractive skills and talents or achievements towards the top of your CV to boost your chances of impressing an employer. Though there is no specific layout, one must always try to make the layout and design more attractive.
l Presentation: It is important as to how we present our CV. Presentation needs to be attractive and bullet points should be used to tidy up any lists. We must use standard fonts and size. Funny fonts must be avoided.
l No False Information: Wrong and false information must be avoided. Sometimes, we might try to put some points which may not be related to our life. We should not try to mention any false information or wrong information. And all the data we present must be based on fact and truth.
Work experiences are needed in CVs but for a fresh graduate, it may not be possible to mention anything as s/he is not experienced. If you're a recent graduate and don't have much relevant work experience then it will be best to begin with your education. But there might be some volunteer work experiences and in that case, those can be included. But remember one should not put any false information.
It's not compulsory to include hobbies in our CV, but we may mention about it according to the job for which the CV is being prepared. Different people have different hobbies and one must be prepared to get some questions related to their hobbies during the interview. So, mention your real hobby and don't try to put something which is not your hobby.
We must remember that candidates are shortlisted based on the CV that we submit. CV must be attractive and contain the facts. Apart from academic qualifications, we may mention about other qualifications, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, if we are associated with any. We may mention about awards and prizes that we have received, if any. We can also mention about articles published in newspapers and magazines.
We must know that a CV presents us in the best possible light. A CV is like a marketing document in which we are marketing ourselves or branding ourselves. We must know how to   "sell" our skills, abilities, qualifications and experience to employers. It can be used to make multiple applications to employers in a specific career area. Every college-going student must prepare their CV as they may also use it when they apply for any scholarships or for any competitions. To participate in different events, CV is needed even for students. So, we must start preparing our CV early in life and keep modifying it with our expertise and experiences.
CV is not only required for jobs but it is needed to brand ourselves and to tell others about our expertise and abilities. Students may use it as their own benchmark of progress. For example, a student studying in degree first semester can prepare his or her CV at the time of admission. They can update it every subsequent semester and see the difference by themselves. This is one of the best and most easy ways for self-appraisal.
We have written about effective communication skills and also about preparing effective CVs. Readers may send us their feedback and viewpoints regarding the same. We shall publish about employment skills in our forthcoming edition.

(Ranjan K Baruah is a social activist and career mentor who has conducted career awareness programme in different parts of Assam and Northeast India and can be reached at bkranjan@gmail.com  or 98640 55558 for any career related queries.)
A Hungry One’s Tale
By Abhijit Rabha

We were amidst the verdant green Sal forests of 'Dehra Doon'. The words mean the 'Valley of the Dehra'. I do not know whose colloquial expression that used to be but I was told the name sprung from the populace of the Jaunsar Bhabar areas. It was our first semester in the Indian Forest College. I was one of the members of the first batch of Indian Forest Service probationers and we were made to adjust to the jungle life of those times. We were camping in a place named the Karwa Pani or the Bitter Water. But the underground spring spouted forth the most tasty water for most of us who grew up drinking iron-laced water in the backyards of Assam.

“Kharbuli?”

“Aye, Sir?”

“What is that tree, can you identify?”

“That is Delbergia sissoo”

“Then neither do you know Delbergia sissoo nor are you anywhere near knowing the Shorea robusta or the Sal tree of family Dipterocarpaceae…”

Teetering laughter broke out. My friend growled. Yet he would not admit his fault. There were engineering graduates too. You bet, they were much better fun to watch.

The first semester just went off like a fire cracker during Diwali. There were nasty scares as well. Most of us did not know how we cleared subjects like Mensuration and the Silviculture…

But many had to repeat the exams once again as a final chance even after being allotted to the various State and UT cadres. It did not feel well to repeat an examination while one was a respectable officer of the rank of the Assistant Conservator of Forests!

The winter season came along right after the Chakrata Tour which teaches you the fundamentals of field Forestry. Then there was the Thodiyar March… a journey we remembered fondly as the "marching while the raindrops did tap dance on our wide brimmed hats." We reached the Chakrata camping grounds after the daylong trudge or march whatever one may choose to call it. Anyway, it was one leg in front of the other till you are bored enough to continue.

Before the march began, the field kitchen staff handed us over small packets of food which consisted of deep fried small and thick 'poories' with some fried mixed vegetable dish. As we grew hungry and opened the packets, we found that the fried 'poories' had developed rigor mortis and the accompanying fried vegetable transformed into messy something! It was like biting through stiff pieces of tanned leather.

The next camping ground was behind what is now known as the heritage forest inspection bungalow. The three from Northeast India were smart enough to occupy the tent closest to the field kitchen. Greasing the palm ensured that we had plenty of fresh fried mutton. The cooking staff preferred to remain greasy anyway. Anyway, the faculties in charge of the Chakrata tour were smarter and descended on our tent. Fortunately nothing was found beyond the pilfered cooked mutton.

“Why on earth are you not enjoying the Ram Leela being held just beyond the Forest IB? Yes, I mean, I am asking you all.”

Dr Besterwell Kharbuli (now no more, sadly) screwed up enough courage and muttered very cleverly; "Sir! We had plans of going for the local Rum, but if you guys allowed, I may go for the pretty n' lissome local Leela ! What do you say, sirs?

Our batch was split up into two which were accommodated in four luxury tourist buses. Our group headed for a long tour that would cover the major sites having importance in forestry in eastern India. After a long, long tedious never-ending kind of a bus ride through the countryside of Uttar Pradesh and the Bihar; we decided to call it quits. The support team was there to help us pitch the tents and for the next few days, we perked up with a night-long snooze.

The nights and days were gloomy with overcast skies under which we travelled. The infamous winter time cold wave was the ruling weather God and we had to close down our bus windows for a respite. Some were avid smokers who were left with no other option than to quit their options as others protested and 'fined' them for fouling the cabin air. The probationers were very much ill paid and nobody afforded any defense against that kind of chill and cold in the nights we travelled through. I was lucky to have a good sweater knitted by my mother not so long ago. Over that I covered myself with an ersatz John Owenby NATO jacket bought from a flea shop run by the Tibetan refugee community at Dehradoon. It did not have the inner lining and was made of rough polycot fabric and was good in keeping the heat inside and the cold outside.

Everything happens during the last light of the day. Blame the time of the day and its effect of the physiology of men and women across the world. Our drivers took the wrong route and soon we were travelling along a bumpy forest road. Soon enough the driver switched on the headlights and the focused beam picked up a barricade with the famous green and red insignia of the Forest Department of Bihar. Now, those parts have been handed over to the Government of Jharkhand and even under the beam of lights, it was a sight to behold: kilometers and kilometers of the roadsides full of mature Sal trees.

Inside the buses, the atmosphere degraded enough with time. Some wanted to go out of the bus but were scared enough for two reasons: lack of utility water and the nighttime darkness in the Sal forests. Some wanted to get down to for relieving their liquid wastes. This they did, in unison; all lining up the forest road.

“Will you guys be back in your seats?” the faculty of our forest college hollered. "Few volunteers are needed along with two of us for a reconnaissance duty to find food and water." Many agreed. After an interminable hour or so, the good news arrived. An eatery was found in an old track, which bifurcated out from the forest road just beyond the barricade. It was about an hour's fast pace from our location. That meant about five kilometers in an average of a forester's walking speed. In a few seconds, the insides of the two buses were empty as everybody trooped outside and made a beeline for the eatery. Few had torch lights in their possession and they came to good use.

I was a very selfish kind of man and decided to snooze it out. I remained inside the apparent safety of the bus cabin. I longed for the comfort of the cheap sleeping bag and chained up myself after getting into it. I had selected the long rearmost seat for my sleep. I squinted at the wristwatch and the hands of the same showed that it was close to nine in the night. There always used to be some chocolates and good sugary dates or figs to control the hunger in emergencies. Soon, I was in the portals of sleep-land and was engulfed by the company of the silence of the Sal covered landscape….

My sleep was interrupted as an alarm call of a Sambar deer fractured the silence of the night. The clouds up in the sky parted to reveal a part of the moon and the cascades of the moonlight on the forest floor. And suddenly a sight caught my attention.

A flicker of a large fire torch was advancing from the opposite direction to which my bus faced. It got near in about a quarter of an hour. As the flame neared my position, I was surprised to see a four-wheeled contraption where a lot of food was placed. Behind this was, in this unbelievable cold, a man wearing an abbreviated dhoti, with no cloth to cover his bare upper parts. There was another creature though. A girl in her teenage years draped in only a length of cloth perhaps, of cotton. I wondered how their resistance kept them so stout. The man motioned me to get down…

“Saab, would you like to have a few goodies from us? We have good cooked rice of the local variety, some rotis and of course, good meat of the jungle quail, and not to mention the local chicken.”

I yawned and before deciding upon the challenging gusto of eating, I asked the bare bodied man, who was perhaps from the locality; "Hey, did you see any of my friends trooping to the eatery?"

“Yes Saab, I saw them nearing the old Seraikhana on the old road to Delhi. It was of some old Sultan's vintage, you know. It survives only on patronages of very few these days….”

“Very fine, please give me a little of this, this and these….”

In fifteen minutes of relentless eating spree I must have eaten two roasted quails of full sizes and one chicken along with a good quantity of cooked rice that might have made some good eaters of any village very envious. And I must have also scored up a good expense for this act!

“Saab, please pay Rupees 10 for what you have eaten so nicely and happily.”

“Man, you must be crazy to bill me only Rupees 10 for all the damages done to your efforts?”

“No, none at all.”

“These kind of food used to cost us not less than Rs. 300 in Dehradoon”!

“Sir, this is Badlurampur, not Dehradoon.”

So, without any further words, I paid him with a Rs 10 note. The man and the smallish teenager were ready to go. I asked the name of the cute lady. "Cheetal,' she seemed to whisper….

The old four-wheeled contraption was pushed again for another journey through the cold night once again. The same must have been oiled well. I did not hear any creaking sound. I found the old man very nice and quaint. As we were talking, the light of the flame caught the white of his eye and the reflection of that was so assuring that I forgot all the fears.

As the morning came, I woke up when the first morning light filtered through the windows. I got out of the sleeping bag and gingerly got down from the bus. I irrigated the roadside with a long pee and trudged towards the apparent location of the Seraikhana, supposed to have a hoary past. I also brought along my water canteen and had a long half a liter sip of its content.

After following the footprints on the dusty trail, I found my fellow colleagues huddled around a fire, which was fast on its way to the last ember stage. "Hey, guy, where have you been?" Everybody was curious and that included our faculty too.

I blurted out everything.

“The LIAR of the first order…”

“The jungle ghost has got him…”

Then a man in khaki uniform riding a Royal Enfield Bullet thundered in and we could see the concern in his face.

“Good morning sirs! Was everything okay? The DFO sahib was mad with concern and we were looking for your buses everywhere.”

“Everything has gone well with two rotis down for every probationers, no sabji anyway… but this man from Assam had quite a good spree of eating and what not with only a Rupees 10 note….”

Suddenly, the man with Deputy Ranger's rank on his epaulette lowered his gaze and looked very reverently at me….

“Sir, I am Deputy Ranger Bakhla. I have been around here for years, since the time Badluram, a pensioner from the Indian Army, used to feed the laborers in the logging coupes.”

“Oh, he disappeared or got eliminated by the bad men when he testified before the magistrate regarding a murder attempt on the DFO of the yore, Mister Subrahmanyam… about 25 years ago… still only lucky ones manage to get his food. It funny but the blessed ones partaking such food all have good, talented daughters….'

Epilogue: I was pacing outside the operating room of an expensive nursing home. Then a sweet mellifluous cry of the first born wafted out from inside the OT. Then a venerable old lady doctor showed the new born to us who were standing outdoors.

“She is little underweight, but quite active.. it will be okay.”

Challenges in Malaria Control in Assam
Dr. Dharmakanta Kumbhakar

Even after a century of the discovery of malaria transmission through mosquitoes in India by Sir Ronald Ross in 1897, malaria continues to be one of Assam's leading public health problems. Till date, we are unable to control malaria in the State. Assam, which has only 2.6% of the country's population, contributes more than 5% of the total malaria cases in the country, and over 20% of the total malaria deaths occurring in the country annually.

Malaria constitutes nearly 30 to 40% of outdoor cases and 3.60 to 7% of all hospital admissions in Assam during the peak transmission period (May to September) corresponding to the rainy months. Though both Plasmodium Falciparum and P. Vivax are found in abundance in the state, the P. Falciparum is the predominant parasite which accounts for more than 60% of malaria cases.

As per a report, the total number of malaria cases, P.falciparum cases and deaths in Assam were as follows: 2013 (19542, 14969, 7), 2014 (14540, 11210, 11) and 2015 (15557, 11675, 4). Malaria is responsible for high morbidity and mortality in the state. In Assam, malaria is one of the most important causes of direct or indirect infant, child, maternal and adult mortality. Malaria constitutes one of the most important causes of economic misfortune, engendering poverty which lower the physical and intellectual standards of the people and hamper prosperity and economic progress in every possible way.

Malaria is endemic in Assam. Districts like Karbi Anglong, Nagaon, Dima Hasao, Hailakandi, Kokrajhar, Goalpara, Darrang, Sonitpur, Odalguri and Baksa have been identified as more vulnerable though no district of the State is malaria free. Amongst these districts, the hill districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, which are having more than one inter-State border and a higher concentration of tribal aborigines (more than 50%), are most vulnerable.

Malaria is now establishing its foothold in the bordering districts, which were previously free of the disease, such as Lakhimpur, Jorhat and Tinsukia owing to deforestation and population migration/ new settlements in the Reserve Forest areas.

It is surprising how malaria has remained endemic in the State despite intervention strategies for malaria control being in force ever since the establishment of the National Malaria Control Programme in 1953. Malaria control in Assam faces many challenges. Here, malaria transmission is perennial and persistent with the seasonal peak during April-September corresponding to the months of rainfall. The region is highly receptive to malaria transmission due to excessive and prolonged rainfall. Tropical rain-forests rich in wildlife, including reserve forests and sanctuaries, interspersed with valleys, hills and settlements make the region highly receptive for perennial malaria transmission.

As many as 130 species of mosquitoes, including 37 Anophelines and 93 Culicines belonging to 12 genera, have been recorded in the region.

There are many administrative and socio-economic problems hampering successful malaria control in Assam. Healthcare facilities in the State tend to be located in urban areas; consequently, treatment access is poorly addressed by the health systems in the periphery where it is needed most. There are many vacancies at all levels of health care and there is a shortage of essential medicines in the State. During floods, the situation becomes worse as vast areas are inundated with water and become inaccessible settlements, cut off from the rest of the world. Incidentally, this mostly occurs the rainy season which happens to be the peak transmission season for malaria.

In Assam, the tribal population and tea garden population are important risk groups for malaria infection. They suffer from neglect and high levels of poverty; about 30-40% population of Assam lives below the poverty line which is a big cause behind the perennial transmission. They often sleep in open places without using mosquito nets. They rely on traditional methods of treatment and healers instead of modern medicines. Close contact and free movement of people in bordering areas make these pockets more vulnerable to malaria.

Drug resistance, insecticide resistance, lack of knowledge of the actual disease along with newer paradigms pose a challenge for malaria control in the State. Health planners and administrators need estimates of the true burden of malaria in the State for allocation of much needed resources for interventions.

Accelerated economic and infrastructural development is urgently needed to control the malaria. In the face of rapid population increase, there is a need for increased allocation of resources for control interventions. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare should provide extra financial support for the anti-malarial drive in Assam. The State Government must give extra efforts to intensify rapid diagnostic tests, distribute artemisinin-based combination therapy, distribute long lasting insecticidal nets and indoor residual spraying. Healthcare facilities along with essential medicines for malaria treatment must be increased in the periphery where it is needed most.

There is a need for identification of high-risk areas, vector incrimination and seasonal infectivity of malaria so that future outbreaks can be avoided by targeted interventions. Surveillance for probable detection of malaria infections, monitoring of vector activity and initiation of vector control measures should be ensured so as to prevent disease transmission in the high risk areas. Until malaria vaccines become available, we have to rely on old, traditional interventions with emphasis on reducing man-mosquito contact.

Information, Education and Communication (IEC) should become a continuous activity in order to help strengthen the process of early case detection and prompt treatment (EDPT). The authorities should launch a publicity campaign through different media so as to keep the people well-informed about the dos and don'ts of malaria control.

Women for Women
By Ankurita Pathak

Mentorship as a Tool for Growth

Why do we want equality?

When we already are!

Men do not need to recognise

The women in us!

Our allies are of our own kind

Sisters connecting with our souls...

A helping hand, some kind words!

Giving faith to build our way!

The world seems bleak

The sparkle becomes dim

When the counterparts fail

To lend a helping hand!

Dearth of empathy

Kind words become scarce

Compassion remains but a word!

How difficult is it to lead…

How tough is it to care…

Empowering each other

Aligning as a tribe…

Women for women!


Women form a rising economic force and this fact cannot be ignored at all. It is the century of change, which has seen women across the world placed at the helm of affairs in various arenas.

As women, we all have huge potential within us. All we need is to identify it, hone it and implement them in our lives. We all look up to strong, independent women. But how do we become one ourselves?

It is a good idea to be confident, decisive and independent but who will not like the idea of a little push here and there, some encouragement, some healthy criticism and some handholding! That's where the role of a mentor comes in.

The world today is filled with so many opportunities that the big question facing us is: "What are the right opportunities… which way should I go?" I would say opportunity is all around us. However, picking up the right opportunity at the right time is the biggest challenge. Again, the role of a mentor becomes crucial at this point

As women, we juggle between myriad roles, often falling into the trap of trying to balance between the professional and professional roles. Sometimes, this creates a hindrance in professional growth, leaving growing careers midway in order to tend to personal responsibilities. At this juncture, mentorship and handholding can be very meaningful. The mentor can leverage their life experiences and provide the right thrust to the mentee.

As American politician John Crosby had rightly said, "Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction." True indeed! Mentorship isn't all about cheering but getting to hear things which we will not like to hear often but are definitely crucial in the pathway of achieving success. I believe that the quintessential mentor will rightly guide you in reflecting in yourself, introspecting on life, finding better ways to face challenges, celebrate achievements, stir up new ideas and be better equipped to handle life holistically.

Mentorship is perhaps the most powerful and practical way to break down the mental barriers that we create for ourselves.  It enables the mentee to understand the lacunae, prepare a roadmap and face the obstacles with renewed vigour and reinforced courage, with a trusted mentor by her side constantly.

It is today an established fact that when women are empowered and can claim their rights and access to land and leadership opportunities - economies grow, food security is enhanced and prospects are improved for current and future generations. This can be seen from how the developed nations have been able to move ahead as they have taken the women force along.

It is a well acknowledged fact that a country's economic competitiveness increases as the gender gap decreases, and that's clear to us in health and education, political participation, and in economic inclusion. Let me refer here to the fact that the World Bank considers gender equality as "smart economics."It is a simple statement of fact, and one that has been reaffirmed by numerous studies, time and time again. But we're still far from where we need to be when it comes to economic opportunity for women. The barriers to this goal essentially stem from lack of access - to opportunities, networks, and advocates.

Women's networking organization Levo League conducted a survey of users and found that a whopping 95 percent had never sought out a mentor at work. That is some statistics that need to be altered drastically.

If we consider mentorship as a strategic catalyst for the social and economic advancement of women and society at large, it has a huge potential to trigger significant benefits for facilitating women empowerment and bridging gender gaps. If the power of sharing, learning and creating can be harnessed, it can accelerate the process of continuously creating a pool of women leaders, though an universal, cost-effective, efficient and power tool of mentoring.

The famous mentor-mentee relationship between Barbara Walters & Oprah Winfrey is phenomenal. Both of them being renowned television personalities, had lots to share and learn from each other. "I've said what a mentor you've been for me. Had there not been you, there never would have been me,"Oprah once told Barbara Walters during an interview.

In the popular book 'Lean In', by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, she devotes a whole chapter to the subject of mentoring. While she acknowledges that mentorship is "crucial for career progression," she points out that women often have a harder time acquiring and maintaining mentors. She applauds the efforts of women who actively seek out mentors and offers them some key words of caution.

She says, "Instead of asking someone to mentor you, focus on making a good impression on that person and allowing a relationship to develop naturally. Loyalty and honesty are key characteristics of the relationship between mentor and protégé. When protégés reach a position of power, they can both 'pay it back' by helping their mentor when needed and 'pay it forward' by helping others."

According to research from a study conducted by Catalyst in 2012, 65% of women who have been mentored will go on to become mentors themselves. A bond of respect and trust between a mentor and mentee will provide an apt platform to exchange experiences, knowledge, and power, fostering leadership, growth and success. It further leads to a chain of allies, who will take it forward by mentees turning mentors for other women. That is the real power of mentoring - the ability to share, bond, learn and thereby, amplify the power of womankind.

I am not saying that only women can mentor another woman. It can be a man too, who can be a mentor. We can look at Larry Summers, an American economist, former Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank , who mentored Sheryl Sandberg, who is ranked at # 9 in the Forbes list of the most powerful women in the world and the first woman to serve on Facebook's board. In Sheryl's words, "Larry has been a true advocate for women throughout his career".

The emphasis on Women for Women is only because of the reason that they can identify with each other better. They can connect well, by sharing pieces of themselves and offering personal support, empathy, friendship, acceptance, counselling, and role modeling. After all, they've been in the trenches; they know how to play the game. With female mentors, there is also no danger of sexual harassment or sexual undercurrents in the relationship.

Though many would think otherwise, Joan Jeruchim and Pat Shapiro - co-authors of 'Women, Mentors and Success' - say that female mentors often "lack the power to link their protégés to important people or to sponsor them for key committees or projects."

Nevertheless, you can generally count on more sharing, bonding, nurturing, and confidence-building with a woman mentor. Playing similar roles in different environments can bring them together, enable them to learn from each other's experiences, as power shared is power amplified.

To conclude, as Steven Spielberg said, "The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves."

The Giant's Causeway: Myths and Legends
By Mousumi Deka
“Madam, you must visit this site," our tour manager Shahnaj had insisted when I voiced my reluctance to visit the Giant Causeway during my visit to Ireland. The Giant Causeway is situated in the extreme north-eastern part of the country.
But, for a moment, her words made me rethink my decision. After all, it would always remain a cause for regret if we missed something after going so far. So after some thinking, I requested her to brief me a little about the place. Quite awfully, I got fascinated with the way she explained about the entire place. Her words made me feel excited about the place and finally we agreed on a tour to see the Giant Causeway from Belfast. And now, I consider myself lucky for being able to see this beautiful place.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Giant's Causeway is a magnificent yet mysterious geological formation on the north-eastern coast of Ireland. Steeped in mythology and legend, the coastal landscape of Atlantic waves, rugged cliffs and secluded bays provide for a spectacular view. The Causeway forms a jagged headland of neatly packed columns which point towards Scotland. Visitors can walk along the basalt columns which are located at the edge of the sea.
The road trip from Belfast to the Giant's Causeway was fascinating. It's a scenic ocean drive and every bit of the journey is so beautiful that it's truly beyond words. No wonder then that it is voted as one of the world's 'Top Five Spectacular Drives'!
Before we reached the Giant's Causeway, we were taken to the see world-famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge - a spectacular rope bridge joining two cliffs in the Atlantic Ocean. It is made of tiny wooden plates and is hanging over the deep Atlantic with just ropes. A maximum of eight persons are allowed to pass through the narrow path at a time.
People need courage to go through the bridge! Many of the visitors didn't turn up for the actual visit but we went through the tiny path to experience the most horrifying, yet lifelong, crossover experience of our lives. The bridge was shaking all the time while we crossed it. However, our horrifying ride turned into a memorable experience when we looked down to see the beautiful deep blue ocean. For a few moments, we tried to overcome the feeling of horror and tried to enjoy the moment!
Returning back from the bridge, we questioned our courage to opt for such an adventurous trip. And yes, we turned out to be successful! In ancient times, people used to go to the small island, through this narrow bridge, for fishing purposes. Because of its scenic beauty, it has now been turned into a tourist destination.
Next we headed towards the Giant's Causeway. The Giant's Causeway lies at the foot of the basalt cliffs along the sea coast on the edge of the Antrim plateau in Northern Ireland. It is made up of some 40,000 massive black basalt columns sticking out of the sea. The dramatic sight constitutes many legendary stories of giants striding over the sea to Scotland.
Over the last 300 years, geological studies of these formations have greatly contributed to the development of earth sciences. These studies show that this striking landscape was created by volcanic activity during the Tertiary, some 50-60 million years ago.
After getting down from the tourist bus, we walked a long way through the coastal road. The serpentine road provides a beautiful view of the cliffs. The approach road leading to the Giant's Causeway provided a breathtaking view and I literally started jumping after seeing this beautiful structure. The words of Shahnaj kept reverberating in my ears: "Madam, this is a must visit site! Don't miss it!" Yes, thanks to Shahnaj, it was only due to her insistence that we managed to see this wonderful structure!
The hexagonal stones were lying in the Giant's Causeway in such an accurate manner that it made the entire scene unbelievable. It's really difficult to accept how such scenic beauty can be created naturally. We were amazed but could not fathom as to how these pieces were created in such a uniform size and stacked in such an orderly fashion! The place was really un...believable!!! It appeared as if somebody had created the entire place artificially.
We were told that the unbelievable and scenic beauty of the place was actually the result of a volcanic eruption some 60 million years ago. Yes, to support this saying, there exist some myths and legends too. In the words of our tour manager, "We give our visitors two sides of the coin - the stories and the science and let them decide, but most visitors leave believing this place to be the ancient home of a mighty giant."
According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. The story goes that the Irish giant Fionn Mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), from the Fenian Cycle of Gaelic mythology, was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Fionn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet. In one version of the story, Fionn defeats Benandonn. In another, Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realises that his foe is much bigger than him. Fionn's wife, Oonagh, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the 'baby', he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn could not follow.
Across the sea, there are identical basalt columns (a part of the same ancient lava flow) at Fingal's Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa, and it is possible that the story was influenced by this occurence.
Yes, after reading the story and witnessing the sight, as I do not have much knowledge of geological structures, I began to believe that giants did exist in the past! Otherwise, how could the magna and lava coming out of the volcano make the stones so homogeneously sized? The question still whirls around in my mind.
Stroke - Symptoms and Treatment
Dr. Venkatesh Munikrishnan
Colorectal cancer, one of the top three cancers across the world, is witnessing around 1.4 lakh new cases and over 6 lakh deaths globally every year. The cancer that affects the colon, rectum and part of the large intestine tends to become fatal if not diagnosed at early stages. With increasing cases among young adults in India, experts predict there will be an epidemic outbreak in the next 10-15 years.
The major causes of colorectal cancer are erratic lifestyles, consumption of junk food, red meat, smoking and alcohol coupled with pollution. With changing lifestyle habits, a lot of young adults fall prey to colorectal cancer. However, there is a huge misconception about Piles and colorectal cancer as the symptoms of both diseases are similar. People tend to ignore the symptoms through self medication and they visit the doctor at a more complicated stage. It is always recommended to undergo a screening after 4 weeks of persistent symptoms to enable early diagnosis and treatment, thus reducing risks of death.
Rectal bleeding, blood in stools, constipation, diarrhea, improper bowel movements, weight loss are all symptoms of colorectal cancer. 65% of the Indian population comprises people below the age of 35 years and 40% of this urban population faces these symptoms.
Women who undergo normal deliveries are also prone to colorectal diseases, and the symptoms are often misconstrued with rectal infection or fissures. It is highly recommended for women to visit a colorectal surgeon to avoid late diagnosis and treatment as not all rectal bleeding is piles.
The Institute of Colorectal Surgery at Apollo Hospitals Chennai is one of the busiest colorectal units in the country. With more than 1,200 colorectal procedures done every year with a major focus on management of colon & rectal cancer, the unit offers end-to-end colorectal services from treatment of hemorrhoids/piles to complex colorectal cancer.  
The Institute of Colorectal Surgery at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai is collaborating with Cleveland Clinic Florida, USA & University College London, UK to create a platform for building awareness, teaching, training & accreditation in the management of Colorectal Diseases. The aim of this collaboration is to standardize care pathways, train and accredit surgeons involved in the care of patients with colorectal diseases.
This consortium delivered its first Apollo International Rectal Cancer Symposium earlier this year. It was a two day event featuring the "Ivy League" of Surgeons and Physicians (Prof Steven Wexner, USA, Prof M Berho, USA, Prof Antonio Lacy, Spain, Prof Gina Brown, UK, Dr Richard Cohen, UK & Dr Manish Chand, UK) involved in rectal cancer care from around the world. This event was a multidisciplinary symposium providing the participants with a 360 degree view on the current trends, preoperative chemo radiation & surgical techniques in managing rectal cancer.
Apollo Hospitals was launched in 1983 as the first corporate hospital of India by Dr. Prathap Reddy in Chennai.
(Dr. Venkatesh Munikrishnan is Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai)
Grooming & Accessories:
By Manjit Kashyap

Braun Series 9 Electric Shavers

Earlier this year, Procter & Gamble introduced the Braun Series 9 collection, a premium and exclusive range of electric shavers.

According to Procter & Gamble, the newest innovation of the Series 9 is its enhanced titanium coated trimmer, which offers detail, style, precision and performance for the "world's most efficient shave." Central to the razor surface is a unique golden strip delivering optimal shave technology. The Hyper Lift& Cut Trimmer coated with Titanium Nitride improves the shaver's ability to glide over the skin with a low level of friction, providing a pleasant and superior feel against the skin. It also protects from corrosion and wear, and increases durability, allowing the new Series 9 to deliver up to 50,000 shaves.

The new Series 9 collection is available in chrome, silver, black or blue finish and comes with a charger stand. It can be purchased at Target, Walmart, Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and Best Buy.

It has a suggested retail price of $389.99.


iMCO: Amazon Alexa-enabled Smartwatch:

Yerha.com, an e-commerce startup, has launched the world's first smartwatch powered by Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant. Dubbed iMCO Watch, the wearable is priced at Rs 13,900 and exclusively available on Yerha.com. It comes in Mineral Silver and Carbon Black colour options.

iMCO Watch includes apps such as Alarm, Alternate Time zone, Calendar, Music Bluetooth Control, Notifications, Step Counter, Heart Rate Monitor, Stopwatch, Timer, Weather, Speed Dial, and IFTTT Integration. Users can also personalize and configure watch IF App Containers to perform any action virtually.

Users can issue voice commands to watch the news, get weather updates, check traffic, order pizza, control smart home devices, check calendar, track Amazon orders, make phone calls and more. The smartwatch is compatible with both iPhone and Android smartphones.

For a personalized look, the company has created some watch faces that can be paired with any ensemble. All apps are seamlessly integrated with the watch faces. iMCO Watch has a stainless steel case body, circular AMOLED display, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of Flash Memory. It is also dust and water resistant.

Commenting on the launch, Manikant Jain, CEO of Yerha.com said, "With iMCO, we continue to offer diverse and unique tech gadgets that enhance the lifestyles of modern-day consumers. This is not just another timepiece addition to our product category but a brilliant smartwatch. The elegant design clubbed with smart capabilities and one-of-its-kind Alexa-enabled feature makes this watch simply irresistible."

BREWBAKES

Eating Out

The cafe culture is slowly picking up in Guwahati and a number of cafes have sprung up all over the city within a very short span of time. This is indeed a welcome development as a good café, where youngsters can meet each other or hang around with their friends, was sorely lacking in the city. 

The latest entrant in the café segment of Guwahati is BrewBakes Cafe. Located in Six Mile on tops of the Dominos building, this is a very new café and is quickly becoming popular amongst the youth of the city. Since it is located in top of a building in one of the busiest thoroughfares of Guwahati, BrewBakes Cafe is not very prominent to the naked eye. But once you locate it, it is a world of its own, perfect for one to relax and unwind over a cup of coffee or meal of his or her choice.

The first thing that strikes one as he or she enters the place is the spacious interiors. The entire cafe is very spacious and the management has made best possible use of the space. The layout of the interiors is very appealing to the naked eye and one gets a very positive feeling right from the moment he or she enters. There is a separate lounge for smoking, which definitely warrants a thumbs-up from all those who love to have a puff with their coffee.

From the outside, one does not expect the interiors of the cafe to be so vast and comfortable. So while the spacious interiors lift one's mood right from the moment he or she enters, the courteous behaviour of the staff and the wonderful quality of the food makes dining here a pleasant experience. The waiting staff is really polite and courteous. Their service really elevates your senses as they are concerned with all your possible needs while eating out. This is a really healthy and welcoming trend.

Coming to the food, this is the kind of food that has become popular in the city only in recent times. While the menu is very similar to those one finds in a cafe nowadays, it is still a very nicely selected menu, offering an eclectic range of dishes. But the burgers and shakes are some of the most sought after dishes here. In fact, it is a pleasant surprise to find a place serving quality burgers in the city.

Giving his opinion about the food, a customer Hrishiraj Talukdar opined, “I had Oreo shake, Peri Peri burger, Bbq burger and Schewan sizzlers. I liked the Peri Peri burger which is served with some French Fries as well. The Oreo shake was really good and the Oreo shake served here is a must try. And the sizzlers that I tried was also pretty good. It comprised of small chunks of chicken with proper sauce spread over it.”

Another customer Jyotirupa Das said, “The food was very well cooked. Everything was well made. We had Grilled Chicken with BBQ sauce (with a fries add-on), a sunny side up omlette with sausages (which came with toast and butter, and fries), Drums of heaven, a Brew frappe and a Nutella brownie chocolate shake. We also had a roasted chicken sandwich as take away. Everything was enjoyable. And the salt in everything was perfect. It was quite lovely”.

While the aesthetic design of the cafe and courteous behaviour of the staff already creates a desirable ambience, the quality of the food served here is superb. Most of the customers who returned found the food to be quite delicious and well served. The pricing is also reasonable and is one of the reasons which make it popular amongst the younger lot.

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