Your Mental Health is More Important Than Your Grades

It is estimated that an alarming 62% of students are marinating in toxic anxiety. I came across this article by Kristen Lee Costa which is headlined “Your Mental Health is More Important Than Your Grades” I wholeheartedly agree with it!

She points out 5 key lessons to keep in mind if you or someone you love is in the throes of college-related stress:

  1. Know that education is a privilege.
  2. Don’t scratch that ridiculous perfectionism itch.
  3. Resist the bait of imposter syndrome.
  4. Become a time management ninja.
  5. Remember you’re not alone.

The article has details on each of the points and then some more.

"V.M. Doroshevich-East and War-Student of University of Madras" by Uncredited photographer - Page 113 from the book Vlas Mikhailovich Doroshevich «East and War», Moscow. Sytin publisher, 1905.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -

Self harm – Alternate behaviors

Since year 2000 there has been a steady rise of self harm behaviour in teens1. Trying to replace self-harm with something less harmful works for some people. Encourage the young person to try a few of these to see if they work for them:

  • Wait 15 minutes before self harming
  • Hold ice cubes in their hand – cold causes pain but is not dangerous to their health
  • Wear rubber bands on their wrist to flick themselves when they feel like hurting themselves
  • Use a red pen to draw on the areas they might normally cut
  • Work it off with exercise, do something they enjoy
  • Eat a chilli
  • Take a deep breath and count to 10 or try deep breathing and relaxation exercises
  • Try to focus on something around them, something simple, watch it for a while and see if that can distract them from the negative thoughts
  • Talk to someone
  • Write in a journal, draw or express feelings in another way

Fly high!
Fly high!

Weather forecast in villages

Children of Paradsingha and their weather board
Children of Paradsingha and their weather board

Recently Shweta Bhattad through her Gram Art Project drew my attention to a very simple but immensely useful initiative started by the children of Paradsinga village. Paradsinga is situated on the Madhya Pradesh border. The population consists mainly of small farmers.

The children were introduced to the internet very recently. Seeing the wealth of information available on the internet they struck upon a novel idea. They would read up weather updates from various sites on the internet and then display them on a small blackboard near the village market. Initially the updates were dismissed and ignored if not outright pooh poohed. However, with recent unseasonal rains and hailstorms people noticed that those that paid heed were able to save their grains and shelter their animals in timely manner. Within a week almost everyone started coming to the weather blackboard to read the forecast.

The Weather board
The Weather board

This simple initiative is now saving time, labor, cattle and crops. With availability of mobile phones this can be replicated in every village in India at almost zero cost. One just needs to make a few children aware of it.

Deepika Padukone My choice video – Amul rebuff

You may have hated the Deepika Padukone my choice video or liked it but trust Amul to come up with apt advertisements for themselves which are also socially relevant. This is indeed a long way to come for the Amul Girl. The Amul girl was created as a response to Amul’s rival brand Polson’s butter-girl. The idea was conceived in 1967 once ASP (Advertising, Sales and Promotion) clinched the brand portfolio from the previous agency FCB Ulka. It was executed by Sylvester Da Cunha, the owner of the agency and his art director Eustace Fernandez on hoardings, painted bus panels and posters in Mumbai. The mascot, since then, has been mobilized to comment on many events of national and political importance like Emergency in India in 1976.

My Choice - Amul ad
My Choice – Amul ad

While even I do not agree to many  of the statements in the narration of the original video the critics seem to have lost it and are bent on depicting women as shallow, gold diggers.

Also, the reaction video seems to pay no heed to the fact that adultery, when committed by men, is something that is almost normalised in Indian society. In fact, sexual freedom, by and large is treated as a bit of a male privilege in many sections of the society.

Here is what the Director Homi Adajania had to say to the critics.

“They don’t understand the context or they are Internet trolls hankering for attention, or maybe they have a different viewpoint…it’s a democracy and this is our view and they are entitled to theirs”,

CakePHP 3.0.0 released

Finally the wait is over! On 22nd March 2015 the CakePHP team announced the availability of version 3.0.0 stable. There are a host of new features in the latest version.

Over at SANIsoft website we already have a bunch of posts related to CakePHP 3.0 are the links to a few old posts that were written about CakePHP 3.0

Do I have a negative remark about the framework? Well if I stretch my mind I would say this version once again breaks backward compatibility. However CakePHP version changes should be seen like LTS (Long Term Support) releases and in it’s 10 year history they have only 3 LTS releases so this is certainly way better than most of the other frameworks out there.

Bald for a cause at MUWCI

Worldwide, 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year and despite tremendous progress, it remains a top disease killer of children. Like last year 23 first year students of MUWCI went Bald for a Cause and donated over 1.5 kg of hair to Children’s Cancer Centre for Lebanon. Aasim was one of them and I am proud of that.

From the Hair Donation Page of Children’s Cancer Centre for Lebanon.

Many patients lose their hair due to their cancer treatment. When our little princesses lose their hair, they often lose some self-esteem too. That’s why donating your hair to create a wig for our dear patients will make a difference in their lives.

The students made a nice video, Aasim can be seen at 1:54.

Bald for a Cause Worldwide

There is a lot of interest for Bald for a Cause events all over the world as can be seen from the following Google search

Mutton Biryani in a Pressure Cooker

Traditionally you cook Mutton Biryani over a slow wood fire. Modern urban life does not lend itself to such indulgences. Swati who just launched her kitchen blog has learned and perfected the art of making the complete Dum Mutton Biryani in pressure cooker. Apart from the marination which can be anything between 3 hours to overnight the cooking time is just 40 min!

Mutton Biryani Subtle taste with melt in mouth tender mutton pieces
Mutton Biryani Subtle taste with melt in mouth tender mutton pieces

Head over to her blog and get the complete recipe.

Some interesting tidbits about Biryani

There are two basic types of biryani: pakki (“cooked”, also pukka) and kacchi (“raw”, also kutchi). In pakki biryani, the cooked meat and cooked rice are layered. In the kacchi biryani, raw marinated meat is layered with raw rice before being cooked together. It is also known as kacchi yeqni. It is cooked typically with goat meat (usually ‘khasi gosht’, which is meat from castrated goats and often simply referred to as mutton) or with lamb, and rarely with chicken or beef. The dish is cooked layered with the meat and the yogurt based marinade at the bottom of the cooking pot and the layer of rice (usually basmati rice) placed over it. Potatoes are often added before adding the rice layer. The pot is usually sealed (typically with wheat dough) to allow cooking in its own steam and not opened till ready to serve. A boiled egg and mixed salad often accompanies the dish. It is featured in wedding feasts in Bangladesh, usually served with borhani, a spicy drink.

The non-vegetarian biryani may include chicken, mutton and sea food among types of meat. Although originally cooked with meat, biryani is now also cooked with vegetables, especially in India, where a substantial number of people practice vegetarianism. The vegetable biryani is prepared with rice, masala and non-meat ingredients such as potatoes and cauliflowers. Egg Biryani is another type of biryani.



Sahir Ludhianvi has written both the verses

Kal aur ayenge nagmon ki
Khilti kaliyan choonewale
Mujhese behetar kahenewale
Tumse behetar sunnewale
Kal koi mujhko yaad karhey
Kyon koi mujhko yaad karhey
Masruf zamana mere liye
Kyon waqt apna barbadh kare


Tujhko Mujhko Jeevan Amrit, Ab In Haathon Se Peena Hai
Inki Dhadkan Mein Basna Hai, Inki Saanson Mein Jeena Hai
Tu Apni Adaen Baksh Inhen Maein Apni Wafaen Deta Hoon
Jo Apne Liye Sochi Thi Kabhi, Woh Saari Duaen Deta Hoon
Main Har Ek Pal Ka Shaayar Hoon…

Contrary to popular opinion I find that the first verse is more liberating!

View Cells in CakePHP 3 – A quick start!

Wrote about another new feature in CakePHP 3 – View Cells. In a short 4 step how to I explain how to create a Recent Posts Widget

The concept behind View Cells in CakePHP 3 has been around for a very long time. As per the book View cells are small mini-controllers that can invoke view logic and render out templates. Andy Dawson wrote about this in 2007. If I were to to summarise the use of View Cells I would say, “Think Widgets”

Read the blog post

Aasim in MUWCI – finally!

Aasim with his wada mates and wada parents

Aasim had been preparing for this day for almost an year! Finally today he is where he wanted to be – a first year at the Mahindra United World College of India abbriviated to MUWCI by almost everyone.

Several friends expressed concerns about us having to let go of Aasim. Thanks for that. Agreed, last 17 years our world revolved around Aasim. We changed directions when he was born, some even called it a U turn. (No! it was not) This is the day we have aspired for as a family. Nothing can sum up things better for me than what Khalil Gibran has written about parents in his poem “On Children

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

So yes my dear friends we are not just OK with Aasim flying. We are immensely proud and happy to see him fly. Thanks for being so concerned