Thursday, 24 July 2014

15 qualities of exceptional entrepreneurs, by Jeff Haden

These qualities need to be embedded in the mind... in the sub-conscious. Rendering services in your area of expertise sometimes makes you stand in front of blockades. There always a way around.


Every few weeks, we have an unprecedented event, mind boggling and blood curdling. We are in a state of war, no doubt about it. The reasons are so complex that we can’t put our finger down on a specific one. Along with this, we regularly come to know of incidents that we could never have imagined. Such absurd happenings seem to materialize out of nowhere. The event gets full media coverage, live news feed, minute by minute development, discussion in talk shows, anything and everything to keep you glued to the screens.   One approach, to understand these extraordinary events, can be that as compared to the rest of the world, we are a new television audience. We got exposure to the “free media”, including private TV channels, only recently. This might be a reason that we are hungry for spicy news. Subconsciously, we are craving for some unprecedented event.

Previously, we used to have only one state run TV channel. The quality of its shows, the authenticity of the news, ethics and professionalism were its hallmark. Then there was a private channel, which created a healthy competition. But now, we have tens of private TV channels that exercise their right of freedom of speech to a sickening level. We have a greater inclination for watching news channels, because they are churning news at a dizzying speed, quoting incidents of unprecedented nature. Apparently, telecasting news no longer requires any authenticity and even if it undergoes some verification before being presented, the standards are very low. The news will just spring up on the screens in a most surprising tone, stunning the audience at once. One channel quotes one figure, the other has a different figure to quote about the same incident. There is a sickening competition about breaking the worst news before other channels. This race to break the news first reduces the time for verification, almost eliminating its scope. 

The news channels are conducting business without any ethics. But these channels are not the only ones to be blamed. We, as a general TV audience ask for it. We buy the spice, they sell it! The staggering figures involved in such a business suggest that some unprecedented event should take place on regular basis. Every few weeks, there is a mind boggling event, more disgusting than the previous one, shocking, jaw dropping, heart sinking; in simple words, a roller coaster of emotions. We have some seriously sick minds controlling this “business”. If something doesn’t happen for long, the channel ratings drop. To keep the business running, why not create an incident and feed the hungry audience? Within minutes, stage sets for an action packed event, eyes get glued to the screens, the airtime prices reach record highs, money is made then matters are brought to discussion in the so called live talk shows, more money is made. It’s true for the rumors as well. They get so much importance without having any base.

I am not pointing at any particular event; we have a long list of absurd happenings. These events get full media coverage, tens of channels giving live news feed and flashing images. There are no rules to be followed; no regulations are taken care of. There is no sense of responsibility, ethics or discretion of content. The cameras show what needs not to be shown to the public, the reporters use words that are least professional and unnecessary music plays in the background, turning the whole incident into a rehearsed play. One heart wrenching scene gets multiple exposures from tens of cameras, one bad news gets repeated continuously for hours. The newscasters seem to enjoy breaking the bad news to the public, filling the gaps within their read with illogical phrases. The highs and lows of voice and the emphasis on heart piercing words give an impression of some cheap theater performance. And that’s actually what the news has become, a discreditable theatrical performance.

The leading international news channels never show the raw violence, even in their live coverage. But here, the violent scenes break our heart, lower our morale and cause psychological unrest and disturbance for a long time. These incidents pile up inside us, layer after layer and cause frustration and a sense of helplessness.  The day the crowd stops buying the spice, the news channels will calm down. What happens on entertainment channels can be paralleled to this scenario.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Dry Landscaping

Usually when we think of a landscaped garden, we think of greenery, richly colored flowers and thick foliage. But there is an altogether different perspective of landscaping that is otherwise. This area of landscape design is known as “Dry Landscaping”.  The major elements of design in dry landscaping are stones, carved by nature, rocks, pebbles, wood, sand and clay with a very few plants. In some designs, plants are non-existent. It is a way of expression in which a designer can tell the tales of beauty, freeze the running water and display naturally crafted sculptures.Frozen waterfalls, stationary streams and static winds… it’s a story of your choice in designers’ words.
The chief element of design for a dry landscape is stone. Stone, usually in its natural form gives a rustic look to the scene and creates a dramatic aura. Hand crafted stones usually don’t find place in such designs, but when they do, they are complimented either with a water feature or by plants. 

 The origins of dry landscaping can be traced back to Japanese tea gardens and monasteries. These were designed to be viewed from the windows at a height. The aim of these gardens was to create a feeling of solitude, serenity and detachment from the outside world. The pathways to these gardens were quiet and led to the main area in a way that the eye wouldn’t steal any stray glance.These gardens were designed for meditation, to discover the inner self and to enlighten oneself. The tea houses were designed to ward off drowsiness that might occur while meditating.The gravel in these gardens was raked daily by the monks to give an illusion of waves and whirlpools of water. But today, this particular way of expression has taken care of many practical aspects. It is probably a better choice in comparison to a grassy lawn. It demands less time to maintain and has a less demand for water. 

Most of us are pressed against time to take care of the lavish green gardens. Dry gardens maintain themselves, and wild moss, if appears, gives yet another dimension to the scenery. These landscaped gardens are easy to maintain.

Water is a very precious resource. It must be used wisely. Dry gardens are water efficient and “green” in ecological terms. The floor of the garden, in most cases, is covered by pebbles or coarse aggregate. A playful arrangement of colors and levels can form a very beautiful depiction of a calm stream frozen in time, without the need of actual water.

Miniature plants, used to dot the scene need very little water. Mulch adds more color to the landscape. Natural or dyed mulch, both are used to retain moisture in the soil.
A variety of materials for the pathways, not only adds color to the garden, but also gives a rich tactile texture. Stone lanterns, clay crafts and garden lights, all assimilate to give a picture perfect dry garden.
A rich design in terms of elements, colors, textures, views and vistas changes the concept of traditional landscaping altogether. Life is noisy. Get a niche of your house designed for peace and serenity!