For illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: File

COVID-19: What the pandemic taught me…

While humankind continues to create imminent possibilities from mere dreams, the current pandemic has served a purpose, that of a period to one’s life (“More than a dozen hospitals declared coronavirus-free in Dubai”, Gulf News, July 04). The botched situation that we are in, has brought each person’s life to a standstill. Although this may appear to be an obstruction to one’s development, it is, in fact, the inception of something new, something so simple, yet important: the introspection of oneself. It is now time to finally reflect on your actions and see, if what you are doing is bringing you happiness or not.

You may reach unprecedented levels of success, but if you do not have anyone to share that joy with, all your accomplishments are just plain futile. We have this fantastic opportunity to stay at home, so close to our families. Undoubtedly, how you spend your time during the quarantine or while staying at home, is something you will always remember. So, why not spend these short-lived precious moments with the people you love? All these years you have not been able to share a cup of morning tea with them but, now you can. Those card games you would play as a child, but then stopped eventually because you always had a class to rush to, you now have the chance to reminisce your lost exuberant childhood.

The current situation will soon pass, in the blink of an eye. Once this phase ends, we will be moving forward in our lives at an accelerating rate, and you might not get the chance to be so close to your family back. So, make the most of the time you have left, and you will cherish it endlessly.

From Ms Srujal Gawali


Coronavirus: Importance of knowing and befriending your neighbours

The disastrous impact of COVID-19 is not over (“UAE-based blogger starts charity drive to help small businesses”, Gulf News, June 28). It has already taken a heavy toll on humanity all over the world. Measures are on, to counter and contain this diabolic menace completely. There may come a situation when we need to rely upon those around us, especially on our well-wishers and friends. To make a close contrast and distinction between a friend and a neighbour, here, is necessary.

With the passage of time as one grows older having lived a life full of joy and sorrow, ups and downs shifting from one place to another in connection with one’s job-commitments, etc., one comes across several people, colleagues, work-partners, neighbours and friends. But, real friends are so rare to find these days. Friendship has become more or less give and take affair now.

What I feel is that it is your close neighbours, finally, who are your friends on-the-spot.

At the time of emergency, who would come to your rescue quicker? Your neighbour or a friend? Since neighbours are closer, they can help you faster than a police squad or even the fire brigade. To sum up, I have seen many such situations where the people who come to your immediate rescue are often your neighbours; friends and relatives come later. Therefore, it is essential to have helpful neighbours as your friends, and one should maintain solidarity with them. Tense or strained relations will only give negative results.

From Dr. Shiben Krishen Raina

Rajasthan, India

How learning a sign language benefits us?

The often unexplored world of sign languages includes gestures and signs that are predominantly used by the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, for communication. Many presume that the American Sign Language (ASL) is the only sign language that exists, but it's a myth that needs to be debunked. This notion is formed because ASL is popularly used in media, and during international conferences. An array of sign languages are currently in use, and this includes the Arabic Sign Language, British Sign Language(BSL), French Sign Languages (LSF) and several more. Learning a sign language would seem different from acquiring any other linguistic skills, as we would begin with gesturing the alphabets rather than its phonics or written scriptures. These popular languages are all, a two-dimensional experience where we continuously scan through words to understand the depth of conversation, or even rely on the body language or annotation. Sign languages let us have a three-dimensional conversation without the anaglyph glasses (3D glasses) as it unleashes a new element of communication, where we explore the gestures and lip-reading to some extent. Apart from these languages presenting us with intriguing conversations, they are often associated with neurological benefits. A study conducted with brain-damaged patients suggested that signing in ASL activates the left and right hemisphere of the brain, whereas, general linguistic interaction would activate only the left region of the brain predominantly. Since sign languages involve visual and motor skills, there is a significantly higher activation of occipital, temporal and frontal lobes, than in a normal linguistic conversation. These lobes are responsible for visual information processing, cognitive functions and control over voluntary movement, respectively. It heightens our brain's ability to process and interpret conversations as sign languages increased lateral activation of our mind. Sign languages improves sensorimotor skills through the continuous gesturing and swift movement of our hands to maintain the flow of conversation. Hope this letter was persuasive enough to enrol at least half of its readers for a sign language lesson, or peak interest into this exclusive community of people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

From Ms Ayswarya Sudheer


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