World Happiness Index

The ‘World Happiness Index’ was recently released by the United Nations. In this report, they took into consideration- income, health and life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom, and trust. However, I believe, one is not always happy when the aforementioned factors are fulfilled. You aren’t happy because you checked all the items on your list. Sometimes you are just happy for the sake of being happy.

We see around us, beggars on the street, our servants, chauffeurs, and others who may not be as well off. But aren’t they happy too? Does happiness really need an economic backing? Yes, money does make your life comfortable, which does lead to happiness, but does it always?

India ranked 122nd on the ‘World Happiness Index’ out of 155 countries. Shocked?

If you take a look at the report you will notice that Belgium ranked 17th. This is the same country where sex-trafficking is at its peak. Girls are forced into prostitution. I don’t think they are happy. Even though they are not a large part of the population, I think they are a sizeable population of unhappy residents of that country.

Iraq, that has been the epicenter of war and political unrest, has managed to rank 117th on the list. I fail to understand how the residents of that country are happier than India- a peace loving, war free country.

270 girls were kidnapped in Nigeria, and this country, where one is scared for their own safety ranked 95th.

India is a country where people come to find their inner peace and solace. We live in a country where helping a fellow citizen is like our second nature. Yes, we Indians are casteist, racist and even sexist; but we are still a nation where you see wide smiles on every festival, every cricket match that India wins and every time our fellow Indians do their country proud.

According to the assessment made for the years 2016-18, India has to contribute 0.737% to the UN regular budget. This puts India in the 24th place in the list of highest contributors. I am certain India is not lagging behind in generosity.

India gives its citizens the complete freedom of speech unless it is hurtful to anyone in any way. There, another tick in UN’s checklist.

I believe we are a happy country, happier than most other countries. The fact that a sixteen-year-old is writing about how displeased she is with her country being ranked 122nd on the list when she sees happy faces everywhere she turns, is reason enough to believe India deserves to be ranked higher.

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Gender Neutrality

Oxford University has made a bold move, which most conservative individuals might term imprudent and rash. It has introduced the concept of a gender neutral pronoun – ‘ze’. This move was made to prevent students getting offended by the use of wrong pronouns

I firmly believe that the beginning of gender neutral pronouns is a good start for humans to instil in them the sensitivity they have lost.  Being considerate to a transgender or queer individual by addressing them as ‘ze’ will ease their difficult transition. Being transgender is not easy as many people believe. Sometimes even your family does not accept who you are. By using gender neutral pronouns, we in our own way show that we are support these individuals for who they are.

Everyone has a right to define themselves as male, female or transgender or queer. If one does not conform to the binary gender rules, well they don’t have to. Giving people the “ze” option is a thoughtful, considerate move.

Adopting this in other schools and universities would be a dauntless move, especially if it is adopted in Indian universities and schools. Through this action, Indian teens struggling through gender transition would at least not be bullied by intentionally calling them with the wrong pronoun. This will also help Indians become more open-minded and accepting.

However fearless or bold this move is, I don’t believe India is ready for this kind of a radical change. India – whether you like it or not – is a conventional society. I do not think we can just ask Indians to change all of a sudden.

Children learn what their surroundings teach them. One of their biggest influences is their parents. Most parents either consciously biased or unaware about transgenderism. For this thought of having neutral pronouns, it is them who should first make aware about the concept, and then approach the children.

Let’s just start with baby steps, and first bring about acceptance about transgender individuals, rather than suddenly dropping a bomb such as this on Indian society.

© Creatifxpressions

School days are the best days, is not true today.

Maybe it’s what you think, or it’s what you think you should think, but there’s a general belief that your time in school will be the best time of your life. However I strongly believe that this does not hold true anymore.

School days today instead of being filled with joy, sports and fun, are now filled with stress, academic pressure and tension. With the increase in competition in every academic field, children have lost their childhood in going to coaching classes. If one wants to study at the Delhi University, which is one of the best in India, anything less than 96% is unacceptable. With this pressure to perform coupled with parental pressure, stress levels these days are soaring high.

According to a new survey released by the American Psychological Association, during the school year Teen stress levels were found to be at a shocking 5.8 while adult stress levels were 3.1 on a scale of 10. Teen stress levels exceed the normal stress levels by far.

School days were the best days, because every child was a flower of innocence. But this flower of innocence in every child is dying at a much faster rate than before. Children face bullying and teasing on an everyday basis. These activities leave scars on them forever. When ask an individual aged from 35-80 their memory of school would be one of their best memory, but when you ask someone younger, their most distinct memory of school is that of bullying.

Victims of bullying are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University

According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying

Aren’t these numbers astonishingly high?

In schools where bullying is an everyday affair, how can we call these years the best years of our lives?

All of your teenage years are spent in school. This is the time when you are most insecure and unsure of yourself. As a teenager you want to fit in with the coolest crowd at school. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. And when you don’t conform to these so called standards of being ‘cool’, we children feel insecure about ourselves. Even a simple pimple can cause havoc in our lives. Our appearance is everything. We do anything to fit in. How can we call these the best years of our lives, when we are not discovering who we are, but cloning others, trying to be someone we are not.

According to a teen magazine 77% of teenage girls find themselves overweight even if they are not.

With growing peer pressure from our friends, we feel compelled to dress and talk in a certain way. Statistics of peer pressure confirm that 23percent of teens started drinking before the age of 13 and 67 percent of girls are pressured into dressing a certain way.

Everyone wants the latest gadgets, most trendy clothes and list goes on. Why is this, to fit into the ‘cool’ group at school.

Life can be a wonderful journey even after school. You can travel the world on your own terms, not restricted by where your parents want to go. One can pursue their hobbies and the list goes on.

School can be fun, but even after school life can be enjoyable.

In Rabindranath Tagore’s poem he says:

‘The child who is decked with prince’s robes and who has jeweled chains round his neck,

Losses all pleasure in his play;

Dress hampers him at every step.

In fear that it may be frayed, or stained with dust

He keeps himself from the world,

And is even afraid to move.’

This dress can be the dress itself or even the restrictive rules at school hampering the child from exploring himself.

School life looks like a bed of roses but everyone forgets to see the thorns.

© Creatifxpressions

Is it success or failure that drives you to do better

Success and failure is like the grapevine twirled on a wooden stick; the mistakes we make being the support stick and success being the grapevine that climbs on the strong foundation – the stick.
We look with wonder and happiness when a child first learns how to walk, after falling numerous times he eventually emerges a victor mastering the task at hand. We forget that unlearning, making mistakes and succeeding is so integral to our learning process
‘Most people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure ‘ – Napoleon Hill
In life we do not get the chance to erase our mistakes, all we can do is learn from them, embrace them and use them as our base coat to build our beautiful masterpiece- painting a pulchritudinous picture of our lives’ successes.
Mistakes teach you to be good, however, success teaches you to fly higher above any mountain you have flown before.
If we observe a pendulum, it oscillates from left to right-success to failure. Although, in the end it ceases at the centre. This symbolises that life is a balance between failure and success. An excess of either of the two can lead to an imbalance.
Long term success comes from short term failure.
I would like to leave you with a thought, does a scientist get the joy of science when he repeatedly fails to complete an experiment or is it from his success, so what really drives him forward- success or failure, and what is it that keeps him grounded, preventing him to fly to high and melting his wings like Icarus?

-creatifxpressions