Memories of the fantastic voyage to the moon on it’s 50th anniversary!

–Lachman Balani

It was the summer of ’69 and I was literally over the moon as I had just graduated from the American School of Tangier, a US secondary school in Tangier, Morocco and was preparing to go to Cornell University in the US for further studies in engineering.

Amidst all the excitement of getting ready for university, another extraordinary event, the imminent moon landing, heightened my adrenalin levels as I was highly interested in science.

Way back in ‘68 and ‘69 when the Russians and Americans were running neck and neck in the race towards the moon, I was actually rooting for the Russians as they were the first to launch the space  satellite Sputnik and the first to put a man, Yuri Gagarin, into orbit. The Soviets were also the first to hard land (unpowered) and soft land (powered) a spacecraft on the moon. The U.S.S.R. was also the first to get photos of the lunar surface.

I would jokingly tell my American friends in school that “the Russians are gonna paint the moon red!”

They would laugh back: “nah, we doubt it, but even if they do, heck when we get there we will spray it white with the Coca Cola logo!”

Such was the ingenuity of American marketing even way back then.

I remember well also that after the “dress rehearsal” Apollo 10 mission in May of the same year, there were rumours that Russia, cloaked in secrecy, would somehow beat the US and send up a manned mission to land on the moon before the upcoming Apollo 11 voyage in July.

However, the great day finally arrived for the Americans. My family and I huddled around the black and white TV on July 16, 1969, to watch history unfurl. With memories of the fire that killed three astronauts in the Apollo 1 mission a couple of years earlier and Neil Armstrong’s near death experience a year earlier still fresh in everyone’s minds, I kept my fingers crossed that nothing drastic would occur as the countdown began. Continue reading “Memories of the fantastic voyage to the moon on it’s 50th anniversary!”

West Virginia University offering free yoga classes to reduce students’ stress

West Virginia University (WVU), a public research-intensive university in Morgantown, is offering free yoga and meditation classes to reduce the increasing stress experienced by students; and are urging all US universities/colleges to offer such free yoga-meditation programs.

“Yoga and meditation have been proven to reduce stress levels, help with academic performance, and promote overall emotional and physical well-being”, the WVU announcement says. Classes being offered include Body Flow, Guided Meditation, Power Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Vinyasa Flow. The University will also provide yoga mats, meditation cushions, and chairs at no charge.

According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to a “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image.

Founded in 1867, WVU offers 340+ majors and has been ranked “among the top 1.5% of universities in the world”. Its students come from 107 countries and all 50 US states. E. Gordon Gee and William D. Wilmoth are the President and Board Chairman respectively. Shannon Foster is Interim Director of WELLWVU, whose mission includes “to foster the complete well being of our students”.

Continue reading “West Virginia University offering free yoga classes to reduce students’ stress”

WCD Ministry launches logo and tagline contest for ‘National Nutrition Mission’ with Rs 1 lakh prize money 

The Ministry of Women & Child Development has launched a contest inviting creative minds to design a logo and suggest a tagline for its prestigious ‘National Nutrition Mission’. It is an opportunity for citizens who aspire to see their design displayed on a National platform.

The Government of India approved the National Nutrition Mission to ensure holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children. The programme targets to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth rate. Accordingly, it was felt pertinent to launch an appropriate logo and tagline to generate awareness among the masses.

The Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has said, “As has been the practice of the Ministry to engage with citizens, the Ministry proposes to invite entries from public for the same. In keeping with the overwhelming response received on similar contests run on the Ministry’s Social Media platform, it is proposed to award a prize money of Rs 1 lakh to the winner.”

Participants are welcome to send either a logo or a tagline or both. In case the logo and tagline selected by the jury are from separate participants, then the prize money would be split. Continue reading “WCD Ministry launches logo and tagline contest for ‘National Nutrition Mission’ with Rs 1 lakh prize money “