In Awe Of Nature!

“Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe.”                      ~Wayne Dyer

 

I am in complete awe of all of God’s Creations, particularly nature and even the tiniest being which inhabit it. I often contemplate over the miracle of creation. I am captivated by the sheer magnificence  and Perfection of it all.

All this shows the greatness of the creator. Even the smallest creatures  in nature, have been bestowed with immense intelligence and cleverness for their survival.  Consider for example, an ant- it might lack in size, but is equipped with a brain to analyze, differentiate, explore and discover. It has been blessed with immense capabilities which help it to struggle and survive even in the harshest surroundings. At times, the sheer hard work and grit of this tiny creature serves as an eye opener to us humans.

The way the little ant overcomes many impediments during its search for food and its journey back to its abode- the diversions it takes, obstacles it conquers and how it continues towards it’s destination in spite of the many set backs is truly Awe inspiring.

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Perfection is a road, not a destination!

 

Perfection is but an illusion ! Strive for improvement, not for perfection. If you feel perfection is a static state , then it is non-achievable. But improvement is a state of motion, a constant work towards progress.

 

” Perfection doesn’t exist in anyone. Striving for perfection in any part of our lives is a recipe for failure, since it can never be attained.”              ~Dr John Grohol

 

If one sets perfection to be the ultimate goal, yet is not able to achieve it in due time, it can lead to frustration and also to aversion towards taking risks which can further develop into fear.

 

” If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”             ~Leo Tolstoy

 

The constant pursuit of perfection can nevertheless lead us to excellence.

So keep chasing Perfection, in order to excel!

 

 

 

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Review

UNCOVER THE TRUTH

Join fortune hunter Nathan Drake on a spectacular search for the lost “Atlantis of The Sands”, a critically acclaimed and multi-million-selling adventure that will take you even further into the Uncharted series…

 

That is a pretty promising description behind the disc case XD !!

 

Before I go on with the review….. hats off to Naughty Dog!

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was an outstanding game which I and my friends enjoyed playing a lot together. It was near perfect. This time, Naughty Dog had a question in front  of them…”How do we go past the ‘near-perfect’?”

They answered it by trying to hit the perfect mark.

 

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune set a new level of visuals and graphics and Uncharted 2 improved on that with a skill that only a skilled team of developers can make. The game had multiplayer and got several Game Of The Year awards.

 

Coming back to Uncharted 3, This franchise gets better with every iteration. Naughty Dog didn’t disappoint this time either.

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As usual, when it comes to 3rd person shooter games, one might think of the same clichéd story where the protagonist has the lead, the bad guys beat the crap out of his team and snatch the lead.

This does happen in Uncharted 3, but you’ll never see it coming.

 

Single-Player….

As with other Uncharted games, crushing is the highest difficulty which will only be unlocked after you’ve beaten the game once on any other difficulty; and you get a shiny new gold trophy for beating the game on crushing. Do keep in mind that the AI gets way too stronger, almost real life.

 

Stunning graphics yet again, decades ahead of Uncharted 2. Top it up with bad-ass action sequences and slo-mo melee combos, and a gripping story with twists and turns. CHERRY ON TOP!!! 🙂

Pros

+ Awesome story

+Beautiful environments and scenes

+Shooting feels like you’re shooting a real gun, not like you’re shooting pebbles out of your gun.

+Enhanced combat system and a great physics engine.

+Hand to Hand combat animation feels realistic to the core. The best ever. Feels like you are actually punching the crap out of the bad guys

+Takes you even deeper into the past life on Nate and Sully.

+ Cinematic experience

+ Playable in 3D

Cons:

-The melee system is so enhanced that you can punch the armored enemies wearing a freaking helmet with your bare fists!

-Top notch animation gets janky a lot of times.

-Dumb AI control on characters. They literally crash into you, block your way. And the public in places in the market in Yemen; don’t even talk about that. People continue staring at Drake, even if he is standing on their table…

-Sloppy AI in the easier difficulties. I think just because the Difficulty is easy?!!

 

All these apart, the game has a great story and the characters are amazing. The game has beautiful landscape scenes that you must visit before you die. It had me glued to my screen from the time I put the disc in, to the time the credits rolled.

If Naughty Dog is good at something other than making video-games, is the team’s ability to express a complicated story with perfection, ease and grace.

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Multi-Player……

(This feature is available only on the PS3 version)

**To play  the multi-player, you first need to enter the supplied voucher code into the PSN and download a network pass.  Second hand buyers would be needed to pay a little extra for the multiplayer as they do not have the supplied voucher code**

 

The multi-player doesn’t disappoint either. Uncharted 3 has greatly improved on its multiplayer side as compared to the previous game. Still, the visuals are not like the Single-Player campaign (as of which, less textures and clothing doesn’t get wet if your character jumps into water to mention a few things that are stripped from the multi-player)

 

This time the players have way more customization options. So many that I can’t even mention them. All this makes the multiplayer a lot fun. There are both Competitive and Co-Op types of multiplayer options available to the players. Well, Naughty Dog did solve the ‘Helmet punching’ thing. In order to melee the armored enemies, you must first knock their helmets of with your gun, then you can co in for the melee combos.

 

Trophies…..

This section is for my beloved trophy hunters who have spent nights without sleep trying to get the 100% on games.

The single-player trophy are a piece of cake for those who enjoy the Uncharted series.

But here is where angels turn into demons: MULTIPLAYER TROPHIES

These could be a real pain in the ass situations where you are filled with rage and disgust.

Naughty Dog released several DLCs , which totally add up to about 50% of the trophy list.

For more info, please refer the following guide on PlaysStation.org site.

Guide By: Pesico. DLC: Nille, dcollins22, Mastodon, JK1011.  Thanks a lot guys,

http://www.playstationtrophies.org/game/uncharted-3-drakes-deception/guide/

(Tip: Buy the Game of The Year edition as it has all the DLCs included on the disc, thus, saves a lot of money)

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Final Verdict:

Story 8/10

Soundtrack 9/10

Physics and Graphics 9/10

Sensible features 8/10

AI 8/10

Multiplayer 9/10

Overall Score    9/10

 

Expert Comment: Naughty Dog could’ve worked a lot more on the multiplayer. They should release more patches enhancing the cons mentioned in this review.

If you liked this review, make sure that you hit that like button and check out my other blog-posts.

 

Go Gaga On Yoga !

Today, on international yoga day, the enthusiasm in everyone to practice and follow yoga is infectious. Millions are stretching and doing the yoga postures. Let us know some more about it.

Yoga is a very ancient science of holistic style of living  which was developed in India around 5000 years ago.It is a discipline which integrates mind, body and soul. The techniques and wisdom of yoga have been used since Vedic age in India. It is not just a method but a complete way of life.

Yoga promotes all round development of personality of an individual as it helps to achieve fitness at all levels- physical, mental and emotional. Yoga is also completely natural. It creates harmony between humans and nature.

Some of the benefits of yoga are :

  1. Overall good health
  2. Increased flexibility
  3. Increased immunity
  4. Peace of mind
  5. Glowing healthy skin
  6. Increased discipline in all aspects of life

There are several forms of yoga practices with varied benefits. Some are

  1. HATHA YOGA– Hatha means ‘to be adamant’ in hindi language. This form of yoga involves techniques that help in being adamant to achieve total control over one’s body and mind through constant discipline. It helps to increase focus, patience and concentration.
  2. IYENGAR YOGA-This concept of integrating one’s mind and body was developed by Yogacharya BKS Iyengar. In this form, props, like wooden gadgets, ropes are used during asanas. It is therapeutic in nature and has been successfully used to treat several illnesses.
  3. PATANJALI YOGA- This is one of the most popular form being followed these days, promoted by yoga guru Baba Ramdev. It focuses on asanas and breathing exercises which help to strengthen one’s core. It helps in rejuvenating the whole bodyh and keeping it disease free.
  4. KRIYA YOGA-This meditation technique was brought in focus by Paramhansa Yoganand. Kriya is a method to control energy or pranayama. It accelerates one’s spiritual growth.
  5. BIKRAM YOGA This form was started by Bikram choudhary. In this, there is a sequence of 26 postures, which are designed to work systematically on each part of the body. Thus it helps in attaining optimum health.

There are around 84 classic asanas of yoga.

According to mythology, Lord Shiva is considered the Supreme Lord of yoga and he was the first yogi. Swami Vivekananda was the greatest proponent of Yoga in the west.

Let us make a decision to try and start practicing yoga regularly and achieve optimum health and efficiency in a Natural way!

 

 

Believe In Yourself During Times Of Struggle !

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.Beautiful people do not just happen.

~Elizabeth kubler

There are days when things are not the way you had hoped they would be. At other times you may feel disappointed.

During such times, continue to trust your judgment and values. Keep following your chosen path. Accept the challenges and look for their solutions. Don’t just focus on the problems.

It is definitely not easy, but in such times of Struggle, you can be your strongest support system.

Work out the changes that need to be made. It may mean changing your mindset or your goals, changing your course of action to overcome the hurdles and blocks.

Find a solution, implement it and do away with the problem.

Remember to believe in yourself !

‘The Last of Us’ Game Review

COULD YOU BE……THE LAST OF US?

When the world you knew is gone, when the line between right and wrong is blurred and when life or death decisions are an everyday reality, what would you do to stay alive?

For  Joel, every day is about looking after number one; but when Ellie comes into his life, their journey across what remains of the USA will push their humanity-and their will to survive-to the limit.

When I first got my hands on this game, I literally got the apocalypse vibe when I read that text given behind the case.

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This isn’t just a game folks, its an experience.

This is literally the BEST game of the PS3 era. It has everything; be it amazing story, graphics, scenery, there is no end.

The thing which makes the game even more interesting is that the “infection” is based on a real-life fungal infection known as Cordyceps infection. Fortunately, it only affects insects—–BUT——-

If this thing gets mutated or evolved enough to infect human hosts, we can have an apocalyptic situation for REAL!!!!!!

Singleplayer…..

We take control of Joel, a guy who is like you and me, trying to make ends meet and living a safe and comfortable life with his daughter Sarah. On the night of his birthday, infection strikes and ruins his life and all his dreams.

20 Years Later, when the infection is in full swing, military personnel have started a Quarantine Zone where adequate steps are taken to keep the area free of infection and the infected hosts. A rebel group known as Fireflies promises the remaining humans hope trying to find a cure and to retaliate against the strict actions of the military personnel, thus, having enmity with them.

Joel and Tess are buddies and smugglers, who smuggle anything from guns to pills. Their boring life takes a sharp turn when the leader of the Fireflies asks them to smuggle a “parcel” for them.

 

This amazing journey takes us through ravaged city streets, reclaimed by nature over the past 20 years, and stripped of any supplies by the survivors outside the Quarantine Zone.The ‘best friend’for the main character, Joel, is his ‘bag’.

There is a crafting mechanic in the game. Survival won’t just depend on what you find along the way, but how you use it. Press SELECT button to open your bag and here you get to know the reason why I called it his’best friend’.

Use the supplies you gather along the journey to craft items. Sound like a child’s play, but it is not. It requires a lot of strategy. Eg. You have the option of going offensively by crafting a Molotov or going safe by crafting a Health Kit to recharge your health. Both these use the same supplies. It is not just these two, but many more.

 

This game has a fresh start for the apocalyptic games. It has won over 200 Game Of The Year awards and will make you laugh, cry, and feel like a bad-ass; all at the same time.

The graphics are out of the world. Highly detailed textures, surroundings; you name it.

 

Now, let’s talk about the game. The story is so beautifully expressed that you can hardly let go of your controller until you’ve completed it. A sure block-buster hit that busts the best movie ever.

 

Now, the enemies,

At first when the infection gets hold of the body, it slowly starts growing over the brain and controls their hosts and converts them into violent zombie like creatures.

The first stage is the ‘runners’ who still having little control of their voice. You can still hear them moaning and crying as they are still trying to fight off the infection. But once they see a non-infected capable host, they go totally zombie like; ripping people apart and tearing them off. Just not this… As the infection progresses, they get more scarier and are sure to give you nightmares.

But the infected are not the only danger you’ll come across. In this apocalyptic world, you find people fighting even for a loaf of bread, a gun, a water bottle.They have to constantly Struggle. One such group is known as the Hunters, who rob anyone of anything and few have even resorted to cannibalism.

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There are some flaws, but they are very minute except a few.

The stealth engine is amazing in this game, but, Ellie was found by the enemies more number of times than the best computer can keep track, and still the enemy is like….”Where is this guy :{”  This did have me laughing and getting shot thrice in the face… :/

 

Ellie literally dances in front of them and they hardly notice her. Same with other AI supporters. Eg. Bill. He stomps around like an elephant and the clickers hardly hear him. But if I tell Joel to stand and walk they attack him and rip him.

 

Multiplayer……

**To play  the multi-player, you first need to enter the supplied voucher code into the PSN and download a network pass.  Second hand buyers would be needed to pay a little extra for the multiplayer as they do not have the supplied voucher code**

 

When you first select the Multi Player option from the main menu of the game, you will be asked to select a faction: Firefly OR Hunter.

After this, you are pitched against other online players in a battle to survive 12 weeks.

*One match = 1 Day. So 12 weeks = 84 matches*

The multiplayer is amazing. You work with other players of your faction and  try to win against the other faction players.

 

Trophies……

This section is for my beloved trophy hunters who have spent nights without sleep trying to get the 100% on games.

Every coin has two faces.

This game has a bunch of glitched trophies but they luckily have been patched.

Another drawback is that on the PS3 disc, you will not get the Left Behind DLC or the Grounded Mode DLC. You won’t get the map pack extensions either. You need to pay extra for those. Feel really sad for my fellow trophy hunters….

 

But on the PS4 disc, you have both, the Left Behind DLC and the Grounded Mode DLC included. You don’t need to pay extra for these. Voila!!

For more information and a detailed walk-through, please refer the following guide:

Guide By: Breadskin & TheFlyingToaster; DLC: AshtimusPrime  Thanks a lot guys.

http://www.playstationtrophies.org/game/the-last-of-us/guide/

 

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Final Verdict:

Story 10/10

Soundtrack 10/10

Physics and Graphics 9/10

Sensible features 10/10

AI 9/10

Multiplayer 10/10

Overall Score    10/10

 

P.S: Naughty Dog should make DLCs free for the PS3 and should definitely push a patch for the flaws mentioned here. A must have for all owners of the PS3.

 

If you liked this review, you can show your appreciation by hitting the like button and following the blog!

Teach By Example To Reduce Gender Prejudices In Gen Next !

For eons, women have been told to live their lives and behave in a certain way. There is immense societal pressure on them. Times have definitely evolved, lot of progress has been made in diverse fields which have brought about tremendous changes in the way we live and function but the mindsets in regards to gender equality have not changed at such faster rate. Inequality still exists in most cultures and communities around the world at some or the other level in all spheres of life -education, religion, domestic front and many more. Women are considered below par in some aspects even after the progress they have made in all fields.

To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while ~Josh Billings

In highly patriarchal Indian society, girls are often discriminated against on the pretext of following tradition and culture. Preference is given to son’s education and daughter is made to learn domestic chores. According to statistics available through a survey by NGO  Akshara, 41% girls drop out of school by 8th class. Even if she  gets educated and starts working to earn for the family, she is expected to be proficient in domestic chores and shoulder the complete household responsibilities alone without expecting any help from other family members.

Society at large has certain fixed stereotypes about the role and behavior of women, which are highly prejudiced. These are regressive and haven’t undergone any modification since ages. The need of the hour is to modify these believes to the core so as to change the mindset of a much larger section of society at a deeper level.

These changes need to start from our homes as a’ home ‘is the basic structural unit of any society. If we want our Gen Next to believe and practice gender equality we have to start educating them about it in their formative years. The work has to be started from now itself.Then only can we hope to see positive changes towards reduced gender prejudices in our future citizens.

Children LEARN What They See and What They LIVE !

We need to change our perspectives on raising kids by adopting and following progressive and relevant views.

So what is the right approach to teach our gen next about gender inequality ?

I feel we have to develop and practice a multi-pronged approach for our hopes to come to fruition in this aspect. First of all, children should be helped to understand about the wrong notions of’ division of labor ‘in our homes and society. They should be made to realise that this is not acceptable and just in an educated and cultured society. They should know that this is wrong and not normal.

Then, there should be a constant effort to encourage equality at all levels in home as well as outside the home- in school, parks etc. Children follow what they observe ; so we have to start sharing the work load of domestic chores in our households equally to set a good example in front of them. We should shake off our limiting and outdated beliefs and behavior.

The World Is Changed By Our Example Not By Your Opinion !

Children should be given small home tasks like dusting, making sandwiches or lemonade, putting laundry in washing machines without any differentiation based on their gender.

Daughters should be empowered from early childhood itself so that they develop the confidence to challenge inequality in the world around them.

We should strive to rear our sons in such a way that they understand and follow the correct approach to become the role models of gender equality we hope to see in our future generations.

It is very important to teach the young children about the inherent prejudices and gender injustices in our society, so that they start their adult lives with the right perspectives on gender equality.

Our behavior should be such that it inspires our  gen next and also those around us to happily emulate our example. We need to develop a strong sense of conviction in our thoughts and believes so that no amount of back talking, ridicule or the fear of being laughed at, is able to sway us from our chosen path.

By taking this path breaking initiative of share the load, blogaada and ariel have shown us the way, it is our duty to follow this path sincerely to bring about true and progressive changes in our society.

 

I am taking part in the #ShareTheLoad Challenge with Ariel and Aksharaat BlogAdda.

Share The Load to Reduce Gender Prejudices in Gen Next!

The prejudices of gender discrimination are deep rooted in our society. There is some improvement in urban house holds regarding the division and sharing of tasks at home but generally it is still considered the responsibility of the women folk of the house. The scenario is even worse in the rural or less educated segments of society. Right from childhood, the children get to see gender inequality in their homes and in the society at large, they thus form gender stereotypes in their minds which are highly incorrect in this modern progressive world, where gender equality is not just a matter of choice but an urgent need of the hour.

We need to modify the image of stereotypical work sharing in house holds where a girl is understood to be the one performing tasks like cooking and cleaning while boys are prepared for a life of earning the livelihood for the family. This distorted image results in developing a mindset in children which is detrimental to the true development of their overall personality making them fit to be the global citizens in the future who qual respect for th the genders and who value respect for everyone without any underlying prejudices.

We should formulate a plan on how to teach our kids the basic lessons of gender equality, which are best learned starting from home.

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From early childhood, boys should be encouraged to help their mothers just like their sisters do, in the house work. Parents can start with small tasks like serving water or refreshments to the guests, laying out the table for dinner or hanging out clothes to dry.They should be appreciated for their efforts regardless of the mistakes they might make initially. This will instill confidence in them to do such tasks own and also the concept of gender equality will get ingrained in them to the core. They will not look down with scorn or indifference upon household chores as being outside their domain and responsibility even when they grow into adults.

To reduce gender prejudices in gen next, we need a particular targeted approach. It should be our collective mission to raise kids who believe in gender equality, not just in their homes but also in the outside world.They should be made to learn that, in this modern era, no job is gender specific anymore. It is said that best way to teach kids is to teach them through example. So, the  role of fathers is of paramount importance to rear gender sensitive kids in the family. They should share the house work load with their wives, moms and sisters at home and set a good example for children to follow. Children learn the fastest through observation.

These basic ethics learned by children in their growing – up formative years play a vital role in their personality development and the values they will uphold in future. This phase will decide what they will stand for in their adult life.The right set of values becomes a permanent fixture in their mental realms.

The change should start right now to develop future generations for whom gender inequality is a strange concept. The children who see equality in their homes now, will bring up their own kids in a way where gender discrimination will be an entirely unthinkable, unfathomable and alien issue.

This way, we can nip the prejudice of yester -years and backward mindsets in the bud stage itself. This will ensure a long term solution to this problem of gender prejudices.

The progressive initiative of #sharetheload  taken up by Blogadda, Ariel and Akshara is a major step in the right direction to harbinger a positive change in the society.

I am taking part in the #ShareTheLoad Challenge with Ariel and Aksharaat BlogAdda.