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Raksha Bandhan goes digital this year



With travel restrictions and physical distancing becoming the new normal this year, traditional visits to our siblings for Rakhi this year are being substituted by virtual Rakhis sent online.

Major e-commerce sites have seen massive jump in the number of orders placed for rakhis and e-gifts given the restrictions and apprehensions about travel and social distancing.

Snapdeal saw rakhi orders jumping three-fold as more users have opted to buy or send Rakhis online. Adding to the trend, Snapdeal’s shoppers moved to completely digital solutions for Raksha Bandhan this year by choosing E-Gift cards as the topmost Rakhi gift.

The platform witnessed a surge in the sale of digital gift cards two weeks before Rakshabandhan. It logged an increase of 70 percent in the sale of these cards, vis-à-vis last year, the company announced in a statement.

Last year, travel accessories like go-pro mounts, selfie sticks, and backpacks were widely picked as Raksha Bandhan gifts. Ethnic clothes were also widely bought as gifting. This year, as India continues to be cautious of the virus, digital gift cards saw a big boost in sales.

“The number of Rakhis sold this year exceeds the number of Rakhis sold in the last two years combined. This is primarily due to the shoppers exercising caution and avoiding the festival linked travel,” the company said.

Flipkart has also seen a sale of over 1,00,000 rakhis per day. Overall, the platform has seen 2x growth as compared to previous year in terms of units sold.

The North is the largest chunk in the pie, with almost 45 percent demand coming from the region, followed by Eastern states with 25 percent share, the company said.

The top 10 cities generating demand are New Delhi, Bangalore, Patna, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata and Gurgaon

Ferns N Petals has witnessed 100 growth in in comparison to the previous rakhi seasons. It has received 10,000 rakhi and rakhi gift orders every day, total 300,000 orders till Saturday. There have been 400-600 orders per day for virtual gifts like Guitarist on Video Call, Personalized Video message, and celebrity video message. The company is anticipating to close this season at 1.5 million orders.

“More and more customers are shopping online than before, in order to maintain social distancing. With this shift in buying behaviour, we have witnessed a huge surge in customers who want rakhis to be delivered in other countries like the US, followed by the UK, Singapore, UAE and a couple of other countries,” informed Manish Saini, COO, ecommerce, Ferns N Petals.



Why daily stretching is a health necessity



Working out is important as it keeps the body and the mind active.  When it comes to working out, stretching has always been the underdog. On one hand, people believe that it is an essential part of an exercise to avoid injuries, while on the other hand people believe that it leads to injuries itself. The truth of the matter is that both of these claims aren’t entirely incorrect. It’s the execution that makes all the difference when it comes to stretching.

According to Dr Sneh Soni, MD Physician, myUpchar, stretching on a daily basis, the right way, can lead to many health benefits. These range from:

Increasing your range of motion:

Just like most inanimate objects, if we don’t use our body and our joints regularly, they begin to get rusty. Doing stretching exercises regularly ensures that your muscles remain healthy, maintain their flexibility, and don’t become a hindrance when you do need to use them. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching, in particular, is found to be extremely effective in increasing your range of motion. PNF stretching is a technique that uses your natural reflexes to give you a deeper stretch. Consult a physical therapist if you would like to explore PNF.

Boosting performance

When it comes to sports, engaging in an active warm-up is considered the norm. This is where dynamic stretching proves to be very useful. A study published in the ‘Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research’ shows that instead of static stretches, dynamic stretches can boost overall performance by improving flexibility, speed, endurance, etc. In dynamic stretching, you don’t hold a position for too long, instead, you keep your muscles moving in a similar motion to that of the sport you’re about to play.

Improving blood circulation

A recent study published in ‘The Journal of Physiology’ suggested that passive stretching, done for a period of 12 weeks, can help dilate the arteries and aid in reducing the stiffness in them. This leads to better blood circulation, which is one of the key factors in the prevention of vascular diseases like strokes, hypertension, and diabetes. Passive stretching is when you remain in one (relaxing) position while your muscles are stretched with the help of a partner, prop, accessory, or even a wall.

Helping you relax

Over the duration of the entire day, many of us can end up accumulating stress with physical implications. Sitting at a desk with a slight hunch, for example, can prove to be extremely harmful to your posture, muscles, and even bone structure. Even stress can stiffen your muscles. By employing the use of some basic and practical stretching techniques, you can relieve this physical discomfort and stress, which may allow you to rest easier during the night and wake up feeling refreshed.

Preventing strains and injuries

Stiff muscles can prove to be dangerous — when you suddenly stretch them during your day to day activities, they could either end up putting unexpected pressure on your joints or lead to an injured muscles itself. Adding even just a few stretches to your daily routine can help you avoid this by improving the flexibility of your muscles and giving endurance.

Relieving chronic pain

There’s a reason why stretching has been included in physical therapy interventions for the management of shoulder, neck, back, and knee pain. While you might imagine that stretching is not as effective in pain management as muscle-strengthening exercises are, a study in the journal ‘Clinical Rehabilitation’ found that only stretching was just as effective in reducing pain as a combination of strengthening and stretching over a year of physical therapy.


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Immunity drops quickly in mild COVID-19 cases, shows new study



A study shows that in people with mild COVID-19 cases, their antibodies against the coronavirus drop sharply over the first three months after infection.

A research team at the University of California, Los Angeles, did an in-depth study of 34 people who had recovered from mild COVID-19 infections. They tested their blood two or three times over three months.

The researchers found a rapid drop in antibodies – the immune system proteins that help stop viruses from infecting cells in the body. On average, the antibody levels fell by half every 73 days, according to the study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings raise concern that humoral immunity against SARS-CoV-2 may not be long lasting in persons with mild illness, who compose the majority of persons with COVID-19, said the study.

Further studies will be needed to define a quantitative protection threshold and rate of decline of antiviral antibodies beyond 90 days, according to the study.

The study comes at a time when the Coronavirus cases are increasing rapidly globally.

Th total number of global COVID-19 cases has increased to over 14.8 million, while the deaths have topped to more than 615,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Wednesday morning, the total number of cases stood at 14,898,145, while the fatalities rose to 615,462, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.


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Books & Authors

From Corporate Banker To An Award Winning Debut Author | Dots & Streaks The Journey



How many times we must have gone to the movie halls and applauded watching the Bollywood flicks like ‘Three Idiots’ or ‘Tamasha’. Why do we applaud when we hear those clichéd dialogues time and again which tell us to follow our heart and success will follow on its own. We applaud every single time and even pay to watch and hear those dialogues on reel but do we really practice them in our lives for real. 

As a society we are conditioned since childhood on the definition of success. A definition that beautifully and faithfully covers academic endeavors, jobs and gets monetized thereafter, but miserably fails to cover satisfaction and happiness. That which comes from following your heart’s calling. That which may or may not provide a steady salary or means of livelihood but does provide gratification. Shouldn’t gratification also be a part of the definition of success.

If yes, then why as a society we don’t encourage one’s heart’s calling or nurture one’s passion wholeheartedly. While it is important for every individual to strive for a basic livelihood, isn’t it also important that if that same individual also has a passion and a penchant to pursue it alongside, as a society we encourage that to flourish too. Will it not be for the betterment of the society as a whole if the talents are brought to the forefront adding to the richness of the society at large. Will not encouraging and building a wholesome personality lead to a happier person and therefore a happier society. Isn’t the definition of happiness also distorted today with the mental conditioning of the society leading to a larger section of it leading depressed lives. 

While we grapple with all these questions time and again, there are individuals like Nitish Raj who come forward into action to address these questions. Nitish Raj (Editor-in-chief) and the team of Literary Mirror invited entries from all over the country far and wide in the area of literary fiction and poetry by organizing LIT Digital Awards 2020 in the wake of Covid era. The mission of the awards was to recognize talent in literary field without any distinction whatsoever between the experienced authors and the budding ones. An award designed to purely recognize talent based on the sole merit of the writings and to honor them thus providing a huge boost to such endeavors. 

And true to the promise of its mission the eminent Jury members of the LIT Digital 2020 awards declared ‘Dots & Streaks’ as the winner. A maiden attempt by one such debut author Ellora Mishra. An engineer by qualification from BITS Pilani, Rajasthan and MBA from XIMB, Bhubaneswar the author had been pursuing her career as a corporate banker all this while. While writing was her childhood passion and she found it therapeutic she could never pursue it beyond her blog nor got the required encouragement to do so. 

As Covid struck and gave her that much needed break from the mundane she found time to pause in life, reflect and follow her heart for once which she did by penning down the book ‘Dots & Streaks’. Interestingly, the book ‘Dots & Streaks’ through its short soulful poetic tales addresses the same issue and the mental conditioning of our society. The lyrical verses are a philosophical journey into one’s life compelling the reader to pause and ruminate over all those incidents, emotions and events that seemingly by-passed as mundane in one’s life. But, therein in the ordinary and the mundane resides the true essence of life. The book very beautifully emphasizes this very fact of life as a whole. 

The author Ellora Mishra of ‘Dots & Streaks’ truly believes that as a society there should be more such endeavors to recognize talent in various fields of creativity which is essential to spread positivity in a big way. In the author’s words “while we keep blaming the societal conditioning for our job frustrations and all the distorted definitions, it’s also important that we as individuals support each other too in such positive endeavors taken by another in pursuing their passion. We ourselves tend to spend at the blink of an eye on coffee or pizza but when it comes to buying a book by a new author we hesitate to do so. Till we do not change that attitude ourselves we can’t keep blaming the society for not encouraging creativity or passion.”

Needless to say, we definitely need more such awards like LIT Digital Awards 2020 and a change in our attitude to encourage and harness talent rightfully. Hope awards like these and a journey like the book ‘Dots & Streaks’ serve as a wakeup call to each and everyone going forward.

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