Gender equality should not be applied in traditional, sentimental matters like Sabarimala row: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Thursday said tradition and sentiments of the devotees should be respected on the issue of entry of women of all age groups in Sabarimala and gender equality need not be applied on matters relating to the Lord Ayyappa temple.

Kerala has witnessed widespread protests by Ayyappa devotees after the state government said it was bound to implement the Supreme Court’s verdict that lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women in the 10-50 age group to the temple, whose deity Lord Ayyappa is considered to be celibate.

Any change on matters relating to religion and faith should be done after consultations with spiritual leaders, Sri Sri said.

There are several temples dedicated to Lord Ayyappa in the country and women are not barred anywhere else except in the hill shrine in Kerala.

“Then, it is a tradition…and people’s sentiments are also there…we have to respect it…” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar told PTI in an interview here.

“It is not a matter of gender inequality here in this temple issue. In fact Indian culture always holds women in great reverence…True equality is when women are assured of safety, have equal opportunities in career and every girl child has access to quality education,” he said.

“However, this temple issue creates such an emotional hurt and shock to people… the devotees…, which could have been avoided..” he said.

The spiritual guru, however, said he was “glad” that the Supreme Court had agreed to hear the review petitions against its September 28 verdict.

The comments by Sri Sri come two days ahead of the two-month-long Mandala Makaravillakku pilgrimage season in Sabarimala that commences on November 17 and attracts millions of devotees from all over the country.

The Art of Living founder, who embarked on a four-day tour to the UAE on an invitation from the ruler of Fujairah, was speaking on the sidelines of his visit here.

Stating that all facts relating to the Sabarimala shrine may not have been presented fully at the apex court, he said even people belonging to other religions, who visit the hill temple, have always followed the rules there as they are part of age-old customs.

The main issue in Sabarimala is the mandatory 41-day ‘Vratam’ (wherein devotees have only vegetarian food and follow strict celibacy). Those who go to the temple, even in the past, follow the ‘Vratam’ and go, he said.

“Women, of course in the menstrual cycle, cannot undertake the 41-day Vratam. And that is the reason they are not going there,” he said.

To buttress his point, he said shoes are allowed inside churches all over the world but people remove it in the temples and mosques in India while entering there to offer prayers.

“So, these all are some cultural, traditional practices. If you ask why don’t you do prayers with shoes or chappal in temples while you can do the same in churches…the answer is that it does not fit,” he said.

Though the logic is the same, it cannot be applied in all contexts. Because, that is not our tradition, the spiritual leader added.

Sri Sri also said he was sure that the apex court would come out with a suitable decision to resolve the present issues while hearing the review petitions.

When asked about his formula to resolve the vexed Ayodhya dispute through mediation, he said his effort was to create a ‘win-win’ situation for both sides.

“In a situation, when they (Hindus and Muslims) come together in a sense of brotherhood of give and take….one gives a piece of land for the temple and the other gives place to build a mosque in a different place…the problem is solved,” he said.

Sri Sri, who has been trying to resolve the Ayodhya dispute through mediation for some time, said he has spoken to hundreds of imams and other spiritual leaders of the Muslim community and none of them had objected to the construction of a Ram temple.

Stressing the need to grow spiritually, he said it helps improving communication, to forget the past, take a new vision and move forward in life with renewed enthusiasm.

The Emirate of Fujairah has invited Sri Sri for yoga celebrations as part of which there would be meditation for world peace called ‘Illuminate Peace’ that will be held at a football stadium here.

After Fujairah, the spiritual leader will lead meditation sessions in Dubai also, apart from visiting a labour camp and conducting a special session for labourers at Sharjah, before returning to India.


Reverse Screening Vs Traditional Screening Algorithm for Syphilis

The study revealed that the traditional screening algorithm is more suitable for laboratories with low-volume samples due to the lower false-reactive rate and its cost-effectiveness.

The reverse screening algorithm identified more patients with syphilis than the traditional screening algorithm, but also led to an increased likelihood of false positives, making retesting with a second treponemal test necessary, according to a study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

Researchers compared the performance of the reverse screening algorithm with the traditional screening algorithm, thus serum screenings for syphilis were conducted in parallel with chemiluminescence immunoassay and toluidine red unheated serum testing.

Chemiluminescence immunoassay-reactive sera from reverse screening algorithms were confirmed with Treponema pallidum-particle agglutination assay. Traditional screening algorithms with toluidine red unheated serum testing which were reactive were further tested with Treponema pallidum-particle agglutination assay for confirmation.

Out of a total 110,663 serum samples, the reverse screening algorithm identified 2.0% (n=2259) with chemiluminescence immunoassay-reactive results, 16.7% (n=377) of which showed nonreactive Treponema pallidum-particle agglutination assay results. In addition, 61.6% (n=1392) were toluidine red unheated serum test-nonreactive, 25.1% (n=350) of which were Treponema pallidum-particle agglutination assay-nonreactive. Of the 350 Treponema pallidum-particle agglutination assay-nonreactive sera, 182 were tested again by a second chemiluminescence immunoassay, which showed 85.2% (n=155) as nonreactive, and 14.8% (n=27) as reactive.

Further testing of the 27 VITROS Treponema Pallidum assay-reactive sera with treponemal IgG western blot assays, which found 37% (n=10) as reactive, 22% (n=6) as nonreactive, and 41% (n=11) as indeterminate. Out of the 10 western blot-reactive sera, 2 seroconverted to Treponema pallidum-particle agglutination assay 1:80 approximately 1 year after follow-up. Of note, 3.1% (n=27) of the 867 sera samples which were chemiluminescence immunoassay-reactive and also subsequently toluidine red unheated serum test reactive, were Treponema pallidum-particle agglutination assay-nonreactive.

Study investigators concluded that “the present study revealed that the traditional screening algorithm is more suitable for laboratories with low-volume samples due to the lower false-reactive rate and its cost-effectiveness.”


Traditional food shouldn’t be gone with the wind

Traditional food shouldn’t be lost, the taste must remain and memories connected with age old delicacies must linger on. Indian food holds a very important place in every household. After all the variety that we eat while on our outings, we crave to have homemade food and very specifically our traditional delicacies, what we commonly refer to as Desi Khana.

Innovating group in collaboration with Tourism department is organising a competition based on traditional Indian delicacies on Saturday under which the semi final will be held in Hotel JaiSingh Garh situated in Haridas ji ki Magri. Named “Kahin Gum Na Ho Jayye” the cooking competition’s finale will be held in New Delhi on the 1st of December.

Speaking on the occasion, the group’s Directors Chef Vimal Dhar and Chef Sangeeta Dhar informed that the city’s homemakers and students will cook various traditional delicacies with the objective of maintaining and carrying forward the age-old Indian traditional food that is almost disappearing from Indian homes. They wish to make the coming generations aware of the original Indian tastes. Chef Sangeeta Dhar also informed that the competition is being organised on a national level. Udaipur has been chosen as one of the centres for the competition. Arc gate group is also participating in this event. India’s well known chefs will be the judges for this competition.


Deepika Padukone’s Wedding ‘Chooda’ And ‘Kalire’ Had A Unique Traditional Yet Elegant Touch

Deepika Padukone’s Wedding 'Chooda' And 'Kalire' Had A Unique Traditional Yet Elegant Touch

Those two most important and exciting days came in and went by with the blink of an eye! November 14-15, 2018 saw two beautiful souls become each other’s forever in the presence of limited family members at Lake Como’s Villa Del Balbianello in Italy and ever since, fans have been eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of the newly-wedded couple. Trust us, never have we been so impatient! (Do Read: Here’s The Cost Of Square-Cut Solitaire Engagement Ring Of Deepika Padukone Gifted By Ranveer Singh)

With fans eagerly waiting to steal a glance at Deepika and Ranveer’s wedding pictures, the newly married ‘Mister and Missus’ took to Instagram and finally posted two beautiful pictures from their Konkani and Punjabi-Sindhi wedding. Captioning the picture with hearts, Deepika and Ranveer looked like a couple who has descended straight from heaven! Here are the pictures in case you missed:

Deepika and Ranveer

Deepika and Ranveer

With Deepika’s huge square-cut solitaire engagement ring almost making us go blind, have you noticed the minimalistic jewellery that Mrs Bhavnani sported and more precisely, her chooda and kalire? The picture that the just-married couple posted from their wedding, made us see Deepika in a never seen avatar with her matha-patti, chooda and kalire on total point! What was extravagant about her suhaagan ki nishaani was the minimalistic yet simple design it came with. Take a closer look of the same here:



Beautiful, right? Also, as stated earlier by sources, Deepika and Ranveer had ensured full privacy at their wedding. And why wouldn’t they? Have you taken a note of the measures undertaken by the stars to ensure maximum privacy?  As per reports, guests have been provided with special wrist bands which symbolises that they are a part of the guest list. Security guards have sealed the camera lenses of the mobile phones of the guests, lest fearing the leakage of any off-guard pictures. To top it all, numerous security guards have been on constant patrol on the outskirts of the venue. And do you have any idea how much the superstars have shelled out on security purposes? Reportedly, the couple has spent almost Rs 1 crore for security purposes for the week! (Must Read: Ranveer Singh’s Mumbai Residence Stunningly Decorated For Newbie Bride Deepika’s Grih Pravesh)

Deepika and Ranveer

Deepika was all geared-up for her wedding and couldn’t keep calm! In an interview with Rajdeep Sardesai on India Today India Tomorrow she had shared, “I’m excited in the same way as I’m excited about signing my next film. Marriage is something that I’ve always looked forward to in my life, as would any other girl.” Further speaking about her inspiration towards a happy marriage, the Happy New Year star stated, “I’ve seen my parents do it so well and so successfully and I think for me, that’s the way I would like my married life to be as well. My parents have a beautiful relationship. The way they have managed their professional life as well as being together as a family. They have set such amazing benchmarks that both I and my sister (Anisha Padukone) would like to follow.”

Deepika Padukone

Ranveer too, was never weary of praising his lady-love. During the premiere of Deepika’s Hollywood debut of xXx: Return Of Xander Cage, the Befikre star was all praises for his muse and had stated, “She is an extremely gifted actor and an amazing movie star. Somebody whom I admire and I’m extremely proud of her. I am a huge fan of the franchise and it’s very exciting to see her in this instalment.”

Deepika and Ranveer

Ranveer is truly the perfect guy for Deepika. A source revealed to Huffington post some interesting behind-the-scene moments of the couple. It was revealed that Deepika and Ranveer would make every possible attempt to be with each other when work kept them apart. Also, the Dil Dhadakne Do star would stay on the sets of Bajirao Mastani, waiting for Deepika even when his shot got over! The source revealed, “He’s always giving her cues even when he doesn’t have to. It almost feels that for him, her career is more important than his. He was one of the first few people to tell her that she needs to go to Hollywood. He’s starry-eyed when she’s around.” And that truly doesn’t go unnoticed!


Say goodbye to these five decor trends before they’re gone

pantone 2016

The year 2018 has been a great one for home design, giving us a renewed focus on wellness and timeless choices. But not every style choice was made to last. Christina Birtcher, a top-rated interior designer with Three Roses Interiors in Portland, Ore., predicts we’ll leave these five up-to-the-minute trends behind in 2019.

1. Mid-century modern minimalism

Clean lines and decluttered spaces were popular in 2018. But Birtcher believes we will soon tire of the totally streamlined look and throw in a dash of nature.

“I am seeing more influences from Morocco and reduction of the mid-century modern minimalist for more vintage, organic and layered textures incorporating bespoke pieces,” she says.

Birtcher also predicts a new take on the all-white colour palette.

“All-white kitchens and baths will remain popular, but I think homeowners will incorporate organic texture within them,” she says. “I think marble and lighter wood tones will continue into 2019.”

2. The no-wallpaper rule

Design trends have encouraged a complete rejection of wallpaper since the 1980s. And people have been replacing busy, old-fashioned wallpaper in favour of beige and white walls ever since. But Birtcher is confident that new styles of wallpaper will be all the rage in 2019.

“My favourite new trend is the re-emergence of wallpaper,” Birtcher says. “It appears that it’s making a comeback, and I am loving this new trend! I believe it will be with us for a while. There is so much creativity, texture and art that we are seeing being transformed into beautiful papers.”

3. “Blush”

When to open a bottle: aging wine without the…

The Pantone Color Institute selected Rose Quartz as its Colour of the Year in 2016, alongside a dusty blue called Serenity. This launched blush and rose gold into mainstream home design — popularly paired with creamy whites and marble finishes.

Birtcher predicts that in 2019, interest in these shades will be exhausted.

“I don’t believe the blush pink and rose golds will continue,” she says. “I believe they are difficult for most people to incorporate into their homes. I think metallics will replace this look.”

It seems Pantone would agree. The institute released a 200-colour collection of metallics called Pantone Metallic Shimmers in October 2018, and it’s certain to inspire fashion and product designers into the coming year.

4. Accent walls

Bold accent walls have been a popular design choice for many years. But Birtcher thinks that 2018 is the last year this look will trend for a while, as we lean toward more calm, neutral looks.

Birtcher is prepping her clients for the change.

“If my clients really want that look, I try to incorporate it with just a hint of a darker hue, but not anything that is a huge contrast,” she says.

5. Offset horizontal tiles

Style options for tile expand with every year, given enhanced manufacturing technology, new designs and easy peel-and-stick products. But as with anything that presents near-limitless possibilities, some experiments stick, and some get tired quick.

Birtcher thinks horizontal mosaics are tired.

“Tiny, offset horizontal tiles in contrasting colours on a backsplash for the kitchen and in bathrooms are so busy, and I think this product dates the home,” she says. “Using a softer pattern tile, co-ordinating granite splash or subway tile is a much better alternative. It will retain a time-honoured element in the space without dating it and making your eyes blur.”


Flower BOMB with Light Heart Designs











So you’re having an event but you want something to make your décor or the backdrop of your pictures pop, right? You could get an average step and repeat or you can take your event to the next level with a “flower backdrop” designed by LaShandra Harris of Light Heart Designs. Harris, stop by City.Life.Style to give us the 411 on making your event stand out:

City.Life.Style: What is Light Heart Designs?

LaShandra Harris: Light Heart Designs is a paper floral company offering a variety of paper flower walls and other backdrop solutions, available for rent as decor at weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties, corporate and vendor events, and much more. Light Heart Designs also offers individual sales of paper flowers and paper flower sets for personal, home and office decor.

CLS: How did you decide on this business?

Harris: My husband is given all credit for pushing me to find my passion and use my creative mind and attention to detail. I have always been a person who loves arts and crafts, and loved creating pretty and unique things. After a few weeks of playing with paper and a glue gun, I began creating paper flowers of all styles and colors.

CLS: What makes your product different from others on the market?

Harris: Each of our paper flowers are hand cut and handcrafted using premium, quality cardstock paper. Our paper flowers are custom made and designed specifically to tailor to our clients needs.

CLS: What’s next for your business and where can people reach/follow you?

Harris: Light Heart Designs will continue to focus on paper flower art, creating more custom items such as paper flower centerpieces and other paper flower event decor


3 DMV entrepreneurs took home cash prizes at Lyft’s inaugural pitch competition

Lyft Pitch winners and judges.

(Photo by Daniel Swartz)

Lyft‘s first pitch competition drew more than 200 attendees to watch eight finalists pitch to a panel of judges for a chance to win $30,000 in cash prizes to help scale their businesses.

Lyft Pitch was hosted at the Blind Whino SW Arts Club in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15 and featured cocktails, mingling, 12 vendors who are also entrepreneurial Lyft drivers and lots of donuts and food trucks from The Big Cheese, DC Slices, DC Empanada, and Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken. DC previously reported on the eight entrepreneurial Lyft drivers who are working with the rideshare company to fuel their own separate businesses. The expert panel of judges included Woody Hartman, VP of global operations at Lyft, Steven Scebelo, VP of business development and licensing at the NFL Players Association, Stephanie Thomas, executive director at the Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Cullen Gilchrist, founder of Union Kitchen and Eileen Fagan, VP, solutions development and operations at Intuit.

Each entrepreneur had three minutes to pitch and three minutes of questioning from the judges.

Joe Himpelmann of Aspen Hill, Md., took home the grand prize of $15,000. His company, Assault Forward, sells pride of service accessories (lapel pins, cuff-links, tie-bars, etc) for veterans and patriotic Americans. Himpelmann said Assault Forward was just being conceptualized a year ago and now the company is taking home first place in its first pitch competition.

“Veterans are a valuable part of our community,” Himpelmann said. “We bring experience and skills that may be unique to the general civilian population. Hire veterans, that’s the best way to honor them.”

The reverse American lapel pin was Assault Forward’s first product when the company launched its site in March 2018. Himpelmann and Assault Forward are currently participating in WeWork‘s Veterans in Residence program in partnership with Bunker Labs, which provides space, services, business mentorship and community to help veterans and military family members starting a business, as previously reported by DC.

Himpelmann told that the funds will be put toward meeting more veterans face-to-face and online.

Ricky Organek of Fairfax Station, Va., whose company 2ndLyfe Waste Solutions ​​d​iverts and repurposes 75 percent of the garbage destined for the landfill and gives it a second life, won second place and a cash prize of $10,000. Organek said he spent about 10 years altogether building his company to what it is today.

“It’s a combination of persistence and not giving up. You’re balancing on the edge of a sword and it’s not whether or not you fall off, it’s about how much pain and how much rejection you can endure, and still stay on the course to fulfill your dreams,” Organek said. “You’re either building your dream or building someone else’s,”

Organek told that he will use the funds to buy a 28 acre lot of land so he can scale what he’s already doing with his business on a quarter of an acre of land.

Chris Cooke of Virginia Beach, Va., won over the crowd and received a cash prize of $5,000, sponsored by Intuit. He created Trucket, a mobile app offering users the ability to request a truck on demand for moving and hauling needs. It also provides a local marketplace to buy and sell furniture. Cooke told that this was Trucket’s first try at a pitch competition and that the winning funds will go toward marketing for the launch of the Trucket app at end of the year.

All of the winners said they will continue to drive for Lyft as they continue to grow their companies.


India wiring mess: Soon, one duct for Power, TV, Internet

Pilot projects for the ‘common duct’ are being planned in Delhi and Rajasthan. Photo: Reuters

Pilot projects for the ‘common duct’ are being planned in Delhi and Rajasthan. Photo: Reuters

New Delhi: Operators may soon be able to lower their costs by sharing infrastructure, with the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) holding discussions with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) for rolling out pilot projects under a common duct policy. Under the initiative, a common optical fibre would be laid underground and would be used for providing multiple services such as electricity, cable TV and home broadband internet.

Operators will thus not incur capital expenditure independently as this will result in only one-time costs for things such as digging and also lead to sharing of infrastructure.

“The fibre would be owned by the infrastructure providers and they have suggested three kinds of business models. These include public-private partnership, a one-time fee for laying fibre charged by the authorities, and revenue sharing between municipality and the operator,” a person aware of the development said, requesting anonymity.

A pilot project in Delhi was also discussed at a session organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 24 October. Another pilot could also be undertaken in Rajasthan, a second person aware of the matter said, on condition of anonymity.

The fibre sharing arrangement envisaged would be similar to the tower sharing arrangement between telecom operators.

Moreover, under the National Digital Communications Policy, 2018, approved by the cabinet in September, the department of digital communications has stated its intention to implement a “fibre first initiative” to take fibre to homes, to enterprises, and to key development institutions and to accord telecom optic fibre cables the status of public utility.

This would be done by promoting collaboration models involving state, local bodies and the private sector for provision of shared duct infrastructure in municipalities, rural areas and national highways.

The government also seeks to establish a ‘National Digital Grid’ by establishing common service ducts and utility corridors in all new city and highway road projects, and related elements and creating a collaborative institutional mechanism between the centre, states and local bodies for common rights of way, standardisation of costs and timelines, and removal of barriers to approvals, the policy said.

Trai, in April 2017, along with the Jharkhand government undertook tests for a small project in Deogarh district where each common duct would comprise seven micro ducts. Public sector telecommunication consultancy firm Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd provided consultancy to the project in Deogarh. A feasibility report prepared by the consultant found that the total capital expenditure for this project was about ₹46 crore for a 300-km area. The idea is to offer a common duct for at least 20 years, and no other entity would get permission to dig land there.


Abington veteran receives home renovation as part of Operation Legacy Service Project

Abington veteran receives home renovation as part of Operation Legacy Service Project

The Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) and Entercom recently teamed up for an Operation Legacy Service Project to renovate Iraqi War veteran Matthew Renner’s home in Abington.

Each April and November, the Travis Manion Foundation organizes Operation Legacy Service Projects, which unite communities for a common cause through volunteer-led service opportunities. Under this umbrella, Entercom and TMF joined forces to unite home improvement partners to donate their services in renovating Renner’s home.

Volpe Enterprises, based out of North Wales, removed an old roof and installed a brand new CertainTeed Integrity Roof System.

All Seasons Comfort Control, in partnership with American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning and Ferguson HVAC, supplied the Renners with a brand new high-efficiency furnace and cooling unit, new ducting and a new digital thermostat.

Employing Bricklayers Association and Bricklayers Allied Craftworkers Local No. 1, in partnership with Dzwil Contracting and Haye Construction, with the help of EP Henry and its HeroScaping program, provided a brand new backyard, patio and retaining wall.

Renner is a third-generation military enlistee. In 2002, he enlisted, serving two tours in Iraq as a machine gun turret gunner. While serving in Ramadi during his second deployment, Renner’s placement atop his unit’s Humvee put in him in danger during an IED explosion. As a result of his injuries, Renner required eight surgeries and medically retired in 2008. He was awarded two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart for his service.