Weekly Digest #14
Updated: Nov 5, 2020
The Paperless Press
Weekly Digest #14
The Mysteries of Mythology
By: Mihir Rao
Most of us here have grown up reading Amar Chitra Katha, and it has been a childhood favourite for all of us. However, we never really thought of them as actual things that happened. It is, after all, just mythology!
Well, through the course of this article, I would like to offer you a new perspective.
Looking at the vast treasure of mythology, there is of course Hindu Mythology, with a vast number of stories, Gods and things to read, and then the equally large Greek Mythology with an equal number of stories and Gods, and even Egyptian and Norse mythology, which are really famous; and mythologies from Polynesia. West Africa and Japan, among others.
They may seem wildly different, but in this article, I want to show you, the readers, the parallels we can draw between these different mythologies.
In most of these mythologies, though they are extremely different, their perception of the universe, in its most basic form, is the same.
For starters, almost all of these mythologies perceive our universe as not just one universe, but one of many different dimensions which people can visit easily. For the Hindus and the Greeks it was 7, for Norse Mythology it was 9, but they all have common elements, such as: Earth, Heaven, Hell, sometimes a realm of serpents.
Anyway, let me move on to my next example, which might be a little more proof for you.
Gods and Goddesses in these mythologies have always been EXTREMELY varied, often amongst thousands of their kind.
Some of them are very similar to deities in different mythologies, as if they were one and the same. Let’s talk about them. 3 Such Gods are Indra, Vishnu and Shiva. These three gods are in almost all of the mythologies that I have mentioned, but with different names. If you look at the similarities, in Greek mythology Zeus is similar to Indra, Vishnu is Poseidon and Shiva is Hades. Indra, like Zeus, is the lightning God and has the powers of lightning. He is also the head of all the other Gods, just like Zeus. He also is known to be extremely arrogant, like his counterpart. Vishnu, like Poseidon, is depicted as being blue.
In fact, the Encyclopedia Britannica refers to Indra as the Indo-European cousin of the German Wotan, Norse Odin, Greek Zeus and Roman Jupiter.
If you remember the story of Dwarka, Krishna’s (An incarnation of Vishnu) city which sank to the deepest depths of the sea, it is very similar, almost the same as Poseidon’s city of Atlantis. Shiva, like Hades, has a really bad temper and can destroy anything extremely easily.
Let me go to a different example.
In almost every mythology that I have written of during the course of this article, there is a mountain, which is supposed to be extremely tall and it is supposed to lead to the realm of the Gods. For Hindus, it is Mount Meru, where the devas reside, and for the Greeks it is Mount Olympus, where the Greek Gods are.
There is one more parallel I will draw between these mythologies, which is the use of serpents in their stories. Serpents, in these mythologies, are integral in the system of the universe. Be it Vasuki of the Realm of the serpents, or Jormungandr, the World Serpent from Norse Mythology.
This is not all just a theory - there are writings that talk in depth of things, which were previously considered just our imagination! There is a theory that says that the universe is not as we perceive it, but instead is the surface of an n-dimensional superfluid.
This was already referenced in mythologies as a ‘Cosmic Sea’, also referred to as the Sea of Milk (Kshirasagara), by the Hindus.
A famous event in Hindu Mythology which people who read Amar Chitra Katha would probably know (heh heh), is the Churning of the Sea of Milk. This was a pivotal point in Hindu mythology, and is even referenced in Norse Mythology, where the Gods and the Giants (Devas and Asuras) got together to make a sacred type of mead, which ended up in the Gods winning the drink. The world Serpent Jormungandr who I referenced previously, was there and played a role, like the king of serpents in Hindu Mythology, Vasuki did.
If we interpret the churning of the Sea of Milk scientifically, we can see that it was probably a wormhole (portal that takes you from one place of the universe to another quickly) that opened. Scientists have also theorized that if a black hole is spun rapidly, it will turn into a wormhole.
How could this happen? How could a coincidence of this magnitude occur in the mythologies written by people around the world? How could Indians calculate advanced math problems? How could the Egyptians make pyramids with enormous blocks that no human could lift? How could people know of supermassive black holes and even wormholes so early in time? And.. are we alone in the universe?
Within infinite myths lies an eternal truth.
Who knows it all?
Varuna has a thousand eyes,
Indra, a hundred
You and I, only two. ~ Devdutt Pattanaik, Pashu
Pollution or Solution?
Are flights to nowhere really good?
By: Agastya Rao
The pandemic has brought the travel and hospitality industry to a standstill. However, the brains of us humans are constantly in a state of flux, and we are creative as ever and have found a way to earn a living. The answer: ‘Flights to nowhere’. As mysterious as ‘Flights to nowhere’ seem, their purpose is actually pretty simple. With people fed up with staying at home, they don their masks and PPE kits, and pay good money just to board a flight, fly around in the air, and then touchdown. Never in our wildest dreams could we have thought that travel would come to this - mere dreams of travel and flights to nowhere.
Reading news of these flights to nowhere got me thinking - Are these flights serving a real purpose of helping an industry or people? Are these mere flights of fancy, complicating an already overburdened world?
We have to hand it to whoever came up with this idea - it is rather ingenious. This ingenious idea will definitely help airlines earn money (They have lost a lot of money during the lockdown). Airlines such as Qantas and Singapore Airlines capitalised on the cabin fever of the people- making sure that both: 1) people and 2) the airline survive. Yes, and they all lived happily ever after… Well, not so much. Let me explain-
For years and years, environmentalists have been spreading the word about the amount of fossil fuels being used by airlines, and the amount of air pollution being caused by aeroplanes. Among all the mayhem caused by the current pandemic, one bright spot worth celebrating was the reduction in pollution levels. Yes, a minimal number of flights in the sky has been a big factor for this. Now, finally when the air has improved, aren’t these flights to nowhere polluting the environment?
The Ups and the Downs-
-Providing a sense of normalcy- Flights to nowhere have brought a positive attitude towards flying which is reincarnating the Aviation industry which was severely hit by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Flights to nowhere help people cope with the pandemic, bringing back a sense of normalcy in an uncertain world. Even though we know that the world will never be the same after this, Flights to Nowhere offer their flyers a ‘safe respite’ from the world. For months, planes have been grounded and have been collecting dust in hangars at airports, and now they get to (literally) spread their wings.
Flights to Nowhere are the perfect way to stretch your legs- looking for normalcy, book your tickets. CNN reported that Qantas’s flight to nowhere sold out in just 10 minutes!
Yes, with this high demand we are sure that the aviation industry will pick itself up in no time.
-Helping bring back the aviation industry- Airlines are definitely planning to capitalise on the cabin fever of the people. Sadly, many airlines have endured great economic losses, and many people lost their jobs because of the large debt that many airlines faced. With flights to nowhere, airlines can finally start earning money again, and with this comes the hope that many livelihoods could be saved. If this is profitable (as we saw with Qantas’s flight to nowhere) airlines can get their wings back, and regain their splendour and glory.
As positive as this seems (and is,) hold your horses people, don’t start booking tickets just yet. As Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot said, “Facts are the cobble that build the road we travel”. Keeping that quote in mind, it would be unfair for us if we don’t show you the whole picture. Let’s take a look at the downsides-
- Environmental concerns-The pandemic was also slowly making our planet heal. The skies were becoming clearer, the air was becoming cleaner, animals were slowly coming back, but now with the number of people boarding planes increasing- the fuel being used for the planes is also increasing- thus, more air pollution. This is one thing environmentalists are very worried about: how we may go back to square one and how the Earth that had healed, would become polluted again.
-Risk of contracting the virus- The pandemic still rages on, and there is no doubt of the possibility of contracting the virus on a plane. However, airlines have been instructed and do follow and take the proper safety measures- such as social distancing between passengers and ensuring that all passengers were masks. Perhaps this is then a minor downside.
The way forward and other alternatives-
-In addition to Singapore Airlines’s flights to nowhere, they have also found another method to keep the airline in business, and increase their customers, and this is- Customers pay money to sit in a seat of an Airbus A380 (While it is on the ground, so it is not flying) (the price varies from economy to first class). They can choose to pay for an economy class meal or a Premium economy or First Class meal. Singapore Airlines also offers delivering airplane food to people, but all of this comes at a hefty price. However, the option for delivery offers customers gourmet food, from the safety of their homes, and with a minor risk of contracting the virus. Meals on a plane that is not flying and is grounded do not use the large amounts of fuel that are required for a flight to nowhere. Here at The Paperless Press, we find this an exciting alternative to flights to nowhere.
The way forward
I am quite sure that it will take us some time to adjust to the ‘new normal’. Though our future is uncertain, the normalcy that flights to nowhere provide, show that there is hope for humanity to survive. Flights to nowhere are a great way to beat the cabin fever out of you, but the debate over environmental concerns shall continue. Even though we may not start going on holidays just yet, us humans can surely think of more creative ways to enjoy the pandemic and reduce cabin fever. Let us see what the future has in store for us. Teleportation, maybe?
Quarantine Worries? No Problemo!- Part 2
By: Abhimanyu Rao
One week later, and I’m still in quarantine. Luckily, this has given me a lot of time to think, and prepare the second part of my two part article of how to shrug off the worries of quarantining. Quarantining is a double whammy against you. Not only will you have all your energy drained by the virus, but you’ll also get fed up of sitting in one place the whole day! This time, I bring you more anti-boredom tips, because the happier your mind is, the happier your body will be, and the quicker it will heal! Obviously, do contact a doctor in case you are unwell. In no way am I offering medical guidance (If you do get the virus though, whatever you do, don’t self-medicate!) And now… the moment you’ve all been waiting for, Part 2 is here:
Take out the big guns… Read a book!: Reading has always been a favourite pastime of mine, and books have been of great help for me. Even if you don’t enjoy reading, if you have a few favourites from way back, spend some time with them. Books have the most variety ever! You can read anything from classics by the likes of Roald Dahl or Rudyard Kipling, to new favourites, like books by Neil Gaiman or David Walliams, and even encyclopedias for your favourite franchises! There is always a book for everyone! So what are you waiting for? Dive in, and get lost in a world of words!
Drop Everything And-(drumroll)-Dream!- True, this sounds horribly boring on paper, and you are probably DRED-ing it(get it?🤣), but dreams are really helpful! If you have taken my advice from Weekly Digest #13, then you will probably be resting a lot. Resting is often a great time for both dreaming while you are awake (daydreaming) and dreaming while sleeping (dreaming), as you’ll probably be sleeping a lot too! Dreams are a great way to process your emotions, and what’s going on in your life. You will have a lot on your plate if you have got the virus, and dreams may help ease your mind.
Write something- Writing is very therapeutic, and much like painting, you are trying to create something. Writing is painting a picture, but you don’t need paints or brushes (which if you don’t already have, will be quite hard to get during the pandemic), and much like painting, writing isn’t about other people liking it, it’s about you creating something you are proud of! There have been multiple abstract artists whose work was scoffed at, who are now extremely popular! I’ve deviated from the
topic, so back on track now, what can you write? Writing can be anything - you can write about your day, like a diary entry, you can write about what you wish your day would be like, sort of like an imagined future, you can write about an imaginary place you just created. If you can’t think of what to write about, maybe write an alternate ending to your favourite book!
Be careful not to listen to the lectures you got from WhatsApp University! As reliable as these forwards may seem, for all you know, they might unknowingly hurt you. If you are anxious to see what might help you through this difficult time, please contact your doctor, and look at the websites of the WHO, and the CDC. Research about the virus if you want to, but don’t do more than a basic skim of the information, the more you see, the more you might be unnecessarily worrying yourself!
Lastly, and again, REST! When you are unwell, and especially if you have got the virus, resting is necessary, and to the people out there, who-like me- hate resting and staying in one place, it is a necessary evil. Remember that resting will only end your confinement quicker, and help your life get back to normal quicker. So the more you rest, the less time you’ll have to rest for.
HAPPINESS QUOTIENT FROM AROUND THE WORLD
So much to be happy about, and be inspired by, this week:
Jacinda Arden has been elected the PM of New Zealand for a second term with a whopping majority. She won millions of hearts and praise from the international community for her sensitive handling of many crises faced by New Zealand, including ensuring that Covid-19 did not spread calamitously in her country. We recently read an article about her school days and humble beginnings. We are doubly happy because, as we wrote in Weekly Digest # 7, the world needs more women in politics.
In a clear proof that citizens’ protest makes a difference, around 800 acres of the Aarey Forest in Mumbai has been declared a reserve forest. This is a major victory for citizens who had been protesting against a proposal to build a carshed for the Metrorail in the area.
12 year old Caleb Anderson made history by becoming the youngest person to study Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech University in the USA. What a genius! All of us here at the Paperless Press wish him well before we go back to studying our humble grade curriculum.
In some good news for the environment (and therefore, for us), eight beaches in India have been awarded the Blue Flag certification. The certification, accorded by the Danish Foundation for Environment Education, is an internationally recognized eco-label and is accorded only if a beach meets 33 stringent criteria. The 8 Indian beaches are Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Ghoghla (Diu), Ksarkod and Padubirdri (Karnataka), Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands), Golden Beach, Puri (Odisha), Shivrajpur (Gujarat) and Kappad (Kerala). We hope this inspires all of us to look after our natural heritage better than we have been.
Karishma Ali from Pakistan became the first woman football player from her country to feature in the Forbes’ 30 under 30 list. To give you an indication of how important this is, she is in company with the likes of tennis champ Naomi Osaka on the list. Karishma has also trained over 60 girls as the head of Chitral Womens’ Sports Club.
News from this week featured the Indian Army’s sensitive care and rebuilding of the grave of a former Pakistani officer who was killed in action in Jammu and Kashmir in 1972 - a testament to the Indian Army’s greatest military traditions.
DID YOU KNOW
Throwback to our friends in Weekly Digest #4 in Agastya’s Article where he wrote about Tardigrades (Indestructible organism) ( Weekly Digest #4) There has recently been a new discovery about Tardigrades. The already more or less invincible tardigrades have got yet another upgrade! A species of tardigrades, called Paramacrobiotus, has a fluorescent protective shield that protects it from UV rays, talk about super powers!
Has the pandemic got you fed up of nor being able to meet your friends face to face? Well, cows feel your pain! Studies have shown that cows prefer face to face conversation to artificial/pre recorded messages. Additionally, we have learnt that cows make varied sounds depending on their levels of excitement, fear or pleasure!
Well on the way to sustainability, the Swedish Government is supporting the construction of the ‘Oceanbird’, a transatlantic car carrier that is reminiscent of ages gone by. Why? Because, unlike most ships of the present, the ‘Oceanbird’ is powered by wind, therefore not using up any polluting fuel. Being designed by swedish shipbuilder Wallenius Marine, and with a capacity for over 7,000 cars, this ship may be one of the inventions that saves the planet.
Astronomers were astonished to see, what they could only term the ‘spaghettification’ of a star, shredded by a black hole. This was explained by Thomas Wevres, who explained that a star, when it reaches too close to a Supermassive Black Hole, present at the center of all galaxies, it is sucked into the black hole, and the immense strength of the black hole’s gravity shreds it into thin streams of material. This mind blowing phenomenon ends with the material falling into the black hole, which sends out a huge amount of light, which alerts astronomers of this rare happening. Talk about a gigantic flash in the universe’s pan!
Entertainment quotient for the week:
Junior MasterChef Australia
David Attenborough- A Life on Our Planet
C. Amazon Prime Video
Chak De India
D. Sony Liv
Agatha Christie’s Marple
The Last Shot:Your weekly sports roundup
By Agastya Rao
With the NBA finals and the French Open coming to an end, we have had a lot of finishers in the sports world.
French Open results-
-Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic to win his record 13th French Open title. This brings his total Grand Slam record to 20: equalling Roger Federer for the most men’s singles Grand Slam titles.
-Iga Świątek who is the highest ranked teenager in women’s singles, beat Sofia Kenin to secure her first ever grand slam title at the French Open.
ATP 500: St.Petersburg Open (Tennis)
-Borna Coric shall take on Andrey Rublev to fight for the men’s singles title.
- Kiki Bertens defeated Elena Rybakina to win the women’s singles title.
Cologne 1 Open (Tennis)
-Alexander Zverev will take on Felix-Auger Aliasimme in the finals of the Cologne 1 open.
-The LA Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in the NBA championship and won the
coveted title for the 17th time. LeBron James won his 4th NBA championship, and was the Finals MVP (Most Valuable Player) in the Finals for the Fourth time. Fourth time’s a charm?
Lewis Hamilton continues his winning streak with Mercedes, leaving most of the other teams in the dust. Mercedes is at rank 1 with 739 points, and 15 wins and 32 podium finishes. Ferrari comes second with 504 points and only a mere 3 wins and 19 podium finishes.Red Bull is coming 3rd with only a mere 3 wins and 9 podium finishes. Mcalren and Renault are 4th and 5th respectively with 0 wins. The battle to challenge Mercedes continues.
IPL Fever continues-
-Delhi Capitals beat Chennai Super Kings by 5 wickets and with one ball left. CSK’s woes continued as they remained 6th out of 8 teams in the table, with only 2 wins this season. Delhi Capital’s Shikhar Dhawan was awarded the Player of the Match award for his 58 ball knock of 101 runs. The Delhi Capitals are now at the top of the table.
-Mumbai Indians beat the Kolkata Knight Riders by 8 wickets with 19 balls left. Quinton De Kock of the Mumbai Indians was the Player of the Match for his knock of 78 runs in 44 balls. This puts the Mumbai Indians at the second position on the table. The Kolkata Knight Riders are now 4th in the table.
-The Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated the Rajasthan Royals by 7 wickets with 2 balls left. The Player of the Match was AB de Villiers for his knock of 55 runs in 22 balls. The Royal Challengers Bangalore are now at the 3rd position in the table. The Rajasthan Royals are now 7th in table.
-The Kings Eleven Punjab are LAST in table at 8th in the table with only one win in 5 games. Watch the Kings Eleven Punjab take on the Mumbai Indians at 7:30pm IST. Can the Kings Eleven Punjab make a comeback?
-Watch the Sunrisers Hyderabad take on the Kolkata Knight Riders at 3:30pm today.
-Watch the Chennai Super Kings take on the Rajasthan Royals tomorrow at 7:30 pm.
From The Literary World:
Looking for Books? See how we rank this week’s top book-
Where the Mountain Meets the Sun - Grace Lin
Reviewed by: Abhimanyu Rao
Visit these pages to see some of our other endeavours!
Visit A Dogs Daily Antics to laugh your heart out with crazy captioned dog photos!
Visit TheChinappaChannel to see some quirky but nice videos that will make you roll with laughter
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