Some wonderful links to learning languages in a fun and better still free way 🙂
Hope it helps you all!
Besides travel, design and photography, another big hobby of mine is learning foreign languages. Therefore I am overjoyed that during the last few years online learning tools have become more and more prominent. What’s even better, a lot of them are free! Websites like these are still taking their first real steps into the big and scary world (wide web) and are still (partly) operating in Beta version, but they are all worth giving a try, you can take my word for it! Below I’ve listed my top 3 language learning websites and their particular features, so you’ll be able to determine which website will suit your needs and preferences best.
Memrise was launched in September 2010 and focusses on three “ingredients”. The first is science, particularly brain science. As its name would suggest, Memrise has been designed to make most of your memories while learning a language…
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In the light of the morrow, the darkness of today is but the black in the blink of an eye.
They snatched me in a noisy and crowded street.
A thousand pair of eyes, but not one blinked.
Two thousand feet, but not one moved.
A thousand voices, but not one screamed.
Only one scream was heard. Mine.
Loud. Shocked. Surprised. Full of anguish.
A scream that silenced the noisy, chaotic street.
The ride in the car felt dark and deathly.
Darker than the windows of the car.
Darker than the fake black leather seats.
Deathly with my earnest prayers for a death, rather than a miracle.
These men took their time.
Each man had his time.
My screams, tears, and pain.
in their abuse, laughter, and pleasure.
How can the pain of one human,
be the source of pleasure in another?
How can the shame and humiliation of one human,
be the sense of pride and achievement in another?
Why do I call them men?
Can I even call them animals?
These are the filth, the scum which even the earth shudders to embrace.
These are the puss that oozes from dead, rotten, maggot infested corpses.
I will walk the streets in fear and shame;
trapped in my pain and anger, bound by the scars of the crime.
They will walk the streets free and a strange pride.
I was not proof enough that they committed such a heinous crime.
Let’s see what the world has to offer me today. Strike that. Let’s see what I can offer the world today! A little a day, for someone, somewhere …
It should have been the happiest days of my life.
I should have found the person of my dreams,
my companion for life.
I should have found new parents, brothers, sisters,
a whole new family.
I should have found happiness, security, and love.
I found nothing.
I found myself being sold.
I found myself buyers, trading and bargaining.
I found my worth –
a car, and 500grams of gold.
And, I was sold.
I was now off the shelf.
A new home. A new life.
A new maid for the house.
A new whore for my partner.
A new mat to be stomped and walked all over.
The car I gave was not big enough.
The gold, what gold they said???
And for every day until their greed was met,
I was sold for a month, a night, an hour.
My torment continued, as means to
squeeze and snuff the life out of my poor old parents.
Soon, there was nothing left to give.
Soon, there was no one left to give.
I was not as good as a maid now.
I was frail, and rotten now.
I could no longer be the whore to satisfy the lust of men of the house.
I had expired my shelf life.
So I found myself being bathed in gasoline.
Very generous with the fuel, unlike with
the one meal I received every other day.
The final puff of my husbands cigar, begins the fire in which I burn.
I sit down, engulfed in the fire.
I do not feel any pain.
I only feel relief.
It ends today.
I look into the eyes of my sister in law.
A smile that I had lost returns to my eyes and curves around my lips.
It begins tomorrow.
Music adds the most beautiful lyrics to our lives.
In the solitude of the night,
thoughts of a miracle comes to my mind – you coming to me.
But then what would you do?
What would you do?
Would you take me in your arms?
Hug me so tight to squeeze out all the pain I feel.
What would you do?
Would you place my head in your lap?
Ruffle my hair so I can close my eyes and fall in a peaceful slumber.
What would you do?
Would you cup my face in the palm of your hands?
Your soft caress soak up all the tears I shed.
What would you do?
Would you bring your lips close to my ears?
Whisper a soft, sweet, “It’s gonna be Ok. I am here.”
Day breaks. I am still with my solitude.
You did not come to me.
The miracle and the answers will come another day.
As I walked back home,
lost in thoughts of my own.
Ahead a figure walked towards me,
dressed in a burka, black.
Black like the eyes that looked at me.
Black eyes looking into my eyes brown.
Looking, reaching somewhere deep within.
Eyes that had a secret longing.
Eyes that had an unbearable yearning.
Eyes that held tears of an unknown plight.
Eyes that held dreams of a better life.
Eyes that knew dreams weren’t meant to be.
Eyes behind the burka that looked at me.
What was it like living behind a veil all your life?
Like the moon behind dark clouds every single night.
Trapped in a cell with only darkness and thee.
Eyes behind the burka that looked at me.
The look in the eyes will forever haunt me.
The simple questions always perplex me.
And next time, I’ll look down,
afraid forever to look into the eyes.
Eyes behind the burka that looked at me.
He had brown hair.
Hair that was once black.
But now burnt,
begging all day in the harsh sunlight.
He was very tiny. Young and lean.
But his eyes looked old in spite of him.
He was waiting, his eyes gleaming.
A film crew had just finished feasting.
He looked hungry. His stomach and spine one.
He was pathetic; he might as well have died.
He had watched the stars dine;
Hoping for a morsel with their each bite.
He stared at their dirty dishes
with the food they had wasted.
There was more food than
he had ever had in a week
He looked at the cook, hope in his eyes.
The cook glanced at him with little mercy.
A cleaner had started picking up the dishes,
emptying all the food in a waste bin.
The boy now turned his attention
to the cleaner with the bin.
He tagged behind him,
hoping to find the treasures that lay within.
The man picked up the bucket
and walked to the end of the street.
Four German shepherds stood there,waiting,
alert, hungry and on a leash.
The boy stayed behind,
wary of the furry beasts.
The man looked at the kid,
emptied the bin and fed the beasts.
I sit in the darkness staring into nothingness.
My thoughts wandering to the blasts in the daylight.
I feel sad and sorry at the affected people’s plight.
But hurt most at the repeated abuse to this glorious country of mine.
Stripped of its rich green blanket by gold-diggers and the corrupt.
Raped over and over by the greed and lust of mankind.
Make a dream in your sleep tonight, only to forget about it in the morning.
Or make one, when your awake in the morning, and remember to take at least one tiny step towards it’s realization.
The blank page on my desk is staring at me.
With a pen in my hands, I stare back with a smirk and a smile.
Thoughts cross my mind, letters try to come together to forms words of pride.
I stop fiddling with my pen, and bring my hand down ready to strike this enemy in white.
The shining golden edge of tip of my pen, hovers, ready to strike.
My hands tremble as I make my descent to stake claim over yet another empire.
Love. Hate. Pain. Joy. Sorrows. War. Peace.
Words, words and more words. only words. No sentences. No lines. No quotes.
I scream in anguish. I tap my pen on the old hollowed desk. Louder. Faster.
My golden sword breaks, and I fling the pen in horror.
it cracks further before coming to rest with a thousand other friends.
My trembling only stops after my tears have drowned this eternal enemy.
I grab it with in hands, enjoying its silent, slow, death.
I shriek in laughter, as I toss its pieces in the air, and watch it fall down to my feet.
My nervous laughter stops, as I cast my eyes around the once bright room.
The enemy has grown very strong. Its numbers every increasing.
I am surrounded. I am trapped.
These white demons have engulfed me in an infinite blackness.
This will be my death. And they will be my shard.
The pure, silken white to wrap my corpse.
I do not have any great lines to leave behind.
But then what do I say that has not already been said better?
What do i write. that has not been written about before?
This would be my legacy.
First things first. This is not related to Herpes of the umm… you know!!! There is nothing sexual or sexy about this!
It’s just a virus of the same family, and hence carries the family name – ah so sweet!!!
Oh! And it is also called as Shingles. Hmm… rhymes with the Jingles of a Christmas merry! But hey nothing about this will make you merry!
So, what started as a supposedly nick, rather a cut, on a Friday night shaving of my 2 week beard, for a clean look, resulted in a week of pure, excruciating, pain. So much for a clean look!!!
The harmless cuts of the Friday night’s shave, looked dark, black ominous things by Saturday noon. By evening they were oozing fresh juices, and joined by several gangs of glistening blisters for company. By night, the blisters swelled up, and so did my cheek. All this only on the left side of my face.
And then at midnight, the pain started.
A pain unlike any I have experienced before.
Pain that would make the next 3 days quieter, shocking, numbing, paralyzing, puzzling. A sexy pout. And very, very painful.
The left ear seemed to have lost at least 80 percent of its hearing abilities. Maybe more. Yes, it was definitely quieter! The world seemed to be much more peaceful, and I could just begin liking this. But then listening to music in Mono just does not sound pleasing. Naaaah, let my ear be more than a good-looking accessory!!
As if the pain was not enough, it came with a constant reminder every minute.
A shock of pain that would send a viscous tremor through the whole body. And in that moment, all I could feel was the pain. Sight, sound, taste, touch, nothing, no other sense seemed to exist at that point of time.
From the ear up to the chin, all along the left jaw, felt numb and heavy like having received 4-5 anesthesia shots in a dentist’s chair before 2-3 root canals!!! Numb but not to the pain.
So some of the food I ate slipped and fell I guess to stain my shirt. Now how about washing down the food with some chilled water. Oops that too drools down to fall onto the shirt. Numb and paralyzed. Looking on the bright side, saved a trip to the basin to wash of the food stain!!
So the swelling did not stop at the cheek. The lower lip were all geared up to compete with the sexiest pout out there. Jolie, these lips are not lying!!
So what is this? Never did a bad shave turn this bad. So much for a clean look! So what was this pain? What was this hearing loss, the paralysis? Dental or dermatological? Given my great dental record (I don’t think I have more than 10 virgin pearlies) I was definitely leaning to my strength, err, weak link(s).
Very. Very. Painful.
So, how do I describe this pain? 3 root canals at a time, that too without anesthesia in a marathon session of 48 hours? Combine this with a 24×7 headache. Hearing loss, with bouts of severe pain. Some teeth becoming extremely sensitive. So sensitive, that they react with every single breath. I did not even mention about the always present headache. And the difficulty/pain in speaking.
So Sunday turned out to be one of the darkest days even though the sun was shining. So many BIG hospitals, but abysmal state of OPD on Sunday, with neither a dermatologist nor a dentist visiting.
A visit to my dentist, thorough inspection, and several x-rays(another topping of pain) ruled it out to be a dental problem. Phew! But the visit also brought out a possible root canal in the near future, even before I could heave a sigh of relief(just don’t like dental treatment in-spite of my vast experience). And I am still puzzled.
Next stop, dermatologist.
Looks at my face. Looks inside my mouth. Looks under my shirt. And declares – Herpes Zoster. That’s the answer to my puzzle. And I never heard of it before. Well, I knew the first name. Didn’t know it had a last name!!
And then she explains.
This is caused by the same virus(varicella) that causes the chicken pox, that itchy, icky blisters/pimples, almost all of us got as kids. Apparently the virus never leaves the body and merely lies dormant. And when it wakes up, it usually appears in this form, almost always impacting nerves. Sometimes it could also come in the eye, which could lead to blindness.
It can also lead to permanent hearing loss if in the ear. This is much more common in older people, 60 and above. But can occur at younger age if leading a stressful lifestyle, or having a weak immune system.
The scars heal without leaving a trace usually, but the pain, and the impacted organs(eye, ear,etc) may take weeks, months or even years to feel normal again.
There is a vaccine available and is advised to be taken by anyone above 60.
As I sit and process the information she gave me, I wonder.
(i) So will my current look of a zombie eventually fade out before they make Zombieland 2?
(ii) Will my ear function normally again? Or will it just hang there for the sake of anatomy and symmetry?
(iii) Almost every-time you visit a doctor for almost any illness, stress is almost always the primary reason.
(iv) So is my body in the state of a 60 year old?
(v) How much of my nerves are gorged up by this virus?
(vi) What does the future hold?
Time will answer me about (i) and (ii)
(iii) job change? Mindset change?
Complicated, need to think about it in peace and quite else I will get stressed.
(iv) Come on, it can’t be that bad. Come on. Stop. It can lead to more stress!
(v) I hope there are tests/measures to find the extent of nerve damage and whether it’s reversible or not.
(vi) Again only Time will tell. But even now after a week, things do not feel normal. Well complete recovery is seen in about 50-70% cases, and can take from weeks, to months, to years, to never. So lets see, whats in store for me. I am just hoping to not have a relapse, and never to experience these days again.
Let’s hope I can write a more cheerful Part 2 concluding this post.
In closing, and on a serious note, please consider vaccination for yourselves and especially your parents against this really painful ailment which comes in a smiley name of Shingles also!
I have no idea why doctors never advise our parents about this, when they get their health check ups done.
The statistics show that it is fairly common. Well 1:1000 is very common to me and not worth the risk for this excruciating yet exquisite pain!!!
If you need to know more about this, my first hand(face)experience, please feel free to contact me. I’ll help in whatever way I can.
Herpes Zoster or Shingles:
We are in a de-evolution stage;
from live and let live to kill or get killed;
rise not together but by pulling someone down;
from humans to parasites.
As i nestle in the bosom of my mother, warm and safe, I pause to look around.
You, my father, i see toiling in the sweat and dirt, digging, my grave.
I look at you, my mother;
I see no love, no pain, no strain.
I look at you, my father;
I see no regret. Only disappointment.
You stop. I see.
My new bed is nice and deep.
My father, you turn to look at my mother;
Your eyes talk.
My mother, you feed me again; Your lips move to hum a tune;
It’s the lullaby you sang every night the last 30 nights.
I understand. This is my last meal.
I smile at you my father, I smile at you my mother,
as you lay me in my new bed.
What will they write on my tombstone?
Here lies my girl, who died before she learned to smile?
Here lies my girl, who was killed – a girl is not such a good deal?
Will I ever receive a bunch of lilies?
or even a single red rose?
Will the grass around me be green?
Or will i be surrounded with withered weeds?
I look around my new bed.
The earth is all dry and cracked – cracked like grandma’s tired feet.
Will you, my mother, my father, cry a little tear?
Wet the earth a little so a flower may appear?
I close my eyes, and keep the smile.
This new blanket, the color of my eyes, will keep me warm for life.
I will now sleep in the caress of a new mother;
and the company of a million new sisters.