His First Flight
"His First Flight" is an interesting story by Liam O'Flaherty.  It is about a young seagull.  He was afraid to fly.  He was not confident.  His mother starved him and prompted him to fly for food.  She succeeded in her attempt.

I Will Fly
"I Will Fly" is a speech by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.  He speaks about the importance of being unique.  We all have abilities.  Do not try to imitate others.  Try to be unique.

Quest for a Theory of Everything
This is a profile of Stephen Hawking.  He was able to overcome his difficulties.  He had strong will power.  With the help of his wife he completed his studies.  He became a supernova of physics.

"If" is a poem by Rudyard Kipling.  The poem speaks about the qualities of a successful person.  He tells us not to worry about our failures. Also, we should not be overjoyed in our successes. We should work hard without wasting time.

And then Gandhi Came

Jawaharlal Nehru talks about the arrival of Gandhi in the Indian political scene.  After the World Wars India was in a hopeless condition. We needed a strong leader. He found out the roots of our problems and prescribed remedies like a good doctor.  Everyone was influenced by him.

The Price of Flowers
This touching story is about the love of Maggie towards her brother Frank.  Mr Gupta, the Indian narrator, shows us that the sufferings of the poor are similar in all countries.  Mr Gupta buys flowers with the one shilling given by Maggie. These flowers are priceless. From the story we learn that human emotions are not impacted by geographical boundaries.  The story challenges our prejudices about superstitions and family relationships in the Western world.

Death the Leveller
James Shirley's poem "Death the Leveller" presents Death as a great equalizer.  Death does not discriminate between the rich and the poor.  The glory of worldly achievements does not last.  Only the actions of the just will be remembered.  The poem highlights the meaninglessness of going after worldly glories.

Sunrise on the Hills
H W Longfellow in his poem "Sunrise on the Hills" describes the beauty of a sunrise observed from a mountain top.  The mist covered pinnacles remind him of a battleground.  He uses visual, auditory and kinesthetic imagery to convey the natural beauty of the place.  The poet says that nature has the ability to remove our sadness and tears. The healing power of nature is emphasised in the poem.

The Trip of Le Horla
"The Trip of Le Horla" is a chronicle of a trip on a balloon named Le Horla.  Six passengers including the crew travels from Paris to Heyst(Belgium).  The author shares his experiences and emotions through the story.  The sights, sounds and smells they come across during this night journey are graphically presented. Finally when they reach their destination, the reader also feels to be a part of the team.

The Sacred Turtles of Kadavu
"The Sacred Turtles of Kadavu" is a Fijian legend.  It is the story behind the turtle calling festival in Fiji.  The princess of Namuana and her daughter were abducted by the warriors of the neighbouring village.  They turned in to turtles to escape the capture.  During the turtle calling, the descendants of them are believed to come to the surface to listen to the songs of the maidens of the village.

Disasters and Disaster Management in India
Disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity.  India is prone to various kinds of disasters.  Proper disaster management mechanisms are necessary to reduce their impact. We have to strictly follow the rules and laws regarding constructions. Coordinated efforts of various agencies are necessary for rescue, relief and rehabilitation process.

The Serang of Ranaganji

Hasan, who is not very good looking, is the main character in the story "The Serang of Ranaganji." There was a smallpox outbreak on the ship Ranaganji.  Hasan, the quartermaster of the ship offered his selfless service to look after the patients and contain the spread of the disease.  His dedication, sympathy and fearlessness surprised the ship's doctor, who was the author himself.  The story is about how appearances can be deceptive.

The Wreck of the Titanic"

"The Wreck of the Titanic" by Benjamin Peck Keith is a poem about the tragedy of the Titanic.  The captain and the crew of the ship faced the tragedy with courage and nobility.  The band continued to play even when the ship was sinking.  Their heroism is comparable to some of the bravest moments in history.


In the story "Gooseberries" Anton Chekhov presents a story within a story.  Ivan Ivanich narrates the story of his brother Nicholai Ivanich whose dream was to buy a farm and live in the countryside.  After many struggles he fulfills his dream.  But Ivan feels that people should not see happiness as the goal of life.  There is always the possibility of tragedy.  He advises other characters in the story to do good while they are still young.

To Sleep

In the sonnet "To Sleep", William Wordsworth highlights the role of sleep in everyone's life.  The poet lies sleepless for three days in a raw.  He tries all the tricks to attract sleep but they are all in vain.  He personifies sleeps and calls her the mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health.  He prays to her calling her the blessed barrier between day and day to bless him with sound sleep.

Going Out for a Walk

In the light essay "Going Out for a Walk" Max Beerbohm presents a contrarian view of walking as an exercise.  He is against it because he thinks that when you go out for a walk your brain stops functioning.  Brain is logical and it needs a reason.  Soul on the other hand considers walking for walking sake as a sign of nobility.  Brain decides not to be a part of this foolishness.  The author is probably making fun of those obsessed about their health.

The Cyberspace

In the essay "The Cyberspace", Esther Dyson explains what cyberspace is.  She compares it to real estate.  Just like real residential spaces, cyberspace also has places that are private, public, suitable for everyone, and not so suitable for children.  The greatest advantage of cyberspace is that it liberates us from power structures and allows minority groups to thrive.  Self regulation may be best for cyberspace.  Just as the society is not perfect and  still evolving, cyberspace is also gradually evolving.

Is Society Dead?

Andrew Sullivan discusses the iPod generation in the essay "Is Society Dead?"  He says that iPods have caused a sudden decrease in social interactions.  People become oblivious to social cues.  They are missing the beauty of serendipitous moments in their lives. It is important to listen to the sound track of life instead of shutting oneself in the cocoon of one's limited taste.

Conceptual Fruit

"Conceptual Fruit" is the story of a differently abled girl named Greta, written by Thaisa Frank.  Her father shows her a site where she can create a world of her own.  He is worried about her future when she will have to live in a group house.  Technology can bring back the quality of life to a certain extent in the lives of differently abled people.