A New Beginning and A New Experience

A new beginning is very exciting, it becomes more meaningful when shared with family and friends.

As our dear blog readers you all are our extended family members and we could not wait further to tell you about our new venture and the kind of experience it has been since last month.

Around a month ago, I had severe headache radiating to right shoulder to fingers. It was so severe that I could barely talk. One such afternoon when all the pain was getting settled, I went to Shrilekha’s place over a tea. We stay just a couple of KM apart so occasional tea is always welcome besides we consider it as a quick huddle over looming matters.

As we were discussing different things, Shrilekha being her usual very enterprising self came up with a thought that Chennai has very poor quality of Phulkas and we should certainly do something about it.

There was no further thought before we decided that we should do Phulkas.

Initially it just started with Phulkas and slowly, as per the demand we started serving dinner. Word of mouth was our main ally when it came to spreading word. We cannot thank enough to our friends who spread the word so quickly. As we were doing dinners which included One gravy and Phulkas, we slowly started getting requests for lunches too. All office goers needed a home cooked lunch, so that requirement was fulfilled. Recently, we completed one month of this endeavour called “Joshi Caterers”

The main mission of this venture is to reach out to people who need home cooked food. As people love pizza, they also love to eat Puran Poli. It is just about the right taste and on time delivery.

Most of the customers which we came across never ate outside because one can not eat food without onion garlic outside. Similarly, food we should eat when we are fasting like Sabudana Vada or Sabudana Khichadi is never served in any restaurant in Chennai.

We served it and people liked it very much, we are so grateful to each of them who encouraged us with their amazing feedbacks.

Having home cooked food is a bliss. I was outside for 8 long years of my life and I have always felt the dearth of good home-made food so much so that in the last 2 years I started cooking on my own. Even if there was food, it was not made with quality ingredients which is even more harmful to the body.

As every business has its challenges, we too come across some difficulties every now and then. But when priorities are set right and as a team when we work towards getting a solution it all falls back in place.

Apart from Shrilekha and Me, there is a team of 5 people who are constantly working at making this experience better with every delivery. Our families have been extremely encouraging, without them we could not have pulled it up.

Meal planning was being done at the micro level and now it is done at Macro Level. We think and plan all our meals carefully so that they are nutritious and include seasonal varieties of vegetables.

I would always say that nothing can be accomplished without collaboration.

My people Khaleel, Kamakshi, Vignesh, Murali Mama, Mr.Joshi have been an integral part of the whole process. They encouraged us to take a step ahead and are with us in this satisfying yet challenging journey. Deliveries and procurement is entirely looked after Khaleel, Vignesh and Murali Mama. Culinary doubts and issues are quickly sorted by Baba. Kamakshi is an efficient cook and an amazing help. These people are my people and as a close knit family would stand by each other in the ups and downs of the life, they have been there just behind us as pillar of strength.

Well begun is half done..the journey so far was satisfying and god willing, it would be so in future.

 

How to Manage Stress And Make Your Job Easier

Today, my 7 years old niece took me to a surprise when she promptly ticked on her bullet point in her to-do list for the day after her cycle ride. As they say,, the children are the best imitators. They copy, or most of the time they ape the elders. We, my sister and me, have this habit of writing down a journal since we were kids. I have been a fan of a routine which is followed religiously even during my leisure days. I remember of keeping a timetable for my vacation too. No one forced me for this diligence. But I think I am wired to have a tab on time spent.
That was childhood. Time of course flew in no time(sounds filmy) isn’t it! But when I look back, I realize that this prudent habit has made my job much easier now.

Once a pattern is persuaded regularly becomes a way of life.

Journalling for me meant writing down how am I going to spend the whole day given so many activities and my varied interests. And mainly it helped me gauge myself when Mumma was not around during my vacations. Wise allocation of time, putting the same on the wall, decorating it and sticking to the timetable was all an easy task for me. It used to give me a sense of achievement when I had ticked 90 percent of my day’s task. It involved reading books(academics/shlokas/or story), cleaning my mess, helping mom in her chores, watching TV (MTV with Nikhil chinnappa, and Gaurav Kapoor on V TV), watering the plants, drawing/ painting, playing indoor/outdoor games, eating and chit chatting around.

The habit continued for my good, and now it has become a part of my life. The daily life today isn’t easy, but when priorities are jotted down in the form of a journal or to-do list, then it is just a cake walk.

Many successful people have emphasized a lot on the process of Journalling for million reasons. Journalling is a process of writing a diary. It is a simple activity where you note down what has to be achieved by you for the day/month/year. It is often said that when you write or record, you give clarity to your thoughts. Journalling helps in prioritizing the tasks. Important and urgent tasks can be written on the top followed by the rest.

A continuous tab on what has been done and what has to be done gives an idea of how much we have achieved of what we had set for at the beginning of the day. With multiple tasks at hand, now, at this stage of my life, I always resort to my journals. They are the mirror which tells me what to do and what has been left out.
This is a time saving simple method for people who have a lot of tasks and can’t keep a check mentally.

Let it be office work, household chores, payment of bills, meal prep for a week, a vacation planned or diet and fitness related regime, Journalling is the solution to ease your life.

Today, I go by the ‘done list’ which is to write down what has been done throughout the day instead of what is to be done which we l talk about in the next blog along with the various methods of Journalling.

Colors play an important part when It comes to writing a diary. It is in fashion now to also be expressive at Journalling than the monotonous tick and cross method.

I play multiple roles and have many hats to wear. With two hands full and a mobile in my hand which is the most essential gadget of my life, I feel the popular applications of Journalling are booming up.

I prefer my old school of writing a to-do list early morning than the various apps. And why not a pen and paper have a magical impact.

When you sit, think and write, you visualize the day further adding to the power of its manifestation. Achievements are seen to multiply when you exercise this one activity religiously.

With this blog, I am 10/10 for the day and heading off to sleep. Are you a fan of Journalling too! If yes, then share your secrets and experiences about the benefits. Else why not try once this awesome art to success.

Things you didn’t know about Russian Literature

How would you feel if you meet your childhood friend? Happy, Excited and Nostalgic I am sure, and all these feelings would transport you to those days when you played with your friend, spoke those sweet and innocent nothings. The same thing happened to me when I met some of my friends from Soviet Literature Hub. Surprised? Well, I am talking about some Russian Books for kids.

Growing up I read numerous Russian Books which were translated into Marathi. I grew up in a small town which is 60 km away from Nagpur, called Bhandara. Though it was and still is a district place, it has some excellent schools. Then, there was a rich tradition of reading, which continues until today. These schools were instrumental in inducing reading habit in children. Me and one of my very best friends “Prajakta” used to read a lot. She was two years older than me, but I was very very fond of her. She was my window to the world of elder girls who were in the higher classes than me. She was fond of Russian Literature and had many many books. The best part was she used to lend these books to most of her friends, and I was her bestie so all the books that she had, she used to share with me.

The first Russian Story that I read was called as “ Vasilisa – The Beautiful”.

It was a huge black book which I read over and over again for 20-30 days, and with a heavy, heavy heart I returned the book. I never saw that book again, but I carried Vasilisa in my heart for over 20 years.

Soviet Literature was a common phenomenon for children who were born in the 80s or 90s. The distributors had an excellent distribution network as I read today and also had brilliant translators and publishers. After some time it all stopped for reasons unknown around 1991.

Today, when I see my daughter reading Jeronimo Stilton or Thea Stilton, I wonder if I could get her those books to read. Mostly those were the folklore of Russia, which was different. Vasilisa The Beautiful was about a beautiful and poor girl Vasilisa who is trapped by a witch “Babayaga,” And the story unfolds.

The story is almost like Cinderella but different in context and the depiction. I should say it was far from mundane or at least I felt so.

Today, as I read Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina,” I was reminded of Soviet Literature. Some simple aspects of these books including Leo Tolstoy’s novels are that they are amazingly easy to read.

Maybe the credit goes to the translators, but again, if there is no much meat in the literature, the translator would undoubtedly fail in the endeavour.

Currently, I am reading Anna Karenina, and so far it is terrific. The depiction of each character is fantastic, you can easily picture all the characters and can see the narration as a motion picture in your mind. The other wonderful book which is on my reading list is War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, and the third book would be Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Unfortunately, the contemporary Russian writers are mostly unknown. But there is so much to explore in Russian Literature.

I wonder after these many years, all the books which are written by Russian Writers still seem relevant to today’s scenario. Recently, I found a facebook group for Soviet Literature in Marathi. They crowdsourced the books ( Russian Books Translated in Marathi) across the world and wondered what?

I found Vasilisa – The Beautiful as it is with the black cover.

But the only difference is that I would not be able to hold it, it is in the digital copy (scanned version). I saw the book I felt like I met my childhood friend. The nostalgia took me to the 1980s when Vasilisa and I spoke some sweet nothings on one beautiful mid-summer afternoon.

Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind – By Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind – By Yuval Noah Harari

I have heard about Sapiens – A brief history of humankind book from one of the 100 relatives groups in WhatsApp. One of the topics was the evolution of Indian Hinduism.  I was like with handcuffs at the corner yearning to par with the relatives on this difficult subject. The discussion became very interesting with a couple of critical points. No sooner, I spotted a colleague with the same book and learned the good reviews. I decided to wait no more.

Everyone has learned different myths about the evolution of the humankind. This book had a very strong start that makes you grasp faster with verve. It is possible that you could read the 400 pages in one full sweep.  

It is unbelievable to read how the agricultural revolution is considered as history’s biggest fraud.

Agriculture investment is supposed to be the best weapon against hunger and poverty for billions. The author had the strong nerve to explain how small wild grass of wheat manipulated Homo Sapiens to its advantages and how agricultural revolution played a divide and rule for ten thousand years.

This line has stuck in my mind –

“Follow your heart is a double agent that usually takes its instructions from the dominant myths of the day”.

It looks similar to the old Hindu saying how we live in the dreams of Lord Vishnu. Everything happening here is all in the dream of the Lord Almighty.  The book explains how much natural instinct gut we have lost in the last thousand years unlike the animals trusting their natural instinct gut.

The author has surprised the readers with other startling insight that cooperation is based on shared fictions.

That is not yet worst and bewitching topic of the cognitive revolution. The author has come up with a theory about how gossip played an important role in the development as the dominant species on earth.

Gossip theory should be one of the oldest theories evolving the language and staying alive.

The author must have smitten the readers to enjoy the Gossip theory. It looks like a joke but I must say I have started to believe how gossip helps us to stay alive.

I would not recommend the book to strong religious believers. The book is very provoking to change the mindset of science and religion ideologies. The book is for those who are looking for answers.

If you already know the answer from your viewpoint or from the ancestors, then there is no point to waste your time to read this book.

This review is written by Arun Ramakrishnan who is an avid reader. Arun is in IT profession and is a rationalist by nature. He has a very different insight about the worldly world. Occupied by his two daughters ( Pet and a Human) Arun loves to read and write reviews. He also writes blogs on Project Management, Quality Assurance and fundamental tenets of Agile. Here is the link.

https://blogs.perficient.com/author/aramakrishnan/

P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter. 

Have you heard of Shankarpale – Indian Biscuits..

Have you heard of Shankarpale – Indian Biscuits..

These were never my favorite things to eat. I have never cherished eating Shankarpale. First thing about them was their different name (Shankar in Marathi Means – Shiva ) and Pale means small vessel so there was no connection between Shiva and the Small Vessel and the sweet.

I was never enthusiastic about the whole thing because may be Aaji or Aai used to make it mostly during Diwali and it was just one of the savouries that they used to make so my attention was diverted to other tasty things like Chakli ( Murukku), Chivda, my favorite for 35 years 🙂 I think I was born to love Flattened Rice and all the recipes made out of it. More on my love of flattened rice later. So, this odd named savoury called Shankarpale were never in my list of favourites until somebody presented me with a very crunchy, mushy and sweet version of it.

I was spellbound to eat those small pieces of a wonderful snack which could be relished with a cup of tea or coffee especially in the afternoon. Post meal 2-3 hours is the time to eat something which you can munch on. It can be puffed rice, chivda or my newfound love Shankarpale.

Instead of giving into those sugar laden donuts, tea cakes, biscuits, it is better to savour 3-4 Shankarpale, I realized it late and felt that this is the most sustainable snack I can ever have. We can also replace maida to wheat flour in due course to make it better. But deep frying should never be avoided ( I mean baking something which needs to be deep fried takes the whole concept and nutrition out of it ) Instead of eating 10 we can munch on 5 but the Shankarpale need to be deep fried.

Me and Shrilekha were brought up in a Orthodox Brahmin household where FOOD was EVERYTHING. It was nutrition but more than that Food was a Soother. My mom was a fantastic cook, she was naturally good at making everything. I do not think she has learnt any recipe from anybody. It was her quest of providing her children and her family authentic and nutritious food which made all her recipes special.

As I remember, she was discovering a different way to make the Shankarpale more crispy, ultimately she did and we were excited to have her new version of small biscuits. She even made it with cumin and salt, for people who wanted cracker type Shankarpale.

Why I am reminiscing all this is because yesterday I was making Shankarpale for Joshi Caterers and I slowly slipped into the past. The whole process of making the dough, rolling it, making it into perfect square and frying it was therapeutic.

Mom used to make all snacks either pre lunch/dinner (main cooking ) or post lunch/dinner when there is no disturbance of serving other things. I used to call this as her “Udyog” means business. 🙂

As per her guidelines, I completed everything yesterday and started making Shankarpale post dinner, till around 9 PM. How was it? If you ask, it was heavenly.

With food I have strange equation, now a day, more than eating food, I have started enjoying the process of making. My sincere confession is that I never enjoyed cooking, I am still very reluctant enjoying it but yesterday was different.

In childhood one just eats whatever is served with a bit of tantrum, during teens one can chose what is to be eaten but with very less knowledge about food, during twenties we realize the process behind cooking and most of us try to survive, in thirties, we have a choice whether to eat a lot or make people relish the food made by you..I have chosen the later. 🙂

P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter. This is my first post.

Kumudavalli

Kumudavalli

Dressed in a simple cotton saree with a huge bindi on her forehead carrying a round cane basket of flowers going for a door delivery of flower garlands Kumudavalli is all there to enchant you.

She is soft spoken but there is a kind of strength in her walk. As she crosses signals and busy roads, she is sure that her basket of flowers will be empty by the end of the day. Sometimes you would also see her chewing her favorite beeda but that too not very often. Every evening 6.30 to 7.00 she would start from her home walk all the way to Mylapore to deliver flowers.

Flowers are her life. They have helped her make a livelihood. Her son is now working in a big company and daughter duly married with kids. She is happy but says that she has to come and sell the flowers to keep herself busy.

You can get all types of flowers from her. But she is very fond of Tulasi. Whenever I ask her why she gets me so much Tulasi, she says “Put it near the feet of Lord Vishnu, he loves Tulasi.”

Kumudavalli has no marketing, no social media. All she has is word of mouth and an amazing customer service. When she first met me, we were staying at the rented house. One evening she came and told me that the house owner ( who were not staying there) used to get flowers from her for last 20 years and she would be happy coming to that home again and give me flowers. I was more than happy and said yes to her. One more trait of Kumudavalli’s flower business was that the flower packet was never more than Rs.10. If I ask her more flowers for some occasion, she would ask me money only at the end of the month. Her flowers were always fresh and she would know what goes on what day. For example during Ganesh Chaturthi days she would bring red flowers and suitable flowers to Lord Ganesha.

On Saturdays, which is called as a Lord Vishnu’s day in Tamil Nadu, she would bring suitable flowers to Lord Vishnu and loads of Tulasi.

Along with all the matching flowers she would put a gajra of either mogra, chameli, jai or jui,kunda and the likes. Here there is a tradition of giving flowers to any lady who comes home at any point of time in a day.

It is due to Kumudavalli’s flower packet that I have never missed giving flowers to any Sumangali ( Married Woman) coming home. One gajra will always be there at home no matter what.

She was the one who gave us amazing garlands for my Sister In Law’s engagement. These garlands were specially made with Rajnigandha’s flowers, with roses in between tied tightly with the thread made of banana stem. They are sure as heavy, but create such a beautiful memory of that event through their fragrance.

As the days of Shravan approach I usually tell her to include some bilvam in the flower packet.The bilva patram would be neat ( 3 leaves as a piece without any holes) and she would deliver it without any fuss. The price of the flower pack would be little higher like Rs.12 but her customer service is impeccable.

She knew that there is small kid at our home, as she came everyday, she would tie a gajra for my dear little K even when she had a boy cut. 🙂

I call all lady flower vendors Kumudavalli ( Kumuda – Flower Valli – Creeper). I feel that is the best name for all the ladies who deliver flowers to households. Kumudavalli coming to Shrilekha’s home does not know how to count. She is an old lady but looks stunning with two sided nose pin and a nice cotton saree. She usually tells Shrilekha to count and give how many flowers she has given in that month. 🙂 I always feel that she has a deep belief on the customer and the trade that neither of them would cheat her.

Above all, for all Kumudavallis there is the Lord who knows all the accounting 🙂 HE would never do anything wrong for these ladies who are working hard twinning flowers and threads for HIM.

Krishnammal – Her Majestic Being

Krishnammal – Her Majestic Being

I saw her first during my first visit to Chennai and fell in love with her. Her Pillai style Madisar usually green, maroon with a matching blouse, with a signature KumKum on the forehead brought in all the beauty. She was amazingly beautiful but looked gorgeous on Friday as she brightened her skin using some Manjal or Haldi. Grey hair tied in a bun always I mean always adorned with flowers.

This was Krishnammal whom we fondly called “Aachi”.

Aachi married Thatha when she was in teens. From her village she came to a city called Madras. Back then, Thatha was working in a temple at Nungambakkam. There were no all weather roads in Madras but Aachi used to deliver his lunch box by walk. Whenever somebody tells me this tale, I can imagine old madras and the way this beautiful saree clad would carry the hot lunch box ( 6 tier with spoon) for her husband.

How lucky Thatha was to have such a dutiful wife.

She was diligent in her chores. As they stayed in temple house or Agraharam, she used to do all the household work looking after her kids, grandkids and great grandkids. Till she was alive, the house was always full with people. She has brought up number of children with such an ease. I now feel that Aachi loved to be surrounded by people. Her way of welcoming and feeding each one of us is unforgettable. Once I remember I overate enormous amount of food because I could not say no to her. This is not only my story, they say, one could never resist overeating food made by Aachi.

All her recipes are gems, food made at Aachi’s home would give run to any five star hotel food or for that matter Aru Suvai’s food (no offense to Aru Suvai 🙂 ) ( Aru Suvai are the Famous Caterers in Chennai) may be as

Aachi would pour all her heart in the food that she would make.

We used to stay near her home in Mylapore then. She would come home around 5.30 in the evening walking from her house just to see us. She would come, ask me about Sham’s whereabouts, my job and what I made that day. At the age of 82-83 she would walk and come home. She used to rush back home immediately because she never liked to stay outside home after 7.00. I have got scoldings many times for being out after 7.00.

An ardent believer of god, she was the only person in Mylapore who can call Lord Kapaliswarar by a pet name “Kapali”.  I was amazed at the way she could walk and go to Sabarimala even at that age.

There is a Nellika(gooseberry) tree at Aachi’s place. While being pregnant, I used to munch on those, even now I do but then it was special. She noticed it and one evening she brought a fantastic tangy pickle of those hand picked gooseberries. A gesture which I would never ever forget. Aachi has touched many lives through her food, her demeanour and her number of kind gestures but what remains with me is a loving and caring being who was standing for 5 long hours outside the labour room just to overlook whether the doctors are doing their job properly in making me deliver a baby girl.

Rightly so, we named our lil one after her.. Because her majestic being lives in our heart day in and day out.

P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter. This is my first post.

Freedom from Unhealthy Habit – Hum Fit to India Fit

Freedom is subjective in every aspect of our life. As we go ahead and make vows to make ourselves fit along with many celebrities on the eve of Independence Day, we need to really identify what is that one unhealthy habit which is taking toll on our body. Identifying that first will help us take further steps towards fitness. What is the definition of unhealthy? Well, anything which is not in coordination with your body is unhealthy. Today, we are going to emphasize on sitting. As per the new norms “Sitting is the new smoking”. Knowingly or unknowingly we sit a lot throughout the day. While commuting in the car or the bus, while at the office, while dining at the restaurant, while at home watching TV and so on.

An average human being spends around 7 hours of sitting during the day which is way above the guidelines specified by World Health Organization.

Sedentary lifestyle has been told to be the root cause of many health related problems. Sitting is considered as bad, but sitting with bad posture makes it even worse. I have seen people in mid 30s having severe back problems. This is primarily due to prolonged and wrong sitting posture.

What can you do about it?

Move every thirty minutes from your place to another place if you are working at the office. Take short breaks in between work so that you have necessary break from prolonged sitting posture. You can also have fitbit telling you to complete 250 steps every hour so that you don’t remain sedentary throughout the day.

Bad sitting posture can be improved by getting a proper ergonomic chair. If that is not possible, see to that your back is straight while sitting and you are not exerting pressure on your tailbone. Generally, prolonged sitting makes us spread our legs on a stool or a chair. This changes the sitting posture exerting pressure on the vertebral column.

If you are working from home, sitting on the floor with back straight helps. Sitting on the floor and getting up every hour for short breaks may also help strengthen the joints. We sit on tables, chairs, sofas, car and most of us have completely forgotten how it is to sit down and get up without holding any object for support. There was a challenge on internet sometime before which prompted many people to get up from floor without any support.

Get a standing desk. This is my absolutely favourite. Getting standing desk is very comfortable solution to prolonged sitting. Get a desk with proper height so that you can effortlessly carry on your workday with it.

Instead of doing all these workarounds it is always better to move often and reduce the risks related to sedentary lifestyle. Freedom from something as unnatural as sitting ( on sofa, in the car, on a chair) is necessary today. We are born to be active and we should be throughout our lives. That is the real definition of freedom for the human body.

This blog post is for the independence blog train by UK and Sarah

I failed – In my no sugar challenge :)

I failed – In my no sugar challenge :)

It is ok to fail, many people have told me but I seldom have failed in my many many pursuits if I ignore the surprise math test in 11std. Failure to do something does not feel great, it feels sad to not to have accomplished something.

No sugar challenge started when me and my colleague Vignesh who is a sports person were discussing about how no sugar has helped him.

He was talking about refined sugar and how completely stopping it helped him.

I was impressed and thought let me start it at once. It was exciting..no sugar..whatsoever with a resolve.

Next day I woke up to banana as always and some time later I tried having the no sugar tea. One sip of it was not great but overall it was fine. May be my taste buds were happy with the sweet taste of banana already so they did not complain much about the no sugar tea. I generally take one coffee around 11 pm, so my dear cook Kamakshi had to be told specifically that I am having this “vratam” please don’t indulge yourself in giving your akka (that is me) a great cup with a good quantity of sugar.

She was surprised because I am the one against all possible fad diets and fad rules about food.

Her coffee is out of the world but having it with no sugar was 🙁 never mind. I was ok with it. 6th day was Sunday. Little Ms. K is fond of chocolates and kulfi so is her dad. Both love sweets to the core and they indulge as they please. This Sunday, I really refrained from all types of indulgences deliberately. I was the topic of discussion at the breakfast table and everybody was condemning my resolve of no sugar.

I am not a foodie and I do not crave for sweets too but still people felt like I am depriving myself from my free will of having sweets.

Around 10 days of no sugar I started feeling as follows:

  • I was more alert
  • Slept well through the night
  • I felt that my oral cavity was healthy and fresh
  • No sluggishness throughout the day
  • My overall energy was constant without a slump.

It was around 12th day that I got a call from one of my friends. She invited me as a sumangali for Varalakshmi Vratam and I had to indulge myself in the naivedya that she served. It indeed had sweets and I did eat everything she served. That day we attended an evening food award function where dinner spread had an amazing variety of sweets which I have not tasted or had..I tasted around 5 sweets that day…TASTED (not indulged). So, my vratam actually failed that day and my belief that none of the fad rules work got reinforced.

Though I am back to my no sugar routine, there is practically no point in refraining from anything. Balancing is the key. You got to balance everything, your food, sugar intake, rice intake, salt intake and workout to maintain healthy lifestyle.  

I have failed in my resolve but I like my no sugar coffee. Kamakshi is also used to no sugar coffee for akka..that is more than enough at this point 🙂

Bhav – A Show By Shobana

I was already late, it was Wednesday and the traffic on TTK road was killing. Me and Ms.K were in an auto. The Autowala was making all the efforts to make us reach on time. Of course I had told him that it was Shobana’s show that I am attending. Slowly, we crossed all the signals and came to Music Academy signal, it took an eternity for that signal to show us GREEN and finally we were at the doorstep of a different world which was about to be created by Shobana and her crew.

Practically, words fall short while describing the feeling which one has attending any live show. The acoustics, color combination and fluid dance movements are bound to take you to a different realm but did I expect more? Yes I did.

Have been seeing many posters of her show “Krishna” from last so many years as the Gokulashtami nears. I could never attend though due to many many commitments that we usually have.

Bhav had a different concept. It was conceived to convey the story behind performing arts. Rather to let people understand the origins of arts and to make them realize that it is as close to nature as every human being is.

For the art to take the center stage in your heart, you just have to let go. Easier said than done. 🙂

We entered Music Academy and the show was already on..A beautiful lady in pink costume dancing at the center stage on the song sung by the Maestro Abhishek Raghuram. Shobana looked amazingly beautiful in her Bharatnatyam costume. Her jewellery was dazzling with a smart play of light on and off. Most of the renditions sung by Abhishek Raghuram were in Telugu/Tamil, it was difficult to understand but Shobana’s expressions spoke much louder than words.

The program started with Ganesh Vandana, and slowly moved towards the real subject of the performing arts. The journey which is close to 1000 years. The starting point of the journey and the evolution through the years was portrayed in a tightly knit performance.

It is so easy to write it, speak about it but ask somebody to perform it and show.. Well it is doubly difficult. But then Shobana is a true masterclass. She showed it all EFFORTLESSLY. All her repertoires were easy to follow.

Her greatness as an artist was apparent as my daughter along with several small children ( present in the full house) could relate to her performance despite the language barrier.

Seetha Svayamvara and her act of Hanumanta in Ashokvatika is memorable.

Ramayana, Mahabharata and other mythological stories we all know since our childhood but seeing it depicted as a stage show was mesmerizing.

Every dancer in the ensemble was a great dancer and artist. Not a single mistake throughout the act of 3 hours which is truly remarkable.

Seeing Shobana dancing is an experience, she enhances it with her smartly designed costumes, jewellery, backdrops and music. It was a treat to all my senses. I wish to thank my Guruji Jigyasa Giri mam of Devaniya School of Kathak Dance to give us an opportunity to witness this show.

I would like to state here that Madam Shobana is an actress of great stature and has been in performing arts since last many decades. To speak about her on the blog is my humble attempt to note the incredible show and the artist that I witnessed along with my daughter.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Movie Review

World War II, the struggle of Jews under the claws of German Army. Everywhere there was bloodshed and the small City of Guernsey was not exception. Here is a movie review of a movie ” The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”

Last week was not as great. I fell down and twisted my ankle, had severe neck and head pain. Already in the pain, I was helpless and rested. One such evening and I came across this wonderful movie of Lily James ( Cinderella fame). The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The name is quite mouthful but the movie was certainly awesome.

Based on the backdrop of World War II, the novel is written by Mary Ann Shaffer‎; ‎Annie Barrows, believe me I am not yet an avid reader so, I did not know this book too.

Surfing on Netflix is not bad as they say, it just gets you movies of different genres at your fingertip and nothing is more addictive than that.

Four neighbours Mrs. Maugery, Isola, Dawsy, Elizabeth and Eben meet over a dinner. But this dinner is special. It is a feast for all these people who have been suffering from acute starvation. In the fear of getting caught ( during world war any type of gathering was prohibited), Elizabeth says that they met for book reading and the name of their book reading club is spontaneously tossed by Elizabeth as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Potato peel pie is in the memory of the pie made of potatoes by Eben. As interesting as it sounds, these people really meet over book reading sojourns, they read and read a lot.

“We read books, talked books, argued over books and became dearer and dearer to one another.”

― Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

In the meanwhile, you have Juliet Ashton, a writer from London, who has a typical life of a writer but she has a quest of something new and better. She receives a letter from Dawsy Adams of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society asking her to send one of the books and stating their condition as well as the story of the society.

This intrigues Juliet to the point that she goes to Guernsey. The movie depicts the inward journey of Juliet as she reaches Guernsey, meets and knows these people.

“Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.”

Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

 

The movie was simple yet sent a very powerful message. The depiction of world war II and the struggle of people is portrayed very realistically.  We can only imagine the problems that Jews faced during WWII. I have read “Diary of Anne Frank” and that along with some history lessons are my windows to WWII. I was glad that I could finally see something related to WWII.

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is heartwarming and fresh, at the same time it makes you think about the hardships that people faced during WWII. Juliet and her journey inwards could be felt in due course of the movie and it ended on a positive note. In short, the movie has everything which makes it a good watch.

“All my life I thought that the story was over when the hero and heroine were safely engaged — after all, what’s good enough for Jane Austen ought to be good enough for anyone. But it’s a lie. The story is about to begin, and every day will be a new piece of the plot. ”

Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

These people with the reading society started breathing books. In any of their dialogues you will find Charlotte Bronte’s quote or you find Jane Austen. While reading these books which were the only entertainment that they had and the only way to be positive in their lives, these people would be transcending themselves in the world of no chaos no world war which made it so special.

Three days on and I have not been able to forget the movie and some of the dialogues.

Some things stay with your heart forever. I am sure this movie is one of them….

I should also read the book perhaps.

“That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive – all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.”

Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

 

Left Doubters Behind with Pinkathon

Left Doubters Behind with Pinkathon

I have been obese all my life. The brief duration that I was my ideal weight lasted around 2 years during my hostel stay and the other time when I was suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( IBS).

In the hostel, I was super malnourished and was homesick. I never quite liked food made in a mess and a couple of times I had to rush back home with gastritis during 4-year tenure.

After marriage and delivery and 2.5 years of breastfeeding, I wanted to shed some weight and landed myself in trouble because of the foolish diet food which was sold by a famous gym in the city. I followed that diet for around 1 year and lost a right amount of weight, only to find that I was in this vicious cycle of stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomits. Here again, I would like to say that I was my ideal weight

( weight loss can also happen with diseases, and you can lose those last 10 pounds to diarrhoea too) but in an acutely malnourished body which used to give up often.

I have written a lot about sustainable food habits and lifestyle, and I can not emphasize the importance more. After IBS, I was on medication for the whole year to the point that putting a tablet in my mouth would give a gag. But then, one day, I decided against it. I decided that if it pains I will bear it all and I did..slowly changed my food habits..brought myself back to regular food eating routine. I did not avoid anything but did not overeat. Started training myself with cardio, strength training, and HIIT.

A bit of more HIIT and you may injure your knee, heels and so on.

For a brief period again I was THIN (literally), this time it was no diet, it was workout which would go on injuring my body slowly…By this time I had already run the Wipro Chennai Marathon. It was a 10km distance. How did I do it? Well, it wasn’t easy. I was running for the first time. So I did not know how it would work. I completed it successfully.

The second 10k I ran, at a whim, registered just 2 days before and no practice.

But Pinkathon was different!

I was already doing 100 days of running.

100 days of running is an initiative taken by runners around the world, where one should run 100 days.

It does not have to be a 5km run, it can be 2km, 3km or the bare minimum that you can run every day. One can log in the information on their portal to assess the progress. This was a kick start. I had already started walking 10k every day and knew that it should progress to jog or run. Slowly, with 100 days of running, I could run 2km every day.

Body is a wonderful machine. Slowly, it got used to the 2km, and I felt nothing. Initially, there were many changes, but as I got used to it, it was more of a routine. I had to break the plateau, and I decided that I should run a 10k and see whether I am really capable of it. There were around 15 days for Pinkathon, luckily and we (Shrilekha and I) registered. Most of you have seen the journey of preparation. We were running every day (2-3-5 km) and slowly, we were ok with 5 km distance. Shri was covering it for around 45 mins and me about 50 mins. The day of Pinkathon arrived. Had a Chevazhai ( Red Banana) before going, we got ourselves dropped near Napier Bridge and walked around 2 km. There was a lot of buzz with Zumba and all happening around.

Milind Soman is a brand ambassador of Pinkathon, he came on the stage, and I could just say “ Wow.” Such an inspired morning it was.

Milind flagged the race, and we were on our own ( Shrilekha and I ). Yeah, we don’t run together because she is much faster than me.

After running two, 10km races, I knew that

I do not have to rush and run with other people that are the biggest mistake anybody would do while they are running.

When the race started everybody started running, I was the last person to leave Napier Bridge of all 10k participants. But that did not bother me.

First 1 km of the run is building my ammunition, I have a severe issue of breathlessness. So,   I have to make my lungs and body ready for the long run.

As I crossed 2km mark, it was good, I was leaving behind most of the junta who were walking. Till 5k it was easy. I did have some water at 5k.

The km marks were very haphazard, I never saw 6k, 7k mark.

8k was tough because there were two bridges, which were tough to climb especially when I was running out of my ammunition.

What did I learn yet again?

Running is a mind game, you quit in your mind, your body stops

Never compete or compare your performance with anybody. Everybody prepares; differently, everybody has a different lifestyle.

While running, get your lungs to work first which would later fuel your performance, if you are running on the breaths which you are taking on the go, it will deplete your energy ( Too technical but I felt it so..)

Never ever gulp a lot of water at the water stations, SIP it.

And celebrate your effort and pace whatever it is. 🙂

I am proud of Shrilekha who completed the race in 90 mins which is a great feat. I have learned from this race and would undoubtedly work hard to perform at my best.

Thank you all for constant encouragement. For those who are thinking, we did this for weight loss, I only have a thing to say, we are way past weight losses.. 🙂

It was a great journey, more so because all of you were a part of it. Let’s gear up for The Wipro Chennai Marathon in Jan 2019. See you at the start of the preparations. Speaking of doubters..I am one of my biggest doubter..so I believed in my capacity of running this time..hope the streak continues.

A Place With A Promise

A Place With A Promise

A place where you get to know what is the real PEACE. A place where you get to see “happy faces”. A place where you see kindness, compassion, discipline and the power of prayers. A place where you see all smiles and no frowns.

A Warm Welcome

The moment I entered the Sriperumbudur Premise of  Society for Educational and Economic development (SEED), I was overwhelmed by the warm welcome of nearly fifty children (Age 5-10 years). And when they saw my 1.25 months old, well, everyone wanted to lift the baby in their own hands.

No wonder many did, with the expertise of a pro! After all the lives they have lived , they have  mastered the art of loving others, taking care of others and living life with no complains.

The teachers cum guardians received us and I felt the warmth of the place at that very moment. The feeling of being one with them started sinking my heart.

 

Knowing Them

A quick introduction of the children and teacher followed. Bharani, Niveda, Pavithra, Mohnesh, and Lakshmi and forty five more children along with the single parent mother and the teacher took us to see their classrooms. Well decorated classrooms loaded with information would make our urban schools go for a run. The children were enthused to show us the classroom,though it was a Sunday.

They quickly made us move to the new attraction in the projector room. “Wa wa Padam Pakulam”! One of them was heard inviting his other buddy.

I loved the way they quickly took their seats around the small round table without being directed and ordered by the teacher.All of them unanimously sang the poems together,and were happy to sing the songs learnt by them.

We were then taken to the prayer room, to their rooms and their locker rooms. One of the boys showed me his bag. A bag where he has kept his belongings. I thought to myself,”

Life is indeed great when you don’t carry the excess baggage of unnecessary things and memories”! Small things made these children happy.

As the food was getting ready, children assembled on the ground for the prayers. A prayer can definitely do wonders when the power fails. The prayer went on and these small children made a beeline with their plates to the dining room. One after the other, they took their places and waited till the madam gave them instructions to eat. Not a single eye was open when they again recited their prayers.

Standing there, I just wished and prayed for the welfare of these gems who were burdened with the sorrows of life.

The Discipline

Indeed life teaches in several ways. After eating their meals, the children showed their plates to the teacher one by one. The teachers have cultivated this habit to ensure that there is no wastage of food.Some older children were seen feeding the younger ones.What maturity I thought to myself. Nursing ability and  affection comes naturally when one faces challenges in life and that too at such a tender age. The children ate the food well and after some time they waved off a bye.That was their sleeping time.

We happily took their leave and while returning home numerous thoughts came to my mind.

Somewhere I also knew that these children were extremely self confident and needed no pity.

The organisation is doing enough for them so that they can live a life with dignity by inculcating right values and morals. SEED is successful in lending them education, vocational training, technical training and the life skills. What they need is your support, your interest and your time.

Our Turn

What you can do for them?

  1. Create an awareness about the organisation.
  2. Motivate and support the children
  3. Sponsor meals/ Sponsor a child or more
  4. Help them in kind( stationery, clothes,bedding, books)
  5. Volunteer with SEED
  6. Or Fund their infrastructure

SEED is a home away from home to the needy children.This Non-Governmental Organisation has been functioning, from the year 1981, when it was established for the welfare of the miniscule percentage of underprivileged children.

1)Children with parents who are serving life term.

2) Children with parents who are suffering from ailments like Cancer, AIDS and leprosy.

3) Children with single mothers.

4) Children who have lost their parents to crime or murder and many more.

The smiling faces were flashing over my mind. I wish to go to this extended family of mine on and off. Visit them at http://seeduniversal.org/ or personally at

SEED

Society for the Educational and Economic Development (Regd.)

(opp.) P.W.D. Inspection Bungalow, Chennai – Bangalore High Road,

Venkatrangam Pillai Chatiram, Sriperumbudur – 602 105

Tamil Nadu State, India.

Phone: 044-27107341

Mobile: 9444902322

Is Something Bothering You?

Is Something Bothering You?

Such a direct and straight question isn’t it? In the changing times, things that bother us are many more than things that make us happy. If you just sit and relax, your mind quickly revolves around stuff which you did not like for that day or for that week.

In fact, there would be thousand other good things that must have happened to you in due course but our mind concentrates on the stuff which we did not like.  When something is really bothering us we are seldom at peace.

The other day I met one of my friend in the market. She is a great girl having a good sense of humour and seeing her at the market was a pleasant coincidence. We both were very glad but she quickly talked to me about something which was bothering her all these days. I lend her a patient ear but I really felt her need to be talking to someone even if that someone is not so close.

Here there are two things at play, first is her restless mind which is focussing on stuff which was bothering her for a long time. And the second is that

whatever was bothering her was stopping her from looking beyond that particular aspect. I do not blame her but we are wired to think it that way.

Venting out is perfectly fine but when it bothers beyond venting there is always a solution

“Ask yourself, will this issue bother me 5 years down the line?” if the answer is “No” then it is not worth thinking about.

 

Now a day, I don’t remember what was bothering me a week ago 😉

One of the accounts manager at a renowned bank is an acquaintance, he has been in the business since last couple of decades. He has a happy family and overall great career just as one would want in the early forties. I met him some days ago and he started talking to me about how the bank leadership is changing and the challenges he is facing at his workplace, he was restless, wanted to go back to the earlier scenario which existed at his workplace but it was in vain.

There was an interesting survey conducted in an organization where they asked every employee “ Would you rather work for change or just complain?” More than 80% of them answered “Do I have to pick?, This is hard.”  🙂 🙂 🙂

Most often we do not want to step out of our comfort zone and resist change which might open a new door of opportunity. Discussing the status quo with someone and working a way out of it could be a great workaround.

Recently I saw a video on facebook where a man has a pen and paper. He has an ant on the paper. As the ant walks from one end to other, the man draws a line in front of the ant. The ant thinks that it is an obstruction and finds another path. Actually, it can very well cross the line but it does not. That is how our mind is.

We confine it as per our convenience and think it as an obstacle which is non-existant.

Letting something bother you is okay, for sometime, we all are humans but letting it take a toll on your thought process is not worth it.

 

Is something bothering you? Pour your questions in the comment.

SurveyRef: http://derekodwyer.com/2013/05/business-needs-to-change-team-do-not-want-to-ireland/

How I Lost 5 KGs In A Week

How I Lost 5 KGs In A Week

GM Diet (General Motors diet)

GM Diet, while some of you might be knowing about this, some may be totally unaware. Many people must be even wondering,” Wow, that sounds great! When did General Motor (An automotive giant) venture into the food industry”? Some may be frowning on the very mention of the diet (as expected)! And many must be really patient enough to read now further about it!

Diet, exercise, weight loss are some of the trending words of today’s generation.

Despite its name, GM diet is nowhere related to the General Motors as confirmed by its spokesperson.

But this is the real story when I tried out this diet in the year, yes 2009! My weight loss journey started on 24 Februar,2009. I remember the day, date and the situation, then, because this was more than DO-or-DIE situation for me. Quiet understandable for a person who has always been fat!

That time it was a craze to follow this diet which ensured a loss of 5-10 kgs in a week’s time.

Wow! Doesn’t that sound great? Did I follow it meticulously and the results? Well, after this diet plan.

The diet plan for 7 days!

Day 1:- The first day is all about “Fruits”.  Yes! Only fruits and lot of fruits except bananas and high sugar fruits which include Mangoes, Strawberries, Lychee etc.

We have to understand that the diet plan is aimed to reduce weight so avoiding certain fruits could be beneficial.

Include watermelon, musk melon for their hydrating properties.

Day 2:- Having successfully consumed a variety of vitamins and minerals only through fruits on day 1, if you are committed this day will be easy for you.

Yes! Day 2 means you can consume all vegetables only! Raw or cooked vegetables can be eaten on this day. Make you platter as much colorful as possible.

Leafy greens, tomatoes, or cucumbers. Ensure that you keep hydrating throughout the day.

You can add a baked potato to it if you really crave for carbs in breakfast. Make sure to limit the potatoes though.

Day 3:- Bingo! Welcome to the day where you can consume together all the vegetables and fruits (except the potatoes, mangoes, etc). Yes! You are midway and so don’t even think of opening that fridge for that cake/chocolate!

Day 4:– If you have reached till here, then success is just a few days away! On this day you can eat 6 bananas and 6 glasses of milk. Space it at your eating hours and you will be filled throughout the day.

Day 5:Beef (284 grams)& 6 tomatoes or Brown Rice (One cup uncooked)& 6 Tomatoes:– You can have 6 tomatoes equally spaced as 6 meals and make 3 servings of cooked brown rice. Make sure you keep drinking lots of water.

Day 6:- Beef/Chicken/Fish(284 grams) or  Brown rice and vegetables:- Meat eaters can eat any combination of the specified meat while the vegetarians can take up any vegetables and brown rice.

Day 7:- Brown rice, fruits, vegetables (No potatoes) :- Yay! You are finally here. You have done a good job at cultivating a disciplined attitude for eating!

You can additionally have green tea and black coffee and yes whenever low you can always go on for the GM diet soup which can be prepared from six large onions, three medium-sized tomatoes, one cabbage,two green peppers,a bunch of celery,half a liter of water.

Whenever you have a hunger pang ensure you take a bowlful of the soup. Prepare it and refrigerate it or cook it whenever you feel hungry.

Advantages of GM diet:-

  1. If the soup mentioned is consumed before every meal,then you tend to eat fewer calories at the meal which follows. Facts also state that subjects eat 20% less at lunch when they take the soup before the meal.
  2. The GM soup also aids the weight loss.
  3. Consumption of fruits adds to the necessary fibrage which you don’t eat otherwise.
  4. Vegetables are power packed with vitamins and minerals. This diet ensures that a person consumes all the other vegetables. Especially, the ones who like only potatoes are the best fit for this diet.
  5. Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate with low fat.
  6. Chicken, Fish,beef ensure you consume good amount of protein.
  7. Eating bananas means you take your intake of sodium and potassium.

Many people get successful in reducing their weight and many find it hard to follow the diet itself. It also doesn’t advocate any exercise.

Writer’s and GM Dieter’s perspective:-

At that time, when the “health and fitness industry” had just started this diet was relatively new and looked very lucrative.

I felt this diet will flush out the toxins and cleanse your system.

Yes, I could overcome my plateau then. For me it was mind over matter. It meant I can keep a check on my mind and tongue. In addition to this diet, I could exercise as per my plan.

Thanks to Talwalkars Nagpur!I feel for a person who is stationery for the whole day and has no control over his tongue, this diet can be useful.

This diet if followed by the same bad food habits can lead to weight gain.  You may even lose only water content as weight. Always consult a doctor/ nutritionist before starting this so called fad-diet. Yes, it is rightly a fad diet , so what if I gained results?

But the other side of this diet is quite scary. This diet plan has no research to back it up!

Though it causes calorie deficit in a way, it also makes you dehydrated, lose muscle mass, makes you feel low on energy and nutrient deprived.

Today after 8 -9 years of religiously following up on a healthy balanced diet, if I look back, I feel,” What made me take up such a quick fix”? What made me fall for this “5kgs in 7 days package”? There is indeed no such thing called a “quick fix”! It is never about weight loss. It is always about your dedication, discipline and most important your religion. That is fitness!

Note:- I had undertaken this diet under the counselling of my nutritionist.

 

The Most Streamed Crime Thriller On Netflix – Sacred Games

Introduction

Sacred Games a Crime Thriller Netflix series is out. Violence, Sex, Crime, and Drama have been the specialties of Netflix and the shows such as House of Cards, Suits, Lust Stories ( An Indian Series) are some examples. I have not read the book by Vikram Chandra but have seen movies from the two directors Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane so what was in the store could be predicted.

Conquering the Maximum City

The story is of a wannabe Mumbai Don Ganesh Gaitonde played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Looking simple and grounded from his attire, Gaitonde’s rise in the criminal world of Bombay during 80s and 90s is no less dramatic.

From the cold-blooded murder at a very small age to more than 100 that he commits as a revenge, Gaitonde uses politics of religion, violence,  sexual abuse, and crime to become the DON of erstwhile Bombay.

When there is Politics of religion there are people involved from all walks of life like politicians, RAW agents, police officers, transgenders and even ISI.

The Battleground

Sartaj Singh a dutiful police officer who is far less than ruthless is played by Saif Ali Khan. An underperforming officer who does not have any credit to his name suddenly gets a huge rush of hormones after getting a call from Gaitonde.

The thrill of following a huge crime plot in his otherwise boring life with a failed marriage lands him in many jarring situations.

A detailed account of an underdog facing situations proving himself to be much superior to his ruthless colleagues can be seen as the plot uncovers rather SLOWLY.

While watching the series one is constantly torn between Gaitonde and Sartaj. Gaitonde remains with you throughout the series and you keep a company with Sartaj in his deadly expeditions.

Utterly promiscuous behavior by Gaitonde was one of the most expected things from the plot, the whole series is full of repugnant sexual encounters by the Don and his gang. Millions of choicest cuss words which are used by one and all in the series need a mention for making the whole plot more real and murkier which is not so in the book.

Gaitonde’s ladies are strong and beautiful in their own right. Most importantly all the ladies in the series speak their mind unabashedly like the real women.

Sinner’s Delight

A Don is not born every day, he is made over the years by Religious, Political and Communal unrest in the country of 100 crores. The unrest in the outer environment is portrayed neatly on screen. But more than that

the emotional unrest which the religion torn India had in the early 80s and 90s is more profound. Gaitonde is a product of it and also the prey. Others are merely people aiding him to reach his end.

Netflix’s infamous cliffhanger ending was not very surprising and why not? Not every story should end on the basis of morals, some are left to the imagination of the viewer.

Foods Dogs Crave But Should Never Eat By Ishmeet Chandiok

Foods Dogs Crave But Should Never Eat By Ishmeet Chandiok

With an overwhelming response to the last guest post, Ishmeet is back to give us some information on Canine Nutrition. We are happy and grateful to host him on “The 5 AM Mommy”.


Who can resist those big brown eyes and cute doggie grin? Can a little reward from the table really hurt your dog? Well, that depends on what it is and what’s in it.

A nacho chip with salsa can cause your dog some real problems.

In fact, there’s a lot of “people food” your dog should never eat. And, it’s not just because of weight. Some foods are downright dangerous for them — and some of these common foods may surprise you.

Cooked Chicken Bones-

Cooked chicken bones can be very dangerous for dogs to eat. Not only were they often cooked in such a way that is unhealthy and even harmful to dogs, the bones can break and splinter, puncturing the digestive tract. Dogs can also choke on broken pieces of bone or have larger pieces become obstructed in the intestines. No matter how tasty you and your dog think cooked bones are, do not feed them to your pooch.

Alcohol

Beer, liquor, wine, foods containing alcohol — none of it’s good. That’s because alcohol has the same effect on a dog’s liver and brain that it has on humans. But it takes far less to do its damage. Just a little can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, problems with coordination, difficulty breathing, coma, even death. And the smaller the dog, the greater the effect.

Onions

Onions – in all forms – powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated — can destroy a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. That can happen even with the onion powder found in some baby food. An occasional small dose is probably OK. But eating a large quantity just once or eating smaller amounts regularly can cause poisoning. Symptoms of anemia include weakness, vomiting, little interest in food, dullness, and breathlessness.

Chocolate

Most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs. The toxic part is theobromine. It’s in all kinds of chocolate, even white. The most dangerous kinds, though, are dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate. Eating it, even just licking the icing bowl, can cause a dog to vomit, have diarrhea, and be excessively thirsty. It can also cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and death.

Salt

It’s not a good idea to share salty foods like chips or pretzels with your dog. Eating too much salt can cause excessive thirst and urination and lead to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of too much salt include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, and seizures. It may even cause death.

Sugar

Sugar is also surprisingly found in a lot of dog foods and treats and is completely unnecessarily added. Sugar is not good for dogs and just like people, they will start to crave it when it’s removed from their diet. It can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly the onset of diabetes.

Caffeine

Caffeine in large enough quantities can be fatal. And there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, fits, and bleeding. In addition to tea and coffee — including beans and grounds — caffeine can be found in cocoa, chocolate, colas, and stimulant drinks such as Red Bull. It’s also in some cold medicines and painkillers.

Fat Trimmings

Fat trimmings are bad for humans so it should go without saying that they’re bad for our dogs too. Excess fat can lead to more than just obesity in our canine companions. Pancreatitis is a real problem for many dogs and can be a very deadly disease and fat trimmings are known for being a culprit.

Being a pet parent comes with an immense responsibility – these are our children who will never grow up and be able to fend for themselves.

Hence, it is our solemn duty to be able to make thee right decisions and feed them the correct food.

Remember – An Educated Pet Parent = A Responsible Pet Parent = A Healthy Pet.
Happy Petting!!

 

Author Bio:

**Ishmeet Chandiok is the founder of Harley’s Corner – India’s first Ready to Eat Wet dog food brand. A pet parent and chef turned canine nutritionist – Ishmeet consults pet parents on how they can give their dogs the very best food.**

 

 

 

 

Once Upon A Story…

Once Upon A Story…

Stories are a daily part of our life. We tell our families after returning from work nothing but stories. Stories of how it was a breathtaking event to catch/miss the bus, how we have convinced a client of the services we render or how we have solved a problem at workplace. Love stories, patriotic stories, mythological stories or the historical stories each genre holds a special place in our heart.I am all ears when I hear three golden words “once upon a time’.

What does your usual Sunday look like?

Well, mine is full of home chores and a little bit of prep for the week ahead. How mundane! You must be thinking.. but that is pretty much a life of every woman around the world. So, this Sunday was not so special. I wanted to finish my read “Mansfield Park by Jane Austen”. Well, if my SIL reads this blog post she would definitely say “ What?, You have not finished it yet?”. Well, I should tell her that I have been doing some “ Busy Nothings” since last 3-4 weeks. 🙂

“Busy Nothing” is a word which is coined by Jane Austen centuries before.

It still fits my schedule many times. I do not want to put the novel down. Who would not like to visit Northamptonshire every now and then to have English tea along with a little tete-a-tete with the British Folks of the 18th century. 🙂 🙂

Transcending to the places mentioned in the book is the general protocol of reading any book. Slowly the author starts speaking to you and you realize that you are in his/her world.

Before the kind of entertainment that we have now, it was through the folklore and tales by grandma that we used to do this time travel. Some are meant to learn a lesson while many are left to the audience whether what to take away.

Our paternal grandma whose name was “ Padmavati” used to weave so many stories and tell us after we came back from school. In her stories, she never referred to Ramayana or Mahabharata, she was always interested in telling folklore much to her audience’s ( Shrilekha and me) delight.

While telling us the stories she used to create simple rhymes which were easy to remember.

The stories have been etched in the memories of me and my sister. My grandma lives on forever in our memories through her stories.

One such “ Busy Nothing” Sunday noon, and I get a call from Shrilekha, asking whether will I be interested in a storytelling session by Vikram Sridhar. I said what??. Sensing that it might not interest me she said, “Okay, don’t come, but I will go.”

My home was bustling with guests by that time and I knew that they were all engaged in chatting.I did not want to indulge myself in those ‘Busy Nothings” yet again so, I just thought, let me take a look at this Adult Storytelling session.

We reached the venue which is a beautiful place on 6th Main Road RA Puram. The name of the studio is Wandering Artists ( So apt). As we reached there were around 20 people seated in a circle comfortably listening to Vikram who was dressed in kurta-pajama with a nerdy look.

The session started with a simple folk tale explaining why Sambhar is named as Sambhar?

Starting a new session with something related to food was expected but this simple story was awesome and involved the tales and stories from three to four different states.

The storyteller was smart enough to engage people’s attention who were from varied places and states. Once that was complete, he continued his narrative with a King and Queen Cobra story. The story was simple and many people must have heard it. But what made it special was the narrative.

The sound of a baby crying and the description of the function hosted by the King created a vivid impression.

By now, Shrilekha and I had become the small kids aged 7 and 10 years and were just watching Vikram as he was progressing with the story.

The story ended and the moral was left for our imagination. Vikram smartly moved to the next story of a goddess and that was another treat.

Again, there wasn’t a mythological account of any of this. It was a pure folklore, pretty much as my grandma used to tell me.

Post Yellamma, Vikram took us to a quick and simple story of a cow named Punyakoti. It was a heart-wrenching story of a new mother Punyakoti who promises the Tiger to return as his meal after feeding her baby.

Our next stop was Agra and the darbar of Mughal Emperor Akbar with Birbal. Soon after that, we went to Krishnadevaraya’s kingdom to watch the smartness of Tenali Raman.

By now, we were all immersed in the folklore and living every character.

Vikram smartly moved us onto a kind of Shaikh Chilli story. It involved inputs from everybody. Before we knew the session was over and we came out with a heart filled with joy and brain filled with different colorful canvases.

Rich Indian folk lore has a long way to go.Today’s session was a revival of memories with my dearest Aaji who was an expert to share beautiful folk stories.I wish I get more opportunities to listen to more stories and handover them to the future generation.

For Vikram’s next session check out his FB page

https://www.facebook.com/vikram.sridhar.1?fref=ufi&rc=p 

 

 

Myths of Dog Food – By Canine Nutritionist Ishmit Chandiok

Myths of dog food

 

Dog food is the matter of discussion for most of the Pet Parents. In this guest post, Ishmeetsingh Chandiok, Mumbai Based Canine Nutritionist has debunked some myths of dog food.

The patter of little feet, the fuzzy hairball, the razor sharp teeth and the droopy, loving eyes….. all the traits of a loving puppy…. running around the house…. full of joy and fun!

Along with the joy of having a new life running around the house, comes the tremendous burden of being responsible, caring and loving Pet Parent. There is nothing more that we wish for our four-legged children than a healthy and fun filled life. The most important thing we need to give our dogs is TLC – Tender Loving Care…. And that, if followed by a healthy, nutritious and well-balanced diet.

There have always been opposing theories about how one should feed their dog. Some swear by the easily available dry kibbles while others swear by home cooked food. This is a debate that will, in all probability, be far from being comprehensively resolved in the near future.

I, personally, have been an advocate for home cooked food. This conclusion has been reached through a few years of research, trials on my very own “Bombay Settler” – Harley; and endless picking of vets’ brains to get a clearer picture.

While most of the vets will advocate home-cooked food to be the way forward, we, pet parents, make simple mistakes which, unknown to us, cause slow and long-term problems for our babies.

Common Myths:

Rice prepared for us is good for our dogs – WRONG 

the rice we use, which is mainly some form of Basmati, has higher quantities of carbohydrates than brown rice. This difference makes the dog put on more weight, with reduced fibers than if they were on a brown rice diet. Besides this, we salt our rice and most of us add a spoonful of ghee or oil to the rice prior to cooking. Both salt and oil/ghee are harmful to dogs in the long run.

Un-tempered daals (lentils) are ok for our dogs – WRONG 

the daals (lentils) prepared by us at home are boiled with basic ginger & garlic pastes along with salt. The quantities of ginger, garlic, and salt which is added to our normal food is too high for our dog’s digestive systems to digest.

Chicken removed from a curry and washed can be fed to our dogs – WRONG 

the spices, salt, and oils used during the cooking process seep into the chicken pieces and are retained within the meat in high quantities. Thus, even superficially washing the chicken, does not extract all the harmful ingredients and they are eventually ingested by the dogs.

Then what is the right thing to do?

The use of brown rice (unpolished rice), vegetables such as carrots, beans, pumpkin, cabbage, etc and boneless chicken is the safest combination of ingredients to use for preparing meals for your doggies. A conservative use of chicken liver is also advisable. Try and avoid mutton liver as it has a higher concentration of fats.

Advantages of Home Cooked Dog Food

Our dogs will live longer

With the absence of chemicals and preservatives in homemade dog food, our dogs will be healthier, happier and free from diseases, thus resulting in a longer lifespan.

Our dogs will be slim and have a perfect weight structure

Commercial dog food is usually higher in fats and sugars leading to obesity. We can prevent obesity and take control of the caloric intake of our dogs by feeding them homemade food.

Our dogs’ systems will be cleaner and smell better

Providing homemade dog food will keep their systems free of infections, keep their teeth cleaner and their breath fresher.

Author Bio:

**Ishmeet Chandiok is the founder of Harley’s Corner – India’s first Ready to Eat Wet dog food brand. A pet parent and chef turned canine nutritionist – Ishmeet consults pet parents on how they can give their dogs the very best food.**
List of Terrible Food Combination As Per Ayurveda

List of Terrible Food Combination As Per Ayurveda

Food that causes aggravation of doshas, which is the main reason for disease , is called viruddharam (incompatible food). The effect of this gets accumulated in the body and gives rise to diseases. It should be considered similar to poison and artificial poisoning (Gara Visha). Here are some of the examples, which so many of us take as regular food.

In our Sastras eating food is just like performing the yagna into the fire in the belly.  Now the aahuti which we put in the yagna has a lot to do with the well being of the body. There are some rules which should be followed while cooking and eating food.

Do sizzlers,  brownie Ice creams,  Milk Shakes invite you? Well, here is what you should know about it.

Milkshakes and Smoothies:

All sour substances are incompatible with milk.So are all the fruits.

Now a day most of the people are taking milkshakes, thinking that it is very nutritious, but in contrary it is a causative factor for many ailments like skin diseases.

Packaged Cereals With Milk

Milk and salt are incompatible with each other and yet we add milk to the packaged cereals. In case you are wondering about the ingredients of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Here they are: Corn (88%), sugar, salt, barley malt extract, vitamins(vitamin C, vitamin E, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate), minerals (iron, zinc oxide).

Green Leafy Vegetables and Milk

After consuming leafy vegetable drinking of milk should be avoided. Many fitness enthusiasts swear by the green smoothies. But

Green Smoothies is an example of blending incompatible food.

Horse gram with milk

Horse gram is the next superfood. Drinking horse gram porridge with milk is not advisable.

Mixture of hot & cold things

We all love sizzling brownies. Mixture of hot and cold things should be avoided as they are incompatible with each other by nature. Even adding cold water to hot water to make it drinkable should be avoided.

Heating of curd.

For many recipes, curd is the important ingredient.  For example, to prepare morkuzhambu, people use curd instead of using buttermilk. It is always better to use buttermilk instead of curd for preparing curd based food.

Banana with curd or buttermilk.

Overnight oats are the greatest example of combining incompatible foods.

Soaking oats in curd or milk and topping it with banana and fruit of your choice is something people love to eat as a breakfast in the morning. It is easy to make and ready to eat but it should be avoided given the ill effects of incompatibility of these ingredients.

Wheat + Sesame oil, Wheat + Hot water.

Wheat with hot water and with sesame oil should not be used.

Fish with Dairy, Sprouts, Black Gram, Honey, and Jaggery.

Those people who have been non-vegetarians and have been eating fish all their life would always say that fish with dairy is not a favorable combination. So if you are eating your fish with curd rice, please eat it with rasam rice going forth. 🙂

Radish with soup of black gram.

Radish with black gram is a bad combination and should be avoided.

Ghee kept in a bronze vessel more than 10 days.

Ghee if kept in the bronze vessel gets poisonous, so it is better to avoid it.

A mixture of the equal quantity of ghee & honey.

We should not only avoid consuming processed & packed foods but also food with a bad combination because it is one of the main reason for all lifestyle diseases like BP, DIABETES OBESITY & also CANCER.

Author Bio:

Dr.Prabhakantham

About me – I have been practicing Ayurveda for the past 18 yrs in a traditional way, I have experience in all Panchakarmas, I’m part of an NGO – AVAS, where I’m educating & treating underprivileged children.