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 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.
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.
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.
What you can do for them?
- Create an awareness about the organisation.
- Motivate and support the children
- Sponsor meals/ Sponsor a child or more
- Help them in kind( stationery, clothes,bedding, books)
- Volunteer with SEED
- 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
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.
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.
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:-
- 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.
- The GM soup also aids the weight loss.
- Consumption of fruits adds to the necessary fibrage which you don’t eat otherwise.
- 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.
- Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate with low fat.
- Chicken, Fish,beef ensure you consume good amount of protein.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 – 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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
**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.**
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
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.
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.
**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.**
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.
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.
Today in the want of a one pot meal, I made a vegetable biryani. It tasted great. Mind you, it took me 10 years to make great biryani.
I am a Maharashtrian, raised in a orthodox deshstha brahmin household. All my life I have religiously munched on whatever my mom cooked. Though she was an ardent devotee of so many gods, for me there was only one religion “ FOOD”. Deshastha is a branch of Brahmins which has Koknastha brahmins on the other side ( this is just for information) . My mom used to cook amazing food. She was a very pious lady and used to cook exactly the same menu during different festivals. For example, for Nagpanchami which is celebrated in Maharashtra, we never remember having anything else other than “ Sakharbhat” and “ Dind” (which is a type of small pancakes) there were many logical reasons behind her cooking. All the food which she used to cook involved seasonal vegetables and grains. Her cooking method never involved a lot of masala or a lot of frying. She seldom used onion, garlic, eggplant in her cooking. I wonder how she used to cook delicious food without using many ingredients.
As I got married to a South Indian household, I was not very sure what to expect because everything was very very new. All I knew that they would be having dosa and idli more than my home. I came to Chennai keeping my mind open and slowly I realized that there is a lot of difference in the cooking method of my mom and south india. Being computer savvy, I could easily get information about different recipes which people had generously put on their portals may be to help people like me.
But to tell the truth “ NOTHING” worked.
I could make the “Kozhumbu” but it quite never tasted like one. I could make “ Sambar” but it used to be much like “Dal” and not the sambar that my people were used to. Idlis were not as they would make and I could barely make good dosas. Those were the starting days of our married life. Couple of years on, I could now make okiesh food which people could eat. They say as you become a mother, you slowly become a good cook. But my daughter also could not completely change the way I cooked. Some poriyals, some sabjis were amazing. I could make soft fulkas from the day one and that was my plus point. But that was it.
After around 6 years, I appointed a cook, Kamakshi. She is from a village near Karaikudi and has worked in a Chettiyar household. An amazing cook and a very efficient househelp, Kamakshi realized the different ways of eating of my household quickly and adapted to the same. She makes great food. She is my first source of knowing authentic tamil dishes. The kozhumbu that she makes is lip smacking and so is the tomato thokku. The rasam made by her has its own fan following. The vegetable biryani that she makes is our staple food on EVERY sunday. The gobi pakodas which she makes as an accompaniment is my daughter’s fav food.
Before Kamakshi, I could never know the real authentic taste of tamil cuisine.
Every dish is to be made a certain way and that certain way can be known only when somebody makes it in front of you or you have the taste engraved in your mind that you can replicate the ingredients and make the same.
Kamakshi is a god sent help for me to learn from an authentic source. But did I learn with her. NO.
It is her absence which taught me to remember the taste of each dish that she made and replicate the same. Today in the want of a one pot meal, I made a vegetable biryani. It tasted great. Mind you, it took me 10 years to make great biryani. It was not learnt from anybody, I just used my senses remembering the taste of Biryani made by Kamakshi and a lot of ingredients to make it great. Slowly,
I am realizing that good food is more about the exact ingredients that we add at the right time and nothing else.
Cooking is not an art but simple mathematics which I was ignoring all these years and was wondering why my mom never taught me to make great food like her. Perhaps she wanted me to come out of my shell and take my own time to learn cooking so that I love it all my life.
How did I make Biryani?
- Peel a generous amount of garlic and clean the ginger, peeling off its skin.
- Cut beans ( ½ inch pieces) and carrots in julienne
- Cut couple of onions ( long ) and dice tomatoes as usual
- Make ginger garlic paste in a mixer ( I have recently bought a mortar pastle so I made it in that)
- Make sure you have star anise, couple of cloves, couple of big cardamoms, cinnamon, bay leaf and fennel seeds. ( if possible take it out and keep it in a plate)
- For today I got Biryani Masala because I had to make stuff in giffy. If you have the patience and know how to make biryani masala, please make it beforehand. I used “Aachi Biryani Masala”
- Curd around a cup
- A couple of spoons of ghee ( clarified butter) and a spoon of ground nut oil.
- Soaked Basmati Rice ( 1 big cup )
- Cooker is the best utensil you can make the Biryani in. So use your cooker. I recently bought a prestige clip on cooker which is an amazing cooker serving as a frying pan and a handi. You can use any of the available cookers though.
- Make the cooker hot and put ghee as well as oil.
- As it gets warm put star anise, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, bay leaf and fennel seeds.
- In a couple of minutes, the aroma of these spices will prompt you to add onions.
- Fry the onions for a minute and let it get soaked in the oil and heat till it turns golden brown. Add tomatoes to it.
- Once onions and tomatoes leave their juice into the oil, add veggies and saute.
- As they mix together and make a fantastic visual with their colors, add biryani masala.
- Give it a good stir, some people also add lemon juice but I avoided it.
- Add curd and again stir well.
- By now, the whole stuff would be looking like a gravy. Nice and thick. This is the indication of adding soaked basmati rice.
- Mix it well and add 3 cups of water. ( The Basmati rice which I have is new and soaks less water, check instructions on the cover of basmati rice to prevent Biryani turning into Khichadi ( LOL)
- Add salt as per your taste.
NOTE: Clip on the lid and DO NOT PUT ON THE WHISTLE ( Thank you Shrilekha for this invaluable tip) in 10 mins please check whether the water content is fine and if it is then your Biryani is ready….Let it rest with the steam.
What are the takeaways:
- You get a gorgeous Biryani Color
- Nice Aroma
- Well cooked basmati grains
- A great taste.
I am not a fan of garnishing ( and lazy too) but you can always garnish it with freshly cut coriander and pudina… Take pics and post it on social media for extra satisfaction 🙂 🙂
Shopping has always been fascinating. We definitely have vivid memories of Sadhana dancing to the tunes of Jhumka Gira Rey Bareilly ke bazar me. Markets enthuse us with huge amounts of energy. Then let it be the Budhwar Bazar of Mahal or Sitabuldi Nagpur, Kamothe Bazar of Navi Mumbai or the hustling and bustling market of Mylapore, Chennai.
One of the prime reasons why I love marketplaces is that as a buyer I get to meet new people. Engage in a conversation. Talk to them in their local language. And yes here it is how I learned Tamil! We all have that preferred and favorite vendor who we wish to buy from. We trust her trade. We try to reach them for the best deals.
The lights at the night time at a marketplace, the arrangements of vegetables is many times love at first sight. After a great shopping of grocery, vegetables one often tends to eat up at some local hawker to make up for the tired, dehydrated self. With changing times, we have to acclimatize with the newer situations.
I underwent a transformation when it came to my buying habits, after marriage. Now I had less time at hand to spend with my husband, for me and for the household. It was then, at that time when our late Perippa Mr Vishwanathan told me and cultivated the idea of buying the grocery and vegetables online. Local baniya was a popular online store in Mumbai, then.
And that decision to trust the new found love “APPS” gave my marital life and now postpartum life a breather. Four years and still on, I am a dedicated online shopper for grocery, vegetables, and other daily needs of the household.
Online shopping is indeed an order of the day and how?
- It saves time:- Time for me is money. With my little one demanding all my time and attention, I invest this very dimension of my life very calculatingly. Just a day before if you order, you get the stuff right at your doorstep. No need to stand in long queues of time-consuming billing counters.
- More variety:- Some of the online stores claim that they have more than 1000 brands of a particular item. I am sorted in this aspect and hence options don’t confuse me.
- Good quality:- Four years my relationship with online shopping has always been a qualitative one with reasonable rates. And what if you find rotten carrots? Well, you can always return the same and get the money credited to your account.
- Deals, Offers, and Bonuses:- A huge amount has been credited to my account as I avail many offers and bonuses. Loyalty comes with a price.
- 24*7 customer care:- Most of the online portals selling vegetables and have great support. You can always chat with them or call them and they are indeed happy to help.
- What more? Well, you can also avail their gifting facility. Present your loved ones with anything and everything.
Online shopping of vegetables and grocery is constantly evolving. Life becomes easy and hassle-free. Some of the online stores in main cities are
- Godrej Basket
I am a Bigbasketeer! Are you?
Little Ms.K is fond of devices, gadgets and all kind of technology. Every gadget that we got home, was first used by her to the fullest. But slowly, she was getting into a habit of using gadgets like all of us do. As a mom, I was terribly worried about the screen time that she used to spend. I have always emphasized on child lead weaning for anything, and this time I was determined that she should get the control of switching off the gadget off by herself. As a 7-year-old, little Ms. K has now weaned herself from all the gadgets which is a relief.
We as parents should also try and use self-lead weaning from these devices. They are very helpful for people in every walk of life but when it becomes an addiction it is harmful for sure.
Recently Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has spoken about how Apple is working on introducing some features in iOS12 which may help all adults and teens keep an eye on how much mobile phones they are using in a day which I would say is a great tool.
What are the things which you will be able to do with iOS12’s manage screen time feature:
Activity report for total time spent in different apps, usage across all the categories of apps.
Screen Time Displayed Categorically
The enhanced Do Not Disturb Feature
The Do Not Disturb feature has always been there in iOS devices but now there would be dimming of display and no display of notification till the prompted time.
You can now get your notifications delivered quietly 🙂 group them
Get the notifications delivered quietly
Get suggestions from Siri on which notifications to be kept and which can be managed.
- You get to see how your screen time is divided across all apps.
- Choose your downtime with the apps, with the downtime the apps will have a badge stating that they are not allowed to be used during that time.
- Parents can set up time for children’s usage.
In the recent interview, Apple CEO, Tim Cook says that they have always kept their users as their priority while designing the ultimate technological experience. Hope the new feature helps us keep the phones at bay 🙂
Disclaimer: All the images are downloaded from
The article is inspired from
I love earthenware, crockery, glassware in short anything which can be broken easily and does not promise to last long. I love them because I somehow feel that it takes immense efforts to make earthen pots and crockery. The cups, saucers, trays, tea kettle, tea sets are the most favourite things of mine since childhood. While we were kids, we had a huge set of small utensils, which had fridge, washing machine, gas and everything which mom had in her kitchen. We also had a nice tea set made of bone China, it was a miniature and we used to celebrate our tea parties with those tiny cup saucer and tea kettles. So the love of all things like it was innate or may be mom inculcated it. We never had many things in crockery but we certainly had a great set of mugs, tea cups and saucers. Mom was a tea lover and while having tea she used to spend 2 mins on her own ( it used to be her me time) now we call it as hygg practice 😉 anyway, so we had a great set of teacups even then. The water used to be stored in a matka. And she never failed to give a swirl of alum on the water after filling it to keep it purified. Earthenware has its own charm. I have people at home who can not drink cold water from the fridge, for them water from the earthen Pot is a blessing. Yesterday while shopping some Sundry items me and Shrilekha saw this very colourful earthenware shop on the side of Mylapore tank. The girl who was selling the earthenware was speaking flawless English. While running the shop she was also looking after her 2 year old. She inspired me in her own way. I purchased a jar, couple of glasses and a condiment caddy. The colours made me immensely happy. The touch of hand and the effort which has gone to make the pot touches my heart. As I came home, people were amused thinking that I love earthenware, crockery, glassware in short anything which can be broken easily and does not promise to last long. I love them because I somehow feel that it takes immense efforts to make earthen pots and crockery. The cups, saucers, trays, tea kettle, tea sets are the most favourite things of mine since childhood. While we were kids, we had a huge set of small utensils, which had fridge, washing machine, gas and everything which mom had in her kitchen. We also had a nice tea set made of bone China, it was a miniature and we used to celebrate our tea parties with those tiny cup saucer and tea kettles. So the love of all things like it was innate or may be mom inculcated it. We never had many things in crockery but we certainly had a great set of mugs, tea cups and saucers. Mom was a tea lover and while having tea she used to spend 2 mins on her own ( it used to be her me time) now we call it as hygg practice 😉 anyway, so we had a great set of teacups even then. The water used to be stored in a matka. And she never failed to give a swirl of alum on the water after filling it to keep it purified.
Earthenware has its own charm. I have people at home who can not drink cold water from the fridge, for them water from the earthen Pot is a blessing.
Yesterday while shopping some
Sundry items me and Shrilekha saw this very colourful earthenware shop on the side of
Mylapore tank. The girl who was selling the earthenware was speaking flawless English. While running the shop she was also looking after her 2 year old. She inspired me in her own way. I purchased a jar, couple of glasses and a condiment caddy. The colours made me immensely happy. The touch of hand and the effort which has gone to make the pot touches my heart. As I came home, people were amused thinking that this is another new experiment but after drinking that thirst quenching water everybody was impressed with the attempt. Today while chitchatting we discussed about bringing back the clay pots for cooking and storage…I am sure it will bring back old memories and also would bring in some flavour in food which is long lost.
The first and foremost memory that I have of food is the “Dahi Poli” which I used to have in my grandma’s mud house. The dahiwali used to bring dahi in mud pots from her village in the morning and Aaji used to make hot phulkas during the same time. I used to eat 1 fulka happily at the age of 2-3 years. I never knew what was mindful eating then, but as I understand the Dahi ( Yogurt) was locally sourced and fulka was made by Aaji. Some years before when I was obsessed with counting the macronutrients in the food. I still could find that the meal of Dahi Poli around 11 AM was the best that I could have as a child and also as an adult. It was valid then and is valid now. Then what was missing in between?
After my graduation, I started working and the timings were really bad. I was always in the obese category but now with odd timings and odd eating pattern, I started putting on the considerable amount of weight coupled with a lot of acidity. Then started the part called unlearning.
Rice has simple carbs, chapathi has complex carbs. Groundnut oil is bad for health. Sunflower oil or Karadi oil is good for health. Never touch a Mango, Banana, Chickoo, it will put on weight. Have more green leafy vegetables etc were some more health secrets that I started living by. I worked out sincerely and did not eat well as per today’s standards. I reduced my weight several times in my life and bounced back to more, those many times. I never thought about mindfulness while eating post my graduation. I worked in different cities, ate whatever was available and I cook. Post marriage, I again started working out pretty regularly and reduced around 20 kgs by not eating well as per today’s standards. I never touched Mango, Milk, Chickoo, Banana and my favorite Guava during those days. Unlearning the mindfulness which Aaji ( grandma ) and Aai ( mom ) passed on to me was a major drawback. I ended up having IBS ( Irritable Bowel Syndrome) which is a group of symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain and vomiting. 3 years of acute IBS brought me back to rethink the overall food habits and there is where I started relearning.
Mindful eating needed to be incorporated back to my lifestyle. But before that I needed to fix some things. Groundnut oil made entry to the kitchen with sesame oil from Kachchi Ghani. Switched to cow’s milk and homemade curd. Incorporated grain shuffle like one grain each day . It included eating jowar, bajra, wheat, rice ( normal white rice), nachni on a specific day in a week. Started having pickles, papads and homemade jams. All desserts which are homemade were welcome. It included Puran Poli, Coconut Burfi, Laddoo, Semiya Kheer, Shakkarai Pongal, Modak . Bringing ghee back on varan bhat helped bloating and weight loss. I can not specify in words how happy I am to include all this back in my food. You can see me a couple of pounds here and there but that does not matter to me as I have food which makes me happy. Since last 3 years I am having Banana everyday in the morning which has immensely helped curing IBS. No cramps, no constipation and bye bye to diarrhea. Bringing grandma’s wisdom back in life brought me back to life. As I have a spoonful of shakkarai Pongal laden with ghee and sugar, I say that there is nothing better than believing in your natural palette and trusting your instincts while eating. This is as they say – Mindful Eating. I have found myself through mindful eating, have you?
This post is a part of the Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest hosted by FashionableFoodz in association with Vikhroli Cucina and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest, FashionableFoodz or Godrej is not responsible for any infringement caused. #GodrejFoodTrends2018Contest #GFTR2018
On our regular Sunday Netflix binge, Little Ms. K and I were watching Frozen. There is nothing new about watching the movie as such, but this time I was amused to see her interest in these Disney Princesses. All girls of her age are in awe of all the Disney Princesses but in the 21st century, the concept of a princess spending her life only waiting for a Prince does not really make sense. With the quotes like “ Why raise a princess when you can raise a warrior?” or “ Instead of getting a glass shoe, break the glass ceiling” it becomes necessary that these zero size Disney Princesses should be looked at from a very different angle. That different angle is provided by Illustrator Matt Burt. His take on the working princesses is just priceless. Here is a look
Frozen princesses – Elsa and Anna are climate change specialist, matching the story of frozen. Matt Burt says “They have dedicated their careers to studying climate change and presenting accurate, well-sourced information.” I would say how appropriate.
” Have courage and Be kind” This is a very famous quote by Cinderella. Cinderella is kind, which is apparent through her story. She believes in kindness and she treats the animals with respect. In Matt Burt’s illustration, she is in a position where she can influence a non-profit committed to promoting animal rights.
Jasmine has always fought for what is right and what is wrong. She now adorns a role of an advocate for her country at the United Nations. She would be working for women’s rights. It is to ensure that the women are treated fairly across the globe.
Moolan had to fight hard in the military and had faced gender discrimination. In a university, now she advocates for Gender Equality.
Matt Burt says that Rapunzale always had powers to heal. She further went to the university became a neurologist and now she is a famous neurologist in the town. Now she provides exceptional medical care to all her patients.
Snow White is known to be caring and thoughtful. Post her union with her prince, she earned her doctorate in Psychology and is a leader in the field of mental health. She also presents papers in different across the world. She not only helps all her clients whether they are grumpy, happy, bashful or anything, but also looks after professionals so that they should be able to provide high end mental healthcare to the patients.
All in all it feels so good to see all of them pursuing something they are good at and what they like. Disney princesses are loved by one and all, it is just that after these illustrations they will be seen as idols.
Stuck in traffic morning and evening, reaching home only at the wee hours only to sleep. Making food and eating all alone, sleeping through the weekend waiting for Monday, I see so many Eleanor Oliphants around me. Slowly the world is getting a very strange place full of people who have an isolated world of their own.
“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”
Eleanor Oliphant is a story of an ordinary woman. She is isolated, not by her choice but by her circumstances. She is very productive, a creature of habit and most importantly is a survivor. In the flock of new books which glorifies supermen and superwomen, Eleanor’s story is more about an ordinary person ( regardless of gender).
Eleanor’s inner voice is of a strong lady who is a survivor. But as she grows up with the government aid and foster parenting, her inner voice is muted to a level that she goes into complete isolation. The story is usual, but the narrative makes it unique. Eleanor would have been a boring character, minus the narration. She is mundane but hilarious at times. Her blunt take on the world amused me throughout the read.
“I was in a fast-food restaurant for the first time in my adult life, an enormous and garish place just around the corner from the music venue. It was mystifyingly, inexplicably busy. I wondered why humans would willingly queue at a counter to request processed food, then carry it to a table which was not even set, and then eat it from the paper? Afterward, despite having paid for it, the customer is responsible for clearing away the detritus. Very strange.”
Her deep insight on loneliness was profound:
“These days, loneliness is new cancer – a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted, or that it might tempt fate into visiting a similar horror upon them.”
After reading Eleanor, I felt a kind of restlessness in my heart for all those who are going through depression. Mental illness is a real thing, and though it is very common for us to guess it in case of Eleanor who is living an isolated life, it is tough to identify a person with depression having a huge social circle. Maybe most of them are good in pretending that they are very happy and doing great but they are lonely inside.
What mattered in the story of Eleanor is that She survived and was completely fine, but that is not how the story would end in many cases.
“Sometimes you simply needed someone kind to sit with you while you dealt with things.”
Eleanor Oliphant is a good read, especially if you are a kind of person who likes a slow story which takes its course midway through the book. Worth a read.
When you have a hardcore Rajini fan at home, who on a typical working day can go for the first day first show (That’s 4 AM), a Rajini film can be a real menace to the routine of the household. Decked up in Black to pay tribute to Kaala, the head of the house headed to some odd theatre in Ambattur, Chennai at the wee hours with crackers.
The head of the household had already started picking up on every Kaala related news since the movie was announced. Me being a Maharashtrian he felt that I might melt looking at the plot of the film which is based out of Dharavi, Mumbai. Slowly, Nana Patekar, who is a very well known actor in Maharashtra was roped in, and now the Mr. was sure that I would surely support his 4 AM first day first show endeavor. The teaser was watched million times, shown to the lil one those many times too. The trailer was admired, one and all byhearted the songs. The song launch was watched twice, and Rajini’s speech was heard god knows how many times.
This time it was clear that the “Thalaivar” wouldn’t be seen dancing around girls as he had done in his earlier movies. With Kabali, I felt he has got a real hang of working with PA. Ranjith and the chemistry was evident in the movie. There was less masala in Kabali. The movie felt genuine. Many even wished that Kabali 2 might be made as the story ended on a mysterious note. PA Ranjith is a brilliant director. His prowess in weaving an intricate plot and executing it was praised. The casting of the film “Kabali” was just outstanding. Of all the characters I liked “ Radhika Apte” as Kumudavalli. Nobody could have done such justice to the role of Kumudavalli.
Cut to 2018 – Kaala
The real prep started two days before where the first step was to get the tickets for the first day first show. Phoning many friends to get the tickets is customary. After the tickets are confirmed calling friends and showing attitude is the most important thing to do in this whole episode of Rajini Mania. Getting tickets to any Rajini movie is thrilling, I have never been to the first-day first show, but even on the nth day nth show, you can hear people cheering and clapping for the dialogue delivery which is pretty rare in today’s world.
At the crack of dawn, I received a phone call from the Mr. praising Rajini for this outstanding movie. He was equally happy with Nana Patekar and the overall plot. Though it is a little menace to go out in the wee hours, I was pleased that the head of the house, could enjoy and have his time out of the daily hustle. Ultimately, every one of us should come out of the suppression of the worldly emotions and give into some guilty pleasures. Thank you, Rajini for giving that chance to one and all.
This post is for moms, all moms who are stressed, tired, fatigued almost all the time. Some have found ways to deal with it and some are yet to reach that point. Some are struggling with their day to day hustle, while some are unable to cope up with the daily grind. Stay at home, working, working from home or any of them, moms have a lot to tackle throughout the day. Whether they get up as early as 4 am or they get up by 7 to 7.30, every mom sleeps as her babies fall asleep, it may give her minimal sleep at times but at the end of the day it is all worth it. Days go by and we all start to cope up with these unusual timings. By the time we are used to it, the kids grow and they have their own timetable. I feel as parents we never settle with one time. My day ends with half of the next day in its lap already. Some days before I used to struggle winding up and putting myself to sleep but no more. I was determined to make a change that is one part but the other part that helped me significantly is that I started my “Nightly Self Care Routine”. At first, people at home were astonished but slowly they understood that it is my process of winding up the day and to welcome the next one without being too stressed.
So here is the Nightly Self Care Routine for busy moms:
- Mentally and physically switching off from any gadgets 30 mins prior to bedtime
- We are so taken up by the social media updates that we often forget the time that we are checking out the phone. A lot has been said about the mobile radiation and its harmful effects but as I put my mobile on airplane mode, it gives me a lot of peace. This has helped me reduce a lot of stress. 30 mins before bed switching off all the gadgets is the first key to self-care.
- A hot water bath or soaking your feet in Epsom salt
- In a city like Chennai, where humidity is at its peak, a warm water bath is so soothing after a long day. If you don’t have time for that then soaking your feet in warm water having Epsom salt in it is the perfect solution for achy feet and calf muscles. This is an age-old remedy to reduce muscle spasms. You can also add some essential oil like lavender to the water to get the calming effect.
- Rub your feet with a little bit of ghee.
- Rubbing the feet with a bit of ghee is a time-tested method to relieve symptoms like fatigue and soreness of feet. Additionally, say bye to cracked heels with the goodness of ghee.
- Switching to low lighting
- Our bodies are tuned in such a way that as the sun sets, the body releases sleep hormones. As we are in the city and there are ample lights, the body gets tricked into feeling that it is still a day. Switching to low lighting before going to bed helps me a lot to slow down and wind up.
- Reading a book ( not kindle) gives a calming effect. I usually read my favorite poems or stories to my kid.
- Brain Dump
- This is something I swear by. Throughout the day we carry many feelings. Some happy, some sad, some frustrating, you can actually dump all that in a journal or a paper. If you do not want to see it again, you can as well tear it off. Clearing your mind helps to rejuvenate
- Slipping into comfortable clothing
- Each one of us slips into comfortable clothing at the end of the day. But as a part of self-care, next time, buy ultra comfy, soothing cloths and remind yourself that you deserve every bit of that comfort.
The purpose of this self care routine is to reduce stress. All moms out there, please try and let me know if it works. Well, it does work for me 🙂
The school reopening time is just around the corner. As the kids go to school life gets easier and complicated in every way. The question which moms face during school days is what to give them for snacks which are healthy and at the same time not boring. School snacks are made easy in this blog post.
Kids who participate in the whole process of planning, shopping ( if any) and preparing their lunchboxes to develop the ability to choose and enjoy healthy food.
Me and Little Ms.K usually plan our week together. This academic year, we decided to plan the menu for the lunch box as well. So, here are some of the easy school snacks to pack for kids where you can involve kids as well. Note: I have tried to avoid biscuits and cheese here because it doesn’t suit Little Ms.K, you can add your preferences.
- Chapati Rolls
- These are simple ones, you just have to make chapati and roll it with a filling of your choice. When we want it to be on the heavier side our filling has paneer in it otherwise there is Jam ( Homemade) or Ghee and Sugar.
- Coin Dosa
- Coin Dosa is my go-to option for a no-fuss snack. All you need to have is the dosa batter. These are coin shaped dosas which can have a topping of cheese.
- This is the crispier version of Roti or Methi Thepla. Very good to give as a snack. 100% home-made and healthy. You can give jam as an accompaniment
- This is a very famous dish of Tamil Nadu. You just have to pre-plan a bit. Soaking the chickpeas in advance till they sprout. Before you set up the lunch box take some oil in the wok, add mustard, curry leaves, and asoefotida. Add these soaked but drained sprouts. There are many varieties of Sundal. You can use Kabuli Chana, Green Moong ( Pasi Payir), Mot, Horse Gram or the likes. One can also add finely chopped cucumber, carrot as a topping.
- Paniyaram/ Appe
- These are made of Dosa batter. If you have the Paniyaram Chatti or Pan to make these small dosa batter dumplings then it is amazingly easy to make in a jiffy.
- Sattu Laddoo
- If you make sattu powder at home, well and good. But if you get it store bought, no worries. Just roast Sattu powder in ghee and mix it with Jaggery. Roll them into laddoos. You can also add dry fruits in these laddoos. Favorite of little Ms.K. I am sure every child will like it.
- Idli Fry
- This is our most favorite snack. As I make big idlis, I break them into pieces. Add oil to the wok, put mustard, as it splutters I add onion, curry leaves. Till they are done, I add little red chilly powder and turmeric. Mix it well and add the broken idlis. Mix it well and top it with coriander.
- Crispy Onion Rings
- Onion rings coated with wet chickpea flour and fried in groundnut oil is nothing but Crispy Onion Rings. I generally give yogurt or achar as accompaniment. I do not use store bought sauce.
If the lunchbox has chapati and sabji as lunch, then I give Poha or Puffed Rice ( Roasted in Ghee, Curry Leaves, and Jeera) as a snack. Makhna or Puffed Lotus seeds ( Roasted in Ghee, Curry Leaves, and Jeera) also taste good and they are nutritious yet light on the stomach. These are some simple snack items which we can make in a jiffy. Let me know if you have any other snacks which you make often…would love to try it.
Recently, I heard Rujuta Diwekar speaking about food confusion. She speaks about food many times and reiterates stuff like ” Eat local and seasonal food”. What she tells is nothing different that why my Aaji, Aaji in law and my mom practiced. It is just that we stopped listening to them as we grew up. Anything homemade has a charm of its own. I loved the way the whole family got engaged while aaji made papad and pickles. She also used to make Sandge ( grated mixed veggies dried in the hot summer sun) or vaththals as we call them in Tamil, on the side. The dried variety includes Moong Vadi, Carrot and other vegetable sandge, Layvadya ( Made out of leftover jowar porridge), Mor Mozhaga or Dahi Mirchi ( These were staples). Maybe in my next post, I will elaborate on each of them and write about the papad variety. But today I am going to share the mango jam recipe and pickle recipe which many of you asked.
My mom used to make amazing pickles all through the year. She believed in the goodness of pickles prepared in a specific season. In Summer, she used to make mango pickle which we used to call Big Pickle. Apart from the big pickle, there used to be one “Chalu Lonche” which can be eaten as it is made. The term Chalu means something which is in practice. So this pickle we could eat till the Big Pickle soaks in all the ingredients and gets ready for consuming. Apart from Big Pickle and Chalu Pickle, she used to make “Takku”. “Takku” is a spicy mix of grated raw mangoes, red chili powder and tampering with mustard oil. Takku stays around for 1 month and is a go-to accompaniment for hot chapati or poori. These were savory varieties of year-long mango treasure. Among the sweet varieties, she used to make mango jam ( Mango chunks and grated mangoes) and aam panna ( sharbat). As the true Annapoorna that she was, in winters, people used to swear by the delicious vegetable pickle that she used to make. The taste of Amla Pickle still lingers in my mouth. Have you heard about curd pickle made with Amla, she had named it as “Raveni”.
This year 23 kgs of mangoes were harvested from the backyard and I did not waste a single mango. Used all of it to make these amazing varieties of real, homemade condiments.
Last year, while I went for cutting mangoes for pickle, there came a lady. She asked me, do you know how to make pickle? I said “ yes”. She said will you help me make it. I said I am not a “pro” but I can make it.
Since 2016, we have been making pickles with my sister’s mil “Ganga Narayanan”. Ganga Mami is Annapoorna herself and every pickle that she makes is tasty, stays well for years together. This time I wanted to try it out and give her some of it. Thank you Ganga Mami for making me adept with pickle making process. Can’t thank you enough.
As I posted it on my WhatsApp status and FB status, many people have asked about the recipe for homemade jam or Sakharamba/ Gulamba.
Mango Jam Or Sakharamba
- Once you get the mangoes from the market or from the backyard, see that you soak them in water for at least an hour. After an hour take them out and let them get dried for further process.
- As they look fresh without any oil on them, start peeling them and cutting them into small/ medium pieces. You can keep bigger chunks for the jam. You can even grate the mango for getting an exact jam-like texture.
- Get a big kadhai or pan, and add 8-10 teaspoons of ghee. I used homemade cow ghee, but you can use any brand.
- Add mango chunks. Keep it simmering till all the chunks become golden brown. Once the chunks are golden brown you can add the sugar/palm jaggery/jaggery to it. I eyeballed the quantity of sugar ( Approx 2 kgs for 4 kg of mangoes) as per the taste.
- Mix the sugar and add water till it covers ¾ th of the mango chunks. Keep stirring. You can off the gas stove when you see that the water and sugar have combined really well, soaking in the mango chunks. Leave the sugar syrup little lose because after cooling down it hardens giving it a jam-like consistency.
- Once the Jam or Gulamba has cooled down, transfer it in a bigger airtight jar.
- Instead of opening a store bought mixed fruit jam or store-bought gulamba, this is a simple method to enjoy the goodness of homegrown mangoes in the summer.
How to make Mango Pickle
Mango pickle is the trickiest of them all. The reason behind it is that you have to look after the pickle like a baby. As you make it, you have to transfer it into airtight glass jars or the china clay pots which are specially made for pickles, cover the lid with a small muslin cloth. Keep mixing the pickle very 30 days once. I eyeballed all the quantities so this recipe wouldn’t be elaborating on the exact quantities but will give you a basic idea.
- For 5-6 kgs of mangoes I used, 2kgs of Sesame Oil, 2 kgs of Salt, 1 kg of Chily Powder, 500 gms of mustard seeds ( Which were crushed into powder), Fenugreek powder ( very little)
Okay, enough of disclaimers. Here is a recipe
- Mangoes need to be soaked in water and dried thoroughly
- Once they are dried, cut them with Amba Fodni ( Mango Cutter ) or get it cut from the market
- If you are getting the mangoes cut from the market see that you wipe off each and every piece
- Soak the mango pieces in salt, keep it for 30 mins or so, then add Chily powder and mix well. Once it is mixed, add mustard powder, fenugreek powder. Keep it aside.
- Take a big kadai, make it hot on the stove pour the oil and off the gas.
- The oil needs to be warm while adding not hot.
- Once you add the oil, mix it thoroughly.
- As you transfer it in an airtight jar, first add a layer of salt to the jar and then fill in the pickle.
- Keep the jars in a place where they get indirect sunlight.
- In 4-5 days the Pickle will be ready to eat.
While I did the cooking part, I felt I have revived the trend of bringing in the whole family together for this culinary experiment of mine. My FIL got the mangoes from the backyard, my dad helped me peel it, cut and grate it. My husband helped to cut mangoes for the big pickle, my daughter was a witness to all the work that was going in. I hope she learned a thing or two. This is the way we can propagate the idea of sustainability to our next generation.
This post is a part of the Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest hosted by FashionableFoodz in association with Vikhroli Cucina and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest, FashionableFoodz or Godrej is not responsible for any infringement caused. #GodrejFoodTrends2018Contest #GFTR2018