February 17, 2014

Tale of 2 Happy Weekends

I had a wonderful time these last 2 Weekends:-

Last Friday I went and bought the Devotion of Suspect X and finished reading it by Saturday. The book is quite nice and will be putting up a review of the same shortly. 

The Devotion of Suspect X

On Saturday, I discovered that I am one of the runner-ups for the Dabur & Indiblogger - An Immune India contest. Woohoo! This is the first time I have won a prize in a blogging contest and eagerly awaiting the gifts from Indiblogger.

Immune India Blogging Contest Runner-Up

On Sunday, I went to Garden Court for dinner. It was really cold but the view of Pune more than made up for that. The restaurant had a nice 'shekuti' arrangement for fighting the cold. I had the Chicken sweet corn soup, a chicken kebab platter and finally Chicken Lal pari with some garlic naan. All the dishes were quite delightful, infact the kebabs were quite good and just melted in your mouth. In the end, sizzling brownie with ice-cream and paan bought the evening to an end.

View of Pune from Garden Court

Coming to this weekend, saturday was a really cold day and I spent a considerable amount of time just lazing around in the house.

Yesterday I went and saw Hasee toh Phasee and really enjoyed the movie. Its a rom-com. After a long time I liked a movie. The music is pretty sad but the movie is nice. The movie was followed by dinner where I had some nice chicken lung-fung soup and a bunch of snacks ranging from chicken tikka to chicken spring rolls for dinner. On the way home, I heard some awesome songs on the radio and tucked in to sleep with happy thoughts :)

December 25, 2013

November 21, 2013

An Immune India and a Bright Future with Dabur Chyawanprash

Dabur Chyawanprash

Growing up, I was more or less a healthy kid but the day my throat got a bit sore, I invariably ended up with a fever. Several visits to the doctors over the years, and contemplation about removal of tonsils to burning the supposedly excess skin in my nostrils, it was much later that I was diagnosed with Allergic Rhinitis. So here's what happens with me typically, I sniff a strong smell somewhere, or am exposed to dust, pollen or some other irritant and my nostrils swell up from the inside. As a result of this, I am not able to breathe properly. I start sneezing, my nose itches or my eyes itch, I lose hearing in one ear or both and its just all so painful. Then goes my throat, and then its fever. Weather, pollution, stress, lack of proper sleep or less water aggravate the situation. I haven't had pickle since a year I guess. I avoid paani puri and chaat, cold drinks and even chocolate at times (which is really tough by the way)! Par mann toh karta hai na and inspite of all this, tragedy strikes anytime and anywhere.

 Older Bottle of Dabur Chyawanprash - found it lying in the house :)

Over the past few years, I have seen my city experience weird weather - one day it will be hot and the very next day its cold or it rains. Global warming, I can see it, I can feel it and trust me when I say I can feel it, my nose really does feel it!!! I have tried everything from antibiotics to cough syrups, gharelu nuskhe to homeopathy. Its damn boring but, if you go for homeopathy, there are rules, you need to be sure there is a gap between when you take the medicine and anything else. If you go for ayurveda, you have to make fresh kadas or pastes and none taste that great. Allopathy has stopped working on me altogether. Good ole' Erythromycin - my friend of many years, just doesn't cure my throat anymore. I need to enjoy life and not live it in a guarded manner. That is when I discovered Dabur Chyawanprash! No, I have had it before as a kid, intermittently, but I never tracked the difference it made, back then. I heard many stories of how taking it consistently, improves immunity tremendously and finally I decided to get it home. I have it every single day. Just 1 spoon daily and it has made such a hell lot of difference to my life! Its a boon for adults like me. I wish I had listened to my Mom and had, had it regularly as a child. Maybe I could have prevented all those wasted moments spent coughing, sneezing and bearing the pain!

My learning from my experiences has been that environment is getting worse - global warming, pollution, overpopulation and deforestation are contributing significantly towards changes in climate, air quality and germs' mutation and growth. Viruses and bacteria are developing new strains, and hence drugs don't have the same effect against them anymore. Life is getting more and more stressful under such situations and that's where it comes to mind; what will happen to the kids? Kids are the future of any nation, and as they are in developmental stages, their immune systems are not as strong as that of adults. As adults, we need to ensure there is an ecosystem in place that nurtures kids and makes them healthy and strong. Here are some suggestions to ensure such an ecosystem is built and sustained:-

1) Playtime - Children need to get sufficient exercise and playtime. Unfortunately, the open spaces and playgrounds are rapidly decreasing in metros and other cities. If they are available, they are too far from homes. In such a situation, it becomes the guardian or parent's responsibility to take their child to such a place. Yes, as adults, time management is a huge issue. So how do you tackle this situation? Delegate, I say..find that friend who can take your kid, connect with that relative, a help, or better still switch responsibilities between yourself and your spouse. Its difficult but not impossible and remember, your child is your future and the future of this country as well. What you invest in him or her today, will reap rewards, accordingly, in the future.

2) Diet, Sleep & Water - Provide a balanced diet to your child and make sure he or she gets enough sleep. Nothing can be better than this! Body receives essential nutrients through the diet and replenishes itself with the sleep. Water - what can be said is less. It constitutes 90% of our body mass and having atleast 8-10 glasses a day is a must!
3) Plant Trees - Plant trees wherever you can. Consider gifting potted herbs such a tulsi, lemongrass and mint to your friends and family. If spaces are unavailable consider making a terrarium, like I posted about earlier.

4) Inculcate Good Habits in Your Kids - Washing hands before and after meals, cleanliness, basic hygiene, brushing teeth, not drinking water while sweating are some basic tips that ensure good health in the long run. Practice these yourself and make your children practice the same.

5) Go Organic - Opt for organic products - dals, clothes and veggies. 

6) Ayurveda &Yoga - Instead of opting for Allopathy, opt for Ayurveda. Build the strength from within. Preach and practice Yoga - calm your senses and build your core muscles..instill these habits in your child from the beginning. Make him or her join a Yoga class and give him Ayurvedic home remedies for diseases or take him to Ayurvedic doctors when he or she is ill.

7) Dabur Chyawanprash - You may or may not be able to implement all the suggestions I gave but you can atleast make your child eat a spoon of Dabur Chyawanprash daily. It now comes in 2 new flavours - Mango and Mixed Fruit, apart from the original flavour that has been there since the beginning. There is also a sugar free variant if calorie intake or diabetes is your concern. Dabur Chyawanprash has natural ingredients like Amla and Guduchi that boost immunity and build the infection fighting cells. The world is changing and deteriorating - pollution and germs surround us but Dabur Chyawanprash still carries the goodness of Ayurveda within it and protects our health. Health is wealth, and your child and every child is the future wealth of this country. You can read more about Dabur Chyawanprash at http://www.daburchyawanprash.com/

This post is a part of An Immune India contest hosted by Indiblogger in association with Dabur

November 18, 2013

Make Your Own Bottle Terrarium

Sometime last year I made my very own bottle terrarium, and here's a step by step process of how you can make one too! For the uninitiated gardener, a terrarium is a mini garden inside a glass container. Its a great option to get the greens and yet be not responsible for their upkeep. Another major advantage of having terrarium is that it requires very little space.

My Bottle Terrarium

Here's the list of things you require to make a terrarium:-
  1. A glass container/bottle/jar
  2. Charcoal
  3. Soil
  4. Plant
  5. Pebbles or Shells for decoration (optional)

I have made my bottle terrarium with an empty Kissan Jam Jar. You can also use the same or use Wine Bottles, Old Monk bottle, Pickle bottles or other glass jars. The difference between a bottle terrarium and a regular terrarium is obviously the bottle and the fact that the lid or cork of the bottle is kept closed. In a regular terrarium you can choose to not close or cover the terrarium. Incase you wish to make a regular terrarium, you can opt for aquarium tanks, fish bowls, vases and jars.

Here are the steps for making a terrarium:-
  1. Clean the chosen jar/bottle thoroughly with soap and let it dry completely
  2. Line the jar with crushed charcoal
  3. Add a layer of soil on the layer of charcoal. Make sure the soil is sterilized, you can go to a nursery and ask for potting mix
  4. Now add another layer of charcoal on top of the soil layer
  5. Finally add a layer of soil on top
  6. Place your plant with roots
  7. Add shells or pebbles for decoration
  8. Water the terrarium and close the lid
And your terrarium is ready :) 

Terrarium requires less maintenance, you need to water it only once in a while and if its a bottle terrarium like mine, once in 4 months. Place your terrarium in an area which gets medium light. For planting, you should choose plants that can survive in less light and water such as fern, croton, prayer plant and lucky bamboo. Several herbs also thrive well in a terrarium. I had planted a fern and tulsi plant in my terranium. Surprisingly, the fern didn't survive and the tulsi plant did.

Over time, terrarium tends to get dirty and cloudy from inside. Algae tends to grow inside like it happened to mine, in the pic below:- 

All you need is a toothbrush and you can gently clean it with the bristles.You can use a soft cloth to clean it also. Make sure you remove the algae by scratching at the surface of the soil, dig it little bit, toss it around. Plants also grow over time so trim them from time to time.

You can create a bunch of these terrariums and arrange them around your house and or office desk. Since they are closed, there is no fear of dirt or the worry of watering them.

Good Luck with creating your own terrarium!