Wednesday, November 30, 2011

100 th Post, Aha!


Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still ~ Chinese Proverb

So now you know the reason for my recent, frequent blog posts.  It was a countdown to the 100th Post :))

Finally I am there. Typing my 100th Post.  100, really?  It seems incredible. 

So how do i feel? Happy. Content. Alive. Focused.  LOL...... before i get all  narcissist , the ultimate feeling is one of Expression.

 When i had written my first post 'Trip to Viashno Devi', I was a novice.  Totally new to the Blogging world.  At that moment all i  wanted was  to share my travelogue.

Today, i feel that my hitting a century is a Blessing of Maa Bhagwati as i had ventured into Blogging with writing about Vaishno Devi.

Slowly, one step, at a time i walked the Blogging journey, discovering the world of Blogs and making new Blogger friends.  Today,  i feel great having  met quite a few Bloggers at the Delhi ,'Blanket of Relief' Indiblogger meet, and befriending many more through their Blogs and Facebook. 

And now its time for the second Indiblogger meet in Delhi.

When i had started Blogging, i never knew Blogging would give me so much satisfaction, happiness and a sense of purpose , beyond my role as an ex working woman and a Home maker.

It has been an  eye opener indeed.

A BIG thanks to all my readers, especially fellow Bloggers who comment, as also to  my other readers  across the world who  read my posts.

As i type my 100th post, i am happy to share that my readers are spread over 80 countries around the Globe. While the top 5 countries are understandably India, US, UK, Canada and Australia, it is the presence of a few countries from far flung regions of the world which pleasantly surprises me.

As i surfed these countries, i am sharing a few pics from these countries  to highlight them

BRAZIL


A Carnival Dancer



VENEZUELA

SOUTH AFRICA

Kruger National Park
 CROATIA

Zagreb, Croatia

OMAN
Bahla Fort, Oman



CZECH Republic

A knitted Car in Prague

JAMAICA

Athletes from Jamaica




KOREA

 Kyongbok Palace, Korea

MALDIVES

Conrad Maldives, Bongchi Island




MOROCCO

A Bread shop in Morocco

PUERTO RICO

Ethnic background children in Puerto Rico
SLOVENIA
Pudjoma Castle in Slovenia

VIETNAM

Ravages of the Vietnam War

Now, all set for the next 100 Posts :)


Cheers!

.










Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Elation!

By now, every book lover has realized that Flipkart is a blessing.  As it promptly delivers you any book right at your doorstep without a hitch.  Recently my younger daughter gave me the titles of 3 books which her professor had recommended. One of them is 'The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari' by Robin S Sharma.

Sure enough i had heard of this book but somehow never got down to reading it. Probably as  my reading habits had gone for a toss and it is only recently that i am trying to catch up on the best selling  novels, unread by me.

I have purposely named this Post as 'Elation!' instead of  ' A Book Review' as how could i possibly attempt to write a review of an International Best Seller that has sold over 15 million copies and  been translated in over 50 languages?

And yet, i was mighty elated  and thankful to my daughter for making it possible for me to read this book. And sure enough, i  wanted to share my views.  Hence this Post.


The entire novel's message is conveyed through a dialogue between Julian Mantle, a high profile millionaire  Lawyer who turns a Monk after an unexpected Heart attack and his colleague John.  Julian returns from  the Himalayas after spending time with the sages of Savanna and emerging as a Born Again Monk.

While the book is full of inspirational content and several techniques, i liked one advice immensely.

Julian  explains to John,  that the sages of Savanna had created  '5 Step Method  for Attaining Goals'  to reach their objectives  and fulfill the purpose of their lives. Julian advices John to buy a Journal and calls it the Dream Book. He advises  him to fill this book with one's desires, dreams and objectives. For it was only by writing down the goals and knowing oneself that one could successfully achieve ones' life goals.

Julian also talked reverenentially about ONE word that could make a major change over in one's life. : PASSION. He  says," A burning sense of Passion is the most potent fuel for your dreams"

So, what are those 5 steps?  Go and read the book and find out for yourself :)

The novel has a beautiful message on dealing with one's past:

"Every event has a purpose and every setback a lesson. I have realized that failure, whether of the personal, professional or even spiritual kind is essential to personal expansion.  It brings inner growth and a whole host of psychic rewards. Never regret your past.  Rather, embrace it as the teacher that it is."

A few other quotes i liked immensely are;

'Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make.  It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you".

" People never realize that mind management is the essence of life management".

"When you dedicate yourself to transforming your inner world your life quickly shifts from the ordinary to the realm of the extraordinary".

"By controlling the thoughts that you think and the way you respond to the event of your life, you begin to control your destiny."

Towards the end of the novel, the author talks about the importance of Time management and also the  importance of serving humanity. Believe it or not, i finished the book in half a day!

Truly a magnificent piece of work, that inspires you from the cover to the end. So go ahead and buy your copy today if you haven't already.

Happy Reading and Happy Enlightenment!

Oats Upma

Oats are health foods with multiple benefits. I have to confess we never ate  Oats until my daughter bought a packet of oats home. And  now i am sharing a simple recipe which anyone can make without any difficulty.


But first, the benefits of this amazing cereal.









Good for Heart


One component of the soluble fiber found in oats is beta-glucans, a soluble fiber which has proven effective in lowering blood cholesterol.


Controls Blood Sugar


Oat beta-glucan slows the rise in blood glucose levels following a meal.


Anti Cancer


Oats, like other grains and vegetables, contain hundreds of phytochemicals (plant chemicals). Many phytochemicals are thought to reduce a person's risk of getting cancer.


Blood Pressure


A daily serving of whole oats rich in soluble fibre can reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure, and so reduce the need for anti-hypertensive medication.


Bowel movements


Oats have a high fiber content. Fiber is necessary in keeping bowel movements regular. Oats are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It is spongy and absorbs many times its own weight of liquid. It makes stools heavier and speeds their passage through the gut, relieving constipation.


Weight Loss


As the soluble fiber of oats is digested, it forms a gel, which causes the viscosity of the contents of the stomach and small intestine to be increased. The gel delays stomach emptying making you feel full longer which helps with weight loss. 


Athletic Performance


Oats, like other cereal grains, are valued primarily as a source of carbohydrates which provide calories for energy needs.


Longevity


They contain a good balance of essential fatty acids, which have been linked with longevity and general good health, and also have one of the best amino acid profiles of any grain




Oats Upma


A simple, easy to make recipe , perfect for Breakfast. and a gr8 way to start your day with the health benefits of Oats.




Ingredients:


1 katori white Oats


One onion diced


Half katori  diced carrots


Half katori cauliflower cut into small pieces


2 Tablespoon refined Oil


5 cloves


1 teaspoon grated ginger


3 katori water


Salt as per taste


Method:


Heat oil in a kadai


Add cloves and allow to sputter.  Add ginger and fry for 1 minute


Add onions and saute till they turn pink


Now add carrots, 






and cauliflower.  Stir continuously and cover with lid and allow to cook for 3 minutes.


Now add water.




Add salt and add the oats into the kadai.







Cook  for 5 minutes or till oats soak the water.  


Serve Hot!




So, try out this recipe.  I am  sure your family will love it.  You may add more veggies as per your taste.













































NUTTY Times




As Diwali arrives, so does the season of Nuts.  It is mandatory to serve nuts to guests on Diwali, and the practice continues through winters. During  Winters, the grocery stores stack a variety of nuts. In Winters, they make popular snacks, though have to be eaten in moderation.


Nuts are nutritional powerhouses,  packed in tiny package, but high in calories. They have high protein and fiber content. If you add nuts to your diet, you'll want to cut back on something else. Substitute nuts for chips or cookies, and avoid nuts that are fried in oil or loaded with salt.


So, what are the health benefits of eating Nuts?


1.  Nuts are good for your Heart:


          Most nuts contain the following substances



  • Unsaturated fats. It's not entirely clear why, but it's thought that the "good" fats in nuts — both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — lower bad cholesterol levels.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Many nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a healthy form of fatty acids that seem to help your heart by, among other things, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in many kinds of fish, but nuts are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Fiber. All nuts contain fiber, which helps lower your cholesterol. Fiber also makes you feel full, so you eat less. Fiber is also thought to play a role in preventing diabetes.
  • Vitamin E. Vitamin E may help stop the development of plaques in your arteries, which can narrow them. Plaque development in your arteries can lead to chest pain, coronary artery disease or a heart attack.
  • Plant sterols. Some nuts contain plant sterols, a substance that can help lower your cholesterol. Plant sterols are often added to products like margarine and orange juice for additional health benefits, but sterols occur naturally in nuts.
  • L-arginine. Nuts are also a source of l-arginine, which is a substance that may help improve the health of your artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can block blood flow.
2.  Nuts reduce Cancer risk

Some nuts contain special compounds that don't exist in other food or exist in other foods in very limited amount. These special compounds exert special health functions in our body. For example, peanuts contain high concentration of phytosterols.
Phytosterols protect against cancer by several means. These include inhibiting cell division, stimulating tumor cells death and modifying some of the hormones that are essential to tumor growth.

Nuts also contain Selenium which is needed to fight cancer.

3. Controlling Body weight
Studies show that nuts contain a number of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and antioxidants which are all important for any healthy weight loss program. The fat and fiber content in nuts make them very filling and satisfying and so people tend not to overeat them. Studies have shown that eating small amounts of nuts help people lose weight.

Benefits of various nuts:

Walnuts


These are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Also contains potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper. Walnuts can help to lower the harmful LDL cholesterol.






Almonds

Almonds contain good amounts of Calcium, Magnesuium, Vitamin E,Zinc and Phytochemicals which help to protect against Heart diseases and fight Cancer.









Cashew nuts

These contain good amounts of Magnesium, Zinc and Phosphorus.  Also contain some amount of Iron.












Pistachio Nut

They contain good amount of Vitamin B, along with Protein and fiber.











Peanuts

They contain protein, fiber, thiamine, niacin and zinc in good amounts.












Ways to use nuts in your diet:

As a snack between meals

Garnish on desserts, ingredients in salads, topping on breakfast cereals and in milkshakes.
As a snack, a handful of roasted nuts can beat hunger because of the protein and fat content.
So for good nutrition, long life and better health, make nuts as part of your balanced diet.



Friday, November 25, 2011

For a Special MUM




This post is especially for you Mum.  Today is not Mother's Day. But then i don't need one day out of 365 days to realize just how  special you are to all of your daughters. The fact that one of my friends recently lost her mother after a long battle for life, made me realize how fortunate i am to have you as a Mum, and to be living so near to you, where you are not just a phone call away but a  mere 5 minutes drive to your home.  Indeed i am blesssed. So, rather than wait for six months down the line for the next Mother's Day, i am writing this post today, as tomorrow is another day.


When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts.  A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.  ~Sophia Loren,Women and Beauty


All Mothers are special, but you are indeed one SPECIAL MUM.  and here are some of the reasons why i love and cherish  you.

  For all those lovely dresses you stitched for me with your own hands.

  For those lovely woolies you knitted  for me.  And then for my daughters.

  For being such a fantastic Homemaker.   

  For all the desserts you used to cook for us... mesu, sevaiyan, kheer, trufle, panjeeri. gajar ka         
  halwa etc

  For being such a good listener.

  For being such a good friend.  It is amazing your circle of friend ranges form 20s to 80s!

  For being such a good wife, and showing your daughters the path to be a true life companion.

  For being so cheerful, your enthusiasm is noteworthy.

  For making your house a haven of rest and peace.

 You are why, I am ME!

  For your loving ways.

  For making life easy, just by your presence.

  For being so full of life.

  For your wisdom.

  For your strength to withstand difficult times

  For being such an inspiration.

  For appreciating the unique qualities of your daughters

  For being such a good Host

  For being my Best Friend

  For your special skills to keep the family together through      
  the happy and difficult times.

  For going out of the way to get things done for me.

  For your intelligence.

  For your cooking skills.  

  For being such a doting Grand Mum.

  For your unparalleled advice and opinion on matters of debate.

  For chiding me whenever you feel i need to reconsider my actions.

  For your creativity

  For your patience

  For instilling in me , Faith in the Almighty

  For teaching me Bhajans

  For teaching me Home Economics

  For always making me do a little bit extra for my daughters.

  For giving me your never ending support and love.

And above all for being such a FIGHTER.  Life has been difficult for the last two years but you have been so BRAVE.  I am so proud of you Mum!

  
Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.
~George Cooper


Indeed you are one in a zillion Mum.  I love you so........




Friday, November 18, 2011

Inspiration or Addiction?




Blessed are those on whom the Internet has not cast a spell :)

Around 1994, the Internet went public. People everywhere began realizing the enormous possibilities of an interconnected network that spanned the Globe. We all witnessed the rise of dot com and the bubble bursting with many failed enterprises. But this was just a pause. Internet came back with a bang around 2003.

Equipped with technologies like Java, Flash etc, a new trend of social networking began to rise in popularity. Today, internet is no longer something we accessed from  Cyber Cafes.  Today every middle class home has a PC with every  professional student boasts of his own very Laptop. Thanks to the popularity of internet we access the net on our mobiles. It has merged with our lives. And is here to stay.

In my opinion, there are three categories  of people. Firstly, are those  who are blissfully unaffected by Internet. Secondly, those who have to log in compulsively.  The more free time you have, more is the frequency. And then, there is the third category. The poised, well in control people who know just how much is enough.

So, the question is.  Do we turn to Internet for Stimulation or are we getting addicted to this gift of the IT world?

The virtual world has held us in a fierce grip.  We communicate online via Facebook, Twitter, Email or Skype. Somehow, somewhere aloofness and loneliness has crept it. So much so that we actually derive immense pleasure in interaction in real world.  Recently, i went to spend the weekend at a  relatives place and it was bliss to be away from the digital world for two full days.  True, i carried my mobile but i rarely ever use the mobile to go online.  This exclusion is simply to keep my sanity :)

Today, Wedding Cards are scanned and sent in one go to numerous  friends staying out  of time.  Saves both time and money spent on Courier or Speed Post.

Regular Tweeple dream of cutting themselves off  from Twitter for a month long break. For two reasons.  To be free from  addiction and as a test of will power.

Before the Internet, friends, colleagues, parents and siblings would exchange notes on information.  Debate on burning issues. Come to a consensus.  But now, any information you require, ranging from your favorite  song's lyrics to an organization's domain to your favorite video is just a click away.

And yet, there are people who speak against Google and  Wikipedia.  Some professors in Universities ban their students from using Google and Wikipedia to do research assignments, emphasizing , " You don't come to the University to learn to  Google".

Professor Tara Brabazon who teaches  Media Studies  at University University of Brighton has likened Google to 'White Bread for the mind".  Check out this video:




So, with Online  Education fast becoming a convenient way to acquire a fancy PG degree and upcoming schools brazenly advertising of Digital class rooms, where is Education headed?. Something to ponder on....