66 percent of Children tested had more than 5 Blood Lead Level

In Cities in India, people are aware that the environment is polluted and that Lead is one of the pollutants. During the Lead in Maggi controversy, consumers argued that compared to the other pollutants in the environment, Lead in Maggi was miniscule. In India, unlike in US there is no mandatory test among consumers to figure out lead toxicity in children.  Blood Lead Level (BLL) more than 5 can cause health, growth, neurological and mental problem for children. There is very little study in India to figure out the BLL of consumers in India among those who are not directly at risk from Lead pollution.

High BLL among Middle and Lower Class

Recently in a study conducted by Lead Activists and Doctors in Banglore, among inpatients aged less than Five, 66% of the children had BLL <5 μg/dl, which is considered as level of concern as per Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention.   The patients have no direct risk of lead exposure. Along with BLL done on the children, questionnaire was supplied to the parent to know about their awareness about lead poisoning.  100 children belonged to the lower, middle and the higher income group. The children with the High BLL belonged to the lower income group more than the middle and the higher income group.

With 66 out of 100 children showing high BLL — with no known direct risks to Lead exposure — proves that there is an urgent requirement of conducting BLL test among children in cities in India.

Very little awarness of sources of Lead Exposure

Lead toxicity in childeren in India - table

The study showed that the awareness of the sources of lead toxicity and the effect of lead poisoning is very poor among consumers in India. Consumers are aware of Lead hazard from paints and batteries, but they were unaware of the lead exposure from soil, dust, groundwater and  vehicular traffic. Apart from the occupational exposure to Lead, water, contaminated food and consumer items are also major sources of Lead. In Delhi there were media reports about Lead in vegetables grown near contaminated water bodies.

According to the study ” ……… build up of Lead
in the environmental compartments is still an issue of high
exposure risk in India, inspite of the relatively lesser organized
production and use of Lead as compared to the developed
countries.”

Parents were prepared to conduct Lead Testing of their surroundings so as to provide safe environs for the Children.

Parents prepared for Lead Tests

The study also showed that parents were prepared to conduct Lead Testing of their surroundings so as to provide safe environs for the Children.

With 66 out of 100 children showing high BLL — with no known direct risks to Lead exposure — proves that there is an urgent requirement of conducting BLL test among children in cities in India. And also awareness should be spread among consumers about how to safeguard their children from Lead exposure. The media can be put to use to spread the message. According to studies children exposed to lead have lower IQ which effect their mental development and thereby resulting in a loss to the nation and humanity.  As Lead is not required in any amount by the human body, steps must be taken to reduce or eliminate the use of Lead.

In order to reduce the menace of Lead you can also participate in the #StopLeadPoisoning campaign.

How to celebrate Eco-friendly Holi

In an ideal world, the joyous festival of Holi is meant to celebrate the arrival of Spring while the colours used in Holi are to reflect of the various hues of spring season. But unfortunately, in modern times Holi does not stand for all things beautiful. Like various other festivals, Holi too has become ruthlessly commercialized, boisterous and yet another source of environmental degradation and health problem. Hence many consumers are on the look out for Holi Colours made from natural materials and safe for health and environment.

Toxic Elements/Chemical in Holi Colours

According to many research and previous studies related to Holi colour products, the pastes contain very toxic chemicals/elements that can have severe health effects.You can also get tested your holi colour products at NRCLPI ( National Referral Centre for Lead Projects in India) , St John’s Medical College, Kormanagala , Bengaluru.

Few examples of colour and the chemical content with their few health effects on human and environment:

Eco-friendly Holi COlours
Table 1: Holi Colours and their chemical content

Harmful Chemicals in Gulal & Harms of Wet Holi Colours
The dry colours, commonly known as gulals, have two components a colorant that is toxic and a base which could be either asbestos or silica, both of which cause health problems. Heavy metals contained in the colorants can cause asthma, skin diseases and adversely affect the eyes.

Wet colours, mostly use Gentian violet as a colour concentrate which can cause skin discoloration and dermatitis.

These days, Holi colours sell loose, in the market and traders are also unaware about the source of the holi colour products as it comes from a group of networked people/sellers exchanging hand to hand from different parts of the country. In few instants, the colours come wrapped that specifically say for industrial purpose/use or without any origin/manufacture details.

Make your own Eco-friendly Holi colours

Holi festival lovers will be thrilled to know that it is possible to make simple, natural colours in one’s own home. Here are some very simple recipes to make natural colours:

eco-friendly holi colour
Table:2 Ingredients to prepare eco-friendly holi colours

Safeguarding Water

Just on 22 March we all observed World Water Day, across the Globe. In the current scenario, when India and the rest of the world is facing acute water shortage, the water wastage in the name of Holi in the extreme, is also being unjusticable. It is usual or general using buckets of water during Holi but please keep in mind that you are not only wasting water resource, but also polluting it with harmful and toxic chemicals. If a single person uses 2 liter of water on Holi on splashing/playing just imagine the number of liters of water used across India with a billion+ population .

So, make sure we don’t waste and pollute water, which is most needed for our coming generations too.

Tips to celebrate a safe Holi

  • Use homemade natural and safe colours-Learn the art of preparing the colours yourself and enjoy teaching your younger’s and your neighbors too.
  • Use natural, skin-friendly and herbal colours are the ones made by reputed companies using natural products.
  • If you opt to buy/purchase colours, commercially be sure to purchase naturally made products from reputed companies also ensure about the source.
  • Apply a nice layer of oil to your hair before playing Holi so that residue from the dyes does not get stuck to your hair and scalp.
  • Ensure that your eyes remain protected at all times. Wash with plenty of clean water should any colour get into your eyes accidentally. See a doctor if the irritation still persists.
  • If you are playing Holi, apply a thick layer of coconut or any oil on your body and hair until they glisten and you become slippery.
  • Wear dental caps if possible to protect your teeth.
  • Avoid flashing on the face and as well protect your face from the Holi colours.
  • Wear clothes at the maximum to cover your body.
  • Apply an oil/cream of good quality to protect your skin.

Traditional Background

The Holi is an ancient Indian festival of colours symbolizing signs of happiness, joy and growth engaging all ages of people. The celebrations in India cut across section and religious conviction. This festival, now also draws a world attention and many countries are also celebrating the festival of colours and enjoying with sharing of sweets.., love.., peace and brotherly hood.

Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar. Holi festival may be celebrated known by different names among people of various states and would be following different rituals & traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit and enthusiasm of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.

This festival celebrates the arrival of spring on Fagun Sud Purnima. Also known as Falgunika, people celebrate the changing season and the beauty associated with spring blossoms by spraying colour.

In the Gita (10/35), Shri Krishna proclaims spring as the foremost season and one of his Vibhutis -forms: Rutunaam kusumaakaraha

The ritual of offering roasted grain to Agni – fire-deity is known as Navaanineshti. In Sanskrit, roasted grain is Holaakaa, from which the Hindi ‘Holi’ is derived. Since Vedic times people availed the newly harvested grain only after offering to the devas. This offering of new grain is Holi.

The Bhavishyottara Puran associates Holi both with man and Yagna. Therefore the Yagna performed for man’s salvation is Holi.

About the Author:  
vinay kumarVinay Kumar. C is an Environmental Researcher at NRCLPI – The National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India. He is a multi-skilled professional having an excellent track record of managing complex functional projects in various environments.  

 DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

India Digital Summit: Promising days ahead for Startups in India

The 10th India Digital Summit, with the theme ‘Stand-Up Start-Up’, saw the coming together of startups and investors from all across India, and the world. There were inspirational talks and discussions by the founders of popular Startups that are now a name to reckon with, like Paytm, Shopcules, Meru Cabs, Oxigen Wallet, to name a few. Aspiring startups introduced their innovative products before a bevy of investors gathered from all around the world.

Hundreds of executives from sectors like Mobile & Internet, Technology, Cloud, eCommerce, Travel, etc. attended the two-days meet, on Feb 10th and 11th, 2016. The largest gathering of the Digital organizations was conducted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), at The Lalit Hotel in New Delhi. The conference covered a broad range of topics related to the web and the mobile like value added services, payment, and networking, etc. Also discussed were issues relating to the use and application of various digital media -the web, mobile, social media, etc. Startups got insight into efficient positioning and promotion of Brands and their products.

Various Sessions discussed the penetration of internet in different sectors. Founder of Startups which made successful inroads in categories like food, rural India, health, travel, books, education, and women empowerment, participated in the discussions. According to experts in the online education courses, there is a great possibility for Edu-Tech in rural India. And people in rural India are ready to pay for the education products they buy online’.

A wide range of interesting products was introduced by startups before prospective investors and delegates. One interesting product was an App with which all of the Apps in the mobile can be opened at a faster pace. The age of the startups aspirants is decreasing with some of those claiming to be technical head of companies were still studying in college.

In the Valedictory Address, Jayan Sinha, Minister of State of Finance, Government of India, said that ‘Technology is the secret sauce of India’s transformation.’ Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Rajya Sabha Member, who founded BPL Mobile, discussed the relevance of Net neutrality. Overall in the two days of Leadership talks, discussions and networking among delegates, there was a feeling of positivity with hopes of greater days ahead for aspiring startups.

Empowering the underprivileged with newspaper cuttings

When I met him first, he was taking photocopies of Newspaper cuttings and said that he ran an NGO, for helping the underprivileged.  I was just curious to know what kind of support S. Devender Singh Anand, 67, was providing for helping the needy. “I keep all the Newspaper cutting of News that benefit the public, for instance, the Legal News” he said. He uses the Newspaper cuttings to empower the underprivileged.  Suppose someone goes to the hospital for a handicap certificate with Address Proof, Id Cards, and still he is denied the license; then Mr. Anand provides the person with photocopies of Newspaper cuttings supporting his claims.  The applicant can then challenge for his rights with the Newspaper cuttings. If required, he confronts the officials about the provisions that the claimant is entitled to “I have the information, no one can challenge me on the information.”

Mr. Anand, who was into truck transportation business, was injured and bedridden in 1992. And since 1995, after the trauma, with the experience he gained, he decided to help the underprivileged.

He says only four out of hundred physically challenged are utilizing the benefits entitled for the physically challenged, and that too mostly from the educated section of the society.  Most of the physically challenged are unaware of their privileges. He says in Delhi there is the Handicapped Finance Corporation, which is underutilized by the physically challenged. And there two special commissions appointed for the physically challenged– National level Commissioner at 6, Baghwan Das Road and State level commissioner at Mata Gujri College. Suppose the specially-abled people are not getting the justice they can approach the commission and register a complaint against the authority who is denying them their right. At both the Commissioner offices, you get booklets about the facilities entitled for the physically challenged. Those who are knowledgeable about the content of the booklets avail the facilities.

empowering the underprivileged

Helping everyone in need

Other than the physically challenged, Mr. Anand has been empowering the underprivileged like the poor, the senior citizens, the uneducated and so on.  He tries to help everyone and guides people with Newspaper Cuttings. Whenever he meets people, he tells the deserving people to approach the authorities to get their benefits and in case, they are challenged they can show a photocopy copy of the Newspaper cuttings.

An interesting piece of information that Mr. Anand shared was, there is a provision for a free legal attorney, in every Court, for those having income less than Rs 1 lakh.  “You can go to a Court, and get a free lawyer immediately when you show documents of your earning,” says Mr. Anand.

In addition to providing information, if the situation requires he physically approaches the authorities and speaks for the underprivileged.  Once he educated his housemaid about the benefits of opening a Bank Account, but when she approached the Bank, she faced many hurdles. So Mr. Anand himself went to the Bank, talked to the officials and successfully opened a Bank Account for her. She was excited because she could now save her earnings and she also got free medical insurance coverage.  Encouraged by her, her relatives also opened bank accounts.

After helping the underprivileged for nearly two decades, he registered an NGO ‘Happy Living’ to help the cause of the physically challenged.  Happy Living accepts old clothes from donors and distributes them among the needy.

Mr. Anands strong support comes from his wife, Harpreet Anand, a Criminal Lawyer, who teaches the Children of Watchmen, maids and construction workers of the locality.

With the passage of time, Mr. Anand has advanced his methods to garner information.  He now uses the new-age tool of RTI (Right to Information) to “provide Justice for those who are denied Justice”. He is an inspiration to the youth of today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amartya Sen’s reflection on contemporary issues

Recently Amartya Sen discussed his new book, “The Country of First Boys”, at the India International Centre, in Delhi.  “This book is a celebration of the mind which sees, judges but does not necessarily pass a verdict on,” says Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who was the moderator at the meeting.  Hiranya Mukherjee is described by him in the book as one of his heroes and Hiranya Mukherjee has said famously in his speech that what is true and what is unpleasant has few speakers and few listeners.  What is true and what is unpleasant is spoken by few people in our recent century and Amartya Sen is one of them.  This book contains Amartya Sen’s reflection on matters which are beyond what is regarded as his main preoccupation coming from his discipline. His knowledge of Sanskrit is that of a person who has authority over Sanskrit.

According to Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Amartya Sen uses lots of ’em-dash’ in the book. ‘Em-dash’ is the long dash, with the width of capital ‘M’ and the ‘en-dash’, the width of the capital N.  The hyphen is smaller than the capital ‘N’. So between the hyphen, the ’em dash’ and the ‘en dash’ we have a gradation of pauses in which lie a great deal of Amartya Sen’s reflections. He has given through various ’em-dashes’ qualification to what he says in the main.  He says for instance that ‘The central question is not – indeed cannot be – whether or not to use the market economy’.  “So, in the clause of this book, in the subordinate clause of this book, lies some of the valuable thoughts of the thinker,” He says very importantly in this book that today in India it has become very easy to hate.  And he quotes Ogden Nash to say that “Every kiddie in School can love like a fool but by God to hate is an art.” Now that Art, by artist and instigators has been raised to a fine art in our times.  And the weapon of choice is identity.  The identity of each one of us becomes more important.

One of the most extraordinary essays in the books is about the system of calendars. The calendars in India may mean ‘The Gregorian Calendar’, the official calendar – we have a plethora of calendars. And one of the calendars, the ‘Bengali calendar’ is followed by the Bengalis for all significant ceremonies in Bengal.  In the essay, Amartya Sen says that Bengali calendar follows modifications made by Akbar, know as ‘Tarikh-e-Ilahi’ when he brought it in line with the  ‘Islamic Hijri Calendar’ in which the first year was the year when Prophet Mohammed went from Mecca to Medina. So highly ritualized observances in Bengal are following a Hijri Protocol.   But going beyond that, Amartya Sen talks during the interaction about the tumult of dates and definitions of date mean for us in India.

amartya sen's reflection

 

What does Calendar mean to the culture of India?

“I got involved because I was struck by the multiplicity of calendars in India.  One or two of them are very much based on Imagination about Kalyug of the calendar. But most of them are based on Astronomical observation.  And some of our great Mathematicians like, Aryabhata comments on Shakha Calendar in 499, and he talks about the nature of these calendars. Aryabhata was a person who believed already that Sun did not go around the Earth. And it was the motion of the Earth that made Sun go round.  In Arabic literature, Aryabhata was translated three or four times; Brahmagupta 7 or 8 times. Al Biruni, who came to India at the turn of the millennium, he discusses Aryabhata and his views about gravity. If it is the case of the earth churning how come things are not being thrown out and Al Biruni said – Aryabhata claims that every object attracts another object and Earth being a rather large object compared to us, we don’t get thrown out because we are pulled back to the Earth.  So this was one of the early discussions of gravitational forces. But one of the issue he raised is about Prejudice and Open Mindedness. Aryabhata was the great originator of the School of thought.  But Al Biruni had many reasons to believe that Brahmagupta was probably a bigger mathematician eventually because many of the problems that are still regarded very more prominent had come later than Aryabhata.

But then Brahmagupta followed Aryabhata in mathematical thinking and developed it. Brahmagupta does not want to break from Hindu Orthodoxy. He claims that Aryabhata should be denounced on grounds he did not believe in the Hindu Orthodoxy.  However, he follows Aryabhatta in Mathematics. He draws extensively on that. Al Biruni tells Brahmagupta that he recognizes that he has made a bigger contribution to mathematics than his teacher, Aryabhata. But why is it you denounce Aryabhata for being Agnostic because you don’t give any argument. And when it comes to calculation the eclipses why is it that you follow Aryabhata method rather than those you think it is important for you to admire and defend.  Which means why don’t you calculate eclipses by Rahu and Ketu and so on, rather than the mathematical calculation. I think that is a kind of reprimand, which comes from someone outside.  And it is a kind of brilliantly delivered question.  The great scientist and mathematician Pierre-Simon, marquis de Laplace, makes a brilliant point saying that one thing that becomes evident in the Indian Calendar is that this is a civilization, which is much more concerned with analytical thinking and mathematics and not with observational science. He gives the other cultures, the Greek and the Chinese, higher marks for observation-inference; and a higher score for Indian mathematics for that period for Analytical Excellence.

The ‘Kaliyuga Calendar’, sounds like it began 4 million years ago.  It is a possible world from the analytical point of view but then, of course, it is not the world in which we live.  But then some people believe that it is the world in which we live and keep on denouncing others who try to talk about the world that we live.  As the debate, we have today.

The oldest probably is the ‘Nirvana Calendar’.  But the Hijri Muslim Calendar is a Lunar Calendar, and it happens to be ahead of Bengali Calendar.  Akbar thought, for the sake of integration that he was wanting, he wanted calendrical unity.  He took the Hijra counting up to the date and converted from that point onwards into the solar system.  Akbar converted the date from the date that he ascended the throne.   The lunar calendar was going ahead while the Bengali calendar was going slowly. The calculation is very simple. You can easily do the calculation by comparing a Hijri calendar with a Bengali calendar. A calendar has many things to offer. The Bengali calendar, the important thing is, no Hindu ceremony in Bengal completes without invoking the time when Prophet Mohammed went from Mecca to Medina.

India’s Fascination for hero worship?

There were the Dynasty like the Mauryas, the Guptas and so on. The Hindu period, the Muslim period, The Hindu period is a period of 5000 years, which is the bulk of the written history. The kings were Buddhist, and the country was Buddhist. It wasn’t a Hindu period in fact. You can call it ancient period. It was never separated from religion.  Nalanda was established in 420 A.D., and it has a Buddhist foundation.  The mixture of culture was tremendous then.  When Nalanda was started, the Buddhist powers were declining, and the Hindu powers were re-establishing. They happily continued to support Nalanda. That show a degree of magnanimity that would be good to see today.

There was a kind of absorption of world culture.  And there is no dishonor to note that there are riddles in Atharvaveda but no maths.  The maths came much later through Aryabhata and Brahmagupta.  Aryabhata and Brahmagupta were inspired by the Babylonian region and that influence matured India into a Trigonometric Invention.  The transmission of scientific knowledge and mathematical knowledge have crossed the world by some of the texts. For example, if you take the Trigonometric term like ‘Sine’ – Aryabhata called it ‘Jya’ which means a ‘bow string’. When the Arabs translated it Centuries later, they translated ‘Jya’ as ‘jiba’. But ‘jiba’ did not have any meaning in Arabic, so the later translators in Arabic did change ‘jiba’ to ‘jaib’. Now ‘jaib’ means a ‘bosom’ so in 12th-century, Latin translator, Gerard of Cremona, used the Latin equivalent for “bosom”, sinus; thus, jyā became ‘sinu’.

The interesting thing is when you think about this you have Arab mathematics, Indian Mathematics, European Mathematics. And Indian mathematics inspired by Babylon. As you can see, there is a kind of secularity of movement. And it is that we have to give a regard and not allow ourselves to be localized.

Regarding Sanskrit as a language coming from a particular religious era

Sanskrit is a vehicle also of Textual Buddhism, Jainism apart from Hinduism.  There are different types of Sanskrit – Classical Sanskrit, Vedic is different Sanskrit.

Originally Buddhist texts were in Sanskrit, but Buddha was egalitarian. But he said that the text should be in colloquial, which was then practiced and that people could not follow in sophisticated Sanskrit anymore.  So ‘Dharma’ became ‘Dhama’. So they had to do Pali and Sanskrit. There was a Sanskritisation that took place in Buddhism. When the great philosophical works were done, they were using proper classical Sanskrit.  Buddhism went from a written Sanskrit to a colloquial Sanskrit and back to a very classical Sanskrit. When I was visiting Thailand, I talked to some of the Buddhist scholars. They were very well versed in Sanskrit.

The great mathematician Al-Khwarizmi, whose book ‘Al-kitāb al-mukhtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-ğabr wa’l-muqābala’ (The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing) was the source of Algebra, was also a Sanskrit teacher.  So there is a kind of a whole movement of ideas.  I think we have to give the languages the life and the dynamism that they have. And recognize what they are rather than freeze them.

Supreme Court order that debars persons without requisite education, no toilet, more than two children, leprosy, from contesting Panchayat elections. 

We have to distinguish between what our objectives are and what the state of the country is.  If you say that everyone should be literate, and everyone should have toilets in their houses, that does not mean that until that happens these people are not people; and not citizens.  Those who don’t have these facilities are the strongest influences in fighting for that and to eliminate them from contesting. And to say those who already are privileged will decide. That is what happens in India in general, the privileged take decision and they do not worry about the lack of privileges of others. These people do not have an education. They do not have a toilet they are already suffering.  And to add something more, on top of that you won’t even have political rights.

Climate Change

“Climate change could be addressed at different levels. One level of addressing could be – what can be done to reduce global warming.”

Favourite Book

“I have no favourite books; favourite books are like favoured books.  And it is one book that some societies have favoured – Books that are in favour. I want my Milton, I want  my Tagore, I want my Shakespeare, I want all of them.”

How the helmet wooed my heart…  sorry my head!  and a bit on Life coaching…

When I started with bikes, I never liked the inconvenience of wearing a helmet.  First of all, it messed up my hairstyle and made my head look like that I have been glued with my hair; maybe a fashion statement today, but not so in that age….  Second, it covered my mouth and people who smiled at me didn’t know that I was also smiling back at them.  I don’t know even today whether that helmets saved my head from being hurt but surely cost me a few friends and thereby did hurt my heart…

But on long journeys, I preferred even then to wear helmets.  You will not ask me why if you are familiar with driving in Indian roads, even via youtube videos.  If I was to travel more than 10 miles without a helmet, and if I was to meet somebody, that somebody was very unlikely to recognise me because of me wearing a suit, sorry, soot over my face..  I was fortunate that I never had any major accidents with the bike except when I hit a dog which was trying to chase me, changed its mind to get ahead of me, and block my bike with its torso…  That was the only time in my life I managed to do a semi-somersault with the bike which I was on, changed roles and was on me within a few seconds.

Well, though I hated helmets and deemed it an inconvenient necessity, my attitude towards helmets changed one afternoon while  I was travelling with my friend in a car. I was witness to an accident where a bike which was hardly travelling at 10 miles per hour at a speed breaker on a highway (speed breakers sometimes could be spelt as life breakers the way they were implemented at that time) got hit by a jeep.  Both the bike travellers didn’t have helmets and the pillion passenger fell down at the impact of the hit.  His head was sliced open at the back and ‘gruesome’ would be an understatement to describe that sight…  He was unconscious yet breathing and I don’t know what happened to him after that.  But, that was the defining moment where it was impressed on my heart indelibly, how important a helmet was to a biker….

And, now you might be thinking!  What is all this have to do with Life coaching?

Life coaching is more like a helmet or better, since it saves not only your head but has the power to enhance exponentially the quality of your lives be it in the area of body, mind, soul, career, finances, relationships etc.  The benefits are mostly overlooked probably because of ignorance, neglect or the uncomfortable or rather depressing acknowledgement of things you always know but seldom do.   One might think why he has to pay for something, which he already knew, though in his heart he would agree that he didn’t do those things he knew…  

Many a times, the organizers or attendees don’t know the importance of life coaching or rather life transformation (which I would like to call them) seminars.  They are clueless on what to expect or they expect an overnight change.  They expect it to be a magic pill of sorts for an immediate and long lasting transformation of all aspects of their life without any conscious effort from their part.  Well, it does have an immediate impact and depending more on the attendee; his expectation, receptivity, decisions and follow through, the effects could increase and multiply and impact all areas on one’s life and even last for generations…  

Since they themselves don’t know the value, they try to get such courses cheap, a seemingly smart move.  We all think (we are) smart when we do some of the most stupidest things.  We all do, have done it and will do it again…  They think about it as an expense rather than an investment.  They would have no second thoughts when it comes to solving a heart problem.  They would go for the best medical support they could afford or even beyond their means.  Life transformation classes are meant to provide long lasting solutions which would avoid lot of heart and head aches for oneself and the ones who they are in contact with…  Just as one won’t neglect seeking the best medical support for life support or enhancement, one should never neglect or devalue such courses in academic institutions or organisations or even social units and should always try to invest in the best and on a continuous basis…  It is better not to spend on cheap alternatives because that would be worse than having nothing at all.  

I was recently having a discussion with another coach and he was saying how during the economic recession, in the west, the Companies who never neglected people training or rather invested more in that area were the ones who thrived (not survived) the tough times and the ones who tried to save on such investments on maximizing the utilization of human potential ended up closing down their business.  It is true for a business, it is true for a student, a family, a professional…  When you invest in yourself, you gain; when you neglect, you risk harm to yourself and others who care about you…  

And, please don’t wait until tragedy happens to learn what is best for you.  Remember, it is no benefit to anyone to learn the advantage of wearing a helmet after one has lost his head….  And once the head is gone, there is nothing you could learn really and the helmet then is of no use…  Don’t wait until it is too late…

For Life Coaching Videos in Malayalam and English by Manu Stephen please visit here

About the Author: ManuManu Varghese Stephen is the CEO of Trade Integre Ltd, UK.  He can be reached at steve@tradeintegre.co.uk, linkedin profile at https://uk.linkedin.com/in/stevetgl

Trade Integre Ltd are turn-around experts (of course towards the best!).  They have a history of turning the worst case scenarios to best case testimonies for individuals as well as corporate. They love to work with people to help them achieve their full potential, be it a graduate student get a dream job in the Big 4 OR a Company with absolutely no history or experience with their new service launch to become the leader among their competitors in less than 6 months. “Their success and then ours”, is the passion that drives us…  

Major direct and indirect accounts they have worked with / working with include Saudi Aramco (the world’s largest Oil Company),  Woodfarm High (Scotland, UK top Senior School), Saudi Ministry of Interior, Motorola, Kuwait National Petroleum Co, SAIC (US Fortune MNC), Atos Origin, Cisco, Saudi Telecom Co, Philip Morris etc.

In brief, though they do have multiple lines of business, they like to term themselves as solution providers for their clients be in the area of products, services (Headhunting / Specialized recruitment) and enhancing the quality and empowerment of their personal, professional and social life.  They have decades of experience in solving impossible situations for individuals or organizations be it in the area of sales maximization, academic and extra academic performance maximization, bringing about massive improvement in lifestyles, physical and emotional energy levels for best performance etc.  They have experience offering direct and indirect consultancy to varied industries be it the World’s largest Oil Co or UK’s top Senior Schools; professionals who worked with, or went on to work with, world’s leading Companies after just a few hours of life transforming sessions formally or informally..

handheld x-ray fluorescence xrf analyzer for lead testing

Now that we discussed about the sources of lead, you might wonder if it is possible to detect the presence of lead in our homes. Lab analyses are expensive and time-consuming. However the handheld x-ray fluorescence (xrf) analyzer is the best substitute because we can take the instrument to the product, for instance for testing the soil. This battery operated, handheld x-ray fluorescence xrf analyzer is useful in detecting not only lead but also chlorine, cadmium, mercury, chromium, etc.

Uses of handheld x-ray fluorescence XRF analyzer

Presently handheld x-ray fluorescence xrf analyzer is used in western countries mainly by the manufacturers, sellers and importers to ensure complete safety of the product from hazardous substances. The manufacturers use handheld x-ray fluorescence (xrf) analyzer to detect toxins at three stages:

  • examining the raw materials before manufacturing
  • analyzing if the toxic elements are within permissible limits during the manufacturing process
  • verifying that the finished products comply with the specification of the the consumer safety guidelines.

Soil testing Vs Lead-leaching crops

Studies also indicate lead levels in people’s blood correspond directly to the amount of lead in the soil where they live. There can be many reason for the amount of lead in the soil to be more than that occurs naturally. Industrial activities, pesticide use, lead paint and lead batteries are some of the reasons for high level of lead in soil. When lead-leaching crops are cultivated is highly toxic soil they will be contaminated. Some of the common source of lead is through Lead-leaching crops including herbs, leafy greens and root vegetables such as potatoes, radishes and carrots.  Handheld x-ray fluorescence (xrf) analyzer, are being used to detect the level of lead in the soil. Anyone who cultivates vegetables be it  kitchen garden, farmhouse or community farms they can approach organization that conduct soil test using handheld x-ray fluorescence (xrf) analyzer. Soil amendments can be made if the soil is found to be high in lead content.

handheld x-ray fluorescence xrf analyzer

Relevance of handheld x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer in India

There is high vulnerability to lead exposure as lead is found in many of the commonly used items, Batteries, Crayons, polymers, toys, paints, etc. As many homes are relatively old and small scale industries are found near to residential areas, the soil needs to be checked before cultivation is done.  Handheld x-ray fluorescence (xrf) analyzer can be used to screen a wide rand of products, plastic, paints, toys, electrical items, etc.

Lead exposure is a matter of serious concern as there are about 600,000 new cases of children developing intellectual disabilities and around 143,000 deaths every year. Campaign against lead hazards in India has been going on for decades, successfully resulting in the introduction of unleaded petrol and the paint manufacturers specifying whether lead is present in their products. Efforts are also on to reduce lead related occupational health hazards in India. However, it was the detection of lead in maggi that spread awareness regarding lead exposure.

Handheld x-ray fluorescence (xrf) analyzers are available in India.Here is an interview with Vinay Kumar C., Environmental Researcher with National Referral Centre for Lead Projects in India (NRCLPI) to have an insight about Handheld x-ray fluorescence (xrf) analyzers available in India.

Is handheld x-ray fluorescence (xrf) analyzer available only with NRCLPI, if not, where else are the instruments available?

No, the instrument is available in various primer research institutes and industries .

Can anyone buy the instrument or you need some kind of authorization?

Based on requirement by an industry/research institute it shall be supplied.

I think the same instrument is used to testing gold, can consumer go to some gold shop and get the lead test done?

Yes for large scale import & export XRF detection has been used. Generally Jewelers may also use electronic gold testers to figure out the quality of a piece of gold. Using a specific liquid or gel, they first create a circuit between the device’s probe and the gold.

Is this instrument user-friendly? Can this be operated by ordinary consumers?

Yes, the user is 100% user friendly and can be operated easily as it doesn’t require any reagents/chemicals/frequent software up gradation.But since it emits high frequency x-ray radiation which is harmful to health, it requires trained and knowledgeable person to use it in a safe mode without harming himself as well others.

Is this machine available for sale in India?

Yes, equipment is available in India and their various models of XRF, few are imported. 

How does a Handheld x-ray fluorescence xrf analyzers work

In a x-ray fluorescence (XRF), the electrons are displaced from their atomic orbital positions, whereby releasing energy which has the characteristic of the elements like lead, cadmium, etc. The XRF instrument detects and registers the release of energy.  The energy released helps in categorizing the element. Here is the analysis of the working of machine in detail:

The analyzer triggers X-ray beam with enough energy to affect the electrons in the inner shells of the atoms. The x-ray beam is then discharged from the front of the handheld XRF analyzer. The x-ray beam comes in contact  with the atoms in the sample by moving the electrons out of place from the inner orbital shells of the atom. This movement occurs as a result of the difference in energy between the x-ray beam emitted and the binding energy that holds electrons in their proper orbits; the displacement happens when the x-ray beam energy is higher than the binding energy of the electrons with which it interacts. Electrons have fixed positon at specific energies in an atom. In each element spacing between the orbital shells of an atom is unique to the atoms, so an atom of potassium (K) differs from the spacing between an atom of gold (Au), or silver (Ag), etc.

When electrons are displaced of their orbit, they leave behind vacant space, destabilising the atom. In order to correct, the instability created by the vacancies that the displaced electrons left behind, the atoms from higher orbits move down to a lower orbit where a vacancy exits. For instance, if an electron is shifted from the innermost shell of the atom, an electron from the upper shell can move down to fill the vacancy. This is fluorescence.

As electrons have higher binding energies the further they are away from the nucleus of the atom, an electron loses some energy when it drops from a higher electron shell to an electron shell closer to the nucleus. The amount of energy lost is equivalent to the difference in energy between the two electron shells, which is determined by the distance between them. The distance between the two orbital shells is unique to each element, as mentioned above. The energy lost helps in identifying the element from which it emanates, as the amount of energy lost in the fluorescence process is unique to each element. The individual fluorescent energies detected depends upon the elements that are present in the sample. In order to verify the amount of each element present, the proportion in which the individual energies appear can be calculated by the instrument.

Shauryanjali: 1965 war exhibition

I saw a beautiful instagram picture posted by a friend. The picture showed a well maintained road with hot air balloons lined on both the sides. The caption said that the picture was of Shauryanjali festival – celebrating the 50th year of Indo-Pak war, held at Rajpath.

The war exhibition initially planned for 6 days, from September 15th, was extended for two more days due to the huge public response. Rajpath, synonymous with the Republic Day parades, wore the look of a small republic day celebration as there was non-stop entertainment provided by the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the CRPF. The Armed Forces Band playing patriotic and film songs at the India Gate lawns attracted huge audience, who cheered the musicians after each performance. There were also martial displays by service contingents, witnessed by hundreds on the pavilion.  I realized that the hot air balloons which inspired me to the event was just a small part of the bigger exhibition which we were about to witness.20150919_152019

As if climbing on the top of army aircraft and going inside a bunker were not enough to make a day, an army man asked “did you visit the pavilions, you have lot to see”……… There was no queue but a huge crowd at the gates. “There will surely be a stampede when the gate opens” someone said. “No, I said, not at a military event. Military men work in adverse conditions to save lives during Natural Calamities like flood. They know how to manage crowd”20150919_150631

On entering the Gates there was a briefing about the 1965 war through a documentary. After which began the journey to know more about the war by visiting the 28 pavilions depicting the battles and the contributions made by Army, Navy, Air Force and CRPF.20150919_155101

Important locations of the 1965 war like the Indo-Pak boarder, the battle of Phillora were depicted using sand models. There were pavilions recreating the major battles. On display were some of the weapons and accouterments of the Pakistani Army that are preserved as trophies by the Indian Army –  pistols, rifles, and Patton and Sherman tanks. There were busts of valiant lieutenant colonels who lead the war ; pictures of valiant soldiers adorned the walls of the pavilions.DSC04994

The technical ingenuity of the Army was displayed at its best at the exhibition. They were successful in providing people with an insight of what happened during the war. At the navy pavilion there was a small water tank with a toy ship sailing. At first I thought there was nothing unusual about it; I waited for a few moment, suddenly a submarine emerged from under the water and destroyed the enemy ship.  So orginal were the army men in enacting their roles that people were asking if the ‘injured soldier’ lying in the replica of make-shift war hospital was actually hospitalized.DSC05017

I don’t remember any other event when the army men have come so close to the public. They were readily obliging to take selfies. There were also bunkers and cut-outs were people could take picture posing as Army men. Public was allowed to experience nearly every aspect of army activities – sitting inside tankers and fighter planes, learning about signal operation, going inside a bunker made of sand bags and so on.DSC05021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had planned only an hours site seeing at Rajpath but it took nearly three and half hours to visit all the pavilions. I left with a sense that I should have prepared for a whole days outing. And the initial plan of a hot air balloon ride was forgotten………..there will many more opportunities for a hot air balloon ride but experiencing the army life first hand was a once in a life time opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Kerala Style Apple recipes: When apples are cheaper than onion and vegetables

In a Butter Chicken recipe video, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor says that the style of cooking changes with time. Butter Chicken cooking method he demonstrates in the video is different from traditional methods. What he says in the video is right not only about the method of cooking but also about the basic ingredients used for cooking traditional dishes.

In Kerala during my childhood my mother used to cook those items that were abundantly available in that season. During mango season there were mango thoran*, mango coconut curry, mango chutney, mango pickle and so on. During the season of Jackfruit we had Jackfruit thoran, Jackfruit seed fry,  Jackfruit halwa, and so on. When my mother comes to North India she will make thoran, theeyal* and fry of all the locally available vegetables.

This week when I went to the local market, where we can bargain and get fresh vegetables at lower rates  as compared to regular shops, I got onion at Rs 80/Kg and Apple at 40/Kg. I bought 2 1/2 Kg of apples. It is in human nature that when you see an item is surplus, even if it is your favourite thing, you lose interest in having it. The basket of red apples simply lying around reminded me of basket full of mangoes in my mother’s home during summer season. A friend Sudhir suggested adding apple pieces in Sambar, where from I got the sudden Idea of trying out Kerala recipes with apples, as shallots (not onion) are required for the dishes.  And Kerala recipes are a perfect combination with rotis.

No wastage in apple recipes

Apples are fleshier and hardly very little is lost while cleaning the fruit. However if we clean Okra, french beans or yard-long beans there will be lot of wastage while trimming the stem end.  Besides apples need not be skinned like beetroot or papaya.

Why apple is a perfect substitute for Kerala vegetable curries

Thoran, fry, theeyal, pachadi* and pickle is made literally out of every fruit and vegetable available in Kerala – Pineapple, mango, yam, avacado, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, etc. The tinge of sourness and the texture, makes apple a perfect substitute for chambakka (Rose water apples) and mango  recipes of Kerala.

Apple-Coconut Chutney

apple chutney - apple recipes

Ingredients

Coconut –  1 cup (grated)

Dry Chilli – 2 No.s

Apple – Quarter piece of a small apple

Salt – as required

Curry leaf – 3 Nos.

Method

Put all the ingredients in a mixer-grinder and coarsely grind. Add very little water and maker sure the coconut is not ground to a smooth paste.

Apple Thoran

Apple Thoran - apple recipes

Ingredients

Apple: 2 No.s (Medium Size)

Coconut – 1 Cup (Grated )

Green Chilli – 3 Nos

Shallots – 2 No.s

Garlic – 1/2 tsp

Ginger – 1/2 tsp

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Mustard seed – 1/2 tsp

Oil -1 tbsp

Salt – as required

Cumin Seed powder – a pinch

Method

Cut the apple 1 inch long and 1/2 inch broad slender pieces and keep aside.  Coarsely grind all the ingredients, except salt and apple, for 3 seconds. Add the grounded mixture to the apple and gently mix with a spoon. Heat a wok and pour the oil, when the oil heats, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seed crackle add the apple mix and blend with a spoon. Lower the flame and close the wok with a lid. After  5 minute remove the lid, you can see gentle smoke/vapour which means the dish is nearly cooked. Stir and cook with open lid for a few minute and remove from fire.

Apple Theeyal

Apple Theeyal - apple recipes

Ingredients

Apple – 1/2 of a small apple

Coconut – 1 cup (grated)

Shallots – 7 No.s

Garlic –  3 pod

Ginger –  1 inch piece cut is juveniles

Red Chilli – 3 Nos

Coriander powder – 1 tbsp

Fenugreek powder – 1/2 tsp

Cummin seed Powder 1/2 tsp

Tamarind – Size of half a lemon

Curry leaf – 4 to 5

Salt to taste

Method

Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of water for 1/2 an hour. Boil the apple (cut is 1 inch long and 1/2 inch broad sizes) and 3 shallots in tamarind water with salt and turmeric. Cook until the apple and shallot are tender. In a dry wok heat the coconut, when it turns brown add the rest of the shallots, ginger and garlic (all sliced). Stir for a while and add dry chilly, coriander, fenugreek and cumin seed. When the coconut becomes dark brown, remove from fire. let is cool. Grind the coconut mixture to a smooth paste in a mixer-grinder without adding water. Blend the mixture with the cooked apple. Now heat the mix for a while after adding a little water, do not let it boil. Remove from flame when you see the smoke.

Tip

Apply a little salt on the apple pieces so that they do not change colour.

Malayalam words used

Thoran*:  A dish made of finely chopped vegetables and grated coconut.

Theeyal*: A curry made with roasted and finely ground coconut paste.

Pachadi*: A simple side dish prepared in coconut and yogurt.

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Also read the following post: Seven Onion Substitute For Everyday Cooking

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maggi took a break: Now Let us have some ghar ka khana (home made food)

In the hectic lifestyle of the cities, we Aam Admi’s follow a balanced diet – consuming almost equal amount of nutritious food as well as junk food everyday. Everyone knows that junk food and fast food are injurious to health, but due to time constrains we decide that having something – junk or unhealthy – is better than having nothing. At home preparing healthy food, or ghar ka khana, regularly can be stressful so if woman are given a helping hand they can prepare healthy food. It is said that Joseph Maggi invented maggi so that working women can prepare healthy healthy food easily for their kids.

In their busy schedule parent usually prepare lunch box consisting of bread and jam or cooked instant noodles. The lunch box recipes makes no one happy. Neither the children are happy with the  cold snack, nor the parents are happy with the nutritious value of the food packed in the lunch box. If the children are inculcated with the habit of eating home-made food, they never give up that habit. With some quick trick, and 20 minutes to spare, parents can prepare healthy and homely lunch box recipe for kids. Here are a few lunch box recipes, that will bring smile on the face of parent and children.

Tip: To make the cooking easier and happier, both the parents should lend each other a helping hand in preparing the lunchbox. Here are a few recipes to be make the lunchbox of kids tastier, healthier and happier. To know more about lunchbox home delivery system read this post.
  1. Potato tricks: A lunch box recipe that every child will like to pack to school. Boil potato overnight; and in the morning add some spices to make it tastier. Use the potato base as stuffing for roti and sandwich. Add some tomato sauce, kids will love the combination.
  2. Cottage cheese magic: A lunch box recipe with lot of calcium. Crumble the cottage cheese and add spices as per choice. You can also add chopped tomatoes, onion and capsicum. Use the base as stuffing for sandwich and paneer parantha. Or else, cut the paneer into 1”inch cubes; cook the paneer using paneer butter masala. Instant butter panner mix requires less cooking time.
  3. Egg unlimited: Kids love eggs; and its easy to prepare, tasty and nutritious egg snacks. Sandwich or roti rolls can be made by stuffing boiled and crumbled egg; scrambled egg or omelet. Whip an egg and pour it over the roti in the pan, flip the roti over two or three times, until the egg is cooked well – Egg Parantha is ready!
  4. Minced Chicken: Any dish with a hint of chicken in it, is inviting. Minced chicken can be converted into limitless number of dishes. On a busy morning you can go for a minced chicken stuffed sandwich or roti. Or, if time permits, refrigerate, boiled and drained, noodles overnight; in the morning mix it with shallow fried minced chicken and other ingredient to make chicken chow mein.
  5. Vegetables Cutlets: A play-way method lunch box recipe that will inculcate the habit of eating vegetables. At leisure prepare and refrigerate ready-to-fry vegetable cutlets. In the morning fry the cutlets and place it between bread slice along with cucumber and tomato slices. The vegetables can be sliced  and kept beforeitself.

The entire cooking process will take only 15 to 20 minutes. The cooking process is made simple if the dough for roti is prepared and stored overnight.To cook faster utilize all kinds of kitchen gadgets.
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Ancy Abraham

Fasting: A powerful therapy in healing chronic diseases

On Good Friday a 38 year old, obese, friend decided to fast by skipping breakfast and lunch. She ended up for the next 5 days in Intensive Care Unit of a hospital suspecting cardiac arrest. She vouched never to fast again. This was a unique experience for me as usually after religious fasts – fasting, prayer and denial of certain food – people say they feel better physically, mentally and spiritually. So I began the research to ascertain whether fasting is good or bad for health.

I discovered that fasting is not just a religious custom but the most ancient and cheapest form of treating diseases. Fasting Therapy is widely being accepted to drastically improve chronic and debilitating illness like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and diabetes. “Fasting is a simple, elegant therapy that has amazing medical benefits. It effectively treated high blood pressure, overcame Type II diabetes, consistently produced dramatic improvements in autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, and provided effective relief for asthma attacks and migraine headaches.” says Michael Klaper, M.D. a gifted clinician, internationally recognized teacher, and sought-after speaker on diet and health.

fastomg

The cause of most of the diseases is the accumulation of excess and poisonous substance in the body. People, especially in the cities follow a sedentary lifestyle and consume excess food resulting in overburdening the digestive system. By staying away from food for a few days the elimination system in the body removes the poisonous substances accumulated inside. Read this post to find out knee replacement can be avoided by ayurveda.

Fasting sounds like an easy home remedy, because most people skip breakfast as part of dieting. Fasting however should be taken only for a certain duration of time, under professional guidance. Fasting for a prolonged period can be dangerous, so before fasting you must know the benefits and procedure of fasting. And also you must know when to fast, how to break the fast and when not to.

Only a well-experienced doctor, who uses fasting therapy as a treatment, can provide answer to the queries. So I had an interview with Dr. Matthew Brennecke, MS, ND, a board certified naturopathic doctor, in Colorado, who prefers fasting therapy  to pharmaceutical medication for his patients. Here is the interview with the doctor :

Only a well-experienced doctor, who uses fasting therapy as a treatment, can provide answer to the queries. So I had an interview with Dr. Matthew Brennecke, MS, ND, a board certified naturopathic doctor, in Colorado, who prefers fasting therapy  to pharmaceutical medication for his patients. Here is the interview with the doctor :

What are the benefits of fasting?

There are a lot of benefits to fasting. It gives the vital organs complete rest.  It stops the intake of foods that decompose in the intestines and poison the body.  It empties the digestive tract and disposes of putrefactive bacteria. It gives organs of elimination an opportunity to catch up with their work and further promote elimination. It re-establishes normal physiological chemistry and normal secretions. It promotes the break down and absorption of exudates, deposits, effusions, diseased tissue, and abnormal growths. It permits the conservation of energy. It clears and strengthens the mind. It improves function throughout the body. It can restore a youthful condition of the cells and tissue, which rejuvenates the body.

Does it cure any disease?

But it doesn’t cure anything.    Curing is possible,but it takes work and you can start by exercising and putting the right foods in your mouth.

Does fasting mean abstaining from food for a certain time?

Not only is there quite a bit of confusion regarding fasting, but there are also many fasts to choose from.  Are you going to water fast, juice fast, do a master cleanse, etc.?  Which one is right for you?  This usually depends on the disease we may be using it for.  Oftentimes, we choose fasting as options to decrease symptoms experienced by the patient when it comsto IBS, arthritis, thrombophlebitis, or skin afflictions.  But, we have to be careful to avoid starvation, in which vital organs can be broken down for proteins, unmonitoredketosis, which results from the breakdown of fat, or electrolyte imbalances,which can cause a whole host of issues.   If we want an opportunity to cure any of our chronic disease, we needto start making the right choices when it comes to diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices.

What are the procedures to begin and break the fast? 

(I’m a little uncomfortable answering this procedure question because if it is printed, it might encourage people to start a fast on their own without consulting a doctor beforehand).  I can say that when breaking a fast, do it slowly.  It usually takes about 4 days to get back to eating normally.  Usually starts with vegetables, then adding in fruit, then small portions of regular meals, then can start eating normally on fourth day.  The longer you fast, the longer it takes to break the fast.  This is where the doctor needs to be on-board.  These 4 days of breaking the fast is some of the hardest and vital parts of the fast as it is slowly introducing food back in the system. The most important thing is to no overeat when the fast is over.
Can a person undergoing medication take a fast?
This depends on the medication.  Most medications will be fine to fast with, but there are instances where taking medication while fasting is very dangerous and could be deadly.  For instance, taking insulin for diabetes while fasting could result in hypoglycemia, which can cause dizziness, unconsciousness, or even death.  I have to emphasize that seeing a doctor before starting a fast is vitally important.
How much awareness do general public have about fasting therapy?
Not much awareness at all.  Most people don’t fast or even understand why someone would fast, but they also don’t realize the benefits that can be had from fasting. Fasting is an underutilized therapy that has the ability to help the patient feel better in the long run.  But, then again, fasting also puts stress on the body in not having easily accessible nutrients flowing through the gut at all times.
Do people come to you asking for fasting therapy or you recommend it?
Both.  Most of the time I recommend it because it has the ability to help the patient out.  But, I always do a physical exam, run blood labs, and take into account the patient’s general constitution before I make the suggestion.  If the patient is emaciated, I don’t recommend fasting.  If the patient has any extreme weakness or degeneration, I don’t recommend fasting.  If the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, I don’t recommend fasting.  If the patient is low count in basic blood labs, I don’t recommend fasting.  If the patient is elderly or pregnant or a child, I don’t recommend fasting.  If the patient has problems with their nervous system or heart disease or difficulty breathing, I don’t recommend fasting.
Can an obese person of 40 yr, who has never fasted, successfully undergo fasting therapy?
Yes, but as stated above, the proper blood labs and physical exam must be done beforehand to determine whether this person is a candidate for fasting therapy.  There are many instances where middle-aged obese people have great success in fasting and reap some incredible benefits.  They can lose a significant amount of weight within days of starting a fast.  But, it does take the patient’s dedication to endure the fast.  Fasting can be extremely difficult for people, especially the first few days.  You oftentimes feel like you’re starving, get dizzy, have low energy, get headaches, but those feeling do pass most of the time by the third day.
About the Doctor
Dr MathreDr. Matthew Brennecke, MS, ND is a board certified naturopathic doctor practicing at the Rocky Mountain Wellness Clinic in Fort Collins, Colorado.  He prefers using natural therapies to pharmaceutical medication when possible, so as to limit side effects to treatment and sees a variety of patients with a range of chronic conditions.  He can be reached at Twitter@RockyDocFOCO or on Rockymountaindoc@yahoo.com
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Solar Power: A wonderful boon

The survival of life, human culture and the very existence of our planet Earth largely depend on developing and using renewable and nonconventional sources of energy. The first source of such a form of energy that comes to people in their right minds is solar energy. There are a wide variety of reasons why solar power is most beneficial to humankind. The Sun’s light and heat make life possible on the Earth. As such, energy from the Sun is the only source of every other form of energy including nuclear power. Read about a Weird Museum which has a rare collection of toilets included solar powered commodes.

solar power

Solar energy is green energy. It is virtually free from pollution. The use of solar power does not result in the emission of gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide which are deleterious to humans and other living beings in several ways. Moreover, solar power causes no noise pollution since solar panels and other devices have no moving components.

Solar energy is perennial albeit variations. On cloudy and winter days solar energy is a less efficient form of power. However, the emergence of photo voltaic technology means that we are not solely dependent on heat from the Sun. Even on cloudy and winter days we get light from the Sun. Photo voltaic technology is capable of converting solar radiation into electricity.

Solar power is useful in operating several devices such as heaters, cookers, lamps and calculators. Manufacturers of mobile phones, laptop computers and other gadgets are exploring how solar energy can be used for the functioning of these tools.

Using solar energy for cooking is advantageous. Depending on firewood will result in the destruction of forests, food chain and biodiversity. Besides, the development of technology to improve the quality of wood means that we can use rubber trees and pine trees as good sources for the construction of buildings and the manufacture of furniture.

The successful use of solar energy for street lighting in several parts of Africa deserves attention. This is possible by the use of solar batteries. By using solar batteries we are able to enjoy the benefit of solar technology at night. Even though these batteries are heavy and need to be replaced at present; scientists are working for the development of better battery technology.

The use of solar energy gives people energy independence. Setting up of solar panels on rooftops of houses and offices will make people energy independent. Putting solar panels on rooftops is expensive. Nevertheless, thanks to constant efforts to improve solar devices, it is coming down considerably. After establishing solar devices; people do not have to bother about paying electricity bills. In addition, solar technology needs little or no maintenance. Solar panels will continue to supply electricity for thirty plus years. Undoubtedly, the technology will become better in the days to come.

Solar power is capable of serving energy needs of people living in remote areas. People in several parts of the world have no access to power grids. The need not to depend on power cables is a major advantage of solar energy.

In today’s world, we are dependent on fossil fuels for our energy needs. These sources are dwindling rapidly. We are unable to get energy from these conventional sources of energy for another century. A conscious consideration of this reality will make us come to the right conclusion that solar power is the most dependable source of energy for the sustenance of our planet and life on it in the days and years to come.

About the Author:  
swami  sirSwaminathan Pillai is A senior academic and Journalist with specialties in history, politics, current affairs, health, disability and social issues. Well developed multi-media skills & experience in Broadcast Journalism. He is congenitally blind who with his wealth of knowledge has enlightened many.

 DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

Nukkad Natak by the consumers for consumers

A smart consumer should not be carried away by advertisement hypes; they should know the difference between junk food and healthy food; and they should know if the Doctor is recommending needless tests for a non existent disease –  so is the message conveyed by the Nukkad Natak (Street Play) and other performances by members of Consumers India. The participants are themselves consumer who have become aware of consumer rights so they are spreading the message through the plays. To know about the food fest in Delhi, read this post.

Nukkad natak Consumers India

Consumers India which is conducting the energetic performances in collaboration with India Habitat Centre, has a group of talented and passionate participants from different walks of life and of various age groups. They include students, professionals and retired officials participating in the powerful nukkad nataks spreading awareness about relevant consumer issues like Junk food, Misleading Advertisements and Unethical Medical Practices.  Today the Creative Expressions For Smart Consumers – Performances regarding unethical medical practices, misleading advertisements and junk food, Directed by Dr Roopa Vajpeyi, will be held at 5 PM, Amphitheatre, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

A month back Consumers India spread the message that anyone above the age of 15 can participate in the ‘We for Change’ and a group of enthusiastic consumers, who want to learn more about Consumer issues, got together to bring out the energetic and educative plays and other activities.

Consumers India consist of intellectuals and government officials who are passionate to spread their knowledge and experience for the empowerment and well-being of the consumers. Dr. Jayashree Gupta, the President of the NGO, conducts seminars, workshops and other activities to educate consumers so that they can decipher malpractices that is happening around them and raise voice when required.

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A visit to one of the weirdest museums in the world: the Toilet Museum

Toilet Museum

When I asked someone about a shop, he said it was near the Sulabh Shauchalaya (Sulabh Toilet). That was a weird landmark, I thought, until spotting Sulabh International situated on a sprawling green landscape which does a number of commendable work in the field of sanitation. So I decided to visit the world famous and the most exciting of the Sulabh institutions – the Sulabh International Toilet Museum.

Inside Toilet Museum

The initial inhibition I had about talking on the subject of toilet and defecation was removed when Shikha, the guide at the Museum, explained the various types of commodes used different ages of history.  “Urination ought to be done at least at a distance of 10 cubits from the source of water. Defecation to be done at a distance of 100 cubits from the source of water.” read the Aryan Code of Toilets, displayed at the museum. Read this post to know now solar power plant drastically reduced the electricity bill of a hospital

toilet museumtoilet museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weird exhibits

The Toilet Museum is unique and has been rated as the third
most weirdest museum in the world. There is an interesting collection of toilets and commodes from around the world. The mobile commodes used by the Englishmen during hunting camps and the throne like commode used by King Louis XIV of France. The museum also has charts and pictures about the the sanitation systems beginning from the Harappan civilization to the space age. A picture shows how bad sanitation system caused the black death in the 14th Century.

Toilet Museum

Works at Sulabh International

Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh International, developed eco-friendly two-pit, pour-flush compost toilet technology, Sulabh Shauchalaya, for the individual households as an alternative to the comparatively expensive septic tank based systems. This Toilet technology has been recommended as a Global Best Practice by UN bodies for about three billion people across the globe. The advantage of the toilet system is its affordability and adaptability. According to the availability of material in the region the toilet is altered. One interesting toilet was for those who were used to defecate in the open. The toilet was roofless and with spiraling steps leading to the toilet, so that they can defecate without closing the doors.

Total usage of waste

Nothing went waste at Sulabh. The defecated were dried and used as manure. The urine and waste water was recycled to produced that was used for all purpose other than drinking. The garden lights is run on Bio-electricity and cooking is done with Bio-gas.

There was so much to learn from the trip apart from seeing some of the weirdest commodes in the world. Toilets and sanitation is an essential aspects of the lifestyle of a city. We need to talk about sanitation and hygiene as openly as we talk about health, diet and environment.

At 83, she is preparing for her next veterans athletics meet

When professional sportsmen hang their boot at 40, Daisy Victor began participating in athletic events when she was just few days shy of her 50th birthday.  “I am only 83 years old” says Daisy who runs and exercises everyday in the ground near her house in Madhavaram, Chennai, and she also hits the gym twice a week.  She also practices long jump at the Nehru stadium every week.  In National and International Veterans athletics Meets so far she has won 377 medals from 104 meets. She won 46 golds from 22 internationals meets and 96 golds from 33 national events.

Daisy, a former employee of BSNL in Chennai, and a mother of 6 children took up athletics seriously in 1981 when she participated in the World Veterans Athletics Meet in ChristChurch, Newzeland. Her biggest moment was when on her return from the event, she was introduced to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by the Flying Sikh Milkha Singh.

veterans athletics

Daisy’s indomitable spirit has inspired the youngsters, including her 13 grandchildren who are proud of their grandmother’s achievements.  During summer vacations, boys and girls come to her to get coached for athletics. Schools and Colleges invite her  to inspire the youth to make sports and exercise a part of their lifestyle.

Secret of her Success

“All my achievements is because of the Grace of God. He gave me the strength and talent to run.” says Daisy who wakes up at 5 in the morning and begins the day with prayer along with her husband Victor Sundararaj.

veterans athletics

“Though women are physically active through out the day with household activities, they need to do exercise everyday for their necks, hands, legs, etc” says Daisy who began running and winning as a school girl in Bellary. It was her father, who was a sportsman, encouraged her to participate in athletic events.

When asked what the elderly must do to be physically fit she said “They must do physical exercise and walk atleast 15 minutes everyday. The should not be walking leisurely but brisk walk”. Read this post to know more about the advantages of brisk walking.

She says people should follow a strict diet and a strict routine to remain healthy and fit. She takes very little rice, consumes a lot of vegetables and avoids snacks and tea as much a possible.

Her running and exercise has kept her away from certain hereditary lifestyle diseases. Says her son Stephen, “When she was 75, she argued with a doctor who said she was diabetic. She said since she is physically fit she should not be diabetic. But the doctor told her in her family diabetic begins at 35 years of age, so she should consider herself lucky as she could keep the disease away for 40 years.”

When most people struggle to walk a few miles at this age, Daisy travels everyday by bus and she talks to people, inspiring them with her own testimony of determination and complete faith in God.

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5 reasons why network marketing survives?

Though  Multi Level Marketing (MLM) companies are always in the news for the wrong reason, everyday thousands of people join some kind of network marketing  business. Why do people join a commission based business, which they were criticizing until yesterday? There may be many compelling reasons:

  1. The fact that you can earn extra income is inviting.
  2. The training and business proposal sections are so disciplined that you feel lucky to be part of the group. After all a common man can never imagine attending such power-packed and inspirational training sections while shuttling between office and home for regular jobs.
  3. Many people testify to life changing experiences after joining network marketing. An illiterate, uncouth man suddenly gets a makeover as a well informed, impeccably dressed business man.
  4. People do not feel burdened to pay for the unique, attractive and sometime uninteresting products as they get the add-on business opportunity.  Usually you just buy a product and use it, here you buy a product and your dreams and goals get a new lease of life.
  5. The add-on benefit is more valuable than the product itself – the friends you make at the meetings; the opportunity to do a business; the unending discussion that you have with the friends, travelling to new and exquisite locations for training, mingling with people of various cultures and many other reasons make some network marketeers remain hooked to the network marketing company.

The legality of network marketing is a much debated issue globally. However everyday new and innovative range of products are introduced into the market using the word of mouth method. What strikes me about network marketing is the uniqueness of the products and the brand loyalty of the representatives. Read the post to find out how passion and persistence helped successful people to reach their goal.

Every person that I know is a member of some kind of network marketing scheme – cosmetics, kitchenware, education schemes,…. But most of them are unaware of their being part of a  Network Marketing Business. So they say that in their business model they get commissions if they join someone in the scheme; and it is OK if they fail to join new members, they can be satisfied with the product purchased. According to me the above sentence is the definition of networking marketing.

 Network marketing in any other name is acceptable to the public – social scheme, education scheme, independent business representation. Which came first the MLM schemes or the double-faced attitude of people about money making. Whichever came first, as long as people want to try new ways to generate income, new network marketing schemes will come up in innovative marketing garbs – chit funds, health products, real estate business…….

Palazzo pants for all occasions

Palazzo pants are loose pants that look more like a skirt. More often celebrities are spotted wearing palazzo pants paired with shirts, tank tops and jackets. And their style is enhanced with branded bags and matching  stiletto. To know more tips about losing weight read this post. 

Palazzo pants are the latest trend  of this summer. Women wear palazzo pants to malls, shopping, parties and tourist destinations. The long flowing pants looks very elegant and attractive when worn on all occasions. And in winters you can use the chiffon palazzo pants.

Why wear a Palazzo pant?

Palazzo is the style of this summer season.  Palazzo is not just for celebrities. With a little modification to suit the lifestyle, palazzo pant can be worn to office, parties and markets.

Palazzo pant gives an edge, in style quotient, so that the one wearing a palazzo stands out in a crowded metro or in an public event. Palazzo pants are loose flowing so they are comfortable to be worn to work.

How to wear a Palazzo pant?

You can wear a palazzo pant which is foot length and team it with a high heeled shoe.  Palazzo pant can be paired with traditional Indian tops like kameez; or with short shirts and tank tops.

Palazzo pants in different hues and materials

Palazzo pants are now available in silk, crinky chifon, chiffon and cotton variety and they have been adapted for the everyday lifestyle of the common man. For girls and women who want to look smart in office, in parties, shopping or for an outing; any time and every where the Palazzo pant is comfortable and stylish.

There are a variety of palazzo pants available in the market in various colours and materials. Pair palazzo pants with an elegant top and look pretty and smart for office, party or an outing.

palazzo pantsCrinkle Chiffon Palazzo pants as Party wear

Wear a loose flowing crinkle chiffon palazzo pants party wear with a matching long Kameez and look stunning at parties.

 

palazzo pantsPrinted Palazzo Pants for casuals

A printed cotton palazzo pants is comfortable for casual wear paired with a short shirts. 

 

 

 

palazzo pantsSilk palazzo pants for evening wear

This silk outfit looks gorgeous for a social event like a birthday party or an anniversary. 

palazzo pantsMatching accessories for palazzo pants

A matching pair of ear rings, colourful necklace or a stylish hand bag will increase the style quotient.

 

 

 

palazzo pantsPalazzo pants official wear

Get ready for office looking stylish, trendy, official and smart.

 

 

palazzo pantsMothers in Palazzo pants

A modern mom who is trendy and gorgeous in palazzo. Make sure that the palazzo pant bottom does not drag on the floor. The palazzo pants look elegant with a flat heel shoe.

 

 

 

palazzo pantsPalazzo pants for formal wear

Wear the palazzo pants with the trendiest kameez in the market. The best look comes when the palazzo pants are worn in contrasting colours with the top.

palazzo pantsPalazzo pant with prints

A printed casual looking palazzo pants can be worn to college on a normal day. Pair it with a short kurta of contrasting colour. 

 

 

 

palazzo pantsPalazzo pant with a short top

Who said palazzo pants are only for celebrities. Wear a short top with palazzo pants, wear a bead necklace and get ready for office any day.

 

 

palazzo pantsPrinted palazzo pants

Printed palazzo pants look elegant on college girls. Where ever you go you get noticed for the style and elegance.

 

 

 

 

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Fluid Fashion – Comfy cum stylish garment for modern women

Remember Kangana Ranaut and her LIVA, natural fluid fashion adverts that filled the national newspapers a few weeks back. Natural fluid fashion has come of age and is going to be the raging trend of the coming years. I can say this with confidence because celebrity fashion designer Anita Dongre designed summer collection for her brand Global Desi with Natural Fluid Fabric. And, whatever prints and designs Anita Dongre introduces every season is copied and recopied until the trend is adapted by every household in India.

It is said that we wear fashionable garments to impress others though we many feel uncomfortable in our outfit.  Fluid fabric being light weight and unfussy, makes the modern professional woman look elegant and fresh even after a grueling day of work and commuting. With bright colours and chic patterns Anita Dongre used the fluidity of the fabric to design outfits in her popular styles – traditional, boho chic, contemporary, classic, western, to stylish saris. The loose flowing fabric shaped into churidhars, western wears, maxi dresses, tunics, crop tops, high waist skier and T-shirt dresses are the right choice for the summer and fall.

fluid fashion 1The fluid fabric is launched by the Aditya Birla Group under the brand name LIVA. The fluid fabric is manufactured by extracting cellulosic fibres from woods from trees specially grown for this purpose. The fibre is said to be “natural and biodegradable, crafted from the choicest wood pulp”.

This summer when I visited Anita Dongre showroom to see the latest collection, the LIVA fabric outfits simply looked outstanding and attractive. With their free-flowing silhouettes and breathable drapes, fluid fabrics can be designed for regular or party wears. Be it a working day or a day out for a get-together, in our Indian culture we love to be draped in a Sari or wear colourful churidhars. But thinking about the discomofort and the work hassle that the outfit will cause we compromise. Either we wear a comfortable outfit and look plain, or we wear a fashionable wear and remain conscious the whole day about the dress, which will affect our productivity. This is were the new fluid fabric brings the balance, you can move about effortlessly and confidently in your favourite style of dressing.

fluid fashion 2

Fluid fashion is about looking and feeling good everyday, with the added satisfaction that we are not exploiting nature. Trees can be replanted which means the latest fashion trend is eco-friendly.

Natural Fluid Fabric is being rampantly used by leading designers to created their latest collections. Fluid fashion outfits are being sold by many renowned brands. Celebrities are finding the fabric a welcome change from the regular fabric that are welcome change from the boxy silhouettes or tight dresses.

The winter/fall collection are now in the market and there are yet more new styles and combination of the fluid fashion. The fashion Designers are planning to bring in more designs using the fluid fabric. I feel very Natural Fluid Fashion is getting trendier and very soon the wardrobe of every fashion conscious woman India will have fluid fashion outfits.

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Acupressure points help diagnose diseases

Aren’t there times when doctor says that the disease was diagnosed too late! You are confused! You have all the symptoms of some kind of disease, but do not know whether to consult a doctor or not. If the doctor diagnoses a disease then your money was spent right. On the other hand if the doctor says that the pain was just a feeling out of fear of falling ill, you feel silly! So here’s how to diagnose an ailment , with acupressure points, at home, before consulting a doctor! Read how fasting a powerful therapy to cure diseases in this post.
 
In acupressure points diagnose you have to press the meridian under the big toe (here point 5), if you feel pain that means you have cervical problem. Similarly there are nearly 40 such points on the sole of the foot, and palm, connected to the internal organs. When pressing the point, if you feel a pain, then you has an ailment related the organ connected to this point. Even if you do not know the name of the disease you know which organ is ailing, so press the point for 3 minutes two to three times a day and after some days the pain will disappears. The acupressure points treatment has origin in China.
acupressure points
Press point 5 and if there is pain, it mean some kind of cervical problem

Story behind acupressure points and other touch-and-heal treatments

It is said that in ancient India some people realized that the elephants would settle down quickly when pressure is exerted on certain points behind the ear using sharp objects. Ancient doctors used the same technique on human. Using such manipulative technique the first surgeon Sushruta sedated the patients before surgery and revived after surgery. In the West treatment similar to acupressure points is known as Reflexology.

How acupressure points cures

‘Acu’ means to remove the toxic materials in the body; acupressure means to apply pressure to remove the waste material from the body. By pressing the points, for a specific time, a number of times a day, the organ will be cured of some common types of ailments. The acupressure points works on the principle that the body has an in-built mechanism to revitalize itself and to relieve the organs of some kind of tensions.
Historically all traditional forms of medicine are based on the idea of ‘prevention is better than cure’. If the disease is detected in the early stages, then faster relief can be attained from acupressure points treatment. If the disease is mild then the pain will be reduced in 2 to 3 days. In severe cases it may take one or two months.    
 
A good thing about acupressure is that you can detect the ailment in its initial stage. When you press the meridian point on the sole or palm you will feel the pain even in the initial stage of the disease. So you can visit a doctor with confidence for further treatment. 

Acupressure points of some ailments

  • Burns: Strongly massage the middle portion of the front of the wrist.
  • Toothache: Every tooth has a corresponding point on a finger. Press the point continuously for three minute.
  • Backache: Massage the point between the index and the middle for some time.
  • Chest pain: Keep pressing the middle of the back of the forearm.
  • Asthma:  Rub from the middle of the chest to the sides for 5 minutes. Then press the joint in the middle of the dip on the neck for 1 minute.
  • Constipation: Press the middle of the chin for 5 minutes daily before your morning routine.
  • Digestive System: Roll the soles of the feet on a grooved wooden roller for 5 minutes daily to activate the digestive system.
  • Acupressure: Treatment is also effective for corns, controlling hunger, obesity, painless childbirth, etc. 

However there are some exceptions where acupressure treatment may not cure. For instance cancer, large gall stones, mature cataract, and kidney-stones.

 
When you should not use acupressure points:
  • Open wound or fractured bone
  • Contagious diseases
  • Tumour
  • Lymph nodes
  • Some points during pregnancy

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8 Home Remedies for Fever and Cold

Every working parent lives with the nightmare of children falling sick. When the dreaded thing happens, parents, have to ensure that the fever doesn’t go high resulting in pneumonia, fit or other complications. Before consulting a doctor, there are many preventive measures that can be taken using ingredients in the kitchen to ensure that the cold and fever doesn’t escalate. Home remedies for fever and cold are risk-free and without side effects.

Children are prone to cold and fever mostly during climate changes or when they are exposed to a new climatic condition. Home remedies for fever and cold will keep them immune to viral attacks. Give them a balanced nutritional diet and let them play outside the closed air-conditioned accommodations at least for an hour every day.Whatever steps you take there will be an occasional attack of fever and cold; Parents have to keep aside some day-off for such emergencies. No escape from that!

Always keep handy a few easily available ingredients, that are useful for home remedies for fever and cold. Whereby you can start natural, no side effect, remedies as soon as you see the first indication of cold or fever. Even when there is no sign of fever give a spoon of honey and inhale vapor steam after playing in water, having lot of ice creams or when someone else having fever or cold,…….

Also Read:5 summer drinks to beat the heat

Products mentioned below are always available at home. As the products are all natural, you can administer preventive dosage even at the slightest doubt of fever or cold attack. Home remedies for fever and cold are natural products from kitchen, so they produce no side effect when used as a precaution against the onset of fever and cough.

Tulsi (Holy Basil): Take a few leaves of Tulsi, wash it thoroughly and press the leaves to extract the juice. Add a table spoon full of honey to the Tulsi extract.

Shallots: Sometimes referred to as small onions, shallots extracts are an elixir for fever and cold. Peel off the skin, crush, and then extract the juice from the shallots. Give the shallot extract in combination with honey and Tulsi juice.

Pepper: Crushed pepper with honey gives immunity against cough and cold.

Honey: In the winter season if you take a spoonful of honey every day you can prevent cough and nasal blocks.

Inhaler: Whenever there is a stuffy nose or cough, use an inhaler added with some inhalation medicine. Close the room and leave the inhaler switched on for some time (Make sure to maintain the water level in the inhaler).

Crystal Sugar: There is a variety of crystal sugars with medicinal value. Crystal sugar can have every day. Babies can be given the sugar either as powder or mixed with water.

Liquid Diet: Children refuse to take food when they have cold or fever. It is said that consuming less food is a natural process of the body to fight the fever and cold; there is no need to forcefully give food. Always give water as the body should not be dehydrated.

Rest: The best remedy for fever is to take complete rest. Most children recover after getting one day of complete rest – No games, only sleeping and drinking lot of water. Parents should take a day-off to give the child complete care & Love.
In addition, also keep some medicines handy at home as a cough syrup, a paracetamol syrup, capsules for inhalation, ……..

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Meet Poonam Bevli Sahi a Painter and a Business Woman

She successfully manages two careers, as a Graphic Designer and a Painter with elan. Poonam Bevli Sahi has been running her designing studio, FACET, for the last few decades. She got many prestigious customers, Help Age India being the first, who design their dossiers and other communication material at her office. Many well known companies have got their designing works done with her for decades, as they trust her reliable and quality services.

When you go to her office-room there will always be an unfinished canvas which is being painted. And the canvas is the indication of her other profession as a Painter. She has been Painting, and wining prizes, since her childhood. Asked how she finds time for painting, in the midst of the already busy and time-bound designing career, she says steals time.

Poonam Bevli Sahi, I know her since I used to get the designing work done at her designing cum home, for the magazine that I worked with. There is an artistic feel in her home, beautiful wall hangings, artistically shaped furniture and everything placed in such a manner so as to accentuate the beauty of the surrounding. And the most attractive was the floating flower arrangement in a copper vessel.

Poonam Bevli Sahi has conducted a number of exhibitions both in India and Abroad. Many of her paintings are brought by private painting collectors around the world.

From March 2nd to 8th, she has been exhibiting her paintings at IIC, Delhi with the theme of the painting being ‘Life is a Circus’. She narrates the various  challenges in life which is similar to the tasks carried out by Circus artists. Circus is an unexplored theme in painting.

Poonam Bevli Sahi inherited her passion and painting talents from her mother who herself was an amateur Painter. Her mother was married young, and before starting her career at NCERT, she used to do a lot of canvasses.  And she used to visit, with her mother and sister, many painting exhibitions and interact with artist. The exposure to the world of paintings, she says constantly fuelled her passion for painting.

When asked whether painting, was a hobby, which she pursued during her free time, she reiterated that painting was her profession. Leading a disciplined life with proper diet, yoga and meditation helps to manage all the activities.

When asked about how she portrayed women in her paintings, she said that for her men and women are  equal.

In today’s world when women try to balance their family and career, like a trapeze artist, Poonam Bevli Sahi is an inspiration for women. With proper delegation, passion and hard work you can be successful in two parallel professions.

When asked what message she would like to give to the young women entrepreneurs, she said there is nothing impossible for women. Be consistent in your pursuit and you will achieve your dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

Delhi Malayalee Association Celebrates Onam

Like every year, this year too the Malayalees in Delhi, gathered in Delhi on September 10th, at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, to celebrate Onam Festival. There was a cultural feast, with traditional dance and song forms from Kerala  being performed by the 25 units of Delhi Malayalee Association (DMA) functioning at different parts of Delhi.

This year the Chief Guest was D V Sadananda Gowda, Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation. And the Guest of Honours were Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and Richard Hay,Member of Parliament.

The cultural extravaganza included the various dance and music from Kerala, which rose a nostalgic feeling of the colours and ambience of the 10 day festival. In the morning there was the floral decoration (Attapu) competition. And in the evening the cultural programme began by distributing prizes to the winners. Also prizes were given to the toppers in Academics 2015-2016.

The colourful programme included the Soopana Sangeetha, which showcased the rich folk tradition of Kerala. Followed by Thiruvathira, the most important Onam dance performed by Women. Another all women dance performance was the Oppana, the muslim wedding dance.

A unique performance was a tribute to the great poet Kavalam Narayana Panicker. A dance programme was performed based on his famous movie, light music and folk songs.

The story-telling ancient musical art form Villadichampattu was one of the highlights of the evening, with the simple instruments and the symbolic colourful villu, the bow used by ancient warriors.

Most of the people came is traditional kasavy munddu and set sarees and took selfie with the mahabali and the colourful attapus decorated by the 15 groups that participated in the Attapu Competition.

onam-delhi-malayallee-association-dma-1onam-delhi-malayallee-association-dma-4onam-delhi-malayallee-association-dma-6onam-delhi-malayallee-association-dma-7

The Greek and Cypriot connection of a Bollywood hit song

If we search for the origin of any product, we will find that from potatoes and onions to coconut and tapioca, everything has a foreign origin. Civilization has kept evolving, and kept moving from one place to the another, so we have relics of Mesopotamia in Mohenjo daro and vice versa.

Do we need to criticise someone, and brand them copycat, if their Indian work looks like a copy of an Arabic work or a Western work. During a discussion of his book ‘The Country of First Boys’, Amartya Sen says that there was constant borrowing, quoting and referring to each others works in the ancient cultures by the Indians, Greeks and Arabs. Hence no culture can be said to be bred is a vacuum, on the other they have been nurtured by borrowing and adopting the good things from other cultures.

Today our lifestyle is a subtle mix of the oriental and occidental, very difficult to decipher where the influence of one culture ends and the other begins.

The art of borrowing from other cultures and making it suitable and enjoyable for the Indian Soil comes quite naturally for us. Some of our great artistes were so effective at translation and adaptation that the copy sounds better than the original. Now with the advance in technology public is getting copies of the original works, which makes them doubt the authenticity of the Wonderful Bollywood Hit Song they enjoyed for decades.

A great music composer was criticised for copying foreign music; an allegation which was hard to digest for the fans. In this age of social media, proving the allegation right, the original song by Demis Roussos which inspired Mehabooba Mehbooa in Sholay, is viral especially on whatsapp.

After listening to the original song ‘Say you love me’, by Demis Roussos, I was left in a confusion which was the original and how to decide which was better. Both musicians have left a mark of originality and essence of their culture in the songs. To be more precise, Demis Roussos, ‘Say you love me’ was not his top work, on their other hand Mehbooba Mehbooba is an all time hit of Bollywood.

Interesting, Demis Roussos composed the music based on a Cypriot folk Song.

Listen to all the three songs shared below, and may be you can find a connection this song has with another culture, proving that the world is round, and we have always been borrowing and sharing our cultural values with others.

Mehbooba Mehbooba

Mehbooba Mehbooa, in the Sholay, picture in 1974, was composed by Bappi Lahiri, and sung by RD Burman. Bappi Lahiri, according to some articles, has said he has sometimes borrowed music.

Cypriot Song

This is a video of an artiste, singing, Ta Rialia, which is said to be the original folk song, which was used by Demsi roussos for ‘Say you love me’. Cypriots are Greeks, who settled in Cyprus.

Demis Roussos

Demis Roussos was a Greek Musician,  influenced by the Cyrpriot music. Though  ‘Say you love me’ which is believed to be released in 1972, may not be his best works, Bollywood lovers cannot ignore the similarity with the Bollywood hit song Mehbooba, Mehbooba.

Food Stories of Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Yesterday during Mother Teresa’s canonisation there were two trending topics – ‘SaintTeresa’ and ‘FraudTeresa’. Many considered here a Saint, other’s viewed her sainthood with doubt “how can this be”.

Two thousand years back a 12 year old girl asked the same question to an angel that appeared to her and told her that she will bear a son. She said to the angel, “How can this be, when I haven’t known a man”. From that moment, Mary the mother of Jesus underwent many pains and sufferings. Now she is the most revered, after Jesus Christ, and the foremost among the Saints of Jesus.

Man is fallible, and so there will always be doubts about how human beings with all their inherent faults can be declared saints. A saint is one who is in heaven with God because of their holiness and virtue.

We only have third party knowledge of saints, mostly through verbal stories passed on from generation to generation, because holy people are declared as saints years after the death of their contemporaries.  I couldn’t meet Mother Teresa, so all the  that I know about mother is third party information –  through books; and the experience of others. Stories about her inspired me all through out my  life. Many prominent people have shared their rendezvous with mother, which changed their life forever; and listening to their experience changed my perception of life.

Saint Teresa took care of the sick people, infected and dying on the street in a way which is unimaginable to replicate for an ordinary human. There was a story, in a newspaper, of a woman who was a strong anti-campaigner for Mother Teresa, but when she saw the missionaries of charity helping a sick man lying on the street, she changed her opinion. Because, the Sisters were doing a service which she couldn’t imagine herself doing.

Mother Teresa inspired people to share food, and to give the left over food to the needy. Giving away food is the simplest act of charity which any human can do. The inspiring food stories , share in this post, resonates Saint Teresa’s famous quote; “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Here are some of St. Teresa’s food stories that inspired many to do charity:

The story of the broken biscuits

In Khushwant Singh’s book ‘Unforgettable Women’, he says that once he went with Mother Teresa to a biscuit factory where the Manager was ready with excuses like there was a Union Strike, they were already doing charity, and so on.  She thanked the Manager for all the broken biscuits they had given in the previous years and continued **”You must have lots of problems. Everything is in short supply— flour, butter, sugar.’ It was evident that Mr Mukherjee’s speech had been taken out of his mouth………….** When Mother continued with stories of the hungry destitute, Mukherjee finally delivered forty large boxes of broken biscuits to Mother Teresa.

Picking up waste food at parties

Usha Uthup the popular singer, has 47 years of association with Mother. She says mother had tremendous influence on her and St. Teresa never talked about religion though she was from a different religion. Once Mother told Uthup that when she goes to parties, she should pick up the left over food and give to the needy. Though her assignment was embarrassing Usha Uthup did her job dutifully.

Charity in the air

Jiji Thomson, former Chief Secretary of Kerala, said that once when he boarded a flight there was an announcement that Mother was also on board. Everyone clapped their hands. When the food was being served there was another announcement that if there is any leftover food, the passengers were requested to hand it over to Mother. Every single passenger gave their food packet to Mother.

The flight story shows the universal impact of Mother. Imagine who all might have been on board- atheists, youths enjoying life, Kids waiting for the tasty  meal, etc. All of them forsook their meal to be part of a great service to humanity.

**Excerpts from ‘Unforgettable Women’ by Khushwant Singh

3 Milk Powder Recipes (Nido)

While rearranging old books, I discovered Mother’s recipe book in which she noted down recipes she prepared 30 years back. I remember mother trying out all the recipes and I had also helped in the experiments. Sometimes the recipes came out well in the first trial and sometimes we had to retry and tweak to get the recipe perfectly made.

Since it is Raksha Bandhan I thought why not try out few desserts in the book. I decided to try Gulab Jamun and Milk Chocolates with milk powder. There was also a Rasgulla recipe made from milk, but to add a new twist to the old recipes I thought why not use milk powder instead. Mother used to prepare all the milk powder recipes with Nido, so I too used the same Milk Powder.

Before sharing the recipes I would like to apologize that I am not a cooking expert. I try out new recipes so as to give a creative twist to the daily routine diet, hence there will be lack of perfection and professionalism in the presentation of the desserts. However, believe me they are tasty, healthy and nutritious.

Do try out these recipes and post pictures of the desserts in the comment section of this post. I am sure, your preparations will be much presentable than the pictures used in this post. Also tell us what changes you made to the ingredients, and methods, mentioned in this recipe. The best recipes will receive attractive Gifts.

Milk Chocolates

Just discovered mother's recipe book with Milk Powder Recipes like Rasgulla, gulab jamun and milk chocolate. Mother used Nido in those day, so did I.

Ingredients

Icing Sugar or Sugar       200g

Milk Powder                          50g

Cocoa Powder                      50g

Vanaspati Ghee                 175g

Preparation

Mix the powders and sift three times. Double boil* the mixture in a steel bowl. Add the ghee and stir in one direction until the mixture become soft and smooth. Pour the mix in a chocolate mould and refrigerate for an hour. To make chocolate cookies, dip the cookies in the chocolate mix and refrigerate.

Gulab Jamun

Just discovered mother's recipe book with Milk Powder Recipes like Rasgulla, gulab jamun and milk chocolate. Mother used Nido in those day, so did I.

Ingredients

Milk Powder                             18tbsp (tablespoon)

Maida (All purpose Flour)    4tbsp

Oil                                                      3tbsp

Milk Cream                                200ml

Baking Powder                            1tsp

For Syrup

Sugar                                        3 Cups

Water                                   6-7Cups

Preparation

Mix all the ingredients with milk cream and make a soft dough. Make small balls and deep fry them on a low heat. While frying, let the dough balls remain in oil for a while before turning them slightly.

Mix the water and sugar and boil till the syrup become a bit sticky. Remove from the stove and add the fried balls. Close with a lid and let the jamun’s soak in the syrup for an hour.

Rasgulla

Just discovered mother's recipe book with Milk Powder Recipes like Rasgulla, gulab jamun and milk chocolate. Mother used Nido in those day, so did I.

Ingredients

Milk Powder      10 tbsp

Water                        1litre

Essence                    1tsp

Vinegar                 1/4Cup

For Syrup

Sugar                  11/2Cup

Water                 3 Cup

Preparation

Boil the water, add the milk powder and stir well. When the milk boils, lower the flame and pour the vinegar. When the milk curdles strain into a cloth. Tie the cloth and hold under a running tap for two minutes. Hang the cloth for three hours. After three hours, squeeze the cloth well to remove any excess water. Transfer the coagulated milk or Chenna from the cloth to a plate. Knead the Chenna well with the palm of your hands till they are soft and make small balls.

Mix the sugar and water in a big vessel. After the sugar boils and becomes a bit sticky, add the chenna balls. Cover and cook on medium heat, turning the vessel round slowly after every 10 minutes. Remove from stove after 35 minutes and add rose essence.

*Double Boil: Boil some water in a vessel, and when the water boil remove from the stove. Now place the chocolate mix, in a smaller vessel, on the boiled water and stir.

Cheer Up for participants at Rio Olympic 2016

When there is IPL there is whole lot of celebration in India. And during the Football World Cup, even if India is not represented, we watch the matches at midnight and follow the Stars with pride.

Now our Indian team is at RIO Olympic 2016. And today is the 10th day of the game and another few more days to go. How many of us woke up early in the morning to watch the opening ceremony? How many of us woke up in the midnight to watch Dipa Karmarkar?

When I talk to my fellow Indians, I understand that some of them do not know that India ever won an Olympic medal. Dear friends if you have not started watching  Olympics please do it today itself. We still got some more medal hopes and our watching and praying means a lot to our sportsmen out there. All of them have been dreaming of a medal and training for years to reach the Events.

This year four countries, as big as a small city in India won their first Olympic medal at RIO Olympic 2016 – Bahrain, Singapore, Puerto rico and Fiji.

It a sense of great patriotism and pride when the gold medallist’s country’s National Anthem is played and the flag is hoisted. Only Abhinav Bindra could do that honour for India in the last few years.

I have never missed a single Olympics from Seoul  in 1988. It is a matter of pride to see the 200 plus countries representing all the human race on planet earth. I used to sit with Malayala Manorama year book to locate the names of the countries and their details. We come to know about the existence of some countries only during Olympics.

You come to know of the new countries that are formed and the political divisions that happened when the delegates march in for the ceremony. This time, the most humanitarian act was when sportsmen from the refugee communities in the world were represented as Refugee Olympic Team under the Olympic Official Flag. The team got the maximum  ovation and whichever event they participated they got the maximum support from the audience. I think the Olympics committee should be given noble prize for this blissful act.

Some nations you remember only during the Olympic time, because of their exceptional talent or sportsman spirit exhibited during Olympics – Bulgaria, Roumania, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Poland, Eritrea, etc.

Create an Olympic fever so that our champions out their are encouraged by our enthusiasm to see them come back with laurels. We remember ever details of football and cricket, but we forget how many Olympians won medal for us till now.

Olympic is not just about winning medal. It is not just for the participant. They represent our spirits at the game. It is a time for the nation to show their patriotic spirit and encourage our representative sportsmen to make our anthem be played at the podium.

Cheer our participants because they are  representing us at Olympics. Whatever they do at Olympics leaves an indelible impression on the world community for the next four year. What a moment it was for Singaporeans when Joseph Schooling stood on the podium and Singapore’s National Anthem was played. Now let us do our best to make our player reach the top of the podium and make us hear our National Anthem being sung.

To know more about the upcoming events of India please click here.

Bharat parv festival at Rajpath to celebrate Independence day

When Delhites have to plan for a quick outing, they will say Chalo India Gate Chale (Let us go to the India Gate). India Gate and the Rajpath in famous for the Republic Day parade, oflate a number of events are being conducted at the Rajpath Lawns which are both entertaining and informative. The events like the Bharat Parv are the best outing for all age groups where apart from delicacies from various parts of India, you can have feast for ears and eyes.

Sometime back Shauyanjali was organized to commemorate the 1965. Now to celebrate the 70th year of India’s Independence, Bharat Parv has been organised at the Rajapath Lawn. With over 50 pavilions there are food courts, exhibition from states, cultural programs, and a photo exhibition by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

The entire stretch for the event is decorated with various artefacts like puppets, masks and ribbon that replicate various cultures of India. Apart from the cultural programs from different parts of India at the stage, various groups perform randomly on the lawns and lanes of Rajpath. At any time at the even you can enjoy colourful entertainment programs at every corner of the Rajpath.

You have ample opportunity for Instagram pictures, videos and selfies of the melodious and colourful dance, martial arts and other programs at the Bharat Parv.

Bharat parv which began on Aug 12th, Friday, is a six days program to commemorate the Independence day.

Bharat Parv 8

Bharat Parv 2

Bharat parv 6

Bharat Parv 5

Bharat Parv 7

The story of a suicide

Just finished reading, and listening to the audio version, of Sriram Aiyer, The Story of a Suicide.  The story begins with a suicide note:

Dear World,

I am going to die.

I am leaving. I am tired of fighting. I am tired of struggling to survive. I have finally made a choice today. Yes, I give up……….’

I kept reading to the end of the book, to find out  the ‘I’ who committed suicide. Was it Hari, Sam or Mani. Charu was the least possibility because she is headstrong, fearless, adventurous woman who tackled many trying situation in her life from her childhood. There are many instances in the story where Hari seems vulnerable to commit suicide, on the other hand Sam’s (Sambamurthy’s) adventures with technology and social media can make him suicidal. And Mani already exhibited his suicidal tendencies.

‘The story of a suicide’ is a psychological thriller which will be liked by the youth of today. The story takes you through the psychological battles  of the youths of today due to the changing lifestyle, which has become more liberal than during my college days. Unlike the straightforward emotional issues of affairs, relationships and education two decade back, now the youth seems to fight psychological battles about sexuality, homosexuality, insecurity, and career choices.

The story of a suicide not only deals with the issues that lead to psychological turmoils and suicidal situations in youngster, but also show how some of them succumb to vulnerable situations, while others brave the vulnerabilities. The background stories of the four main characters  is narrated, which gives the readers a fare idea about why the character is reacting to a situation in a particular manner.

There is a beautiful drama ‘Caesar meets Draupadi’ in which they both discuss their insecurities and their views about the opposite sex. Draupadi tells Caesar “You know, history has often described me as strong, ambitious, cunning, selfish, confident, brave and even manipulative, but no one has talked about my loneliness, my insecurities, my pains, my disappointments. I also wished for a life of happiness, of being loved, a life free of loneliness. Being lonely is cruel. I have even considered suicide few times.” and Caesar says “But thinking about that day helps me wonder how women so cleverly manipulate their emotions making men powerless and weak.”

When I read the Title of a story, I just recollected all the suicides that happened recently. Seems like they killed themselves for minute reasons, which could have been easily ramified had the attention been paid at the right time. One family man committed suicide simply because he did not get salary for a few month; A boy commits suicide because he is insulted in school for not paying the fees; Another boy commits suicide because friends and family made fun of him for his unnatural height.

Two thoughts went through my mind after reading the story o a suicide – Did they all commit suicide for simple reasons, or did they also have some complicated psychological turmoils like the characters in the story. Maybe they were also fighting some complicated psychological demons, stories which were too frightening and unbelievable for the ordinary mortals in their family and social circle.

Once when a teenage school boy committed suicide, the mothers of teenagers in school said that no children would commit suicide for just one reason. ‘The reason’ only serves as the opportunity to commits the grievous act. So the mothers decided to use some technique to remove the suicidal tendency from the kids:

  • They talked to their children everyday.
  • In case the kid was in a bad mood, they talked with the child without rebuking.
  • They kept in touch with the kid’s friends, classmates and their family.
  • Had family meals once in the day.
  • Told them that suicide is the act  of a coward.

 Suicide  is said to be an act of an impulse, which can be reverted by some providential interventions. A women relinquished her bid to suicide after hearing motivational address on television in the background, just as she was tying the noose. Hope that someone who is on the verge of committing suicide will read ‘The Story of a Suicide’, pick up the positive instances in the story, and comeback to their life.

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