Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome 2010

At this moment I’m standing at the threshold, looking forward to welcome the New Year and also trying to recap the events and happenings of the year that’s going.

When a New Year steps in there is so much of gusto and excitement to welcome it. But in all this we like to retrace the past in all that has gone by. Memories make stories, and past, as it goes down with age, becomes History.

The year came and went and another is here. The different events of the year will become the roundup of the past year. There has been so much ups and down in and around the world. But Hope is always there and befriending it gives a new leash to move forward.

Now I say Welcome New Year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cricket Fiasco at Kotla

Yesterday I was happy relaxing in front of the TV watching the match played between India and Sri Lanka…han han the cricket match…and happy with the start. It seemed India was doing very good from the first ball itself.

Only a couple of days back there was such a mess about getting tickets for this match that was being played in Delhi’s Kotla ground. Those people who did not get their tickets must be such a happy lot now.

Why is it cricket has to have such a horrible closing at the end of this year. The crowd must have waited in the queue for long hours, frisked by security personals before entering the stadium, sit for sometime watch few overs being bowled and later see the two teams walk out with the last announcement coming the match has been suspended.

Those watching the match in the comfort of their homes at least could get the signal from the pictures and the commentators the pitch was not suitable for play. With a grassy top the ball was rising high enough to hurt the batsman which of course was happening just before our eyes…the camera is very clever to catch every movement with the handiwork of the person behind the lens.

The match could not be played, blame games shooting up but after all who takes the blame…BCCI, the curator of the pitch, the Delhi Cricket Board, go on naming and ultimately no one wants to shoulder the blame. Why should one want to get the blame? There is so much of money in this game…cricket has made BCCI rich…and being a part of it is an honour. So people would love to be involved in cricket from close quarter, to be facilitated and privileged in getting complimentary passes to watch the matches in the different venues.

The other day when the match was being played in Eden Gardens, the flood lights went off. Can we say with too much cricket this game is losing its sheen and, the needs and wants of this classy game is not looked into properly - be it the laying of a pitch or giving a thorough check to see the floodlights are working properly.

Why has so much of callousness come in? Is it too much of anything ends up with little interest for it? Unanswered question…

Time to see our faces don’t drop in shame if we cannot hold the 2010 Commonwealth Games as expected by all the participating countries who will come here to be a part of it.

‘Learn from mistakes’…the calling…

Friday, December 25, 2009

Be Merry and Cheery and Bake

With Christmas, the chime of jingling bells can be heard. And why not it is the effect of the sweet song ‘Jingle bells jingle bells, jingle all the way’ and then we form a picture of Santa Claus in our minds draped in his red coat and red cap, come riding on a sledge drawn by reindeers with his bag full of gifts to distribute them, that’s a happy picture we can think about.

Christmas day brings in the taste and smell of cakes…baking in our homes or getting one from the bakery. If you are to bake a cake, it’s very simple. All you need is eggs, sugar, maida (same weight as eggs), baking powder, cocoa powder (optional), butter (quantity your feel right for you), cashew, other nuts and raisins (again optional) and of course your labour to prepare the batter. Once the batter is ready, pour it into the baking dish and place it in the baking oven and…wait for it to eat. Cut it out into pieces, sizes of course bigger or smaller you want them in and then just enjoy the taste of your home-made or should I say home-baked cake.

Nowadays we get little chance to enjoy so why leave the opportunity when it comes.

“Make hay while the sun shines”. Grab such opportunities when they come giving no space to grumbling instead be Merry. That’s what this day says.

...and I say Merry Christmas...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Aloo Posto – She Said…

A friend asked me, “will you cook aloo posto…your typical Bong way…invite me for lunch…and”. She cut off the conversation feeling shy to have said to be invited for lunch.

And I made up inviting her for lunch the very next day with my aloo posto along with bhat, dal, macher jhol, tomato chaatny (chutney) and her favourite aloo posto.

Posto…do you know this is the Bengali name of poppy seeds. Poppy and opium are both close relatives. That’s not what to talk about now. Now I want to concentrate on cooking aloo posto.

Ask a Bong about posto and you can get the list of the different dishes cooked with it. The list is long from jhinga (ridge gourd) posto, murgi (chicken) posto, chingri (prawn) posto, postor bada, and even raw posto batta (ground) with green chilies and musard oil that tastes good with bhat and dal. The most popular dish is aloo posto. Whenever there’s a guest for lunch, there can or shall I say should be aloo posto dish served for lunch.

It is the white poppy seeds that is ground into a paste and used for cooking. The posto paste helps to thicken the gravy…used for…mostly for vegetarian dishes.

Back to aloo posto. All we need is:

Potatoes 4-6 cubed
Posto (poppy seeds) 2 tbsp made into a paste
Green chilies 3-4 (slit in the middle)
Bay leaves 2-3
Haldi powder ½ tsp
Red chili powder ½ tsp
Jeera (cumin) powder ½ tsp
Sugar to taste
Salt to taste
Cooking oil (Bengali’s prefer mustard oil)

Cooking (time about 10-12 minutes):

Heat oil in a thick bottom kadhai. Once the oil is hot add the bay leaves and throw in the green chilies. Now put in the cubed potatoes and stir for a minute and two. Now add the haldi, jeera and red chili powder and stir. Add salt and sugar and stir fry for another couple of minutes. Add water, cover it up and let the potatoes cook. Before the water dries up completely and the potatoes are cooked completely add the posto paste and cook. Let the water dry up completely. Now it’s ready to be served.

The lunch was good and spent a good time enjoying the Aloo Posto which was the Dish of the Lunch.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Morning Mantra

Morning brings with it a common Mantra.

1. Leave the bed, rise up from sleep and begin your day.

2. Begin the day remembering the Creator.

3. Duties to be finished in the bathroom.

4. Spend some value time on health and fitness which is very much individual. Some like to do Pranayam, some Yoga, others go for a morning walk to breathe in fresh air, many prefer to spend some time on physical exercises at home and some others will like the fresh air to surround them for sometime.

5. A morning cup of tea is a must for many. There are preferences like a glass of water, lime juice with honey, tepid water, overall something liquid first thing in the morning.

6. A warm water or cold water bath as individual preference.

7. Breakfast is a must after the long interval of  last night’s dinner.

8. The body and mind is ready and fit to face the challenges of the day.

With such easy and common Morning Mantra it is absolutely right to say “Morning shows the day”.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tulsi Meri Aangan Ki

Tulsi flowers

Tulsi Flowers

Tulsi leaves which has medicinal values

The Tulsi plant at home

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Cold and the Heat

As the days are passing, months are marching ahead with the days beat. Seconds, minutes and hours are beating their own rhythmic drums to let time push ahead. For me time is running at a much faster pace than the Time I saw in my childhood. I’ll talk about That Time some other day.

With the advancing days it’s getting cooler. The woolen clothes that had been lying in closed cupboards and boxes are seeing better days now. They have come out of their cold dark hideout and have the advantage of seeing the face of the sun in broad daylight. They have got the warmth of the sun as I had placed then under the sunshine before using them. They are our winter protection and colourful too.

When it is cold it is wrong to say I can feel the heat. And of course it is very much here. It is the heat of the rising cost of living. While the cost of living has gone up, our requirements remain the same. With the rising cost it no doubt hurts the purse where there is money for a monthly budget. Outflow from the purse has gone up but the inflow remains the same.

Whatever be the situation we have to live with it. It is hope against hope that the ruling government, though knows about the facts of the rising market, has not yet found out any relief.

In this cold I can very much feel the heat. But then, this is a part of life.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Garden Beauties

Garden Beauties...

In their colourful garb...

See them smile and...

Give them a hug.

These are some of the Beauties of my little garden.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Health, Wealth and Insurance

When I think and say Health and Wealth, I do mean it for health and wealth go with one another. Only if one lives then the meaning of wealth exists. Living a healthy life is very important. To stay healthy it is very important to eat healthy, make a habit of regular exercising, drink lots of water, a good night’s sleep, and above all have a healthy mind that releases stress and makes a good day.

A healthy body has a healthy mind.

Then think of wealth.

It is not necessary that the body will always remain fit. There will be times when one falls sick and has to pay for medical expenses. Medical expenses have gone up and it is difficult to pay from ones pocket. To make matters easy there are health insurance covers which pay for the medical bills.

Different insurance companies cover health insurance under different plans. A good and thorough study of the papers can give a clear idea of the plan which fits the requirements of an individual.

It is always better to make a detailed study of the insurance plan before deciding to go for it to get benefit.

To get covered under a health insurance policy, it is money that helps in buying one. Call up agents who can give a good and clear picture, do not rush.

It is always good to find out ways to keep healthy.

Keep healthy and enjoy life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Not Strange…Simply simple

It has been days I wrote. Reason is simple; I’d been away from home. My little space in my home gives me the comfort to write and express my thoughts. I missed my favourite writing place, why writing alone it is the sitting space and my dearest computer that I missed. And above all I switch on the TV and let it do all the “bak bak”, I mean all the talking while I sit and write. Another bit about my TV, it never disturbs me instead gives me the time to look at it when I lose my expression.

This reminds me of those school days when the transistor would be singing the tunes of the songs while I studied. Talking about the transistor do the children of today know about it? No, they know LCD TV’s, Computers, Play Stations, and many things that I, why I it is we, didn’t know about.

Hah! Time has advanced so fast. And now we talk about finding water on the moon. And who knows where our Gen next, next, next, next, and how many next’s to add when they may find place and home on the moon.

No not a thought of fantasy I may say.

Agree or not it’s up to you.

Now I can think about winter and the cold days that I’ll enjoy. Lots of vegetables and fruits and of course I’ll have to add more flowers (flowering plants) in my little garden… all the colours in one place to make me happy.

Watch out for more colours next time, few pictures of course.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cricket Continued (4)

My Writing Chart (WC) today says, “Write about cricket yaar. The India/Australia one day series has not come to an end. There is still time to write about this game. You had said earlier cricket has been curried. I can top up your curry with another thought, believe me, it is very genuine. I add Worry to your curry...another ingredient that may add flavour to your curry”.

Now I feel my Writing Chart is doing a lot of chatting. So, “Dear WC please elaborate your thought.”

The Worry topping is all about Injury. Did you not find some of the Aussies packing their bags and heading home? Yaar same with our home team, that’s the Effect of too much cricket. Agree or not?”

WC, agreed. Yesterday India lost the game and what a nail biting finish it was. For Sachin Tendulkar it was a lucky day, another record and a big score to his credit. The Aussies are leading the series as of now. Hyderabad was not a lucky venue for India yesterday, let’s hope they do better in the next two games at Guwahati and Mumbai and lift the trophy. Let’s wait for the next match. No more cricket for today.”

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Benefits of Walking

In my previous post when I wrote about cricket, I mentioned about Fitness. For me Fitness means “good physical condition of a human body and of being in good shape”. This is totally my view and I feel remaining physically fit helps to be in a healthy mind too. There are ways of keeping fit and each individual can find his/her way to keep fit.
One of the best ways is going for walks. The parks in city areas have walking tracks and a large number of people-men, women and even youth-can be found everyday walking along the track for fitness. Some go for morning walks and many others have time for evening walks. Elderly people have time for both morning and evening walk.

It is best to go for a walk in comfortable clothes and fine if you wear a pair of sports shoes. It is not the time to show off brands like Nike, Reebok or any other but all that matters is the way you take you walk and the time that has been spent on your fitness programme. Being regular is the secret of fitness. Lazy ones come for a day and then laze in their homes and turn up when their moods beckon them.

Another benefit of going out for a walk is you get lot of fresh air and at the same time find friends among the walkers and sometimes like minded people become very good friends.

Walk also helps to control blood pressure, lose weight and at the same time keep weight within healthy limits, decrease risk of heart attack, helps maintain the cholesterol level and also lowers risk of type 2 diabetes.

If walk is taken for a purpose it should be with a brisk pace for about half an hour everyday. A days rest in a week can do but a regular walker doesn’t like to stay back without reason.

Keep fit with a steady walking routine.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cricket Continued (3)

Yesterday Australia won to level at 2/2. When India won the last match in Delhi, there was much expectation from the people that India would also win the match played in Mohali…expected continuous third win. But the end said it all.

Talking about umpiring errors, there has been and will be. The topic of umpires making errors took the front seat when Tendulkar was given out LBW. After losing the match, Dhoni said Tendukar’s out was one cause of losing. If he would have been bowled out, then what would be the thought? The others in line have to play well to win. There have been times when batsmen coming much lower down the order have helped to win a match.

With too much cricket there has also been concern about the fitness of players. Cricket is the game which brings quick fame and money. Players too want to be selected and play all the matches, and Fitness and Form can only give them a place in the national squad.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cricket Continued (2)

India beat Australia in the 2nd ODI in Nagpur. Having lost the first match to the visiting team India made up their loss in the second game. Having made a good score of 354 for 7 in 50 overs, they set a strong challenge before the kangaroos. Dhoni made 124 runs, his fifth ODI century which helped India to mass up this huge score.

The Aussies were all out for 255 playing 48.3 overs, paving way for India’s win by 99 runs.

After the two matches the Series is leveled 1-1 in this 7 match series.

Dhoni named the Man of the Match. Now its time to wait for the third ODI that’ll be played in Delhi.

Till then, “Good Luck Indian Team”.

Umpire David Shepherd dead

Former International Umpire David Shepherd died after a long battle with cancer. He was 68. Shepherd is regarded as one of the best umpires, stood in 92 Test Matches, 172 ODI’s and three consecutive World Cup finals.

Shepherd will be remembered for his superstitious habit of standing on one leg when the score reached ‘Nelson’, the number 111, thought to be unlucky.

Shepherd was a first-class cricketer. He played 282 first class matches for Gloucestershire in his 14 year cricketing career.

He will be fondly remembered by players, spectators and even the administrators. He is said to be one of the best umpires of the cricketing world. The world will always remember him for his wonderful contribution to the game.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cricket Continued

With the ongoing cricket India-Australia series, talking about sports at this time will be more about cricket and less about the 2010 Commonwealth Games that will happen next year.

India having lost their opening One Day match has to give a thought of winning the next one. As an expert comment, Sourav Ganguly former Indian captain, thinks it will be better for team India if Dhoni bats at the third position. And agreeing to his thoughts is Adam Gilchrist, adding a Yes to Ganguly’s thought. But Dhoni has his own disposition and does not want to come up in the batting order.

Whatever the experts or the captain of the Indian team says, it is a matter of prestige for the Indian team to beat the great Aussies and win the series. After all playing in India in their home grounds is an advantage for the Indian side. Now it’s a wait and watch time to see how good are boys, at winning, to make every Indian cricket lover proud.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Golgappas on a Sunday

The mot interesting part of eating out is you have no trouble to serve others instead get a chance to be served with. With the change in weather at this time of the year, the sweat has dried out and tiredness taken over by energy and vigour, its great going shopping late afternoon.

The market place lures people and gives the call to buy. With money in the pocket, this can be possible. Even not in a mood to buy, there is always place for window shopping. This feature…window shopping…does give pleasure. Buying something of choice and coming out of a shop with packets in hand…a different pleasure.

Having finished with the buying…which of course eats up a lot of time…the day’s enjoyment is complete with some food. And what more if you have something of your own choice… maybe mouth watering golgappas. That may sound interesting for some who relish this.

My Sunday treat was with golgappas. Golgappa can be found in many regions in India, of course, with variations. Call it golgappa or pani puri it is the same. Even phoochka or gupchup is the same, just another way of knowing it…another name. The special water with its tangy taste makes it all the more tasty with the filling. Open your mouth wide open, shove in the golguppa into the mouth and give it a bite. The whole thing breaks down and brings out its very taste that these golgappas are famous for.

This treat was not from a roadside vendor but from a reputed food stall with its own trademark…for the sake of hygiene.

The tangy taste lingered for a long time and I’m waiting for the next time.

Cricket Curried

There has been too much cricket for the Indian cricket players and also for the huge population of this country. With so much of cricket, the game is losing some of its taste…among the lakhs and crores who used to follow this game.

Earlier there used to be few cricket tournaments, and now cricket matches are played throughout the year. Nowadays with 20 over matches there is more cricket to play…less time for a result oriented match. On the other hand people also have less time to spend watching these matches. Some great cricket heroes have failed to get a place in the teams hence their fans have also lost interest in watching the game.

With so many changes coming in this game, it is moreover getting curried. With less cricket and lesser changes in the game cricket will again be followed religiously in India. After all there is so much Wanting in Waiting.

Isn’t it?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Diwali with Lights and Crackers

People are busy lighting up their homes for Diwali, the Indian Festival of Light. When India is lighting up, whole world does not want to lose the festive flavour of this country. Even President Obama wanted to get the feel of Diwali. It shows India and Her Festivals is attracting the West towards Her Festivals which have strong flavour, colour, music, mood and an air of oneness. The sound and the festive mood have stretched from Durga Puja and Dussera, to Diwali.

This festive mood stretches across this vast country, from the North to the tip of the South, from the East to the west. The mood melts into every person living in this land who is proud of the Tri Colour…Saffron, White and Green and the Ashok Chakra in the centre which symbolises strength.

People of India love food and Festive Time is the best time to have a bite into the different varieties of food. So many tastes are boiling in different pots in different kitchens in the different parts of this country where language, traditions, dress and living style may differ. But when you ask anyone, you can hear a single tone ringing, “Proud to be an Indian”.

This is India with Unity in Diversity.

As dusk falls earthen lamps filled with oil and cotton wicks dipped in it is lighted up with a flame that brightens up not only the home…also the area surrounding it. There is a choice these days to light up the home. Electric lights come in different colours and set in different designs line up to bring light as they are switched on.

The best part of life at this time is GREETING each other, and sweets and gifts having their own part to play.

After dusk, once the lamps are lit and the Puja is over it is time for the crackers to burst into flames, creating noise that is enjoyed as it is a part of this festival.

Whatever be the message of a Green Environment, Diwali will no doubt resound in the ears with the noise of the bursting crackers…that’s the joy of this festival.

Saturday, October 17, 2009



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kojagori Lakshmi Puja

I’m back to tell you about how I had celebrated my Kojagori Lakshmi Puja. Five days after Durga puja, its time for Kojagori Lakshmi puja. Lakshmi is the daughter of Goddess Durga and every one likes her for she is the goddess of wealth.

In Bengali homes Lakshmi is worshipped on this Kojagori Purnima day and there is activity in the house till the puja is over. After an early bath I cleaned the puja area, not only the puja space but the whole house. Lighted the lamp and some incense sticks whose aroma filled the room. When I lighted my five tier electric lamp, the sparkles of the artificial light were like twinkling stars not in the sky but within the four walls of the room. Whenever I switch on this electric lamp my mind recalls the nursery rhyme “Twinkle twinkle little star…like a diamond in the sky”. The sparkles from the little bulbs are indeed like sparkling diamonds. Everyone say ladies love diamonds. And I am an odd lady out as I have not fallen in love with diamonds yet. Never mind I’m happy with my gold.

The next work was indeed worth the time spent on it. Made the paste of the rice I had soaked in water early in the day. This is the base for the Alpona that is spread with much care on the floor of the house. Alpona is the drawing created with the help of the fingers dipped in the thin liquid of the rice that had been made into a fine paste. For laying the alpona, first have to take a small piece of cloth that can be held between the fingers. Dip the cloth piece in the liquid between the five fingers, slowly take it out, gently press the liquid from the cloth that has been soaked with the thumb against the fingers and let the tip of the middle finger make the drawings on the floor. The puja place has a big circular drawing. The main design laid on the floor running from room to room is that of the feet of Lakshmi. This symbolises that the goddess has walked all round the house. This is an art going down from generation to generation.

The Lokhi Panchali was read in the evening and the bhog nothing special but fruits and sweets. There was luchi and tarkai. On this special day the food cooked for the puja has a special taste…maybe psychological or devotion attached to it.

Like the Durga puja, Kojagori Lakshmi puja will be celebrated again next year after the Pujas.

Waiting for Diwali…till then…


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bijoya Greetings

At last the Pujo days are over. Once again Mother Durga along with her children, has completed her visit. The idols have been immersed in the river waters. Now it is time for the Bengalis to greet one another with the words “Subho Bijoya”. When young ones meet elders they touch their feet and the elders give their blessings.

This is the time to eat sweets in plenty, eat and feed, that’s the thought. This will continue till the Kali Pujo and then everything will dampen.

Happy Bijoya.
Be happy and cheerful.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Durga Puja - Maha Navami

Durga Puja - Maha Navami Puja in one of the puja pandals in New Delhi.

Maha Ashtami

Durga Puja - Maha Ashtami Puja in one of the puja pandals in New Delhi.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Durga Puja – Maha Saptami

Today is Maha Saptami. Puja rituals have started. A day full of activity. People are visiting the pandals. Celebration is more about Gatherings, Adda, Food, Anjali, Dhunochi Dance and Bhog. And the evening entertainment programme cannot be forgotten.

There is still more Puja buzz in the coming days. At least these few days will ease life to some extent.

Tomorrow has more in store.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Durga Sasthi

Today is Sasthi, the first day of the Pujas. This is the welcome day for Ma Durga to the pandals and households. This day is special because of the rituals to be followed; unveiling of the face of Ma Durga along with Kalparambho. Some of the other main rituals of the day are Bodhan, Amontron and Adhibas.

Kalparambho, the beginning of the Pujas.

Bodhan, the consecration of Ma Durga’s idol.

Amontron, inviting the Goddess.

Adhibas, sanctifying the stay of the Goddess in the puja area of the pandals.

All the excitement and festive fervour will start from tomorrow which no doubt has something so magical about it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Celebration Time

At last the waiting is going to be over. The Pujas have come and Ma Durga will be among us within a short time. The pandals are being given the final touches to get the best look along with Ma Durga and her children – daughters Laxmi and Saraswati and sons Kartik and Ganesh. The Lion she rides cannot be forgotten nor the Mahisashur (the Demon) who is defeated at her feet with the help of her Trident.

The year 2009 Durga Puja rituals and celebrations begin on September 24.

A glimpse at the dates of the 5 Puja days:

Sashti – September 24
Maha Saptami – September 25
Durga Astame or Maha astami – September 26
Maha Nabami – September 27
Dashami – September 28

Looking forward to the grand PujoDays.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mahalaya and Pujo Days

It is this time of the year when every Bengali waits for the Durga Pujo to come. This is an annual waiting but enthusiasm is never lost. The actual spirit of the Pujo starts on the day of the Mahalaya.

With Mahalaya the distant dream of the Pujo days are over and it is only seven days waiting for Mother Goddess to sit in the pandals with all her grandeur inviting flocks of human soul to come close to her with Bhakti and Devotion.

Even today Birendra Kishna Bhadra is remembered on Mahalaya day. I still remember as a child the early morning hours of the Mahalaya day used to be so very special. Everyone in the house woke up at 4a.m., the radio was tuned in and the voice of this legendary narrator was heard reciting holy verses which told the story of the decent of Ma Durga to earth. His inimitable style and voice can still be heard in the recorded version, the mesmerizing effect on all those who spend the early morning hours listening to the radio and the story of Mahisasur- Mardini.

On this special Mahalaya day many people take a holy dip in the Ganges and offer Tarpan, a way of remembering the forefathers who have left for their heavenly abode. People fast and offer food, water, sweets, clothes which is a ritual of Tarpan. This day can also be symbolized as the Remembrance Day (remembering ancestors).

It is believed that on Mahalaya day Goddess Durga along with her four children begins her journey from Mount Kailash in the Himalayas to her parental home.

And so begins the joy of the long awaited Pujo days.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Durga Puja

Festive time has crept in and it is very much noticeable from the sudden change in weather. Days and nights are no longer hot and sweaty; instead the early morning hours have a touch of the chill. This clearly states that the major festivals of our country are knocking at the door.

Durga Puja is one of the major festivals celebrated throughout India and the main festival of the Bengalis. Goddess Durga symbolises power and triumph of good over evil. The Puja ambience has set in with people making preparations for the celebration. Puja Pandals are being set up and decorations are on to make each and every pandal get the best look. On the other hand the artists are busy shaping up the idols and giving the finishing touch.

The festivity time can be read in the market place for this time is more like an annual buying spree. Markets also depend on their maximum sale during these times.

As the five days of the Pujas come to an end, the idols, made of clay will be immersed in the waters of the rivers. Again Ma Durga will make her appearance next year when the Puja time comes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Road Deaths in India

The WHO (World Health organization) Global Status Report on Road Safety reveals that more people in India die in road accidents than anywhere else in the world. The report, a first of its kind global survey shows India ahead of another populous country like China. With the rising road fatality rate, it is time to check road accidents. Causes vary in nature like drunken driving, crossing speed limits, driving without proper training and driving license, road rage and low use of helmets. The survey points out that road fatality could become the fifth biggest killer by 2030 - spreading like an epidemic in years to come.

This timely caution has no doubt sounded the warning bell.

Time is the best healer.
Drive safe.
Ride safe.
Be careful
Be happy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Health Insurance Pros

The spread of swine flu is on the rise, bringing with it fear and panic in the minds of the people. Out of panic people are queuing up at the government hospitals for screening and treatment of swine flu. With the rising numbers, the government hospitals are finding it difficult to cater to the demands of every individual. Hence government has sent out directives to private hospitals in the different cities to treat swine flu patients. The private hospitals have been asked to set up isolation wards.

In Delhi after the government gave out directives to public hospitals for treatment of swine flu, Apollo one of the leading private hospitals of this country came out saying the hospital could not provide beds for such patients but later on agreed to join the fight against H1N1.

Treatment at the private hospital will be an expensive affair which has to be borne by the concerned individual. To make matters easy for the incurred expenses, health insurance policy can come handy at such a time. The Times of India Pune edition carries the article with headline - "Swine flu-hit can now claim expenses under insurance" -- this will no doubt bring relief to people having a Mediclaim policy. This benefit given by the insurance company should reach the length and breadth of the country.

This good news will raise awareness among the people of this country about the benefits of Health Insurance, which is no doubt a must with rising medical expenses for different illness.

With 4 major public sector general insurance companies and many private players in the general insurance sector, it gives a choice to compare the health insurance policies offered by the general insurers across the country.

After all – Health is Wealth.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Swine Flu Prevention with Ayurveda

The number of swine flu patients is on the rise. As hours pass, the figure of those affected seems to be on the rise. Scare, panic and fear has gripped the population to such an extent that people are flocking the hospitals to get tested and hurriedly buying face masks. Many schools in different cities have been shut done and in some other place even malls, multiplexes and theatres are being shut down for few days.

In such a situation Baba Ramdev, the Yoga guru has come up with his message of combating swine flu with the help of Ayurveda. Now with his suggestion that giloi and tulsi can help prevent swine flu, the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) has taken Randev’s advice seriously and has decided to provide tulsi and giloi free of cost to the people of Delhi.
What’s the harm in trying out this simple way to strengthen our immune system?

Prevention is better than cure – isn’t it?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Swine Flu and Homeopathy

Swine Flu or the H1N1 virus has entered the Indian soil and is now spreading from one place to another. Till now they were the ones who had returned from their foreign trips brought the H1N1 virus with them. And now silently this flu is hopping from one body to another, from one city to another, causing a major threat and health problem in India.

Swine flu took its first toll on life in Pune. The people of the other cities are not safe either. The number of H1N1 virus infected persons is rising in the different parts of India. To check the spread, government is trying to control the spread of this influenza.

Simple caution: wear masks on the face covering the nose and the mouth portion, wash hands regularly at short intervals, stay away from visiting crowded places, avoid being near those who are sick and most importantly avoid foreign travels if not necessary.
Till now the government hospitals had been asked to conduct the tests for this infection and administer and distribute medicines from government hospitals only.

Now Homeopaths have come out to say Homeopathy can prevent and cure swine flu.

With another ray of hope for cure, many may heave a sigh of relief from the panic they are going through.

“There is always light at the end of the tunnel” has been rightly said.

Weak Monsoon Rising Prices

The rising price of essential commodities is one of the major problems this country is facing at present. Before the people could reconcile with the rising price of dals, there came another bolt from the blue. Sugar price rise caused harm to the common man’s pocket before the previous sore could totally heal.

Sugar is one of the main essential commodities in every household. Government comes up speaking about shortage in sugarcane plantation and a weak monsoon, a cause for which the people have to suffer. It is believed, from the account of the Agriculture Minister, to make up the shortage in sugar supply, duty-free white sugar will be imported. Along with it comes the assurance that the price of sugar will remain reasonable.

The coming of the major festivals of this country in a couple of months when sugar will be in demand, it is to be seen how helpful these words of consolation can be?

With very little rainfall this year, this country which depends mostly on a good monsoon for agriculture will no doubt have a tough time ahead. A weak monsoon has hit crops like sugarcane, wheat, paddy and pulses which are the major crops. No doubt this has hit the inflation chart too.

Soaked in the sweat from the heat how can anyone say, “Rain, rain, go away come again…”

Just have to wait and see when the prices have taken a soar will they come down again.

We live with Hope, isn’t it?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

When Dal (Lentils) Makes You Think

Why is it that the whole burden of running the home budget falls mostly on the shoulders of women? To be frank, I’ve used the word mostly, in order not to bring about a debate among men vs. women.

The rise in the price of the different kinds of dal has made most families think about preparing and serving dal in the everyday meal. Most Indian households cannot think of a full meal without dal. Be it roti, be it rice, a bowl of dal goes with it. With soaring prices, dal which is thought as a wholesome food even for the poor is just going out of reach of the common man. The strong words about the Aam Adami (by this present ruling government) now lack the luster it created before the general election votes were cast.

Dals have their own nutrition value being rich in protein and a source of inexpensive protein in a vegetarian diet. A cooked meal of dal and rice is known as khichdi, rich in nutritional value and healthy food for the sick also. There has been a cut down on the monthly purchase of dals, as cost of some varieties has touched the near 100 rupee mark, something difficult in a common man’s chart. Said and done - there was a lot of commotion in the parliament on this issue. Here again we have to think, “Are our parliamentarians really concerned about us when they can have their tummy full?”

Dal roti khao, prabhu ke gunn gao” for now, is no longer the merry and light-hearted tuned words of many in this country.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Delhi Rains Waterlogged Roads

At last when the rain god sent showers across Delhi, it had a story to tell. July 27 was late enough for the rains to come to this part of the country. The earth was already parched and the agricultural fields had gone hard and dry showing off cracks, revealing their real account of thirst. The heat and humidity had become unbearable. With no timely monsoon, people were left with no other alternative except pray for the dark clouds to come and open up. At last the rains came bringing with it a mixed bag effect on the lives of the people.

As the drops of rain began to fall there appeared smile on the faces of the people that was soon to vanish when the roads began to get waterlogged. The early and late evening traffic had to spend long hours on the roads due to heavy traffic jam. Traffic came to a halt on waterlogged stretches sending the signal of the callousness of the civic authorities of this city. The rain brought with it water logging, caving in of a road, traffic jam, vehicle breakdown and long hours spent on the road to reach home. The traffic signals stopped working causing chaos and in many areas water entered into the houses. It was a wet day at Delhi’s airport too. There was rain water flooding at the domestic arrival terminal causing inconvenience to passengers. Many flights were delayed and many ended up missing flights as they could not reach the airport on time.

The MCD’s tall claims that the city would not face water logging this year was simply like words from a fairy tale. With more rains life in this city could turn nightmarish and one may have to take the help of boats to move about.

All this leaves behind a question; “How come the MCD is not prepared to meet such challenges in the capital city of India?”

Food for thought: This is Delhi Meri Jaan.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Flip and Flop of Child Labour

It was surprising to read that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has framed guidelines for TV shows involving children after recently the Maharashtra government had sent notices to several production houses for the over-view of the conditions in which child artists work in their shows.

As regards the working of children in serials, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry does not find any fault with children working in serials as long as the parents have no problem and their studies are not hampered. The NCPCR has come up with a list of do’s and don’ts for those TV shows involving children: limited working hours, presence of a counsellor on the sets and little or no make up for the kids.

Here the question arises if a child from a poor family works even as a domestic help, this labour falls under the Child Labour Act. But if we are to compare the two different types of labour, one is not different from the other. In the case of the poor child, he/she works to earn money which can help the economic condition of the family with the consent of their parents. The child working in TV serials also works to earn money; otherwise the parents would have kept their children at home.

As regards the hazards, the children working in the serials work for long hours is missing out a child’s life of play and recreation and toiling hard under the strong heat of the lights and cameras that go on rolling once the shooting starts. The makeup is also harmful for the skin. They may be missing school and the school makes up for the loss of attendance for their student is popularising their institution.

How can the minister say their studies are not hampered? Working in daily soaps they hardly get time to study. And who knows where they will land up in future. As a child they are enjoying the stardom status, but future may not hold such sunny days for them.

Now it is time for the parents to think more about the hazards that are looming over their child and not sit back with a smile that their child has become popular at such a small age.

Here the question that can be raised, if a child from a poor family is earning for the needs of the family, the ministry should not interfere. Instead they should try and find out ways and means where these children can contribute financially to the family and at the same time get enough education for a steady and better future.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Time to Save the Aravalis

The Aravali Hills is one of the oldest mountain ranges in India. This mountain range in Haryana is facing rampant ecological degradation because of illegal mining. In May this year the Supreme Court of India extended the ban on mining over a large area of the Aravali Hills in the Gurgaon, Faridabad and Mewat districts of Haryana. This is keeping in view the serious ecological degradation in this area.

The Supreme Court’s order had banned mining in the areas around Delhi and the Aravalis because of the threat to the ecological balance and pollution. Construction activities have increased in Delhi and surrounding areas for the coming 2010 Commonwealth Games for which demand for stones and other materials has gone up. This has led to more mining in the Aravalis.

Large scale mining has left the state of Haryana with many lakes going dry and the water level depleted. Many famous lakes like the Badkal, Damdama and Dhauj were once prominent tourist spots, but now they have dried up and nobody goes there. The water table has fallen to such a level that a drought-like situation can arise. There has been acute water shortage and the people are the sufferers. With water resources drying up the green belt is, moreover, being converted into virtual deserts.

Time to rethink about the Aravalis, with destruction this mountain range will be read only in books. Stringent steps have to be taken to save the Aravalis from disappearing. With them water table too will go leaving behind a dry land not favourable for habitation.

Many believe due to political patronage from the state and central government, mining in the Aravalis has been going on.

Time to work out to save this mountain range called the Aravalis.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Delhi Heat and Humidity

The first week of July has gone but for Delhi it is still the hot summer days the people of this city are facing. Reeling under heat and humidity, the city’s demand for electricity is demanding. The maximum temperature at this time is above 40 degrees and the minimum crossing the 30 plus mark. There was fluctuation in the humidity level, moving between 70% and 42%. The high humidity level is making life so difficult with a feeling that the temperature is more than recorded by the Met office.

The Met department does not stop with their babble of the monsoon. They make predictions about the coming rains but their words end up with a blank. People’s faith has now revolved on God to whom they pray if not openly but in their hearts for the rains to come and cool this burning earth.

Without the rains and the rising heat and humidity, Delhi’s electricity demand has gone up. If we are to go by information, electricity consumption in this city on Wednesday was 4,408MW, something that Delhi is seeing for the first time. And why not, the air conditioners are running round the clock as most households use AC’s to get respite from the heat. The air coolers are non-effective due to the humidity.

The worse part is some parts of the city is facing power cuts and anger rising. There is no fixed time for power cuts, it may just vanish at any time of the day or night leaving the consumers facing heat and sweat with anger.

Now the only thing that remains is a prayer to the rain God to come and bless all with His downpour.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Save Water with Rain Water Harvesting

This year the monsoon has been delayed although the Met Department had made early predictions of a not an average but a good Monsoon for this country. Although monsoon has reached some parts of the country, North India is still waiting for the rains to come. This has left the northern part of India with a drought threat.

Delayed rains no doubt have affected the water supply in many cities.
With the rivers and other water bodies drying up it is time for a serious thought about water management. One way of managing this is by Rain Water harvesting. With rising demand for water and the shrinking of the ground water level, rain water harvesting is a ray of hope to re-charge the ground water level to meet people’s demand.

Talking of rain water harvesting, this is not specified to one area like for Delhi or Mumbai only but this has to be a cause related topic for the whole of India.

Going by the meaning of Rain Water harvesting, the common meaning is the need to create methods to capture the rain water. For this it has to be the rainy days when the rain water can be collected by developed methods and can be used later.

With modernisation the faces of towns and cities have changed. Most areas are plastered with concrete leaving no space for the falling rain water to percolate into the soil thus leaving a shrinking ground water level. For this rising water problem, time is ripe enough to make sincere attempt to replenish the rain water in its modern form known as Rain Water Harvesting.

It is time to wake up before its too late and at the same time try to understand and implement this method for the benefit of all.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Pre-Budget Thought

The first morning cup of tea invigorates the mind and body. But the saddest part is this morning cuppa has burdened the household by becoming costlier. It is all because of the rise in the price of petrol and diesel. Why has the government taken this decision in a hurry? This hurry raises the eyebrows of the millions in this country with a question that needs an answer. Why didn’t the government wait till the budget was placed before the nation by the Finance minister of this country?

The price of all commodities will rise further, leaving the home ministers of every household to re-write their monthly budget. In this whole process, many households will have to cut down on even some basic needs. With soaring prices it has become a tough job to shop for the monthly grocery and at the green grocer for fruits and vegetables.

It is time instead of making a hole in the pockets of the Aam Admi, the government should be looking into more serious matters relating to the people of this country. Startling revelations of adulterations have shocked and rocked the people. Apart from adulterated milk, recently it has been found how in the name of pure ghee adulterated ghee is entering the market. So also is the case with some of the powdered spices sold in the market. The fruits and vegetables are not safe to eat because they are injected with harmful substances which can cause fatal health problems. All this happening under the very nose of the government and if they say that can’t smell the rat, people will not believe them as confidence in the present government is losing grounds.

Just imagine the shocking revelation in Delhi of thousands of fake MCD employees. We, the tax payers of this country have every right to know where our hard earned money is going and how it is spent.

Most of the people must have seen on a news channel how a Lok Sabha MP is slapping a bank manager in public and thereby misusing his power. It shows those in power have got the right and guts to disrespect an individual publicly and go about unpunished. How can a party remain blind and deaf and let such people remain in their fold. Instead of discouraging with punishment it seems more of encouraging.

Another political controversy that has come up is of the misuse of political power and office. A minister in this ruling government had wanted to pressure a Madras High Court judge to grant anticipatory bail to a father-son duo arrested by CBI. Where are the rulers heading to?

The HRD minister comes up with the thought of doing away with the class X board exams. But he does not give a thought to the trauma the parents in a city go through in getting their child admitted in the entry level of a school. And what about the rising school fees? He should think of more vocational courses that will guarantee more jobs. A lot of homework needs to be done to bring about changes in the education and examination system of this country.

Global recession has hit the world job market not sparing the job market in this country either. At such a juncture more work needs to be done to stop people from flocking the cities and make them concentrate to earn their living out of agriculture in the villages. For that agriculture needs a boost. When people have food and earning at home why will they turn towards the unknown city which gives them a hard and difficult life, at times leaving them without food and a roof over their heads.

Water problem, electricity problem, terrorism, health-related problems, are among the many problems we all are facing in our everyday life. It is no doubt a hard uphill and challenging task for the government with so many problems but there has to be remedial measures. All that is expected from the government is good partnership, consideration and working towards getting the wrong mended so that common man’s life can thrive safely.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Simple Summer Tips

When the summer sun beats on us we find out ways to beat the heat. That’s what summer is all about. There are many simple ways to fight the heat of the hot days of summer in India. Summer days no doubt make life miserable, but that’s what season’s are all about. Summer’s soaring mercury brings with it a host of health complains-dry skin, sun burns, rashes, itching and prickly heat along with mental and physical discomfort.

There are simple ways to beat the heat. Look good and keep healthy with some easy-to-follow tips.

Increase fluid intake: During summer there is loss of water from the body due to sweating, so there is a lack of resistance and energy. A regular liquid intake is a must to combat dehydration. Drink lots of water and carry water when going out and even to your work place. Drink plenty of fruit juices, green coconut water and lassi (curd helps to keep the cool in the body). Eat lots of fruits like grapes, water melons-all this to keeps the body cool and regulate the heat.

Eat right food: Avoid non-vegetarian and rich oily food. Freshly cooked vegetarian food is easily digestible and good source of fluid and is also low in calories. Try to stay away from street food. A diet rich in fruits and liquids will keep the body cool.

Avoid caffeine: Avoid tea and coffee breaks as much as possible. Caffeine dehydrates the body, choose caffeine free drinks, decaffeinated tea or coffee and switch on to more water breaks.
Dress Cool: Loose fitting cool cotton outfits, preferably in light colours is best for summer wear. Avoid bulky or heavy accessories.

Make-up: Wear light make-up along with soft shades of lip gloss. The skin needs to breathe and a heavy make-up in summer hampers the process.

Protection: Use a sun screen lotion while going out in the sun to protect from sun burns. Use a hat or umbrella when going out in the sun. Reduce your travels and avoid outings.

Hair care: Not only the skin, the hair needs care during summer. Wash your hair regularly but avoid shampooing everyday as excessive washing makes the hair dry. A short summer crop makes hair care easier, adds style and check split ends. Use hair conditioners as it keeps the hair manageable and prevents the hair from getting dry and brittle.

Keep your cool: This is the important part of life in summer. There is increased irritation and heightened tempers both at home, at the work place and outside. So the body needs to be taken care of with relaxing, indulging in hobbies, proper rest and carry a smile on your face.

Play safe with your summer with simple daily routines so that you can remember summer once the rains come.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander

With the elections coming to an end, it is celebration time for the winners. New hopes gather for some, for they may be the lucky winners to get a ministerial berth. For others, though they have made way to the Parliament, they will remain the back benchers.

It had been months, so much had been written, read, discussed, viewed, heard, and all of a sudden the blaring stops. The country moves one step further, to see selection of ministers and allocation of portfolios. Once again the parliament sessions will be held, new Bills will be brought and commotion will take toll of time.

This time once again the voters have shown that it should be more of a single party rule in the country, though this time also there has been partnership with some. The losers sit back to analyse their defeat and gear up to make strategies to come up as winners the next time.

But a clear mandate has been given.

At last the IPL Season 2 trophy has been lifted by the Deccan Chargers. It is always the winner who lifts the trophy. Click, click, click, the clicks go on and on and in the end the winners photos adorn the front pages of the newspaper and magazine.

Though the Indian crowd watched the game on their TV sets, the enthusiasm and interest of the cricket fans of this country did not die out. Instead they could get to see the beauty of South Africa captured through the lens of the camera man and brought home in bits and pieces during the telecast of the matches.

It was an unexpected winning team who held the trophy high, their fan followers dancing in merriment at their spectacular win. And the sure finalists disappointed their fans.

But who cares, after all one has to win, be declared the winner and go home with not only the trophy but the huge winning amount.

It is winning that matters.

Isn't it rightly said “Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander”.

Agree or deny?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vacation Delight

Travel has its own delight for the traveller.

Summer brings with it long holidays for school children. They start pestering to go on a vacation. While planning a travel in summer many things have to be kept in mind.

Choice of place: It has to be unanimous, no grumbles on the happy trip.

Travel Deals: Better to compare and study fares and hotel rates in order to get the best deal.

Confirmation: Confirm travel and hotel booking in advance to avoid any sort of complications.

Packing: Choose the right clothes for the place. Don’t over pack your travel bags.

List: Make a list of all the necessary items to be carried for the trip.

First Aid: Carry a first aid kit for need may arise at any time.

Beat the Heat: To protect from the heat use hats, umbrellas, sun glasses, lotions for the skin from getting sun burns, comfortable cotton clothes and comfy footwear.

Caution: To avoid dehydration drink a lot of water and fruit juice. Avoid rich and spicy food as it may upset the stomach.

At the end of the trip you bring back is memories, captured through the lens of the camera. A vacation no doubt rejuvenates the mind and body.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Summer Shade-s

When summer comes the talk is all about the heat, the dust, the sweat, and the search for the Cool. Suddenly life becomes dull, food habits change, and the clothes need special attention. So many problems start showing their face; water scarcity, sudden power cuts start appearing and the huge variety of vegetables that were available in the market a few days ago start vanishing. Very little choice left to choose from the green grocer and fruits get dearer in the market.

But we have to make efforts to cope with the heat. There are different ways to work up with the difficult heat of this time of the year. We have different options to battle the heat.

Food and Drinks: The heat increases the thirst. We need to drink lots of water. Green coconut water is a healthy drink. Aam panna and fresh lime juice helps to maintain the cool in the body. So also other fruit juices, especially those freshly made at home or packed ones found on the shelves of the stores…lets your skin maintain the glow. Water melon is not only refreshing but also satisfying. And the mango, king of all fruits in India adds taste to the palate. As for vegetables those that have more water contents are good for digestion.

Clothes: In the sweltering heat there is always a chance of getting sun burns. Sleeveless clothes are more in demand but there needs to be a rethink in the matter of clothes. It is better to cover up those parts of the body that are exposed to the sun to avoid a tan and help in the loss of less moisture from the body. While choosing clothes for summer the best choice goes for cotton fabrics which soaks the sweat and gives a cool feeling. It is always good to go in for natural fabrics in which cotton is the best. Khadi and linen can also be an integral part of the natural fabric category. Even light nylon and polyester fabrics can be in the choice list. In colours, it is always better to go for lighter shades as it gives the cool and thanda feeling.

The feet do sweat a lot in summer. So while choosing footwear for this season it is always preferable to go for open sandals and slippers. At this time the Kolhapuri chappals are in demand.

Shady Umbrellas: The best part is, it is time when the umbrellas are out from the closet. While going out in the sun it is always better to carry an umbrella and stay under its shade when the glare of the sun pinches the skin. There was the time when no one thought about colourful umbrellas except the black ones. Now colourful umbrellas make a lot of difference in the shade they give under their polka dots or floral spread. But remember to take care of your Umbrella Buddy and don’t leave it in some unknown place to get lost in the crowd.

Summer Dreams: Planning for a hill station vacation can be the summer dream for you. A few days among the hills and dale can bring a change from the monotony of the everyday life. If that’s not possible, then there are summer camps for children where they can make a pursuit of their interest. There are lots of choices to make from. So why not consult the Elderly people to be there where you have not thought of. And always there is this opportunity of the summer days to be there in the countryside, in the real India that once it used to be, now our forgotten villages.

Summer’s call,
Mangoes for all.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Magic of Ritha and Neem with Woollens

Some of the warm clothes were lying in the laundry bag for a wash. Woollen clothes are no doubt ‘Delicate Darlings’ and once the season is gone no one cares to give a look at them till the arrival of the next winter. Most of the woollen sweaters I wash them at home. Giving the sweaters a hand wash, I hummed away a tune from one of the old Hindi movies. Music lightens the burden of the work. That’s not the only reason, I love music and at one time music had been a part of my life. Like most Bengali families, a music teacher came to teach music at home. A harmonium and table was a must. Along with the cup of steaming hot tea came a plate of jolkhabar (jolkhabar in Bengali means snacks) for the music teacher. And there was early morning riaz (practice) everyday. And now my singing is my own. That was one part of life that has no similarity with the lifestyle I lead in today’s world.

Once I finished washing I kept the washed sweaters to spread out later when the water drained out. I placed my Genteel bottle in place and sat down to relax. But some of the winters wonder days of my childhood started pouring in.

Winter days are no doubt very pleasant. There is colour everywhere. People love to wear colourful clothes. As a child I’ve seen ladies knitting sweaters mostly in the afternoons, sitting out in the sun and enjoying this as a part of their life. Ladies could be seen with their kit of knitting needles and colourful wool, knitting away and at the same time engaged in conversation…blindfold knitting that used to be. They spoke about the different designs and colour combinations for the sweaters and enjoyed this activity along with their neighbourhood gossip. Men, women and children took pride wearing hand knit sweaters. But now Branded and Designer warm clothes have made a mess with the home knitting leaving few to fewer people knowing this skill.

I still remember the Lux packets containing soap flakes used for washing clothes. Ma used Lux to wash woollen sweaters but mostly washed the woollens with Ritha (soap-nut or wash nut), a substitute for washing soap. Ritha is available in plenty in India. Ritha flowers come during summer and the fruits appear in July-August. By November-December the fruit ripens and then collected and dried and later ready for use and sale in the market. The fleshy portion contains saponin which is an active natural ingredient, a substitute to normal detergents, is used for washing.

Ma bought her regular quota of dry ritha fruits from her favourite shop in the market, soaked them overnight in water and in the morning the liquid was ready to wash the woollens. She also washed silk sarees and other soft fabrics with this liquid. Ritha wash left the woollens fresh and clean because of its mildness and at the same time preserved the colour and structure of the fabric. As this is a natural product free from any chemicals it does not affect sensitive skin of the hands. Value wise it is not only economical but also ecological. Now-a-days markets are flooded with varieties of washing liquids. I remember in our house ritha was also used to wash the hair, gold and silver ornaments and artifacts and expensive glassware.

The woollens were hand washed. Ma took care to place the washed woollies on the seat of a cane chair for the easy drainage of the water. Later she spread out old newspapers on a clean floor and spread the sweaters on them so that the woollen clothes did not loose their shape and size. The warm clothes were protected from the harsh sun’s rays and dried indoors.

Once done with the washing, it was time to put the woollens away for the next season. Neem leaves were gathered in abundance and left to dry in the sun. After it dried up, a good amount was spread on the floor of the trunk and a cloth spread over it. Then the folded washed woollies were placed carefully in the trunk with more dried neem leaves spread over them. Dry neem leaves have the properties to keep away insects and pests. Till date in villages people use twigs of neem as toothbrush as the fiber helps in cleaning the teeth properly, the leaves are also used in storage of grains, chicken pox treatment and for many skin diseases like scabies, exzema, psoriasis, and others. Ma was in favour of storing woollen clothes in trunks as they remained closed and did not disturb the contents till the next season.

With changing times, people now choose detergents and liquid soaps that are readily available in the market and easy to use, the washing machine doing the rest of the work. Fragrance filled mothballs found on the shelves of stores are used for the put away clothes.

Now its time for the Summer Collections and Designers’ are busy displaying their collections with models walking the ramp to show off the recent trends. People will find comfort in cotton wear in these hot and humid days.
Season’s cycle will travel along its path but the neem leaves in my balcony are dry and ready for use.

Friday, May 1, 2009

IPL Season 2 Fever: What Next?

When this whole cricket thingy Indian Premier League (IPL) started, Indians associated within the cricketing circle felt proud of holding a huge money making tournament in India.

God, god, god that was IPL Season 1.

Fate had a different story to tell. IPL Season 2 did not get a place in the cricket grounds in India and so had to move their grounds and land up on the beautiful shores of South Africa.

The story begins here as far as I am concerned. IPL, the full form will read, INDIAN PREMIER LEAGUE. Eight teams play against each other. All the teams have Indian names and Indian owners. Most of the players are Indians while there are well known players from other cricketing nations as part of one team or another.

If I’m to speak a little more on IPL, all that I can say it is all about the big B’s involved in it. Players getting a place in the team through BIDDING. If I’m not wrong, there is a huge market for BETTING in the game of cricket. And the whole game rests on BATTING and BOWLING for loss or win.

Baap re baap, players bought by the team management at such huge prices. Are they worth the price? Once the tournament is over, financial mathematics of each team will let the bosses know their profit and loss.

IPL (Indian Premier League) got the shunt out of this country because of IPL (Indian Political League), more specifically the General elections. Just imagine the fate of the players…they cannot cast their votes.

I cam see cricket sliding with time. The Test Matches are outnumbered by the One Dayers. Soon One Dayers will lose their place to Twenty Over matches.

And who knows one day India’s Gali Cricket will be the most watched cricket matches from the balconies of the houses at the high cost of the Gali Pitches.
Who knows…?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Strange but True

Dogs and cats are common pets in many houses in our country. Simply can’t leave behind the caged speaking parrot in some families. There are so many stray dogs and cats, and, cows and bulls roaming the streets of this vast country.

Recently in our posh South Delhi colony a stray dog gave birth to four puppies. The chubby puppies were the darlings of the people and the mother and the babies were fed by the residents of the colony. After a couple of days the white chubby puppy was missing. It was believed that someone had taken the baby dog. Soon it’ll be the pet dog of some household.

Today’s newspaper headlines read “Obama’s Portie is Delhi’s new hot dog”. This being the thought of the day makes me write about pet dogs. The report says it has inspired many Delhiites who are looking for a bred of Portuguese Water Dog as their first choice for a pet.

Bo, the Portuguese Water Dog is the First Dog of the First Family of the USA. Reading this article has increased my interest and made me do a little bit of research on this species. The information reveals that the Portuguese Water Dog, colloquially known as Portie or PWD is also known as Portuguese Fishing Dog which helped the Portuguese fishermen in their fishing. This is a rather rare breed.

Pet shop owners in Delhi have started to deal with enquiries from pet lovers who want more information and some interested to get one of its kinds as a pet at home. Including the import duty the dog on delivery could cost up to 1 lakh rupees.

Some people keep dogs for breeding purpose and make an earning. Let’s see how many of the Portuguese Water Dogs slip into Delhi homes. That’s for the future.
Note for the present: Given a choice I can tell, all dogs are faithful to their masters be it the costliest breed or the stray one.

Polity Game

There had been so much excitement in my life when I cast my vote for the first time. Those were the days of the ballot papers. After putting the seal against the selected candidates name the ballot paper was folded and put into ballot boxes. Soon changes arrived and the electronic voting gadget made its appearance. It is now just a click of the button and voting is over.

Politics in the present scenario is more of a game (to win) than serious thinking. The highlight of this game is the different cards each player wants to play to win.

But what is it the people of this country want. Simple basic things like…
• Clean drinking water
• Basic sanitation
• Electricity
• Security and safety
• Employment
• Good roads
• Clean environment
• Quality and affordable health care
• Education
• Food
• Affordable houses

But who cares even if vote bank politics is dividing India on the lines of:

• Religion
• Caste
• Creed

Time is ripe to stop mud slinging and attacking one another verbally. Better to think of an India which can make each and every Indian proud. It is time to stand up and fight against the greatest threat “Terrorism” and look forward for a Better and Peaceful India in days to come.

Don’t miss your right to vote. Isn’t it?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Small Car Big Dreams

It will be a wrong denial from me to say I don’t want to be the owner of a Nano. Now I feel I will see it run the roads before I take my final decision. At last the much awaited Nano was commercially launched in Mumbai on Monday March 23. For the first time in January 2008 when the Tatas announced to bring out the cheapest car in the world, so many people started dreaming of owing a car of their own as this would cost only one lakh rupees. Expectations had been mounting in the hearts of the people for their Lakh Takia Car.

It took more time than expected for this small car to hit the market. Its arrival was delayed because of the dispute over the land issue and shifting of the plant from one state to another. But after all within months the wheels of the little Nano will run the streets of this country…maybe in July.

The other day my neighbourhood tailor said, “Madam, I had bought a second hand scooter three years back. I dreamt of riding a car and I think I can afford to buy a car. My wife feels frightened to sit on the bike with two kids in the congested Delhi roads. Madam, how long will I have to wait if I book my Nano now?” How could I give a prompt reply when everything rested on the production and allotment from the dealers? All that I could tell him was to speak to the dealer.

There are millions of people in this country who ride two wheelers. If wishes can always be true then the dreams of many of these two wheeler riders will be fulfilled. Being cheap it is affordable. Along with it this car will give the owners a safe ride. Small families of Papa, Mama and two children had trouble moving on two wheels and now a small family can feel safe in a car of their own.

Though many are happy for the small car, there arise many questions that remain to be answered.

Nano will no doubt be another car added to the number of the existing cars in many families in Delhi. Auto rickshaw owners are thinking of plying this small car on the streets in place of auto rickshaws as they feel running on four wheels is safer than three wheels. No doubt this can lead to more road congestion. Another thought that creeps into the mind is about the material used for the body and the amount of safety it can give. No doubt many two wheelers will go off road and many more four wheels will move on the roads…there is risk of increasing pollution.

But along with the negative points there are positive points too. Being a small car it can be parked in small spaces…less parking constraints. It is said to be fuel efficient. No doubt it will provide better safety and security to its riders than two wheelers. The dreams of many will come true.

At last many thousands and millions can now say Nano is no longer a dream. After all this Small is Beautiful.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Should the Government Consider Raising the Entry and Retirement Age Limits in Jobs (Government & Public Sector)

Try a Turnabout

Whether you understand the economics of the present world scenario or not, you can hear about the Recession and Economy Slow Down making rounds in each and every part of the globe. This recession period jumped on this world that is trying its best to make developments in every sphere, Advancement being the buzzword. No one thought that the meltdown would come and cause a spill of grave concern.

The main area hit by this recession is the job world. The print and electronic media and research shows huge cut down in jobs, affected people are left with tantrums, trauma, to fill up their lives with.

The scenario in India seems to be a bit better. Private company workers are a worried lot while the people in the Government and Public Sectors are happy to play safe in their Sarkari Jobs.

The recent placements in the premiere B Schools—the IIMs show that the public sector banks have hired quite a number of them. Some pass outs are preferring government jobs, compromising with a smaller pay packet than they would have expected if the recession had not hit the world economy.

With elections round the corner, the present care-taker government can do little. Once the elections are over, whosoever comes to power has to chalk out better plans for a Better Tomorrow.

It is high time the next government gives it a thought to increase the entry age into public sector and government organisations to 36 years and at the same time raise the age limit for retirement in these sectors by two years, i.e. up to 62 years. This will be a great relief to some young people who have lost their jobs in the recession, being a part of the private sector and can try for secured government jobs and also in the public sector. As for those who will retire at 60, can work for another two years, their experience will be the guiding factor for fresh recruits.

All said and done, nothing is EASY but there is always the word POSSIBLE.