Sunday, October 19, 2014

A healthy child makes a happy home. #ImmuneIndia

This post is a part of Indiblogger & Dabur Chyyawanprash's activity #ImmuneIndia

We all know the quote 'Stay Healthy, Stay Happy'. One cannot be happy if not healthy and vice-versa. And when kids in the house fall ill, everyone right from parents to grandparents tend to the sick child, because no one can be happy when a child falls ill.

Though I am not a mother (yet), I am definitely 39 weeks pregnant and the due date is almost here. My child is not even here and I have already been taking extra care of myself just so that no harm comes to my yet-to-be-born child. I do not even want to imagine a day when my kid would be unwell and me not being able to do anything.

When I remember my childhood days, and my brother's; who is 8 years younger to me...I still remember the painful look my parents would have, the nights they stayed awake whenever we would have high fever or something. 

I am not just saying this because the blog is for Dabur, but our family always has herbs like Tulsi and consumes Dabur Chyawanprash. My grandfather has it daily at night, followed by milk; and though we kids would skip the milk part we would always look forward to having a spoonful of Chyawanprash because I at-least found it very tasty! Thanks to that, and other hygiene precautions taken by our family, I don't remember falling severely ill or having to be admitted to the hospital ever *touches wood*. But common cold is really common, haha.

When I ask my parents, they tell me that they remember how as an infant I used to always have diarrhea and would be weak. I was born underweight and my parents would be really worried about me being so weak and fragile. They have stayed up all night, never complaining about the lack of sleep or my constant cries. As I grew up, I remember how my mother would press my hands or legs when they ached a lot. How they would take me to a doctor or get tests done without ever complaining that they had to go to work or had other chores. I remember the time when I had chicken-pox and how my parents tended to my needs by bringing whatever I wanted, comics etc so that I did not get bored. 

When I would see my younger brother cry because of fever or cold and cough it would really bother me too, as if I am sick myself. I remember this one recent time when he had a prolonged case of dry cough that did not go for months; I felt so bad that there was not much I could do.

I totally believe in 'Prevention is better than cure' and will pass on whatever I have learnt from my parents and grandparents to my own kids. Like, whenever there would be the symptoms of a cold/fever approaching, mom would start telling us to have lukewarm water, gargle and avoid cold liquids. Tulsi, clove etc would be added to tea to make it healthier. And of course, having Chyawanprash daily, which helps your body stay immune. And these days it is even available in different flavors, also sugar-free if I'm not wrong.

Be healthy, be happy!

Diwali - a time for family! #GharWaliDiwali by Avantika

This post is a part of Indiblogger & Pepsi India's #GharWaliDiwali activity, watch the official video here

Diwali, the festival of lights. India's answer to Christmas. When I think of childhood memories of this festival, a lot of happy moments flash through my mind. 

Every Diwali new sets of outfits would be purchased for each member of the family, and me being born and brought up in a joint family of 9 members meant tons of shopping happening! We kids of the house would give a list of our requirements to our grandfather, which would also include a list of the firecrackers, dry-fruits and sweets we want! I so remember slyly eating cashews, pistachio and aam papad that used to be kept for guests who came to visit on Diwali (and getting scolded later, but it was totally worth it!). Today, we're shopping around the year (thanks to non-stop sales online and offline). Have stopped bursting crackers because the world is already way too polluted. And with everyone conscious about their weight, consumption of sweets has decreased too.

A really wide variety of sweets and savories are prepared every year- Mathri, Petha (Shakarpara), Namakpara, Gulab Jamun, Dahi Vada, Kanji Vada are the first few that come to my mind. I come from a Marwari family, if you do too, you might be able to relate to most of these. And I haven't even mentioned the grand Diwali dinner feast! It will make you forget Thanksgiving and their Turkey & Pumpkin pie for sure! For dinner on Diwali night there is a fixed menu every year - Puris, Alu ki Sabzi, Turai ki Sabzi, Raita, Papad, Moong-dal halwa, Dahi Vada,Rice, Pakodas, Chutney, Kairi ka meetha aachaar. Yes, I guess I hopefully have covered 'em all.

You know Diwali is around the corner when the tedious task of cleaning the house starts. Years ago the entire family would be a part of it, chores being divided among all (children and grandparents too) equally and work getting done in a jiffy. I really used to look forward to the day the kitchen would be cleaned, because that day lunch and dinner would be ordered from a restaurant (which those days was a big thing and not a everyday thing like today). Now, with everyone busy in their jobs, this task is mostly outsourced and men come  home, clean, take money and go.

Diwali celebrations start from Dhanteras, when our grandparents go early morning and purchase gold or silver, it is supposed to be auspicious to purchase something valuable on this day. The diyas, lanterns and led lights get lit starting this day till Bhai dooj. Next comes the Rangoli and decorations. The home's entrance is decorated with a bandarwaal, shubh laabh and Goddess Laxmi's feet stickers, along with rangoli and diyas. As per traditional marwari rituals, Rangoli is made using Red and White paint, yes only those 2 colors. But now we even make the rangoli using powder colors and decorate with fresh flowers.

Since we have a family business, Laxmi Pooja is done at office too. 2-3 members of the family go and do the same in the day time on Diwali. And at home, Laxmi Pooja is done in the evening, everyone wearing fancy traditional clothes and all decked up. It is even believed that all lights should be switched on and all cupboards & lockers should be left open during the Pooja so that Laxmi can enter and give prosperity! :D

After the Laxmi Pooja is done by all the members of the family, diyas are placed in each room of the house, youngsters take the blessings of elders, and then everyone sits for a wholesome family meal! After all, Diwali is family time. 

And then a day after is Bhai Dooj when the sister cooks a fancy meal for the brother/s and does teeka and gets cash/gifts in return! I always ask my brothers what they prefer to eat, and prepare something accordingly. Not to forget, there are guests coming home throughout these 4-5 days and we go to the close one's place too! Trust me, there comes a point of time when you simply cannot have another cashew or kaju katli.

I got married 2 years ago and hence spent my 1st Diwali at my new home, totally missing the celebrations and festivities that take place at mom's place! But this year, I am celebrating Diwali at mom's place again, since am here for my delivery (yes baby's on its way and the due date is around Diwali only!). Now only time will tell whether I spend Diwali at home or in the hospital, but whatever the case may be, it sure will be an unforgettable one!

*Images are from google.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

#MoreIndianThanYouThink by @stunningmoon

India has seen a lot of influence from other countries, take "Americanization" for instance. We are adapting a lot from foreign cultures - Valentine's Day, Halloween or even EDM gigs like Sunburn! Have you ever wondered though, if other countries are adapting stuff from India too???

Not that I am well traveled (unfortunately), but I have seen a couple of places and it is my dream to travel all over the world! And hence like to have knowledge about different places and their culture. Have a few cousins located all over the world, and we share what's "happening" and in fashion at each place. And movies tell a lot about various places too!

 Here's how I think the world is going more Indian than you think:


Not only do 'firangs' flock to India in large numbers for yoga & meditation vacations, they practice yoga everywhere! And swear by it too! While we here are adapting Zumba, Pilates and all that jazz.


Most of us have seen Katherine Heigl in 27 dresses & The Ugly Truth, enjoying Indian weddings. Truly, people love sarees all over the world. And saree along with singlets is quite a fad all over, I know that from trusted sources. :P


Whenever we have met people come to India on foreign exchange trips, we say hello and they reply saying "Namaste!" Reminding us of our roots. I once helped out an American with directions in Goa, and he replied saying "Shukriya" (in the cool accent they use while speaking Hindi) and I was mind blown, I don't remember when was the last time I said Shukriya and not Thank you!


The world loves Indian food. Yes it's spicy, but it's awesome! Remember that guy from the movie "Queen" going gaga over the Pani Puri stall? One Indian dish that is thoroughly loved everywhere is curry, believe me or not! 


Oh yeah, everyone loves Bollywood! You'd be surprised by the sheer number of SRK & Sr. Bachchan fans all over the globe! And Bollywood songs drive people crazy everywhere!


When I visited Singapore and saw this area called 'Little India', I was like wow! I was even more proud when I saw the Indian flag being hoisted in Canada and street signs put up in Punjabi! GO INDIA GO!


You will not believe it, but this Swami Narayana Mandir is situated in Atlanta! It's well known that ISKON has it's presence all over the globe. Devotees of Indian deities are spread all over! Even China & Japan have Indian deity sculptures and temples! Lord Shiva, his trance (and weed) are famous among the devotees spread over the global, I need not say more about the destroyer of evil.


Take a look at how Holi, the festival of colours is celebrated in USA. You will be disappointed because they don't celebrate it so awesomely here in India!

I am sure there are many other things that they adapt from India, for instance Indian weddings! But these were the ones that came to my mind! Thank you for giving me an opportunity to talk about this. I love India and our culture!

This blog is a part of Indiblogger's 'More Indian than you think' contest - . Take a look at Lufthansa's TVC here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Game of Blogs : Story Weavers - Part 21

Read the first part of the story here.
Read the previous part of the story here.

Shekhar opened his eyes. Aryan's gun shot a bullet that hit Shekhar on his chest making him unstable for a few seconds, but Shekhar had come prepare wearing a bullet-proof vest inside. Simultaneously someone from Shekhar's team had also tried to shoot Aryan, but missed him though the bullet managed to aim the gun and drop it a few steps away. 

Aryan did not hesitate for another second and quickly removed a knife from his pocket and threatened to kill Cyrus.

"Shekhar, I will not hesitate to kill this guy this very moment, you have to let me go" said Aryan. "This is not a bollywood movie Aryan, go ahead and kill him, it will simply add one more to the list but catching you will stop more deaths" said Shekhar with a tone that did not betray the emotion that he really meant it. 

Cyrus, by this time had already peed his pants, counting the seconds and praying to God and remembering his parents and all that. He dared not mention that his cellphone contained the videos he had recorded and uploaded, or else his throat would be slit that very instant. He was shocked at Shekhar's reaction and thought that if he had to live, he would only have to do something.

"You're lying Shekhar, you cannot let a citizen die like that in front of you, you would never be able to live with it. I have seen you play with Roohi, you're a kind-hearted man, wonder why you thought of joining the...whaatttt the" before Aryan could complete his statement Cyrus had taken this opportunity to snatch the knife out of Aryan's hand and pointed it at Aryan.

Cyrus, neither trained nor quick enough was no match for Aryan. Aryan quickly ran, did a somersault and jumped out of the window. Shekhar ran behind him, yelling into his walky-talky and alerting the team outside. 

"Hey you!" shouted Shekhar to Cyrus before he left. "I'm going to need my team to nab the terrorists. I know you're the same fellow who uploaded the videos online, you seem to be brave enough. I need you to gather the hostages and take them to the entrance of the hotel. My men will take it from there. See you around" and he was off.

Cyrus was startled for a moment wondering how did Shekhar guess it was him, but it was not that difficult also, after all only his face was not seen in any of the videos. Cyrus, who always thought that his life did not have any aim or purpose, suddenly felt important and on a mission. “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” 

He quickly gathered everyone and escorted the nervous bunch downstairs. For the very first time, he considered joining the police force.


Meanwhile, Tara and rest of the media captured live the entire escape scene of the terrorist. The entire nation was following live updates of this hell of a day. Jeniffer, who was still surfing the internet on the phone, saw this live news clip and was in shock. Though she had decided to leave, now that Aryan had escaped and would soon join the rest, she was scared that they would finally complete the mission that they were set on. She had to stop them, but for that she would have to join them.

Read the next part of the story here.

“Me and my team are participating in 
Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Book Review : GOD IS A GAMER by Ravi Subramaniam

I finished reading this 300 page novel in a week, and that along with work and blogging and what not. I usually do not have great expectations from Indian authors, and a very few surprise me with the quality of their work. I have not had the chance to read other books by Ravi Subramaniam; and the whole banking theme made me feel the book would probably be boring and would drag. But no, it's gripping till the very end!

Cover: Of-course, we don't judge a book by it's cover, but I really like the gold finish and the bitcoin symbol used. And whenever a book comes in specially signed by the author, I feel really special, adds such a value to the book!

What I liked: The book is very much a present entity. With things like social media, virtual currency, e-commerce and so forth, the young generation can totally "get" the book and enjoy it thoroughly! I really loved how real incidents, facts etc have been incorporated into a piece of fiction. Take the Goan riots that took place, or the fact that there really is something called Bitcoins founded by the same guy as mentioned, or the games like Townsville.

Also, there are so many characters and locations that I was sure that I would soon be confused regarding what's going on. But that never happened, the author has very nicely and seamlessly incorporated all the characters and locations, keeping the chapters very small but not letting one loose track of the story.

I'm not sure if I have a favourite character, but if there has to be one then it would be Adrian!

The end really makes you ask yourself, if revenge is a crime?

What could be better: I think the ending was a little too hasty. I would have liked the revealing of the culprit and the real culprit (or hero in this matter) to be a little more detailed. Everything is rushed up in the end, maybe it could be a little more lengthy.

Verdict: It definitely is a must read! The book was captivating right from the start to the end. And all the knowledge it gave too, I did not know about quite a few things and was more than happy to Google search terms and know more about them. Will definitely get my hands on other reads by Ravi Subramaniam too. It's a 8.5/10 for me.