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  • The first trimester

    To read about how we got to know about our pregnancy, you may read ( Like many of the new mommies out there, I was also not clear about the concept of week-wise pregnant and month-wise pregnant. All I always knew was what I was told by my mom and elders which was a little different from the week wise pregnancy commonly used by my doctor, and I kept getting confused for quite a few days. So, I decided to read on my own and make a comprehensive chart of week-wise pregnancy. Here is how it is: The total pregnancy lasts 40 weeks (9 months plus 9 days) Ist trimester: week 1 to week 13: Month1-3 IInd trimester- week 14- week 28: Month 4-6 IIIrd trimester- week 29- week 40: Month 7-9 In these trimester wise blogs, I will try to share all my experiences. The symptoms, issues, things to take care of, what to eat, what to avoid, what to prepare for, when to announce the news to friends and relatives and how to stay happy. I wish and hope that this will be useful to my readers. Trimester I: 18th October 2021- 17th January 2021 The beginning of anything new is always exciting. Most of my time was spent in reading and finding out what could be happening inside of me. I used to look at myself in the mirror and wonder what and how my body would change. I read a lot and realised that reading really helps. I made my own personal notes which all helped me to jot down the essential points here. 1. Reading is crucial but we must read from authentic sources. I researched from multiple sources and from the entire lot of books which are available on pregnancy, I chose the following three books to be read over the course of my pregnancy: a. Pregnancy notes by Rujuta Diwekar b. My Yummy Mummy Guide by Karisma Kapoor c. What no one tells you by Alexandra Sacks and Catherine Birndorf 2. There is nothing to be over concerned about. The most important thing is to stay happy and active- physically and mentally. Keep yourself as happy and as calm as possible. Everything will turn out beautiful. So here is the comprehensive list of things which my mommy-to-be’s would need to know: · What exactly is the first trimester of pregnancy? It is the earliest phase of pregnancy and as mentioned it begins on the first day of your last period- before you are even actually pregnant and lasts until the end of the 13th week. It’s a time of great anticipation and of rapid changes for both of you and your baby. Knowing what to expect always help us get ready for the months ahead of us. · Changes in the women’s body: Pregnancy is different for every woman. In these months, a woman’s body goes through many changes. The body releases hormones that affect almost every single organ in the body. Some woman glow with good health during those 3 months and others feel absolutely miserable. And I fall in the later category. Some of the common changes which you might notice are breast tenderness, headaches, constipation, acne, discharge, fatigue, change in liking and disliking of food items, peeing a lot, heartburn, mood swings, morning sickness and weight gain. I went through a major issue of morning sickness during the first three months of my pregnancy along with the outbreak of acne. No matter how hard I tried to eat clean and healthy, I used to vomit every single day. Sometimes even 3-4 times every day. However, it is only you who understands your own body so after a lot of hit and trial, I realised that staying empty stomach overnight was creating issue in my stomach and the only thing which prevented nausea was having one non- citrus food as soon as I woke up. So, I used to start my day with either an apple or banana and it resolved the problem to a great extent. Anything other than a fruit used to mess up my whole day. · Visit to the doctor: As soon as you realize that you are pregnant, you know it is time to visit your OB gynaecologist. During the first visit, a doctor takes a full health history and performs a full physical and pelvic exam. The doctor also: o Performs an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy o Perform a Pap test o Takes the blood pressure o Test for sexually transmitted infections, HIV and hepatitis o Estimate your date of delivery or ‘due date’ which comes out to be around 266 days from the first day of your last period o Screen for risk factors like anaemia o Check thyroid levels and weight At around 12 weeks, the doctor will perform a test called a nuchal translucency (NT) scan. This test uses an ultrasound to measure the baby’s head and thickness of the baby’s neck. The measurements can help determine the chance that your baby will be born with a genetic disorder called Down syndrome. My first ultrasound: · Checklist for the first trimester: o Find a good gynaecologist near your place who can help you throughout your pregnancy and during childbirth. Make your first appointment as soon as you know you are pregnant. o Talk to your doctor, you may have a lot of questions- ask them all- the medications you could be currently taking- are they safe or not, do you need to take folic acid and prenatal vitamins, how can you stay healthy, what exercises you may do and so on. Get clarity on everything. o Make a week-wise calendar for yourself to be clear and sorted throughout your pregnancy. o Find out about maternity and paternity leave, you and your partner may be eligible for. o Check your health insurance policies to check if you have the coverage, you may want and need. o As your breasts grow, you can go for a bra fitting store nearby to ensure you are using the right size. o Start a pregnancy journal or memory book if this is something you think you would like to look back on the years to come. I ordered a personalised journal from and you may also check those out. They have great stuff. o If you like, start taking your belly pictures (however you may want to show off may be later- week wise or month wise) o You and your partner may start to brainstorm name ideas and start putting a short list of baby names together. · Baby’s development in the first trimester: o During the first trimester of pregnancy, what starts as a tiny bindle of cells quickly turns into an embryo and then a fetus that’s about the size of a large plum. In these first few weeks of pregnancy, your little one’s brain, spinal cord, heart and tiny limbs- complete with fingers and toes will form. Meanwhile, your uterus is becoming a comfortable home for your little one, who will be nourished by the developing placenta and umbilical cord. By the end of third month of pregnancy, all essential organs and body parts will be in place- although in teeny-tiny size. · Top food items for the first trimester: o Asafoetida or hing:Hing has anti- bacterial and anti- viral properties and is a digestive aid. It will help keep the nausea and bloating down, stoke your appetite and help you eat better. It aids in absorption of nutrients from the daal. It also plays an important role to improve our moods and relieves fatigue or drowsiness that sometimes accompanies the first trimester. Use it in whichever form you wish to. o Ragi or nachni or finger millet: To those who do not know, Ragi is a millet which is produced in largest quantity in our country. It is a nutrient rich food and from amino acids to calcium, iron to fibre, it provides us everything that we need in this crucial phase. It regulates our appetite and prevents over-eating, is very easy to both cook and digest and even keeps the lipids levels in check. Also, in long term, it is required for good lactation too, so it is a good idea to start including it in your meals, if not doing already. I prefer to make ragi rotis (add all kinds of attas- ragi, bajra, oats, wheat and barley). It is delicious, light and fulfilling. You can use ragi in any form (check internet for the various recipes) o Beet: Beet has antioxidant, detoxification and anti-inflammatory properties. It is an excellent source of folic acid and contains high amounts of manganese, magnesium and copper, and even vitamins like B6 and C. This nutrition profile is good for nerve support, prevents calf pain and varicose veins too. [Source:Book- Pregnancy notes by Rujuta Diwekar] o Apart from these, drink lots of water everyday (only water and not the sugar loaded drinks), exercise everyday (basic ones after consultation with your gynaecologist), eat healthy and balanced home-cooked food (which has all the nutrients) and avoid junk food as much as possible. I will not say that was able to do all of these, I had my own reasons for slipping from the regular routine, but I tried to follow it as much as I could. And it helped. Trust me, it did. Listen to your body and do what makes you happy keeping in mind your and your baby’s health. I hope this blog will be of some use to some of you. Do share your thoughts/experiences in the comment section below. Stay happy, stay healthy. Have a great pregnancy to all the mommies-to-be.

  • J1: Breaking news and the new emotions

    It was the festival time of the year, the Diwali time. Both of us(me and Akshay) were busy decorating our house, eating good food and getting all ready for the evening pooja. In the middle of all of it, I was feeling a little dizzy every now and then, which I was comfortably ignoring. However, the intensity and the frequency of the dizziness increased by the time it was pooja time and all I could do was to tell Akshay that I cannot do any more work and that I need to sit. I was wondering what new could have happened now (considering my long history of getting sick) and was wishing deeply that it is nothing but just exertion. The dizziness however did not stop. It continued for another two days. Since my periods date was 18th, I could not even think of it as anything related to pregnancy. However, when it continued for 2-3 days, I discussed it with Akshay and we just randomly decided to take the pregnancy test at home (that too a day before getting my periods, can you imagine, how impatient we both are) To our surprise, the test came out to be positive (as you can see above) however, the pink line was so light that it wasn’t a clear indication of a true pregnancy (for the obvious reasons that we took it very early). Haha, we didn’t know what to do- we looked at each other- all lost and surprised and amazed- what should we do? Are we pregnant? Should we be happy? Should we wait to be happy till we are completely sure about it? Is there something called false pregnancy? Half pregnant? We were absolutely clueless. All I could think was that I need to be extremely cautious now because, you know, I may be pregnant. I felt a lot of butterflies in my stomach, and I didn’t know what exactly those feelings were. We decided to retake the test after one week and to not talk about it till then. Akshay just asked me to walk carefully and climb the stairs at home very cautiously (haha, funny now, I know but at that time it was big). We could not wait for another week; all we could wait was for two days and that too was very difficult for us. We took the test again on 19th Nov, 2020. Similar results again. But we had a feeling that it was positive. So, we decided to get it confirmed by getting the blood tests done. Since, it was our first time, I wanted to share it first with my mother-in-law and we did that. She was happy and we three (me, Akshay and MIL) planned to visit an OB the next day to get it confirmed. We went to the doctor on 20th Nov, 2020, Friday, got all the blood tests done and as thought, got our results positive. WE WERE PREGNANT. We both were on cloud nine. We didn’t know how to express our emotions; we were just both smiling throughout our drive back to home. It was pure happiness. We then shared our big news my father-in-law and he congratulated us. Akshay and I were so excited and deep down we were wishing to see the similar kind of excitement from our family too, so Akshay decided to share the news with my mom, bhai and bhabhi on the same day. We were told to keep it to us for a few days but we were not able to hold our horses so we went to visit and surprise my mom on the same evening. Ohh my my..!!! The expressions and the reaction which we got from my mom, bhai and bhabhi are those amazing moments which can never be expressed or described in words (I wish I could capture those moments in some pictures, but the level of happiness was so high that no one remembered to click any photo). When Akshay told mummy that she was going to become nani, all she could do was jump and hug Akshay again and again. She could not believe it and she kept asking- sure na? really? Yayaya..!! With all her jumps and hugs. By looking at her happiness, I felt so happy and peaceful. Shivam and Samiksha, were jumping and shouting like anything. They jumped again and again with Yayayaya and kept hugging me and Akshay. We all were so thrilled. We all felt so great. That is one day which I am going to cherish throughout my life. Even though my papa was not there physically, but I knew, he was also jumping high with all of us, in the same room and no one else could be as happy to hear this as he would be. I missed his physical presence so much in that moment (though I know he is always with me). He would be the happiest. Now the next few days were a little weird. Since we didn’t know what exactly we were supposed to do (actually, we are not supposed to do anything as we were in the 5th week of pregnancy :P), all we could do was to read here and there about pregnancy and talk about it all the time. Akshay was extra careful when it came to me walking, climbing stairs, or doing any other household chore. That happiness continued but the thrill and the high got normal in a few days. I was 5 weeks pregnant. We were happy. And yes- my expected due date given by the doctor was 26th July, 2021- same as my papa’s birthday. I knew papa was there with me-blessing us and our baby. How I spent my first trimester will be shared in the next blog super soon. Do share how you felt after reading this. To all the mommies out there- do you relate? Do you remember how you felt? Share your experiences and stories in the comment section below. Would love to read them all. Next blogs will be out soon.

  • F3: 3 things to avoid for a peaceful life..!!

    “Letting go of certain things can open the door to true contentment in life”. Unknown Do you feel not-so-happy and not-at peace many times in your life? Are these thoughts common and you are not sure what to do about them? Are the situations around making you feel suffocated but you are unaware of what you can do about it? Do you want to be at peace and be happy but confused about the process? We all go through this phase when even though everything looks fancy and lovely from outside, you are struggling to be at peace. And the worst part is that you are unable to explain it to anyone. It may be due to many factors- not having a good job, not being able to meet targets at work, chaos at home, turmoil with friends, misunderstanding with kids, etc. The list as always is never ending. However, I have tried to cover it all for you. Achieving real happiness and true peace isn’t a one-step process. It's an alteration of a current lifestyle; it’s trimming the fat and removing what is bringing negativity in your life. It is realising the difference between what is worth your time and energy and what is not. The feat is not easy, but once the process begins, you will ask yourself why you didn’t make any of these changes sooner. Despite what many believe, it's not too late to bring happiness and peace in your life. To be at peace during chaotic and taxing circumstances, you must be ready to look into the eye of the storm, knowing how uncomfortable you may feel, and be willing to accept it. And, accepting it does not mean that you do nothing, it only means that instead of running or resisting, you stand tall in the face of all that life brings because you are committed to bringing about a transformation. It is when you stop designing ways to avoid your problems and instead find the courage to move forward with an open mind and heart, that you start enjoying peace, and gain confidence you need to move on. Here are the three main changes which you may adopt for a more peaceful and happier life: Act, don’t react: Many of us feel like if we don’t react to other people’s negative actions or flaws, people could possibly perceive us as weak because they hurt us and we don’t react. However, this is no way to live a peaceful life. See it this way- most of the time, when we react to other people’s flaws, you do it without thinking and out of habit. This means- you respond through a fixed pattern, but reacting in the heat of the situation never brings peace or calmness. Remember: doing nothing also means doing something..!! Take your time to observe this- whenever you react to issues, it robs you of your peace. Even though you feel like you have measured up to the person by retaliating in anger, you will never feel at peace. Wondering- what could you do instead? Act, but do not react! There is a huge difference between acting and reacting. Acting is what makes you happy, reacting is what makes you miserable. Reacting is based on the moment, and it doesn’t take into consideration the consequences that follow. It is like a defense mechanism which is usually automatically activated in a person, which may bring about regret later on. While, on the other hand, when you act, you make a conscious choice of deciding what you’re going to do. You become responsible for your actions. So, in such a situation, take a deep breath and think- does this action/situation need my reaction? Most of the time, the answer will be no. Stay quiet. Stay low. Speak, if need be but be polite. You will feel more powerful and peaceful later. 2. Set boundaries: Avoid drama instead of involving yourself in it: It is very horrific for me to see that many people as adults, still engage in petty behavior, still interfere in the life of others even when they know that the other person does not like it, still try to make others life miserable just for fun and this kind of attitude is beyond me and my understanding. As adults, we must bypass the bullshit and focus on just ourselves instead to poking into others lives. Too much interest and interference in anybody’s life, without their consent is a reason for a lot of our struggles and mental irritation. None of us like interference, right? Then why we do forget that other don’t like it, too? It does happen. With all of us. Our boss at work, a colleague, a friend, or a family member- if anyone tries to over involve themselves in our lives, it does create frustration and rift in the relationship. But what is that we can do to get away with it? The simple answer is - set boundaries to avoid drama. Over and unnecessary involvement of anybody in your life will definitely bring drama wherein you will try to get away from those situations. However, the best way to maintain your own peace is to set your own boundaries. Tell the other person politely (directly or through your actions, if not possible to say it directly) - what and how much you are okay with their involvement. It won't be easy. The other person may not take it easy and may try to do things which may upset you further. But the best way is to keep your calm. Go slow. Set boundaries one by one. And once you set your boundaries, stick to them. Follow them and let them know that you are not going to go back, you are not allowing them anymore in your life beyond this, no matter what. It might be difficult in the beginning, but you and everyone around will be at peace very soon. 3. Listen to your heart: Only you can make your life calm, peaceful and simple. If you would keep listening to others and let them control you, then your life would definitely become difficult. And if you let this keep going then you would not be able to achieve what you wish to. So always listen to your heart and do what you think is best for you. People will have problems anyway. You cannot make everyone happy at all times. No matter how hard you may try, your best will never be enough. So why fret, eh? Always be good to people, be kind, think positive but keep yourself as your priority. People will try to bring you down but you have to remember- follow your heart. Beyond these three important changes, there are a few more things to adapt to have a more peaceful life: 4. Stop saying YES always: Learning to say no is one of the most freeing and powerful things you can learn in your lifetime. Rarely do people say no to someone if they don’t have an excuse. You need to realize that not wanting to do something is an excuse enough. Do what you enjoy to do rather than trying to fulfil everyone else’s wishes at all times. Remember- your best will never be enough. 5. Taking on more than you can handle: Life is one huge balancing act and if you bury yourself under too many tasks, you may never emerge again. Learning how to prioritise is an essential skill in life and one that will render a lifetime of happiness and peace. So, use principle number 4 and take only what you can handle. It is all right to do less. What is important is to do everything to the best of your ability and excel in it. Enjoy what you do and see how your life will be filled with happiness and joy. 6. Comparing yourself to others: You are not someone else and no matter how you may try, you can never be. And my darling, you need not to be. You are amazing, just the way you are. So, stop trying to become someone else, stop trying to work like someone else and focus on being a better version of yourself every day. And remember: Do you relate to these issues as well? Are these principles helpful to you in any way? Do you have any other idea which might help others to be at peace? Do share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.

  • H1: How it all began..!

    Weight loss…erghhh.. something which is on my list since I am born- haha just kidding. By the way a fun fact: when I was born, I was underweight, haha and the doctor said I was nutrition deficient. Lol. Even I don’t believe that now :P But no, seriously, weight loss is something I am hearing and have been working on and off since the day I have come into my senses. Yeah, that is absolutely true. As many of you already know, I have always been on the heavier side of my weight. Always. I don’t remember the time when I was slim, ever. I never was. Every time, when I had to go for shopping (specially on birthdays when my parents wanted to me to buy some new clothes), I used to get goosebumps because the process of constant changing from one dress to another in the trial room for the obvious fitting issues and feeling ashamed about it, always made me feel so inferior, low and sad about myself. Though, at that young age, I used to forget about it as soon as I came out of the shops. :P but it was disheartening every single time. Also, just like many of you, I too have an amazing set of relatives who whenever used to visit us for any family get together (especially during the holiday season), always used to just talk about me and my weight. I have a memory of many such weird incidences but one I still completely remember when I was just 12-13 years old and an aunt commented- “hey bhagwan- ye ladki kitni moti ho gai hai. Beta kuch krti kyun nhi ho? Aisa hi rha toh shaadi kaun krega tumse?”…huussshhh. These comments started breaking my heart one after the other. Today, when I look back, I have no idea why she said that nor does it affect me in any way but at that point of time, those statements used to put a lot of pressure on me to do something. To do things unwillingly because I was happy and content with myself, but the society does not let that happen. I started feeling bad about myself not because of my body type but because of how people used to comment every time. During summer holidays, I was asked to get up in the morning and go for running or cycling. (I have the best mother and father who used to encourage me to get fit but they never forced me to do any such thing which I don’t like but you know- people...!!) I never enjoyed that. Never (and I will come to its reason in the blogs to come). I never liked any of that. I used to enjoy playing outdoor games but at the same time, being a Punjabi I have always had a love for food. And not only food- heavy and calorie-dense food. From chhole bhature to aloo k pranthe, from bread pakodas to chowmein and momos, I used to love all of it. Even in those difficult emotional moments, food was always a feel good factor. (I’m sure the case is similar to many of you but don’t worry, I will be talking about everything related to this). Moreover, I would not deny the fact that I have eaten all of that for a very long period of my life. And so was one of the main reason of my body shape. So, yeah that’s how my childhood was. (relatable? it’s fine, it does not matter at all now). I was a fat geek chashmish ladki. But I never had any problem with that. Only my relatives and the society had. So, the journey began a few years back. Precisely almost 12 years back. After I completed my 12th, I was on a one-year break as I was preparing for my engineering exams. I used to go for my classes till mid-afternoon and mostly had free time in the evenings. One day, my brother asked me to join a gym for aerobics classes. I had no reason to say no so I said yes to it. The first day ever gave me a reality check. It was after a very long time when I stepped on a weighing machine. I was horrified. I weighed 81 kg. It was huge for me. I always knew I was not one of those slim girls, but I didn’t know I was that fat. I had tears in my eyes. When my aerobics instructor asked me to do only 10 front stretching (simple toe touching), I tried but vomited. I was absolutely low on strength because I had never done any of that in my entire life. I came back home and cried my heart out. I was a little girl and didn’t know what to do. I had the regular thoughts just like all other people that only I was this fat and nothing could ever change that. I suddenly started feeling pathetic about myself. I didn’t know whether I will be able to ever do aerobics or not. It took me a while to accept the fact that only hard work can make me better. But I collected the broken pieces of myself and continued going for the classes. It was tough in the beginning, but I never gave up. I started slow but continued. Because as we all know- ‘consistency is the key’. Hahaha- within a month I saw results. I reached 77kg. It was such a big achievement. I still remember that feeling. I don’t feel that happy even today. So, my motivation level went super high and I used to do my workout to the best of my abilities. Since, it was baby fat and I was working out for the first time, the results started coming very quickly. I lost tremendous amount of weight. Within 6 months I reached 63 kg. 18 kg in 6 months. Wow. That was fantastic. I lost 18 kg. I had given up on my junk food (with the thought that once I get rid of this excess weight, I can have that again). I used to eat simple ghar ka khana- all three meals a day. But was waiting desperately to eat my comfort food once again. All I could see was a new me. I had a new confidence about myself. And then I started with my college days. That’s how I started with me journey; little did I know at that time that it is a life-long process. I wish I had known at that time. Also, remember calories dense food was still my love. Want to know what happened next? More on the journey in the upcoming blogs. Stay tuned and keep reading. And and and- do you have a similar story? How do you feel after reading this? Do share your views in the comment section below.

  • Have you said ‘Thank you’ today?

    “If you see something beautiful in someone, speak it”: - Ruthie Lindsay You will agree with me that this lockdown due to Covid-19 has brought people closer than ever. Sometimes the closeness reminds us how much we love each other, sometimes it reminds us that we drive each other crazy as family and friends often does. We all are doing our bests, in this tough time, when we all can go super crazy and eat other’s brain, we are trying all possible ways to stay sane, isn’t it? We all are blessed to have friends and family around us. Some try to connect with us even though they have really busy schedules, some try to give us space when we need it, some try to keep us motivated when we feel low and some just uplift our mood by listening to our non- stop complaints. Everybody is doing their bit. We all have different kinds of people around us. Some push us, stretch us, test us and make us wonder if there is anything to be grateful for at all. There is no denying that certain relationships are more challenging than others, but trust me, through each, we always get an opportunity to grow and help others to do the same. Every relationship teaches us something about loving, trusting, forgiving, setting boundaries, taking care of ourselves and taking care of each other. For all the people that we have in life, it is time for us to appreciate them. To appreciate them for just being in our lives. From the people who love you, to the people who challenge you to the people who support you, you should be thankful and it is the right time to show your gratitude to them, after all- they have helped you to become who you truly are, isn’t it? How many of you have actually thanked, truly and deeply thanked your loved ones for being who they are and for supporting you in simple life things? Have you thanked your husbands for being so patient and listening to you when you are badly PMS’ing and getting super crazy? Have you thanked your mothers for working endlessly throughout the day to ensure that we are at ease after a long ‘work from home’ day? Have you thanked your brothers and sisters for making you laugh by doing silly and stupid things when you just feel like crying as the times are really tough? Have you thanked your cousins for keeping those video calls and talking to you when you had no one to talk to or at least you thought so? Have you thanked the general store bhaiya for working even in these dangerous times to ensure that you do not have to struggle for your daily grocery? Have you thanked the road cleaners, the car cleaners, the garbage picked, the nurses, the sabjiwala or the fruitwala bhaiya? Have you thanked your boss for ensuring that even though you have ample amount of work at home, but you still have your job and you are getting salaries at the end of every month? Have you thanked those difficult relatives for teaching you that not all relations are meant to be loved and caressed and that you need to learn this? Have you thanked your friends for keeping a check on you and giving you some gossip to keep you away from all the other negativity around? And last but not the least of course, have you thanked the superpower- God for slowing the pace of your life so that you are able to pause and think what exactly do you need to do in your life? We were running so fast that we didn’t even know where we were heading. Now, we are given the time to pause, think and reflect. Have you? I don’t think so. We are so engrossed in our daily work from home to non-stop nagging about the current circumstances that somewhere we have forgotten to be thankful for all the great people and good things in our lives. How about thanking them- NOW! How about going to each one of them and just saying ‘Thank you, thank you for being you, thank you for making me smile a little extra today, thank you for helping me and supporting me, thank you for listening to me. Thank you with all my heart’. Just thank you with a big smile. Trust me- it will make their day bright and more so, it will make your day. You will feel much lighter after bringing a smile on someone else’s face. So, how about giving it a try- NOW. You will not be disappointed. I promise- it will brighten up your day..!! Do let me know if you do it and how it made the other person feel- in the comment section below. Take care everyone...!!

  • Many types of cooking oils but which one to choose?

    COOKING OILS- ahaaan- a matter of many side table debates. Your nutritionist or dietician thinks you should use it in moderation, your grandmother has asked you to slather a bottleful on your skin and hair, your friend cannot stop talking about the extra virgin variety she has been tossing up salads with. Urgghhh. Whatever your take on oil be, you cannot go too far in the kitchen and life, unless you befriend that bottle of oil. Also, these days, the shelf of the cooking-oil section of the supermarket is a crowded spot. This abundance of oil options always causes confusion about which oils may be the healthiest ones to use. Which oil is best for you and your family? Getting the quantity and quality of fat in the diet right can be confusing enough for health professionals, let along for the general public. However, home cooks have plenty of options when it comes to choosing which type of oil to sauté, bake and drizzle with. Some, like olive oil and well known whereas others like avocado or coconut oil are less familiar. So now the question comes again- which oil is best for you and your health? If you are wondering about the health benefits of the oil which you are using or if you are confused about which one to choose and which one to stop using, I have got you covered. I too focus greatly on what I put in my mouth and how is it going to impact me. I am not like this since always but more on that in the upcoming blogs. :P Coming back, since I too concentrate on healthy lifestyle, I have done my part of research on the different types of oils- which ones are good or bad for human body, how they should be consumed and in what quantities etc which, I am sure, will be helpful to you all as well. The variety of oils in the market is never ending- from age old used ghee to mustard oil to olive oil, refined oils, vegetables oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil and so on and so forth. Also, each variety has its own benefits and side-effects. But let’s be honest, practically not all of them can used in our everyday life, so I will be talking about the 4 major categories of oils which are most commonly used in our kitchens: 1. Ghee 2. Mustard oil 3. Refined oil vs vegetable oil 4. Olive oil Before I start, the important thing is- no matter which type of oil you are using, moderation is the key. For a healthy living, one must not consume more than 3-4 tablespoons of oil per day. This 3-4 teaspoon includes every part of every meal from tossing to cooking to sautéing to spreading ghee on the chapatis. Remember that- excess of anything is bad especially OIL. 1. Desi Ghee: Ghee is a natural food with a long history of medical and culinary uses. Even though there are a lot of arguments around usage and non-usage of ghee for a healthy lifestyle, the answer is all about the fats which a particular oil contains. Some fats are good for us while others are not, and ghee is one such food that is actually beneficial for overall health even though it contains a mix of both kinds of fat. The heart-friendly unsaturated fats are responsible for making it a healthy food. If consumed in adequate quantities- ghee being natural has many benefits- it prevents cancer, it is good for your heart, has anti-inflammatory properties and is good for hair and skin. Please note: Although ghee provides a number of health benefits, it is important to note that ghee does contain saturated fats, an excess of which can increase bad cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. So do not consume more than 3-4 teaspoons a day if you want to stay on a safer side. 2. Mustard oil: Mustard oil (sarson ka tel) is extracted from mustard seeds. This oil has many culinary and therapeutic advantages over other kinds of oil in the market. If consumed in adequate quantity- mustard oil promotes heart health, helps in blood circulation, provides relief from cold and cough and promotes hair growth. However, as many of us are already aware that mustard oil is banned for edible consumption in the EU, USA and Canada. This is because of erucic acid content. If taken in large quantities, mustard oil has a tendency to increase the uric acid in the body and hence impacts heart health. Therefore, it must be used only in small quantities to be able to rightly take it as an advantage. 3. Olive oil: Olive oil is extremely healthy. It is naturally loaded with beneficial fatty acids and powerful antioxidants. However, many people believe that it is unsuitable for cooking due to its unsaturated fat content. Others claim that it is an excellent choice for cooking- even for high-heat methods like frying. So, after doing a lot of research and reading so many articles, I have come to a conclusion that olive oil contains vitamin E and many powerful antioxidants, which give numerous health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is an especially healthy fat that retains its beneficial qualities during cooking. The only main downside is that overheating can adversely impact its flavour and hence should not be used for deep frying. However, olive oil is quite resistant to heat and doesn’t oxidise or go rancid during cooking. So yes- it is not only an excellent cooking oil, but it is also one of the healthiest. You can enjoy using it (in moderation) guilt-free...!! 4. Vegetable oils Vs Refined oils: Vegetable oil is considered as virgin or refined according to the way it has been extracted. If the extraction is done by pressing- a natural process in which the oil seeds are naturally pressed, it is called virgin oil. Since no heat is involved in their extraction, they are also called cold pressed oils. Sesame, coconut, groundnut, olive oils are a few examples. These kinds of oils are good for our body and can be consumed without any doubt. Of course, in moderation thought! However, if the extraction is carried out by solvents, then it is called refined oil, which allows one to obtain a ‘standardised’ oil by modifying its fatty acids. Oil seeds such as rapeseed (canola), soybean, sunflower, corn etc CANNOT yield oil through natural extraction techniques. These vegetable oils were non-existent until the early 1950’s when chemical treatment and processing (refining) techniques allowed them to be extracted. Because these oils are chemically extracted, they need to be refined, our bodies are not meant to consume chemically extracted refined oils. After refinement, the original composition of the oil deeply modifies that results in an almost total loss of the high nutritional value elements- making it very unhealthy. This chemical process yields oil that is very unhealthy, but very consistent in terms of color, smell, odor and shelf life. When you take a natural food product and expose it to multiple chemical processes, how can it be natural and healthy? Hence, refined oils are a complete NO NO for all human beings. Whether you are on a diet or not, if you wish to live a healthy life- refined oils must be completely removed from your kitchen. Do it today! And in the end, I would also like to emphasise on the fact that reused oils are BAD for us. Many of us have the tendency to reuse the same oil again and again which we have used for frying for ample of times. Please know that each time you reuse an oil, it gets more and more destabilised until it decomposes. The way the oil starts looking when its starts to decompose is very distinct. Hence, re-using the same oil should be avoided as much as possible because it again has several health impacts. I hope this will turn out to be useful for many of you and you will start thinking of putting the right things in your kitchen shelf- for the healthy you! Do let me know if this helped you in any way or if there is something which I may have missed in the comment section below. Disclaimer: The above views are solely of the author and its acceptance depends on reader’s choice completely.

  • My journey of becoming an amateur Yogini

    Coronavirus! Lockdown! Death cases! Depression! Anxiety! Health related issues! Arrgghhh- the list of such depressing words and news these days is never ending. Coronavirus and lockdown have taken a toll on our mental as well as physical health. Hence, it is extremely important that we keep ourselves positive by doing things which maintains our calm and keeps us at peace. My peace came from none other than- YOGA. Yoga- the hype has always been there. However, I had been happily ignoring the hype for a long time, but lockdown gave me the push I needed to finally try it for myself. For many years, yoga has been on my list that would probably make me feel better, but I was doubtful to ever commit to it, and haha, I was always quite content with that. Before I start- I would like to share a glimpse of some stretches which I do on regular basis: I always thought- I never had that time and I used to do plenty of other exercises (which I still do now). I obviously never thought that lockdown would become my journey to yoga, but it somehow did. I am still trying to get through, not aiming for major goals but only some self- improvement. But as it turns out, it has been one of the things that has helped me get through the most. Over my very small journey of trying my hands-on yoga, I have realized that with our changing lifestyles owing to the coronavirus pandemic, yoga- our age-old exercise has benefits that are far-reaching. Lockdown has made us all depressed and anxious. The controlled travel, fear of the risk of infection, continuous flow of negative news and limited availability of day-to-day material and resources due to this corona pandemic are all adding to the already set-up anxiety in our minds. Being completely confined to our homes is mentally challenging. And I have myself seen a lot of people getting angry, frustrated and irritated over smalls issues which is affecting their state of mind. Besides staying connected to family and friends and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle (guys- this is a must- you cannot afford to just eat junk and unhealthy owing to such situations), there is another magnificent thing that can help keep anxiety and mental health in check- YOGA. Trust me- it really works. Yoga has known to be beneficial since ages, and not just for weight loss (which is incredible by the way and I will be talking about it in my upcoming blogs in detail), but also to keep the mind calm. But your question would be- why YOGA? I am not here to share the psychological benefits of doing yoga (you will find those all over the internet), I am here to just say- that a lot of people around you are doing it- in their own small ways and I am sure they all understand the importance of staying fit especially in this difficult situation. So if they can and we all can- why cannot you? Saying that- “ I have a lazy bum”, “I don’t have time”, “ I am not flexible as others are”, “I don’t know what to do and where to start with”, “ I am not sure if I can do it”, “I am not a yoga person”, “ I don't believe in working out”, “ I don’t need it, I think I am already fit” etc etc are all excuses and nothing is going to help you at all. Even I was like that but once you start- there is no stopping to it. I too started very slowly with simple stretching only. Once I started enjoying, I moved on to trying different postures which made me feel good about myself and my body. My main motivation was the appreciation from each one of you around which still keeps me going. I am still very new to it and no matter how hard I try, I still fail to do so many poses which many others do very easily. I won’t deny- it is disappointing, upsetting and sad to see that I lag so much. But the important thing which keeps me going is that I try. I try everyday- I may have a slow progress but I enjoy whatever I do. I like doing what I do, and every small achievement motivates me to do more. There are some major points I want to share for you all to know that we are all on the same road: 1. The journey is going to be super slow but that it is what makes it worth it: As proven by how long it took to do a basic wheel pose (which I still do by taking a little help), I have realised that I won’t be able to do any fancy, Instagram-worthy crow-pose for a very long time (if ever). When I started, I was able to do some basic forms of stretching (thanks to my other workout practices) which made me believe that I would be able to move past the beginner stage in a few days. Haha- a month in, and I don’t think I will be moving on anytime soon. But I keep trying. I am able to do many poses now and I try to work on them every day but there are plenty of poses I still find very difficult but I enjoy the careful way I try them every single day. I have accepted that this will be a slow process, but I take pride in small achievements, able to do various poses- I am not usually good at. 2. I have discovered new muscles in my body which I never knew ever existed: I mean it. Like, I am sure if I would ever thought about it, I would have realised there were muscles running down the side of my torso, but not once had I ever been aware of them. Yoga has changed that, allowing me to feel a satisfying stretch down my whole side when I bend. I felt a lot of new muscles in my body while trying many new poses. And this feeling is great! 3. Stretching is addictive: Before my yoga days, I was not one of those people who felt the need to stretch when I got out of a chair, or any other time for that matter. But now that my muscles have been awakened, I find myself stretching all day because I love how it feels now. You won’t believe it- now I find myself absent- mindly watching TV with my legs straight out in front of me, working through a range of stretches, or frequently reaching my arms up to stretch my back as I sit. As a person, who never used to stretch ever, this is a very uncharacteristic turn of events for me. 4. The benefits for mind and body can be really felt: Surprise, surprise..!! The yoga hype was not baseless. Not only do I feel more flexible and stronger, but I look forward to yoga everyday as a time to focus only on not falling out of tree pose- not work, not just the pandemic, not anything else. I probably don’t have to mention that this is a welcome relief. My journey towards being an amateur yogini started a while ago, but International Yoga day came as a catalyst towards achieving more and better. It helped me try more, stretch more, and hence gain more peace. I am glad I started it and I will try to continue doing it- for my own betterment. Have you started it yet? How did you start your journey? Who motivated you to start it? Will you start now? How are you planning to start your fitness journey? Do share your thoughts and journey in the comment section below.

  • B2: Recipe of a happy married life- my two years’ experience

    “What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility”. – Unknown Last week, my husband and I celebrated our 2-year wedding anniversary. TWO YEARS, I know, I can barely believe it myself. When we first married, I thought we would spend our year two on a luxurious island vacation, stretched out on the beach of a high-end resort. In reality, we spent the whole day at home, cooking various dishes together, and all thanks to the coronavirus. The way we chose to celebrate our anniversary (or we were forced to 🤪) isn’t the only thing that turned out differently that I had expected, my husband and I are, inarguably, both very different people than we were on our wedding day. Our social views, career paths, even our general life plans are all shifted in these 2 years- but we are still together, still in love and we are still happy. You know, the minute I find out that someone has been married for 20, 30 or 40 years or just for any longer than myself (which is almost basically everyone😜)first instant question is “so, what is the formula of staying happily married?” and I get many incredible answers. From hilarious to serious, everyone has a different secret to their successfully happy married life. Our (mine and Akshay’s) partnership is unglamorous (unlike how some people perceive it from my social media posts). We regularly get caught up in the day-to-day, don’t always kiss hello or goodbye, fight very often on stupidest of things, and instead of spending Friday nights as date nights we are found laying on bed, streaming Netflix on our laptop and eating junk food. If you believe in the traditional way of how true love is defined, you might think that we let our passion die and we are well on our path to marital turmoil. I might have thought that too. Two years later, I know better. I think. And so, here are a few lessons I have learnt in my two years of marriage: 1. If you hear any married couple saying they have not considered divorce- they are lying: Disclaimer: Marriage is hard. Very hard. I believe a lot of couples hear that age-old phrase and interpret it to a mean “marriage is hard- for other people.” However, I promise- you are in for a rude awakening now. Your downs are always going to seem longer than your ups, even if they are not. At some point, we all feel that our marriage is like an anchor tying us down to keep us away from our full potential, even if when it not the case (it is absolutely normal to feel that way). And when that starts to happen, a little voice in the back of your mind will start chanting- Divorce! Divorce! Divorce! Haha, don’t worry- these voices will go away! But if they don’t- open communication with your partner is the ONLY thing that is going to fix it. I know that there is a societal shame in admitting that it happens (and all you married couples out there are giggling right now), which then prevents couples from openly talking about it. Keeping quiet about marital problems is a recipe for disaster, trust me, your silence will harden into bitterness. Chances are, if you clearly communicate to your partner that their behavior hurts you and makes you want to leave, they will surely want to do whatever then can to fix what is broken. It is when one of you stops trying that you might have something to worry about. So, communicate- talk, no matter how hard it may seem. It will resolve everything. Well yes, everything. 2. Appreciate every stage of your married life: The honeymoon stage. The settling-in-new-house stage. The house-to-home stage. The in-laws-to-parents stage. The homeowner stage. The sharing-the-finances stage. The marriage will exist in a series of stages, some twistingly long and some terribly short. No no, you are not required to follow any particular timeline, but be present enough to love where you are at in each stage, regardless of your plans. Sometimes your plans may be different from how the actual situation is, but still be happy because you are together. Don’t compare because each stage has its own charm. Believe me- if you cannot take time to be happy together in small things, you probably won’t find happiness in the greatest of achievements. Time will fly by, one month, 6 months, year, 5 years, decade to your wedding. So, worry a little less about your next big step and make sure you find a reason each day to love your partner, no matter how small your way is, love being married and love being alive. 3. Take time out of each other: Marriage is not about losing yourself while being with your partner. It is so easy to let yourself only exist as a couple, to disappear inside the romance until you are unable to see yourself outside of the context of your marriage. But it is dangerous- for you, for your spouse as well as for your relationship. Hence, maintaining your sense of self is key to any successful relationship. Have a hobby which does not involve your spouse, have friends, so that you do not completely rely on your spouse for every emotion of your life. You both are not two halves that complete each other, but two wholes making the decision to pilot your world together. 4. But of course- share some hobbies as well: After spending years of marriage (I have realised it in only two years), it is easy to fall and get trapped into a routine where all you talk about with your husband is logistics- the bills, the household chores, whose turn is to do what and so on. This happened to me and Akshay recently. I got really frustrated and didn’t know what to do about it. I somehow felt like we have lost the charm of our marriage. Everyday routine became so boring. Honestly, it felt a little awkward to sit down and address this problem, but on talking about it, we did realize that the problem is genuine, and something must be done about it. We figured out that we need to find common activities which we like doing together to have some quality time (and it obviously does not include watching Netflix and eating junk food😝). We are still in the process of finding those common hobbies and I am sure we once we figure that out, it will make us feel a little extra special in our regular not-so-special day to day life. The brainstorming is on these days 😛 5. Give more than you take: Being married is not a massive tally game. You will never come out even. And if that’s how you are approaching marriage, you will never be happy. You need to spend time and energy in making your partner happy- may be a little more than what you do for yourself. It may not happen on everyday basis but should happen on regular basis. I absolutely love surprising Akshay or making him happy with stupid things- short silly hand notes in his closets, sending a surprise desert in his lunch (obviously all before this coronavirus happened to the world), planning a surprise movie with him on a Wednesday night. All this keeps us alive and let us enjoy each other’s love and company. When you both are trying to make each other happy more than making yourself happy, that’s what makes life really great. 6. Your number one priority should be support for each other: My husband is the most supportive person of my life. Whenever I feel I am facing some insurmountable task, whether that’s regarding workload in my job, or going through an emotional turmoil, he always listens to me, never questions my abilities or makes me feel incapable. No matter how outrageous my goal, his first reactions is always “OK, let us do it. Now let’s think- how do we get there?”. In this matter- I am always in awe of him. And I too try and ensure to support him in everything he is enthusiastic about. And in my opinion, this is how the balance is made. We may not like everything about each other but finding small likings in each other’s interests is what keeps us going. As I mentioned above, you all are going to have ups and downs. There will be times when everything clicks, and times when you feel like you are living with a stranger. Times when the sex is oh-my-god-everything-you-have-ever-wanted good, and times when it’s just OK or it does not happen because you know what- you are both tired and you have to go for work in the morning or maybe you had a big day earlier. When things begin to seem less-than perfect, that feeling to support can super cede trivial feelings, feelings of doubt. Of course, romance and passion are nice to have, but to me, true love is feeling safe and at peace, and wanted and understood- and absolutely making sure that your partner feels the same. Hey guys, I am not an expert. Not a marriage expert for sure. I am not a relationship therapist. I am just a girl who is sharing her experience from two years of her marriage. These two years have taught me countless lessons about being a partner, a lover and more importantly to even just be a good human being. I am not perfect, but I am also not done learning. To many many years of love and togetherness to us and all the couples out there! Much love! Do you feel the same in your n number of years of your married life? Do share your thoughts in the comment section below.

  • G1: How to deal with difficult days at work

    So, you are having some bad day at work? I have had mine. My boss had hers. It is fair to assume that people who have been in a workplace for a while have experienced ‘one of those days.’ Usually I have seen that when something bad happens at work, it is almost impossible to keep working. You just want to go home and forget that anything happened. The thought of interacting with your coworkers or boss is dreadful, and you cannot help beating yourself up mentally about how big of a failure you are. Doesn’t that sound familiar? If it does, don’t worry. You are not alone. We all have bad days. I know that I am overly sensitive, and I am very hard on myself, so the amount of times I have a bad day is higher than it probably should be. I love my job and the reality is I really have no reason why my days should ever be bad, but I cannot help it. I get into this thought pattern where I spiral out of control, and it goes from a simple mistake to me thinking I am dumbest person alive. But the truth is, and this is really important for anyone that has ever had a bad day, is that you are the one making it worse...!! You are playing tricks on yourself. You are causing yourself to have an even worse day than you really are. We all make mistakes. We all have things happen to us like our cards breaking down. It’s how we handle those situations that make us who we are. Remember: perception is reality. And if you perceive that you are having a bad day and it cannot get any better, then you will have a bad day that won’t get any better. It becomes a self- fulfilling prophecy. You end up convincing yourself that your day is terrible, you are terrible and there is nothing you can do about it. You are wrong, my darling- absolutely wrong. The trick is to just move on. Obviously, it is easier said than done, but you need to learn how to get over it quickly so that you can bounce back. It is important to take some steps to stop from going bad to worse and letting it affect your work life. With that in mind, rather than doing or saying something that may land you in hot water, here I have tried to collate a list of few techniques which I am learning (still in process) that could help you too to cope with a bad day. 1. Shake it off- However, frustrating your day is getting- just ‘shake it off’. Don’t let it stay on your mind. Personally, I like to step into an empty room and walk inside for a while. It’s incredible what some lonely time and walking can do for your state of mind, as it immediately removes you from the situation that is frustrating you. It can be reinvigorating and a great way to refocus. 2. Do something to distract yourself- Distract your mind and you will feel light. Watch a funny video, read a book, draw or may be just sleep over it. Once your brain starts thinking about something good and positive, you will automatically feel better. 3. Write it down- It is very therapeutic to write out your problems. If you are going through a rough day and you have a lot of thoughts on your mind, you can do something as simple as send an email to yourself, or may be write a blog :P (like I did and trust me, it helps, really helps!) 4. Talk to someone- Reach out to a trusted colleague and have a quick coffee to brighten up your spirit at the end of a challenging day. Just sharing out loud to a trusted friend or individual can often help you look at things holistically and may enable you to figure out what to do about the situation or to start improving it. 5. Show empathy- This one can be tough but doable. The person who is responsible for your bad mood might be dealing with tough stuff in their personal life. Think about it. Try to empathise and not take it too personally. If you can build up that empathy maybe you won’t get into as bad of a mood because you will be more understanding. 6. Count your blessings- It is normal to feel like everything sucks on those bad days, so it is important to remember all the good things you have in your life. Be positive and be grateful for all you have. 7. It is not the end of the world- Oh please! The world is not ending here. It may seem that everything is daunting, and you might feel you are stuck in a rut. However, this likely isn’t the first time you have been faced with a challenge, and remember, you can get through. Keep faith. Take a deep breath and think start another day with a positive mindset. Do you also have tough days at work? I am sure everyone has.  What is your way of dealing with it? Did these points help? Do share your feedback in the comment section below.

  • F2: My 2 personal choices of living a happy life..!

    “Joyful living is a healthy life” --- Unknown Someone has said it so beautifully- Your life is all about how you make it. Everyone has a different outlook towards leading a happy life. We all have our own vision of how we want to live our life. We all have different aspirations which help us to think and work towards achieving them. We all find happiness in different things. Some people find their happiness in fame, some are ambitious and get happy on achieving something better every time, some love to travel no matter what whereas some want to just live a simple homely life. Some love food, some love their body. Some people wish to earn more and more money, some wish to spend more and more of it :P Some believe in savings and some believe in expenditures. Some believe in finding their happiness by making others happy some by making others sad :P Some live their life, and some do not let other live. Some believe in giving and some in getting. Some of us like to showcase every single thing some like to stay low key. Some like to make everyone’s life difficult and some likes to make peace with their own life. In short, we all have our own personal choices to live our life. Like everyone else, I have my own perspective towards things but there are two things which are certain for me in my life. I believe in living my life with these two most important principles: 1. Living a healthy lifestyle 2. Live and let live 1. Living a healthy lifestyle: I have a different version of a ‘healthy lifestyle’. It not only means to have a healthy body but a healthy mind and a peaceful heart too. And healthy body means a happy body to me. So, to start with a healthy body- I have been on the heavier side of my body throughout my life and I have been trying to lose those extra pounds here and there since always. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail. Sometimes I lose weight and there have been many occasions when I have got those back. This is because I am a foodie and I love to eat. But one thing which remains constant for me is to eat clean. It is not about the shape but about being fit. It is clear to me that only clean food should be eaten. Even when I go outside, I ensure that the place is a hygienic one. I like my food to be freshly prepared. Prepared with love and warmth. It must be given time. The food which gets cooked in hurry is not something which I can have. This is because I have been raised in a way where cooking food with love was always given more importance than eating it. I believe that the emotions which are fed in preparing a meal goes into the person who eats it. Also, I strongly believe in eating light food. Since always. Thanks to my weight loss journey, I have been reading a lot about good and bad food habits, the components of food items, the nutritional composition of every item- I think I know what is good and bad for my body. I am not saying I am a super calorie conscious person but yes, I do believe in eating in moderations. Moderation is the key. I even eat outside food, but it is chosen wisely (keeping the hygiene factor in mind too). It is all about the balance. I have been through many ups and downs in terms of staying fit, but all the downs have taught me one single thing- eat clean. I like taking care of my body. Feeding it with nutritious food instead of oily and fried items. I like working out too, not very often but at least I try. (I will be talking about my weight loss journey in the upcoming blogs). But I do not starve myself, I even cheat. But I cheat thoughtfully. Instead of binge eating on fried and heavy food for days, I try to nullify one heavy meal with another light one. It maintains the balance. Also, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Hence, I believe in thinking positive which helps me going in tough situations. I believe in thinking good of everyone, even though I may not be able to do much but one thing I know for sure is that I always wish good for everyone, no matter what. I have learnt this from my papa  (I still miss him and will always do). This keeps my heart at peace. 2. Live and let live: Life is precious and every one of us have the right to live it our way. The world these days is not a very peaceful place to live in. I have seen a lot of people who likes to interfere in the life of others and make it difficult. Family gossips, office politics, neighbourhood politics, corruption have all made it difficult for everyone to live a self-decided life. I strongly believe in ‘live and let live’. I have no interest in looking at the life of other people. I believe in living my life in my way. It may not be the best way but at least I would be making my own mistakes and learn from them instead of cribbing on not being able to do what I wish to do. I try to follow it as far as possible. Though not able to achieve at all times, but again, the minimum I do is to not poke my nose into the life of other people. That keeps me sane. [Disclaimer: This post is very personal to my own thoughts. It is how I live or wish to live my life. It does not advice anyone to lead a life in this manner] What are your principles of living your life? Do share in the comment section below.

  • E2: Because there is no planet B..!!

    Climate change is happening, and we all know about it. It is a proven fact. Global warming has caused changes to our planet. Rising sea levels, extreme weather events, deforestation, extinction of species are to name a few. But, have we ever thought that as individuals, we all can slow down global warming? Yes. But the question is how? Is it possible for us? What can we do in our daily life to better the condition of our planet? Of us? We all can. Yes. Just by bringing small changes in our day to day life actions, we all can fight global warming. Our Earth is on fire and it is high time for us to- act globally by thinking locally. To make it simpler, I have collated a long list of extremely simple changes or modifications which we all can at least try to bring in our regular life and trust me- it will have a huge impact. So here it goes: A. Obsess over every drop of water- 1. Close the tap while brushing and washing utensils. There is no point letting after flow in the sink for no reason. 2. Use bucket to bathe instead of shower. You can save enormous amount of water. Each bucket uses 20 litres of water whereas 3 minutes of shower wastes approximately 180 litres of water. Huge, no? 3. Use cold to lukewarm water instead of hot water for washing clothes. 4. Use the wastewater from RO systems for floor cleaning and car washing purposes. Don’t let that water to just get into the sinks. 5. Use wet cloth to clean the cars instead of washing with bucket full of water. 6. Avoid using water pipes as much as possible. Water your plants and garden using buckets. 7. Serve half a glass of water to guests. Most of them do not drink it all. Rather, ask if they are thirsty and then serve. Don’t waste it in the name of manners. B. Save electricity, save life- 1. Switch off the lights and fans when not in use. 2. Switch off the Wi-fi router, T.V. switch and all the other switches when you leave the home. Just because a device or an appliance appears to be off does not mean it is not drawing power. About a quarter of all residential energy consumption is used on devices in idle power mode, which means "sleep mode" is costing upward of 20 lakhs in electricity bills. Things like your cable box, laptop and even your speakers may be using almost as much power when they are off but plugged in as and when they are on. 3. Switch to energy saving appliances as and when you need to change the appliances. Energy efficient bulbs, tube lights are easily available these days. 4. Hang clothes to dry whenever possible instead of using the electronic dryer. 5. Use microwave rarely. Avoid wasting electricity. Instead, use your LPG. C. Say No to Plastic. Go green- 1. Carry your own paper/cloth bag whenever you go for grocery shopping. Avoid plastic as much as possible. Don’t take plastic bags from any shopkeeper. 2. Avoid using items which are in one-time use plastic containers or boxes. 3. Use metallic straws at home which are reusable instead of plastic ones. 4. Switch off the car ignition at red lights. 5. Go green. Walk more and drive less. If you have to travel, travel more by trains and less by airplanes. 6. Switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle. 7. Don’t waste food. Cook only the amount which is required. Throwing food is a sin right now. Not mythologically, but logically. There is a large group of people who die of hunger every year. Be sympathetic to them. 8. If you are unable to finish the food at a restaurant, get it packed and give it to some needy person outside. It will be thrown in a bin otherwise. 9. Distribute the leftover food from a party to the poor people around your home. Do that when it is fresh. Never give stale food to anyone. Use it before it gets spoiled. 10. Eat more meat-free meals. 11. Save paper. Reuse and recycle as much as possible. 12. Get access to e-services for all the bills and try to make online payments. 13. Consume less, waste less, enjoy life more. Spread this article and convince at least 5 people around you to start with at least 4 of these. Let us all make a chain and do it. Trust me, it will go a long way. We all need to join hands and fight this problem together and not that we have to bring in major changes but small minor modifications in our lifestyle will serve the purpose. How many of you are conscious of this major problem? Are you doing anything about it? Do you have any other solution to it? Do share your ideas and feedback in the comment section below.

  • D2: #Jamtara- a hit or a miss..!!

    Jamtara- A Netflix original series Cast- Amit Sial, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Sparsh Shrivastava, Monika Panwar, Aksha Pardasany Director- Soumendra Padhi Genre- Crime Drama My rating- 2.5/5 Netflix’s latest release Jamtara: Sabka Number ayega, which is getting popular from a last few days, has done a genuine attempt to live up to the expectations of its viewers but has failed badly in reaching the hearts of its viewers. The trailer gives an impression that the show deals with how cyber-crimes take place but all I found after an evening of binge watching was a feud between two rural parties trying to make money through phishing calls. All I kept doing was to wait for some serious thing to be shown which never happened. Jamtara, revolves around an inspiring youngster, Sunny from the eponymous district in Jharkhand who is making huge money by indulging in phishing and eventually ends up in difficult situations. The first three episodes are really slow and tend to test the viewer’s patience. However, fortunately the fourth episode picks up with the interrogation sequences making an impact. Led by Sunny Mondal (Sparsh Shrivastava), a 17 year old boy, a group of fraudsters, in Jharkhand are cyber criminals and run scams through phone calls. They are brilliant minds behind the feared urban nightmares of SMS scams and phone calls that lead to money disappearing from bank accounts. These boys take advantage of innocent Indians. From TV anchors to magistrates to police officers, who are lured by the natural feminine voices on the other end of the phone call, are fooled and robbed blatantly through phone calls. There is a hint of spilled milk and crying in vain as the story sets in. However, we all know how it works. For all of us, it has happened at least to a friend or a friend of a friend or a neighbour. Isn’t it? But the question is- what happens when the money disappears? How do the victims deal with it? How do the police respond? And how exactly the technology of cyber-crime functions? We wanted to know this, and I wanted to see this in the series. But to my surprise, all of this is missing from the series. Absolutely missing. I won’t say that the premise isn’t interesting. It surely is. The local language, the acting and yes of course the characters are well-rounded. The lacking part is the well-thought-out script. In spite of the missing known faces (except for Amit Sial), the cast has still managed to deliver an authentic feel. The series lets the viewers embark on a trip to Jamtara- its dry lands, fishy people and tall grasses through its 10 episodes of 25-40 minutes each. All the actors have given spectacular performances and the one which cannot be missed, and which truly gripped me is the performance of Monika Panwar as Gudiya. However, sadly it is truly hard to like the series overall. However, the story kept on delving into the clashes between the corrupt politicians and the state police. The ending is abrupt giving us a cliched cue of a second season. I would have appreciated a more logical conclusion instead of leaving the viewers in a lurch. The show writer lost the interest of the viewers as soon as it started showing the same old usual story of small-town landowner with political power and an honest cop trying to solve a crime. Perhaps, a little more research on the actual subject of phishing would have made Jamtara stand out. All in all, I would say, Jamtara had the potential to be the ‘next big hit’ and could have stayed with the viewers for a long time but it just ended up being nothing more than just a one-time watch which too can be missed easily. That is my take on the series. Have you watched it? What do you have to say? Would you like to watch it now? Do share your views in the comment section below.

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