Monday, 29 August 2016

MUSIC – THE SOUL OF LIFE

Music, in simple words, can be defined as vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) which brings out expression of emotions. It is the “art of combining tones in a manner to please the ear”. The word MUSIC derives from the Greek work “MOUSIKE – art of the Muses”. Some of the elements of music are rhythm, pitch, texture and so on.

Music is food for soul, mind and body. It helps us rejuvenate and is a matter of energies and inspirations. I am attached to music right from my childhood days.  I still remember that the weekend means all the Sundays in my family was fixed as a music day.  Music is like yoga, it makes us happy and helps in keeping hormonal balance in the body.  Listening to music helps us to focus and also relax our body. It makes my mind peaceful and fills with positive thoughts. It touches the spirit and would always remain in some form in this world. Music plays an important role in everyday life in form of rituals, ceremony and social gathering. People make music as a hobby as they enjoy singing from their teen’s time or by working as a professional singer. 

It can stir up the feeling of love and sympathy. A patriotic song awakens love for one’s own country. Music is loved by all living creatures. The cows responded and flocked to the call of Lord Krishna flute. The magical power of music of Tansen and Baiju Bawra to light lamps blossom flowers are all known to us.

There are different types of music around the world like classical music, country music, electronic music, jazz, latin music, punk music, rap, rock music etc.  There are various musical instruments played in India like dhol tasha is played during religious festivals, band baaja in weddings, mrundangam, Veena, violin in classical music concerts.

Music therapy gives everyone an enjoyable, supportive and creative environment where they can express themselves.  Music therapy also helps in pain management and a person’s ability to cope with stress. For children and adults, music helps strengthen memory skills.  Just think about listening to a good song on the car radio with the window down on a beautiful day.  That’s joy.

Nearly everyone enjoys music whether by listening to it, singing or playing an instrument.  But despite this, many schools are not having music education program.  Therefore, schools should include music as a part of their curriculum.

There is a very true saying about the music that “music imitates life and life imitates music”.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Simply Delicious Recipes For Fasting

Kaun kahete hai bhagavan khate nahi, 
Mata Shabari ke jaise khilate nahi...
Achyutam, Keshavam, Krishna, Damodaram, Ram Narayanam, Janaki Vallabham...

My favourite bhajan...so true to its words...by the way...Happy Janmashtami!!

Fasting sure revelas the strength of the soul. Fasting can be made more attractive if we dish out new items from the kitchen. Kahani me twist laya, naya masala dala to purani folk tales bhi modern lagati hai!!! Kuch aise hi farali vyanjan ek modern twist ke sath ek naye andaz me...sirf aap ke liye.. Kaho aur khilao!!! Kuch fasting ki dishes aisi bhi...

Dil Lalchati Farali Puri

Ingredients For Making Puri
  • Farali flour - 1 big bowl (Farali flour is readily available in grocery shops)
  • Oil - 3tbs 
  • Farali salt as per taste or regular salt.
Ingredients For Garnishing 
  • Boiled potatoes, smashed with hand - 1 small bowl 
  • Tomatoes, chopped - 1 small bowl (if you use in fast)
  • Green chutney
  • Dates n imliy chutney
  • Pomegranate
  • Sweet Curd (optional)
  • Potato sev (Optional) 
  • Coriander leaves 
Method

In big bowl take farali flour. Add oil and farali salt to it. Mix well and make a dough by adding water to it. Keep the dough covered for 5-10 mins. Make small roundels of equal size from the dough. Roll each ball to make a puri just like papdi cha tpuri.  Deep-fry till the puri turns light brown. 
 

Spread the puris on the kitchen tissue paper to soak extra oil. For serving, place the puris in a plate. Take a small portion of the boiled potatoes and put it over each puri. Add pomogranate, green chutney, sweet chutney and sweet curd. Sprinkle farali salt, potato sev and coriander leaves. Thats all !!

Agar ise dekh kar, sungh kar aap ka dil na lalchaye to bolo.....Arey bhai ye hai hi Dil Lalchati Farali Puri!!!


Duma Dum Farali Dumplings

Ingredients: 
  • Potato (boiled)- 500gm
  • Grated coconut – 1bowl
  • Coriander leaves- Hand full
  • Green chilly-1or2 
  • Ararot flour – 1 bowl
  • Green chutney, Meetha chuteny or Sweet curd (optional)
  • Farali salt 
Method:

Boil the potatoes and smash them. Add ararot flour to it and mix well. Keep it aside. Make small lemon sized roundels from this mixture.  In another bowl mix rest of the ingredients, that is, grated coconut, coriander leaves, green chilly and  farali salt.  With hands, flatten the potato roundell to make a puri. Take a spoon full of the coconut mix and put it over the potato puri and make dumplings.  Roll dumplings in Ararot flour. Deep fry the dumplings till they turn brown.
Serve them pipping hot with green chutney or mitha chutney or sweet curd!! Kaun keheta hai dumplings sirf chinese hi hote hai...soch badalo...fast bhi badalenge!!!


Katta Mitha Farali Dahi Vada

Ingredients: 
  • Farali flour – 200 gm
  • Mix dry fruit – 1 small bowl (cashew, almonds, raisins), chopped
  • Sweet curd-500 gm
  • Coriander leaves for garnishing
  • Dhania jira powder or Jeera powder for garnishing 
  • Red chili powder for garnishing
  • Farali salt as per taste
  • Oil for frying
Method: 

In a big bowl mix farali flour, mixed dry fruits, farali salt. Add water and make dough. Let its consistency be that of pakodas.  Heat oil in a kadai . Drop a spoon full of the dough in the oil, one at a time. Fry it on a low flame till it turns light brown. Remove it from kadai and  put in hot water for half a minute. Take it out and press between the palms to remove excess water. 
To serve, arrange the dahi vadas in a plate. Pour sweet curd graciously over them. Garnish it with sweet curd, dhaniya jeera powder or just the jeera powder, red chili powder, and coriander leaves. Sprinkle farali salt over it. If you like you can add green chuteny or mitha chutney as well.

Khatte mithe farali dahi vade khao aur Prabhu ke gun gao...ye prabhu ki hi to den hai, ki hame ye sari swadishta chije khane ko mili hai....

Monday, 22 August 2016

Science Behind Fasting


Along with the beloved monsoon season comes the season of festivals in India.These festivities are associated with colour, fun and scrumptious food. But something that almost always precedes these festive celebrations are periods of abstinence from some of our favourite foods and drinks...... something we all know better as a "FAST".The practice of fasting has been passed on from one generation to the next as a form of penance to "PLEASE THE GODS" and get your wishes fulfilled at the earliest!!! But I am sure, most of us might be oblivious to the fact that there is a very sound scientific ground on which these practices are based.

Different religions have different practices, but almost all do follow fasting in some form or the other. So, here I would like to throw some light on the science behind some of the fasting practices....

1. CHATURMASA : Chaturmasa is an auspicious four-month period in the Hindu calendar.The Hindu months of Shravan, Bhadrapad, Ashvin And Kartik fall under this period. Mythologically, it is believed that this is the time when Lord Vishnu rests. It is characterized by specific food restrictions during each month.

a. Shakavrata : During this period, most vegetables, green leafy vegetables, fruits, chillies(all kinds), coconut and even mustard are restricted.The science behind this practice states that at the beginning of monsoon, the earth is heated up due to the preceding summer season.The rain water dissipates the heat, which then forms a very good medium for the growth of various kinds of bacteria and fungi which infect the plants and fruits that grow during this period.Furthermore, most insects which dwell in the ground, like bugs,earthworms,etc. come out after rains and feed on these fruits & vegetables.As per ancient Indian medicine(AYURVEDA) the fruits and vegetables consumed during this period cause hyper acidity due to excessive heat absorbed through the earth during growth.

b. Dadhivrata : During this month, use of curds in any form is restricted. Scientifically, this is the breeding period for cattle.Hence the quality of milk available during this time is not suitable for forming curds.Also, over-fermentation may cause the curds to become sour.

c. Ksheeravrata : There is restriction of milk consumption during this period.It is observed that during this period, most of the cattle have conceived and it would only be justified not to consume the milk which is necessary for the nourishment of the offspring. The fat content in this milk is also higher, which is not good for consumption.

d. Dwidalavrata  : Dwidala refers to any seed or vegetables which split into two halves when broken. Eg : dals, green peas, tamarind,etc. Also fruits that contain multiple seeds are avoided. The reason for avoiding these foods might be the fact that the crop of these dals and vegetables is just fresh after the monsoon and requires some time to be harvested and stored prior to their consumption.

Hence, it is evident from these facts that there is a very good reason why our ancestors used to follow these traditions.This four month long fast is observed by most Brahmans in south India.

2. SHRAVAN  : Many communities among Hindus also follow the abstinence from consuming non vegetarian food during the month of shravan. The reason for this might be , that the seas are very rough during this season and hence it is next to impossible to procure seafood.It is also breeding season for most species during this month.Hence, the fast restricting the consumption of these foods.

3. ROZA(RAMADAN)  : Roza is the month long fast observed by Muslims during the holy month of RAMADAN. During this month, Muslims are prohibited from eating, drinking or performing any acts of self-indulgence during the period of the day from dawn to dusk. It is believed to help one achieve a lot of control over one's desires and passions. As it involves abstaining from one's bodily pleasures, it helps to attain more spirituality. It helps one experience the state in which the poor and needy live, thereby promoting the sense of caring and sharing with the lower strata of society. In addition to fasting, followers are expected to maintain purity of thoughts, words and good behaviour, without which the fast is considered incomplete.The aim is to gain self control and propagate human values through one's behaviour and service.

4. PARYUSHANA : Paryushana is the spiritual festival celebrated by the Jain community. This festival also falls during the Chaturmasa period.The word Paryushana means "coming closer" or "coming together". This festival is celebrated for 8 days by the Swetambara sect, who call it Paryushana. On the other hand, it is celebrated for 10 days by the Digambara sect, who call it Das-Lakshan. Fasting, Meditation and Asking for forgiveness( by uttering "Micchami Dukkadam" or "Uttama Kshama") are the three main practices followed in this period. Digambaras do not take food or boiled water more than once in a day during this period.Swetambaras on the other hand consume only boiled water througout the fasting period, which is consumed only after sunrise and before sunset. 


POSITIVE EFFECTS OF FASTING :

1. It helps burn the stored fat in the body to make up for the inadequate calories consumed. This in turn translates into weight loss.
2. It improves insulin sensitivity in the body.
3. It speeds up metabolism & regulates digestion.
4. It improves hunger and regulates the hormones associated with it.
5. It improves eating patterns.
6. It improves the immune system by reducing free radical damage
7. Most important of all, it helps in maintaining self control over ones mind.

To conclude, its not such a bad idea to go on a fast once in a while. Although do keep your state of health in mind before trying it....HAPPY FASTING!!!!!!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Last Minute Gifting Ideas For The Busy Bees...Chutaki Bajake...


Heavy down pour gave way to the hide n seek of sunshine and rain. The nature donned its new avatar for the season. And here we are, with just one day to go for Rakhee!!! OMG!!! I forgot to buy gifts for my beloveds and yes wished to make some interesting rakhees this time around as well....where should I go now, kya karu??? 
I am sure many of us also must be going through the same choppy boat ride given the fact that days pass by faster then we think... But don't worry...Here we are with last minute, DIY gifting ideas that will save your day gracefully. And cherry on the top, every one sure gonna appreciate the novel gifting ideas and home made rakhee. So just relax and browse through the four ideas that we have concocted just for you...

Envelope or gift/card holder :  

Materials required : 
Two card papers of two different colours.
Scissor 
Glue..thats all

Procedure :     

Take any two different colour papers, preferably with one dark and one light shade.
Draw total of 4 circles with the help of any old CD, two circles each on one paper. Cut it and then fold it in half.

Now put one dark coloured circle on the light one. Align the half horizontal and vertical line of a circle . Put glue on half of light colour circle and stick it on first dark one as per the image 
Then take again one dark circle and stick it on the second circle as per the image


At the end take last circle and stick half under the first one and other half of on third one
It's ready. Now you can turn it and fold four circles on each other as per the image 
U can put any message or greeting card or Rakhi in it 
At last decorate it with ribbon 

See I told you..its easy...just keep cool and just do it!!!

Now that you  are little relaxed, here is one more for you..wish to spoil you with choices...

Gift box 

Materials Required :

Thick and printed card paper, A4 size
Scissor
Old CD
Ribbon
Any used pen

Procedure :

Take your card paper and draw a circle with the help of an old CD on the back of it


Now draw one horizontal and one vertical line from d center point of a circle 

Again put a CD on 1/4 portion of a circle as per the above image and draw another circle. Make one horizontal and vertical line in second circle like a first one

Than put a CD on each portions of circles as per the image and draw curved lines


Now with the help of any used pen or any un-sharpened tool , makes creases on lines for which  I have given 1 to 8 numbers (Check this image) 


Then fold creased lines and make a box from it 

It's ready ! Now decorate your gift box with satin ribbon

Told ya...its gonna be easy...correct??? One more interesting to go...

Money Pocket/Envelope : 

Materials required:

Any square printed paper ( 18 *18 )
Glue
Hahaha...and ofcourse your relaxed self!!!!

Procedure:

Take your square printed paper and turn it around.

Now joint opposite corners turn by turn and fold lines as per the image

Then take any one corner of the square and put it on the center point of the square and fold the line.
Now put folded triangle on the other half part of the square as per the image 
Then take one corner of printed paper and put it on the other side of the triangle 


Take the remaining corner of the printed paper and put it on the other side

Now again fold a small triangle to make a pocket as per the image and press the open corner of triangle  to make a diamond shape 


Pocket is ready , now take a plain paper corner till it will go in a pocket and fold the line of envelope as per the image 

Money envelope is ready !!! Glue the open lines of an envelope 

See... Life can be so easy after all!!!

And some Rakhees that you wished to make at home... Here  is a Kundan Rakhee for you.. as simple and attractive as you...

Materials Required:
8 green kundan
5 orange kundan
1 diamond
2 multicoloured beads
1 green string
2 circle cutouts ( made using one rupee coin)
Fevicol

Method:
1. On circle paper cutout, stick green kundan.

2. Place orange kundan between two green kundan.

3. At the centre, stick a diamond.

4. Rakhi base is now ready which you can place it on a string or a satin ribbon.

5. To give Rakhi base a grip, you can stick another circle with a string in between.

6. Tie a knot at both the ends of rakhi base.

7. Tie another knot at little distance from base and put a bead at both the sides. And another knot after bead to keep it steady.

8. Cut the extra long string and your quick and easy do-it-yourself Rakhi is ready.


Abra Ca Dabra, Gili Gili Choo...and magic just begun..isn't it??? So what are you waiting for... Go ahead and indulge in creative fun!!!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Freedom All The Way...


Freedom, is Freedom, is Freedom!!! 

FREEDOM...uttering the word itself invokes myriad thoughts.  If I put them together, it would be a collage of various hues of colours and emotions... from patriotic value to the depths of personal choices.  Freedom means many to many. Is freedom just one standalone emotion/action or a spectrum?? And isn’t it amazing that I am letting my mind wonder with freedom in whichever direction, as the thoughts pull it!!!!  

So what acutally is freedom??? I had a word about it with my friends and the answers were as sweet, salty, spicy, juicy, naughty, serious as them...love you friends for that... To sum up I could come up with a "wish list" of what freedom means to most of us. And here it goes...

Freedom is… 

1) Not setting up an alarm to get up in the morning.

2) Enjoying an entire 16-inch pizza all by myself while catching up my favourite movie at the end of a tiring day!!! Sigh!!!

3) Going on a solo trip to an undisclosed location. God! I want it so badly!!!!

4) Wearing my favourite LBD without getting that look - “You are too old for it!”

5) No cooking Day!!! PS: My favourite…

6) Not being stressed about taking up my child’s homework.

7) Going on a shopping spree with my bestie.

8) Chopping off my tresses and not being told “OHHH! You Look Like a Boy”.

9) Going to a spa and not being worried about the mess to be cleaned up once I am back home.

10) No dye on my hair….I like it grey and I am proud of it!!

Freedom is a two-sided coin.  The other side of freedom reads / says “Responsibility”.  People take undue advantage of the freedom.  This sticks out as a thorn in otherwise most royal rose and it hurts………

So freedom also means...

Being able to take care of our parents and grandparents post marriage.

Being accepted as the way we are and not being judged by our appearance, clothes, inches on our waist, assets or color of our skin.

Freedom of choosing a life partner when ready and not when the society
screams “Get married before its too late” or “Your Biological clock is
ticking”.

Being able to take financial decisions independently.

Getting equal job opportunities and equal pay.

All said and done, a big shout out to all the men in our lives for being an amazing Father, Father In Law, Husband and Son who treat us, Woman, as QUEEN and give us the wings to fly and enjoy FREEDOM to the fullest.

To enjoy freedom to the fullest, we the citizens of free and liberated India have few responsibilities as well. Its like a small step for one individual and great leap of faith for the mankind. Our responsibilities include...

Keeping our house, city and our country clean.

Not accepting or giving bribe.

Educating our younger generation about nonviolence and drug abuse.

Paying our taxes on time.

Planting more trees.

Treating our helpers, maids, drivers and security guard with dignity and respect.

Stopping child marriage and pre natal sex determination which still exists in India behind close doors.

Can we not then make a resolve that my freedom should not stamp on the feet of other. Can we resolve to make everyone’s life free in our own way because everyone’s freedom is precious!!!!
And Life – Freedom = Puppet.  So let’s not be the puppets at the hands of negativity, bigotism, hatred, competition, etc.

चलो बड़े (badhe) ज़िन्दगी की ओर…. with freedom in our hearts and minds.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Get Yourself Covered This Monsoon...


Hello friends, its monsoon!!! - the season of enjoyment & excitement - my favourite season and I believe its yours too!!! In this season we love to eat street food like a hot plate of kanda bhaji or a spicy plate of Pav bhaji....sounds yummy, right!!!! I am sure, many of my friends must have also planned long drive trips and trekking. 

However, along with the change of weather we see many illnesses cropping up...Some might be just as benign as runny nose but some might turn out to be little more nasty. Are you financially ready to tackle the nasty ones ??? If the answer is NO then it’s time for you to buy a “Health Insurance ”. Its like get yourself and your loved ones covered...

Why should I buy a Health Insurance ???

No one plans to fall sick or come across an accident, but did you realize that we might require medical care at such times?? We all need health insurance because one cannot predict the total  cost of our medical bills.  It protects you and your family financially in the event of an unexpected serious illness or injury that could be very expensive at these times. Chain ki nind chahahte ho to Health Insurance ke bare me jaan lo...


There are basically two types of Health Insurance plans...

I] Mediclaim Insurance Plans 

Mediclaim plans covers the cost of hospitalisation incurred . In simple words you get your reimbursement against the expenses made towards hospitalization .

Do keep in following points  in mind while buying a mediclaim plan 

  • Go for a Floater policy- Under this scheme the sum insured can be availed by any or all the members of his /her family for one or more claims during the tenure of the policy.
  • Check for cashless facilities – These are available with major insurance companies. So insist on a cashless card.
  • Pre and post hospitalisation expenses are also covered -do make inquiries!!
  • In case of any pre-existing illness, you can declare and get them covered too (*duration varies across companies’ – approx.  4 years)


II] Critical Illness Insurance Plans

These plans cover specific life threatening diseases such as Cancer, Kidney failure, Coronary Artery (Bypass) Surgery, Heart Attack , Heart Valve Surgery, Major Organ Transplantation etc. Here the claim is made on Sum insured chosen by the customer and not on actual expenses incurred in the hospital (medical bills not required).


One must get adequate health insurance cover for self and family even before starting to save for one's goals. As you get older, not only does your premium increases, but you also stand a chance of being denied a health cover by the insurance company. What's more, the premium paid for health insurance gives you a tax benefit U/s 80D of Income Tax Act.



WE DO BUY/RENEW OUR VEHICLE INSURANCE, THEN WHY NOT A HEALTH INSURANCE ???......... Do give a second thought and Just do it!!!

Friday, 5 August 2016

RAINBOW - Bring Colours To Life...Make It At Home!!!


We live in a highly competitive world; each and every parent wants their child to be smart, responsible, successful and excel in every field. Natural course of action is that we put them through rigorous regime of courses or extra activities whether it interests them or not. A child is not fully developed to understand their likes, dislikes or interests.

Having gone through a similar childhood experience and drawing inferences from others, I could see that many of us are tagged as the “Wasted Talent”. Probably because we always had talent and potential in us but didn’t have a clear vision. Today, this has made us restless. “Mocktail  Mommies” has given us the platform to fill that void in us.

Art nurtures inventiveness as it engages in a process that aids in the development of self-esteem, self-discipline, better cooperation and self-motivation. Assisting children in learning through art ensure that they are equipped with skills and techniques that enable them to express better ideas. Always there is a world of difference between the skills provided at home and at a market place. The skills provided at home are for personal development and really have no way to be evaluated at professional level.

With Art, I too can be a “RAINBOW” in someone's life by showing them the true meaning of it, which is Life, Hope, Creation, Promise, Potential, Harmony and Expansion .

Create Your Own RAINBOW

Items required:  

Mount board 
Chart paper - colors of rainbow - VIBGYOR and White 
Satin ribbons of 7 colors of rainbow 
Crayon colors 
Cotton
Glue 

Making Rainbow, Step By Step: 

1) Draw an ARC which looks like a rainbow on mount board and cut it.


2) Draw seven layers of rainbow colors of 1.5 inch thick each on mount board and fill the colors using crayons (optional) .

3) Now take all VIBGYOR colors chart papers and cut it in size of 1.5*8 inch.


4) Then start sticking the tips of each strip making it into a ring form. After that start interlocking two rings making it look like a chain. Do it till you have get appropriate length of required layer of the each color.


5) Draw two clouds using white chart paper and cut it. Now take cotton and stick it on both the clouds . You can draw emotions for clouds too. (optional)


6) Take satin ribbons of all VIBGYOR colors and cut it in length of 12 inch . We need two ribbons of each color.


7)First stick the clouds on the corners of rainbow. Stick half in and half out.  (Back side view of rainbow)

8) Now stick ribbons according to colors on the back side of mount board by leaving same distance between each of them.

9) Then stick the chain of each color on mount board starting with the Red colour first and going inward.




LIFE IS A RAINBOW...ENJOY EVERY COLOUR, EVERY BIT OF IT!!!