The World as I see it

My Life. My Views

South Korea: 7 days; 2 families; 3 kids; vegetarians — April 14, 2019

South Korea: 7 days; 2 families; 3 kids; vegetarians

Day 1: Seoul

We left hotel Nine Tree at Noon. We went to Geongbokgung. P and I wore Hanbok.. Had an amazing time :)) They even make your hairstyles 😀 Truly princess-y moment 😀

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Lunch here:

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Fabulous pizza and pasta here.. super vegetarian food!

After this we headed to the Hanok village in taxis. There we saw beautiful traditional Korean houses.. some of these had signs in front saying “Silence please. This is private property. Do not touch or climb”. Hahaha we peeked through one of those houses 🤣

We then sat down for coffee/tea at a nice cafe. It was called Trad Cafe Daon.

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It was a quaint little cafe hidden away.. with amazing views and beautiful interiors.

From here, we proceeded back to hotel. S, T and V’s stepped out to roam around a little bit. Junior S slept on the way back and slept through the night 🙂

We saw this amazing art while walking back to the hotel. It was all pots and pans conjoined to make this structure.

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Day 2: Seoul

Morning around 9 am we left hotel to catch the bus for Ever-land.

We found lots and lots of cherry blossom trees on the way. Some streets were lined with cherry blossom trees on both the sides of the street. Those made for some pretty remarkable sights.

I could not capture any of those because of the speed of the moving bus, more cherry blossom pics coming further down the travelogue.

After reaching Everland, we did a lot of rides.

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Most of them the kids found super fun and very short wait times (15 mins each). We also found a lot of rides closed.

We had steamed butter corn cob (which was terrible…chewy and bland). We also had cotton candy which was yum 😋

After this, we did bumper car and a few other rides. There was a holland exhibit of tulips.. just breathtakingly pretty!

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After this we had homemade lunch – yummy pooris with Khachri chutney. We all had a good meal post which we proceeded to Safari world. We had a really long wait but so so worth it! We got into a bus which took us into the safari area. We saw White tigers, Bengal tigers, Hyenas, Lions and Bears. The bears were pretty huge and they would come and stand next to the bus while the bus driver fed them some finger food. It was absolutely wonderful. After this, we wanted to do lost world (where we could feed giraffes) but there was 90 min wait, which we couldn’t afford. So, we went back to do some rides that kids wanted.

The kids got to enjoy a very unique type of Ice cream called “Dipping dots”.

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P and I did VR show where we were hanging in the air and getting thrown all over!! It was fun 😄

We got back to the city to eat dinner at an Indian place. We walked close to an hour to Jyoti Indian restaurant. Food was decent and tasty. We really ate our fill. I would give it 3* because Paneer was too less and too small. Stingy people! Dal makhani was amazing! And so was veg jalfrezi

Overall, a great great day!!

Day 3: Seoul

Left early morning at 730 for DMZ. Bus ride of 1 hour approx from the hotel.

We went to Imjingak to see the bell, the bridge with the ribbons

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We had a 30 min halt here post which we proceeded to the DMZ. We went to the railway station that was built to connect Seoul to Lisbon, Portugal.

After we were done with DMZ, we went to Plant cafe and ate a hearty lunch. It was a great vegan restaurant. Loved eating the rice with thai green curry, chilli burgers, tofu wraps and hummus salad. As soon as we got out, it had just started to drizzle. Luckily just after we reached our hotel, it started pouring. We just escaped being drenched. *whew*

After relaxing for a bit in the room, P, T and V came to our room. Kids just ran around and jumped on the bed. S and T, after about 15 mins, decided to roam around in rain. They stepped out and sat in a bar to have a drink. The cafe lady kicked them out since they were only planning to drink and not eat.

P and I watched “Zumbo’s just desserts” while Junior S watched Hindi movie songs and the kids hid all our stuff (shoes, torch, etc) under the beds!

Guys returned with drinks for all and some Pringles. We ate Thepla and khakhra with achar for dinner. Called it a night at 9 pm.

Day 4: Seoul

We took an early morning 8 am bus to Nami Island, Rail Park and French Petit. I woke up super late and had to rush to take the taxi to the Eujiro station but it was raining and we did not want to get wet (also we were late!).

Our bus took off at the right time. The entire journey was surrounded by white/pink cherry blossom trees lining both sides of the roads. The bus journey was comfortable. Only downside was the absolutely horrifying guide. His name was Bruce. He was condescending, rude and kept flirting with all the women. Not to mention, he had no intention to answer any questions but he kept promoting people to ask them! Annoying!

Our first stop was Nami Island. It was drizzling a little bit and that made our fingers freeze. Even the kids were gladly wearing the gloves. We got a few nice pics and ate pizza for lunch.

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We saw some emus and the kids played at the slides. After this we set off for Rail Park.

That was a tremendous experience!! We got the kids into ponchos as it was continuing to slightly drizzle.

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We then got into the cycling 4-seater vehicle. P, Junior S and I were in 1 with 2 Korean girls. T, S and the boys in another.

Junior S was sitting on my lap which made it incredibly difficult to cycle. P and the other 2 had to do the major heavy lifting. Luckily, a lot of the path was slopy making it easier to not paddle.

The boys car was ahead of us. When we started, our car jammed into them. The organiser showed us the breaks again and the boys were worried we will ram into them again 🤣🤣🤣 They were so scared that everytime they saw us coming near, both T and S would start showing signals to break 🤣🤣

The entire rail track had some tunnels on the way… some had bubbles blowing inside with some awesome K-pop music playing, some gave the illusion of bright stars lining the tracks.

It was brilliantly cold but we had a great time 😀

Next stop was France Petit. It was quite okay. Some good scenic spots but not worth revisiting.

We took some jumping shots here. Lol. Even the guys jumped reluctantly 😀

We were exhausted on the way back so ended up going to Jyoti again. This time also we ate our bellies full! A super end to a super day. Icing on the cake was when we decided to walk back 😀

Day 5: Seoul

We left around 945 am to go to Yeouinaru metro station to hopefully catch some full bloom sakuras and get some pics!

As soon as we stepped out of the station, we were enamoured by all the cherry blossom around us. There were full bloom sakuras all around us. We got our hearts content of the cherry blossom beauty.

V even managed to climb one of the trees 😁

The beautiful flowers were on full display. The kids collected some beautiful flowers that had fallen off the trees.

Once we were done, we rushed for our appointment of the temple food at a place called “Sanchon”.

Our taxi driver lost his way and took us twice the usual amount of time to reach this place. By now, we were hungry enough to devour a bull! It was a nice place. They served us 20 different dishes and drinks.. some of which were super nice. The hot bibimbab and the fermented drink were my favorite. Kids liked the mushroom stick with special sauce and the lotus stem. They even got second servings of the same.

It was a calm and serene setting with birds chirping. Our kids absolutely ruined the serenity of the place. They screamed and howled and crawled and jumped… The other diners must be surely cursing us!!

After this, we went to the namsen tower. On the way to the tower, we realised all the flowers had gone missing! They collected and lost all the flowers in a matter of a few hours!

T was suggesting the uphill climb of 2.5 kms to the top to get the cable car from there. Luckily, we managed to get a bus all the way up. The steep slope made us thank the heavens we did not chose to climb!! Pushing the stroller up the slope would have been excruciatingly painful!

After reaching there, we saw a show by some performers. They were doing some stunts with knives and swords and some really big knives. They were amazing and I was just glad I wasn’t fighting them!

Now we started to make our way to the cable car. We saw tons and tons of love locks spread across the tower. P and I got enticed and bought our own (outrageously expensive it was!). They really know how to encash on people’s emotions! Anyways we were sold! We bought a blue heart shaped love lock. Wrote all 7 of our names on both sides and the date. Then we put it on the bridge.

Maybe when the kids are older and if they come back to Seoul, they will come find the lock!

On the cable car side, it seemed really boring so we chucked it and went back to the hotel. That evening P and V came over for some thepla dinner. S cooked maggi in the kettle. It was quite tasty! V’s had one more night of awesome fun! Then S and I finished packing to get ready to leave for Busan by 9 am train the next day.

Day 6: Busan

We got up really early to leave for Busan. We were down to grab breakfast by 8. Left hotel around 820. It was a 10 min taxi ride to the station. We got the ticket validated then ran for the train track. Reached the train track on time and put all our luggage in #12 car thinking it was #11. We had 2 seats – 1 in #11, another in #16. We decided to settle down in #11 and occupy a vacant seat if nearby. There indeed was a vacant seat and fortunately for us, did not get filled the entire time.

On reaching Busan, we directly went to the Restaurant Bombay Braű. This was near the railway station. We ate our fill. The food was pretty okay!

From there, we got into a taxi for the hotel, Laon. Once we reached the room, the view from the room blew our minds away!

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The kids wanted to immediately hit the beach. Sia kept screaming boats and jumping. The kids were ecstatic. So was their mom 😁😍 She just wanted to sit there by the window and drink a hot cuppa chai! But we had only half a day so we got going!

First we went to the Buddhist temple, Haedong Yonggung temple. There were some gorgeous statues of Buddha and various small pagodas for the specific wishes. V went about praying and bowing to all the Gods 😁

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The entire place was built over a mountain so there were plenty of rocks for Kids to climb. They loved doing it but we were on high alert as falling on those rocks would not be pleasant!

On our way back, kids spotted a strawberry place and went crazy. It was just like when they were in Seoul 😀 We also bought a new wind chime for the new house 😊

From the temple, we asked the taxi driver where to go. He suggested we go to an APEC observatory just behind Hotel Westin.

It looked gorgeous but had closed down by the time we reached. Nonetheless, that entire stretch was amazingly beautiful with lovely stretches of sea in front of us.

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Throughout the day, V kept collecting flowers and storing them in my book. We called it the flower book. It has about 7 specimens of flowers.

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We hope these will make their way back safely to Singapore!

After this, we wanted to roam the area a little bit to see if we can find a nice dinner place. S went to the information in Westin to enquire. They guided us to try restaurants lining a road. We were walking towards it when we noticed a cruise liner docked. S went to enquire. He went in around 645 pm. The cruise was leaving at 7. We hopped in. It was brrrrrrrrr cold.

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We were on the top deck for around 30 mins before heading down. There was live music. The guy playing the guitar and singing some Korean and some English songs… specially Elvis songs. His Elvis impersonation was pretty spot on. The bridge was a sight to behold.

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This bridge changes light every few mins. It is a double decker bridge spanning over 7.4 kms. It was amazing to watch it from a distance. It all came together to create a magical evening 🙂

After the cruise, we headed to a pizza place for dinner. Pizzas were nice and we were hungry too. After dinner, it was a wrap 😊

Day 7: Busan

On our last day in Busan and South Korea, we decided to take it easy. We had a leisurely morning breakfast (which was a pretty average affair). After that, we went up and the kids took a longggg shower in the Jacuzzi.

After the long leisurely shower, we checked out and kept the luggage in the storage. Then we stepped out to go to the beach. It was nice cold but the kids did not seem to mind it. They got busy with the sand for about 45 mins.

After the beach, we tried looking for a Korean place but couldn’t find any that served vegetarian. Finally we decided to try out Punjab Indian restaurant. When we went there, it was deserted. We were the only customers there. That was our signal to get out. We decided to try the other branch of Bombay Braű across the street. The food was decent. One big negative- toilet had no soap and wasn’t replaced despite the reminder.

After lunch, V shot 6 out of 8 darts and won a small soft toy! Yay! After that, we were pretty much on the road or the air! We took bullet KoRail train back to Seoul. It was a 2.5 hour ride.

Tip to Vegetarian travelers: Korean Dining on the level B2 of the Seoul Station (which has the ticketing counter for Airport Express) has one of the best Vegetarian Korean food we had in the entire trip. The bibimbap was delicious, so was the cold buckwheat noodle. Icing on the cake: The manager there knows English very well and can help with customising the dish for your dietary preferences.

After an awesome dinner, we took the train to the airport. Junior S slept on the way and slept the entire way through 😀 Check-in, security, boarding, flight… woke up on the taxi ride back home. This could not have gone better for us 🙂

All in all, a great trip, which we will not forget for a long time to come! 🙂

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Death… — May 16, 2017

Death…

As raw an emotion as it gets..

It knows no class, no colour

No strength, no valour

The humanity has to bow down when it strikes.. pick up the pieces and move on.

It is strange to see a breathing, talking human being go silent and lifeless… All dreams, aspirations gone away in a jiffy.

It is also equally strange to find people around the one whose soul has departed treat it as inconvenience. The kids may have to miss school due to the funeral.. Will have to drive to the other end of the town to attend the funeral.. That is what the departed soul comes down to. A mere inconvenience.

It is true.

Recipe: Naan Khatayi — August 16, 2015

Recipe: Naan Khatayi

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Ingredients:

Makes around 10 medium sized Naan Khatayis

  • 1 small cup Maida (All Purpose Flour)
  • 1 small cup Atta (Wholewheat Flour)
  • 1 small cup Sooji (Semolina)
  • 1/2 small cup Besan (Chickpea flour)
  • 1 cup finely crushed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup solidified desi ghee (Clarified Butter)

Cooking Time: 40 mins

Preparation:

  • Make a lightly made dough mixing all the flours with sugar and ghee
  • Wrap the dough in sling wrap and refrigerate for 20 mins
  • Take the dough out, make round balls
  • Smear small bit of oil on the baking tray
  • Arrange all the balls in the baking tray and refrigerate for 25 mins
  • At the same time, put the oven on for preheating
  • Take the tray out and put it in the oven. Bake for around 15-20 mins

Naan Khatayi is ready 🙂 I serve this to my son as a biscuit and he loves it!

Source of this recipe is: Foodfellas4You with minor variations 🙂

You tell me how you found it 🙂

Recipe: Vegetarian Pad Thai —

Recipe: Vegetarian Pad Thai

Ingredients

  • Rice Noodles (2 cups boiled)
  • Coarsely crushed roasted peanuts (Half a cup)
  • Spring onions (for garnishing)
  • Vegetables of your choice (Broccoli, Bell Peppers)
  • Soya Sauce
  • Tomato Chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 small lemon

Cooking time 30 minutes

Serves 2 people

Preparation

The best thing I like about Pad Thai is that it is one dish that is a hit with both adults and kids. The flavor is mild enough for kids and can be spiced up with little bit of dry chilli flakes).

  • Boil rice noodles. Doss them in some olive oil and keep them aside.
  • Put 1 tsp oil in a wok and add minced garlic and onions. Saute until brown.
  • Add all cut vegetables and saute until soft.
  • Add noodles, soya sauce, chilli sauce and lemon
  • Add 2 tsp brown sugar and crushed groundnuts
  • Mix well
  • Garnish with spring onions, coriander and roasted groundnuts
  • Serve hot

Inspiration for this recipe is Sea Food Pad Thai by Sanjeev Kapoor. You can watch it here:

Let me know how you found it 🙂

#AIBKnockOut Detractors – Grow up! — February 5, 2015

#AIBKnockOut Detractors – Grow up!

Over the last one week, my FaceBook wall was full of #AIBKnockOut Roast with Ranveer and Arjun videos being shared. I am not a big fan of AIB so did not watch it for the longest time, until one day when I wanted to know what the fuss is all about!

I watched them. My take –

  • Some parts are hilarious! The Alia Bhatt and Sonakshi Sinha jokes had me in splits!
  • Fat jokes were too lame and too many. So were the black jokes..
  • Some were in bad taste – “To Rajeev Masand, everytime you call yourself a journalist, ISIS beheads a real one” – ISIS is such a huge threat to world peace at the moment, this reference could have been avoided
  • Some were just plain crass – You know which ones I am talking about

That said, I do believe comedy is all about insulting and offending. Stand-up comedians like #RussellPeters and #AzizAnsari have built their careers on racist comments and the like. If you can’t take it, don’t watch it. Before the start of the said video, there were clear age related statutory warnings. So all those of you who think the videos should have been taken down – GROW UP!!

“I may not agree with you, but I will defend to death my right to get offended. How dare you? Baahar mil.” – Desi Voltaire

Dear everyone,

Let’s just all take a deep breath. They’re just jokes. Unfunny, crass or whatever you want to call them, they’re still just jokes. The AIB Knockout video has been taken down. While we’d love to claim that it’s because so many people watched it that it broke YouTube, the truth’s a little sadder.

First things first; no one person or force forced us to take this video down. This is not something that’s happened because of a 3 am phonecall or a morcha at our front door or a gunman on a grassy knoll. Under the circumstances, this is us being pragmatic. Allow us to explain.

People who’ve been following our work will know that we’ve always tried to experiment with content be it on Youtube or a live comedy show, with the sole intent of making people laugh and/or think. AIB Knockout was another such attempt to try something new and bring the roast format to a country where celebrities aren’t often known to laugh at themselves. To our pleasant surprise, we managed to bring together consenting adults who were willing to be made fun of by other consenting adults in a crowd full of (wait for it) consenting adults. And if we’re honest, it was a phenomenally entertaining evening. Were the jokes repetitive? Crass? It didn’t matter because they happened in the spirit of irony and good humour. It was just liberating to be able to say those things, things that people have thought in one form or another privately for years. A lot of the laughter that night came from that spirit (there’s your answer, people who wondered why everyone was laughing at terrible jokes).

The video came with a clear disclaimer with several age and content warnings. No one was forced to watch it, we didn’t buy airtime on every single TV channel on Earth to broadcast it. YouTube videos do not magically auto-play in front of you. And yet the videos got over 8 million views. Far more importantly, on the video page, the people who liked them outnumbered the people who disliked them by ten times to one. Yes, ten times.

The format was the same as any international roast i.e. insult comedy, delivered in the form of one-liners designed to be as rude as possible. It is performed with the understanding that none of the material is to be taken seriously—none of the performers actually mean the “offensive” things they say to each other on the night. We clarify this simply to provide context.

With the Knockout, in our own juvenile, idiotic way, we wanted to push the envelope of comedy in this country. But then the envelope pushed back. Things got to a point where people who have supported us, people who work hard to make what we do come to life, were put in a position where things could get deeply unpleasant for them. And that’s a problem. We can live with abuse, hate, anger, fury, rage, ignorance, bigotry and perhaps even bullying. But we don’t want anybody to get hurt because of us. And we do mean anybody.

We hope it’s clear by now that we never write with the aim of hurting people. That’s not our goal and we daresay that no comedian ever does that. We don’t go to work and say, “Hmm, let’s offend XYZ people from XYZ community today.” If we really wanted to piss off people and hurt them, we’d be selling credit cards over the phone.

Our job is to raid the newspapers, pop culture and life for observations and analogies and it’s okay if you think we’re juvenile or unfunny. We respect arguments that are critical, and as for the arguments we don’t, we respect your right to make them without impediment. It is a courtesy we wish worked both ways.

Over the last few days, we’ve found ourselves subject to more scrutiny, judgment and opinion than we’re worth. This Knockout shouldn’t matter. In a secure culture it wouldn’t matter.

We’re lucky to have support pouring in from all quarters. First up, from our fans, just the greatest people in the world, who have nothing but good cheer and encouragement and positive thoughts. We were pleasantly surprised that people in power who we have made fun of in the past, including people from both the so-called right wing and left-wing, went out of their way to convey support to us. It was fantastic to know that they stand for free speech as much as us. Friends in the media have told us to stay our course, pledging their support for our right to say anything, no matter how ridiculous. Thank you to anyone who has stated in the last few days that we have the right to say what we want, not as comedians but more importantly as citizens of this country.

There’s a larger cultural conversation going on here, where we’re at the very edges of what it’s okay to say. And it’s a conversation we need to have now because the world we live in is entirely too complicated to be run by silences. We still stand by our belief in the right to absolute freedom of expression for us and for anyone who has anything to say about anything at all. We hope to be part of an environment that supports that sort of expression without fear of persecution, intimidation and most importantly, annoyance. As always, in our own AIB way we’ll continue to strive towards creating that very environment.

In the meantime, we’d like to say thank you to our fans and everyone else who is standing by us. You guys make the struggle worth it. To everyone railing against us and against the stars that were present, to everyone who’s decided we’re destroying the fabric of our culture, to everyone who’s called us seditious pornographers while plotting the downfall of Indian Values And Civilization As We Know It, we would like to reiterate that we are just a bunch of comedians who work, and have always worked, without any malicious intent whatsoever.

We encourage any and all conversation on the subject of freedom of expression, for our own silly selves, and for people better, smarter and more courageous than us. For hundreds and thousands of artists, commentators and any and all citizens that do not have the privilege of social platforms and reach that we do.

We are also cooperating with the authorities and hope to resume normal service soon. We’d like some sort of cheerful resolution to this so we can focus on more important national issues, like the upcoming Cricket World Cup.

P.S. Best of luck Virat Kohli. Sorry for the jokes. We heart emoticon you.

P.P.S. It’s a good thing nobody’s downloaded the file and put it on a torrent website or anything.

Life is so precious! — December 17, 2014

Life is so precious!

A few days back, I witnessed a very gruesome incident. I was walking up the stairs after getting my breakfast. I saw some huge thing fly. At first I thought it was a bird and then I heard a thud. My first instinct was that some luggage or a big bag fell down from one of the top floors. I peeped down from the railing and saw a young man’s limp dead body! I looked around stunned and called for help. Soon there was police and ambulance!

Later on we found that he was a young man of around 30 with a wife and a 3 year old daughter.

His dead body keeps floating in my mind.. I am unable to take it off my head. But what bothers me the most is a thought that I wish I could have reached him earlier and stopped him from taking this extreme step.

A look at his daughter’s face made me cringe on the cowardly and gruesome act! We face lots of hurdles in life and will have lots of challenges… suicide may seem like an easy way out sometimes but the problem that led you to end your life doesn’t resolve on its own… not to mention the tremendous pain you subject to everyone who loved you! That little girl for no fault of her own is now an orphan at the age of 3!!! She will never know her father! His wife is now a widow at the age of 30! She will spend her life taking care of their daughter on her own!

I hope and pray for his soul to find peace but I also wish he hadn’t done this. Life is too precious to end like this… It is beautiful! Yes there are sad days but also ones full of bliss! To concentrate only on the bad is unfair!

Always remember to face life’s problems head on and fight like a brave soldier!

Recipe: Baby Food: Avocado Paratha — August 26, 2014

Recipe: Baby Food: Avocado Paratha

Age Group: 9 months onwards (Once the baby starts to chew a little)

Ingredients:

1 Avocado, 1 cup wheat flour, salt as per taste

Method of cooking:

  1. Cut open the avocado and take the pulp out
  2. Knead the dough with the pulp and some salt
  3. Make thin pancakes (Rotis) on the stove. Add little ghee
  4. Serve with any curry/curd

Nutritional Benefits:

Avocado is a very nutritious fruit, specially for the development of children. However, due to its bland taste and texture, there is little you can do with it. I was bored with Guacamole so decided to give this a try and it was a hit 🙂

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! Yayyy!! Oh wait, what is ALS? —

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! Yayyy!! Oh wait, what is ALS?

Dear readers-who-have-taken-the-ice-bucket-challenge, I would like to ask you one simple question: “Do you know what is ALS?”

Social media and the ensuing #ALSIceBucketChallenge madness has given a whole new meaning to “Herd Mentality”! I have at least 50 odd friends who decided to take on the challenge. My facebook page is brimming with home videos of friends in various stages of undress emptying buckets onto their heads. They feel a sense of pride in having done that and it is evident as you see their proud, beaming faces! But wait… they do realise that emptying bucket means they wont have to donate. So, does that pride come from not having to part with $100? Tricky question as I try to wrap my head around the psyche! I am pretty sure some donated even as they took a very public ice-water bath! Then, you may ask, why waste water?

As much as my mind and rationale tells me otherwise, in some strange ways, this whole brewhaha and the accompanied inanity has met the much desired outcome! ALS campaign managed to raise over $31.5M!! You cannot have a better example of “Any publicity is good publicity”!! I, for one, did not know anything about ALS! Somewhere people making a fool of themselves prompted me to go find out more. So, with a hope that the money will be put to good use and we will soon have a cure for the dreaded disease, I am thankful to whoever started this campaign.

Does that make someone, who suffers from an equally dreadful moto-neuron disease, but a lot more widespread (like Multiple Sclerosis), cringe at the response? Probably yes! As much as my heart goes out to all suffering from ALS (around 30000 in the US), I also wish something was done for those suffering from MS (around 2.5M worldwide)! And this is just one example! If someone were to start an #IceBucketchallenge for another disease, no one would even take notice! It’s time now to think of the next weird thing! For all you know, it may end up saving many lives!

Plz throw away the bucket and donate! They need your money more than Mother Earth needs your water.

On that note, here is a hilarious compilation of all challenges gone wrong 🙂

[youtube:=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TDmhGkqv7g]

Baby Food: Sooji Kheer — November 26, 2013

Baby Food: Sooji Kheer

Age Group: 6-8 months

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons Sooji (Rava), 1 cup water

Method of cooking:

  1. Roast the Sooji in a pan till it is brown in color
  2. Bring water to a boil. Add the sooji and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly
  3. Mix in formula or breast milk or juice and add fruits if desired

Nutritional Benefits:

Sooji should ideally be the first cereal you start your baby on. It is healthy and very easy to digest. Initially start with a few teaspoons and then slowly increase the quantity if the baby takes to it.

Baby Food: Barley Cereal — November 7, 2013

Baby Food: Barley Cereal

Age Group: 6-8 months

Ingredients:

1/4 cup ground barley (barley ground in blender or food processor)
1 cup water

Method of cooking:

1. Bring water to a boil. Add the barley and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly
2. Mix in formula or breast milk or juice and add fruits if desired
3. Serve warm

Nutritional Benefits:

Eating barley is believed to help regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer. Interestingly, research has shown that it is also useful in protecting against childhood asthma.

It contains amino acids, lots of fibre (ounce for ounce, three times as much fibre as oatmeal), B vitamins, iron, selenium, copper, manganese and phosphorus.

Hows everyone been? :) —

Hows everyone been? :)

So, I became a mom 6 months back and life has been super duper busy since then 🙂 As things are beginning to get exciting, I feel like penning down some of my thoughts sometimes and some things I have learnt in the past 6 months…

Hopefully, I will be able to blog a little more frequently now 🙂

Happy New Year and Ekta Arts! — January 3, 2013

Happy New Year and Ekta Arts!

Hello all,

Wishing you a very happy 2013!! Now that the Apocalyptic year is behind us, we can relax and go on with our lives 🙂

With new years comes a hope of new beginnings!! 🙂 And it is the perfect time to introduce to you all an incredibly talented Ekta Agrawal who has recently started her own venture!! Check out the beautiful paintings and encourage the budding new talent 🙂

You can buy her paintings at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/EktaArts

Sorry for being MIA!! — November 28, 2012

Sorry for being MIA!!

I just realised that even though I have been reading all your comments on my blog and reading some of the blogs as well, I have not posted a single blog in the last 6 months! Thats a long time to be away from something you love so dearly so I sincerely apologize for the absence..

But, I have been MIA for a reason – Not been keeping very well… But the reason for not keeping well is the most beautiful thing to have happened to me 🙂

Any guesses?

Media and the concept of beauty — May 28, 2012

Media and the concept of beauty

How do we define beauty? Is it fair skin, 18-inch waist, green-blue eyes, really long legs? Has our idea of beauty become so narrowed down that we are willing to go to any lengths to achieve that so-called-perfection?

You know some thing is terribly wrong somewhere when

  • 10-year olds start talking about dieting to get rid of puppy fat or start applying make-up
  • women known for their beauty (?) get heavily criticised if they appear human (!)
  • people get insecure or become depressed or worse, commit suicide because someone called them ugly
  • so-called pretty men/women get undue advantages at school, work, etc

Instead of appreciating ourselves as God’s gift to mankind, we are constantly trying to change ourselves to fit the concept of beauty as “defined” by the society. In India, the concept of beauty, till about 30 years ago was defined by fair skin. Any girl with fair skin was said to be beautiful. Any girl with wheatish complexion was said to be ugly. I have heard multiple stories where girls were rejected for marriage proposals just because they had wheatish complexion. This led to a mad rush for whitening the skin color of those unfortunate girls. My husband’s uncle would tirelessly make his daughter rub whitening lotions/scrubs/masks on her face just because she was not fair. The poor child had to endure this torture for very many years till her skin actually turned a lighter shade.

The obsession with light skin was always a blot on the way our society defines beauty. Things have just got worse with an equal obsession with weight.  Now, this obsession with weight can be looked at from 2 different angles: One is obsession with being healthy, the other is obsession with being size zero. I had written a blog on the harmful effects of size zero obsession sometime back. As far as obsession with being healthy is concerned, I think its great!! We Indians tend to consume a lot more than we can burn out, so it is a great wave of healthy eating that has made its way to our kitchens! Indians today are more aware and educated about healthy eating habits and a good lifestyle. The problem occurs when health takes a back seat and people want size zero at all costs, sometimes at the cost of their health. I see young girls today starving themselves in order to get that svelte figure. What they dont realize is that proteins, calcium and even carbs are so important for growing children. If they deprive their body of the basic nutrients, they will lead a very unhealthy life later on.

Indian bodies are a certain type – it is unhealthy for us to expect everyone to have size zero. And it takes a really ugly turn when Media starts bashing celebrities who are not size zero or have put on a little bit of weight – case in point, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan being reprimanded left, right and center for not having lost her post-partum weight. The kind of things that are being said about the woman who has always been known for her beauty were enough to put any one in depression, but not her! She has gone out to say this:

This is reality. This is who I am. I am a mother. This can happen and it has happened to me and it is fine. I have lived the real life in public eye and it continues. I have never endorsed Size zero. Beauty is being comfortable in your skin and this is that. Women are feeling that and they are seeing that and I am glad about it. Thats the way it should be.

Aishwarya has gone ahead to show that it is ok to put on a little bit of weight and be happy with it. Hats off to her for that. I wish Media would stop fostering fairy tale concept of beauty and unrealistic expectations. I also wish more celebrities like Aishwarya promote a healthy body image. It will go a long way in changing our constricted perception of beauty and help us appreciate and admire each individual the way they are 🙂

Survey on Sports Merchandising — May 22, 2012