Friday, August 31, 2007

Hey Baby...with my baby

This Wednesday, Ranz called & asked me if I want to watch Hey Baby - the movie....I was like I can't coz I'm not sure if Aadi can sit through the 3 hours in the dark...and I have never taken him to a 3-hour hindi movie before this. She assured me that it would be OK as Ana (that's what Aadi calls her husband Anand), and my brother & hubby all would happily walk him out should he cry. I was sort of ready to go, but the fear remained. To prepare him I told Aadi about the baby in the movie & that it would be dark but we all would be around etc. He seemed OK. We took a taxi to Shaw Tower on Beach Road, which houses the Jade Cinema where we were to watch the film. On reaching the place we made a beeline to the snacks stall as 2 of us had come straight from office. But there were no snacks that we had imagined (samosas etc). My hungry hubby grabbed some packets of potato wafers & we went in.
Our seats were quite high as I did not want Aadi to be too close to the screen. Some trailers were on & we I was highly pleased to be back to watching hindi films in theatres...I was ogling at the screen like never before!! Aadi was very amused to see such a huge TV screen, & was glued to it. Once the movie began he was watching it closely, and once the baby was on screen we all got running commentary about what the baby was doing. Aadi would say ' aiiiiii' meaning 'Mumma the baby is crying'...and then 'Mumma haa haa haa' which is 'Mumma the baby is laughing'...then followed actions for bath etc.
Funny thing was in the movie the baby pees on Akshay Kumar, my son immediately told all of us 'baby su-su' !! we were all in splits !!
Aadi took turns sitting with each one of us....he would call out the next person to carry him..'Anaaa'...'Dadaaa'...'Papaaaa'..'Mumma'...he has not fixed a name for Ranz yet, we're trying to teach him to say 'maushi' but he manages 'aushi' but not quite there...
Anyways back to the movie. In the later half when Fardeen comes as Parimal Tripathi, and there is lot of laughter & comedy, Aadi was laughing a lot & then funny enough the family sitting in front of us were laughing more because Aadi laughed so much !!
The movie ended and we were happy to leave the theatre with such wonderful & fun filled memories of my first hindi film with my baby "Hey Baby"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hairsavers For Women

I have been losing a lot of hair since the last six months and so this title caught my attention. Written by Maggie Greenwood-Robinson , this book is very informative and tells you all about treatment options and more importantly the possible side-effects. A lot of important information here can be of real use to people who are about to start hairloss treatment. For example, did you know that only two hairloss treatment drugs are approved by FDA? (One is "Rogaine",and the other is called "Propecia".)

There is also a chapter on herbs for hairloss and the effect of diet on hairloss. The chapter on herbs is interesting but I wonder why there is no mention of "amla" (Indian gooseberries) which is considered to be one of the most effective herbs for hair health. There are also chapters on surgical solution (hair transplantation) as well as non-surgical solutions (wigs, concealers etc). Overall, this book is worth reading if you are experiencing hairloss and want to know the treatment options available to you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wet market

My husband Faisal relocated to Singapore two months before us but he never went to the wet market (infact, he still hasn't visited one....). He used to do all the shopping from the Fairprice supermarket.

But I always like buying vegetables and meat from the wet market.So after I came I called up my friend Neelum to ask her where the nearest wet market was. She gave me the directions and I was very excited to go to a wet market in the city for the first time.

After reaching the "Shunfu Mart" very easily (it is hard to miss it in Shunfu road) the first thing that captured my attention was the fish stall. Being a bengali, fish is an important part of our diet and so I rushed to the stall to find out what types of fish were available. To my bewilderment none of the fish that I saw there looked familiar. We are used to fresh water fish and the fish that were in front of me were all sea fish. To add to my confusion the woman selling the fish was not fluent in English. So she could not tell me the english names of the fish except for the very obvious ones such as Pomfret (which is very expensive) and Salmon. I was not too keen on the Salmon and so I picked up a fish that kind of looked interesting to me. What I liked was the red hue over its body. I just hoped that it would be palatable.

Next I went towards the chicken shop. There I saw something I never saw before: black chicken. Not that it was a live chicken with black feathers but it was a dressed chicken and the skin was black....I asked the shopkeeper what it was. But he just answered, "It is black chicken, la." Till today I haven't been able to unravel the mystery behind the black chicken......

As I wandered through the other shops I saw that there was an amazing variety of mushrooms....I think I never saw such a great variety of mushrooms in my life. One unique type of mushroom that I saw were tiny white mushrooms joined at the base and they almost look like beansprouts (I later learned that it is called "Enoki"). In the vegetable sections most of the vegetables were familiar to me except the leafy greens. I just picked up one variety that looked good and hoped that it would be tasty. The beansprouts looked were very big and fresh. Back home the beansprouts are much smaller.

I wanted to linger on and explore but since my two kids were at home I decided to go back. My exploration is still on six months down the line and I must say that, though I miss Bangladeshi fish, on the whole I am having a nice time trying out unfamiliar seafood and vegetables.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Different Strokes

Who does not remember Arnold...the cute little black boy who is living with a white Dad (of course there are other characters)....I loved the boy simply because I could relate to him in everything he did...pranks, faced problems at home or school, issues with elder brother, sister....the works.....
I also loved to see him frown, just his expressions part coz he was so good & looked so cute when he frowned.
Here is a gist of what DS was: Arnold & his brother Willis are sons of the housekeeper who worked for Mr. Philip Drummond. After her death, Mr. Drummond adopts these kids & this is where the fun begins. The two brothers adjust to living in a New York penthouse, there is cultural difference to say the least, every situation gave way to a comedy filled episode. But it was also a step towards accepting other races.
I have just come to know that all the seasons are available on DVD....I sure am going to get them for my son to watch and me to relive those days of my childhood when I used to wait for the day DS was to be on TV!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Diaper Dolphin

A few days ago my eight month old baby Nazu had his first taste of being in the swimming pool. I decided to take Nazu to the pool as per his pediatrician's recommendation who told me that swimming is very good for babies and aids in their physical and mental development. I was totally convinced after reading about the myriad benefits of "baby swimming" in the Internet.

Before taking him to the pool, I massaged oil all over his body so that it remains warm and dressed him up in his swimming costume and cap. His elder sister was quite excited to see the little one in a swimming suit ....and he was actually looking quite amusing. I did diaper him to prevent any accidents.

When I stepped into the shallow pool with the baby in my arms I only dipped his legs to make him used to the idea. He seemed a bit apprehensive and so I let him take it easy. After a while when he seemed a bit used to the idea of a large body of water I slowly put his body into the water with one of my arms holding him and the other below his belly. My baby was a bit stiff at first but then after a while he started enjoying and splashing water. He babbled and laughed and his enjoyment of water was really infectious! His sister joined in the fun and so did we!Nazu started making the "click click" noises that he always makes whenever he is stimulated (incidentally he has been nicknamed "dolphin" by us because of this).

I let him play in the water for only ten minutes as it was his first day and I wanted his body to gradually get used to it. When I took him out of the water and wrapped him in a towel my baby gave a loud cry as if to say "I want some more time in the pool." but I took him away and gave him a good bath to wash away all the chlorine water.

I intend to take my baby for swimming at least once a week and I am now in search of swimming diapers as the normal ones become quite large by soaking a lot of water.

How to keep my toddler occupied

My toddler goes to school for two hours five days a week. After coming back home which is around 10:30 a.m. she takes her bath, has her snacks and goes for a nap. She is usually done with her nap after about an hour. So there is a quite a gap between the time she is up from her nap till the time that she can go to the playground. I would welcome suggestions on what I can do to keep her occupied during this time as she becomes quite bored during these long afternoons.

Tea Trivia

  • 80% of office workers now claim they find out more about what's going on at work over a cup of tea than in any other way
  • Apart from tourism, tea is the biggest industrial activity in India.
  • Tea was created more than 5000 years ago in China.
  • The first book about tea was written by Lu Yu in 800 A.D
  • Tea firstly appeared in Europe thanks to Portuguese Jesuit Father Jasper de Cruz in 1560.
  • The number of recommended cups of tea to drink each day is 4, this gives you optimal benefit.
  • 96% of all cups of tea drunk daily in the UK are brewed from tea bags.
  • 98% of people take their tea with milk, but only 30% take sugar in tea.
  • Tea is a natural source of fluoride that can help protect against tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Tea has potential health maintenance benefits in cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention.
  • Tea contains half the amount of caffeine found in coffee.
  • By the middle of the 18th Century tea had replaced ale and gin as the drink of the masses and had become Britain's most popular beverage.
  • Tea breaks are a tradition that have been with us for approximately 200 years

Sonie I can see you walking to the kitchen to make your cup of TEA !!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

First Movie

On the 26th of November 2006, we went to the movie "Happy Feet". It was an event organised by a company that organises movie events for people with kids who normally find it daunting to take kids to a movie. I loved the idea of going to a movie with kids where everyone else also has kids & no one will yell or mind if the child decides to cry or just jump around.
We set off with all of Aadi's lunch & snacks packed and making sure that we carried a warm jacket & a shawl for him should he feel cold or fall asleep. We went to Suntec City's Eng Wah theatre where it was to be screened. The venue was full of people & cute kids all bundled up for the movie. There was a song n dance show going on & the toddler were enjoying it immensely. There was also a stall of baby clothes, maternity wear & also Maybank was there with it's portfolio of education & insurance schemes for children. It was a very well thought of event, as there also was a counsellor who specialised in relationships. Often we experience a strain in our relation with our spouse after a child is born, so this counsellor was giving couples some pointers and guidelines to strengthen & enhance the now-new relationship as parents.
OK enough said about the event, now let me tell you how we enjoyed the movie itself. My son was quite excited when the movie began & he saw lots n lots of penguins all over the screen. I had thought that he will get afraid in the darkness of the movie hall, but NO !! he was at ease & kept looking at us when we laughed at anything during the movie. After about half an hour, he decided to look at people sitting behind us and was very pleased to see other babies enjoying the movie & trying to make sense of it all. After some more time he lost interest and wanted to have a stroll, so we let him walk to his stroller. We went back to our seats & watched the remaining movie with fun. We were not at all 'disturbed' by crying babies or parents walking in & out of the hall.
Now Happy Feet is a favourite of my son & tells us to play the 'punn' (read penguin) dance for him, which we happily do !!

Ghost Festival in Singapore

On 13th we were setting off for dinner at the nearby Longhouse along Thomson Road, and as we got out of the lift I saw a lot of my Chinese neighbours burning incense sticks, gold-paper, and placing offerings of fruits & cakes along the pavements. I realised that the Ghost Month has started. According to the Chinese belief, the 7th month of the Lunar calendar is a month when the gates of Hell are opened and all the ghosts come down to dwell on Earth. During this time all the Chinese offer gifts, food, incense to their deceased dear ones, so that they do not cause harm or haunt them. I see huge metal barrels placed everywhere so that the paper-money & paper-gold and other offerings are burned in that without causing any mess. This is one thing I love about Singapore, they think of every small detail where cleanliness is concerned (other things of course are just as meticulous). At every block there are song & dance shows to please the ghosts & these gatherings are great fun too!!

Some Facts: The Hungry Ghost Festival or the Feast for the Wandering Souls (also known as Zhong Yuan Jie in Mandarin) is held on the 7th month of the lunar calendar. On the 15th day of the 7th month, families pay respect to their deceased relatives and visit their graves often with much feasting as if their dead relations are still were with them. This year it starts on 13th August & ends on 10th September.
Significance: It is believed that during this time, the souls of the unborn and that of departed ancestors and friends are released from Purgatory to wander the earth for 30 days. The souls of the dead ignored by relatives may do acts of mischief, so steps must be taken to appease the spirits before they go on a rampage. Hell money, paper offerings and joss sticks are burnt to see to their material needs; food is offered so that the souls do not go hungry and thus less likely to wreck havoc. Neighbourhood celebration dinners or zhong yuan (popularly known as getai) are held on the feast day, with auction of goods, operas and song performances being part of the festivities. The Buddhists and the Taoists have different ways of celebrating the feast. As ghosts are believed to dominate events, no auspicious activities such as such as weddings and business launches are held during this period.

Legend: Mu Lian The story of Mu Lian, who tried to save his mother from Hell, is connected to this festival. Mu Lian was reputedly a favourite disciple of Buddha. However his mother had broken her vow of abstention from meat-eating and was cursed to suffer the afflictions of hungry ghosts in purgatory. Although filial Mu Lian offered rice to his dead mother, hungry ghosts would consume it before she could eat it. In anguish, Mu Lian appealed to Buddha for help. Buddha pointed out that only the monks of the Ten Directions could save her. They had to prepare all kinds of food and items and offer it to the ancestors of the past 7 generations on the 15th day of the 7th month. Thereafter, Mu Lian's mother was delivered from her torments.

I want you all to read an article that appeared in Finance Manila ( that talks about the Ghost festival & it's impact on the economy. It is very interesting!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A few things about India we must know

A Tribute to India as we celebrate our 60th Independence Day on 15th August
  • India is the world's largest, oldest, continuous civilization
  • Varanasi, also known as Benares, was called "the ancient city" when Lord Buddha visited it in 500 B.C.E, and is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today
  • India never invaded any country in her last 10000 years of history.
  • India is the world's largest democracy.
  • Grammar constitutes one of India's greatest contributions to Western philology. Panini, the Sanskrit grammarian, who lived between 750 and 500 BC, was the first to compose formal grammar through his Astadhyai.
  • India invented the Number System. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta.
  • The World's first university was established in Takshashila in 700BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
  • Sanskrit is the mother of all the European languages. Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software - a report in Forbes magazine, July 1987.
  • Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans. Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago. Today Ayurveda is fast regaining its rightful place in our civilization.
  • Although modern images of India often show poverty and lack of development, India was the richest country on earth until the time of British invasion in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus was attracted by India's wealth.
  • The art of Navigation was born in the river Sindh 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH. The word navy is also derived from Sanskrit 'Nou'.
  • Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. Time taken by earth to orbit the sun: (5th century) 365.258756484 days.
  • The value of "pi" was first calculated by Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century long before the European mathematicians.
  • Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Quadratic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 10**53(10 to the power of 53) with specific names as early as 5000 BC during the Vedic period. Even today, the largest used number is Tera 10**12(10 to the power of 12).
  • According to the Gemological Institute of America, up until 1896, India was the only source for diamonds to the world.
  • USA based IEEE has proved what has been a century old suspicion in the world scientific community that the pioneer of wireless communication was Prof. Jagdish Bose and not Marconi.
  • The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra.
    According to Saka King Rudradaman I of 150 CE a beautiful lake called 'Sudarshana' was constructed on the hills of Raivataka during Chandragupta Maurya's time.
  • Chess (Shataranja or AshtaPada) was invented in India..
  • Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India. Over 125 surgical equipment were used. Deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics and immunity is also found in many texts.
  • When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization)
  • The four religions born in India, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world's population
  • Islam is India's and the world's second largest religion
  • Jews and Christians have lived continuously in India since 200 B.C.E and 52 A.D respectively.
  • The Vishnu Temple in the city of Tirupathi built in the 10th century, is the world's largest religious pilgrimage destination, larger than either Rome or Mecca, with an average of 30,000 visitors every day giving donations to the temple of $6 million (U.S.) daily
  • The place value system, the decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I Dream of Jeannie

I was watching the Martha Stewart show today and was pleasantly surprised to see Barbara Eden & Larry Hagman as her guests. We know Barbara as the beautiful genie, Jeannie & Larry as the handsome astronaut Anthony 'Tony' Nelson from the lovely sitcom that we saw as kids, "I Dream of Jeannie".
Jeannie was awakened from her two thousand year imprisonment when Tony's' final stage rocket misfired and forced him to abort a space launch. Captain Nelson was washed ashore on a desert island where he found a bottle on the beach. Upon opening the bottle he set Jeannie free. As legend states, he who frees the genie becomes its master. However upon summoning a helicopter for him, rescuing him from being stranded, Tony claims they are even, she is free to go. Falling in love with the first man she set eyes on in two thousand years, Jeannie follows Tony home to Cocoa Beach, Florida. Jeannie was initially little more than a pesky, jealous servant, but as the series developed, so did their relationship, and eventually the couple was married in the fifth and final season.

I used to love to see how Jeannie was madly in love with Tony, and she would do all sorts of funny things to please him. She would do things with a a quick blink of her eyes, wow what fun it would be to have this ability or just to have a genie !!

Hair conditioner & anti dandruff remedy

Hair Conditioner: Mix 1/2 a cup of honey with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (add an extra tablespoon of oil if you have dry hair). Using small amounts at a time, work this mixture through your hair until it's completely coated. Cover hair with a shower cap; leave the mixture on for 30-40 minutes. After this wash off using a shampoo. This leaves your hair extremely soft & shiny.
Testimonial: I have tried this & i looovedd the result !! The shower cap is a must as the mixture tends to drip, it is a good idea to have an old towel over your shoulders to avoid messing up your clothes.

Anti Dandruff remedy: Mix 1 cup of yogurt and an egg. Apply the paste on your scalp & leave it on for at least 1/2 an hour. Rinse off with a mild shampoo.
Hint: Egg can be skipped & replaced by juice of 1 lemon.


Honey is a humectant, which means that it attracts & retains water.

Cleansing Scrub: Mix 1 tablespoon honey with 2 tablespoons of finely ground almonds & 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice. Gently rub this mixture on your face. Rinse with warm water. This scrub exfoliates the skin & the honey moisturises & adds a glow to your face.

Skin Clarifier: Mix 1/2 a cup of warm water with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a cotton ball, apply directly to blemish. Maintain pressure with cotton ball for several minutes to soften the blemish. Using a cotton swab dab honey on the blemish. leave it for 10 minutes. Rinse & pat dry.

Firming face mask: Whisk together 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon glycerin & enough gram flour to form a paste. Apply this paste over your face & neck, leave it on for 10 minutes. Wash off with warm water. Hint: You can substitute egg white with 1 teaspoon corn flour or corn starch.

Honey tonic: Add 1 tablespoon honey & the juice of 1 lemon to lukewarm water. Drink this daily in the morning on an empty stomach to keep your skin shiny & smooth.

Skin softening bath: Add 1/4th cup honey to bath water for a fragrant & silky bath

3 Quick Fix beauty solutions

Zit zapper: To 2 tablespoons of thick curd add 1 spoon of turmeric, & 2 drops of clove oil. Apply on the face & wash off when it dries.

Lighten underarms: 1 teaspoon of gram flour, 1 pinch of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of sandalwood powder, some lime juice & curd. Mix these well & apply on underarms, leave it on for 20 minutes, then wash off.

Hand lotion: Combine 1 cup of curd with the juice of 1 lemon. Store in the fridge for several hours & then use it to massage your hands & nails. Rinse & pat dry your hands.

Face packs for Radiant Skin

Pack for removing black spots caused due to acne. It provides moisture for a dry skin & helps to lighten the complexion:
Mix 1/2 a ripe banana, 1 tablespoon curd, few drops of lime juice, 1/2 tablespoon honey.
Mix these well & apply on face & neck, leave it on for 15 minutes & then wash off with warm water. Apply this pack at least twice a week.

Here is a pack for that 'instant glow' & nourishment:
To a cup of curd add 2 spoons of oats, 1 spoon of honey & 1 spoon of ground almonds. Apply this on your face & neck. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes & wash off with luke warm water.

Pick a workout that suits your personality

I stumbled upon this article (mid-day 2005) stowed away in my diary & knew at once that I had to share it with you all. It tells us of 7 different workouts to suit your personality. This goes along with the now prevalent health funda that we should choose our workout according to our personality & what we enjoy doing the most.
Methodical or Stressed out->Weight Training
With any form of weight training (dumbells, bar bells, machines), you can lose calories in the nest 24 hours, as opposed to only cardio vascular exercises which keep your metabolism high during the time you work out & maybe for an hour more. An increased number of repetitions with light weights (for the elderly or those who dislike the heavily muscled look) is also beneficial. Where: Just about anywhere, your local gym or even at home on a treadmill & with weights. Just ensure that you warm up for 10 minutes before the workout, & cool down later.
Calm & Introverted->Martial Arts
Single mindedly concentrating on the body parts involved, helps you understand the mind-body connection. And no, it's not about fighting. It's a great cardio-vascular workout that also strengthens muscle tone.
Competitive-> Cycling, Athletics
If you are a top contender in the inescapable rat race this is the perfect way to get you back in touch with yourself. Releasing bottled-up emotions, and sense of achievement of a goal will keep you motivated, unlike simple walking on a treadmill which might bore the hell out of you, given your i-want-more-challanges personality.
Peppy, extroverted->Aerobics or different forms of dance
If rythm, thumping beats are the sound track of your mind, this is for you. During your aerobics class make sure that your target heart rate is 85%. This is vital because any figure above or below 85 will not lead to weight loss.
Adventurous->Rock climbing
Trekking up the slopes may sound blissful, but it's not always easy to take off for a wild day trip. Instead sign up for an indoor rock climbing class. You're sure to see initial inhibitions vanish after your first class. This cardio-vascular exercise works out your back, shoulders, forearms, fingers & most importantly your leg muscles. You lose as many calories with 3-4 jaunts as you would after running on the treadmill for 10 minutes.
Aggressive, frustrated-> Yoga, Kickboxing, Swimming
Yoga & kickboxing might seem like contradictory disciplines, but they are perfect (in conjunction or by themselves) for individuals who need to let off steam. Kickboxing revitalises you by making you release endorphins, while holding yogic asanas in a state of concentration without letting your mind wander, is the perfect way to de-stress. Swimming is also great for all you water babies. It doesn't lead to weight loss, but tones your muscles.

Calculating your target heart rate: Maintaining your target heart rate is vital during your workout. To know your target heart rate subtract your age from 220, and calculate 85% of this figure; the result is your target heart rate. If your heart rate is below this figure when you exercise then you will not lose fat, on the contrary if it's above this figure then you will lose muscle.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hair Care & Coloring

I am giving some hair remedies below that are suggested by noted beauty expert Blossom Kochhar.
Remedy for split ends: For split ends trim your hair regularly, do not wash hair with warm water, use luke warm or cold water. Add one teaspoon of lavender oil to a bottle of Castor oil or coconut oil. Heat the mixture & massage it into your scalp at night, rinse in the morning. Do this at least twice a week.
Remedy for hair fall: Mix the milk of half a coconut with the juice of half a lemon, massage this into your scalp, leave it on for 6 hours & then wash off.
Natural hair color: 2 cups henna powder, 1 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon lime juice. Mix these together & keep aside for an hour, after that add 1 tablespoon ground cloves to darken the shade. (A dark brown shade can also be obtained by mixing 1 part henna with 3 parts indigo.) Before applying to hair add curd & 1 tablespoon mustard oil to counteract the drying action of henna.

Here is my version of natural hair color: Boil 1 tablespoon tea in 1.5 cups of water. After this cools down, add enough henna in this to make a thick paste, add 1 teaspoon coffee powder, 2 tablespoon amla powder. Mix all this in an iron vessel, as the iron also imparts a blackish color to the mix along with the amla powder. I leave this mixture overnight in the iron vessel & next day before applying on hair I oil my hair with coconut oil. Finally add 2 egg yolks (optional) and 2 tablespoons curds to the mix & apply on hair making small sections & covering from root to hair end. If the weather is cold add a few ground cloves to the mix so that you don't catch a cold.
If you want to only condition your hair leave this mix on your head for half an hour, if you wish to color your hair then leave it for 2-3 hours, then wash off with luke warm water. Do not shampoo. When your hair is dry oil them again & the next day you shampoo them. Voila !! lovely lustrous hair are yours' to stay

Don't forget to use rubber gloves while applying henna on your hair. But in case you get henna on your hands, take some sugar on your hands & rub a cut lemon on them, this will remove the color.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Men ignoring your presence

I am standing next to my husband & some male friend/colleague of my husband or just some one new greets him warmly & have a little chat and just ignore my presence & behave as though I am transparent or invisible !! I am not greeted, I am completely ignored......has this happened with you? Well with me it seems to happen very often....and I wonder why?
Do the men we met have a low self esteem or are they plain shy to talk to ladies? Or do they think 'that's just a wife we can ignore her, she's not important'?
I feel angry and insulted.....
Tell me your thoughts on such an event

Monday, August 6, 2007

Long summers

Reading Neelum's post on her summer jobs i am reminded of all the long summers i spent - and to be entirely truthful - i was pretty lazy - just spent the days eating, drinking, playing a lot and with lots of sleep.

i did not like diwali vacations - i love diwali and all the fun that we had, but it was always a little restrained simply because of the Diwali homework that we were required to do as well. Summers were a completely different story - of course the initial fortnight was a little worrisome because we awaited the results from the final examinations - but the rest of it was nothing but unadulterated fun.

I have made a list of things that we normally did every summer - till i was in school -
  1. visit to Pune - of course this was time when Nana used to cut mangoes and all of us kids would sit around him and eat them - i remember eating loads at one go and not worrying about putting on weight or any of the evil thoughts that go hand in hand with staying slim - and this was always accompanied by lots of hot chapattis with lots of toop (to this day i cant resist a hot poli with toop melting over it) and panha - whenever we were thirsty.
  2. swimming - first to get in the pool at around 4 PM in the evening and the last to get out at around 8.00 PM or so - 4 hours of non-stop fun - treasure hunts, cannon jumps, co-ordinated twists and turns, laps in the pool, just chatting with my friends at the water's edge - and then getting these wrinkly fingers and toes - and getting out and eating food enough to feed a small army
  3. loads of badminton and table tennis - usually in the mornings and some evenings that the pool was closed for cleaning - or just when the pool was too crowded for us regulars
  4. a really short hair cut - this was a ritual at the beginning and end of every summer - i don't remember ever getting into a summer without having a "boy-cut"
  5. climbing imli (tamarind) and mango trees and getting all the kaccha aam and imli - this was an activity confined to really hot days - can't believe the number of scrapes and bruises i have had from climbing trees - i still remember Shweta (one of my friends) who had the distinction of being the real monkey - because she could scale the tallest trees.
  6. Telling ghost stories in the park - i remember all of us friends used to gather in the park after walking around the colony and then assemble and tell each other the most scary and unbelievable ghost stories - and then there were some of those who took the pains to scare others on the short-cut home.
  7. Summer classes and library - just when you thought you were going nowhere with all the fun and getting too dark ( this was the time to work off the hard acquired tan)
  8. cleaning out the closets - i remember we waited for my cousin Shruti to arrive before we ever tackled this - not that she helped much - but she had a place of honour for the job.
  9. oh yes - i forget - the arrival of the cousins was in itself a big event - it meant some of the above activities were replaced by some others - like playing hide -n-seek at home, buying new books for the next year, covering books in brown paper and plastic sheets (till they came out with a plastic coated brown cover version), writing names on the labels (i did that for everyone around because of my perfect handwriting) and then my mum and aunts had these afternoon sessions sewing clothes for us - which were a lot of fun because i remember more "usavana"(roughly translates to getting the stitches out because they were in the wrong place to begin with) than actual stitching - an also the by-product of this was that all of us had either similar prints - different patterns or different prints - same pattern frocks.
  10. And last but not the least miscellaneous activities like star gazing at night, a weekend at Madh island, or a trip to some part of India with everyone, sleepovers, i also remember an infamous CCC - Creative Cooking Club - where the only creativity was inedible food, playing cards and some socially responsible act like planting trees in the colony.

Gosh looking back, there was so much packed in the summer holidays - they must have been the busiest times of our lives - yet was it that when we were young time passed slowly - or is it that as adults - we have more to do, i wonder? oh what fun it would be if we got to relive those summers over and over again - then again - maybe its time our children do - because looking at all this - it must have been a lot of work for our parents - finding us something to do all the time.

Treating Colds

"Aachooo....Aachooo" sound like very familiar right? and when it is your little one making that sound, your heart melts seeing them is such agony & discomfort. My son is just recovering from his bout of cold. I know a lot you moms have gone through those days of sneezing & sleepless nights, not only coz the kids suffer but others in the family also apparently catch it. So I thought I will share what I do when my son has a cold, and the remedies work well for us adults as well.
Milk boiled with a bit of turmeric is very soothing & something warm is very comforting as well, the turmeric provides immunity & healing from within. I also like serving all the meals a little warmer than usual & stick to simple meals as the digestive system is poor at these times. Moong dal khichadi, dal-rice with a bit of home-made ghee is best. I give him plenty of orange juice, lime juice, actually the point is to provide Vitamin C, which is very deficient when one has a cold. We also make a potli of a thick cloth & fill it with ajwain (ova), and heat this over a pan/skillet & use this potli to warm up the child, touching the head, nose, chest, ears, back, feet; This provides quick relief to small babies. Another thing that I discovered quite recently but works fantastically well is actually the result of a research carried out in Canada. Here is what we have to do: When the child is going to bed, apply generous amounts of Vicks on his/her soles (feet), and cover them with socks. This gives a warmth to the entire body & does all the things that Vicks would have done had you applied it to the chest, back, nose, head etc. This also ensures a full night of sleep. (this has worked for my son!!). Why I like this method best is because, my son used to spread the Vicks into his eyes if I put it on his head or nose.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Summer Job

As far as my memory takes me I recall all the summer jobs that we did as a family. Firstly I remember the wheat that we would buy in bulk quantity for the entire year, this we used to get in a jute sack, and it was a huge task to bring them up to our third floor apartment keeping in mind that there was no lift !! We would be parading up & down the three stories with small bags, until the sacks were light enough to be carried up. We then had to clean the wheat, taking out every stone or foreign matter in it by hand. Then we would transfer all the wheat to our terrace where it would spread out in the Sun, the idea was to dry it completely; in the evening we would again collect the wheat & put it in the sacks. This process of drying was carried out for 3 days. Once properly dried we would apply Castor oil to it, this would prevent any insects at bay. Finally the wheat was stored in a huge metal container, layering Neem leaves at the bottom & intermittently. This again was an insect-repellent.
Another thing we did was making different kinds of Papads, Potato Wafers, and my favourite 'shevaya' these are noodles made out of wheat. The process is quite elaborate, but the end product is so good that we almost forget the labor behind it.

We made masalas for the year, washed & dried turmeric, dried the red-chillies, then make Garam masala, Goda-masala, red chili powder, turmeric powder, dhania powder.

Gosh we actually had a mini cottage industry working those summer months !!

All our mattresses would bask in the Sun, all blankets, rajais, bed-sheets washed & dried in the sun. This ensured their long life.
Basically we did all jobs by which we utilised the available resources of that season i.e. the Sun.

What I love about this entire summer job is that we had all our wafers, chips, papads ready so our fast-food was actually home-made & we were sure of the quality of the product. I still ask my Mom to make the masalas for me, coz they are just great & all food tastes good!!

Wonder if I will ever be able to take so much pain & effort when there are so many options available...but I do know that I am grateful to my Mom for educating me in all things that one can do.....thanks Mom I love you!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


In the days gone by a lot of things have happened around the world, with me....I finished reading my Harry Potter & was quite sad after it was over (not because of all the people that die) but because it was the LAST!! it really was the last Harry Potter book that I would read. Reading HPs started as a curiosity for me & I did not realise that it had become a part of me....I wished I had house-elves, I wish that food would just pop out of nowhere & I wished I could experience something as exciting & testing as the things Harry & his friends had to go through. What I like best about the series is that it upholds friendship, trust, truth, honesty of the soul & empathy to all things living. There are of course many more things that I love about the series. I am in awe of Joanne Katheleen Rowling's (yes that is her full name) imaginative mind, to come up with such a great ensemble of characters in such a mystical subject is not only tough but I feel it would be a struggle to keep the characters real & relatable.
Another event that took place & left an impression on me was the swearing in of the first lady President of India, Mrs. Pratibha Patil. I could not decide whether I was happy that a nation so great as ours finally had a lady as it's First Citizen or that I was sad to let go of a dynamic President that I saw in Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Words fail me when I want to write about APJ (that's what I call him). To me he was the ideal President as I simply loved all things that he did as President. As the First Citizen he showed great love for the younger generation, he spent his time with them, answering their numerous questions, telling them to dream BIG. He is such an inspiration!! I loved the fact that he was non-political, he was much above that & has really raised the standard for Presidency in India. I would have loved to see him serve another term but I guess he also knows that what he is set out to do (igniting & enlightening young minds) does not require an 'official post', he is very capable of doing that solo. I wish him the best of everything & hope that some day I can meet him.

Find your "Best Fit" Jeans

I know a lot of girls like me who don't know what exactly to look for while buying a jeans, or then we never found the 'right' stuff. For me all my student life I was fat and thus did not even think of wearing jeans, but later when I ventured into a good shopping mall in Mumbai to buy a pair of pants & jeans....I searched high and dry in the ladies section but to my dismay I was asked to try the Gents section !! How humiliating is that !! Without losing heart I went to the gents section, and the guy there gave me a few to try (he was not surprised to see me there, so I think a lot of girls were being sent to him!!). I found a pair that was OK but it was very lose around the waist especially behind....all this had taken so much time that I just picked up that pair and headed to the cashier.
It's been many years since that incident & I have bought just one more pair since then but again I did not find something that was right for me....I saw a show that Oprah had dedicated to help us find the right pair of jeans & trousers for us. That helped & I at least got to know the terms like straight-cut, boot-cut, low rise, mid-rise...gosh there is an entire stream of science dedicated to Jeans !!

A few days back Oprah again came to my rescue & in the August issue of the O Magazine I came across This is a site that searches for the right fit of jeans for you after you have answered a few questions, they list the makers of the best jeans for you & also link you directly to the makers web-site or then give the store details where you can pick up the jeans. The thing I liked best was that it caters to plus-sized women which is a huge blessing. This is a company based in Emeryville, California so in that respect we can locate the brands & type of jeans that is best for us & then we will have to locate the store selling those in our country of residence or then the brand/maker has a listing on their website.
They also have a great bra-finder, and you can be quite happy to see a large variety of brands & types available to you as per your size & preferences.

Do check it out I found it very educational & eye-opening !! & it's going to save me tons of time the next time I go bra-hunting or getting a pair of jeans.