Monday, March 16, 2009

Those were the days….

Getting nostalgic is in the Indian blood. We have often heard our grandparents and even parents narrate incidents from their childhood…the lanes in which they played gilli-danda, hu-tu-tu, about how they would hide from their parents up on a mango tree or the topmost maala of the ancestral home. My grandparents have always told me interesting things about their childhood. The stories would often begin with, “Tya veles mula tumchyasarkhi computer war basat nasaychi…” (In those days kids wouldn’t sit in front of computers, like how you kids do). When telling their childhood tales, their face would brighten up as if they have rewinded back to the 1940/50s.

My maternal grandfather worked in the Mantralaya and therefore, they stayed in the government quarters at Bandra for many years. My mother has fond memories of the place. Day before yesterday, when she came to Mumbai to visit me and my other relatives, she persuaded me to take her there. She wanted to see how that place looks after thirty long years, her school, the Udipi restaurant which they frequented as kids, everything. I was a bit reluctant. I refused to take her there because she was too tired to roam around. But yesterday, finally my maternal uncle that means my mama took us to that place. “B-26, we would stay here,” shouted my mother pointing at a window on the fourth floor. “There was our kitchen, and we would do fishing her,” she said looking at the ground. “The gutter no longer exists,” she seemed to be pleased.

I couldn’t help notice tears rolling down her eyes when she saw her school and remembered how my late grandparents would carry the two siblings to school or take them out for a walk. Both my mama and mom seemed to have lost in their childhood and I could notice it when they would point out something known and say, “Its still there,” or “Remember, we played here,” or “XYZ aunty stayed here.”

After 20-30 years, when I will roam through the bylanes of Pune, I will also point out things to my children and say, “Look here’s where I met your dad the first time…” or “Here is the katta where we would be padeek after college…” and end the experience by saying… “Those were the days…”

Monday, March 9, 2009

Basketfull of good health

Want to stay healthy, but tired of those tasteless diets? Then go the fruity way. Include fruits in your diet in the right combinations and stay fit and keep ailments at a bay.

Fruits are a delicious way to get dietary fibre and are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. People who include fruits in their diet are less likely to develop diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s.

Nutritionist and founder of Health Total, Dr Anjali Mukerjee says, “Deep coloured fruits such as pomegranates, strawberries, cherries, black grapes are recommended. They are rich in anti-oxidants, they detoxify, combat stress and prevent free radical formation.”

Some people feel that going on an all-fruit diet will help lose weight. But nutritionists feel that going on an all-fruit diet is not advisable. “Our body needs a balance, so we can’t completely depend on a fruit diet,” informs Kavita Mukhi, eco-nutritionist. Dr Mukerjee advises against going on an unmonitored mono diet. She says that the nutritionists decide the diet format after inspecting a person’s age, gender, dietary patterns and work type. “The diet depends on whether the person is sitting in one place while working or whether his work requires a lot of physical movement,” says Mukhi.

Fruits are used as a de-toxicant in an individual who is over-nourished and over-indulgent and who often has late and greasy meals and suffers from constipation and indigestion. If the person is weak with low haemoglobin, calories and proteins then the fruit diet is not recommended to such a person. “It may further decrease his/her stamina and protein content,” says Dr Mukerjee.

Fruits contain minerals, vitamins, enzymes, anti-oxidants and are easily digested. They also have medicinal properties. “It is better to eat fresh fruits rather than consuming juice. Raw fruits contain more fibre and low sodium,” advises Hira Mahajan, Consulting dietician and nutritionist. Mukhi says the wild fruits found in India are very good for health. These fruits are not laden with pesticides. “Fruits such as bers, amla, jamun, berries should be consumed daily,” recommends Mukhi.

Fruits such as apricots and raisins are rich in calcium and iron. Custard apple is a good calcium source. Guavas, lemon, oranges are a source of vitamin C which is necessary for healthy gums. Papaya has Vitamin C and Beta carotene which converts to vitamin A and is needed for healthy eyes and skin. Intake of fruits such as apples, lemon, orange, pomegranate aid in the functioning of heart. “Apples, dates, mangoes sharpen memory, reduce exhaustion, hysteria, insomnia and ease mental tension,” informs Mahajan.

Fruits act as a cleanser. They give instant energy and are loaded with vitamins, minerals. “They cleanse the body, detoxify it and also don’t tax your digestive system,” says Mukhi. There are some things that should be considered when having fruits in one’s diet. Avoid cooking of fruits. If one is undergoing a weight loss programme, one must reduce the intake of mangoes, chikoos and bananas. One can have fruits for breakfast or as a snack meal. Fruits should be eaten on a relatively empty stomach. The reason behind this is that fruits are easily digested and need to be digested first. Combining fruits and vegetables when cooking is not advised. Fruits improve immune system and defense mechanism of the body. So if you want to remain healthy, go grab a fruit. The age old phrase can now be modified to ‘a fruit a day keeps the doctor away.’

What nutritionists recommend:

Anjali Mukerjee:

Deep coloured fruits such as pomegranates, strawberries, cherries, black grapes are recommended. They are rich in anti-oxidants; they detoxify, combat stress and prevent free radical formation. Eat fruits for breakfast or as a snack meal. Fruits should be eaten on a relatively empty stomach.

Kavita Mukhi:

Fruits such as bers, amla, jamun, berries should be consumed. There should be a balance of salts and sugars.
Always have fruits on an empty stomach and not after meals. Fruits are easily digested and need to be digested first.

Hira Mahajan:

Avoid cooking of fruits.
To reduce weight eat grapes, chikoo, custard apple, mango and bananas in a small quantity.
Fruits are a substitute for a sugary snack.

Fruits with medicinal properties:

Lemon helps in curing liver ailments, indigestion and rheumatism.
Watermelon is a kidney cleanser. Pineapple and pomegranate help in curing inflammation of nose, throat, hay fever, bronchial ailments. Grapefruit is effective in case of a common cold.

(This article was published in DNA dated March 7, 2009-

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Vote or else shut up…

These words may be harsh, ruthless and straight. Please don’t mind but they are true. The future of a new and ‘shining’ India lies in your hand…yes you, ‘young’, ‘literate’, ‘educated’, ‘future of India’ individual… in your hand. You have been bestowed upon the right to vote and choose who rules you, by the constitution. So before asking for your rights, perform your duty of voting.

India is the biggest democracy of the world and we are lucky to choose the ones who will rule us, make policies, make a difference (positive or negative…that depends on the fact whether you vote or not), make laws, run the country. At this time when the world is facing the economic downturn and terrorist activities which are degrading every inch of humanity, we need to perform our duty and make a difference.

So you, yes you youngster… don’t go out partying or on picnics on April 16th when you get a holiday for voting. Don’t sit at home lazying around, watching TV… just go to your polling booth and vote. Even if it takes an hour or two in the line, just go and vote. Don’t just shirk your responsibility by saying, ‘Koi vote dene ke layak nahi hai…’ or ‘Mere vote dene ya na dene se kya hoga?’ These are hollow statements showing that the literate India, who should actively take part in choosing the ruler of the country, is actually good-for-nothing. That’s why just go out and vote. Smell the pride of that blue ink on your index finger which tells you that you have done your duty and contributed your bit (which means a great deal) to this democracy called India.

And if you don’t vote…just shut up and don’t you dare comment on any politician’s wrongdoing or the failures of the government. Coz you don’t have the right. Coz given a chance and a right, you ‘a literate and jagaruk (so-called) citizen’ of this country didn’t vote…didn’t decide who wins. So you lose your chance to criticize.

So vote or else shut up.