Tuesday, September 22, 2015

An important Tip before you decide to lose Weight!

Before you make up your mind to embark on a weight loss journey or rather adventure, there are some questions that you need to ask yourself. The answers will ultimately decide the course, as well as determine whether you will succeed in your endeavour or not. So take your diary, dwell on these questions for a while and after some serious contemplation, whenever you are ready answer these questions.

"Why do you want to lose weight?

Are you doing it for yourself?

 Do you really want to lose weight?

Do you have a health concern ?

 What is it that really motivates you?"

If the answers to these questions sound like "My husband wants me to lose weight", "Everybody tells me that I need to lose weight" , "The society expects me to look thin", " I want to look like those models on magazine covers" , "I want to be size-zero" etc. Well then, you are absolutely on the WRONG track. Then you might have to reconsider your intention to lose weight.

On the other hand, if your answers are like " I want to lose weight because I want to be at my fittest best", " I want to look and feel great", " I want to have a healthier relationship with my food", " I want to play outdoors with my son without a care in the world", " I want to age gracefully and keep diseases at bay", "I want to be a role model for my kids and family" etc. then, you are absolutely on the RIGHT track! One has to be self motivated and does not necessarily have to conform to societal compulsions , norms and standards if he/she is happy with his/her physical appearance and body image. If you do not see a problem with yourself and you do not have a medical condition that needs you to lose weight, you should not blindly jump into the bandwagon of weightwatchers. Rather, you might want to slowly start incorporating healthy lifestyle changes into your daily routine. This is more sustainable in the long run. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Death of Innocence: Remembering Aylan Kurdi

It all started with an image that made it to the front page of every newspaper which carried the disclaimer that some might find the image/images deeply disturbing. All that remains of Aylan are those disturbing images of his lifeless body and even more haunting images of the kid as a happy toddler during days when the family was better off. His smile and innocence instantly melts your heart. Suddenly, Aylan's death was every mother's worst nightmare and a subject of everyone's personal grief. Aylan, the three year old Syrian child was suddenly everybody's child! Amidst the twitter wars and Instagram frenzy, it was the poignant image of a neatly dressed baby boy lying face down on the shores of a beach in northeast Turkey that seized everybody's attention. He or rather his death has become symbolic of the Syrian crisis. With that red T-shirt and those cute little shoes on those tiny little feet, he looked as if he is blissfully sleeping on a warm cozy bed laid out by his mother. But the truth can't be further away.

It has been many days since we lost Aylan Kurdi and here as we wait helplessly, more and more lifeless bodies are yet to wash ashore in far away lands, in far away beaches. Ever since I witnessed the image of the lifeless Aylan face down on the wet shore, my heart has plunged into this whirlpool of unfathomable grief and it tears me apart each time I look at it. I, a mother to a two year old boy- keep thinking of Aylan every time I wake up to see my son sleeping on his stomach.With the deteriorating situation in Syria, hundreds of families are fleeing their hometowns in search of safer, greener pastures. Aylan was one of the 23 people that set towards the Greek island of Kos with their final destination as Canada, along with his parents and elder brother. Only seven survived the fatal accident including the boy's father.

 Aylan's death is not an isolated incident. Infact, Aylan's family is only one among the hundreds and thousands of refugees who go to unimaginable lengths hoping to seek refuge in neighboring countries. However, the various rescue and rehabilitation efforts are simply not enough to revive our faith in humanity.  Well, that again is an entirely different subject! But for now, let us remember the child who was a victim of an insidious event the rest of the world is grappling to come to terms with. But how do we move on after bearing witness to something this horrific? The answer is, we simply cannot! For Aylan was our child- the child we lost! His loss will continue to haunt our collective memories forever. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

A quick and easy weight loss tip!

Here is an instant, effective way to reduce your calorific intake and in turn shed some extra unwanted kilos!

Most of us are in the habit of drinking tea or coffee many times a day and we just can't seem to get through the day without sipping on some piping hot tea or coffee. But that's where those extra calories from milk and of course sugar come into the picture! Most of us conveniently make the mistake of not counting the calories that come from tea and coffee. Let's not even get started about the calories in your favourite cappuccino or hot chocolate that come with oodles of full cream and froth! Some might find consolation in drinking green tea and some might use "healthier" substitutes like skimmed milk, almond milk, soy milk or even coconut cream. Artificial sweeteners are gaining a lot of followers lately as well. But these may not work for everyone in the long run owing to the additional expenses incurred as well as the unavailability of certain products in the Indian market. And sadly, they simply don't taste just as good.

So, how can we still sip on our beloved tea and at the same time not gain all those extra calories. Tea and coffee does not contain any calories as such. The whole fat milk and sugar are the main culprits behind all those extra unwanted calories. One might ask, how do we steer out of this calorie laden minefield? Here's the answer, thank you! Just like we talk about diets and dieting, the solution lies in reduced portion size or portion control. Drink half the quantity of what you are used to drinking or even less. If your happiness lies in drinking a big fancy mug of coffee, it might be better off drinking half the quantity as compared to skipping that whole mugful of guilty pleasure. We have to accept and the benefits of drinking tea and coffee as well. If you reduce your intake of whole milk tea/ coffee with sugar you might cut down around 70 to 100 calories (approximately) from your daily calorific intake without arousing the displeasure of your taste buds. Or, a novel idea would be to replace your most cherished coffee mug with the humble small steel filter coffee cup served in South Indian restaurants and houses. The lesser the better! In the meanwhile, you can slowly get your taste buds accustomed to drinking some freshly brewed green tea. Also, keeping your body dehydrated by drinking sufficient water curbs your desire to have sugar laden drinks to a great extent!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

This Defense Minister of Pakistan is ready for war!

Pants dropped!!! Just for the sound of a bullet!!! And this defense minister of Pakistan is ready for war!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My First Rendezvous with Northeast India – The Mighty Gangtok (Day 3)

Today, we planned to explore Gangtok on foot, because of our love for walking (only on holidays). We settled on going to Ropeway, which is indeed a cable car drive through the rustic hills of Gangtok. This is a must see as one can have a breath taking view of Gangtok during this ride. The ropeway ride has three terminal stations and you can choose to start your ride from any of the convenient points in Tashiling, Namnang or Deorali. The ropeway ride is offered throughout the day between 8:00 to 16:30. There is no seating arrangement inside the cable car. The 15 to 20 minutes ride provides spectacular bird view of Gangtok city and the surrounding valley. Ticket per head is 60/- for adults and 30/- for children. 

Bird view of Gangtok

View from Cable Car

This early morning excursion was very rejuvenating, especially to my appetite. So, here we are, in one of the most endorsed bakery of Gangtok, The Baker’s Café, located centrally on MG Square. It was a quiet, warm café with whiff of baking breads and colonial style décor. We ordered for English breakfast of eggs and bread with some pancakes and coffee. The food was average, though coffee was strikingly good. We also tried few pastries but they were all lackluster. 

Breakfast at The Baker's Cafe

Cappuccino at The Baker's Cafe

Not quite impressed, we finished our meal (3/5 to The Baker's café), and settled to visit Flower Exhibition Center. It was around 20 minutes walk from main square, near the white hall and chief minister’s residence. To our luck, annual orchid show was going on during our stay in Gangtok. Inside, the area was not very large but it had amazing collection of flowers, arranged even more beautifully, not cramming the space. There were Blue Venda orchids, Celosia, Chrysanthemum, Paps, etc. The place was ideal for great photography of flowers and shrubs. There were stalls providing seeds of flowering plants at the exit at reasonable price. We spent a good half an hour in assimilating the varied colours and beauty around, and further moved on to our next destination.

Orchid Show

Flower Exhibition Center

Around 2 km further, through the narrow roads with pastoral views, is the Gangtok Handicraft and Handloom Centre. It is situated at zero point, around 1 km from main square. Admission ticket is INR 10/-. It has a Museum to showcase local artifacts, a Training centre and 2-storey sales Emporium for selling products created at the centre. It is the best place to buy the local products from all around the northeast including Bhutan and Nepal. There were Nagas handlooms, cane products, masks, thankas (scrolls with hand paintings), Lepchas hats etc. This exhilarating trip to the cultural heritage of northeast was worth every minute.

Gangtok Handloom Center

It was already four in the evening when we finished our visit to Handloom center, so we took a taxi and decided to visit our last point of the day, Tashi view point. It took us INR 300/- for half an hour drive towards Tashi Viewpoint. It was almost five, and the view point was crowded with the tourists. It really had the breathtaking view of Kanchenjunga snow peaks. We were at wrong time of the day, sunrise is the best time to visit this unforgettable viewing area. 

Tashi View Point

Tashi View Point

Rose Tree

We returned around seven to MG road, and started exploring the local shops for the final day. We bought few local artifacts like Chinese hanging lamps, some Chinese cups with lids, a set of bowl, and of course a lot of winter wear and few long dresses (for me). Don’t miss the opportunity to show your bargaining skills here, otherwise you will regret. 

Gangtok City

Later, we decided to dine at a famous restaurant – Tangerine. Trust me; it is the best place in Gangtok for fine dining, located in the Hotel Chumbi Residency. It was a motley of great ambiance, genuine staff and sumptuous food. We ordered North Indian dishes like butter chicken, keema and roti  and momos for starters. We were delighted to find everything well made. Do pay a visit when you are in Gangtok and you won’t be disappointed.

Sumptuous food at Tangerine 

Sumptuous food at Tangerine

Finally the days to the magnificent Gangtok came to an end. Last two days spent in Gangtok were really relaxing and opened doors to new frontiers. We have seen many beautiful sights, met some great people, had lot of delicious food, danced a little and now we are taking back all these memories as a treasure for forever.

 Goodbye Gangtok...Looking forward to Kalimpong!!!

 Next, we will begin our journey towards Kalimpong. My next post will update you further. Till then, start making plans to visit the less known and less traveled part of India – Northeast….because Northeast is calling!!!!

 I will end up this post with my favourite Travel Quote 
"Not all those who wander, are lost".