Monday, November 25, 2013


Here is the Ariel view captured by my camera from the moving plane…
the plane is above the  ocean of clouds. Part of the right wing is visible.
I’m back at Patiala after four months of stay in the U.S. It was a very rewarding experience in terms of hitherto unexplored treasure trove of unbounded natural beauty and many more eye-opening experiences. I had been to the U.S. many times before, and I visited capital city Washington DC and most of its tourist attractions. Most memorable had been the visits to Disneyland and Hollywood Studios in Los Angeles. However, unluckily I was not a blogger then and experiences remained unrecorded and faded from memory in due course of time.

Zurich's green patches and surrounding areas. The red cross sign on the wing.The red cross movement originated from Switzerland.
Now for the last couple of years I’m a part of the blogosphere and my perceptions and insights are deeply sensitized and propel me to decide what to chronicle. I only need a trigger point, that is.

The architectural design of Zurich city and mountains in the far end.
We had chosen Swiss international as our air carrier this time. We boarded the plane from Chicago for Zurich and boarded another flight from the same company from Zurich to Delhi. As the plane started to take off from Zurich, I chanced to look out of the window. Oh what an eerie display of the mystery of the skyline it was! I immediately pried out my camera from the bulging pockets of my purse, got glued to the window for capturing the rare scenes above the clouds. As the plane was slowly gaining height, I took pictures of the breathtaking scenes below. It brought into focus the charismatic paradigm of the view below. The boundless expanse embellished with pneumatic looking surface created by the moving clouds made my jaw drop in sheer amazement. Actually, these are the miracles, which go unnoticed. The sight was so awe inspiring and humbling. One bows in awe at the magnificence, which looked surreal and real at the same time.
the open spaces away from human habitation.

Switzerland is a beautiful country with gigantic mountains-Alps in South and Jura in North West- dotting its skyline. Zurich and Geneva are its global cities. It is a peace loving and safe country. It has a perfect banking system. (Remember all the money stashed in its banks from all over the world.) 

Further up,mountains engulfed in snow. Only tops visible.
Friends:Pl. zoom in for better viewing.

Thursday, November 14, 2013



walk in progress
For the last couple of days, weather has turned ice-cold outside. The region experienced an early snowfall too. The temperature fluctuates daily. Undoubtedly, winter has stepped in, though somewhat prematurely. It may be sunny but the wind chills the bones. As a result, my regular going out for a walk has ended.

from left elliptical,stationary bike and treadmill
What to do then?  Exercise is a must. For the last so many years, a stipulated and timed walk had been a basic component of my lifestyle.  Minus this ritual, I feel sick, lose my appetite, and become lethargic to boot. I become a dry well for creativity. After engaging myself in exercise, I feel perked up and proactive. I tend to think better and become more productive and happy with myself. Ideas for my blog posts take birth. Therefore, I had to think of a substitute. And that I did.

My son’s basement has most of the paraphernalia of a mini gym. There is a treadmill, a stationary bike, elliptical contraption and all weights. Additionally, there is a table tennis table and air hockey game.  Here in the U.S. most of the young professionals have installed all these gadgets in the basement of their houses. Therefore, I said to myself- let me a make a beginning by walking on the treadmill. I needed to be cautious, for it was my first time. There is something else too. As I gain in years, I keep losing in physical courage. I get easily scared. I am mortally afraid of falls. (My mother fractured her femur after a fall and never recovered) To visualize the aftermath of a nasty fall is terrible.  I shudder to think of being immobile ever. Frankly, I dread that.  I’ve dreams, yet to be realized.

 Well, while all these thoughts churned in my head, I mechanically put on my running shoes. Then consciously made my way to the basement. Turned on a few lights. Examined the contraption. Read the warnings. Switched on the machine. Stepped on the belt and touched the number one speed square. The belt started moving very slowly. I felt okay, touched the next speed square, and found it comfortable for a beginner.  I held the handles for safety and balance. I had a successful walk (not run) for about half an hour. Finally, I got over my fear. I felt so much better. My spirits soared. I slept well that night.

The treadmill is great for 'in home' exercising. Ours has twelve speeds. Every speed has ten notches. You start from the lowest and gradually increase the speed as your endurance level improves over a period. The front panel displays speed, time, distance, pace, calories burnt and Pulse. The controls are easy to operate. It provides smooth walking or running for all age groups. You can do it in the privacy of your home at your own convenience. For vigorous workouts, you have the incline feature and can experience the feeling of going up a hill.

Aerobic exercise on the treadmill is ideal for weight loss. Reportedly, it burns more calories than other aerobic exercises. I've no worry on that count,
There are enough safety features too.
 There are other multiple benefits:
1. It is relaxing as well as energizing. It busts mild depression, anxiety and stress.
2. It facilitates better functioning of the cardiovascular system.
3. It promotes bone health and tones up muscles. It eases stiffness of limbs and takes care of minor aches and pains.
4. It whets appetite and improves the digestive system.
5. It helps the diabetics to stabilize their insulin levels.
6. It promotes overall wellness and reduces visits to the physician.

Moral: Let’s take the first step for achieving a goal which has the potential of rich dividends in any which way? While taking necessary precautions, go for any exercise regimen regularly, and receive tons of healthful gains. It comes out to be the best decision one can make.
 Most of us are wary of trying something new. However, we're like that. Once we muster up courage to make a start, the result is always remarkable. As they say- dar ke aage jeet hai

Einstein has said," Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."

Friends, I’m enjoying this newly found interest. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013



My God! When I opened the blinds of my  bedroom window first thing in the morning – Oh! What a scene it was that greeted me! I couldn't believe my eyes! It was an unexpected delight. Our backyard was covered with a white resplendent sheet of white and the roofs were shouldering about an inch of snow. The leaves of the trees, which were still staying defiantly on the branches, were bending down with the weight of the milk white icicles.The sight gorgeous and awesome, invited everybody with open arms to savor the priceless gift of the first snowfall of the season. 

In the morning, though sun rays were gaining strength, it was subzero temperature outside with freezing cold. However, the nature's coffers were there to be broken into for feisty experience. It was too tempting to lose this grand chance. I hurried out with my camera to capture at least some part of the majestic scene for sharing and also to add to my bank balance of nature’s munificence. Here are the images, which display the ‘Kodak moment’ brilliance. The grandeur of the scene, words can't sufficiently describe.

The yard as well as the side walk attired in white

A larger view shot from the front of our house

The vase and partially visible bush donning white.

View at the back with a strip in the middle, of mid morning sunlight.
 Friends, zoom in for better viewing.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


This is my entry for the contest AN IMMUNE INDIA sponsored by DABUR

DABUR INDIA has been a pioneer in manufacturing ayurvedic health promoting products based on age-old recipes found in our ancient books. Dabur Chyawanprash in different flavors tops the list of its products, whose regular use by young and old ensures disease free life as well as over all good health. Dabur Honey  mixed with ginger juice for sore throat, Pudinhara and Hingoli for all digestive problems are household names and enjoy a prominent place in every medicine cabinet. These are widely used as home remedies since their inception.

Consuming Chyawanprash has remained a wholesome tradition in our family for many long years. I remember my parents taking a mega spoonful of this vitalizing ayurvedic product with a cup of milk at breakfast. Its invigorating properties tackled most of the health irritants, especially in the winter season.

It has never gone out of fashion, though. It is a delectable concoction, full of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. It is a well-tried formula for building up immunity against common colds, dry cough, winter chills and what not. Olives, which constitute a substantial part of the whole, is a reservoir of Vitamin C and body building ingredients. In fact, it surprised me to see a jar of Chyawanprash in my son’s pantry here in the U.S. Even among the Indian diaspora, it enjoys a prominent place as a prized tonic
On a larger framework about creating AN IMMUNE INDIA, my critique is as follows:

Disease, deprivation and desperation are the eyesores afflicting majority of poor Indians, and they constitute the bulk of its population.  All the grandiose Health schemes of the government either remain on paper because of flimsy technical hitches or do not reach the target due to rampant malpractices. In short, sincerity and commitment are woefully missing in their implementation.

Here are some of the discussion points regarding the above subject:

Over populated India:

To my mind, the single most significant cause, which impedes reaching the goal of AN IMMUNE INDIA, is our burgeoning population. Strangely enough, successive Governments all along have relegated population control measures to the back burner. May be due to political compulsions! That does not make the neglect less culpable!

At best, the approach has been lackluster. The targeted population has become sorely skeptical about the efficacy of the lame duck measures. Reportedly, there had been many botched family planning initiatives. I need not mention untimely female mortality, disabilities and tragic repercussions of casually performed operations and abysmal aftercare. Hence, the continuous increase in numbers.

The poor lack the wherewithal to feed and take care of their large broods. There is malnutrition and less immunity to fight infections and children easily fall prey to various ailments and suffer endlessly. Feeding so many children expends their resources and they are left with very little to buy vegetables, lentils etc. Providing two meals a day, saps all their vitality. They have neither money nor strength to think of healthy food or better hygiene.

Medical research apart, providing minimum primary care to the citizens of this over populated country is a formidable challenge.  The stock of medicines, disposables and other items in public hospital is always in short supply. Hapless patients run from pillar to post to procure these in emergencies.

Immunizations: To make infant immunization programs a success, fool proof methods should be adopted under the care of experts.

What needs doing?
Foremost is revamping of our health services. It is essential to launch door-to-door, campaigns to educate the poor and the illiterate about the benefits of small families. More importantly, the goal should be distribution of family planning products free of cost. Only committed medical personnel should be entrusted to perform family planning operations and guarantee after care. To ensure that it happens, the mechanism to fix accountability and severe punishment in case of culpability should be put in place. Now Medicare falls short of ensuring even basic facilities to our milling numbers. In this regard, the practice of barefoot paramedics as in China needs to be looked into seriously.

Dispensaries and medical centers in rural areas should be well stocked with medicines and surprise checks be made to prevent mismanagement.

Educating the girl child:
The scourge of male preference in Indian society has done grave injustice to women folk. In the Indian patriarchal set up, women have been maltreated, abused physically and mentally and have been even burned to death. They had no rights. All this has to change now. A lot has already changed. State governments have legislated compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14 and free education for girls until grade 12  Only an educated and self-aware woman can take decisions regarding her family size and take good care of the family. She can certainly play a major role in reaching the target of AN IMMUNE INDIA.

Rising unemployment:
It is another curse and cause of so many ills of our society. Unemployed youth are easily lured into the dens of drug lords and eventually start taking the deadly intoxicants and die prematurely, but not before infecting other family members and leave them to die too.  Thefts, snatchings, rapes and other heinous crimes are other offshoots.

The need of the hour is teaching lower level skills to the poor youth of the country, enabling them to earn a living and support their families.

Lack of toilets:
Open-air defecation practice has been going on for long in India and that has resulted in countless maladies.
The space around slums and shantytowns is a stinking hell.  Stray dogs, cats and crows and some other winged species feed on the muck and have free access to streets and roads causing infections. Children of these areas play there and remain sick permanently.

 What we should do:
 NGOs have large financial backing. They’ve to come forward to adopt such areas and villages and facilitate financially the construction of toilets in every household on a war footing priority. Other charitable institutions should pitch in with financial support.

Ignorance about personal hygiene:
Ignorance about personal hygiene among the poor and in labor colonies is woeful. Not washing hands, spitting, and urinating indiscriminately is keeping us miles away from our goal of healthy and strong INDIA.

What we should do:
At least one period in govt. schools where mostly poor kids study, should be earmarked to promote oral hygiene and demonstrations conducted to teach about maintaining clean habits and the benefits accruing therefrom. Hand washing after going to the toilet need to be reinforced via specific initiatives. It is a major cause of the spread of so many infections.

Lack of garbage disposal:
Infrastructure for garbage disposal mechanism remains in doldrums in spite of the fact that it has been a burning issue for long. Littered waste has marred the beauty of our hills and plains. They are sore spots hindering flow of domestic as well as foreign tourists. Our tourism industry can ill afford to overlook this neglect. This apart, stray cattle, dogs, and monkeys feed on the unlifted mounds of waste material lying here and there. In congested places, they frequently jostle with humans on the narrow streets and by lanes spreading infection and misery.

What we should do:
The concerned authorities should collaborate with a foreign country, which has remedied this problem for good, and get our workforce trained there.

The problem is of mammoth proportions. Nevertheless, it is achievable if our political class, bureaucrats and public in general, take up these issues collectively and decisively and seek the cooperation and know-how of experts in the specific fields.

Image courtesy:Google

Friends: waiting for your support and comments.