AdSense

Online shopping from Amazon

Grab your copy now!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Teachers’ Training Course (TTC), Sivananda Kutir, Netala (Uttarkashi)


When I sit in padmasana and closed my eyes to meditate, I visualise fast flowing holy river Ganga (Bhagirathi), Sivananda Ashram, my teachers (Guru) and sometimes batch-mates. I slowly try to drag my mind to my object of meditation but surprisingly it jumps back to the serenity of river Ganga. My mind remains calm while meditating on the river Ganga and the ashram situated near it, may be the time I spent there was the most peaceful time of my life!



Spending one month with the persons of different cultures, age groups, professions and countries was an experience of its own kind. But we all had one thing in common- a very strong desire to learn yoga which might be the reason that we stayed together for 30 days.



The yoga teacher was nice and caring. She explained everything in detail and tried to clear all our doubts. While practicing difficult asanas she encouraged the student to do it in its best possible way, only gave the required support and never let the student fall off even if the student’s weight is too much and the body is too rigid. I was impressed with her on the day we practiced 108 Om Surya Namaskar, she spoke continuously without making a single mistake of left and right side. As I yoga teacher myself, I found it difficult to do.



The teacher who taught Bhagwat Gita always told stories, shared experiences and solved life’s complicated problems in a very simple way. He always encouraged the students to ask more questions. One day a student asked, “If a person moves while doing meditation, does it means his Kundalini is awakened?” He replied, “It means the person is going through a mental or emotional cleaning process and you should help that person.”



The food was sattvik without onion and garlic. Mostly they give south Indian food like idli, appam, idiyapam, rice and sambhar. Sometimes they give north Indian food like rajma rice, chickpea rice and parathas with pea potato veg. On the last day of the course, delicious treat was given which include samosa, gulab jamun, palak paneer, fried papad, ice cream, kheer and rice.



I was proud of my knowledge about yoga and Indian philosophy before joining the course. One of my batch-mates, a foreigner guy could perform much better yoga asanas than me. Not only that, he knew Indian philosophy much more than me. May be God sent him in my life to annihilate my ego!


The air was clean and environment was serene. The mountains, waterfalls, clouds, stars, moon, sun, rains, rainbow were mesmerising. The silent walk in the nature helped me in understanding myself better. The desire to eat delicious food and to surf on internet brought me back in this materialistic world otherwise I would have stayed there forever.
Dear readers, you can read my experience of Sadhana Intensive course here

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A lost card


On the last day of Teacher Training Course, Netala one of my roommates gave me a handmade card. I kept it in my bag and decided to write a blog post about it after I returned home. I was registered for the next course, which was to start after 5-6 days. As I had some free days, I decided to go for trekking to Dayara Bugyal and Gaumukh.
I divided my belongings in two parts. One I took with me and the other I left in the ashram. After I returned to the ashram, I became busy with the tight schedule of studying and practicing yoga and sadhana. On the completion of course, when I returned home, I unpacked my things but could not find that card. I searched my notes, clothes and other items thoroughly. I even searched different pockets of my bag but could not locate it. I undoubtedly remembered that I did not throw that card but safely placed in my bag. Even on repeated searches, there was no success. At last, I dropped the idea of searching it and thought that it might be lost somewhere in the journey.



Today, I finished Samadhi Yoga by Swami Sivananda. I placed that book in my book self and took out another book for reading. As I opened it, to my surprise I found that card lying in between page no. 28 and 29. How it reached, there is still a mystery for me!



Swami Sivananda’s sayings were creatively scribbled on the front of that yellow coloured card. Inside it was written beautiful messages and some nice words about me. Although I am not that good as she had mentioned but it is polite of her to say so. I thank her sincerely. It wasn’t a card but a hug folded in it!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary


During winter season, most of us have visited Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary which is near Gurgaon. It is popular because of its easy accessibility, nice restaurant and good connectivity with roads. There is one more bird sanctuary lesser known because of not that good roads, non-availability of food and water. In Jhajjar district near about fifteen kilometres from the Jhajjar city, Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary is one of the most wonderful bird sanctuaries of North India. It is located near Delhi and Gurgaon just an hour or so run by car. It is a great picnic spot!



One can reach Bhindawas by following Google maps to some extent but there is no need to take a long round about as Google maps shows. When one is close to the sanctuary, one can follow road maps or can ask villagers for short and good roads leading to Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary. It is man-made wetland. It was constructed to store excess water from JNL Feeder and its channals at the time of power failure of Lift Canal System. It spreads over 1074 acres. Around the lake, it has 12 kilometer long vehicle track. The road is kachcha at few places. There are small islands, which enhances its beauty. 



While travelling through the nearby villages, one can spot quite good number of birds like jungle babbler, black drongo, Indian roller, woodpecker, white throated kingfisher, parakeets, common hoopoe, shikra, laughing dove, greater coucal, blue peafowl and spot billed duck.
The migratory birds one can spot there is flamingo, great egret, comb duck, northern shoveler, ruddy shelduck, whiskered tern, Earasian marsh harrier, Palla’s gull and common teal. Along with birds one can also spot neelgai, jackals, jungle cats, monkeys, cows, buffaloes, goats and sheep. There are two watch-towers with great view. There are many picnic spots with the beautiful view of lake and islands in it.



This year there are many attractive birds there. If you are planning to visit then take the food and water with you. And do not forget to take binoculars for better view!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Book Review : Stand Strong by Shubha Vilas


Stand strong is the fourth book in the series of Ramayana – The Game of Life by Shubha Vilas. The author has written Roar with Courage, Conquer Fear and Adopt Patience based on Bala Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda and Aranya Kanda of Ramayana epic respectively. Stand Strong is the modern retelling of the Kishkindha Kanda of Valmiki’s epic Ramayana. It is an excellent read for mythological readers. And it is a very special book for the spiritual aspirants. Author compared a spiritual aspirant to lotus, black tulip and fish.



It tells about Lord Ram and Lakshman meeting near Rishimukh mountain, Lord Ram’s friendship with Sugriva, killing of Vali, brother of Sugriva by Lord Ram, Lakshman’s anger for delay in search of Sita kidnapped by Ravana, sending of monkey-army in all the four directions to look for Mother Sita by Sugriva, returning of three armies without any information, in the south the fourth army reaches near the sea and Sampati, brother of Jatayu helped them in their mission. The language is lucid and simple to understand. It inspires to find out simple solutions to the complex problems and to stand strong in difficulties by conquering fear. The narration is gripping and one can easily relate it with one’s life and its experiences.



Author has embedded the story with beautiful gems. Some of the quotes which I liked are as follows :

1.      Accepting other’ imperfections gracefully is the sign of perfection. Accepting one’s own imperfection honestly is the sign of progress toward perfection.

2.      When one competes with oneself, one invites celebration instead of competition. When one compete with others, one invites competition instead of celebration.

3.      When life is peaceful, one goes to buy challenges. When life offers challenges, one goes in search of peace. Between looking for challenges and running away from them lies the art of facing them with courage.

4.      If in the beginning and in the end, we are nothing, why then in the middle do we think we are something?

5.      When one is proud of being detached to attachments, one is in fact attached to detachment.



Near Rishimukh Mountain, the description of meeting of Lord Ram with Hanuman brings tears to my eyes as the disciple meeting his Master is depicted admirably. Physical, mental and emotional changes one goes through after meeting the true master are explained so well. Lord Ram thought that what an old, fragile sanyasi is doing in this uninhabited forest? And Hanuman thought that why these two princes whose bodies should be adored with jewellery were wearing the dress of sanyasi and were carrying bow and arrow like warriors?



Lord Ram, his real Master come to meet Sugriva and his companions. Hanuman’s mother once told him, “You will never have to go looking for your master and that your master will come looking for you!” How right she was!

Author has described all the characteristics so well. But his description of Lord Ram is beyond words. He described Lord Ram as You are so beautiful that no painting can ever do justice to Your beauty.



This book is the must read for motivational readers and spiritual seekers. The part of the book that describes about the meeting of Lord Ram and Lakshman with Hanuman near Rishimukh Mountain should not be missed. I must say it is one of the best creations by Shubha Vilas. Hats off to the author!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Iron rich golgappas (pani puri)


Key Iron Ingredients : Spinach, beetroot, whole bengal gram, chickpea

Duration : 40 minutes



Ingredients

For golgappas

Whole-wheat flour – ½ cup

Suji – ¼ cup

Maida – 1/8 cup

Spinach – 8-10 leaves

Salt to taste

Oil for frying

For Filling

Boiled sweet corn – ½ cup

Grated paneer – ½ cup

Boiled chickpea – ¼ cup

Boiled whole Bengal gram- ¼ cup

Black pepper – ½ teaspoon

Red chilli powder – ¼ tea spoon

Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon

Mango powder – ¼ teaspoon

Salt to taste

For golgappas water

Water – ½ liter

Beetroot – 2

Green chilli – 1-2

Lemon – 2

Sugar – 2 table spoon

Black pepper – 1/2 teaspoon

Roasted grinded cumin seed – ¼ teaspoon

Black Salt – ½ teaspoon

Salt to taste



Method

1.      Take all the flours and mix well.

2.      Grind spinach with little water.

3.      Knead the dough with the spinach paste.

4.      Make small balls and roll them with the help of rolling pin.

5.      Leave them for 40 minutes so that crust is formed on upper side.

6.      Deep-fry them on medium fire.

7.      Spread them on the paper so that paper absorbs excess oil.

8.      For filling, grind boiled sweet corn.

9.      Gently mix all the ingredients, add spices and salt to it.

10.  The filling is ready.

11.   For water, dissolve sugar in the water.

12.  Peel beetroot and cut in small pieces.

13.  Grind beetroot and green chillies to make a paste. If required add little water to it.

14.  Squeeze the paste to collect red coloured water below in a bowl.

15.  Add that to sugar water.

16.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

17.  Keep it in freeze and serve chilled.

In this recipe, I have used iron rich ingredients like spinach, beet-root, chickpea and whole bengal gram. I have added limejuice as it contains Vitamin C for better iron absorption. I have cut the vegetables with iron knife and used vessels made up of iron for cooking it to increase the iron content in the recipe.

For more iron rich recipes, visit http://www.livogen.in/iron-chef/

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Movie Review : Qarib Qarib Singlle


Qarib Qarib Singlle is a middle-aged love story. A new concept indeed for Bollywood! Not so young and vibrant Yogi (Irrfan Khan) and Jaya (Parvathy Thiruvothu) meet via an online dating site. They are polar apart personalities. Yogi is a rich person who has lots of money to spend where as Jaya works in an office and spends her money judiciously. Yogi loves poetry and Jaya loves nature. Yogi is a chit-chatter where as Jaya is quiet. Yogi likes books and Jaya is techno savvy. They plan a trip to Rishikesh, Jaipur and Gangtok to explore their past relationships. During this trip, crazy incidences happened which help them to understand themselves in a better way.



Irrfan Khan plays well the role of jovial guy whose jokes everyone enjoys even his ex-girlfriends. Parvathy plays her role nicely. Her round face is attractive and big eyes are beautiful. She looks stunning in the last scene when she is wearing dark pink colour silk sari with turquoise blue blouse.



Movie is full of funny scenes. But I liked the one in which Yogi and Jaya planned for a trip to date. But instead of booking rooms in hotels, Jaya books rooms in an ashram in Rishikesh. Direction of Tanuja Chandra is nice. Neha Dhupia’s face looks bonny and aged. The rest of the cast is interesting.



I was laughing throughout the whole movie, tears were flowing from my eyes. Neither my laughing stopped nor my tears stopped till the end of movie. Tears smudged my kohl eyes, wetted and blackened my fair cheeks. I paid no attention to them as the movie was too gripping, enjoying and funny.



Watch this movie to laugh, laugh and laugh!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Vodafone – Super city campaign


“What happened, dear sister? Why are you sitting alone? Is there something that is troubling you?” My little cousin asked.

“I want to make Delhi a better city, a smart city” I replied.

“From tomorrow onwards, you should go to your office on cycle rather on car. There will be less air pollution which will make Delhi a better place to live.” He laughed aloud on his stupid joke.

“It is not funny. And it not that simple.”

“Sis, I can suggest you some of the positive ways to improve the city after all it is our city.”  

“Hotspot, you are so sweet.”

“You know sis, Vodafone has already done a lot to improve Delhi and NCR! Vodafone has created the first air purifying bus shelter in the city so that we can breathe in pollution free air while waiting for bus. Vodafone has also created the first Wifi bus shelter in Gurgaon. It provides free Wifi to all customers for 20 minutes. A milestone in digitizing Delhi and NCR!”

“Vodafone is digitally connecting Delhi and NCR by providing free Wifi zones like Airport, Khan Market, Delhi Haat, DLF Mall of India, Fortis Hospital etc.”

“All over Delhi and NCR, Vodafone provides free Wifi at 120 places. Vodafone receives one customer appreciation every 30 seconds.”

“There are 1.2 crore Vodafone customers in Delhi and NCR which means half of Delhities are using Vodafone. Vodafone is #CelebratingSuper.”

“Let us make Vodafone choice of everybody in Delhi and NCR. I will suggest you some ideas that whole Delhi and NCR will be talking about VODAFONE only and none other mobile networking company.”

“How is that possible?”

“Sis, you are giving a big responsibility to a little child.” He winked and continued. “Vodafone should target students as they can be Vodafone permanent future customers.”

“You mean to say both school and college students.”

He nodded in a style and said, “Mobile library is the easy, quick and fast way to do that.”

“Mobile library, a moving vehicle with has books on varied topics which stop at different places so that poor and underprivileged children can be benefitted from it.”

“My idea is that mobile library will have no books, no books at all. But it will have free Wifi access for everyone. There can be some trained staff to encourage school and college students to use Wifi to study more and to learn more. The students should be motivated to utilise information in making projects, in solving their problems related to Maths, Physics and other subjects. They should be encouraged to get the detailed information about the topics they like to read and to talk about more. All information should be just at the click of a button.”

“If they click the button leading to wrong or dirty information then....... I mean..... you know.....”

“Such sites can be blocked.” I was hesitant and he was confident.

“Free Wifi will help them in becoming more learned and responsible citizens.”

“On using free Wifi, they will know the importance of Vodafone Wifi, how useful and beneficial it is for them. Then they will shift to paid services of Vodafone which means more customers for Vodafone.”

“My little business expert!”

“Vodafone sign boards should be made on metro pillars by doing vertical gardening on them. It will give clean air to us and more customers to Vodafone! The walls of huge concrete buildings can be covered with vertical gardening. On huge roofs, roof top gardening can be planned in such a way that an aerial view as seen on Google maps imprints ‘Vodafone’.

“Vodafone is doing a great job but what we can do as residents to make our city better.”

“As a kid, I can make a drawing of smart city.”

“God has blessed you with a beautiful hand and mind.”

“My parents motivate the people residing in our society to use two-bin segregation system for garbage. Segregation is the first step of waste management. Green dustbins are for disposing of wet waste which includes waste from fruits and vegetables, cooked or uncooked food, leaves etc. and blue dustbins are for disposing dry waste which includes paper, metal, plastic products etc. It helps in segregating waste as they recycled differently. Wet waste is organic whereas dry is not. Segregated recycling helps in cleaning the environment quickly.”

“You know a lot about garbage management.”

“I learnt this on a Youtube video which I watch using free Wifi at Delhi Airport while waiting for my flight to my grandparent’s home.”

“Free Wifi zones will make people more intelligent and aware.”

“For that, metro stations and railway platforms should be free Wifi zones and all passengers should be given free Vodafone oxygen bombs.”

“Aloe vera growing in a plastic vessel with Vodafone printed on it. The plant requires least maintenance as it can grow well in less water and plenty of sunlight. It grows well in Delhi weather. It can be used as an ayurvedic medicine for stomach and face.”

“Nah! They should give tomato plants, as the plants will bear red tomatoes, similar in color to Vodafone logo. Organic tomatoes will give fresh air and fruits to Delhites.” He plucked a ripe tomato from the plant growing in the pot on the windowsill of the room and gulped it down.

“Have you ever done anything to make Delhi and NCR a better city to live?”

 “Last Sunday we went to a nearby slum area, it was stinking as garbage was scattered everywhere. If Vodafone, starts a new scheme that no garbage zone will be free Wifi zones then India will become garbage free overnight.” He smiled.

“What if after getting the facility they again start polluting their surroundings.”

“Garbage free, neat and clean colonies can be made free Wifi zones for specific period. If they maintain the same level of cleanliness, then the facility can be extended, else withdrawn. Persons residing in other colonies and societies will be motivated to make their surrounding garbage free.

“Garbage free India will encourage more foreigners to visit India. They will give more business to Vodafone while calling back home or while using internet to search decent site seeing or a nice restaurant nearby or while booking a cab or while making payments.”

In my Diwali vacations, we went to a nearby village to educate farmers how to improve their farming knowledge by teaching them how to watch Youtube videos on the topics related to them. I showed them videos on how to prepare gobar gas plant, how to use solar light to run tube-wells, how to generate electricity from wind, how to make rain harvesting pits, how to use battery operated vehicles, how to do organic farming, how to make vermicompost and how to make more money. I didn’t teach them how to count more money.” He giggled.

“How was the sewage system in the village?”

“My father taught them how to prepare low cost disposable sewage systems and told them about the links from where they can gather more information about it.”

“Vodafone help start-ups during their incubation stage by giving them Vodafone products.” I told.

“They can give free Wifi for those who use toilets with closed doors.” There was naughtiness in his voice as well as in his eyes.

“Hotspot!”

 “Why do you call me Hotspot?”

“Because I can access information from you free of cost any time with just a click.” I lightly touch the tip of his nose with my index finger.

“I tell you a secret that I didn’t like to eat spinach but now I have started eating spinach like Popeye as I grow organic spinach in PVC pipes in my balcony.”

“Let us make a video to share this information with family, neighbours and friends.”

“Excellent idea!”

“I am unable to upload my video.”

“Sis, first of all you shift to Vodafone leaving X, Y, Z companies behind!” He said with a laugh.