Press Ctrl+S for nature, for there is no again!

“Mamma! Look what is this! It jumped on my foot!” said the little boy, eyes wide as can be. His mouth as wide open as his eyes.

“Really?!” I looked on surprised. “Can this be true?!”

“Oh baby! That is just a frog. It jumped to run away as your coming close to it scared it.”, said the mother.

“But mamma…”, went on the conversation, surprising me more and more. An 10 year old from Delhi had never seen a frog! His 32 year old mother didn’t know a toad from a frog!

A classic case of how we have been moving a little farther from nature, with each passing generation.

Come the rains, and we’d gather around tiny waterholes in the park, to see tiny tadpoles swim in there, and took such pride in our achievement, if we could be the one to have the maximum number of tadpoles in out little bottle. Yes, little, empty injection  or capsule bottled with a thread tied around its neck. We took turns dipping our bottles and collect tadpoles talking of taking them as pets, until they grew into frog – vibrant green, hopping and stopping at our beck and call. But always letting go of them, when it was time to go home, for we hadn’t the permission to take them home. One instance of the countless close inter-play with nature.

It was a matter of such pride, when the teacher taught the chapter on ‘the life cycle of a frog’, and we could raise our hand to say we had witnessed those tadpoles turn into tiny frogs, and so on…

Can this be said of the kids today? Technology has taken them so far from nature. so much so, that they can’t seem to co-exist with it! I have seen a little girl scared paranoid of butterflies! Can there be a more benign creature around?!

The story doesn’t end there. The generation now (especially in the metros other cities, even towns not far behind!) is so far from nature, boxed in air-conditioned homes, schools and vehicles. They play virtual games, live in virtual world pouring out from televisions and cable TV…A pink panther more believable than a real world!

Is it a surprise then, that they don’t blink an eye if nature is at stake? Where and how do they feel for something they don’t know?! It is either all that is seen on TV, or not seen at all. Period.

That said, I do, as one who has had the privilege of seeing nature from close, take the responsibility for such surprises…and to make things less surprising. We take children from the school nearby, on nature walks. Apart from showing them for real, things they read that day, in their classes. we encourage them to indulge with nature…we sow seeds with them, and have each one adopt a sapling and nurture it; show them how moths camouflage and how some butterflies rub their wings together, while sucking nectar, and so on.

How does this help?”, One may ask. Well, if they can be fascinated by such wonders of nature and to love nature, they will feel for it, and learn to let it be…let it live and take its own course. They will know one day, that there is no them if there is n nature…that there is no again, when it comes to meddling with the ways of nature’s working…that if there has to be life on earth, they have to remember to press ‘Ctrl+S’ for nature, each tie there is need for it. And that this they can do, by sharing what they learn and multiply the Ctrl+S iterations, until there isn’t need for it anymore.

P.S. I’m blogging about how I’ll remind kids to press Ctrl+S for nature for the Shortcut Safaari weekend activity at BlogAdda.

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buraa na maano Holi hai!

Holi was always the most favorite of all the festivals with us kids. Nothing in the world would…could dim the enthusiasm that mounted with each passing day, as ‘the festival of festivals’ approached nigh. How could it, with the air itself colored in the hues of enthusiasm. Weeks in advance, one could hear freshly cut, huge branches being dragged outside by older ‘bhaiyas’  in the colony – having undertaken all sorts of risks and pains to cut them, now bringing them to the safe haven of the park to have them dry in the sun, for Holi. The discussions always hovered around which colors to buy, and discuss strategies how to color people the deepest and darkest. Bringing out our ‘phuvvaras’ (a kind of steel pichkari, with a pump pulled up and down to throw water) from the previous year, to see if they needed change of washer, if they were in good enough shape to shoot long, concentrated streaks of color very far, or were they to be replaced. Finding the right bottle into whose mouth the phuvvara would fit well, the bottle that would in turn, sit well in the crook of the arm. Whew! so much preparation! ‘Whew’?! Not at all! It was so much fun! Unlike today, when a day or two before Holi, kids go buy pichkaris and balloons and colors and lo. We saved every penny we could, earn every penny we could, to have that many more balloons to fill with colored water and bombard passers by, with.
Come Holi, mmaxresdefaultothers would get busy making the Holi special goodies – gunjiyas, mathi, namak paare, besan ke laddoo, kanji ka paani, moon ki daal ki pakodi, papdi chaat, besan ke sev…yummy!
It was so much fun to help out with the special chores of making tiny balls of the special dough or rolling out the balls for mathri or gunjiya, cutting the stuffed gunjiya with a cutter to lend it the beautiful design on its edge. And would also ensure the much awaited gunjiyas were made even faster!

The dried branches ready to be burnt were seen piled up on cross-roads. With Holika dahan started the playing with colors (mostly gulal at that time time of the evening/night). Boy! It took forever for the Holi morning to come, after Holika dahan the night before! Who says kids don’t know what a sleepless night is?!  Waking up very early was never as much fun…there was much to be done – making color to pour onto people, testing – its concentration on each other, till it was the desired color, filling up of balloons with colored water. All done, Boroline applied on our faces and mustard oil to our bodies and hair, we were all set to go take on the world. Like charity begins at home, coloring on Holi too. We’d paint each other’s face silver, with this silver powder ‘mirgaan’ mixed in mustard oil, for no color would stay on it. Thus began the sheer bliss of playing Holi – coloring anyone and everyone we met on the way, regardless who they were, if they objected “buraa na maano Holi hai”(please don’t mind, for it it Holi)  went up the chorus, if they still objected, “maano toh maano, Holi hai” (It doesn’t matter if you mind, for it is Holi) went on the next shout!

Holi songs played on loudspeakers added o to the ringings of “buraa na maano Holi hai.maano toh maano, Holi hai” and “Holi ka badwa jailjail” (of which none seemed to know the meaning) and of course, the plain and simple “Holi hai!”. All men of the colony gathered in the park, seated in a circle, as if to play ‘I sent a letter…’ and all the ladies in the temple hall, singing and dancing to Holi folk tunes. Unlike today, when people restrict themselves to playing Holi with within own homes and families, or not playing at all,Holi used to be sheer fun back then.

“I’m pledging to #KhulKeKheloHoli this year by sharing my Holi memories at BlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed.”

 

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Zica – Tata’s new sharp-nosed beauty

“Tata has clearly put its heart and soul into the Zica and the  result is vegallery021ry impressive.” goes AUTOCAR, about Tata’s new sharp-nosed beauty with sweptback headlamps – Zica.

The beauty, out of the wraps now, is ready to woo(osh) the Indian car drivers and is sure to add an all new group to the existing audience. What’s more? She’s the #Fantastico who ‘walks’ the ‘red’ carpet in India, on the arm of none else, but the legendary Lionel Messi!

Zica looks entirely different from the entire range of Tata Motors models, and comes with “a cabin that could very well belong to a more expensive car.”

The easy to handle, Zica is designed as to glide India’s imperfect roads with ease. Yes, she’s here to carve her niche with the edgy look and more!

It  has quite some show-stealer features and plenty of equipment to complement her. The radiator grille with honeycomb mesh on her sharp nose, makes a lovely bonnet for the beauty, adding to it, the large, swept back headlamps ; The rear-end of the vehicle is seen to have a conventionally styled wrap around unit as her set of well proportioned tail lamps. A silhouette modern and contemporary, a dashboard elaborately laid out, provision of a turn-by-turn navigation app that you need to purchase and download on your smartphone and use, a tiny multimedia display that also works for this basic nav system, sporty steering wheel with buttons for music and telephone (on the upper models of course)…and all!

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, and Zica isn’t either. There is bound to be a trade-off in terms of making a compromise on the driving experience given her not so lustrous engines that “take much away from what is otherwise a well-rounded package”, “in return for good fuel efficiency”. However, Indian buyers may prove willing to make this compromise, given her fuel-efficiency — petrol Zica (in Eco mode) gives an impressive 23.5kpl and the diesel is even more fuel-efficient.

Tata Zica, expected to be priced at Rs. 4 lakh (base petrol model, ex-showroom, Delhi), and diesel not far off that mark, is expected to hold her own and even give others in the segment, (the likes of Celerio from Maruti, Grand i10 from Hyundai and Renault Kwid) quite a lead in the run. Zica will well bridge the wide gap between the cheaper Nano and bigger Bolt. Zica, comes as a breath of fresh air, as much as in the world of Tata motors, as to the segment she belongs in.

Expecting a launch in the first quarter of 2016 (February, perhaps), the edgy Zica that made its public debut at the Auto Expo, Delhi, may replace the Indica hatchback in the Indian market.

See how flies Tata’s new kite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0MOySRUdFw

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can  apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

PS: I hereby acknowledge that the article above, has inputs from AUTOCAR and ZIGWHEELS, and thank them for the same.

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Go gentle, ah! dear world

Go gentle, ah! dear world, says a baby’s delicate skin, if we try and listen to it. Our protectiveness for our baby…any baby, must also include protecting its delicate skin from the harshness around. Be it chemicals, extreme weather, or simply negligence.

  1. Bathe the baby regularly. We aren’t protecting it from the cold weather by not bathing it, much as we feel/like to think we are. Its skin needs to get rid of the toxic substances left behind by sweat, creams and powders etc. that clog pores, and of the dead dermal layer on the surface. Declogging the baby’s pores thus, ensures it has a soft, healthy skin.
  2. A good but gentle massage is very vital for your baby…as much for its skin, as for its muscles and bones. While a nice oil massage traditionally given to babies (in India) is good, a gentle massage with a more absorbent oil or  moisturizing lotion soon after the bath (while the skin is still damp) keeps the skin well moisturized by locking in the moisture.
  3. Add more fluids to the baby’s diet/feed, as exposure to dry air and the sun dehydrates the baby, and essentially, its skin. The less a baby’s skin (area) is exposed to the dehydrating air -be it conditioned (heated or cooled) or natural, the less dehydrated the baby and its skin get. Preventing the skin from dehydration doesn’t of course mean, letting it remain wet or even damp. It should be wiped dry asap, lest the wetness/dampness harm it. Letting the wetness dry by itself from the skin means over-drying it. This isn’t good for anyone’s skin, surely not for the baby’s tender skin.
  4. Avoid using unnatural, cosmetic products for your baby. And if one can’t, then non-organic products are a definite no. The pH value of baby care products is kept best suited for baby skin. This is why, if one must use chemically produced products, they should be safe for the baby’s delicate skin.
  5. Dress your baby in clothes made with natural substances such as cotton. No matter how harsh the winters, the innermost clothes of the baby must be cotton. They not only absorb and release sweat, keeping the baby dry, in doing so, they let its skin breathe. And are soft and gentle as well, on the baby’s tender skin. “Pampers brings you the softest ever Pampers Premium Care Pants. Its cotton-like softness is #SoftestForBabySkin and allows it to breathe, thus keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy, and your baby happy.”

Your baby’s skin is your style statement too! Take care.

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Skin, o’ so soft!

A baby’s tender skin needs gentle care, else it may remain ‘baby-like’ no more! Their delicate skin, being very delicate and sensitive, can bear allergies and reactions such as rashes, cracks, and so on. To keep a baby’s skin safe, we must:

  1. Use baby-skin friendly products, be it lotions, shampoos, creams, etc. These have pH balance suited to baby skin, and are generally safe. But one must take care and observe how a baby’s skin takes to the product used on it. Not all babies’ skin may take well to ‘baby-safe’ products, for they still have chemicals.
  2. Hydrate the baby. Make sure to keep the baby hydrated, by providing it ample fluids. No moisturizing beats inner hydration. Especially during the winters, when people tend to expose their baby more to the sun, it must be hydrated accordingly. The best way to avoid chapped lips and cracked skin especially on the cheeks. Remember! Wetness is not hydration.
  3. Let the baby’s skin breathe. No matter what the season, it is best to dress the baby in soft, absorbent clothes made with natural fiber – cotton is of course the best bet, especially for the inner clothes, to let its skin breathe and not retain the toxic sweat or remain sodden in it, due to low absorbency of its clothes. Thus a cotton vest and cotton-like, soft diaper pants treat your baby’s skin just how it deserves – gently.“The softest ever Premium Care Pants brought by Pampers, with its cotton-like softness is #SoftestForBabySkin and allows it to breathe, thus keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy, and of course, your baby happy.”
  4. Moisturize a baby’s skin regularly, especially during the winters. Their tender skin needs extra care at all times. The cold dry wind can easily chap and crack a baby’s skin. So it must be moisturized frequently. Especially the areas that are wiped or washed repeatedly. Also, one must make sure the moisturizer doesn’t clog the pores.
  5. Bathe the baby regularly. Its skin needs to get rid of the toxic substances left behind by sweat, creams and powders etc. that clog pores, and of the dead dermal layer on the surface. Declogging the baby’s pores thus, ensures it has a soft, healthy skin.

These simple day to day things are some simple ways to keep the baby’s skin, just like it is – o’ so soft!

 

 

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A Miracle

As I was walking in into the Reliance store near my residence, this rainy Sunday morning, within a split of a second, there was a blast like sound and the entire glass door (left open by someone) shattered into smithereens. The glass door that I had just arrived at, wasn’t a door anymore! It lay scattered around my feet, rendered to tiny pieces of glass!

The sound had made me retract my next step forward, that would bring me right where most of the shattered glass directly fell!

God was so kind as to warn and stop me, and to bring me out of it, unscratched! I am so grateful to him for this, and for everything!

Too overwhelmed even now, I can’t stop marveling at His greatness and at the miracle, since!

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बेवफ़ा उसे न कहो

ये और बात है, के लगता आज बेपरवाह है वो,
के हवा दी थी उसी ने, इन मुहब्बत के जज़्बों को।

आज उसके किये वादे की कीमत कुछ नहीं है तो,
दिलबर था वो मेरा, अब बुरा उसे न कहो।

के याद मुझे करके, रोता है तन्हाई में वो,
यकीन नहीं है ग़र, तो चलो फ़र्ज़ ही कर लो।

के अपनी किन्हीं मजबूरियों का क़ैदी है वो,
साथ छोड़ गया है मेरा, तो बेवफ़ा उसे न कहो।

बहुत मुश्किल है मिटाना दाग़, दिल हो या दमन हो,
न दाग़ बेवफाई का, दो उसके दमन को।

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The Mahabharata Quest : The Alexander Secret’ – A review

the-mahabharata-quest-400x400-imadzk34hxzseb4mThanks to Dan Brown and some others’ success, there’s an influx of thrillers in the market, at their best to engage readers, as also of Hindu mythology, and authors’ perspectives/accounts/interpretation/takes of it and the lore.

The book in question here, ‘The Mahabharata Quest: The Alexander Secret’ starts off with quite some promise, as does the intriguing title (which, of course, made me curious to want to read the book, just like many others, I am sure). It does come out to be an engrossing read, for the content at times, and for the hope that there may be something ahead, more promising than what was being read then. The technique of switching back and forth between times and genres does the trick too, though it gets to be too much at times.

Intertwining the ancient with the contemporary, mythology with history and a take on science, the book could have been a real thriller, as intended by the author, as promised by the introduction notes, and as expected by the reader (given all this), but towards the middle, the story becomes very predictable; Not to miss the melodrama akin to the Indian cine world! A cliché, but readable story. The headings for paragraphs are spoilers, giving away what comes next, dampening the thrill element by degrees.

The characters are well sketched, with their fads and fetishes, and mature well with the plot.

The book could definitely do better with the diction, which comes out as school boy English–short, simple sentences “The others had left. It was just the two of them”; Not to mention the ‘mother-tongue influence’, for instance, “What preparation did he have to do”…well, we ‘make’ preparations, not ‘do’ them! Or why not simply say “What did he have to prepare”! Why nominalize a verb (prepare) and then mess it up with the use of another verb (do)? And, a daughter is precious “to” a father, not “for”. Well, and there’s “Radha hurried down the corridor, acting as if she was in a hurry.”

The amount of research that has gone into the book, be it about the mythology, archeology and so on, is quite commendable, as also the efforts in keeping a fully fledged plot running, and ensure it doesn’t fall apart.

The book brings forth insights into history and excavations not all may know of. The author has gone to quite some lengths to furnish information and details for the benefit of the reader, and it shows in the extent of details he delves into, about the exploits and expeditions and researches, knowledge and findings of the characters. All in all, it can hold its own, making the reader turn pages, for reasons varying from reader to reader.

Further, the author has tried to keep up some suspense with the “To-be-continued” tactic, (hoping to help sell his next book?) but what is to be seen is, will it hold on, in time. This said, I hope the sequel is worth the wait for the readers, just as the author promises in his closing notes. For me, I definitely am not waiting for it. Why? It falls in line with the likes of ‘The Krishna Key’, for me, though a shade or two better, plot-wise.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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Ah Train!

I lie awake many a night,
And I listen to that train.
You hugged me tight, kissed my head,
And you boarded your train.
“My love, I’ll see you soon.”
And you never came again!

I lie awake many a night,
And I visit that train.
You smile at me, wave your hand,
As you stand on board that train.
“My love, I’ll see you soon.”
And you are gone again!

I lie awake many a night
For I’m haunted by that train.
“My love, I’ll see you soon.”
And I never slept again!

I lie awake many a night
For I never slept again…

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Busy…

Eyes on target, mouth’s but a straight line;
Body and heart and soul all alike unwound.
Busy is the world as it goes,
For riches, and success, and pursuits abound.
“Friends, and love…and life, o’ wait!
I’m headed for the stars, be back in no time.
Friends, and love…and life, o’ wait!
Will see you here, when I touch the ground”
Busy is the world for it goes around.
To riches, and success, and pursuits abound.

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