Tuesday, 29 January 2013

How to make Avalakki Chooda

Ingredients :

Telu avalakki                                           4 cups
Groundnut oil                                          1/2 cup
Groundnut seeds                                     1 cup
Hurigadale                                               1/2 cup
Curry leaves                                            10-15
Uppu menasinakai                                    5-10
Grated dry coconut                                  1/2 cup
Red chilli powder                                     1 tea spoon
Menthe hittu                                             2 tea spoon
Sugar                                                       1 tea spoon
Mustard seeds, Jeera, Hing, Asafoetida for tadka.
Salt to taste.

Preparation :

In a thick bottomed kadai, heat groundnut oil. then add sasive, jeerige, hing powder and arisina. Once they stop sputtering, add groundnut and fry till golden colour. Then add hurigadale, curry leaves, uppu menasinakai, and mix thoroughly  turn off the heat. Wait till it comes to normal temperature. Then add avalakki, sugar, salt, red chilli powder, menthehittu and mix well.
Put the kadai back on fire and fry just for few minutes till it gets warm. ( This needs to be done to get crispy chooda ). Shift to a tight lid box only after half an hour.

How to make Chakkli :

This is an instant preparation. Not only during festival, even during other times, it can be prepared instantly.
Ingredients :

Rice flour                                           3 cups
Hurigadale powder                            1 cup
Ajwain ( om )                                    1 table spoon,
Jeera                                                1 table spoon
Hing powder                                     1 tea spoon
Everest or mdh red chilli powder       2 table spoon
Ghee or butter                                   2 table spoon
                                                      Fried til                                             1 table spoon
                                                      Oil for frying
                                                      Salt to taste

Preparation :

Heat ghee or butter and add to the mix of all the above ingredients.
Heat the oil in a kadai.
Roll the chaklis and fry on a medium flame.

Serve hot. But can be stored in an airtight jar and can be savoured over a few weeks.

Happy Cooking :-)

How to make Besan laddoo


Ingredients :

Kadale hittu ( besan )                                              2 cups

Pure ghee 1 + cups ( if you wish to have bean laddoos very soft,                          increase the quantity of ghee)
Powdered sugar                                                     1 1/4 cups
Cardamom powder                                                 1 tea spoon
Cashew nuts                                                           20
Raisins                                                                    20

Preparation :

In a pan heat cashews in a little ghee and set aside.

In a thick bottomed kadai mix ghee and besan and on a medium flame, keep stirring continuously. Take care to see that it is not burnt. It will take quite some time to turn golden colour and lose its raw smell. Then turn of the heat and keep stirring further till the heat completely subsides or transfer it to some other vessel.
Once the mix is TOTALLY cool, add fried cashews, raisins, elaichi powder and sugar. ( Add sugar according to your taste. ) Knead thoroughly and roll into laddoos. ( It can be used without refrigeration for over a month )

How to Remain Calm and Relaxed during Menstrual Cycle

Do you see your daughter, friend or sister suddenly looking sad, forlorn or depressed ? A lady who is an epitome of cheerful energy and is always full of life suddenly snapping at you? Is unwilling to eat or suddenly starts crying at the smallest possible provocation? Or you yourself sometimes feel that the whole world and life is meaningless, and that nobody loves you or understands you and that everybody uses you but ignores you at the time of your need?
The answer to all the above questions will be in the affirmative by 99% of the women we ask. This is the most common symptom of PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome, a monthly cycle of mental and physical problems associated with menstruation.
What causes PMS
The symptoms of PMS can be both physical and mental and can start anywhere from a week before the menstrual cycle to last up to the first or the third day of the cycle.It invariably affects each and every woman at least some time from their puberty till the menopause.
The physical symptoms can be any of the following :
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pimples
  • Muscles pain
  • Back Pain
  • Weight gain
  • Tenderness or pain in the breast
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Bloating of the stomach
  • Excessive hunger or total aversion to eat
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Skin allergies or rashes
The mental symptoms include :
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Crying at slightest provocation
  • Snapping
  • Aversion to do any mental or physical work
  • Aversion to interact with anybody
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of concentration
  • Weeping and crying
  • Aggressive and hostile response
  • Agitation and nervousness
  • Extreme mood swings
 What are the Symptoms and Solutions for PMS
The physical symptoms may be the result of excessive bleeding or delayed and irregular menses and scanty bleeding. A horde of medicines across the counter are available in Allopathy, Ayurveda and Homeopathy to alleviate these problems. They may help in reducing the pain but it cannot be considered as the permanent solution and also they are teeming with potential side effects, The best step would be to address the root of this physical pain and try to find a solution.
The cramps may occur if there is irregularity in what is a menstrual cycle or what is a period cycle of a woman. Excessive bleeding [heavy menstrual bleeding] may be a symptom of whole body cleansing at young age but as the age advances, this may cause an alarm. It may not only make one feel warm [body temperature], but may affect the mental health thereby making the mind worried and depressed.
So, in order to prevent excessive bleeding and dehydration, in consultation with the gynecologist the problem needs to be diagnosed to find out what causes the physical pain, and find out if it relates to any stress or obesity or any other health reason.
How to relax and relaxation tools 
Unlike physical pain, the emotional and mental symptoms can be addressed with a systematic approach. The key is to adopt [relaxation techniques] and follow guided relaxation tools.
Relaxation breathing techniques :  
  • Stay calm and take deep breaths.           
  • Sit in a padmasana or sukhasana or lie down on your back and breath slowly and steadily.
  • Perform anuloma viloma pranayama. Hold your ring finger and thumb on both the sides of your nose.Close the left nostril and inhale slowly and deeply throw your right nostril. Then close the right nostril with your thumb and exhale slowly with your left nostril. Now inhale slowly through your left nostril keeping the right nostril closed with your thumb. Slowly close your left nostril and exhale through your right. This is one cycle. Repeat this in twenty, thirty or forty circles.
  • You can put relaxing pictures where you perform these mental relaxing techniques.
  • This progressive relaxation technique can be used not only during PMS and menstrual cycles but also throughout the month for better results. They are the relaxation tools for the entire body and soul and help in the overall well being.
 Hot water elements 
Prior to the starting of menstruation when one starts feeling the symptoms, or immediately on its starting it is always better to have a hot water bath. If one is taking bath in advance, it is better to have a warm castor oil massage, and take bath after sitting in the sunlight for half an hour. When this eases the physical pain, the mind naturally relaxes. If one takes this oil bath, hot water heating elements advance the menstruation process and helps in easy and healthy flow. Heating oil and water and taking bath in hot water can be extremely relaxing.
Besides taking bath, one must have the habit of drinking hot water not only during menses but every morning throughout the month on empty stomach. Drinking hot water with carom seed will ease the pain due to menstrual cramps.
It has been an established fact that the teenage eating disorders is having a serious effect on the teenagers' health. further this is also a contributing factor for the irritation symptoms during menstruation. A healthy mind always accompanies a healthy body.
Nutrition for teenagers can consist of any or all of the following :
  • Flax seed nutrition,
  • Bean sprout nutrition
  • Fruit desserts recipes
  • Healthy dinners                                                     
  • Freeze dried fruits
  • Fresh fruits
  • Honey roasted cashews
  • Hot milk - The protein in milk acts as a mood booster.
The nutrition fact of honey and the honey health benefits have been very well established. The honey energises the organs, boosts our immune system and fights bacteria. So with its remedial qualities it ensures prolonged good health which naturally have a bearing on our emotional health.
The therapeutic healing powers of the music in mind relaxation have been effectively used by the physical therapists and sages from ancient times. To heal the mind of its tensions, irritations and depressions make extensive use of radio, videos and TV.
Lie down, breathe deeply and slowly and let your mind drift and float along with the soothing music and its lyrics. Take in its beauty, forget the unnecessary irritation. Make concerted efforts to forget the depressing thoughts, count your blessings and force your mind to linger on happy memories or expectant beautiful dreams.
Recall the pleasant moments you have spent with your friends, family and your loved ones. Remember, this is just a temporary passing phase and it is totally meaningless and not worth to brood and spoil the surrounding atmosphere.
Take a break and read magazines and books. Make a note of which magazines and books you have liked and enjoyed the most and always keep them by your bedside  Remember we all have certain favorite books which we don't mind reading repeatedly and which lift our moods. There are some movies which bring an involuntary smile to our lips. Keep them handy.
For some people this period causes some rashes and allergies. Find out the culprit, where you are getting allergy from. Avoid eating and using these, but still better, don't let them spoil your mood. There are many natural cures if the allergies persist and follow these strictly. The alternative method of medicines have a very rich resources in finding solutions. There are home remedies too. Go to a spa or create an atmosphere la spa in your tub by adding therapeutic herbs and perfumes and take a hot bath. Go for natural massage therapies like psychotherapy and hot oil massage therapy or aroma massage, if you are not comfortable having them at home.
Watch youtube videos to learn about some natural therapeutic massages from the things you get in your kitchen and garden like aloe vera  cream and turmeric, fig paste etc. Indulge and pamper yourself. It can be a great morale booster.
Pets are your best friends.They are the most selfless and understanding creatures on this earth.When we cuddle our puppies, cats and dogs, we feel we are pampering them, but what we forget is that when we caress and cuddle the pet animals and talk to them, our body releases a neurochemical cocktail as the one released when we are being affectionate with our loved ones. It gives a high like a drink. Studies have shown that cuddling with the dogs reduce the blood pressure, releases the hormone oxytocin which makes us feel fuzzy and warm.
So go ahead and give your pet a hug. Let him lie by your side and share his warmth. Talk to him, he understands and empathises with every word you speak to him. You would say I always want to be with My Sleeping Dog,
 Relax !                                       
Since this syndrome is most common and affects every female body, the men have an important role to play. Since it is a genetic syndrome and women are helpless, they have to bear this - either in a relaxed manner or grudgingly - the men can be understanding and sympathetic and co-operative. They can be pragmatic and understand that this is an inevitable but a passing phase every month and they better grin and bear it.
And a tip to all the women out there. To keep your family, office and surrounding peaceful and cheerful, keep your male partners informed that you are making sincere efforts to bear and grin, you can seek their understanding and cooperation  Keep them informed about the reason for your mood swings. Better make them read this !
Relax ! It is in your hands to grumble and feel miserable or breeze right through that time of the month !

Maha Kumbha Mela - The cultural extravaganza of India

image source : blog.poonamparihar.com

image source : http://www.thehindubusinessline.com
kumbh1image source : tcindia.com

image source : indiapulse.sulekha.com
The images of Indian cultural extravaganza, The Maha Kumbha Mela are flashing across the media - both print   and visual, all over the world.  There are images of sadhus, tents, temples, lamps and of course foreign visitors. But I am afraid instead of highlighting the essence and the cultural value of the mega event, the focus is more on getting the snaps of the nude sadhus or sadhus smearing ash on their bodies or wearing odd costumes, lengthy hairs or nails. Besides the ash smeared ascetics, wide-eyed stars and

tourists and millions of pilgrims thronging the Ganges for a holy dip, there are a lot more interesting facts and intricacies involved in this mystique event.
image source : indiatoday.intoday.in
The Puranas - holy scripts of India - link the origin of Kumbh Mela to the origin of the universe. Scriptures narrate that once Durvasa Muni, the short-tempered sage,  came face to face with Indra on his elephant. A pleased Durvasa offers his garland to Indra. Indra nonchalantly places the  garland on the trunks of his elephant, which throws it down to the ground and stamps on it. Durvasa, loses his temper and curses Indra to lose all his opulence and the demiGods, afflicted on the one side from demons and on the other side by the curse of Durvasa lose all their power in the three worlds.
So the demi Gods led by Indra and Vayu bereft of all their power and strength  approach Lord Brahma to seek his blessings and his help to regain their supremacy. Lord Brahma takes pity on them and along with Lord Shiva leads them to the Supreme power, The Lotus feet Lord Vishnu. Vishnu being omnipotent is aware of everything and offers a solace. He advises the demiGods to make peace with demons and churn the ocean of milk where the rope will be serpent Vasuki and the churning rod would be Mandara Mountain. The nectar - Amrutha - will come out of churning which will make the demiGods strong and immortal.
image source : allgodscollections.com
image source : etirtha.com

When the Amrutha Manthana - churning of the ocean ends with the arrival of the nectar, a tussle erupts between Demi Gods and Demons and Lord Vishnu taking the shape of Mohini wins over the asuras and give the nectar to Gods. But in the ensuing melee between Gods and Demigods  four drops of nectar supposedly fall in four places Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik and this has made these places with their rivers the most sacred places on earth.
image source : thehindu.com
It is at these four places that Kumbha Mela is celebrated. The ardh Kumbha mela is celebrated  at Haridwar and Allahabad every six years and Purna Kumbha  Mela takes place  once every twelve years at four places Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. The mela alternates between Nashik, Allahabad, Ujjain and Haridwar every three years. Allahabad, the place where Kumbha Mela is being held this year is a mass Hindu pilgrimage in which Hindus gather at the Sangam, meeting place of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati, at Prayag where bathing for purification from sin is considered especially auspicious.
image source : chennaionline.com
There is a mention about the Maha Kumbh in the diary of Chinese traveler Huang Tsang back in 602 - 664 A.D. during his visit to India during the reign of Harshavardhana.It is the serene and pious atmosphere at the Himalayas and Ganges which was responsible for the positive impact on the hearts and minds of those visiting these places. Unfortunately the human greed has been polluting the land, water and air over the years and it is taking ugly proportions with the passage of time. The rural people who live one month every year in January in this place are called Kalpa Basis  Seers claim that a person who undergoes the Kalpawasa vrata is honoured with the title of Kalpawasi. They spend their entire time in Kumbh Mela living an austere and minimalistic life. Kalpwas is religious and spiritual sermon and scientists claim that spending a month at mela has a very positive impact on their hearts and minds.
This year in a study conducted by the social psychologists of British and Indian universities it is found that the Kalpa Basis return home healthier despite the fact that they have just one meal per day.Though they supposedly live in messy, unhealthy and unhygienic conditions, their health improves because of the environment and medicinal plants and air. Imagine what would have been the results if the Ganges were to be in her original purity.
image source : hotfrog.in
Under the aegis of many social and environmental organisations [river pollution control] [Ganga river basin management plan],steps are constantly being taken to prevent contamination of water and control water pollution. River Ganga, popularly known as Ganges is held in highest reverence in India and its sanctity can never be lost in globalization of Indian culture. Indian culture and work culture in India cannot be representative of India unless the purity and sanctity of the Ganges is restored. As much as the Taj Mahal is the representative of India calling the world tourists, the festival hosting India can retain its cultural value not only by publicizing the Kumbh Mela but making the Kumbh mela tours as divine Kumbh yatra.
The sheer scale and complex dynamics of the mela provide a big canvas and a platform in the study of socio-economic management. At an average estimate more than 100 million people are supposed to attend the mela this year. The Harvard University is engaged in studying the logistics that go into the organisation of the festival of this big magnitude. It is here that our country's history and heritage take a center stage. Imagine providing the facilities of health, sanitation, water, food and transportation to this enormous gathering where on the wide open land a city pops up and facilities are provided to millions of people.

Back Pain Treatment

Health care centre in India @ Ujire - Dharmasthala - Karnataka
Health care centre in India @ Ujire - Dharmasthala - 


"Spine and Back"

Ever since my youth I remember having back pain neck pain and leg pain. There has never been dearth of family care or attention. We tried several home remedies, exercises and yoga which used to give some relief albeit temporarily. Spine and back playing a vital role in day to day functioning, I wanted to find a permanent solution.I visited many naturopathy centers [ health care centers in India ] but there was no pain relief.Since I was mildly obese I Practiced Yoga, Pranayama and lost Weight. But that didn't help in finding a solution to my problems.

Though there had been chronic pain, it got worst three years back when I had a slip disk. This added to my woes. I continued to do workout exercises as I was always aware of the importance of exercise for a healthy life. Initially after slip disk I even started having arthritis back pain too. Though at the back of my mind I knew that for spine and back pain, back pain operation [ spinal fusion surgery ] was the only and ultimate solution especially for conditions like mine. Initially I was petrified to go under the scissors because of the assumed risk [ operational risk ].

St,Philomina  Hospital Bangalore
St.Philomina Hospital Bangalore

Then the inevitable happened. The back and neck pain and the leg pain increased to such an extent that I could hardly sleep at nights. Free fitness programs could give pain relief to minor pains or for the initial stages of the pain. I was forced to visit a doctor for a final diagnosis who advised me that not the pain control options but a corrective method i.e spine fusion surgery was the best solution.

Let me tell you that for any treatment or surgery it is of utmost importance that you get the services of an efficient and confidant doctor. For me it was Dr.Sujayrao, a back pain operation specialist from St.Philomena's who came like a messiah. Not only was he confident of himself, he instilled such a confidence in me that I got ready for the spinal fusion surgery. He reassured me that pain after spinal surgery will be almost negligible and not only would I be on my feet doing my things independently just after one month but I could even climb Lord Venkateshwara's abode at Thirupathi after just three months. His only condition was that I should get prasadam for him!


True to his words, in the ICU unit just a few hours after operation I could bend my feet and fingers and the very next day I could roll over in the bed and sleep in every comfortable position.Within a week I could walk slowly and after just a month I could go for a walk to the nearby park. Before sending me home post spinal surgery, I was sent to a physical therapist under a rehab program. At Manipal Hospital they provided excellent physical therapy services and rehab services and taught me the mild physical exercises I was supposed to do after going home.

Fortunately for me I did not have to go for a loan in view of the heavy medical expenses incurred. Family Insurance by way of health insurance has been provided to me by my employers LIC of India. Without proper medical insurances things would have been extremely difficult.

So friends, let me reassure you contrary to the notion that spine fusion surgery is dangerous or painful, it is the best solution and there is absolutely no reason to be afraid of. There are some dos and don'ts which we need to take care of like avoiding bending or lifting heavy objects. We can bend at the knees instead of back. If we continue to do mild exercises as advised by the physical therapist and maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime then we can live happily ever after :-)

God Speed.

My Sleeping Dog

                   POGO My Pug :-D

POGO My Pug :-D

Welcome  POGO


Whenever my two children demanded for a pet dog, I had resisted. With both of us working, taking care of the children and managing the household work made us refuse to give in to the children's demand. But once the children grew up, with the son becoming a software engineer and the daughter also aspiring to get into the software field, our tensions and worries had reduced. And when the daughter assured me that she will take the full responsibility of the dog, I had no reason to refuse. For a few days there were discussions, arguments over the selection of the breed, selection of the name for the new arrival, about his food, bed, sleeping bag, with thrilled sounds of laughter and shrieks of dis-agreement. Ultimately it was decided that we will have a month year old pug.Thus POGO arrived at our home on 11.11.11.


Neighbor's envy - owners pride !

Within no time POGO became the darling of the house. Though I am working in Life Insurance in India [ life insurance ] and hardly get time to indulge in computer, tv games and youtube, I always managed to find some time to spend with pogo. I would sacrifice my yoga, cut down my physical exercise, back exercise and stomach exercise as I thought the pleasure and activity that I had in pogo's company was more than making up the loss. Even my children would cut down their gym exercises and aerobic exercises. Everybody wanted the only form of activity [ exercise ] i.e.playing with pogo.
Dog Sleeping always
Now pogo has became an integral part of our family. He won our hearts and love with his cute antics, caring attitude and innocent and love filled eyes. He always elevates our moods and cheers us up! Since his arrival there has never been dearth of laughter and a dull moment in our lives.

But what has been most amusing is his never ending sleep. At every given opportunity, he sleeps. Initially we all were worried. I even checked with the Google if there was anything wrong with him. When I searched Wikipedia I got no message. How is it possible? Has nobody is having this problem and why nobody has searched the net for this?
Then I started more intensive analysis and realized and learnt from other pet owners that dog sleeping is a most natural phenomena. The dogs naturally need that much sleep. Even when their beds are not so comfortable, they won't mind sleeping, but when they get your lap or comfortable bed then nothing like it!

Sleeping beauty !

Seeing my worries, some friends suggested that we take our pug for walking and jogging to keep it active. But that made him all the more tired and sleepy. There were some free online coaching on how to train the dogs and keep them active. I had had a Back Pain Operation and in my rehab plan I could not do my weight loss exercises, or do my work or studies. The doctor had advised me to take utmost care in treatment of my back about food, water and exercises. So I channelized all my energy in keeping pogo active and healthy.
Instead of sleeping in his presence I have started being very active, go on frequent small walks, take him to terrace to mend my little terrace garden etc. All the while he is with me in my activities, he also participates by sniffing at the pots, picking objects and balls and inviting me to play. This has in fact helped me alot in my rehab program. But whether his sleeping habits have changed? No sir, he will do everything, but the moment you turn your back or sleep, he will snore !