Thursday, 30 October 2014 0 comments

Tips for a healthy lifestyle

The weather has turned chilly these days, not because winter is knocking but because of a cyclone that is looming around in the Arabian Sea. But nevertheless, a nip in the air brings along with it a host of illnesses; common cold is around just like its name, 'common' these days. I vividly remember, when I was a small kid, this chillness called for mom buying Chyawanprash for all of us. And we happily savoured this lovely goodness with milk every day.

What's Chyawanprash one would ask. Well, if you have been brought up in an Indian household, this name, just like it does for me, would evoke nostalgia in you. But if not, then, for starters lets just say it is an ayurvedic formulation of tonnes of herbs like Amla, Guduchi, and other 40+ natural ingredients, which claims to and does strengthen one's immune system. Hence, if you consume it you can say bye-bye to common cold this winter.

I can go on and on ranting about this goodness and its effects, but hey, Chyawanprash is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle! Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the most imperative thing both for kids and adults, and its like a cherry on the icing if you supplement it with an immune-strengthener like Chyawanprash.

The internet is flooded with advice on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, for adults and for kids alike; so many inputs and advices make everything seem so complicated but its not. Years back, we had this small session in our school with a Doctor who rubbished all the claims of internet and told us how we could achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. How you ask? Here we go...

  1. A wholesome balanced diet- This is a no-brainer, a wholesome balanced diet is the key to keep your body nourished with all the nutrients it requires for its day to day activities and bodybuilding. It amused me when I read health section in the newspaper recommending some exotic fruit or vegetable for a healthy diet, reality is, you don't need to spend your bucks on all that! Just buy seasonal fruits and vegetables available in the local market. Also, carbohydrates aren't as bad as they say, as long as you stick to good carbs. 
  2. Exercise- Now, you need to move your body a bit everyday to keep your body in ship-shape. It is not important to join a fancy gym or sort; 30 minutes of physical activities like walking, running, yoga, cycling or even dancing is enough! Stick to what you feel works for you or what you enjoy doing. 
  3. Personal Hygiene- This one is so underrated when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle when it is one of the most important ones. Personal hygiene plays an crucial role in keep you healthy. Unhygienic practices leads to your body becoming a breeding ground for various bacteria and germs which have the potential of making you fall ill or give you some disease. That's why listen to mom's advice and trim your nails if you eat with hands, etc. 

These are certain things which I learnt as a kid and which has helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle. You too can adopt these for yourself and your kids, after all, a healthy child makes a happy home. 
Thursday, 16 October 2014 0 comments

Review: Pizza & Beer Carnival at California Pizza Kitchen

California Pizza Kitchen is a chain of restaurants that almost everyone is acquainted with due to their iconic Californian style Pizzas. I have already raved about their delicious Hollywood on your table menu which I had the opportunity of sampling back in March. Yet what does a foodie do when she gets a chance to go back to savour a new spread of curated pizzas available only for a limited time period? Well, grab it!

Last week I paid a visit to California Pizza Kitchen's outlet located in Phoenix Mills Compound, Lower Parel, to check out their awesomesauce pizzas drawing inspiration from cuisines all around the world, as a part of their ongoing Pizza & Beer Carnival (which, by the way, is on only till 19th October, so hurry up!). And to put it concisely, the efforts were worth it.

My Pizza & Beer evening started with the much loved Capriciossa Pizza which projects the flavours of Italy, continued with the delectable Brussels Pizza exuding essence of Belgium, of course, and ended with the lip-smacking Kasundi Paneer Pizza inspired from our Indian subcontinent; all devoured with my bottle of Corona hailing from Mexico.

Hey, but all you non-vegetarians have the option of ordering the stellar Cheeseburger Pizza which basically recreates a cheeseburger experience in a pizza! The non-vegetarian at the table swore by it, and although I didn't try it, the Cheeseburger pizza did manage to captivate my senses.

Personally, I loved the Kasundi Paneer Pizza. The thin crust topped generously with the trio of paneer, bell peppers and tomato marinated in Indian spices and garnished with coriander was an explosion of flavours in my mouth. The zing, the freshness and the richness offered by this pizza is what stole my heart.

My second favourite on the vegetarian section of the menu has to be the Capriciossa Pizza. It is again a thin crust pizza, but smothered with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, studded with artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and mushrooms, and garnished with grated parmesan and basil. The Chef informed me that this is their best-seller; why wouldn't it be? This pizza is a personification of Italy.

The Brussels Pizza daubed with pesto marinara and topped with slices of mushroom, sundried tomato and sauteed spinach, although good in its own right was a tad bit sweet for me. In my opinion, if you don't like your pizzas being on the sweeter side you can give Brussels Pizza a miss.

Southwestern Burrito Pizza and the Beijing Style Veg Pizza are the other two options available in the vegetarian section of this special menu. For non-vegetarians, I'd recommend the Cheeseburger Pizza without any doubt, still feel free to explore the extensive menu sporting Fish & Chips Pizza, Sauerbraten Pizza and many more global flavours inspired pizzas.

The finale of the evening came in the form of the famed Red Velvet Cake and Chocolate Banana Cake. Both utterly exquisite and finished within seconds of arriving on the table!

Overall, the Pizzas & Beer Carnival gets a thumbs up from me. I am certainly wanting to go back and try the Southwestern Burrito Pizza. For all you lovely folks, all I can say is, go savour the delights before the festival ends on 19th October.
Friday, 26 September 2014 0 comments

Chapter 19: A Palace of Mirage

(Note: This post has been written as a part of Blogadda's #CelebrateBlogging. My team is 'Tandem Tensome' and this post is the nineteenth chapter in the novel we are writing. You can read the eighteenth chapter here).


“What a day!” Jennifer thought, “First this Cyrus and now Ice Lady, argh!”. “Hello?” Tara questioned in her stark tone. “Umm, Ma'am…” was what Jennifer could mutter before Shekhar cut her short with his explanation “She is here for the dinner party I am hosting tonight, for Roohi.”. “Oh, you could have informed me at least?” Tara said, her voice sounded frail. “Would that have made any difference? Shekhar cross-questioned, trying his level best to drag the conversation. “Nevermind” Tara quipped and walked straight into her bedroom.

“It always happens…..always has to happen with me” Tara thought as she entered the shower. She wondered why she even tried to be emotional; “These things just aren't for me; all these family melodramas”. These days, no matter how hard she tried she couldn't shake off this weird feeling inside her; she suddenly began caring for her family after the incident where Roohi went missing.

Even her close friend-cum-colleague, Reema, had remarked that Tara has achieved enough on the professional front, “Concentrate on your family now, they need you” she had said. Tara had brought that conversation to a full-stop by saying, ‘The moment one becomes content with their current state, the desire to aspire comes to an end’. “From tomorrow onwards, only work” Tara repeated in her head a few times and slipped into her bed.

“So your wife, eh?” Jennifer asked Shekhar. “Hmm, fortunately or unfortunately, that’s your call” he shrugged and quickly gave a playful smile to cover-up. Inspite of him smiling, Jenifer sensed that something is indeed wrong, but she didn't press the matter and instead called out for Roohi and went inside.

“I scream, you scream Jennifer aunty, we all scream Ice-cream” was what Roohi was chanting when Jennifer found her in the living room. “So Roohi wants ice-cream it seems?” Jennifer asked in high spirits. “Yes, call Papa. He has this whole secret stash of ice-cream hidden somewhere in the house, aunty.” Roohi said. “Have you ever checked the freezer, kiddo?” a bemused Jennifer remarked. “It is never there! Dad says it is the fairies, like the one who is on your hand, who delivers him tubs of ice-cream whenever I am a good kid” Roohi chirped. “Wait then, me and Jennifer aunty will just ask your magician dad and get you some ice-cream, what say?” Cyrus interrupted the ongoing talk. “Either you or me” Jennifer said, her expression bearing annoyance.

Shekhar and Mr. Ahuja’s entrance at that very instant took away Cyrus’s opportunity to continue. “Princess wants some ice-cream, yeah?” asked Shekhar and got a reply in affirmative. “But today the fairies won't be able to deliver it, see there….” Shekhar spoke pointing towards the sky “it is dark now, fairies aren't night creatures.” On hearing this Roohi’s face bore disappointment. “Or maybe I and Roohi can go out and buy some instead?” Mr. Ahuja spoke. “In that way, our Princess’s desires will be fulfilled and I would get a little walk too” he added further.

“Oh no Mr. Ahuja, you are our guest, it would be wrong to do so on my part” Shekhar said. “I insist, Shekhar” Mr. Ahuja pleaded. And finally after being reluctant for a while Shekhar too gave in.

Mr. Ahuja’s persistence made Jennifer suspicious. She already felt a little uneasy having him around Roohi; the way he touched her inappropriately. “How can Shekhar’s turn a blind eye to this!” she thought. “Or maybe he is just too fond of kids, given that he has none” her thought process continued, “Can’t be so, his sly smile says otherwise”.  After a heated debate with her own self she finally decided that she is going to follow them, just to be sure, and maybe in the process she'll end up with some candid shots of Roohi.

Hence, within a few minutes of Mr. Ahuja and Roohi leaving, Jennifer made an excuse of forgetting her mobile phone in Shekhar’s car and made an exit.

“Ahuja Uncle, we are supposed to walk right from this point to reach the shop.” Roohi said looking perplexed. “Oh are we? I was thinking of going to my house and get some ice-cream for you, you know, and you can meet Fluff too.” Mr. Ahuja said, trying to lure Roohi. “Fluff, yes, you don't even bring her to the park these days! I want to meet her. Now! Now! Now!” Roohi replied. “Yes, baby” Mr. Ahuja replied with a peculiar grin on his face.

“Why the hell is he taking Roohi there?!” Jennifer gasped in shock. “You are so busted Mister” she thought to herself.

(Me and my team are participating in 'Game of Blogs' at #CelebrateBlogging with us.)

P.S. You can head here to read the twentieth chapter of this story.

Saturday, 13 September 2014 3 comments

Chapter 2: Such A Long Journey

(Note: This post has been written as a part of Blogadda's #CelebrateBlogging. My team is 'Tandem Tensome' and this post is the second chapter in the novel we are writing. You can read the first chapter here)


“The number you are trying to call is currently busy, please try again later.” was what Shekhar could hear on the other end of his call. He sighed and assured himself that indeed she must be busy at work.  “I’ve boarded the train back home, and will reach by tomorrow. Call me ASAP.” he typed in a jiffy and sent the message to Tara, his wife, and slouched in his seat.

He couldn’t help but think of Tara and how strained their relationship has become, not that it had been a healthy one erstwhile, but now it took a lot of effort even to communicate! They went days and sometimes even weeks without seeing each other although they lived together under the same roof; she'd be up and out even before the sun’s first rays hit the earth and home at a time which Shekhar could never track.

This resentment of Tara’s, Shekhar supposed, stemmed from his resignation. Two years back, he decided to leave his job as the editor of an English Daily to look after his daughter, Roohi. There had been complaints from her class teacher of her being too aloof and hitting other children. That paired with their disheveled domestic state forced him to take that step. Although he welcomed the change in his lifestyle, his better half slowly began drifting away even further from him. No matter how hard he’d try, she always found a reason to grow apart; from him and from Roohi.

The word “Chai-Chai” spoken in rhythmic intervals by the Chaiwaala got him off his train of thoughts, brought him back to the train he was travelling to Mumbai in. “Ek chai” he said. As soon as the Chaiwaala handed him over his plastic cup filled 3/4th with a liquid which he considered gold, he couldn’t help but wonder that being a stay-at-home-dad has certainly taught him to enjoy small things in life which people take for granted. He smiled to himself and began with his tea. One sip at a time.

Time seemed to fly and his train reached Mumbai. In past, whenever his train entered CST, a strange sensation passed through him. Today was no exception, but today he felt reluctant too. He didn’t want to retrace his steps back to a house which he and Tara were supposed to build together. “Bandra?”  he asked the taxi driver and occupied the taxi after getting a nod of approval.

“Has the photographer reported?” Tara questioned sharply in the meeting, she continued speaking “We have a very tight deadline and I hope you have that information”. All the while her eyes were on her phone; constantly checking mails, missed calls, taking mental notes of whom to call back. Shekhar’s missed calls and message didn’t escape her eye, yet she overlooked it.

It was easy for her to turn a blind eye to her ‘family’ now and even Shekhar had grown accustomed to it. He knew that Tara never wanted to be a part of this wedlock; hence, he never tried to grow closer to her romantically. But what had come as a shock to him was how she could neglect her own daughter with such an ease! The whole fault, Shekhar always thought, was his; if he hadn’t given impetus to his one-sided love for Tara, these circumstances would’ve never arose.

They had met in college once, all credit for that goes to their annual college festival. She was in the core committee and he had to do an article on the festival for the college magazine, for that he needed to interview her. He fell immediately for her. Who wouldn’t? With her tall stature, a stylish bob and polished sense of dressing she won hearts wherever she went. She hadn’t changed in her looks after all these years, not in the least bit.

Destiny made them cross their paths again, or so as Shekhar liked to think at that time, they met again a few years later when he unknowing moved to Tara’s next door and befriended her father, who thought Shekhar would make a great life-partner for Tara. At first Tara simply declined citing career as the reason but later on her family’s constant pressure forced her to give in. And so the knot was tied.

(Me and my team are participating in 'Game of Blogs' at #CelebrateBlogging with us.)

P.S. You can head here to read the third chapter of this story.
Thursday, 11 September 2014 0 comments

Pain it is

People these days say being in one-sided "love" is a painful affair and media too haven't left any stone unturned to propagate this ideology through itself. This pain, I say, is nothing compared to the experience of losing someone forever (I am not referring to "love" but death); the fact that nothing remains of that person, just abstract memories, is too paralysing when encountered in actuality. One may cross paths with a person they care about, but aren't in touch with, but what in a situation where there isn't even this may or might left as the last resort? This knowledge is shattering and with it one realizes that 'it is not just a person that dies, but also something within you which dies with that person'.