Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: ‘S’ for SMILE

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It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to SMILE, so why not choose the latter, especially as it leaves better looking lines on your face as you age?

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I am not suggesting that you should bury your pain and smile. Cry your heart out, heal and then face the world smiling. Nothing can beat the feeling! I believe that SMILE adds to one’s health.

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One more post on health full of picture quotes that speak many thousands of words. Smile your way to Great Health.

This is so true! That sure chucks racism out with a SMILEGoogle Images

Monday, April 21, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: ‘R’ for RADISH

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Radish (मूली, முள்ளங்கி) is a root vegetable that I regularly use in my kitchen. I use it in sambar, as a salad, in raita or as filling for parathas. The taste needs a bit of getting used to as it is quite pungent. But once you acquire it, you will find that radish is both delicious and healthy.

Radish is a natural diuretic, helping the functioning of kidneys and bladder. It also helps reduce weight when added to your regular diet.

Incidentally, the red variety of radish is what the fairy tale character Rapunzel’s mother craves for when she’s pregnant.

Other health benefits of Radish (Source: www.health.india.com

Reduces your risk of cancer
Keeps your blood pressure in check
Good for diabetics
Beats cold and cough
Helps you recover from jaundice
Fights constipation
Helps with weight loss

Radish - there are a few more varieties too
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Friday, April 11, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: ‘J’ for JOY

J for JOY
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The dictionary meaning for JOY:

1. the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying
2. intense pleasure
3. elation
4. a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight
5. something or someone greatly valued or appreciated

Imagine living in a state of JOY forever. I am sure it will simply drive away ill health. Is there a better way to pure health?

But how to achieve this state of JOY?

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Source: www.stevepavlina.com

How do you know when you’re living your purpose?  When your present moments begin to feel perfect.

When you live on purpose, your relationship with time changes dramatically.  You’ll no longer be looking for happiness somewhere in the future.  You’ll stop saying to yourself, “Once X happens then I’ll be where I want to be.  Then I’ll be happy.”  Instead you will look to your present and say, “This is exactly where I want to be right now… and nowhere else.  Nothing could be more perfect than this precise moment.”

The emotion that accompanies this state is joy.  Joy results from total acceptance of your present moment.

This one is for you and me Nilima :)
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Source: www.simpletoremember.com

Joy gives you the power, motivation and confidence to achieve things that otherwise seem too difficult to attempt. Joy is pure energy.

Do you remember the thrill of hitting a home run? Getting out on the last day of school? Riding your new bicycle? You jump with joy. Fantastic! Joy gives you energy and makes you feel great. You can achieve all kinds of things that otherwise may seem too difficult to attempt. You’ve got energy, buoyancy. You’re alive!

Picture Courtesy: http://www.homeschoolwithlove.com

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: ‘I’ for INDUPPU

I for Induppu AKA Himalayan Rock Salt
It was my sister Jayashree who introduced me to Induppu (இந்துப்பு) or Himalayan Rock Salt. She was in turn introduced to this salt by her Acupuncture Therapist. Jayashree came up with the Tamil word Induppu when I was searching for an alternate health product for the A-Z Challenge.

I just got together some interesting information that I found on the internet regarding Induppu aka Himalayan Rock Salt. I am sure this is of great use to all of us.

Source: www.divine-therapy.com

Himalayan Rock Salt is a pristine source of natural mineral salts. Unbleached sea salt and Celtic salt are other good forms of unrefined natural salt, but why is Himalayan Rock salt the best?

For a start it looks impressive on the dining table, due to the different shades of pink/orange/red/gold colours the salt comes in.  These colours are formed from the 84 minerals contained in the Salt.  Himalayan Rock Salt comes from a time when planet earth was a pristine eco system, over 250 million years ago.

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How will your body benefit from Himalayan Rock Salt?  Unlike the white processed version, Himalayan Rock Salt helps:

Regulate the water content throughout your body
Balance excess acidity from your cells, particularly Brain cells
Clear mucus and phlegm from your lungs
Clear congestion in your sinuses, as it is a strong natural antihistamine
Prevent muscle cramps
Make the structure of your bones firm - Osteoporosis can occur when your body needs more salt and takes it from your bones
Regulate your sleep - it is a natural hypnotic
Maintain your libido
Prevent varicose veins and spider veins on your legs
Stabilize irregular heartbeats - in conjunction with water (salt) is actually essential for the regulation of your blood pressure!

Source: www.nutri-tech.com.au

The ancient Indian culture and civilisation developed in the Indus valley and The Salt Range within this valley is the source of a special salt that has been mined for thousands of years. This Indus salt (often called Induppu or Saindhava) has been used in the ayurvedic wellness and longevity philosophy for many centuries and is widely considered the best salt in India. The Western world is only now discovering the unique properties of this salt as you will find by checking the net. Induppu originated from the ocean and these original deposits, formed during the Cambrian period, have remained protected from environmental pollution by a dense cover of overlaying rock. This salt has matured within the earth for the last 500 million years to become one of the most valuable foods on the planet. Induppu is mined, washed by hand and dried in the sun. There are no additives or further processing involved. The salt has a faint pink hue derived from its iron content. In the Ayurvedic tradition this salt is considered to be cooling which broadly implies that it is anti-inflammatory rather than inflammatory like most salts. It is also considered sweet, calmative and digestive and is consequently widely used in Ayurvedic digestive remedies. It penetrates very rapidly and is a tonic for the eyes and it is also used as an aphrodisiac. However, one of the most appealing characteristics of this salt is the taste. It is simply the best salt I have ever tasted anywhere and it has profound flavour enhancement potential when used as a condiment.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: ‘H’ for HUGS

H for HUGS
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I believe HUGS sort out 100% of relationship problems. I hail from Madras and am from a Tam-Bram family. Hugs were unheard of in our household. Luckily for me, we live a different life here in North India. But of course, I could not help introducing HUGS to my family back there in Chennai.

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A picture speaks a thousand words and I am bringing a number of pictures here to you to speak many thousand words about ‘H’ for Hugs.

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Picture Courtesy: http://api.ning.com

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Please Pass It On!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: ‘G’ for Ginger & Garlic

G for Ginger
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Using ginger or garlic adds a special flavour to many cuisines around the world. Combine the two and you have an unbeatable combo in flavour as well as health. I bring you these two roots whose names begin with ‘G’.


I use grated ginger while making most of the curries and dals. Half a teaspoon of ginger extract mixed with half a teaspoon of honey is an excellent cough relief measure. Ginger adds flavour to tea and makes an awesome drink, especially in the rainy season. Ginger extract added to lemon juice prevents nausea.

Wikipedia says:

Ginger produces a hot, fragrant kitchen spice. Mature ginger rhizomes are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent and is often used as a spice in Indian recipes, and is a quintessential ingredient of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and many South Asian cuisines for flavouring dishes such as seafood or goat meat and vegetarian cuisine.

Powdered dry ginger root is typically used as flavouring for recipes such as gingerbread, cookies, crackers and cakes, ginger ale, and ginger beer. Candied ginger, or crystallized ginger, is the root cooked in sugar until soft, and is a type of confectionery.

G for Garlic
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I use grated or chopped garlic to many of my food preparations. It adds an excellent flavour. Garlic rasam is a hot favourite at home.

Consuming garlic regularly keeps blood pressure under control. It’s high in Vitamin C and balances blood sugar levels. It also helps in maintaining cholesterol and improves your immune system.

Wikepedia says:

Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavour as a seasoning or condiment. The garlic plant's bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant. Garlic cloves are used for consumption (raw or cooked) or for medicinal purposes. They have a characteristic pungent, spicy flavour that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking.

Both Ginger & Garlic have many common health benefits:

They are excellent aids to digestion.
They are very good at fighting colds, coughs and other viral infections. Regular intake of both in cooked foods keeps infections away. (NOTE: Please understand here that I am not suggesting that a person suffering from viral fever should be fed this. A sick person’s digestive system will not be strong enough to handle ginger & garlic.)
They help reduce stomach cramps during menstruation.
Ginger & Garlic added to the diet of pregnant women helps reduce morning sickness.
It’s also recommended to the diet of women post child birth.

CLICK HERE to know more benefits of ginger & garlic.....

Monday, April 7, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: ‘F’ for Fenugreek Seeds

F for Fenugreek Seeds
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Day 6 of A-Z Challenge 2014 and here I am with ‘F’ for Fenugreek Seeds.

Fenugreek Seeds (Methi, मेथी, வெந்தயம்) is a common ingredient that is used for cooking in most Indian households. These tiny seeds add an aromatic flavour to Indian cuisine and are used in full while giving a ‘tadka’ or are roasted and powdered to add taste. Fenugreek leaves (Methi greens) are also excellent for health.

The seeds can be soaked along with Urad Dal before making the dough for Idli or Dosa. This increases the fluffiness of the idlis and crispiness of the dosas. Sprouted Fenugreek seeds add taste to salads.

Fenugreek seeds have a bitter taste with a terrific and positive effect on one’s digestive system. I have heard of people recommending the intake of Fenugreek seeds in the form of powder or soaked grains. Believe me, this is one way of ensuring that no one will consume the seeds. Taken in either form, one cannot miss the bitter taste and hence, most of the people I know, refuse to have it.

The best way is to swallow half a teaspoon of Fenugreek seeds along with water the same way that you would swallow tablets. You don’t get to taste the bitterness while the wonder effect on your body is awesome.

F for Fenugreek Leaves
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Why consume Fenugreek seeds at all?

Well, Fenugreek seeds have a wonderful effect on your whole system.

• It protects your stomach lining and ensures that you don’t get stomach ulcers.
• It acts as a digestive and ensures that you don’t get heartburn.
• It acts as a natural medicine whether you have constipation or loose stools. The effect is immediate unless the condition is chronic.
• Having Fenugreek seeds everyday sets your whole digestive system in order.
• It helps you lose weight over a period of time.
• Especially for those who consume alcohol, Fenugreek seeds save you from most of the evil side effects.
• It helps in the functioning of the Pancreas that secretes insulin, very helpful in the case of diabetics.
• Consumption of Fenugreek seeds in the long run helps your skin glow and your hair shine.

Do you need more reasons to use Fenugreek seeds?

A-Z Challenge 2014
'A' for Asafoetida
'B' for Bananas
'C' for Chin Mudra
'D' for Dance Therapy
'E' for Elephant Yam
'F' for Fenugreek Seeds

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blog Tour: THE PROPHECY OF TRIVINE by Tnahsin Garg, Srivatsan Sridharan & Pulkit Gupta

The Prophecy of Trivine 
 Tnahsin Garg,  Srivatsan Sridharan and  Pulkit Gupta

An emissary of an advanced alien race travels to the Earth to undertake responsibility of an experiment that has gone out of control. The outcome of this fateful experiment, which was conceived millions of years ago by her species, now rests in her hands. As she prepares to deliver her final judgment, she comes across three young men in a sacred forest who change her life forever. 
These three men- a scientist, a hacker and an artist, happen to take refuge in that forest, trying to escape from the oddities of their own unfair lives. Struggling with their dreams and demons, they begin to explore the dark and paranormal behavior of the forest by forging a companionship. From the rare flora and fauna breathing alive on the ground to the deadly wide expanse of the whimsy black sky, everything they find is yet another puzzle unsolved. 
Little did they know that four of them hold in their hands the future of mankind and much beyond imagination, they are connected through an ancient Prophecy that was long lost in the sands of time

Buy @


I have seen a few sci-fi films but this is probably my first book in that genre. First, I would like to congratulate the authors - Tnahsin Garg, Srivatsan Sridharan & Pulkit Gupta - on such a tremendous achievement at so young an age. 

The story begins quite interestingly with the hacker and his flight from the police. Phil has been hacking for a reason but has no choice but to escape the powers that be. He runs into the wild forest not too far away from his college hostel. 

There he meets Siv, a scientist who prefers being alone in the wilderness. Siv is kind of a brilliant but eccentric scientist who reminds one of Dr. Jekyll to begin with. Soon, we know he is quite different. Phil stays in Siv’s shack in the forest despite the latter’s disapproval. They grow used to each other. 

Suddenly, Arty comes into their lives. It’s surprising for Siv as he has lived in the forest for months without meeting a single other human being. Arty is the calm one who meditates a lot. Who is he? And what was he doing in the forest? He appears completely attuned to nature. 

The story revolves around the three men and the strange adventures they get into along with the advent of a fourth person - Agni. Agni is a red-haired beauty who steps into their lives quite unexpectedly. What was a young woman doing in the forest all by herself? Was it a safe place? 

I am not going to say anything more in case I let out spoilers.

A lot of research has gone into this work and the story is seamless despite three guys writing it. A special kudos for that! The story makes for an interesting read revolving around the personal histories of the four characters and what they are doing in the forest. The description of the forest and how alive nature is has been beautifully brought out in the book. 

The story is obviously a build up for more to come and the mystery has been well maintained. I am looking forward to reading a sequel soon.

What I would have liked is a tighter editing that could have made the story a crisper and sharper read. Since that’s not the fault of the authors, I go with 4 stars for this Sci-fi novel. All the best to the authors Tnahsin Garg, Srivatsan Sridharan & Pulkit Gupta that their debut novel is well received all over the world.  

I have to mention that I loved the cover. It's perfect for this Sci-Fi book. 

Meet the Authors 

Srivatsan Sridharan 
Srivatsan is a Computer Scientist, who recently graduated with a Masters degree from Purdue University in the United States. He completed his Bachelors in Engineering from Thapar University, India in 2010. Along with computers, he is extremely passionate about writing. Most of his artistic ideas have taken shape in the form of short stories, speeches, travelogues, and essays. Some of them can be found in his BLOG
Tnahsin Garg 
Tnahsin was born and brought up in India where he got a Bachelor's degree in engineering. After that he travelled to United States in search of higher education and adventure, and ended up getting a Master's degree in 2012.  When tired of his scientific pursuits, he's often found scribbling something unintelligible on some decayed corner of the Internet. You can find him in his BLOG
 Pulkit Gupta
Pulkit is a Computer Science professional who completed his Bachelors in Engineering from Thapar University, India in 2011. He has been an avid reader and an enthusiastic writer since his childhood days. He maintains a number of blogs which are in various stages of decay, but his most recent short story work can be found on his recently created BLOG

Stalk them @


THE MALHOTRA BRIDE by Sundari Venkatraman 
(Yours truly)
You can buy my book here

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: ‘E’ for Elephant Yam

E for Elephant Yam (Suran)
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Elephant Yam is a root vegetable used all over India. It can irritate one’s skin while peeling and cutting. It is best to use it after boiling in water along with salt and turmeric powder. Boil well and throw away the water before preparing the vegetable to your taste.

It’s a tasty vegetable and suits even a person with diabetes while other root vegetables are best avoided by sugar patients. Elephant Yam is high in Vitamin B12 and is a nutritious addition to your diet. According to Wikipedia, Elephant Yam is used in Ayurveda to treat a number of diseases.

According to the Diet Health Club website:

The trace minerals and key minerals present in Elephant Yam include copper, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.
The fibre content in it is naturally high and therefore, it is usually considered a slimming food, as it promotes weight loss and reduces the levels of cholesterol in the body. If Elephant Yam is cooked in the right way, it can be eaten without any fear of weight gain.
It has a cooling effect on the body, which is why it is good for people who suffer from hypertension.
Elephant Yams are very high in Omega 3 fatty acids; they help reduce the bad cholesterol in the body and increase the good cholesterol instead.
People who are undergoing treatment for piles are usually advised to eat high amounts of the vegetable.
The anti-coagulating properties present in this Yam can prevent the blood from clotting.
The glycemic index of this Yam is on the lower side, which is why it is good for people who are suffering from diabetes.
The consumption of Elephant Yam is good for women, as it increases the Estrogen levels in their bodies, thereby helping them to maintain their hormonal balance. Since Yams are high in Vitamin B6 too, it can provide relief from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
Elephant Yams can help reduce irregular bowel movements & cure constipation.

I think that’s enough information to tell you that Elephant Yam should be a part of your diet on a regular basis – at least twice a month. It’s available throughout the year.

A-Z Challenge 2014
'A' for Asafoetida
'B' for Bananas
'C' for Chin Mudra
'D' for Dance Therapy
'E' for Elephant Yam
'F' for Fenugreek Seeds

Friday, April 4, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: ‘D’ for Dance Therapy

D for Dance Therapy
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There are a number of forms of dance around the world like Ballet, Ballroom, Tango, Hip-Hop, Rumba, Belly-dancing and more. Locally we have Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Kathakali and lots more in India.

Yes, these dance forms definitely act as excellent therapies. But then, it might not be possible for everyone to spend a lot of effort and many years practising these dance forms.

When I say Dance Therapy, I am just talking about swinging your arms and moving your legs to pulsating music - any kind of music that makes you want to flow with the rhythm.

If you have never done it before or feel shy, just close your eyes and swing. Believe me, it’s an awesome form of therapy that helps you let go of all the stress that you have accumulated ever. Just half an hour of swinging to any kind of music you like - I simply love good old Bollywood music - helps you beat stress.

Believe me if, I mean if, you do it regularly, you will also lose a lot of weight and inches. This is probably one of the best ways and a totally fun way to remain fit.

Dance Therapy
Picture Courtesy: http://allisonfwinters.files.wordpress.com

CLICK HERE to watch Kangana Ranaut dance to Hungama Ho Gaya in the movie Queen.

Wikipedia says: Dance therapy can be used to treat numerous illnesses, disorders and ailments. It is most commonly used to treat anxiety disorders, clinical depression and severe stress. Anxiety disorders can be defined as a group of mental disorders, in which a severe, and sometimes permanent state of worry, is the dominant symptom. Clinical depression focuses more on thoughts and feelings of sadness, chronic gloom, inadequacy and lack of activity. Severe stress is simply worry that may arise from a difficult situation. With each issue, there is a form of stress associated with it, so dance therapy is used to calm that stress. Dance therapy also gives results that medications do not. While medications may have harmful side effects, dance therapy strengthens the body. Anxiety, depression and severe stress have the potential to affect all aspects of a person's well-being: physical, social, mental and emotional. Dance therapy has been shown to improve each of those areas.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: ‘C’ for Chin Mudra

After a couple of days of giving my readers gyaan on healthy foods, I bring you a yoga tip that promises to keep you healthy for posterity.

Most of you must be familiar with Chin Mudra that brings together the tips of the thumb and index finger while holding the rest of the three fingers straight. I do deep breathing while holding my fingers in this Mudra. You can do 100 to 500 counts of deep abdominal breathing depending on the time you can spare. It’s worth the time and effort, I promise.

This Mudra is effective for de-stressing, bringing down one’s blood pressure and getting sound sleep. It improves one's concentration and focus too. So many good things all rolled into one. So what are you waiting for? Try it out NOW.

C for Chin Mudra

TIP: Avoid doing this on a full stomach. A couple of hours after meals is a good time to do it, unless you prefer to do it first thing in the morning.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Mudras.....

A-Z Challenge 2014
'A' for Asafoetida
'B' for Bananas
'C' for Chin Mudra
'D' for Dance Therapy
'E' for Elephant Yam
'F' for Fenugreek Seeds

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: ‘B’ for Bananas

Bananas can be consumed in the form of ripe fruits or they can be cooked in their unripe state. Raw bananas are even fried into chips and taste yummy. They grow in abundance in most parts of the world and are quite tasty and filling. There are almost a 1000 varieties of banana in the world - quite a lot to suit the most difficult of palates.

Bananas as fruits have a number of health benefits. For one, they aid digestion; eating a banana or two gives great relief from constipation.

Many people are under the mistaken impression that eating bananas might give them a cold. That happens to only those who are allergic to bananas (very few people are). In fact, bananas help one resist a cold.

The best thing about eating a banana is that it immediately boosts your system to give you a ‘feel good’ feeling, increasing your physical and mental energies.

Picture Courtesy: http://fitnessandhealthadvisor.com/ 

Some are of the impression that bananas make one put on weight. Weighed (forgive the pun) against the health benefits that one gets from eating a banana a day, it makes sense to give up something else of equal calories.

CLICK HERE to know more about the health benefits of Bananas.

A-Z Challenge 2014
'A' for Asafoetida
'B' for Bananas
'C' for Chin Mudra
'D' for Dance Therapy
'E' for Elephant Yam
'F' for Fenugreek Seeds

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: 'A' for Asafoetida

Asafoetida is available in the form of a gum as well as powder. Asafoetida or Hing (हिंग) is used in Indian cooking and has a powerful flavour that one needs to get used to. It’s excellent for digestion and adds a special aroma to Indian curries. Drinking a glass of buttermilk with a pinch of Hing powder after a heavy dinner aids digestion.

It also acts as a coolant and is used liberally in mango & lemon pickles in South India. Usually, in Tamil Nadu, we avoid combining Asafoetida and Onions in the same dish as they beat each other’s flavours.

Asafoetida also has a number of useful side effects. It builds body resistance and keeps the regular user free from cold and fever.

Pic Courtesy: http://www.sunstarinvestments.co.za

Wikipedia says: Asafoetida is the dried gum exuded from the rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula, a perennial herb. The species is native to the deserts of Iran, mountains of Afghanistan, and is mainly cultivated in nearby India. As its name suggests, asafoetida has a fetid smell but in cooked dishes it delivers a smooth flavour. It is also known as asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, jowani badian, stinking gum, Devil's dung, hing, kayam and ting.

A-Z Challenge 2014
'A' for Asafoetida
'B' for Bananas
'C' for Chin Mudra
'D' for Dance Therapy
'E' for Elephant Yam
'F' for Fenugreek Seeds