Saturday, December 27, 2014

Hide 'n' Seek With Sparrow...

I was around six. We had a small market complex in our neighborhood. The market was closed that day being its weekly off and therefore there were no walk-ins. That weekly off was the happiest day for us, kids, as we had full access to the vicinity to play around in that area. There were plenty of games for us, being tiny-tots. Hide
and Seek was a unanimous favorite. So, we decided to go for it, as usual. It was three in the afternoon, winter time, and the day was quite cold. The only relief was a mild warmth from the Sun's rays and the three sweaters which Mom had forcefully put on me. It is quite true that the number of warm clothes worn by a child is directly proportional to the intensity of winter felt by his/her mother. ^_^

The game started as per our set of rules, tweaked to suit our game! The youngest among us would be the last to get the turn to seek. This rule was advantageous for me as I was the second youngest one out of the seven of us. Rakshita Di was the eldest among us and she had to start counting while keeping her eyes closed and face turned in the opposite direction. We all had to hide at different locations, meanwhile. The conventional rule says that if the seeker is able to find all hidden players, the first player found from the hiding will have to take next turn to seek. But here the rule had been tweaked, based on which the turn to play as a seeker was already set and finalized.

Rakshita Di started counting with her eyes closed  and we started running towards the market complex to hide at various places. Rakshita Di was at the entrance of the market. I moved towards the right lane of shops and decided to hide behind the third shop in the row. Just as Rakshita Di finished counting till 10, and we all settled to our respective hiding place, I heard a very low chirping sound, quite weak in tone but apparently, from a nearby place. I looked around and found a sparrow, fallen on the ground, not even able to stand properly. Its beak was open. To me, it appeared as if it was not well and was thirsty, due to weakness and mild fever may be. It was not able to take flight, or even move around, to search for water.

I took it on my palm and started searching for water. I noticed a tap outside a florist's shop. I opened it and put some drops of water inside the beak of that weak birdie but to no avail. The sparrow by then, perhaps, had died as it was totally motionless, still and lifeless. I was afraid and dropped the bird right there, on the road. I felt guilty, as if I had killed the bird. I left the game and went home.

For two days I was very silent, lost and only one episode was hovering around in my mind - day in and day out -the bird and how it had died because of me. But, by the end of the day, I could not take it anymore and decided to narrate the entire incident to Mom and ask for her opinion - if I was really the culprit. I told her the truth.

Probably, that was a good decision because Mom, after listening to the whole story consoled me that I was not the culprit and the bird in the given circumstance, had to die. In fact she praised me for my effort to save the bird’s life. She told me that if I had not picked it up and tried to help the bird, probably some animal – a dog or cat would have eaten it there and then only. At least I tried to save the life of that poor bird with all my good intentions.

The entire conversation with Mom was a lesson, and a relief for my guilt - stricken conscience. :)

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Written for Kinley and IndiBlogger.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tid Bits From Smoothie Factory...

It is said that the balanced combination of ingredients do better to your health and provide better nutrition than a single ingredient or a mismatched combination of ingredients. For instance, a single fruit, howsoever nutritious and tasty it be, is not at all better in terms of  health benefits if you ignore other fruits provided by the mother nature, when served in a well-balanced combination.

That is where the world’s premium health and wellness café – Smoothie Factory – does it for you. And that is what their philosophy says, to serve you by combining beneficial fruits in different well-tested permutations in their 31 various smoothies that they serve worldwide in more than 13 countries and are well admired by health conscious people of any age.

The experimentation started with 102 smoothie combinations and afterwards decided to carry on 31 variants of such smoothies. This health and wellness café is Smoothie Factory, a US based premium any time food place, by none other than the US Olympian James Villasana.

In 2014, Smoothie Factory planned to expand their operations in India by opening three premium outlets at and near the capital city with their locations as below:

1. Ground Floor, Epicuria Mall, Nehru Place Metro Station, Nehru
Place, N.D - 110019

2. Fitness First Platinum, South Point Mall, Gurgaon, Haryana

3. Ground Floor, Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Janpath, New Delhi 110001

But that is not all. Soon you will find it as popular as in other countries with more locations coming up pan India.

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The ambiance of the outlet and some pics from my meal, for you to see...

The Face Of The Menu...

The Citrus Walnut Fresh Salad with Roasted Chicken Chunks...

Here's the salad plate alongside my Very Berry Smoothie...
The dollops of insightful info on the quality of the ingredients used at Smoothie Factory.
Also, their history.

My White Chocolate Mocha Coffee...

And the Cookies that came alongside.

My Favorite Item From The Menu.
Multigrain WAFFLES.
Choco chip and Banana Walnut.
Maple Syrup and Caramel Syrup.
A Must Try!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Winning Over Fear...

Frank Herbert rightly said - "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration."

Fear, in my opinion, cripples the mind and paralyzes the body.

But once you conquer your fear, you're like the gold which has passed the test of fire...


Jean-Paul Sartre opined - " To know what life is worth, you have to risk it once in a while? "

Life, at every twist and turn, presents us with a new risk, to tackle an unfounded fear...

If we win over that fear, we'll progress ahead, happily.

If we don't, though, we'll turn out wise and take a lesson.


A toddler, for instance, risks bruising his/her knees, while tackling the fear of his inability to walk.
Gradually, while holding on to a support, be it the mother's hand or, certain inanimate objects around home.

If he/she falls and bruises the knees, someone is there, somewhere to motivate him/her to get up and continue to make an effort...
If he/she takes the baby steps successfully, sky becomes the limit for the toddler's confidence! ^_^


And then, there are kids who cry on going to school, for the first time...

That is the next level for them, the first step to be taken into the outside world.

They risk a certain individuality, budding inside them, fearing isolation in a new world and an inability to familiarize themselves with the novelty.

Of course, this fear is gradually conquered, for each of us, in spite of all the crying and the cribbing...


After those twelve years of schooling and three or four or even, five years of attending college, comes the opportunity of taking up a job...

At risk, is the fear of an inability to impress the interviewer, with the knowledge acquired, all these years...

If the interview is cleared and the job is taken up, the fear of being incompetent, as far as the academic background is concerned, is driven away...

If it isn't, the interviewee learns a lesson, and must polish on his academic skills and his inter-personal skills too...


After having taken up various job profiles over the years, and having embraced several titles, posts and positions, the next phase to embrace in life, is that of retirement...

To lead the life of a 'Senior Citizen' is no mean feat to achieve, too...

Life, at this stage, comes with its own risks and fears...

But the biggest fear in life, is yet to surface...


The biggest fear in an individual's life, as he/she embraces senility, is the fear of Death...

The fear of having to leave the loved ones behind...

The fact that the Future is unpredictable...

The fear of dying a disturbing death, is what disturbs the aged soul, the most...


But Lord Buddha guides us...

" Even death is not to be feared by the one who has lived wisely. "

It has also been said...

" Feed your Faith, and your fears will Starve to death. "

That is the ideology which we all must embrace...

We must keep taking risks, to conquer our fears, and achieve success...


Written for Mountain Dew and IndiBlogger.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Healthy & Jolly, Courtesy Canola...

4 December 2014

Shangri-La's Eros Hotel
New Delhi

1500 Hrs.

This sunny afternoon of December 4 was to see me, being invited over by Canola Council Of Canada to attend an insightful session on Canada's 'Canola' and its varied benefits, courtesy Blogadda.

The session was to be presided over by Mr. Bruce Jowett, Vice President of Market Development, Canola Council of Canada, Ms. Ritika Samaddar, Dietician and Nutritionist, and Chef Surjan Singh 'Jolly' of Junior MasterChef.

Ms. Samaddar, Mr. Jowett and Chef Jolly, presiding over 'Canola Talk'!

Mr. Jowett took lead by starting with some key facts about Canola. Listing some of them for a quick reference :-

  • The origins of Canola lie in the rapeseed plant.
  • It is the No. 1 crop of Canada, cultivated over 8 million hectare of land.
  • Canada grows 40% of the World's Canola.
  • 90% of it is exported to USA, China, Mexico & Japan.
  • Canola stands No. 2 in USA and Mexico, while it is No. 3 in China, being a new market, which is also the second largest consumer of Canola. Japan clinched the top spot as the No. 1 consumer.
  • Also, Canola is named so, because Can - comes from Canada, Ola - a stylish way of referring to Oil...

Next to follow was Ms. Samaddar, enlightening us about why we were discussing Canola that evening. According to medical facts and figures, India is infamously, the 'Diabetic Capital' of the world. Also, we stare at chronic heart disease in the face.

She discussed with us, the Fat content of Canola, informing us that the ideal ratio of PUFA (Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid) to MUFA (Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid) must be 1:1, and that of Omega - 6 to Omega - 3 must be 2:1.

Ms. Samaddar also told us how Canola boasted of 61% MUFA content, while Olive Oil, which has suited itself to the Indian palette has 72%.

Rounding up her talk, she informed us how this MUFA content aided Canola to help Diabetics control their HbA1C i.e. the average blood sugar concentration, magically.

Chef Surjan Singh 'Jolly' took forward the discussion, by telling us that Canola Oil had a low density, low viscosity and high smoke point, which meant that its smell won't linger on.

He informed us how Canola had a certain smoothness and the power to merge with Indian flavors. He also told us how Canola could be employed for sauteing, deep - frying, baking, or even as a dressing.


We quickly moved on to Chef Jolly's 'Canola Master Class', as I like to call it. He had two quick and healthy recipes rolled up his sleeve.

One, Smoked Eggplant Mash, Toasted Croute.

Two, Pan Fried Chick - Pea Patty.

Here are some snaps from the Master Class for you, to witness.


Chef Jolly, with his culinary tips and tricks...

The Pan-Fried Chickpea Patties...

The Eggplant Mash with Toasted Croute...


All in all, it was a very informative afternoon...

Looking forward to more such Canola Master Classes in the future as well... :)