Masks have been used since ages for both ceremonial and practical purposes. I have always had a fascination for different types of masks. Whenever I go to some new place, along with the other knickknacks and souvenirs, I generally bring home a mask, which finds a place on the wall of my living room. However, lately more than the decorative masks, I have been buying face masks for protection against the rising pollution levels.
I got an anti-pollution mask when I went to Delhi last year in November. After Diwali, the air pollution levels in Delhi had reached a phenomenal high. The schools there had declared a three-day holiday during what was being called as the Great smog event, and people were advised to stay indoors. The premise was that inside our house, we were safe from pollution.
It was not until recently that I realized how wrong that perception was. My sense of safety from pollution inside the house was challenged after I heard that indoor air can be 5 times more polluted than outdoor air.
“I am going to have coffee with cats. Will you come along?” My daughter asked me.
“What!” I wondered aloud. Till now I had heard only about ‘Koffee with Karan’, but when she said something like coffee with cats, I wasn’t sure if I had heard it right.
“The cat at home keeps a constant watch on me and two more in the society stalk me for food the moment they see me. And, you want me to go to some place to have coffee with some more cats?” I asked her.
Not paying much heed to my questions, my daughter urged me to join her. Though it didn’t make much sense to me, yet I agreed and we reached the Cat Café Studio in Andheri.
At the first glance, it looked like a small, cosy place. We stepped inside the corridor. Right at the entrance lying down on the floor was a huge Labrador dog, who raised his head once, looked sheepishly at us, and then continued to doze. We saw a counter at one end; there was a small café along the corridor.
On Friday the 1st of July, 2017, ‘One Nation One Tax’ finally became a reality for India, as the Government launched the Goods & Services Tax, which is considered as the biggest tax reform in India till date.
So, what is the impact on our household and lifestyle? Read my post on UC News
Monsoon has arrived in Mumbai. The sun has gone on leave and the overcast sky is pouring since morning. My cat had been running around, inside the house like a misfired missile since morning. He has now got tired, curled up and gone to sleep. From my window, I can see the children coming out with their umbrellas to enjoy the first proper rain of the season.
A weather such as this has got my creative cells ticking. So, I have compiled this video cover for this ‘smart living’ blog using some pictures from my Instagram feed. I hope that this conveys the essence of mindful, healthy, smart and positive living.
I have used this as a cover for the Facebook Page. If you are on Facebook, please do like this Facebook page.
For someone living with #depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment & recovery. ~Tweet by WHO.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Depression, as an illness characterised by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks. It is surprising to note that depression is the leading cause of ill – health and disability worldwide.
While there is a perception that feeble minded people suffer from depression and anxiety, it is not so. Depression is an illness that can happen to anybody, at any age, or in any place. People with depression normally have a loss of energy, change in appetite, anxiety, reduced concentration, indecisiveness, restlessness, feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Fortunately, depression can be prevented and treated.
Here, I present a guest post on this topic written by Sarbani Chowdhury, a Clinical Psychologist with the Indian Air Force. Read on what Sarbani says about depression…
Fifty seems to be the new thirty. Not very long ago, hitting the big ‘five-oh’ was considered a time to slow down in life; a time to take things easy and relax. That’s no longer the norm. With advances in medical care and growing self-awareness, perceptions are changing. People turning 50 are starting to invest in themselves and have no intention of applying the brakes; their goal is to #LiveNonstop.
The new generation of people turning 50 is all about staying active in a way that doesn’t just keep them busy, but also energized and strong. From taking up new languages, travelling to exotic destinations, taking up dance and yoga to hitting the gym or prepping for a marathon, its go, go go! Age, after all, is just a number and this concept seems truer now, more than ever before.
It seems like it’s a great time to hit 50 and I was extremely curious to know just how some of my friends, who are in their fifties have made changes to their lifestyle. So, I asked around and here’s what I found out –
A new lamp, a piece of art can transform a room. ~ Madonna
This is exactly why I love to collect decoration pieces and wall hangings. Recently, I had been to a furniture exhibition at NSE Ground in Goregaon in Mumbai. Just at the entrance of the exhibition was a stall that had mosaic lamps hanging from the ceiling, with patterns and colours so attractive that it caught the attention of all visitors coming to the exhibition. Beautiful mementoes, figures, ceramics bowls and table trays with floral designs occupied a table, and coloured discs adorned one of the walls.
As I looked at the displays, the arabesque lamps reminded me of Aladdin’s lamp. Those exotic looking multicoloured lamps had deep jewel toned colours. The lamp globes were made of many finely cut, tiny pieces of coloured glass held by brass frames. Soft light emanating from the lamps along with the shadows cast by the lamps created an ambience of romantic intrigue. It almost felt like a genie would appear anytime around the corner! My husband pointed out that the mosaic lamps were Turkish lamps.
Fine dining is an occasional treat for most people. ~ Rene Redzepi
Having great food in an exceptional restaurant in the company of our loved ones is an experience that most of us cherish. Last month, I had met up with my college classmates for our silver jubilee alumni meet. It was an out and out fun experience sitting out in sunshine and dining with old classmates at a club resort in Delhi, while recalling the memories of our college days.
We decided to meet up once each year thereafter in a different city, and so we zeroed in on a few of the finest dining places. Friends, who are now settled in different places suggested their local favourites. So, the list that emerged included some of the finest restaurants in different parts of the world. The top 5 names that came up are as follows.
Woodpecker at Aamby Valley in Maharashtra : Being from Mumbai, I had put forth the name of this stylishly designed world cuisine restaurant, which overlooks a water body, and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.
Cloud 9, at Grand Hyatt, Shanghai: This was suggested by a batch mate who had flown in all the way from Shanghai for the alumni meet. The restaurant, located on the 87th floor of the magnificent Jinmao Tower in Shanghai offers a great collection of champagnes and sparkling wines, sweet and savory snacks, and a 360 degree view of the city.
The third name that came up was Aqua Shard, near Tower Bridge in central London. While dining you can enjoy the view of London’s riverside cityscape stretching from Tower Bridge to the London Eye.
The other two in the list included Tresind at Dubai, famous for its “chaat” platter and “dhokla”, and Pan Asian at ITC Grand Chola in Chennai , known for its spread of Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai delicacies
Sometimes such indulgences may seem redundant, particularly at times when one is financially stretched. But there’s no reason to constrain yourself if you manage your finances well in a way that allows you for such fine experiences.
One such smart investment method is to opt for a SIP investment plan, which requires you to invest a certain sum of money every month in a mutual fund over a period of time, thus inducing a disciplined approach to investment. Furthermore, if you increase your SIP amount by 5% – 10 % every year, you can amass a substantially higher corpus after 10 years. Needless to say that one should look at some of the top SIP plans to choose from. Sabse Important Plan by Birla Sun Life is one such SIP mutual fund which can be counted among the best mutual funds for SIP.
By investing regularly, not only do you keep up with the rising inflation, but you also do not have to compromise on your choice of lifestyle and can celebrate happy occasions in the best of the places, with your loved ones.
Dreaming after all is a form of planning.” Gloria Steinem
I have always felt that a differently coloured wall renders a character to the room. For example, an orange- red wall adds vibrancy to a room, a blue wall renders a soothing touch, whereas a purple wall gives a luxurious feel to the room. To add an atheistic touch, I usually get one wall in each room in my house painted in a different colour.
With time, the same look starts to get a little boring. Then begins the craving for a change! The wall in the hall of my house has been orange-red since a number of years. When I look at that wall, I often feel the need to try out a different colour.
But then, the thought of having to scrap off the colour to paint the walls in a completely different colour is a big put off. Getting the house painted has always been a big ordeal. With the amount of dust that covers the entire place, we have to keep ourselves locked and confined in one room while the men are working. Not to mention, the condition of the men at work who inhale all that dust makes us feel guilty but helpless at the same time. I often wish if only there could be a way to escape the ordeal and yet have the wall look bright and beautiful all the time.
The good news is that it is now possible to have a hassle painting experience! Read on to find out how.
Berger Express Indiblogger Event
Last week when I received an invite for a Bloggers meet hosted by Berger Paints, I did not quite expect that it would change my understanding of painting the house. Having heard of similar events in Kolkata and Bangalore, I had decided to attend it, primarily to have a fun-filled weekend with my co- bloggers.
Taj Vivanta in Cuffe Parade was a perfect venue to bring together the bloggers. The event was an interesting one, filled with fun and creative activities around scraping and painting. The exhibits in the event included small round bottles of paints, and also some Express Painting tools that have been specifically designed to make the process of painting faster and hassle-free. Using generous does of the paint, we created our own work of art.
Berger Express Painting Tools
Among the Express painting tools, one of particular interest to me was the vacuum suction-enabled sanding machine that sucks in the sand when the old paint is scraped. It keeps your house dust-free while the painting in going on.
Here you can see the young man Manish Chandran strike up a smart pose with the tool.
BergerExpress Painting Tool
The use of the Berger Express tools eases the painting process. Painters, who are trained to handle these tools can give sparkling results in less than 40% time needed for traditional painting! This means that painting the house need not be a messy, troublesome activity anymore for those who paint as well as the others who inhabit the house.
Painting can now be faster, better, cleaner
So, at the enjoyable and engaging event, I came to realize that with Express Painting, painting my home can be now an enjoyable experience! Now, I can actually think of changing the orange-red wall of my living room to a different colour. Textured purple may be!
This post is written in association with Berger Paints and Indiblogger
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Walking is a physical exercise but it also impacts the psyche. The process of walking makes the mind clutter free and paves the way for a clear and fresh thinking.
I have quoted these lines from a blog post on the site ‘Makeup & Breakup‘. The post by Nihar Pradhan details out the physical as well as psychological benefits of walking.
When I came across this post last week, it struck me that for a long time I had been deliberating on following a regime for walking every day, but for some reason or the other have been desisting from doing so. Though I walk on the weekends, but during the week procrastination takes over and I usually convince myself that walking through the same route is not much enjoyable, or it is irksome to navigate through the streets, jostling alongside the vehicles that honk every now and then.
With all these excuses, I could manage an extra half an hour of sleep, knowing all the way that it did nothing to help me to live a healthy lifestyle. Yet, it was hard to break away from the habit to procrastinate.
So, when I read the post written by one of my blogger friends, it gave me the nudge and reiterated the need for a healthy lifestyle and I made a resolution to follow a regular walking routine from the very next day.
An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.~ Henry David Thoreau
As I love to walk in natural surroundings, so I decided to go to a nearby park. To my pleasant surprise, I found that the park has been refurbished with exercise equipment that makes it almost like an open air gym. While walking, I watched the flowerbeds on the sides of the park adding a dash of colour and a touch of softness to the landscape. The green trees provided the much needed breathing space. The beauty of nature instantly put me in a positive frame of mind. Though I am not much enthused about going to the gym, seeing people using the equipment to exercise made me want to try them out. After forty minutes of walking, I came back feeling good and energized.
For those like me who are not very enthused about going to the gym or exercising, walking is absolutely essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Doctors say that walking is a great cardio exercise. Brisk walking for just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen our bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
Though it has only been a week, but I am happy to say that when I come back after half an hour of walk, I am completely recharged, and the pleasant feeling of joy and fulfillment lingers throughout the day. Engaging with nature freshens up the mind and spurs creative thinking.
With the resolution to walk daily, I have taken a step towards living a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle that will help me to contribute more effectively towards my work and the world around me.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~ John Muir
This post is written in collaboration with blogmint and 100 Pipers as a part of #TheGoodYouCan campaign.
100 Pipers is a blended Scotch whisky that is synonymous with craftsmanship and finesse. The Good You Can is all about making a resolution that is good not only for yourself but also has a larger effect on society and environment.