Monday, September 28, 2009

what is the colour of your tea?

of late,there has been a plethora of articles in newspapers and magazines on the benefits of drinking tea.companies engaged in processing and selling tea have a huge budget for advertising their products.some of them take even a fullpage in newspapers to advertise their products and the good effects of drinking their tea.unlike in the old days when tea was always taken with milk and sugar,health-conscious people have switched over to tea without milk or without sugar.and those who are prepared to go further in their quest for the elixir of life start drinking green tea.

after all isn't everyone going green these days? bollywood stars,ceos,cricketers and other sports and finearts celebrities say they love green tea.we all know that the chinese drink plenty of green tea. and one of the factors responsible for their longevity is supposed to be green tea.

what is it that green tea has which makes it such an attractive proposition? true,it has antioxidants in abundance.these are called catechins.they fight the free radicals and try to keep your body free of was used especially against the headaches and tea is also supposed to have lot of skin benefits.because of their anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties they are likely to slow down the ageing process.

the chinese have been using green tea for thousands of years as a traditional medicine for wellbeing in general and in particular for severe skin conditions like acne and carcinoma of the fights successfully the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet radaition.and for those who are bothered by that white speck on their scalp,the hated dandruff,green tea is supposed to be a perfect medicine.

it is produced from the leaves of camellia sinensis. unlike black tea, it has a small amount of caffeine. caffeine causes insomnia, nausea and frequent is list of benefits of green tea which has been claimed by a researcher:
1) used to treat multiple sclerosis.
2) used for treatment and prevention of cancer.
3) used to stop Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
4) used to raise the metabolism and increase fat oxidation.
5) reduces the risk of heart diseases and heart attacks by reducing the risk of trombosis.
6) reduces the risk of esophageal cancer.
7) inhibits the growth of certain cancer cells, reduces the level of cholesterol in blood, improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.
8) used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular diseases
9) used to treat impaired immune function. .
10) drinking green tea regularly may help prevent tooth decay by killing the bacteria which causes the dental plaque.

no wonder that with so much going for it everone is jumping on to the is no more the preferred drink of the celebrities and superduper models only.longtime users claim higher energy levels,better skin,better hair,better digestion.and the best part of it is that you can have this endlessly. more the merrier.

i too have been struck by this blitzkreig.i have succumbed to the thought of becoming immortal. at least to live upto eighty,ninety, hundred. i drink green tea of different flavours-mint,citrus,jasmine with hot water and i don't waste the green leaves. i use it as an exfoliant for my skin. will i glow? maybe six months down the line,i could provide some answer.

as big as the beatles

swami ramdev baba is a controversial wellness guru in india. he has shot to fame in the last several years by aggressively marketing himself, pranayama and ayurvedic medicine which he claims is a near cure-all for every conceivable disease including aids and cancer.his detractors which includes brinda karat and a few mncs tried to put him in the docks by allegations of use of human skull powder in his ayurvedic medicines,child labour etc etc.his followers at the top saw that he remained un scathed. his programme on yogasanas broadcast daily on the tv network has an enviable viewership.his disciples and followers certify that they have got themselves rid of their diseases which afflicted them by simply following ramdev baba's advice.

the latest to certify his efficacy is sunita poddar of scotland.she and her husband sam have bought a 1.75 sq km island in scotland,wee cumbrae, for nearly rs 17 crores to set up a ramdev baba wellness centre.the island has been rechristened 'shanti dwipam'. sunita claims that after following ramdev baba's pranayam exercises she has got rid of her fourteen tablets per day medication.recently a havan was performed on the inauguration of this setup- an extension of the patanjali yogpeeth, where 350 indians and many curious locals participated to watch the person who is 'as big as the beatles' in action.

ramdev baba it seems is spreading his wings.he is going global.the baba who has a cult following in india is trying what mahesh yogi and rajneesh did successfully. whether he will be a winner is something to be seen.the baba's followers who had chartered a yacht a year ago for a three week programme of 'yoga on the boat' (vedic cruise) probably were not on high seas; with the baba seamlessly conducting the programmes in turbulent waters of the indo-china sea outside. the conchshaped scottish island of course is a different kettle of fish. quiet,rocky and with hardly any tree,ramdevbaba expects the place to generate a lot of peace.

om shanti:,shanti:,shanti:.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

mahalaya amavasya

mahalaya amavasya is the day of the moonless night before navarathri. during the krishna paksha(the fortnight of the waning moon),hindus propitiate three generations of ancestors from both their parents' sides.the departed souls are believed to be living in pitruloka,a region between earth and is ruled by yama,the god of death.during this period the ancestors leave their abode and descend to earth to live in the homes of their descendants.

water added with sesame seeds is offered to the deceased who are represented by 'bhugnas' made of dharba grass.normally darbha grass is collected on amavasya day in the month of 'simha' at the fag end of the monsoon from nearby lakes and tanks where they grow wildly. the grass collected on this day can be used for a complete year. these rites are done accompanied by the chanting of mantras.the sound vibration makes the effort more beneficial than is called tarpanam(tharpanam).it means to satisfy,to please.

in tarpanam,pitrus are installed on a five strand dharba(bhugna). the five strands represent the the five life elements.dharba is considered to have come to earth from the hair of the creator (parama purusha) in the process of creation.if one does this act with sincerity and devotion,one immediately feels very the 'manusmriti',tarpanam has been described as is a sacrifice dedicated to the memory of the is said that forefathers look forward to the the 'yamapuranam' it is said that yama frees all souls in the dark fortnight of the month of 'kanya'(september-october),to enable them to visit their children and accept the food that they offer.the risk of not performing tarpanam can be huge. they may invite the wrath of the forefathers and if cursed by them suffer the consequences." vricchika darsanaat yanti nirasa pitaro gatah". doing tarpanam properly ensures happiness and contentment. "dine dine gaya tulyam"-the ceremonies honouring the pitrus performed during this fortnight are considered to be equal to the ceremonies performed in the sacred city of gaya.every devout hindu is careful not to annoy his pitrus. otherwise,the old women at home will not give him a peaceful time!

there is an interesting legend highlighting the importance of donating food. 'karna' of the epic mahabharatha was a great donor of wealth.but he never donated food.after his death,he received plenty of gold and silver in heaven for his charitable deeds.but his soul was hungry and yearned for food. when he was alive, he never did tarpanam in memory of his ancestors.realising his mistake of not donating food and not doing tarpanam for his ancestors,karna pleaded with yama to send him back to earth so that he could make up for this shortcoming.yama agreed to karna's request. he breathed life back to him. karna returned to earth and this time fed the poor and offered tarpanam.when he returned to the nether region after expiry of 14 days he had food to his heart's content.these 14 days are celebrated as 'mahalaya paksha'.donating food on the amavasya day is considered to be the most important ritual!the easiest way to access to God’s grace is by feeding a famished human being starving for food, and donating clothes to him. donating food(annadaanam) is considered to be the greatest charity among all the is believed that the person who donates food would attain an elevated status in life!

the ancestors are happy alright but not the shopkeepers.their sales dramatically drop during this fact, no important activity is carried out during this inauspicious period of 'pitrupaksha'.no new cars are bought,no new flats are purchased and no new films are released. everyone awaits the departure of the souls of the ancestors after they have been fully satisfied with the tarpanam offerings to commence their auspicious activities.

Friday, September 04, 2009

oh sunday!

sunday is my happiest day of the week. i am under no pressure to get up early,i take my dogs for a long walk
and do not keep looking at the wallclock every now and then as i do on other days.i work on the home treadmill for half an hour and try to burn some calories.i remind myself that after all i need to lose atleast 10 kgs to remain fit. i have a leisurely and late breakfast,catch up with the latest news and film and book reviews from newspapers and magazines which i have not read during the week.lunch on sundays is usually bisibelebhath prepared very tastefully by afternoon siesta is not a must unless i am suffering from the previous night's hangover which is seldom the case.after lunch, i look into all my personal paperwork-investments,payment of bills,etc etc and normally ensure that there is no backlog.

it is time for the babies to come home.our two grandchildren arrive around 5 pm and fully engage us till about 7.30 when they leave. i sit with them and do some coloring,painting and even some puzzles.then i take our older grandaughter for fun and entertainment at the cooperage bandstand. incidentally,this garden dedicated to rajiv gandhi,has been nicely spruced up.she is uberexcited when she rides a horse. she makes 5 to 6 rounds on horseback and is never satisfied at the end of it.dil maange mor.then she sprints to the farther end and takes a few chakkars sitting on a wooden duckback and later climbs up the slide and comes down crashing. something that she enjoys. then when it is all over and the sun has set and it's time to go home she bids farewell: bye bye duck,bye bye swing,bye bye slide. carrying baloons in her hand and a bubble bottle she marches out triumphnatly watched by her doting little sister who watches her sister's antics with awe and wishfully waits for the day when her turn will come.

i am now ready to freshen up myself and do some blogging before it's time for,wouldn't you envy me? i know i have had a great time.i have detoxified,destressed and recharged my battery for the full week ahead. i am not alone in this comfort zone on a sunday.

researchers at the University of vermont analysed 2.4 million blogs and internet messages to find out which days of the week we love the most by counting the number of positive and negative words used. sunday won the first prize as our most favourite day while wednesday got the booby prize.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

confess to your mistakes and seek forgiveness

devotees of jainism observe an annual ritual of fifteen days called 'paryushan parva' culminating in 'kshama parva' when they confess to their mistakes during the year and ask all their family,friends and partners in trade for forgiveness. on august 24 they sought kshama(pardon) from one another. during these fifteen days,they live a life of purity and simplicity. between noon and 1pm they take a meal and live on that till the next day. a day after 'kshama parva' they live throughout the day on boiled water only.i have a jain business friend who sent me an sms on 'kshama parva' day seeking my forgiveness for whatever faults he might have committted during the year in his dealings with me.he ended with the words "micchami dukkhadam"(please forgive me for all the mistakes committed).i was quite surprised at the humility of my friend.

sometimes some people carry this noble practice to excess. a two and half year old jain boy inspired by his elder sister did 'paryushan' for the first lasted 40 hours.he lived during this period only on boiled water.his father,a diamond merchant was proud and happy about what his son had done.this family has been doing 'paryushan' for the last 26 is an old jain ritual and started some 1000 years ago.jains believe that fasting purifies the soul,kills greed and allows one to attain spirituality.

fasting and forgiveness are great virtues and almsot all religions have this practice in different variants. in the yajur veda there is a mantra which seeks the forgiveness of the supreme lord for all the sins committed in thought word or deed so that the body and self of the seeker become pure and that one can realise oneself as the light divine.

"to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you".