Sunday, November 28, 2010


I don't visit restaurants very often. When I do, I am very choosy. Recently I visited the same restaurant twice in quick succession. Last Friday night, I took my cousin from the US out for dinner to an Italian restaurant in the heart of busy Mumbai. Called 'Bellagio Bistro', after a famous district in North Italy, the restaurant provides authentic Italian food. Located in Boatawala Building which is a heritage structure near the Asiatic Library in Fort area, the external facade of the restaurant is impressive.There is a ground and a mezzanine floor too. The internal decor is simplistic. Where it scores is its food and service. It has a transparent kitchen where you can see the cooks stirring up your dishes in very neat and hygienic conditions. What you get is fresh,fragrant and fulfilling stuff. Basil leaves dominate many of the dishes.The wine repertoire is quite wide ranging.On Friday, we chose to have French Bordeaux wine while on Sunday when I took my wife,I had a glass of red wine distilled by Sula. Pastas,Pizzas,Risottos,Ravioli-you name it and they have it all. We tried their three-grain rissotto and loved it. The rates are on the higher side but the best thing to do is to order three or four dishes and split it into two or three as the case may be.They have there own bakery too.You get fresh bread literally out of the oven. I loved the clear vegetable soup with lemon grass.They have a good variety of desserts and coffee. We had the crunchy chocolate cake and coffee latte which we enjoyed.

Run by a Jain family,the waiters attended to details when we placed the order. We said we were ok with onions but garlic was a no-no.The chef complied with our request and gave us some delectable stuff. I strongly recommend this place for those who want to taste genuine Italian food.The best time would be in the night when the traffic is less on the road.During daytime,presumably,there would be a rush from the senior executives working in the vicinity. They have a special lunch pack too for office-goers. We took a window seat on the ground floor on Sunday afternoon while we sat on the mezzanine floor on my earlier visit.The view was perfect and the experience pleasing.

Monday, November 22, 2010


There is a popular expression to describe the mad love between a boy and a girl.It is said that "they are head over heels in love".
But this post is about heels over head. Today's youngsters particularly the young women take to wearing high heels basically for two reasons. First to appear ultra fashionable and second to look taller than what they really are.Everyone knows that wearing high heels can wrought havoc to one's spine besides the constant danger of tripping and falling while walking and hurting one's bones.Yet, the young lasses and also some older ones too insist on making this style statement.The high heels dominate over their heads in these cases.

A recent study done in the US by a Master's student of the University of Iowa State has found that prolonged usage of high heels is one of the factors contributing to degeneration of joints and osteoarthritis of the knees. Assisted by her Professor Phil Martin, Danielle Barkema studied the effects of walking with high heeled shoes on the lower joints in the body. Barkema selected heels of three different height. Flat, two inches, and three and half inches. She had each of the 15 women in her study complete walking trials. Using a wide range of sophisticated instruments, she was able to measure and quantify the shockwaves that travel up the body. She concluded that over time, continued usage of high heeled shoes contributes to joint degeneration and knee osteoarthiritis. Greater the heel, greater the risk.

Oh, Young women! Why wait till your back and knees break. See the writing on the wall and be your natural self. It will do you tons of good in the long run. And it will also give you peace of mind.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Panda- An Endangered Species Too

The population of pandas in the whole wide world is supposed to be less than 1000; most of them live at an altitude of about 11,000 feet in the cold forests of the eastern rim of the Tibetan plateau. Pandas are China's national treasure. Pandas are large mammals and are almost the same size as that of a black bear.Their numbers are decreasing and they might soon become extinct. WWF has put pandas on the endangered list. The bamboo-eating pandas are also intelligent. After Paul the octopus who shot to fame rightly predicting outcomes in the last World Cup soccer matches,pandas are now predicting the results of events in the Asian Games at Guangzhou.And most of the times,they are right!

In the devastating earthquake that hit Sichuan province in Southwest China in 2008,pandas living in the Wolong Nature Reserve which is the world's largest and well-known conservation area for pandas narrowly escaped though lot of buildings were destroyed and many people lost their lives. Pandas are extremely lonely animals and breed only a few times in a year. That is another reason why their population is not growing.Their average age expectancy is only 20-25. Also they are being poached for their soft fur, driven out of their habitat by the ever-increasing human population and deforestation leaving hardly any bamboos for their sustenance.

China will have to take up the challenge of saving the pandas on a war-footing. Else, one more species will disappear from planet earth soon.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Olive Ridley Turtles - Another Endangered Species

Thanks to our callousness, yet another world-famous species is gradually facing extinction. A massive deep water port is being constructed at the mouth of Dhamra river, north of the world famous Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Orissa. Every year, Olive Ridley turtles come in heaps to the sandy beaches of Rushikulya river mouth off Orissa's Ganjam coast at the mouth of Dhamra rivercoast. There is a spread of about 3 km from Purunabandh to Gokharakuda which is the second biggest rookery in the world. The wellknown Gahirmatha is the biggest rookery in the world to lay eggs. Thousands of turtles wait in the sea for their turn for nesting in the sandy beaches.

This year for some unknown reason the mass nesting has started much earlier. About 2 lakhs Olive Ridleys had nested in the first fortnight of March last year. Some guess that it could be due to the sudden increase in temperature accompanied by wind from the southern direction. Wildlife officials are doing their bit by clearing the beach to help the turtles in their annual ritual.Olive Ridley turtles also lay their eggs in the west coast of India.

The turtles come every year and mate on the calm ocean waters. The females thereafter make it alone to the beach and scoop a big hole in the sand to accomodate 50 to 100 eggs.Once the eggs have been laid,they cover them with sand with their legs and return to the sea.It takes about a month for the eggs to hatch. The little ones then emerge out of the nest. They then start their lonely journey into the sea without their mothers. Nature's miracles are inexplicable.

The construction of the deep water port will add to the woes of the turtles who already suffer from illegal netting.Movement of ships,probable oil spills and other environmental factors pose a severe challenge to their existence. Wonder whether Jairam Ramesh,our Minister for Environment, is aware of the imminent danger to the turtles.

The local villagers at Rushikulya treat the turtles as God's incarnation.Neither do they eat their eggs nor their meat. On the contrary they go all out to protect them. Wildlife officials have set transmitters on some of the turtles to record their movements.

We owe it to our future generations to protect these turtles from extinction. In the scale of conservation status, these turtles are currently ranked in the vulnerable category. Do visit the website and look for Olive Ridley turtles. Do your bit to save these turtles.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Owls-the endangered species

I am blogging again after a long hiatus.In the interegnum. I learnt a foreign language. German. For four months almost every Saturday and Sunday,I was in MMI(Max Mueller Institute) learning Deutsch. Our teachers gave us a lot of hausaufgabe (homework). There was just no time to blog. But now I am happy that I can read, write and speak a foreign language.My German friends will be thrilled.

Those who read these lines might wonder as to why I chose this topic. Not an auspicious way to restart,they would say. Aren't owls associated with bad luck,many would wonder. Indeed now they are having a bad patch. Bad luck has fallen on these very birds once considered to be wise. Somewhere along time they lost that reputation. And they became associated with doom and destruction. And today their numbers are dwindling. Our Minister for Environment is concerned. He has accused the Harry Potter fans for capturing owls to tickle their fancies. They are being bought by parents as pets for their children who read Harry Potter books. Also thousands of them are being caught to be eventually used for black magic and rural medicine and for village performances. What a fall! From being considered as a wise bird by the Greeks, they have now fallen on bad times and are fighting for survival.

So is human life.Men too have their ups and downs.History is littered with examples of the powerful and famous who have fallen and collapsed like a house of cards.What is the moral in this? Everything is transient. Nothing is permanent.Be balanced in life.You never know when good or bad times will befall you.Develop equanimity. You will then be a happy person.