Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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Fun times at Granny’s Village – Mar 2019

Got an opportunity to visit my Granny’s Village , (My Maternal Grandmother). The Village is near Nellore. This time my Sister ,nice , nephew , me and my son were able to make a trip for a few days.

Love the Village atmosphere . I can never get tired of going there any number of times.

Every moment from Sunrise to Sunset is something that we can never ever experience in the Cities that we live in.

Being able to actually watch the Sun Rise , the cool morning Golden Sun rays , the cool morning breeze, the cocks crowing , the pure Oxygen filled air that you can fill your lungs without thinking of the pollution ……Village folks going about their activities , sounds of brooms while women sweep / clean their front porches , followed by Muggu / kolam …. tractors moving through the village on their way to the fields , sounds from the few Autos / Bikes in the village… Street vendors selling their wares , the villages kids playing with crude toys , young village boys playing Volley ball in the evenings , the sounds of bells from the Goats being taken for grazing , Bird calls , Sound of breeze from the waving paddy fields , the paddy dancing in the breeze, buffaloes on their way back home, the cool sea breeze flowing in from the sea from 3 pm onward, lying on a cot in the open air and watching the starlit sky, having dinner under the stars sitting on the cot .

Close up of Rice Panicle
The Road leading to our village.
Walking on the Beach near our village with my Niece.

These are life’s simple pleasures that I always look forward to.

Food tastes yummier in the village ๐Ÿ™‚ don’t know why ๐Ÿ™‚ .

There are hardly any thoughts … just being in the present moment.

A drive to the Beach via roads with paddy fields on either side, animals grazing lazily … An evening at the Beach which is a few kilometers from our Village,walking on the beach barefoot without a care… picking sea shells .. watching how the ocean never tires of sending waves since eternity.. watching fishermen with their boats on the horizon and wondering if I can go on one of the boats someday ๐Ÿ™‚

Already looking forward to my next visit.

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Healthy alternative to regular Dosa , Uthappam using Foxtail Millets (Korralu in Telugu)

My post on Foxtail millets is one of the most popular posts on my blog.
Been getting several hits on the post.

Here is the link to that post 

https://devilorangel.in/2016/12/14/health-nutrition-and-south-indian-recipes-with-korralu-foxtail-millets/


Millet’s are the new fad in town , the passionate Dr Khadar Valli  has been promoting 5 types of Millets (Foxtail, Kodo, Browntop, Little , Barnyard) which are very nutritious Organic ancient grains that can heal the body.

There was a time when I wanted to incorporate Millets but was nervous. Thanks to several women who uploaded videos on preparing Millet Dosa’s. These videos gave me the confidence to prepare Dosa’s with Foxtail Millets.

Not just Foxtail Millets , but Little Millet, Kodo Millet, Barnyard Millet  and Browntop Millet , too can be incorporated with great ease in our daily diet.
Easiest to use in the preparation of Dosas and Idlis.

Lemme share how I prepare Dosa with Foxtail Millet’s.

Usual Recipe for Dosa batter :

Ingredients for making Dosa Batter :

Urad Dal : 1 Cup . This is Whole Black Gram (with the Black skin removed)

Rice – 2 or 3 Cups (Quantity of Rice is  your choice)

This is soaked for 6-8 hours. Usually soaked in the morning and the batter is prepared at night.

The batter is left for fermenting overnight .

Dosa’s are prepared the next morning.

Procedure to prepare Dosa with Millets is very much the same.

Here is my Recipe for Dosa with Foxtail Millets :

Urad Dal – 1 Cup
Foxtail Millets – 2 Cups

I soak them in the morning in separate containers for 8 hours.
Batter is prepared in the evening/night. Grind them separately into a smooth batter and then mix them throroughly.

Add salt to taste.
Leave the batter overnight for fermenting.
Make your Dosa’s the next morning.

Just replace Rice with Foxtail Millets and confidently go ahead.

Not just Foxtail Millets, you can follow the same recipe using other Millets too.

Enjoy your healthy Foxtail Millet Dosa’s with your regular Chutneys or Sambhar.

This evening , I prepared Uthappam with the same batter. I chopped a few veggies, chillies, ginger, coriander leaves , jeera and added to the Millet batter. This is my Dinner for today.

Uthappam made with Millet Dosa batter and lots of veggies


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The Millet Man ! Positive grains and Healing

Been watching a lot of videos on YouTube during the last couple of months.

One speaker that I am watching on You Tube these days is Dr Khadar Valli. He is passionate about making people healthy and free from all diseases that are being caused by wrong food habits and lifestyle. His talks are highly convincing and is very popular on You Tube. He has been travelling to various towns and cities in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to share his knowledge. Has been researching on the health benefits of Millets since last 15 years . He gives several tips on treating diseases by eating the right foods especially Millets. Not just Millets , his speeches are about the right way of living , be it exercise/walking , tips to clean fruits and vegetables that are full of pesticides, drinking water from copper vessels, using cold pressed oils etc sprinkled with lots of simple natural treatments for minor ailments .

Surely appears to be an Angel on Earth who has come to prevent/treat/relieve us from several ailments.

I have been incorporating Millets in my Diet since last one month. I was already incorporating Foxtail Millets since last one year and now started including other Millets like Foxtail millet , Kodo Millet, BarnYard Millet, Browntop Millet and Little Millet. I now include Millets in two of my meals each day.

Quite happy/comfortable eating Dosas, Uthappams , Idlis , Pongal , Vegetable Kichdi , Payasam , Pulihora with Lemon or Amla , Millet Rice etc made with the 5 types of Millets. Millet Rice can be eaten with the regular curries. All these dishes are usually prepared with Rice and are equally tasty when prepared with Millets .

Dr Khader Valli has been popularizing 5 types of Millets namely Kodo, Little, Barnyard , Proso , Foxtail. He has named them ‘Siridhanyalu’.

He has categorised various grains based on their effect on the body :

Wheat and Rice : -ve grains – Can harm the body

Jowar/Sorghum, Finger Millet/Ragi and Bajra : Neutral grains – Neither heal nor harm the body.

Kodo , Barnyard, Little , Browntop , Foxtail Millet’s : +ve grains – Heal the body

Dr Khader Valli is confident that lifestyle diseases like Diabetes , Heart problems and even Cancer can be prevented/treated by consuming Millet’s. They are rich in Soluble and insoluble fiber, Gluten free , rich in nutrients , are usually Organic and alkaline in nature.

Dr Khader Valli has become very popular and currently there is a lot of demand for Millets. Got to see how the Supply/Demand of Millets wavers. The prices of Millets has been steadily increasing. Hope the production too increases.


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Bestest News Ever !! :)

A Bi-Annual checkup is a routine event for diseases like Diabetes , Cardio issues and Cancers.
The last time I got my checkup was in June 2018 . A Bone Marrow Biopsy was done and the Results were great. My Oncologist had said that I need not do the Biopsy on my next visit. He recommended Serum Electrophoresis and Beta 2 Microglobulin tests, which are Blood tests, after 6 months.

This time I delayed the tests for various reasons and gave my blood samples for Serum Electreophoresis and Beta 2 Microglobulin in Jan 2019. As expected ‘, M-Band was not seen !! ๐Ÿ™‚
Met my Oncologist with the Reports. He saw the results and said we can stop doing the blood tests too from now onwards :). I had a ? on my face and then he said I can meet him after a year ๐Ÿ™‚
Yayyyy , isn’t this the bestest news anyone can ever hear. A Doctor is the only person in this world that we wouldn’t like to meet ๐Ÿ™‚ . Everyone wants to stay away from Hospitals and Doctors isn’t it ?!!

I am now in the 8th year after my Stem Cell Transplant for Multiple Myeloma.
Not taking any Allopathic drugs since last 3 years. Taking curcumin and few other herbal supplements since last few years and doing great.
Extremely grateful to the Almighty and my Ayurvedic Doctor who is always there for me. God bless him.
So glad to have an Oncologist who has been supporting and encouraging me all the while.

I have an excellent Support System and I am highly grateful for all the support by the beautiful people I am surrounded with.

So happy and in love with LIFE !!

Happy Valentine’s Day !! ๐Ÿ™‚

God Bless everyone with Good Health and lots of Love . Everything else is a Bonus :))


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My Journey through 2018

As I successfully complete 7yrs after my Stem Cell Transplant (In December 2011) for Multiple Myeloma , I feel blessed and would like to summarize my journey through 2018.

One of the best things to happen this year is that I just had one bout of severe cough and cold and that was the only time I took Antibiotics during the whole year. There were a few times when a cough had just begun and thanks to my Ayurvedic Doctor who gave me a powder which instantly controlled the cough. He advised me to never ever take Antibiotics for a cough. Hitherto I was meeting the ENT Specialist once every few months and I was popping Antibiotics each time. Am sure my ENT Doctor is missing me and wondering what happened to me :)). I have also begun using a mask when I venture out , especially Malls, Supermarkets etc . These masks are a boon. I have also written a post about my adventures with the Mask in this Blog :)

A few months ago I had severe pain and swelling in my right knee . I was advised to take pain killers and antibiotics by an orthopedic. When I discussed with my Ayurvedic Doctor , he gave me Wokvel and said this will prevent any further issue in my knees. My knees are doing great now. I do a few exercises and also give a little oil massage to my knees before sleeping. So far so good.

Visited my Grannys Village near Nellore twice this year. I always look forward to visiting this tiny village.

A wish to visit Pondicherry and Kanchipuram was fulfilled. Didn’t expect to visit Chidambaram and also go on a boat ride among the Mangroves in Pichavaram .

My Uric acid levels have been within the limits but are on the higher side. Currently drinking lots of water, eating cucumbers and gave up meat and eggs.

A Biannual visit to my Oncologist is pending . Did a few blood tests recently and my Globulin Serum levels are well within the normal range.

On the advise of some beautiful people I have incorporated a few activities in my daily routine. I now recite the ‘Vishnu Sahasranamam’ every morning . Takes 25 minutes each morning. The vibrations generated by chanting are supposed to help the body and mind.

I also started doing a ‘Colour Meditation’ advised by my Mentor in my MM journey . This 15 minute guided Meditation by Brahma Kumaris (Youtube) has become an important part of my daily routine in the Morning and Evening. Meditation helps in healing .

Pranayama twice a day is a must. Takes 20 minutes each time. I walk for 10 minutes a few times a week. Some popular Yoga Masters claim that a few hours of Bhastrika and Anulom Vilom Pranayama twice a day can stop Cancer as Cancer cells cannot survive in an Oxygen rich environment. I strongly advise all Survivors to do anything and everything to put a check on the cells.

Having a comfortable time at work which keeps me busy for 9 hours everyday. Thanks to my wonderful colleagues.

Met a lot of friends from school and college all through the year. Attended several events hosted by family and friends like Weddings, house warming , Baby Showers etc.

My spiritual journey continues and I am glad to have come across Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, thanks to our recent trip to Pondicherry. I had bought a few books from the library in Aurobindo Ashram on Healing.
Started reading these books and found great insights into how the Mind/Thoughts can heal a person. Very minute details are discussed which are very practical and can be implemented easily so as to get healed. Through these books am able to appreciate the Spiritual teachingsย  of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
‘Intergrated Healing’ is one book which I will review once I am done reading.

Nice to see that the hits on my Blog are increasing. I get visitors from small unknown countries too. This motivates me to post more and hopefully the posts motivate more people.

Wishing all the readers of my Blog a Healthy and Peaceful 2019 !!


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Hyderabad to Pondicherry- Dec 2018

The plan was to visit Kanchipuram and Chidambaram while staying at Pondicherry. There is a direct flight to Pondicherry from Hyderabad. A one and half hour journey which is the best way to reach Pondy quickly. The other option is to go via Chennai and then drive to Pondy by road. One can also spend a few hours at Mahabalipuram which is on the way. We took the flight.

Here is a Summary of our stay in Puducherry.


What to see –

Beaches

View of Promenade Beach and the walking path from the Terrace of Le Cafe
Le Cafe and the Walking Path along the beach.
The Rocky , noisy Promenade Beach
Serenity Beach

There are four well known beaches namely the Promenade beach , Serenity beach, Paradise beach and Auro beach. We were able to spend an evening at the Promenade and Serenity beaches. Promenade is good for a nice long walk along the road at Sunset. Lots of rocks placed on the shore to prevent erosion. Serenity beach is good for spending some time in the water. Lots of fishing boats parked here. If you are adventurous try some surfing here. The sand is nice and white and the place is quite clean too.

Whitetown This is a part of the town which was colonized by the French and has several buildings (Official and Residential) built in European Architecture style . This area is adjacent to Promenade beach. One can take a stroll around the area to appreciate the architecture , visit the numerous restaurants, cafes , art museums dotted all over the place. Several villas have been converted into Heritage accommodations and have a colonial ambiance. The restaurants serve excellent French Cuisine.

Aurobindo Ashram

The building is quite big when seen from the outside , but once you go in your movements are restricted. Lots of containers with flowering plants greet you as soon as you enter the path leading to the Samadhis. Haven’t been to a place which is as calm as this place though there were a lot of people paying their homage at the Samadhi , which is made in marble and beautifully decorated with a lot of fragrant flowers . Several foreigners paying their respect and several others sitting nearby in quiet complemplation only to be disturbed by the shrieks of parrots. They have a bookstore with books translated from French into several Indian and Foreign languages. Books compiled by disciples from the various speeches given by Shri Aurobindo and the Mother. I bought books that were related to Healing and found that the gist of the writings are very useful for those who want to help / heal themselves in a Spiritual way.

Churches

There are several churches in Whitetown. We stopped at the Lady of Angels Church while going on a tour of Whitetown in a Rick.

Temples

Among the several Temples in Pondicherry we visited the Manakula Vinayagar temple in Whitetown. This is a popular ancient temple which a few centuries old and was revived in spite of several attempts by the french to demolish.

Street Shopping Every town has a few streets that are popular for cheap goodies. Nehru Market is supposed to be very popular and is crowded on Sundays. Our Cab driver told us that Vehicles are not allowed in these streets on Sundays. One can also do some shopping just outside the Vinayagar Temple.

Where to Stay –

Hotels / Villas / Homestays etc are available and one can choose as per their convenience. Several French Villas are converted into Boutique Hotels and do have a restaurant. There are several options closer to the beach too. We stayed in a Hotel as we preferred an elaborate Buffet Breakfast ๐Ÿ™‚ coz we would be travelling the whole day and were not sure when/where the next food stop would be.

Where to eat –

Lots of South Indian Restaurants if you wish to try the traditional Tamil/Chettinad food. We went to Karai Chettinad and the Shrimp curry there was awesome. One must try French Cuisine at the several restaurants in Whitetown. Had Dinner at the open air restaurant in Le Dupleix. The food was too good with Live music.

Vegetable Ratatouille. A yummy dish with lots of veggies in a silken gravy and rice.

Auroville

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The Golden Globe . Matrimandir .
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One of the huge Banyan trees near Matrimandir.
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The Boutiques near Visitors Center
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One of the placards displayed in the campus.

A major attraction in Puducherry after the beaches and Whitetown is Auroville. Its a half day trip 10km up north of Pondicherry. As we reached the visitors centre we learnt the tickets to enter Matrimandir were sold out. One has to buy tickets in person. It was a disappointment but it appears they want people to visit the place two times. We watched the Intro video at the visitors center and started walking towards Matrimandir which is 1km from the VC. I preferred taking the battery vehicle which caters to those with kids and elders. I requested to let me go in the vehicle though I didn’t belong to either of the groups and they obliged ๐Ÿ™‚ . On our way back I preferred to walk. The place is a young artificial forest , 20 sqkm ,with a variety of trees. The path is beautiful and shady. Only Bicycles and Bikes are allowed inside the campus. Highly advisable to rent a Bike/Bicycle to go around the campus. The Boutiques near the VC, which have a beautiful display of handicrafts and hand made items. Clothes, Crockery , Lamps , processed foods made with Organic produce like jams , snacks etc. We also visited the famous Auroville Bakery . One should stay and spend a few days at Auroville to get a feel of the place and for the mystery of Auroville to be revealed.

How to travel within Puducherry –

Several modes of transport are available. Most youngsters rent a Bike/Bicycle which is actually very comfortable as the traffic is quite less compared to other big cities in India. Several Online Bike Rentals are available and there are a lot of choices. Ola cabs service is good. At the end of a trip , Ola drivers will invariably ask you if you have other plans to travel around Puducherry. When we told them about our plans to Kanchipuram and Chidambaram ,they quickly arranged a cab for a reasonable price compared to the prices quoted by a travel agency. There are autos too plying around but I haven’t seen too many.

I will definitely want to visit Pondicherry again to spend time on the beaches , walking along the streets in Whitetown , eating Chettinad food and French cuisine and also spend more time in Auroville .


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Picture Story Sept- Oct – Nov 2018

Here is a picture story of my activities during the past few months. I clicked these pics using my phone camera. I know the pics are not very good but am sure they give a peek into my life ๐Ÿ™‚

Love watching birds on the Neem and Mango trees adjacent to my house and listening to the sound of  wind chimes  . I have hung a few birds (store bought) and wind chimes in my balcony. For Diwali I also hung an Oil Lamp (On the Right in the picture in Red) . Hung a few string lights too.

It is customary to decorate the Main Door of the house with Flower garlands and leaves of Mango tree during all festivals. Placing of lamps adjacent to the Door is also a custom. All the Decor is  to motivate and woo  Goddess Laksmi into our homes ๐Ÿ™‚ . 
We light up the house with as many Diyas and Candles as possible. Another beautiful way is to add floating Diyas in Bowls filled with Water and flowers.

More Diyas are place around colourful Rangoli too. The Diyas make the Rangoli even more pretty.
Most women perform Lakshmi Puja on the evening of Deepavali. 
As I  laze in my Balcony on a  Sunday morning , this I what I see and I capture the rays.
Another Sunday morning. First view of the Sun from behind a building . Difficult to catch a glimpse of the early morning Sun in the cities . Love the play of light through the trees and the translucent leaves of the potted plants on my balcony.
The morning Sun peeping through the tree branches . My phone Camera can never capture the translucent flowers (leaves actually) of the Bougainvillea plant. Clicked this just as I was leaving home to work. 
The last time I grew Fenugreek , the leaves were infested . This time I am lucky ๐Ÿ™‚
Here is the harvest of Fenugreek Leaves. These leaves ended up as Aloo Methi (Potato and Fenugreek leaves) Curry.
Visited my Granny’s Village. Didn’t click pics.  On this visit ,I decided not to click any and enjoyed the sights and sounds directly rather than through a Camera.
The first IKEA store opened in Hyderabad a couple of months ago but I didn’t dare go there due to the crowds. Finally landed there one day. This is the Veggie Balls that they have on the Menu. Mashed potatoes with Jam and boiled carrots, peas and corn along with veggie balls and some strange gravy. Very few items on the Menu and I was disappointed. 
Visited the Farmers Organic Market in Saptaparni , Banjara Hills. Love this place. This market is held on the first Sunday every month. They have lots of handmade items (soaps, jewellery , baskets , handbags etc) , Clothes made with Organic dyes , Organic Veggies , Snacks made with Millets  , a potter is available which  kids and adults can try , lots of organic produce like Cow Ghee, Honey , millets etc