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


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Brass Anklets, Ghungroos, Dance, School : Sweet Memories

Came across this pic in a post by ‘Natyagruha’ on Facebook . Those ‘Ghungroos’ took me back to my school days.

I had subscribed to this Facebook page recently and get to watch some of the most beautiful dance performances everyday.

It is a beautiful feeling when I watch the dancers and imagine myself doing those dance steps :).

My interest in dancing started in school where we had this hobby class.

We had the option to choose from Music , Dance , Clay modelling and Drawing.

I chose Dance.

We had one Dance period every week. During the initial years in High school, we had a Bharatnatyam teacher and during the later years we had a Kuchipudi teacher.

I was a good dancer and was always made to stand in the front row during the class 🙂

I always got selected in the Dance competitions among the various Groups in school.

All the practice sessions were fun.We had the privilege to bunk classes for the practice sessions.

The D – day would soon arrive. All the costumes and jewelry would be hired and would arrive in a huge box and placed backstage. The costumes were very bright and colorful , the jewelry glittered and lots of Anklets too. I love the sound of Anklets.

The makeup man would arrive and one by one he would transform all of us into the most beautiful girls. We hardly recognized each other with all the makeup 🙂

Wow , makeup is like magic. The pancake foundation, thick kajal for the eyes, bright red lipstick, blush, nicely arched eyebrows, big bindhi. Little white dots lining the arch of the eyebrows completed the makeup.

A bun is formed with a little hair on top of the back of the head. Rest of the the hair was braided , false-hair was also used to make the plait appear longer. The long braid ends with Jada Kuppalu/Gantalu (three beautiful golden bulbs/bells).

Strings of flowers would be placed around the bun . The braid was then decked with flowers from top to bottom. The ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ ornaments were put in place on either side of the partition on the head .A ‘Tika’ in the center. Nice big earrings dangled from the ears. A nose ring would be pressed to one nostril.

We then got dressed in the costumes.

Rest of the jewelry is decorated over the costume. A big choker and a long chain around the neck, a Vaddanam at the waist , Vanki’s on the forearms…lot of Bangles on the wrists.

Time to apply ‘Alta’ on the hands and feet . Got to take care not to move and not touch anything till the alta dries up. This is instant henna 🙂 which is a bright pink liquid applied on the palms and feet in a traditional design using a brush.

Love the final result.

Once the alta is dried up , time to tie the brass anklets …got to tie them tightly so they don’t loosen up and fall off while doing the performance. I just love the feel and sound of those Ghungroos on my feet.

All set for the performance .There is a little nervousness initially when the curtains on the stage are drawn and I get a glimpse of the audience.

All the lights in front of the stage are focused on us and hence the view of the audience thankfully gets blurred 🙂

Got to be composed and concentrate on the sequence of dance steps and the rhythm.

The show is over and time to get backstage and remove all the jewelry , costumes and Anklets .

I am back home with my parents who meet me backstage.Time to remove the pancake makeup on my face.. I rub a little coconut oil on my face which dissolves the makeup and makes it easy to be washed off.

All the flowers and false hair which are put in place with dozens are hairpins are carefully removed by my mom and sis .

My body feels light and I go to sleep.

I wake up and look forward to the next Dance competition.

Winning was not a priority and I don’t remember having won or lost the competition. It was all about the participation, the practices, the dressing up and the excitement on the D-day.

I always wanted to own a pair of Ghungroos. One day the Dance teacher said they will be ordering Ghungroos on our behalf. I was so excited and told my parents and they accepted immediately. I was sooo happy on receiving my set of Ghungroos . They had a thick yellow thread with intricately and tightly woven ghungroos. The Ghungroos have to be worn on the feet after an act of reverance , by holding them in both the palms and bringing them close to the closed eyes ( a Hindu custom) .

They were one of my most favorite possessions during school.

Somewhere in the rat race of college , job , marriage , kid , those Ghungroos were forgotten and also lost :(.

All those memories came back when I saw this pic.

Felt like pouring my thoughts here.


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Visit to an Organo Organic farm in Hyderabad

I had been trying to get a supply of A2 milk since a year but was unsuccessful.Finally got my first bottle of A2 milk delivered by Organo farm store a few days ago.Soon after I got a message that a Santha (farmer’s market) is being organised at organo Naandi and that we can visit their farms too.Organo is starting a concept where a consumer can adopt a farmer and grow veggies which are delivered fresh every week at their doorstep.Wanted to checkout what they were up to and landed at Organo Naandi this morning with Mom.Stepped into a store selling Organic groceries.I was expecting to see lot of fresh veggies and found that there weren’t any. When I enquired , we were told that we will soon be taken to a farm. Saw a few more families arriving.Thought that the veggies would be available at the farms. We were then led to the farms a few km from the store.Saw a few people marking and placing papers (with names of veggies written) on a freshly tilled farmland. Also saw a few cows and calves nearby.Very soon a Farmer and his wife arrived. They began doing puja to the cows that were tied nearby.It was then that we realised that the farm was being inaugurated that day. They hadn’t revealed this event to us.Soon a bottle of cow urine and tricodomas were poured in two dishes. Out came a few packets of Vegetable seeds.The seeds were rinsed in each of the liquids and placed on a jute sack for drying.A few Questionss and Answers were exchanged between the visitors and the Farmer and the caretaker.It was time to sow the seeds and the farmers wife took a few seeds and started sowing. The visitors were told that they can volunteer to sow.Some of us took a few seeds and walked across the field and stuck a few seeds in the soil. Was a different kind of experience. Felt good.Sweets were distributed .We were told that lunch is being served at the Organo farm store. Reached the lunch venue . Had a simple lunch made with millets.Picked up a few groceries and started back . We were disappointed on not getting veggies but were happy that we had a good time at the farm.The weather was great…cloudy with cool breeze blowing..Overall a wonderful surprise for me and Mom.


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Gratitude journal 13 June 2019

Grateful for being back at work after suffering a bout of cough/cold.

Extremely grateful to my Ayurveda Doctor without whom I wouldn’t be posting on this blog.

Grateful that my Driver is very regular and rarely takes leave. He has been with us for the last seven years and we never had any issue with him.God bless him and his family. He rarely refuses to come on a Sunday or a Holiday if we need him. Thank to him , I can peacefully sleep and be confident that he will turn up in the morning and take me to work and back. I don’t have to worry about booking a cab. He always informs me in advance if he wants to take a day off. I pay him more than the other Drivers only for the reason that he is very honest and dependable. He also helps us in little chores around the house. Nice to see him get married and have kids during his stint with us.

So glad to have colleagues at work who are fun to be with. We learn a lot from the chat sessions we all share. We spend half our waking lives together . So thankful for their company.

It’s Summer here. Grateful to Mother nature for giving us delicious fruits like Mangoes, jack-fruit, ice apple in Summer . Been enjoying lots of these this season.

~ Sarve janaha Sukhino Bhavanthu ~


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Surya Organic farm , Hyderabad , a partner of Farmizen.

My search for Organic veggies led me to the discovery of Farmizen.

A concept where one can rent a piece of land for growing veggies. All the hard work is done by the Farmer who is a partner of Farmizen. A Plots of 20×30 feet can be rented for Rs2500/-. A variety of veggies are grown and delivered to our home every week.

I rented one such plot and have been receiving veggies every week.

Received these veggies this week.

It’s been more than a month that I have subscribed to Farmizen. The veggies are grown using organic manure and pesticides.

The Farmizen app is very user friendly. Status of the plants in our plot is updated frequently. Updates on watering of the plants, application of pesticides , time for harvesting  etc are posted . We can also request for photographs of the plants in our plot via the app.

A notification is sent via the app about the date of delivery of veggies . Facility to pin the location of our home address in a map is provided in the app.

We can also visit the farm 6 times a month. I have been to the farm thrice and it is nice to see the veggies growing . Love driving to the farm which is close to Himayatsagar lake.

Looking forward to visit again once the monsoons are here.


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No cook Kulfi , in a jiffy

Summer is here. The best part of Summer is you can enjoy ice creams without any fear of ending up with a runny nose.

I suddenly felt this urge to make ice-cream at home. I never tried to prepare ice-cream at home.

I remember freezing fruit juice in a steel glass when I was a kid and I was thrilled with the outcome. That was when my parents purchased a refrigerator 🙂 . I Never ever attempted an authentic ice-cream which is actually made with milk and cream. I didn’t want to buy another device for making ice-cream nor did i have the patience to mix the ingredients,  freeze , whip again till smooth , freeze again …whipping again ..again and again till you end up with a smoooth ice-cream. That’s not me.

I wanted to try the ice-cream thing again. I started watching YouTube and was looking for an easy way with few ingredients and a simple process.. hoping someone would have come up with an easy recipe..Luckily I  came across a No cook recipe to make Kulfi.  Wowww , I was excited .  Kulfi is an traditional Indian way of making a frozen dessert which is no different from the regular ice-cream. A Kulfi is traditionally made by thickening milk  on a stove for a few hours and adding powdered nuts and cardamom and then freezing it . Thickening is a lengthy process too. There was no condensed milk or fresh cream or milk powder in the earlier days.  We now get all these in the supermarket and hence there is an instant way to make Kulfi.

I was excited with this recipe and immediately bought the ingredients.

This recipe has just 5 ingredients :

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Fresh Cream – one cup

Milk powder – Half cup

Sugar – Half cup

Almonds / Pista / Cashew – Any two or even one is good enough

Cardamom : few pods

Procedure :

Step 1 – Blend the Nuts , cardamom and Sugar into a fine powder and keep it aside.

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Step 2 – Whip up the Fresh cream in a container. You can use a whipper or an egg beater too.

Step 3 – Add the Milk powder to the Fresh cream and mix well.

Step 4 – Add the fine powder from Step 1 and mix well.

Step 5 – Pour into Kulfi moulds and freeze. Not to worry if you don’t have Kulfi moulds. Freeze the mixture in  any container for 5 to 6 hours.

Your instant yummy Kulfi is ready to dig into. Enjoyy .

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Brahma Muhurtham, the Divine hours

I really don’t know how it happened but I suddenly started waking up at around 4.30 am since last two weeks. During one such day while going through my Youtube subscriptions ,  a video popped up about ‘Brahma Muhurtam’ . I do know that this is an auspicious period which is sometime during the early hours of the morning but didn’t know the exact timings or anything more about it.

I got curious about this video and started watching it. I learnt about a Ghadiya , a Muhurtam , number of Ghadiyas in a Day and how the exact time period of this Brahma Muhurtam is calculated on any particular day.

It is understood that the period from 3 am to 5.15 am approximately is Brahma Muhurtam and that it is good to meditate or do puja/prayer or exercise during this period.

I continued to automatically wake up at around 4.15 to 4.30 everyday. I started doing meditation followed by pranayama . I then go for a walk for 30 mins.

Meanwhile, I started watching more videos about this and learnt that waking up during these hours is beneficial to us.

  • This is the calmest period of the night when the mind is still,
  • everyone is asleep, no noise whatsoever
  • the air has the maximum amount of oxygen during this time
  • this is the best time for students to study because there is no distraction and memory power too is greater
  • this is the best time to Meditate which helps in reducing stress
  • you get solutions to  your problems , your thoughts and Intentions are clear , it is possible to manifest your desires
  • one can do puja or prayer
  • is also good to do yoga or exercises.

Several health benefits can be experienced when people wake up regularly during this period.. The production of Melatonin hormone by the pineal gland is the highest during this period. The pineal gland is located in the center of the brain. This hormone is a powerful antioxidant , it reduces the production of cortisol (by the Adrenal Glands) which in turn reduces stress and anxiety , reduces Blood Pressure, heart burn etc etc.

It is said that one should wake up during this period without any external help from an alarm or someone else waking you up. One video also mentions that if you can wake up automatically it is a sign of being blessed by the Almighty 🙂

All living beings are supposed to follow the rhythms of nature . Dinner to be done by 6pm ( before sunset ) and to sleep as early as possible….latest by 9pm . It would then be easy to wake up comfortably at 4am , much before sunrise .

Our body functions are actually designed to be in sync with the rhythm of nature whereas we have upset these functions by staying up late and waking late . This is resulting in several mental and physical issues.

Am glad I am finally able to tune into this rhythm. Hope to reap all the benefits.

It is almost 2 weeks since I started meditating during this period and I can confidently say that I am not as anxious as I used to be…I feel very calm and in control throughout the day. Overall it is a great feeling… I try to sleep as early as possible …around 10ish …my internal alarm clock is now set to wake me up between 4 to 4.30am.

~~Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi~~

 

 


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A typical morning in our neighborhood in Hyderabad

Here are my observations of a typical morning routine in my neighborhood.As I start my daily walk each morning the following sights and sounds greet me….

I see the paper boy driving a scooter..he slows down but doesn’t stop and deftly throws our newspaper from the road into our house over the gate. He repeats the action in a couple of other houses in our lane and disappears into the next lane.

The guy who supplies milk packets too comes around the same time in a scooter with a huge bag full of milk packets. Other ‘Milkmen’ too deliver their packets in a few houses in our lane and soon disappear.

I see the maids sweeping the area in front of the main Gates of each house …the sounds of the brooms go swish swish …. Soon this sound is followed by the sound of water being sprinkled in the area which is now clean… followed by the maid displaying her muggu/kolam skills…

I usually walk up and down in our lane and sometimes go around the block …I need to be careful and do my best to ignore the street dogs that are all over the place… They start barking as soon as they sense another dog with it’s owner who is taking it for a morning walk… The owner tries hard to pull their dog away from the street dog…a few dog owners hold a stick and shoo away these street dogs…at times two dog owners cross each other and they have a tough time pulling their dogs away…either they are barking at each other and ready to fight or they like each other and show their affection ….an interesting sight :)…

The street dogs usually don’t bark at walkers who are regular…the moment they sense a new person they go bersek…poor walkers are amused, scared and confused…thankfully these street dogs are harmless and don’t bark at me :)..

A young boy gets dropped in his scooter by his friend in front of a house …he is holding a big orange plastic container which is connected to a hose and ends with a handle…looks like a pesticide sprayer….he starts spraying water all over a car that is parked and starts cleaning the car…appears to be the latest innovation in cleaning cars…I also come across another young boy cleaning other cars parked in an empty plot using a bucket full of water which is the traditional way most people clean their cars …one cannot afford to clean using a watering pipe as water is too precious to be wasted especially in Summer.

I see a lot of walkers in all shapes and sizes with different gaits and different pace of walking and in different attires.

A lot of bird calls …. Crows , squirrels ,doves ,sparrows ,bulbuls , sunbirds and cuckoo’s …

I see a few neighbors going to the store with a bag and returning with milk packets…

A few men women children are patiently plucking flowers from the plants that are on either side of the road … these flowers are for their daily puja.

I notice the varieties of plants and trees inside people’s homes and outside their homes too … Some in full bloom …I notice how the trees on either side of the road are cut so as not to touch the live electric wires …some bend at 60 degree to the road…some are cut in the shape of a V and the wires pass in between… there are lots of trees in our colony ….they are struggling to grow with all the restrictions due to obstruction from houses and Electric poles and live wires ..

Here are some of the beautiful flowering trees and fruit trees in our neighborhood at this time of the year.

My 30 minute’s walk comes to an end while all these scenes unfold one after the other each day…This is a typical morning in most urban areas in India.Time to get back home and prepare to go to work.

Have a nice day !!