Shutterbug's Blog

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


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Lock-Down Dairies – 31 May 20 : pre-monsoon showers, Mending my broken plants

In india, monsoons are awaited with excitement every year.

They have arrived in Kerala and will reach our city by the first week of June. However, we had the pre-monsoon showers this afternoon.

The temperature in Hyderabad was the highest last week and I was enjoying the cool breeze and watching the showers sitting in my balcony.

A couple of weeks ago we had a milder shower and I noticed that my cluster beans plants which were almost 3 feet in height ,had bent and touched the ground. I then shook the plants to remove all the excess water that stayed on the leaves and tied them to sticks. They got back to normalcy in a day.

This afternoon, I did watch the plants from my balcony and noticed they were bent. Very soon the downpour became severe and I missed the plants. The plants had grown much taller and stronger after I had tied them to sticks last time . But due to the heavy rain this afternoon , the plants broke just above the place where I had tied them to the sticks.

I almost cried seeing them :((. I immediately thought of all the farmers who solely depend on farming. The plight of farmers during such unforseen circumstances.

Hubby dear ,seeing my sadness , immediately searched the internet for remedies. He found a write-up where it was suggested to put a tape to the broken stem.

We immediately mended the plant. Hopefully they recover well.

They had grown to be strong, tall and healthy ,and had started flowering too. I was hoping for a good harvest.

~Wishing well for all the crops ~


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Lock-Down Dairies 30 May 20 : Restaurants , Religious places , hotels and shopping malls to be open, my first Bhendi / Ladies finger ,  organic seeds online, unboxing a Jet water spray gun

New Lockdown guidelines in India:

All Restaurants ,Religious places, hotels and shopping malls to be open from 8 June onwards.

Opening of Schools, colleges, congregations ,intra state and interstate movement , international travel, cinema halls will be decided in the next phase.

Got to wait and watch what  is in store for the population in India ,now that the monsoons are also arriving.

My first Bhendi :

After several buds drying and falling off ,my first Bhendi successfully survived :).

It is very exciting to see the life cycle of a growing plant, especially something that we have personally tended to.

Organic seeds online :

I had a few vegetable seeds at home but they were not sprouting . I didn’t know where to get good ones and googled. Decided to buy online. I ordered a packet with 15 varieties of seeds and received them today. These are the seeds that I received.

Will be sowing a few of these soon.

Jet water spray gun :

A few weeks ago , we had a lockdown party with my brother’s and sisters families in our cellar/stilt floor. Since it is open and dirty ,we decided to wash the whole place. It took almost one hour for the three of us to wash the whole place . It was then that I decided to buy a jet spray gun . Received the package today and unboxed it.

However, we found that the hose pipe we had at home didn’t fit into the gun. A clamp is required to fit the pipe to the gun. We are hunting for a clamp. I am looking forward to do some good cleaning of the windows on the first floor too, which has been difficult.

Will review once I start using it.

~ Swasthirasthu~


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Lock-Down Dairies – 29 May 2020 : COVID Hospital Bills, Rail Adukku Pathiram-Travel kit

Came across a photograph of a Bill/check belonging to a COVID +ve patient. The duration of the treatment is 14 days and half the amount is for the Room/bed charges. Rest of the amount is for the tests, medication, doctor consultation and care. The bill is running to almost Rs3 lakhs which is a lot of money by any standards. This bill is from a private hospital. Dont really know how much is billed by a government hospital.

I am fond of traditional Cookware and this Travel Kit called ‘ Rail Adukku Pathiram’ is going viral in social media. It is attracting almost everyone.

14 different utensils of different shapes and sizes fit into one big Utensil. This was carried when people went on pilgrimages more than 150 years ago. They cooked food in these vessels as there were no restaurants.

It will be very interesting to see variants of this kit coming up soon in various other metals.


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Lock-Down Dairies – 28 May 20 : my weight loss, Global swarming , jet water spray gun.

It is back to full days at work and I am finding it a bit difficult to do all the cooking and packing in the morning. I get a lot of help from hubby ,in spite of it I am finding it very strenous. My food is very different from what hubby and my son eat and this is making things even more difficult. I have lost 10kgs in 4 months since I started following ‘Natural Lifestyle’. The consultants at the helpdesk of ‘Natural Lifestyle’ say that the body will stabilise at a particular weight and what is important is to be healthy. Yes, I do feel good other than the weight.

Read the news that Locusts swarms are wreaking havoc on the vegetation in many states in the country. They had arrived from Pakistan to Rajasthan and then moved to Gujarat and Maharashtra. They supposedly move with the flow of the wind and don’t know where they are headed next. A lot of food crops have been lost and this is very dangerous for the future supply of food.

A couple of weeks ago , we had a lockdown potluck lunch with my Sister and Brothers family. The lunch venue was out stilt floor which is more of a garage with lot of space. We washed the whole area using a normal water pipe and found it very difficult to clean the whole place. It was then that I wanted something that would help on washing floors faster.No sooner i came across this product on Seniority.in and immediately ordered it.

Will unbox the package ,use it and will write a review of the product this weekend . Yes, I am very excited about this item :).


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Lock-Down Dairies – 27 May 20 : Update on lockdown in India , my first taste of Himayat Mangoes

While the number of C19 Cases stand at 1.5 lakh and fatalities at almost 4300 , the economy has opened up to a large extent. Hardly any signs of a Lockdown. Almost all stores have opened shop. Tailors, dry cleaners, jewellery stores, stationery stores, plasticware selling stores etc all are now open.

Dining in Restaurants, schools and colleges , public transportation like buses and Metro , big malls are yet to be operational. Few autos and cabs are seen.

Trains for migrants and domestic flights are being operated between the states.

We may soon see a big spike in the cases soon with all the Migrants moving from cities to the villages.

Also, with the monsoons coming up ,don’t really know what is in store …another actual lockdown perhaps.

My first taste of Himayat Mango :

Ordered this box on Farmizen. Great packing and delivery.

One box is 3kgs and has 7 Himayat Mangoes.

I did not know anything about this variety of Mango untill after I tasted it.

While eating I was judging the shape, the smell, the amount of pulp,the sweetness, fibre content in the pulp, the thickness of the skin and the taste of the skin etc

Shape: bit longer compared to the width

Smell: did not have any sweet smell

Quantity of pulp: quite a lot

Size of seed: thin

Sweetness: though it was not 💯% ripe, it was very sweet and mildly tangy.

Fibre content: no fibre

Thickness of the skin: very thin

Taste of the skin: edible

Feel of the pulp: very soft and smooth consistency

Enjoyed the fruit. Will wait for a couple of days to taste the next one.

~ Sarve janaaha sukhino bhavanthu ~


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Lock-Down Dairies – 25 May 2020 : My video on Seasoning Soapstone Cookware on Youtube.

Spent the whole day editing a video that I made on how to season a Soapstone Utensil.

Here is the link to the video –

This is a very ancient cookware that was used by several civilisations all over the world since thousands of years.

It is carved out of Soapstone by hand, Supposed to be soft and porous.

Cooking in this cookware has several benefits –

  • The material is mostly inert and hence does not impart any flavour to the recipe.
  • Food cooked in this Utensil stays hot for almost 3-4 hours.
  • Contains essential nutrients like magnesium and calcium which leaches into the food.
  • It is long lasting if handled well and can be passed on to several generations.
  • Any type of food can be cooked in this utensil. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes can be cooked. Deep frying is not advised.
  • Food cooks evenly in the container.
  • Does not react with acidic foods.

I enjoyed the whole process of seasoning this Utensil which took 13 days to complete. This process hardens the stone and makes it long lasting.

I also prepared my first dish in this utensil yesterday , called ‘Mukkala Pulusu’ which is a famous recipe in Andhra Pradesh. It was definitely tastier than the dish that i used to cook in a steel utensil 🙂

However, the one I bought was of medium size which is small when I want to cook for more than 4 persons. I will be buying a bigger one soon.

Love this creation.

These can be bought online from various online stores.

You can find dosa pans, paniyaram pans, kadai , lamps , mortar and pestle (small) etc. The most popular model in which any kind of gravy recipe can be cooked is called ‘Kalchatti in Tamil or Rathi Chippa / Rachippa in Telugu).

Usually found in the southern states in India.

It is surely making a comeback .

Can be used on Gas stove , Oven and wood fire too.


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Lock-Down Dairies – 24 May 20 : Farewell to ex-boss via WebEx , editing a video using filmora9 , my first dish using a Rachippa or Kalchatti

Farewell to ex-boss –

Due to social distancing being implemented at work , and also on the insistence of our ex-boss not to plan any Farewell celebrations at work, we planned a farewell via WebEx this afternoon.

This is the first time we are having this kind of farewell ,thanks to COVID-19. The whole event took 2 and half hours, much more than the time it usually takes at the workplace.

The event went very well. Just that the bouquets, garlands, shawls and snacks were Missing.

Video editing software –

I downloaded a video editing software called Filmora9 and started editing a video that I recorded on the ‘seasoning of Kalchatti or Rachippa’ .

A lot of patience is required to edit and make a good video. Earlier I was using KineMaster on Android and uploading videos. Filmora is very similar to KineMaster. Yet to explore all the features. Once I am done with the editing and uploading on youtube I will post a link in a future blog.

My first dish in a Kalchatti or Rachippa –

I have successfully completed seasoning of my Kalchatti or ‘Rachippa couple of days ago. I decided prepare my first dish today. Made ‘Mukkala pulusu’.

‘Mukkala pulusu’ in a Rachippa or Kalchatti

I was very excited and it turned out well. This is a Soapstone dish which takes a little more time to heat up initially but once heated it cools very fast and cooks evenly. The utensil and the food remains hot for a few hours


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Lock-Down Dairies – 23 May 20 : Full day at work , New Boss at work

After almost 50 days of WFH , we started going to work on 5 hours shifts. Very soon after a few days we were told to work for normal hours , which is 8.5 hours for us.

Feeling very tired since two days. Have to cook/pack breakfast in the morning. Yet to get accustomed to the new routine. During the Pre-Lockdown days , I had a cook , but with this virus thing I decided to stop the cook. Yet to call the cook back to work which may not happen in the near future.

I have to be strong.

We now have a new boss at work as the earlier boss has retired. The introductory session took place today.

Got late at work and crashed early as I was very tired.

Our neighbours mangoes have ripened under the jute bag. I had one big juicy Mango as my dinner and slept early.

~Take Care folks!!~


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Lock-Down Dairies – 22 May 2020 : Update on my Multiple Myeloma, my Curry leaves harvest

Been a while since I updated on my Multiple Myeloma.

This is the 9th year after my Stem Cell Transplant. I have been taking only Ayurvedic Medication for the last 4 years.

There are other detailed posts in the past where I wrote all about in detail.

I am continuing to take Circumin, Ashwagandha , Satavari , Tinaspora Cordifolia as per the advise of my Ayurveda Doctor.

I also take few Allopathy medications like Folvite ( for better absorption of Iron), Renerve (for peripheral Neuropathy), Antoxid HC (Multivitamins) and Feburic 20 (to regulate Uric acid) .

Apart from the above , I also have been following the lifestyle prescribed by ‘Natural Lifestyle’ , since 4 months. I have lost some weight due to the restricted diet. I do feel healthy otherwise. Just that I can’t physically exert myself a lot. Able to manage quite well even during the lock-down period doing all household chores with support from hubby and son 🙂

I did the routine Blood tests 2 months ago (just before the lock-down) and the reports say that all is well.

However, it is 1 year 4 months since I did the Bone Marrow test. I feel it may not be necessary as I feel good and my routine tests including Serum Globulin levels were normal in the recent tests.

I am also back to work in spite of all the restrictions and risks.

I am dependent on my driver whenever . Doing my best to ensure that my Driver is also healthy. Provided Masks, Face Shield, Sanitizer , Liquid soap and gave him instructions on maintaining social distance and washing hands frequently.

Getting used to co-exist with the C-virus. With a little care and attention it should be possible to deal with it.

Harvesting curry leaves in my tiny garden :

I was all the while assuming that the curry leaf plant should be allowed to grow as much as possible before we start harvesting the leaves. I recently learnt that the branches should be cut frequently so as to encourage further growth of new stems.

So, I decided to cut off one of the biggest stems today. Here it is-

I then separated all the leaves, washed them well and dried them well.

This is usually how i prepare curry leaves before i pack them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator.

These leaves are going to last me more than a week. Feels so good to be able to grow your own food ,that too organically grown 🙂

~ Stay safe ~


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Lock-Down Dairies – 21 May 20 : Missing Mom n Dad , ripening raw Mangoes naturally using a jute bag

Missing my parents :

For the first time in my life ,I haven’t seen my parents for four months. Missing them a lot. They were supposed to come back to the city just before the lockdown but were unable to. Listening to the news on the Television about how bad the virus is affecting senior citizens in the cities , Dad decided to stay back.

They seem to be doing well , and assure us that everything is going well at their end and that they are happy in the village.

We do a whatsapp video call whenever they go to the outskirts of the village where the mobile signal is good.

In fact, folks in the villages are extra careful and watchful when such situations occur. Many villages barricade their main roads. They keep a watch on who is coming back to the village from other towns or cities and inform the police.

So far so good. The villages are safe as on date and that is a good sign.

However, the same is not happening in the cities. C19 +veCases are rising day by day while the lockdown is more like an eyewash.

Mangoes ripening under the jute bag :

There are several ways to naturally ripening raw Mangoes. Dry hay from paddy is one of the most prevalent method to ripen a lot of mangoes.

Here are my mangoes

At home people usually place the mangoes inside rice bags full of rice or inside an empty jute bag. The mangoes should not be completed closed and suffocated but there should be some air circulation otherwise they would rot.

These mangoes are from my neighbours Mango tree, some of the branches have encroached into our area :). Organically grown and naturally ripened.

Continue to stay safe !