Shutterbug's Blog

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

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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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

~ Stay safe ~

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Lock-Down Dairies – 14 Mar 20 : Hubby is back to work , Vegetables to be sown in May, Plastic shields inside cabs

Hubby is back to work today after almost 50 days of social distancing. While getting ready to go to work and wearing socks and shoes he said , ‘I feel like a school kid going to school after Summer vacation’ πŸ™‚ .

I have a few emply containers now and ready to sow some seeds. I googled to find out which seeds are best sown in May and found that Parwal , colocasia, ginger, turmeric, onion, capsicum, okra, brinjal, chilli, coriander are to be sown now.

I had planted 4 colocasia roots in the beginning of May unknowingly and two of them are growing.


I sowed chilli seeds last month and transplanted them around the last week of April. They are growing too. I have capsicum seeds and sowed them today.

I too have to start going to work from 18 May onwards. I called my Ayurveda Doctor to ask him for his advise, as I depend on a Driver. He asked me questions like , where does he stay , whether he stays in a slum or a proper house, whether he has a separate bath/toilet . Said I should give him Tinaspora cordifolia and zincovit . That I should keep the car windows open , if possible use a full face cover , to use a plastic shield between the front and back seat of the car, to spray sanitizer on this cover frequently.

I know one vendor who is supplying Face shields and I am checking if he can give me a few. He is usually supplying to Hospitals and Health workers.

The plastic shield in the car is something that I was hearing for the first time.I assumed that a lot of people in Mumbai are already using these as the number of C19 cases in Mumbai is very high. Doctor lives in Mumbai. I looked up on the Internet to check for some pictures as to how these plastic shields are fixed and came across very few videos that too only from China. These are being widely used by Cab drivers.

A thick plastic sheet fixed between the front seats and back seats

Got an idea as to how to fix these shields . I now have to get hold of a two sided tape and a big thick plastic sheet. Seems like a big project. But I like the idea. Very useful for people like me who are dependant on a driver to move around. Surely the Drivers too would prefer to be safe and this is a great way.

Hopefully these plastic shields will soon be available in the market.

Anything and everything to be safe.

Take Care folks !!

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Lock-Down Dairies – 12 May 20 : Passenger trains restarted, Migrants moving from cities to their towns/villages during Lockdown , My mint harvest, Containers/pots made from empty plastic rice bags.

Several passenger trains started towards various cities from Delhi. Several citizens are stuck in other cities/towns during the lockdown and with this step they have some hope that they will finally reach their hometowns and meet their families. There are strict thermal screening tests at the Railway Station. Some of the destinations may insist on the passengers being quarantined but that would be next to impossible. Most like passengers will be told to self quarantine at their home for 14 days.

Meanwhile the number of COVID positive cases are continuing to rise while the number of positive cases that are recovering are also rising.

Mr Modi has addressed the nation and encouraged all to go local and be vocal. He also stressed on being self reliant. There is no other option but to go local and all countries eventually will do the same. That we should go ahead with building the economy while taking all precautions.

A lot of Migrants also moving to their hometowns by whatever means they can. They are even walking hundreds of kilometers. Unfortunately some have even lost their lives on the way.

Decided to harvest Mint leaves from my tiny garden. The easiet greens to grow by a beginner who wants to grow food is Mint leaves. Can be grown in very small spaces and in containers too.

I also made a short video on my Mint harvest. Here is the link –

There was no more space in my tiny garden to sow any more seeds. There was no way to buy some containers/pots too as none of the plant nurseries or online sites were delivering these items. Looked around the home so I can reuse/recycle some stuff and convert into containers, and came across some plastic rice bags.

Containers made with empty rice bags

I had red soil , sand , some cocopeat and manure and quickly took help of hubby to fill these emptly rice bags with this stuff. Before putting the soil I made small holes at the bottom of the bags.

Very happy to see these Lockdown Container s :). Am yet to decide what I will be sowing in these.

I am continuing to work from home and experiencing the busiest days in my life πŸ™‚ .

~ Om Shanti Shanti Shanti ~

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Lock-down Dairies – 5 May 20 : Update on my garden , commencement of operations at work, my support system

I had sown Fenugreek seeds in a container. Today is the 5th day after sowing. This is how my Organic Methi looks today.

My baby Ridge gourd is also growing well and is now 4 inches in height πŸ™‚ . This one is Organic too.

I have also harvested some organic curry leaves today. Should be sufficient for a week and more πŸ™‚ . These leaves are a very healthy ingredient and are added in almost all South Indian recipes.

Yes, all my produce is Organic πŸ™‚

Work has commenced today and those living very close to the Office premises attended . Almost 1/3rd of the employees attended which is a good sign. Will know the next plan of action in a day or two . I too have been making plans to go to work .Those who have kids below 5 years , are more than 55 years of age and have any health issues, those with any disabilities Appears I have no valid reason for not going to work . Unfortunately I am dependant on my driver which is the major hurdle now. Called my Driver and told him that he has to do his best to come . He lives almost 50km away from the city and not sure how he will be able to get back into the city. Waiting for the cabinet meeting to come out with a decision today as to the current Lockdown which is upto 7 May 20.

I have been supported by two maids , one cook and a Driver during the last 8 years in carrying out my daily chores. Thanks to them , I am doing well and able to manage work and home. I informed all of them to take a break after the COVID was declared a Pandemic. It is now my responsibility to take care of them by doing my bit. I decided to pay 50% of the salary to them. Hopefully that should take care of their expenses to sail through these tough times. I wish them and their families good health. Will definitely help them as much as I can. Our salaries have been reduced too and no one is cribbing.

I am a bit apprehensive as to how i will manage home and go to work even with the help of hubby .Will be very strenuous preparing and packing breakfast and lunch everyday.

Hoping for some miracle to happen.

~ None of us is safe untill all of us are safe~

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Lock-Down Dairies – 2 May 20 : getting rid of Ants Ants , harvesting Ponnaganti koora – a leafy veggie

My ixora in full bloom.

After using several methods to get rid of ants in our garden , this plant is blooming well. I am feeling very happy today πŸ™‚

Here are the different ways we adopted :

Using Laxman Rekha – A chalk ,with which we draw lines whereever there are ants. Quite effective.

Using Neem oil – One spoon of Neem oil mixed with few drops of liquid soap is added to one litre of water and sprayed all over and around the plants.

Using Boric powder – one spoon of Boric powder and 4 spoons of sugar added to 2 spoons of water and made into a paste. This paste is poured into small containers and placed wherever there are ants.

Last but not the least , using Talcum powder. I sprinkled talcum powder on and around the plants.

Next weapon is to use camphor. As of now it appears there is no need for this.

Really tough to protect plants from these ants.

I harvested my leafy veggie called ‘Ponnaganti koora’ in The Telugu. Recorded a video and uploaded it. Very easy to grow these greens. Here is the link to the video-

My first Ridge gourd of his season seems to be growing, after I hand pollinated the female flower using the male flower. Another reason to be very happy today πŸ™‚

~Om Shanti~

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Lock-Down Dairies 1 May 20 : May day today, Movie ‘Bheeshma’ , harvesting Ponnaganti koora – leafy greens , uploading video on YouTube ‘Peanut chutney’ , Lockdown extended to 17 May 2

Today is a public holiday owing to ‘May Day’.

I decided to totally relax today and no work from home too.

Made my Mom’s Peanut Chutney recipe for breakfast today and uploaded the recording on YouTube. The twist in this recipe is the use of Raw Onions at the fag end of the process. Another special ingredient is the use of Coriander seeds/powder which gives a different flavour to the chutney. Also the taste and crunch of raw onion is yummy. Here is the link-

Watched the Telugu movie ‘Bheeshma’ this afternoon . A movie a about Organic farming vs Chemical based farming. A subject which is dear to me. Surely the movie didn’t have much impact on the audience as not many are able to appreciate the difference yet.

Time to harvest my leafy greens namely ‘Ponnaganti koora’ from my little garden . This plant grows easily on the edges of fields in Andhra Pradesh , Telangana , Karnataka ,Tamilnadu and Sri Lanka too. This plant is not usually grown as a proper crop. It is a perennial plant and doesn’t require any maintenance except for a lot of water. It is another healthy green like spinach.

Lockdown on India is again extended by 2 weeks ie from 4 May 20 to 17 May 20.

Don’t know yet if this will have any effect on the reopening of my company on the 4 May 20.

For the first time during Lockdown Indian Railways has arranged a special Train from Hyderabad to Jharkhand for 1200 Migrants. More such trains may be arranged from other parts of the country. Anyday , Home is home , whichever part of the world it is .

Indian Railways is doing a great job under the leadership of Mr Piyush Goyal. Lot of essential supplies like food, medicines, milk etc being transported across the country.

Had another great Meditation experience during the live session by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. During the question answer session after the Meditation he says that after one year all the pain and suffering because of COVID-19 will be gone and things will be normal again.

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Lock-Down Dairies – 30 Apr 20 : Vaccine ready !? , Starting of operations by our Company, Live Meditation with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, getting rid of Ants in my garden , hand pollination of Ridge gourd

Read some good news about the vaccine being developed by Oxford University these days.

Also saw some news about how India is going to manufacture these vaccines.

Appears good.

Some of the branches of our company in other parts of the company have started operations. We are a manufacturing company and hence very important that employees are physically present in the factory so as to produce goods.

There is some news that we might start operations from 4th May 20 which is just a few days away.

There are other similar companies in Hyderabad who are processing passes for their employees so that they are permitted to go to work by the police.

There is a live Meditation session with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar everyday at 12 PM and 12.30 PM. He also answers a few questions and is interviews by celebrities everyday.

I am unable to participate everyday , but whenever I do I am having a great experience. Each meditation is for around 20-25 minutes but everytime it feels like 5 minutes only. Superb !!

Time to try another method to get rid of ants on my garden..Boric powder. Told hubby about it and to try in the Pharmacy…and he got it..I was thrilled. Saw a few videos on YouTube and zeroed in one one particular method.Add one spoonful of Boric powder and 4 spoonfuls of sugar to 2 spoons of water. Mix well and make into a thick paste or slurry. Poured this paste into old diyas and placed them in a few hotspots in the garden.

Hope the trick works. My little ridge gourds are being sucked on by the ants and killing them 😦 .

I recently learnt about hand pollination of plants. The best way to increase the yield of vegetables. I was watching one small ridge gourd grow and finally the flower on it tip bloomed today. It was dark when it bloomed and I finally completed the activity. Hopefully the Boric powder and the hand pollination will bear fruits ,I mean vegetables πŸ™‚

My first Brinjal crop πŸ™‚

And last but not the least , today’s harvest consisted of 3 long brinjals. Feels nice..hoping for more produce in the future πŸ™‚

~Annam parabrahma swaroopam ~