Shutterbug's Blog

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

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Lockdown Dairies – 24 Apr  20 : cauliflower Manchuria , April showers and a cool evening , composite Roti

Another very hectic day. Wish I could apply leave. During normal working days I would have definitely applied leave and taken a day off. But there is no such thing as applying leave when one is working from home. No such thing yet in our office. We are doing the WFH thing for the first time.

My lunch today is composite Roti made with Beetroot and lots of curry. BTW I have been following ‘ Natural Lifestyle’ and their way of eating and living ,since last three months.

I wanted to record a video of preparing this Roti and told my son to record while I was making it. My son too is working from home. So we fixed a time for this activity and he did record the video. But I am not happy with the final outcome as the Roti stuck to the pan ;).

Will do a recording again some other day. I do upload videos once in a while on my youtube channel.

There were some showers again this evening and it was very cool outside. I suddenly remembered the summers when I was in school when Dad would place a table fan in the Balcony in the evenings and we all spent a lot of time late into the night and then went inside to sleep. When I told this to hubby ,he placed a pedestal fan in our balcony and we enjoyed the cool breeze for a while.

My son has been asking me to prepare Cauliflower Manchuria, his friend posted this dish on instagram 🙂 , and he started craving since last few days. He watched the recipe on a youtube channel named Cookingshooking and got all the required ingredients from the store. He couldn’t wait till tomorrow and he started pestering me. I was in the midst of preparing the Budget for my department and so guided him now and then. Turned out very well.

I am glad that he has some interest in cooking. Good for him.

That’s it folks !! Take care and Stay safe !!

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Lockdown Dairies – 22 Apr 20 : Home delivery , handling electronic gadgets, repairs for my reading glasses, gardening update

Home delivery services have become an essential part of our daily routine during the lockdown.

I am depending on Big Basket for provisions , couple of deliveries of Organic veggies and for medicines. There was a time when I enjoyed going to the supermarket/organic store and picking stuff but now I have to accept whatever is delivered, especially the quality. Can’t be choosy during these times. The delivery/courier boys have become a lifeline of the economy.

I have been handling all the electronic gadgets in my kitchen with a lot of care, what if they fall and break , what if I overload my mixer grinder and it halts forever… my heart would break , cause there is nowhere one can go to get these repaired or even buy a new one. All such repair shops are closed.

In spite of being so careful ,my reading glasses got into trouble. The thread that holds the glass in place suddenly broke. No optical store is open in the vicinity. The optical store where I ordered these glasses is a little far away and we heard that there were several barricades between our home and this store. I called the owner of this store and asked him if he can send someone to pick up and get them repaired.He said he is helpless and wanted me to take the glasses to his shop.

After a day , I got this beautiful idea of handing over my glasses to the lady who delivers organic veggies to me once a week.Her store is just a few lanes away from the optical store. She has the permission to deliver veggies during the lockdown.

I immediately called her and requested her to help me amd she readily agreed 🙂 . That was a big relief.Currently my glasses are with the optician and I should get them back next week. Hmmm…tough times.

Coming to my gardening gossip , I sprinkled powdered egg shells around my plants this morning. Got to see how my plants are going to react. Also sprayed some insecticide all around my containers and around the little garden patch. Lots of ants sucking on the leaves, flowers and vegetables that are just starting to grow.

~ Lokaah samasthah Sukhino Bhavanthu~

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Lockdown Dairies – 21 Apr 20 : Discovery of Epsom salt as Fertilizer for my plants

Employees in one of the branches of our company have started going to work from today. This branch is located in another state. Long queues outside the main gate with everyone standing inside the white circles drawn on the floor, waiting for their turn to wash their hands at the sinks kept near the gate and then being checked with a Thermal scanner before they were actually permitted to enter the company premises. A video of the above has been circulating on whatsapp. Our premises in Hyderabad too is preparing to open the Factory by sanitizing all the buildings and marking circles near the entry gates.

Hope the hygienic environment  continues inside the premises. Will know more details soon.

Had heard about Epsom salt long ago while watching gardening videos on YouTube buy never took it seriously. However, while watching another gardening video yesterday and I observed that her plants were lush and very healthy .She went on to demonstrate the fertilizer she uses and then she mentions Epsom salt.

This morning when Hubby was about to go out to do some shopping ,I blurted out ‘can you get Epsom salt , try in the Pharmacy ‘ .

I got busy with my WFH thing and forgot about Epsom salt. Hubby comes back and he signals me with a bright face.I didn’t get him for a moment and then my face lighted up and I said ‘Epsom salt?’ and he nodded.

Yayy, I jumped out of my chair and went to have a look at it .

I was so happy. Here it is…

I then spent some time watching few more videos on how to use Epsom salt for plants.

I am yet to spray a solution of Epsom salt on my plants. Will plan tomorrow.

I also came across videos where egg shells are used as plant fertilizer. I did collect a few egg shells , washed them and dried them today. Will powder them tomorrow.

Feeling good that I will be giving these new organic fertilizers to my plants.

Here is my Amaranthus plant which is the bigger variety with big leaves and grows to almost 5 feet. This is called ‘Perugu thota koora’ in Telugu. The seeds of this plant were in the manure that I bought at a plant nursery. I always wanted to have this plant but the seeds I sowed never sprouted. So happy that they appeared through the manure. Here is the picture of this plant that I clicked this morning –

Thanks to the lockdown , I am able to spend some quality time with my plants and learning more about how to take care of them. Loving the experience. Feeling so joyful these days when I see new leaves on my greens and flowering plants blooming well.

~Sarvesham Mangalam Bhavathu~

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Lockdown Dairies 18 Apr 20

I didn’t realise that I haven’t posted since 1 Jan 20 !! Have been totally preoccupied with following the virus.

Will give a brief as to what has been happening in my life since 1 Jan 20.

I was following the virus from the time it was first reported in Wuhan and I guess I was just carried away by all the happenings since then.

The virus moved to Italy, France, Spain, UK, USA and then to India from those who travelled from these countries to India.

I was planning my move as to how I should manage during this period and had decided to stop going to work one week before our Prime Minister declared a country wide lockdown.

It was time to start planning to stock up on groceries, medicines , sanitizer, masks etc. I did manage to buy some of this stuff but there was actually no need to to buy a lot of groceries as everything was available very soon. There were some initial hiccups because all the trucks carrying veggies and other food were stopped from entering into the cities.

For a few days I was a bit bored at home but very soon got too busy to even think of boredom 🙂 .

Life has been very hectic since then with all the Work From Home, Work For Home along with the family, catching up with friends and spending some alone time , six days a week.

Will do my best to post everyday :).

Sarveshaam svastir bhavathu !!

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Bye Bye 2019 !

Few highlights from 2019:

Be Grateful for what you are blessed with.

Let go of your resentment, fears, guilt etc

Forgive , forget and let go.

Love yourself and accept yourself exactly as you are.

It was very tough for me to do the above during all these years, finally succeeded in being able to do it. Thanks to Anita Moorjani and Louise Hay. Their videos on YouTube helped me a lot and I recommend everyone to listen to them and read their books.

Visited Pondicherry, Kanchipuram, Chidambaram , Mysore, Madikeri .

Completed the trek to Tirumala via Srivaari Mettu successfully.

Attended a 10 day Management program at IIM , Bangalore as part of a requirement at work.

Had a good time with a few friends from school and college.

So grateful for my family, my support system, my colleagues and friends for all their support.

Love You Life !!

Happy 2020 !!

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Walk / Trek to Tirumala via SriVaari Mettu

There are two walking paths to reach Tirumala.The Alipiri route and Srivaari Mettu route.

Alipiri is the longer path , almost 7 km distance. This is the easier of the two paths and would take 3 to 4 hours for a normal healthy person. This path has very steep steps only at the beginning and end of the path, rest of the path is very comfortable to walk.

We had been to Tirumala via Alipiri earlier. This time we decided to take the Srivaari Mettu route.

We had a cab with us that dropped us at the starting point of Srivaari Mettu. We left our belongings in the car. The driver would drive to Tirumala via the normal route and wait for us at the top. There is a thorough security check of all the vehicles going to Tirumala and all the baggage is opened and checked. We have to leave the bags unlocked and hence didn’t carry any valuables.

Another option is to leave the luggage at luggage counters at the entry to Srivaari Mettu and your luggage will be transported to Tirumala. You can pick them up once you reach the top.

The length of Srivaari Mettu route is just 2 km , however it is difficult to climb as the whole path is only steps. There are 2388 steps in all . Of these the first 800 steps are comfortable and the rest are steep. A normal healthy individual would complete in 1.5 hrs.

Those who are ailing with BP/ Asthma/Diabetes/weakness of the bones etc better avoid this route.

Drinking water taps are found at every 50-100 steps. There are no stalls selling Mineral water, snacks , Tea or coffee . Take your own food items along with you , in case you like to eat something . Eat light before you start. Sip on water frequently. There are several washrooms along the path.

All I could think of while climbing the steps is ‘Óm Namo Venkatesaya’. No other thought entered my mind during the 3 hours that I took to climb.I would stop after every 50 steps and rest for a while. Slowly and steadily like a tortoise I completed the climb successfully :).

Pilgrims in all shapes , sizes and ages were seen to be climbing . Each step is treated with respect. A few light camphor at every step, some apply Pasupu (Turmeric powder) and Kumkum (red colour powder) to every step as a prayer.

My imagination was proved wrong when I saw lots of people all along the path. There is no dearth of company. There a few spots with good views of the hills. Lush greenery on either side of the path. The whole route is covered above and one can take this path during any time of the year.

BTW everyone walks without wearing any footwear.

Here are a few pics that I clicked along the way.

View of the Hills as you approach the entrance to Srivaari Mettu. This is the point where one has to get off the vehicle.
Details of the Trek and the starting point of the Trek.
Before starting the Trek , pilgrims perform a little puja here.
There’s a Balaji temple where you can have darshan before starting your Trek.
The whole path is covered on the top. Gets a bit crowded in a few places.
The 100th step !!.
Some pilgrims light camphor on every step as the climb.
The 400th step !!
Another 1988 to go 🙂
One of the Beautiful views along the path.
You can see the path covered with blue sheets.
There’s a beautiful Mandapam as soon as you reach the top. Time to sit down with gratitude for having completed the trek successfully. Time to relax and drink a hot cup of Tea 🙂

I was apprehensive about body pains but there was no weariness . I felt very normal and in fact was quite energetic 🙂

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A Miracle called Our Body

Our Body that we take for granted is a Miracle in itself. What other Miracle does one need to believe in a super power.

Every living entity is a Miracle. A single cellular organism is also an intelligent creature. Every multi-cellular organism, including a human being is made up of Billions of cells. Each cell is an organism in itself, made up of several intracellular organelles . Each cell is highly intelligent . These intracellular organelles carry out several important tasks of the Cell. A group of cells form an organ. An organ in turn carries out its own special tasks. Every organ is different . All the organs in turn work together seamlessly to keep our body intact and function as a single Unit. The Intelligence which controls all the body functions is different from our thinking mind. However, both these together are doing a great job to give us a beautiful experience on this beautiful Planet.

I can never stop appreciating the Miracle that is our body.

Isn’t it wonderful that each of these cells love each other a lot and happily live together. We do know that they all ”talk” to each other through the nervous system in their own language 🙂

We, are actually a conglomeration of all these tiny beings . It is our duty to take good care of this conglomeration and not abuse them with wrong habits.

These cute little cells are very sensitive to our thoughts. Our emotions have an effect on their functioning. Hence, we need to always have good thoughts not only for ourselves but also towards other living beings which are also a conglomeration of cells. Poor things get confused when we have ill feelings towards others and become diseased and start disintegrating.

Let us all pamper our bodies with nutritious food, some exercise, some sunshine, lots of good thoughts about ourselves and about others, so the cells are also joyful and healthy. In turn , we too get to enjoy our stint on Earth.

~Be Grateful and Love yourselves~

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Conscious , Subconscious and Witness Consciousness

I remember having read long long ago that the conscious mind is only the tip of the iceberg, whereas the Subconscious part of the mind is like the submerged part of the ice which is huuuge. Of late I have been listening to talks by Louise Hay where she mentions about the Conscious and Subconscious parts of the mind. I had begun reading more on these in the last few days.

This morning, during meditation , I got the clarity on the qualities/functions of the Conscious and Subconscious mind and how they are related.

The following is my interpretation –

The Subconscious mind is involuntary and controls/regulates all the bodily processes. It helps us in carrying out all our physiological activities and in maintaining a healthy body. Isn’t is wonderful that we do not have to consciously breath, pump and circulate blood, digest etc. All of this happens involuntarily which is nothing short of a miracle. The Subconscious mind also strongly influences several of our day to day behaviors. The sudden outbursts of anger or sadness etc emerge from our subconscious mind.

Whereas , the conscious mind helps us in planning and carrying out our day to day activities . The conscious mind collects information from the environment using the 5 senses. The conscious mind also get us into trouble by thinking wrong thoughts continuously and also gets us into wrong habits and behaviors which then stay stuck in the Subconscious.

Here is a simple example given by Louise Hay to identify the Conscious and subconscious parts of the mind –

A child wants to learn to ride a bicycle . Initially the child uses the conscious mind to learn to balance the bicycle and slowly becomes steady. During this process the Subconscious mind is also learning the methodology and stores its learnings. Very soon the child is able to ride the bicycle without any effort by the conscious mind. The Subconscious mind now starts functioning and the child effortlessly rides the bicycle. The subconscious mind has learnt its lessons perfectly and from now on drives the conscious mind to ride the bicycle.

We have been blessed with these two different aspects of the mind which carry out very different and very important tasks.

Once a wrong behavior is stuck in the Subconscious it is very difficult to get the behavior out of the system. Thankfully there is a way out 🙂

There is another part of our mind which is the ‘Awareness’ . It is also called as ‘Witness Consciousness’ , as this part of the mind is able to witness/watch the thoughts arising and changing. It has the ability to observe the thoughts in our conscious mind (which are being subtly influenced by the Subconscious) and can guide/monitor/channelize these thoughts in the right direction , thereby slowly and gradually erasing the wrong habits/behaviors from the subconscious.

How does one identify the ‘Witness Consciousness” ? One can identify the ‘Witness consciousness ‘ very easily during Meditation. During Meditation when we sit still , are silent and focus on the breath or any other object we begin to start noticing our thoughts.Sitting still and focusing on the breath may be a little difficult initially. There is some restlessness. Continue with the Meditation and in a few days you will be able to observe the thoughts coming and going. Once we are able to witness our thoughts during Meditation, we can also start being a witness even during normal waking state.

So, it is very important to watch our thoughts and help the conscious and subconscious mind be more positive, thereby control our emotions , behaviors, habits and have a healthy body and mind.

The above inference is my own after listening/reading various sources.

Currently , I am comfortable with this inference and finding it useful in my day to day life.

Hope to be a Witness to all that is happening in my mind and around me.

~Sarve Janaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu~