My New Blogs

Posted: October 6, 2011 in Uncategorized


I have come up with two new blogs. Kindly check them and give me your suggestions and ideas.

Thank you,


Desire to Flee Qatar’s Blazing Sun

Posted: August 25, 2011 in Travel

Oh, who said vacation is a luxury? After coming to Qatar I have realized that it’s not, it is a necessity! In India we used to go on vacations and it was like falling in love again and again… a love which I always anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort and remembered with nostalgia. Back home, living nearly 10 years in Bangalore, if there was one season that brought both smile and frown on our face, it had to be summer. While many in Qatar dislike the sweltering summer heat, the breezy summer days in Bangalore made us beam with joy… the clear skies, the blazing sun, the gentle summer breeze and the lazy afternoons flavoured the season with passion and warm love. Suddenly, I used to remember the lines of Shakespeare: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate…” The city, which is known as ‘Air-conditioned City’ is blessed with salubrious climate throughout the year. I still remember my dad telling me that most of the homes and schools in Bangalore did not have fans till the 1990s, not because they had no money, but because there was no need for one. In summer while the rest of the country wilted in the heat, residents of Bangalore would snuggle under warm blankets while sleeping. Several gardens, parks trees along the roads add to the cool climate of the city.

After moving to Qatar, where summers are extremely hot, I miss Bangalore. As everybody knows, residents of Qatar — who are rich, thanks to the oil-driven economy — long to avoid the scorching heat of this summer by going on vacation to cooler countries. Who would love no fluctuation in weather — eternal sunshine and cloudless skies? Their desire to flee the blazing summer anywhere between 45 and 50 degree Celsius is imaginable. Even though they have their air-conditioned comfort, they want to escape from that artificial cocoon of comfort. Plus, everybody gets Eid holidays and all they want to do is escape from this heat and enjoy some good weather. And we cannot be an exception to this. When most of the Indians go home for the vacation, we had to plan something to make this summer a memorable one.

Last month, when my hubby said we will go to Meghalaya for vacation, I was like, “Oh man, this can’t be your idea. Who told you about this place to you?” Then, I had forgotten all about it and then one day appeared the culprit — Sajid a.k.a.Saji, my hubby’s friend — who had given him the idea of visiting Meghalaya. So after a few days, we decided that we – I, Vij, Saji, Umer and Shahid — would explore and do a ‘rain dance’ in Meghalaya.

Saji kept on doing online research if there’s any tension in the North-Eastern state and whenever he found something bad on Shillong Times, we used to get disappointed thinking we may not be able to visit the place. Looking for hotels, sightseeing, food, transport, purchase… what not, everything was in our talks. After planning so much and discussing things into late nights, my hubby used to disappoint me by telling that someone has been killed in Meghalaya, there’s a landslide, there’s a protest etc etc. But I was pleased to know that last week, things have sorted out, tickets are booked and we are at last packing our bags to Meghalaya. Yes, I also know that vacation is a time when we often take twice the clothes and half the money we need. Oops, no worries, my hubby will take care of it 😉 Visiting Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong and other nearby places… a week away from newly found home (Qatar) and yet in the old home (India)… what more can I say, we’re excited! There’s lot to see, lot to enjoy. So keep waiting for more…

Moong Dal Payasam

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Recipes

Moong dal: 1 cup
Sugar: 1 cup
Milk: 1 cup
Water: 3 cups
Cardamom powder: A pinch
Saffron: A pinch
Cashew nut and raisins: 3-4 tsp
Ghee: 3-4 tsp

Take a pressure cooker and fry moong dal with little ghee till golden brown. Add 3 cups of water and pressure cook it up to 2 whistles. After that, mash well in the ladle. In another vessel, bring milk to boil adding saffron. Add the mashed moong dal and boil well for 5-10 minutes. Add sugar and stir well before adding ghee roasted cashews and raisins. Remove from the flame and add cardamom powder. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with cashews and raisins. Serve hot or cold.

Note: Can add jaggery instead of sugar.

Flaked Rice Payasam

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Recipes
Tags: ,

Flaked rice: 1 cup
Sugar: ½ cup
Milk: 2 cups
Cardamom powder: A pinch
Cashew nut and raisins: 2-3 tsp
Ghee: 2-3 tsp

Heat ghee in a pan and fry cashew and raisins till golden brown. Remove from the fire and set aside. With the remaining ghee, fry the flaked rice till golden brown. Boil milk in a pot and add the fried flaked rice to it. Cook in medium flame till the flaked rice is done. Add sugar, cardamom and stir well. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with cashew nuts and raisins.

Note: Can add jaggery instead of sugar.

Sago Payasam

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Recipes
Tags: , ,

Sago: 1 cup
Sugar: 1 ½ cups
Milk: 4 cups
Cardamom powder: A pinch
Ghee: 2-3 tsp
Cashew nut, raisins and coconut pieces: ¼ cup

Soak sago for 3-4 hours. Boil milk and add the soaked sago. Cook till the sago is transparent and soft. Add sugar and stir well. Fry cashew nuts, raisins and coconut pieces in ghee and add to the payasam. Add cardamom powder and remove from the flame. Serve hot or cold.

Note: Can add jaggery instead of sugar

A study released earlier this week has suggested that teachers in the U.K. see Facebook and other social networking platforms as posing a “devastating” threat to schools, worse even than the dreaded visit from Ofsted, the official body for inspecting British schools.

“Facebook is becoming a bigger fear for schools than Ofsted,” said the agreeably-named Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers. “Increasingly, social media are [sic] being used to fuel campaigns against schools and teachers. Twenty per cent of our members have received threats or abuse online — parents or ex-pupils being the most common source. The results can be devastating.”

I would imagine so. Victims unveiled in the study include a headmistress who faced a year of online abuse from a parent via social media, triggering a breakdown and leaving her suicidal. Another teacher had to be treated for depression and suicidal thoughts after allegations led to her being questioned by the police.

Mr. Hobby’s main concerns regarding campaigns of abuse through platforms such as Facebook is that there is no legislation in place to handle good, old-fashioned lies, and that hate campaigns are often “based on false allegations or innuendo.”

“We’ve seen how social media and the mob mentality can be combined in the recent riots in British cities,” he added.

Quite. Certainly it’s true that some of these examples are very unpleasant and the perpetrators of online hate campaigns (towards anyone, not just teachers) should and must be brought to justice.

However, there’s a much bigger, and far more well-established reason why teachers are scared of Facebook, and always have been.


Namely, photos of them staggering out of nightclubs. Or into police cars. Or, more commonly, brazenly exposing themselves in a series of scantily-clad photographs — which happens more than you might like to believe.

You see, despite appearances, teachers would like you to believe that they are just regular, normal people — like you and me. They see everyone else doing silly things on Facebook, and want to join in. That would seem absolutely fine on paper, but in the cold, hard world of finger-pointing, it doesn’t really work.

I have many teacher acquaintances, and I’m always amazed by how many of them befriend their students on Facebook. In part I admire the enthusiasm they are showing for their chosen profession, but the rest of me is like: “What? Are you completely mad?”

You see, teachers aren’t normal people. Neither are police officers, politicians, soldiers and anyone else that society holds to a higher standard. We expect them to behave in a certain way, and when they step outside of our preconceived ideals we don’t like it, and we usually want — even demand — some accountability.

Social media has allowed many of us to be far more open about the ways that we each choose to live our lives. It’s entirely opt-in — that is, you don’t have to get involved — and the privacy controls are in place on networks such as Facebook to let you decide how much of yourself you want to make public. And how much you don’t.

And if you’re a teacher, it’s my advice that you take full advantage of those privacy options and make as little of your Facebook profile public as possible. Set it so that your name and nothing else shows up in a search on the network.

Use Facebook just to stay in touch with friends and family (and definitely not students), block and report any and everyone who crosses a line, and if somebody starts tagging photos of you on the network, ask them politely but firmly to take them down.

Social media is still in its infancy, and the educational curve is steep. Teachers and schools are right to be concerned, but this isn’t a problem that only affects them. It’s simply one that they’ve only recently become aware of.

Bottom line? Each of us has had to learn the hard way. Welcome to the Internet.


By Chetan Bhagat

“Alright, this is not cool at all. A recent survey by Nielsen has revealed that Indian women are the most stressed out in the world: 87% of our women feel stressed out most of the time. This statistic alone has caused me to stress out. Even in workaholic America, only 53% women feel stressed.

What are we doing to our women? I’m biased, but Indian women are the most beautiful in the world. As mothers, sisters, daughters, colleagues, wives and girlfriends – we love them. Can you imagine life without the ladies?

For now, i want to give Indian women five suggestions to reduce their stress levels.

One, don’t ever think you are without power. Give it back to that mother-in-law. Be who you are, not someone she wished you would be. She doesn’t like you? That’s her problem.

Two, if you are doing a good job at work and your boss doesn’t value you – tell him that, or quit. Talented, hard-working people are much in demand.

Three, educate yourself, learn skills, network – figure out ways to be economically independent. So next time your husband tells you that you are not a good enough wife, mother or daughter-in-law, you can tell him to take a hike.

Four, do not ever feel stressed about having a dual responsibility of family and work. It is difficult, but not impossible. The trick is not to expect an A+ in every aspect of your life. You are not taking an exam, and you frankly can’t score cent per cent (unless you are in SRCC, of course). It is okay if you don’t make four dishes for lunch, one can fill their stomach with one. It is okay if you don’t work until midnight and don’t get a promotion. Nobody remembers their job designation on their dying day.

Five, most important, don’t get competitive with other women. Someone will make a better scrapbook for her school project than you. Another will lose more weight with a better diet. Your neighbour may make a six-dabba tiffin for her husband, you don’t – big deal. Do your best, but don’t keep looking out for the report card, and definitely don’t expect to top the class. There is no ideal woman in this world, and if you strive to become one, there will be only one thing you will achieve for certain – stress.

So breathe, chill, relax. Tell yourself you are beautiful, do your best and deserve a peaceful life. Anybody trying to take that away from you is making a mistake, not you. Your purpose of coming to this earth is not to please everyone. Your purpose is to offer what you have to the world, and have a good life in return. The next time this survey comes, i don’t want to see Indian women on top of the list. I want them to be the happiest women in the world. Now smile, before your mother-in-law shouts at you for wasting your time reading the newspaper.

Cherish Womanhood.”

(Source: The Times of India)

New Delhi: Since the shock announcement on August 4 that India’s most powerful politician Sonia Gandhi was to undergo surgery in the US, barely a word has leaked out about her health.

The silence in most of the Indian media about the 64-year-old’s condition and the refusal of the ruling Congress Party to divulge information has raised some uncomfortable questions about transparency in the world’s biggest democracy.

The independence of the media and the country’s openness – it passed a Right to Information Act in 2005 – are a source of national pride, often contrasted with conditions in secretive regimes elsewhere in South Asia.

“I was really shocked to see in regular Congress Party briefings, the media present there did not seek information, did not demand information,” the editor of the Business Standard newspaper Sanjaya Baru says.

“We have had silence from the media… There is nothing about Mrs Gandhi’s health and she’s the most important politician in the country,” he said during a debate on the CNN-IBN news channel.

The Business Standard has been the most aggressive of the Indian newspapers – it demanded answers in an editorial – and Baru believes they are entitled to information.

On India’s boisterous cable news channels, which are normally quick to pressure and criticise the government, Gandhi has featured rarely, with news and debates focused on corruption or the national cricket team’s recent defeats.

Gandhi is the widow of assassinated former premier Rajiv Gandhi and wields enormous clout from her power-broking position as Congress Party president and coalition chairperson.
Since she was admitted to hospital, aides to the leader have confirmed she spent 24 hours in intensive care and was recovering from successful surgery at an undisclosed location, believed to be New York.

The government has argued that further disclosures would be made by the famously media-shy political boss if she desired.

“Only that much information would be shared which they would want to share,” Information Minister Ambika Soni said last week.

Speaking on Monday, Gandhi’s politician son Rahul, who has been left jointly in control during his mother’s convalescence, told journalists that “she is much better” without elaborating.
In the absence of concrete information about the woman who heads the ruling party and chairs the ruling coalition, speculation has been rife on social networks.

A few anonymously sourced news reports have attempted to fill the void.

The investigative current affairs magazine Tehelka reported that Gandhi was operated on at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, while the Deccan Herald newspaper said she had undergone surgery for cervical cancer.

“When you are in the public domain… you cannot claim the benefits of privacy of the private citizen,” the editor of The Hindu newspaper, Siddharth Varadarajan, told CNN-IBN.

“I think it is something that people have the right to know. What we have heard so far is wholly inadequate.”

Others have suggested that the cosy relationships between top journalists and politicians in India means the Congress Party has been able to impose a code of silence among senior editors.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, a political analyst and journalist, said he believed the Indian media had done their best to cover the story, but were being wrongly starved of information.

“Do public figures have a right to private lives? Most journalists believe they do,” he said. “But as soon as your personal life in whatever way starts impinging on your public life then everyone has a right to know.”

He contrasted the handling of Gandhi’s problems to those of 78-year-old Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who underwent a highly publicised heart bypass operation in 2009 which was fully disclosed.

Singh, a diabetic, had previously undergone surgery for prostate cancer.

“Everybody speculates. Nobody has the foggiest idea,” Thakurta said of Gandhi’s condition.

(Source: AFP)

NEW YORK – If you’ve ever used a fake cellphone conversation to avoid real-life interactions, you’re not alone.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project says that 13 percent of adult mobile phone owners in the United States have used the old “I’m on the phone’’ tactic. Thirty percent among those aged 18 to 29 did that at least once in the previous 30 days.

Just don’t forget to silence your ringer first.

In all, 83 percent of Americans reported owning some type of a mobile phone. Of these, more than half said they have used their phones at least once to get information they needed right away. Mobile phones are also becoming tools for handling emergencies. Forty percent of owners said their phones helped in an emergency.

Phones also proved useful when staving off boredom, as 42 percent of respondents said they used their phones for entertainment when they were bored.

It’s not that phones are all fun and games, though. Twenty percent of cellphone owners said they experienced frustration because their phone was taking too long to download something, and 16 percent said they had problems reading small print on the phone screen.

In a sign that we are getting increasingly dependent on our mobile gadgets, 42 percent of young adults aged 18 to 29 said they had trouble doing something because they didn’t have their phone with them.

(Source: AP)

It’s a tried-and-true marketing method: Slap a famous cartoon on food boxes and odds are children will be more likely to seek the food out at the store. But research now suggests that silly cartoons appearing on food boxes may also determine whether children will pester their mothers to buy the food and also the level of nagging parents are likely to experience.

Researchers analyzed surveys and interviews from 64 mothers who had children between the ages of 3 and 5. The mothers were asked questions about family eating and shopping habits, their use of media and how they dealt with their children’s nagging.

The study, published in the Journal of Children and Media, found that packaging, characters and commercials all contributed to whether children pestered their mothers. The children who watched more television commercials were more likely to nag for foods that included cartoons on the packaging, even if they didn’t like the food, researchers said.

“She picks up the characters by osmosis,” one mother who took part in the study said of her 4-year-old daughter.

The bind that many parents face is that many of the foods that advertise popular characters are oftentimes not healthy, said Dina Borzekowski, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and co-author of the study.

“We know marketing works, so the trick is to make it work for healthier products,” said Borzekowski.

Another mother of a 4-year-old boy said, “It really became clear to me how much TV impacts his preferences when he asked me to go to Burger King and I said, ‘Why Burger King?’ and he replied he had seen it on TV.”

While researchers did not cite specific packages, mothers who were interviewed said the characters or commercials that drew the most attention were Dora the Explorer, Elmo, Spongebob and Scooby Doo.

But the so-called “nag factor” didn’t stop there. The children who watched the most commercial TV also engaged almost equally in different types of nagging — juvenile nagging, nagging to test boundaries and manipulative nagging.

Juvenile nagging consists of repeatedly asking for items, whining and even flailing arms and stomping feet. Children nagged to test boundaries by throwing a public tantrum and putting items in the cart even as their mother said no. Manipulative nagging consists of sweet talking the mother, or even saying that other children possessed the item.

“Our study indicates that manipulative nagging and overall nagging increased with age,” Holly Henry, a co-author of the study and a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins said in a statement. Mothers of 5-year-olds recalled more negative nagging experiences, researchers said.

“It’s been a battle with my child,” said one mother. “No reward in whining.” “Giving in was consistently cited as one of the least-effective strategies,” said Henry.

Thirty-six percent of the mothers studied dealt with the nagging by limiting their child’s exposure to commercials. And researchers said that may be one of the most effective ways to limit a child’s nagging and consumption of potentially unhealthy foods.

Researchers also suggested not going to the store with a child, or trying to explain to a child before heading out why they would be tempted to buy certain types of foods and avoid buying others.

“I don’t’ think marketing is going away anytime soon, said Borzekowski. “We need to help parents deal with the current situation.”

(Source: ABC News)