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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Book Review- Sputnik Sweetheart



Title:     Sputnik Sweetheart 
Author:  Haruki Murakami
Transl.:  Philip Gabriel
Publ.:     Random House
ISBN:      978-0-099-44847-1
MRP:      Rs 499
Pages:    228

I was looking forward to reading more works by the famous writer Haruki Murakami after I read the very inspiring ‘What I Talk about When I Talk about Running’ about a year back. It is still one of my favorite non-fiction works. My latest read was ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ which was originally penned in Japanese. It has his characteristic elements such as loneliness, alternate reality, unrequited love, Greece, and of course, cats. The novel does not have a concrete ending and leaves the reader wondering about many possible outcomes, may be similar to the satellite Sputnik- II’s remains still floating in the outer space.

In a nutshell, the plot goes like this-
The author, a school teacher, is in love with his best friend, an eccentric girl named Sumire who is a struggling writer and lives alone in a small apartment. He longs for her but she falls for Miu, a much older businesswoman. Sumire is open and unapologetic about her sexual orientation but the author cannot let go of his love for her. Sumire travels to Europe on a business trip with Miu for whom she works and then disappears suddenly on a remote and non-descript Greek island. Author reaches Greece and Miu reveals a strange and eerie incident happened 14 years ago that had changed her life forever. As he returns, he gets into trouble when one of his students is caught shoplifting. This incident alters his relationship with his girlfriend and he returns to his apartment, pondering over many things.

The novel ends on a very abstract note and is somewhat philosophical in certain parts but not stuffed with long convoluted and didactic sentences. What I could gather from the linear plot narrated in first person is that we all are broken and move in our orbits. Sometimes, we come across each other for brief moments much like the remains of Sputnik II and then go our own ways, all alone. I think the author is trying to convey that in an alternate plane (which was earth for Sputnik II where it was one whole) we live a whole and perfect life the way we desire but in reality, we all are broken pieces, revolving all alone within the orbits of our banal and mundane lives.

My rating is 3.5/5.

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Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages.








Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dignity


Tough as a diamond and fragile as a delicate piece of chinaware, a woman’s dignity is a queer thing. Still, it needs to be protected from scratches and dirt and is to be carried like a child everywhere. This is indeed the biggest responsibility. This is a woman’s strength that her dignity is alive and kicking and it is also the most perilous thing for her to live like this in a world where everything, from rules to laws and from religion to mindsets have been designed to smash it like it were a poisonous weed, that could claim tall snooty trees, standing upright, looking down upon little sprouts feeling insecure over their growth.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Ego Hassles


Love, every time I look into your eyes,

My heart whispers

That life is too short for ego hassles









Friday, February 2, 2018

The Transformation Tide


I call those of my generation ‘The Hybrids’, for we have lived life in different eras and times. For those like me, born in mid 1980’s, as late thinker Alvin Toffler has described, it is not the change itself but the rate of change that is startling; nothing has been more surprising than the changes that have swept us along the way like leaves in wind, within the past few years. From combined families, deeper interpersonal relationships, Premier Padminis and Ambassadors, traditional home cooked food and spacious country houses with many rooms, to living a modern urban life with smaller apartments, less interference and frequent eating outs and plethora of electronic gadgets, I have experienced much transformation till now. This change has changed me, my attitudes as well as my habits in astounding ways and this can be felt in every area be it relationships, food habits, emotional orientation and preferences. We were happy in that life till we tasted a far more urban life of metros and then craved for more; we desired for more quality sans adjustments in everything. From using heavy box like mobiles with monochrome messaging to smart phones that are used for everything from calls to browsing, from music to movies, the way I communicate has undergone a paradigm change. We, The Hybrids, now desire more without an iota of compromise on quality. Undoubtedly, we are riding a tide of constant transformation.

I can vividly recall my father’s portable AM (‘Amplitude Modulation’, the old wireless sound technology) transistor, b/w TVs with huge aluminum antennas, audio and video cassettes for music and movies. Later colored TVs with FM (Frequency Modulation) audio system appeared and gradually all AM radio transmissions too were replaced altogether with FM type. In those times when CDs did not exist, tape recorders with cassettes ruled the music world. I too, have a huge collection of cassettes at my place and am confused about what to do with all that. The sound quality was very fine in our Sanyo tape recorder then till ‘Walkman’ revolutionized the music world! I carried mine almost everywhere. The music was portable and the quality too, seemed pretty good. However, when I recall and compare, I realize we were happy with a little and had low expectations from products and life in general. New and latest gadgets like ‘BoseQuiet Comfort 35 II Wireless Headphones’ have changed the whole scene altogether. The change has been swift and speedy and now people want a far better experience from music and phone calls, low noise factor and hands free ease and portability. Gone were the days when we used liquid ‘head cleaner’ to clean our tape recorder and then ignoring the noise factor, would groove to ABBA (I grew up listening to this band!) Boney M and Ghulam Ali Ghazals, fast forwarding and rewinding to reach the fav number!

When I was in college, listening to music on PCs was in vogue but that too was not portable and the noise factor had to be ignored in portables like Walkman, mobiles and small radios. However, now there is no scope of compromise, we just do not need even to think of it. The status quo has broken and innovation rules the roost. Companies like Bose have done much research in the domain of sound and music and their technology and inventions are the best one can get.

I will dedicate this small poem to my past self-

Hey you, cute little girl in pink frill frock!
Ribbons in hair, shiny shoes with lace socks
Dancing to your fav song on the rustic radio
Blaring loudly in old country house’s patio

You, who have loved music such deeply,
And would notice every beat so keenly
Got one day the best life could offer
Your dad’s old Sanyo tape recorder

Black old keys were divine and golden
Rewinding- forwarding was no problem
Jarring noise too could not stop you at all,
From enjoying Boney M and E. Fitzgerald

Now a teenager, you carry a walkman
Like it is your personality’s extension
Listening to Michael, Mariah and Martin
No issues, you feel sound is so amazing!

From that little girl dancing on old transistor
To an emotional child then a reckless teenager
Raise bars, demand better of what you do love
Now get the best for music, a part of your soul

‘Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II Wireless Headphones’ come not only with a Google Assistant but also a free app that makes switching devices a cakewalk. GA helps in listing to music without noise, receiving texts and managing daily tasks with voice command system easily, all in a few clicks. These headphones cut all the external noise so all you get is pure music, your preferred music that helps you entertain and relax for as long as you wish! Three touch button settings namely, ‘High’, ‘Low’ and ‘Off help a non Google user to adjust noise cancellation settings as well.

Music has always been an integral part of meditation and healing. From religious chants and hymns to sweet melodies and pure classical, music knows no shape, no boundaries and class; it adjusts itself around and pats you like a mother, hugs you like a friend, loves you like a darling and makes you walk out of dark memories. Music is life! Bose brings more spice in your life with its new technology that cuts outside noise thus giving you far better quality. I can enjoy music for 20 hours non-stop now!

Now, I can kick aside those rough noises of old radios and tapes, that annoying forwarding-rewinding and issues of low batteries (I always carried extra pencil cells for my walkman), and get the innovative and latest, re-chargeable, Bluetooth optimized, wireless, 240 V, microphone optimized and lightweight (only 236 gms) ‘Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II Wireless Headphone’. It can be used with my home PC as well or on the go with my Smartphone, as per my personal ease so I can enjoy clear noise free phone calls too. (Image link)

With us Indians, durability is always a strong factor in deciding our purchases of gadgets. In that case, I do not need to worry as the materials used are high-quality namely Alcantara’ which is approx 68% polyester with 32% polyurethane, providing more durability and stain resistance for the headband and ‘Synthetic Protein Leather’ for the ear cushions. Quiet Comfort 35 II comes in Silver and Black. I personally prefer sleek and subtle silver that looks premium and stylish at the same time! 


Quiet Comfort comes with a charging cable, backup audio cable and a stylish carry case. One Lithium ion battery is also included.  (Image Link)

Dear Past Self, 
Even if you do not believe me, you can trust ‘IndiaToday’ that has rated it a great 8.5 on a scale of 10! According to India Today, Bose QC 35 II is 'the best noise cancelling headphone with a technology that cannot be beat'. mensXP.com too, has also declared QC 35 II to be the' best wireless noise cancelling headphones yet'!  
Now, I know you must be feeling slightly envious or disappointed but now tables have turned and I will not compromise on sound quality anymore as music is my life and I demand unparalleled quality and ease like that of Bose devises!
Much Love


Visit www.boseindia.com to know more about this awesome innovation.

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

E for Evion!

People nowadays are celebrating fitness. Yes! It is new trend because being fit has become so uncommon these days that even kids can be seen suffering from this health problem or that. It has become slightly harder to find people who are completely healthy and thus it calls for a reason to cheer up. However, I have often observed that most people have misconceptions about the very term ‘health’. For most of us being healthy generally means not being dependent on any medications and not having nay major illness. However, the blunder that we all commonly commit is to ignore all minor issues and let them develop over time into something diabolical. 

Good health is not just the absence of major health issues but a complete mental and physical well being. People who are into sports and physical activities develop a good and sometimes enviable health but for most of us who are into office jobs that require long hours of sitting and mental work, maintaining a good health and well being and preventing diseases in future is not a cakewalk. There are many things we need to do such as exercise, proper sleep and some required nutrients. Before I tell you more about the last category, let me share how the World Health Organization has defined Health-

"A resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities."
This definition was given in the year 1986 but in recent years, many new diseases and virus strains have attacked us and thus now researchers have added more to the definition-
“The ability of a body to adapt to new threats and infirmities.”
Health is not something stationary like a lovely showpiece but is a condition of body which is a kind of complicated machinery that needs regular maintenance. I strongly believe that one is not a body that has a soul but a soul that dwells in this body; this is a house allocated by the Almighty to us in this life and hence just as one cannot stay completely happy in a dirty and debilitated house, one cannot stay healthy and glad in a diseased body. It is imperative that we take care of our bodies because at the end of the day, we have to be there for ourselves first.
The word ‘Health’ must be understood in a whole sense; it depends upon various factors. The WHO suggests more such factors that impact health:
· Social and Economic Environment: Income level affects diet and nutrition
· Physical Environment: Polluted or dingy areas may have parasites that cause diseases
· Behaviors and Characteristics: Including the gene pool and personal lifestyle choices like smoking, late sleeping etc.
We can always choose good health by taking a good diet rich in various types of vitamins. What exactly are ‘Vitamins’ and why they are so important?
The term vitamin was derived from ‘vitamine’, a compound word coined in 1912 by the Polish biochemist Kazimierz Funk of the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine. The name is from vital and amine, meaning amine of life. Vitamins can be defined as
“Any of a group of organic compounds which are essential for normal growth and nutrition and are required in small quantities in the diet because they cannot be synthesized by the body.”
The bad news is that the human body either does not produce enough of them, or it does not produce any at all. The good news is we can get all the vitamins we need from a well balanced and healthy diet and supplements!
There are 13 known vitamins and these are either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Latter are easier for the body to store. Vitamins are ‘organic compounds’ because they contain carbon. Different vitamins have different roles and they are needed in different quantities. One such amazing vitamin that we require is Vitamin E which along with Vitamin A, D, and K is a fat-soluble vitamin and is not excreted out through urine and can remain stored in body fat in body for months. Vitamin E is also known by its Chemical names Tocopherol or Tocotrienol. Its chemical formula is C29H50O2.

Benefits of Vitamin E-
1.  Strong Immune System- Vit E strengthens our immune system that in turn prevents us from many diseases. Immunity is one of the most important parameter of good health and a poor immunity indicates deep set weakness.
2.  Good Skin and Strong Hair- It is commonly used in skin and hair products. It makes the skin smooth, shiny and healthy.
3.  Improved Blood Circulation- It helps in proper blood circulation thereby preventing a plethora of brain disorders.
4. Anti Cancer- Vitamin E foods are rich in antioxidants that destroy free radicals. Particularly, Breast, Colon and Prostate Cancer can be avoided by consuming such foods regularly.
5.  Muscle Health- Muscle cramps and pains can be avoided by consuming food rich in this vitamin.
6. Good Vision- Extreme deficiency of this Vitamin can lead to blindness but for an average person, it helps in keeping the eye health and vision good.
7.  Male Fertility- It helps males dealing with fertility issues.
 Vitamin E Deficiency can lead to grave issues such as-
      1.    Weakened immune system.
2.     Nerve damage and weak nervous system
3.     Muscle damage
4.     Pain, fatigue and numbness in limbs.
5.     Poor vision even blindness
6.     Hair loss and scalp problems
7.     Poor fertility in males
8.     Cracked and acne prone skin
9.     Body movement issues like loss of control over limbs
     Its deficiency can be very damaging for good health and hence it becomes necessary to have foods that are rich in Vit E. Consuming it also ensures the supply of antioxidants that kill free radicals that are carcinogenic. You can also consume it in the form of dietary supplements. Evion Supplements (#Evion) is a reputed brand that can be well trusted. If you are a staunch vegetarian like I am, you need to consume the foods listed below regularly to avoid the deficiency of Vit E-
Oils
Some oils are rich in vitamin E and can be used for cooking and/or salad dressing.
1.    Soyabean oil
2.    Wheatgerm oil
3.    Sunflower oil
4.    Corn oil
Nuts
Most nuts contain vitamin E but almonds have high amount of this vitamin. Most nuts are good in fiber content as well. Nuts can be eaten in raw or roasted form. Sesame can be used in salad and in sweets.

1.     Almonds
2.     Peanuts
3.     Hazelnuts
4.     Walnuts
5.     Sunflower seeds
6.     Pistachios
7.     Sesame
Vegetables
Some vegetables are high in Vitamin E content and can be very helpful in making up the deficiency. Carrots and cabbage can be used in salads too.

1.     Spinach
2.     Sweet potato
3.     Broccoli
4.     Kale
5.     Turnips
6.     Carrots
7.     Bell peppers (red and yellow)
8.     Pea
9.     Parsley
10.  Cabbage
11.   Asparagus
Fruits
Most fruits are rich in Vitamin E and can be consumed anytime as fruits are high in fiber and have healthy sugars. Coconut can be eaten with meals in the form of ‘chutney’ with meals while tomatoes are usually an important part of the most Indian meals.
1.     Kiwi fruit
2.     Avocados
3.     Sweet Corn
4.     Papaya
5.     Straw Berries
6.     Coconut
7.     Tomatoes (technically a fruit)
8.     Apple
9.     Mango
If you are a non vegetarian, you can go for these foods-
1.     Eggs
2.     Cod liver oil
3.     Lean Meat
4.     Shrimps
Vitamin E Dose Chart (All values in mg)

Age
Male
Female
1-3 years
6
6
4-8 years
7
7
9-13 years
11
11
14 years +
15
15          
 For pregnant women 15mg/day and for lactating women, 19mg/day.
Now, I will share my own experience when around six or seven years back I started suffering from hair fall, morning nausea and acne. Initially I ignored these symptoms as most of us often do. We avoid visiting physicians generally but as I could find no relief by simple hacks and home remedies, I visited a gynecologist, who along with some other simple medicines and precautions prescribed me Vitamin E pills for my hair fall and acne issues. She also told me to stay positive and cheerful as far as possible as stress is very destructive for our physical and mental health. Within a few weeks, I could see improvement in hair fall and acne. Hence, vitamin E has worked for me in the past and now, I always make sure that I consume fruits and vegetable rich in this compound which is so essential for skin, hair and over all immunity.
While it is very important to consume Vitamin E, it is not possible to prepare an elaborate fruit salad or eggs or such vegetables every time. So, for a daily boost of vitamin E and for shiny hair and skin, we have to prepare a simple snack that will give us regular supply of vitamin E even on the go!
A Quick Recipe!
Enjoy and store the rest in an airtight container. This recipe is not only nutritious but storable and handy as well.
Did you know!

1. Unlike humans, dogs can synthesize and even produce vitamin C for their needs! 


2. Vitamin K was found to be very effective in the coagulation of blood and was named after the German word ‘Koagulation’!

3. Vitamin E capsules can be used for hair by mixing in hair oil!

4. Iron cannot be absorbed in human body without Vitamin C!

5. One small cup of Strawberries has more Vitamin C than one big orange!

6. Mushrooms are the only vegetarian natural source of vitamin D!



7.     Vitamin E protects DNA and proteins too!


8.     Evion is the largest selling Vitamin E brand in India! 


Visit http://www.evion.co.in/ to more about Vitamin E and the company’s amazing skin care products!
Evion Supplements  
#Evion
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Sources- hxbenefit.compixabay