Friday, October 30, 2015

5 point solution to keeping your baby's skin soft

How cute is this Ad!!! The New Pampers Pants has solved a major problem that parents, especially mothers face.They are always worried about rashes that occur when the baby has to be in a diaper the entire day. It is like a good bye to the tantrums and the crying sessions of the baby while putting on and removing the diaper, thus making parents' life easier. No crying, no rashes, no discomfort, parents can take the baby around for long hours outside without any trouble and thus they can be at ease when they travel. 

“Pampers brings you the softest ever Pampers Premium Care Pants. Its cotton-like softness is #SoftestForBabySkin and allows it to breathe, thus keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy, and your baby happy. ”

We all have heard this simile ' As delicate as a baby' . An infant is very delicate. It takes time for a baby's biological system to develop. All the organs are very weak and develop as they grow. One among these is the largest organ in the human body- The skin. Their skin is feather soft and also very sensitive. It requires at least three years for a child's skin to develop and thicken from the top layer. 

There are few ways in which an infant's skin can be protected from external damage and kept soft. All parents follow it and it really helps. Oiling the skin of the baby daily with olive oil and giving a lukewarm water bath after that helps in maintaining the skin soft and supple. It is a very good source of Vitamin E which acts as a good antioxidant and is also beneficial for the skin. Parents must not over do it too. Little warm olive oil will also help. One can also used the commercially available and recommended baby body oils but only after consulting the pediatrician about the right brands. Before applying anything new to the skin a small patch test should be done by applying a drop of it on the hand and checking for any rashes or allergic reactions. A baby's skin is extremely sensitive to external topical agents so care must be taken. 

Allowing the baby to sleep on soft cotton blanket or a rug with a soft pillow also helps the baby's skin to remain untouched by allergies. Advisable to wash the blankets and rugs used for the baby separately with an antiseptic like dettol and sun dry it . Make sure that there are no mites or insects on the bed. This can cause allergies. A baby's skin is very easily prone to rashes and allergies by minor bites by a tick and mite. It can cause a lot of pain and discomfort which the baby will not be able to express, hence the crying sessions will continue making the parents worries and restless. 

If there are mosquitoes around your house ensure that the windows and also use a mosquito net to ensure the baby a peaceful sleep and also protect the delicate skin. Mosquito bites for adults can be just very normal but for babies it would hurt a lot. There are also cases of mosquito bite allergies seen. Ensure that the area around the house is kept clean and if you are staying in an apartment it is a must to make sure garbage is cleared daily.

While giving bath to the baby ensure that you use a mild shampoo and bathing soap. The soap should not cause any skin irritation. A gentle soap should be used which is recommended for a baby's skin. Before using any homemade bathing powders, such as using gram flour ensure that it suits your child's skin. Avoid powerful chemical containing soaps. It can cause damage to the delicate skin of your darling baby. 

The most common cause of skin rashes for a baby is the use of diapers which are very tight in fitting and also the material is very rough. Choosing the right kind of diaper is also very important. It should be soft and also not too tight fitting. Tight fitting diapers can cause severe skin rashes causing discomfort to the baby. Diapers should be changed frequently and make sure that it is wiped clean. Wipe clean the area with a soft tissue or a soft cotton cloth. Make sure the area is dry and clean and also well aerated. The clothes the baby is wearing also matter. The fabric used should be light and soft, slightly loose and preferably cotton which can allow enough air circulation.

Happy parenting!!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

McCain party at the orphanage

It has been rightly mentioned in the IndiBlogger website about McCain snacks that : -
Smiles are doubled, when shared. And the most priceless thing is to make your loved ones smile. 

So how do we put a smile one someone's face with a fried snack on the plate? A snack which belongs to the old and large frozen food chain - McCain Foods (India) - A wholly-owned subsidiary of McCain Foods Limited in Canada
As a kid I remember having the smiley fried snack at Marry Brown burger chain in India. I have still seen kids enjoying various shapes like smileys, stars, round discs and other different shapes in fried foods apart from the long stick like french fries. We, as elders have started enjoying different kind of snacks, like nachos, tacos, pop corns, fried nuggets but we hesitate at times when it comes to deep fried foods. Although, having a bite or two of the most tasty fried french fries and these smiley snack items makes us close to our childhood days where we ate fried food without bothering about the calorific value. We did not have nightmares about spending one hour on a jog the next day after having fried food for dinner. 

There are so many unprivileged kids who are deprived of food in our country. Among them, there are also many who barely get to eat healthy and tasty food. Akshay Patra has largely been successful in providing mid-day meals to the children in many government and private schools because of which the number of children attending schools has also increased. I have also donated certain amount to this cause but in order to give this a personal touch I decided to utilize McCain snacks to feed the children. Especially, the ones who are in an orphanage. They would get access to food but no one will be able to provide these kinds of fried foods. I thought, it would be a good thing to give them a taste of the most delicious and mouth watering fried yet tasty, one time indulgence McCain snacks. It would be like a mini party for them to be able to have such snacks. 

I am not a great cook and I have never had the experience to cook in a large quantity so I thought of choosing an orphanage near my house where there will be less number of kids and I can manage the snack arrangements alone. I thought of speaking to the authorities there first before deciding to bring in snacks for the kids. It would be a different experience for the kids. Once I get their permission and fix a specific time for my visit, I wanted to work on the snack menu by choosing the products from .

I wanted to keep it simple, healthy and tasty despite the fried part involved in it. A little bit of such indulgence would make the children very happy. The following would be my snack menu for the evening along with a small cup of Badam milk which would be served to everyone : -
1. McCain French Fries  
I would vary this by adding natural spices like a bit of dry pudina/mint with salt and pepper. The spices would add a good flavour to the french fries. I would serve this in paper rolled pouches which the children can carry along and have while roaming or even keep it covered for having at a later time according to their convenience. 
2. McCain Smiles
Which kid does not love the smiley potatoes? I would like to make this dish for the kids, similar to the one made my Karishma Kapoor in this video. The only variation I would do is that, I would serve at least 2 pieces of the McCain smiles each kid on a paper plate. I would decorate it by adding a small round slice of cucumber and tomato topped with mayonnaise and mustard sauce. I would top it with coriander. I wanted to add ingredients which will make this dish healthy also. Children would not love to have salads easily but if given in this form with some yummy sauce as a topping they would surely like it. Coriander is also very healthy. This would be my modified Smiles Canapes recipe. 
I am sure the kids would smile after eating the layer of vegetables and the sauce. They would love to see the smiley face and enjoy their snack. 

3. Extra Crunchy Potato Nuggets and McCain Super Wedges
These extra crunchy potatoes would be served along with the McCain Super Wedges which I would mix with a bit of chopped tomatoes, boiled peanuts, coriander, tomato sauce and a bit of salted butter. Tomatoes and peanuts blend well and peanuts again would help in increasing the energy content of the snack. After mixing them in a bowl I would layer them in small oil chapati and roll them up. I would serve them as rolls. They would be my mini potato nuggets and potato wedges roll. 

Although, McCain offers a lot of  variety in their food items by giving multiple options by providing innovative recipes which can never make one bored. These snacks serve as one of the best options for a party when we do not have time to make a lot of Indian snacks at home and also do not want to order from a restaurant. We can add our own Indian touch to these snacks and we can also find them in different flavours of our choice, such as - Lemon Garlic, chilly, mustard, cheese based and also variations of potato. 

I would prefer using a mix of these snacks so that I can add my own healthy variations to them. I have used a lot of potato as they are rich in carbohydrates and also would help in providing instant energy to the kids. Having said that I have also included my own variation by deciding to provide them with a small cup of Badam/almond powder flavoured milk which will be adding on to the nutrition value of my snack party. 

Hoping this small gesture would be able to make them happy for that evening since it is very rare that they get a chance to have such snacks.

Image Courtesy : McCain website and Google

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Mysterious Case

She sat in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf…...The weather outside was as gloomy as it could get. There could be a heavy downpour any moment. She had made up her mind by then. Suddenly, her thoughts were abruptly put to a halt by a phone call which she dreaded to attend. Nevertheless, bundling up courage she answered the call.

‘Where are you Dr. Aarti?’ Dr. Choudhary cried out aloud.
‘We have been frantically looking for you.’
Aarti did not reply.
‘Are you alright?’
‘Why did you run away?’ he continued.
Aarti tried to speak but she was not able to utter a word. She felt as if her vocal cords were paralysed. She was just recovering from the shock when Dr. Choudhary had called. His shrill voice was enough to bring back the shudder.

By then, the people around had also started looking at her quizzically looking at her changed expressions. She passed a faint smile to them in order to prevent any suspicion. The waiter took the empty coffee mug from the table. He tried to look around at her table in case there was anything to be cleared.  Aarti waved a hand gesturing that she was fine and did not need anything. The waiter left with a smile.

‘Can you tell me what happened there in the afternoon?’ Dr. Choudhary continued.
‘How can you be so irresponsible Dr. Aarti? You should have stayed.’
‘Escaping from there can raise doubts against you.’
‘You have been summoned to the department right now by our Chancellor,’ Dr. Choudhary said slamming the phone down.

‘But I am concerned Inspector. She must not be alright. After all, this exercise is not easy. She had a brave heart to accept this case,’ Dr. Choudhary said resting his head on his palms.

The waiter approached Aarti with the bill. While the waiter was away with her credit card she quickly put the knife in her bag. After getting her card back she left for the institute. She was feeling dazed. The injury was deep and it was hurting her. She opened the door and ushered herself in. After locking the door behind her, she threw her bag on the floor and burst into tears. She took out the bandage and put her hand under running tap water. She had started feeling weak again with the blood loss. She dabbed the antiseptic cream along the cut, placed a gauge on it and wrapped it with a bandage. She made sure it was tied neatly so that no one could make out the intensity of the injury. She gulped down an analgesic and left taking one last look at her pale self in the mirror. The journey to the Chancellor’s room seemed endless which otherwise would have taken her just five minutes. There were ten missed calls from Dr. Choudhary. She felt nauseated looking at the ambulance and the piled up police vehicles. There couldn’t have been a worst nightmare than this for Aarti. Somehow she managed to maintain a normal gait.

As soon as she reached the entrance, a frantic Sukriti came and hugged her tightly. ‘Oh! My God!! Aarti are you alright?’
‘Where have you been all while? We were all so worried,’ Sukriti said almost bursting into tears. She hugged Aarti tightly and then looked at her hand.
‘I am absolutely fine Su,’ Aarti said with a laugh. That was the first time she had laughed during the day.
‘What!!!! Absolutely fine Dr. Aarti??? It could have cost us your life,’ said a furious Dr. Choudhary who had come out hearing Sukriti’s loud cries. Their entire department was standing outside the Chancellor’s room. Aarti was accompanied inside by Dr. Choudhary who had forgotten all his anger seeing an injured Aarti. He felt responsible for her situation.

Aarti was taken by surprise when she saw the Chancellor’s seat being occupied by a tall and well-built man. He looked at Aarti and indicated her to sit.  Aarti’s legs were shaking already. She was feeling a little drowsy because of the analgesic. All she could dream of was her cosy bed and her soft rug. Her sweet thoughts were soon interrupted by the strong voice from the stranger.

‘Dr. Aarti, M.B.B.S, M.D, Psychiatry, posted in Psychiatry Social Work Department from 10th July 2012. Am I right doctor? IPS Rana read out from Aarti’s file.

‘Yes Inspector,’ Aarti said in a weak voice. Seeing her a little petrified Dr. Choudhary placed a hand on her shoulder. She relaxed a bit.

‘I am IPS Rana Dave, the officer allotted to probe into this case. If you are alright madam can I carry on with my interrogation?’ IPS Rana said keeping her file down.

Aarti nodded in agreement. She was feeling a little relieved seeing his casual demeanour. Noticing the bandage in her hand with a patch of fresh blood IPS Rana asked Aarti, ‘Do you need any medical help madam?’

‘I am doing fine. I cleaned the wound and treated it myself. It is just a minor injury, ’Aarti replied in a shaky tone.
So, if you are in a comfortable state, could you please tell us about the incident that happened in Ward no-6, Room no- 10 this afternoon.’

Aarti was searching for words to answer him. His sharp gaze was making her uncomfortable. Seeing Aarti pause for a while, Dr. Choudhary spoke up.

‘No doctor. I want to hear it from her. I have heard your part of the story,’ said IPS Rana sternly.

Dr. Choudhary had no other option but to remain quiet.

‘Dr. Aarti, shall we continue?’

‘I was on the case from the last six months. He was referred to me by Dr. Choudhary,’ Aarti replied calmly.

Before she could continue further, IPS Rana questioned her again.

‘Why was he referred to you by Dr. Choudhary?’


‘Because I was too busy with my clinic hours and I had asked Aarti to follow up the cases in which she had assisted me,’ interrupted Dr. Choudhary.
‘Hmmm….. ,’ said Rana Dave as he flipped through Ramesh’s case file.

‘You may continue….’, he said turning towards Aarti.

‘Sir, I had been seeing Ramesh from the past six months.’
‘You have been telling the same thing madam. Please go ahead,’ IPS Rana said in an irritated tone.

The pain in her palms was slowly pricking her. It was a throbbing pain.

‘Ramesh reported to us with severe mental instability. He was confused and, disillusioned. We felt at times that he showed symptoms of depression and anxiety. We had put him on medications to relieve him of anxiety. Since he complained of sleeplessness we gave him tranquilizers and also suggested to his brother that we would need to put him on anti-depressants if the symptoms persisted.’

‘Ramesh was well educated. He was holding a good position in an MNC but one year ago his company suffered heavy losses and they had to sell it to someone else. He was not happy with the managers who had taken over. His brother told us that he was extremely stressed. One day he had an argument with his employer because of which he was sacked from office immediately. His changed attitude was noticed by his family as well. That is when his brother brought him to our hospital.’

‘Dr. Choudhary advised a regular fortnight check-up and counselling.’

Saying this Aarti took a large gulp of water. Dabbing her wet lips with a handkerchief she continued.

‘On one of Ramesh’s visit with his brother Dr. Choudhary was unavailable so I had to take up the case.’

‘I felt his condition was also worsening. The antidepressants were also not working much. He used to be normal while talking but at times was also very anxious. He had anger issues too. He was not too happy being brought to a mental hospital for treatment. He told me this during one of the counselling sessions.’

‘So, did you give me any more medications after that?’ IPS Rana asked.

‘Yes, I changed the course of the medicines after discussing with Dr. Choudhary,’ Aarti said looking at Dr. Choudhary.

He nodded in agreement.

‘I reduced the doses of tranquilizers and antidepressants and tried to increase the counselling sessions. I felt he needed more of psychiatric counselling than medications. He got a little aggressive at times when I asked him a lot of questions. I advised his brother to monitor his activities at home and give me a feedback.’

‘Today was one such clinic hour where Ramesh was supposed to come for a follow up. He came with his brother. I was not seated in my usual out-patient department. That room had been occupied by another doctor for the day so my clinic had been shifted to Ward no-6, Room no- 10 which is in the ground floor of the Neurosurgery block. That was a room allotted for neurosurgery consultation. Ramesh and his brother were the last patients in my list for the day.’

After saying this Aarti paused for a while. Her mouth had gone dry with the continuous round of explanation. Taking another sip of water, she continued.

‘Ramesh seemed to have improved a bit but his brother’s explanations did not match with my diagnosis. I was still confused about the course of my treatment. I advised him for an EEG since I had reduced by doses by then. Ramesh’s brother requested me to keep counselling him while he came after paying the bill for the EEG. I was a little hesitant but I had no other option then.’

‘I was in the process of my counselling session when I noted that he wasn’t too keen to talk. He was dull and very rude while answering. He did not seem to cooperate. I stopped for a while and continued again by advising him to do Yoga which could relieve his stress.’

‘What happened further?’ asked IPS Rana.

‘I was casually asking him about his family when he suddenly got into a fit of rage and hurled himself towards me. I panicked and rushed towards one corner. Later, he pushed me and my palm hit against the edge of the metal cot. He came very close and was going to injure me again when I pulled my bag from the cot and rushed out of the door. I screamed and ran out of the room.  I ran as fast as I could.’

‘Did he just push you or do anything more violent Dr. Aarti?’ asked IPS Rana.

‘No, he just pushed me very hard. Before he could react further I escape.’

‘Are you sure there was no more harm done?’ he asked again.

‘No, ’Aarti replied confidently.

‘Where did you vanish off Dr. Aarti?’ asked IPS Rana.

‘Yes, where did you run to after this incident?’ asked Dr. Choudhary

‘Sir, I was too tensed and scared to understand what had happened. I ran towards the staff clinic. It was past 3:00 PM so there was no clinician there. The nurse was also not to be seen. I grabbed a gauge piece and a bandage roll from the first aid box and went out of the campus not knowing what to do. I headed to Starbucks Café which is next to our campus.’

‘There was so much that had happened and you managed to go to a cafe?’ Dr. Choudhary said in amusement.

‘Sir, I was too scared to think logically so I just left the campus,’ Aarti said in a composed and calm way.

‘What happened after these incidents? Can anyone explain?’ IPS Rana asked out aloud in the room.

A ward boy came forward and answered. ‘Sir, we were in the same ward but in a different room. Hearing the shriek of a woman we came out and saw a doctor madam running and a man was running after her. That is when we rushed and prevented him from running. More ward boys came and helped us. He was very violent Sir. He also hit my friend with his fist. Mad fellow’

‘Who called the police?’

‘Sir, it was me,’ told the security guard.

‘Sir, don’t you think there should be more security designated in such areas?’ IPS Rana asked turning towards Dr. Subbarao, the Chancellor.

‘Yes, inspector, I do agree. We have had a very rare incident today and we would like to investigate on the internal security breaches. I will be meeting the security supervisor tonight.’
‘So what is the conclusion inspector?’ asked Dr. Subbarao.

‘Sir, if I may interrupt your investigation, can you please tell me how is Ramesh and where is he now? Aarti asked. She had suddenly realized that Ramesh was nowhere in the picture and she had forgotten about his condition too.

‘I will summarize this in a while.’

‘And…. Ramesh is in the police station with his brother,’ IPS Rana said looking at Aarti.

After completing the report he asked Dr. Choudhary, ‘Sir, I need to record Dr. Aarti’s final statement in order to take further action on this case. The media can print a different version of the incident tomorrow. ‘We need to file this case report by today.

‘You can go ahead,’ said Dr. Choudhary.

‘Dr. Aarti, what is your final opinion,’ IPS Rana asked.

‘As a doctor who has been treating Ramesh I would advise him to be released from jail and admitted to our rehabilitation center. He requires counselling and rehabilitation. This incident is an unexpected psychotic episode. He could be potentially drifting towards Schizophrenia if we do not treat him soon. This patient needs another chance,’ said Aarti.

‘But doctor, he might be potentially dangerous to the other inmates,’ said IPS Rana.
‘We have special cells for such patients who need to be in isolation,’ said Dr. Subbarao.

‘That is at your risk Sir. However, we would keep him under observation in your rehabilitation cell for six months. If another such incident happens then it might be difficult for us to follow the same course of action,’ Rana Dave said while he stood up to leave.

‘I do agree. Meanwhile we will also work on tightening our security system. Today, one of the most able clinicians of our hospital has been injured. I don’t want anyone to be harmed in this way,’ said Dr. Subbarao.

‘Thank you for your cooperation and timely help Inspector,’ said Dr. Subbarao and Dr. Choudhary as they shook hands with IPS Rana.

‘Thank you Sir,’ said Aarti looking at IPS Rana.

‘We are here to help you. Please inform us if you notice anything unusual about Ramesh and…..madam, please be careful next time,’ said IPS Rana.

While on her way home with Sukriti, Aarti kept thinking about the blood stained surgical knife that lay in her house - An evidence which could route the entire episode against Ramesh. She wanted to protect an innocent man who had just had a psychotic episode.

Originally written for TOI Write for India Contest- Author of the Month- Chetan Bhagat

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ride to Khardung La- One of the World’s highest Motorable roads

Day 6 was a relaxed one. We had decided the previous night to take a good sleep and leave for Khardung La since it is just 39 kms from Leh. It will take around 1-2 hours to reach there if one maintains a normal pace. We woke up by 8:00 AM,  had tea in Saveen’s room and again discussed a bit about the adventure trip to Tso Moriri. We were ready by 9:00 AM and left for Khardung La. We decided to have breakfast at a German Bakery near Apex Adventures. They had a good breakfast menu. Surprisingly the English breakfast as well as the Indian breakfast, both tasted good. Khardung La is towards the north of Leh. One has to cross Khardung La to go to Nubra Valley and Hunder. We couldn’t go to Nubra Valley and Hunder because of the unpredictable weather and lack of time. It was not possible to go and come back on one day.

The guys bought gum boots for themselves as we would be encountering many water crossings on our way to Kahrdung La. Khardung La, (La means pass) is situated at a height of 18,380 ft as mentioned there and also considered as the highest motorable road in the world. But those who have travelled to other places claim that there are passes at a greater height than Khardung La which are motorable. So, Kahrdung La is actually at a height of 17,582 ft which is not the highest but one of the highest motorable roads in the world

For more information on these do check these links. They have useful information about the highest motorable roads in the world. 

Devil On Wheels - Top 12 highest motorable passes/roads in the world

Marsimek-La - The Highest Motorable Pass in the World

This is the picture of Yd in 2012 on the Wiki page of Khardung La  :

The drive to Kahrdung La is short yet difficult because the roads are narrow. The roads are not well paved despite being maintained by BRO and one can find water crossings everywhere because when it is past 10:00 AM, the sun is up and the snow starts melting. Narrow streams come down that form water crossings. These water crossings can be extremely dangerous at times. Bikes can get stuck and one can also fall while riding. It is scary because to our left there is an open valley and to the right high rocky mountain range which can cause landslides anytime. The army works continuously in helping the travellers move to and fro from either side by clearing up blocked roads every now and then.

The initial few kilometres are really comfortable to ride, for the rider as well as the pillion. But once the uneven roads start it gets really difficult. The scenic beauty around is worth mentioning as we are slowly moving up towards a higher altitude but the path gets risky also. There are stones fallen on the road, freezing cold water flowing and the ride is a bumpy one, so terrible at times that one can feel the bladder bursting with every jerk of the bike. It is a short journey but a biker needs courage to go through this terrain more so with a pillion behind. The enthusiasm with which Yd, Viren and Saveen rode till Khardung La is worth mentioning. 

When I have asked Yd how much does he love me, at times his answer used to be, ‘As high as the mountains of Ladakh.’ I never believed in this comparison. I had to see those majestic mountains in order to believe this. As we kept going up I realized how majestic the mountains around were.

We were moving closer to the snow-capped mountains again. It was getting colder as we moved up. There were many travellers, mainly bikers and cyclists who were going along with us with their spirits and energy high. The first halt was at South Pullu where we needed to take a break. As we were ascending we were bound to have symptoms of altitude sickness but we had to be prepared for it. We kept ourselves hydrated but the disadvantage of this was that we had to frequently empty our bladder. With no toilets around except at South Pullu, we had to be dependent on the boulders and rocks again.  I had a terrible time while going up. There were multiple water crossings where Yd asked me to get down and walk up till it was clear for him to drive with me sitting behind. That 5 minute walk seemed like running a kilometer up the hill. I grew breathless at times and was also finding it difficult to breathe. My face was covered well with a scarf but the altitude was having its effect on me. I wasn’t feeling sick but was also not comfortable carrying the back pack and bearing the bumpy ride.

One more mistake that we did- As pillion riders, we did not take gum boots. It is essential because at times there is no room for walking on a dry area. The stones are submerged deep in water and our shoes are bound to get wet if we have to walk across. My shoes were wet throughout the journey but I did not catch a cold despite all that.

Look at me standing in one corner not knowing what to do

There was one large water crossing where the other two bikes went ahead but I suggested Yd to stop so that I could get down and walk. Yd slowly crossed the large water crossing but I was stuck midway. I couldn’t walk through as the water was deep. It was extremely cold and it could wet my jeans. Yd suggested me not to move. I hopped - skipped – jumped around form one stone to the other unable to find a way to cross without getting my feet in the water. Many bikes had stopped exactly at that point. Saveen sent his gum boots through Viren and Yd brought them for me. We crossed that difficult part holding each other’s hands as carefully as we walked while taking our vows around the sacred pyre during our marriage. He brought me safely to the other side. I was not scared but gasping for breath. Perhaps the cold was irritating me. I felt normal only after taking a few sips of water. While continuing on our journey again, I asked Yd for the first time in our entire Ladakh trip, ‘Why did you bring me here Yd? I feel terrible.’ He did not answer my question but I knew he brought me here despite all these difficulties just to show me one of the highest passes in the world where one could reach on a motorbike. He wanted to show me all those places which he had visited. He wanted me to feel the magic of the place. I felt normal only after reaching Khardung La.

There were multiple Buddhist prayer flags hanging around the sign board. Snow was still intact on the mountain. There were many tourists waiting to take pictures with this sign board. The army station there with a souvenir and a snack shop was playing Bhangra music. You will feel like dancing listening to it after having accomplished the ride successfully.

It is advised not to stay in Khardung La for more than 15 minutes as it could cause dizziness and increase symptoms of altitude sickness. It is true. We were able to feel the discomfort within 20 minutes. It was half an hour by the time we clicked pictures and packed off to leave. 

If one goes down hill from the pass they enter Nubra Valley and later reach Hunder which is famous for it Bactrian camels and Diskit Gompa/ Monastery. Nubra Valley is a very picturesque location but we couldn't cover this region. 

The feeling of being at the highest point in our Ladakh trip was enthralling

The journey to Leh from Khardung La was the same but we managed to pull it off. The large water crossing was a problem but each pillion rider was given a lift on an Innova. The tourists were very helpful. Had we pillion riders, also worn gum boots, crossing it would have been fun.

We halted at South Pullu again for a break. We were going down the slope towards Leh when Viren’s bike gave a little trouble. He was not able to start the bike. Yd and Saveen helped him move and set the bike rolling. We were going down the slope so the mechanic from Apex suggested that letting the bike move along the slope down would easily bring us to the bike shop. He allowed gravity to move his bike. Viren reached till the mechanic’s shop in the same way. Not a single moment did we have to push the bike after he started. We followed him all along.  It was 4:00 PM by then. 

We girls went to a French bakery opposite the mechanic shop and ordered tea, coffee and snacks. The guys got the bike checked and went to the hotel to put back the things. They came to the café to join us for coffee and tea. We girls were in a mood to shop that evening because we would not get free time again. We three went to a small shop to buy harem pants and bag. Deepa found her Gujju connection yet again. She bargained well with the shopkeepers as he was also from Baroda. After having snacks we split ourselves in Leh market to do our bit of shopping. Shopping was fun. Deepa and Saveen were to join us but they lost track of the direction Yd and I were heading in. We were all by ourselves then quickly shopping for everything that we wanted to take. I finally found a traditional Tibetian diary in the local market after a lot of search. It is my most precious souvenir from the Ladakh trip.The local Tibetian market had an amazing collection of beaded jewellery. If given a chance I would have purchased beaded jewellery of each colour. As always, Yd made me select the best one and I had to leave the others. We were done with shopping in two hours. We had to reach our hotel before it started raining. 

On reached the hotel we got a call from Spiti. She said that while shopping she had left her mobile phone in a shop and thankfully had also got it back. That night’s dinner was in the hotel while it rained heavily. The next day’s trip to Pangong Tso was going to be in the Innova as the route was around 150 kms from Leh. Since all the three bikes had had some or the other problems none of us were in a position to take a risk like Tso Moriri. We all wanted to relax, especially the riders. Yd was looking forward for the Pangong Tso trip as he was not able to visit this in 2012.  Our accommodation had been booked by Dawa in Camp Red Start in Pangong Tso.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Together we create a promise of a lifetime

“I am joining the Saffolalife #ProtectHerHeart initiative and pledging my support to better heart health in Association with BlogAdda.”

Today morning when I logged in to my FB account, the first thing in my news feed was this video. It brought a smile on my face instantly. I was extremely inspired and happy seeing the video. I could place my husband and myself  in the video and relate to what has been happening these days. 


Although we have not been able to follow this regularly but we do realize the importance of being physically active regularly. Sometimes I tend to get lazy seeing my husband sleeping peacefully after his occasional late night work schedules. I force myself to wake up but the days when sleep over powers my will power I fall slop back on my bed again. It requires a lot of effort to avoid that and get going actively for a walk or any kind of physical activity. 

Due to this mismatch in our work schedules we decided to do little things together. We discussed this out with a doctor also. The doctor had advised me to follow certain specified time schedules for my various meals. I used to wait till 10:00 PM on some days for my husband to come home and then we had dinner post 10:00 PM, which is very wrong. So we decided to stick to our dinner schedule of 8:30 PM. I would have at home and if he got late at work he would have at his work place.Initially it was difficult for me to eat alone but my husband ensured that I followed this routine regularly. Now, I have started sticking to my dinner timings. 

I had this habit of having a cup of coffee in the morning and it used to be the only time I had coffee. I suffered with severe Vitamin D deficiency at one point which made me realize that apart from spending some time in sunlight I am also neglecting my health by not having adequate amount of milk in a day. My husband loves Horlicks. I have never had Horlicks till date. I was always a Boost lover. Only because he insisted me to try having Horlicks I tasted it one day and developed a liking to it. It is very rare now that I have coffee in the morning. He ensures that both of us have Horlicks with very less sugar in the milk in the morning. It has certainly made me develop a good habit which will help me have adequate amount of nutrition from milk. We do have coffee/tea occasionally but we keep that to the evenings on weekends. It is a small change but it is certainly helping us in some way. We also pop one or two dry fruits like Fig, Almonds while having milk in the morning.

I have to leave for office a little earlier than my husband so I used to always carry my breakfast in a box which I have never had on time. I was so busy with work that my breakfast was taken only at 11:00 AM which is certainly not recommended. Because of this, my husband started having breakfast with me in the morning and insisted me to have breakfast and then leave for work. At times when I was not in a mood to have chapati for breakfast he has handed over an apple to me and also help me make my Special K morning breakfast with milk. He has encouraged me to have good breakfast and not delay it because of work. 

We are not into too much of physical fitness activities together but whenever we get time we have made sure to take a walk. But it cannot be occasional. We may have different ways to be physically fit but going on a walk together certainly helps. We have also completed a 10 km run recently. We did not rehearse together, which could have certainly helped us perform better on the race day . Now, I have decided that for our next 5 km run we will rehearse together so that we can improve upon our timings. 

My first 5K
Our first 10 K together
My husband has encouraged me to do Yoga and after doing that I have felt major changes in my physical and mental health. I was not regular from the past one month which has affected my health. Because of too much work I neglected my health and stopped indulging in any physical activity. That is when my husband made me restart my yoga routine and also gave me the idea to take the help of a nutritionist and get into a strict fitness regime. 

More than physical activity, one has to also balance their lifestyle by taking healthy and nutritious food. We both reduced the in take of salt in our food, shifted to Low Sodium oil, Olive Oil and Rice Bran oil for cooking, tried including more pulses in the food, we do not eat too much junk outside. Whenever we go for watching movies we ensure that we either have dinner/ lunch and then go. In unavoidable cases we stick to sandwiches to fill our stomach. We both are foodies and love trying out different cuisines. I crave for a lot of things which are quite high in calories. The main one being ice cream. My husband has helped me overcome that craving. He also helped me in being regular with my meal plans. I love having oats but just because he doesn't like it much I used to avoid having it myself. He made me start having oats again and told me to make something simple for him for dinner if he was home early. 50% of our metabolism is based on the kind of diet we follow. My husband has never let me go on a diet but has been helping me over come that extra food craving that I have. Slowly I have started developing a will power. 

We are also including a lot of vegetables in our diet. Some times we have only soup and chapati for dinner. We have switched over to Multi grain flour for making chapatis. We have been regular with our Saturday and Sunday evening walk but we have decided from now that we will take out at least half an hour for our morning walk. According to WHO guidelines,minimum 150 minutes of physical activity is required for any individual to have a healthy heart. We have not reached that mark but we will soon be achieving that goal too. We pledge to walk together for a good metabolism and a good health. 

We also have been getting our Blood Glucose, Blood Pressure, Lipid Profile and Thyroid levels checked regularly. Our Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D status are also maintained. Getting a physical examination at least once in six months in essential for anyone above the age of 25. 

Together we have made a lot of changes in our diet and at the same time we vow to help each other in leading a healthy lifestyle. We have decided to take a short 30 minutes walk daily despite involving in any other fitness activity individually. 

So, as part of the Saffolalife #ProtectHerHeart initiative, I pledge to walk together with my husband daily for 30 min and take my first steps towards healthy weight management. This is the first step of being consistent. 

Slowly we would aim to do our running practice together for completing many more 10k runs with improvement in our timings each time. I have also influenced my husband by teaching him Yoga and make him do along with me at times. Although he hates doing it. 

We took the pledge to be together through thick and thin. Together we create a promise of a lifetime for our health.