Sugarfree Lovers

November 21, 2013

My Immune India

I have been a religious person all my life. Someone who lights a lamp in front of god every morning and asks for “Sadbudhi or Sadmarg pe chalne ki shakti”(English translation “Wisdom to know what is right and power to act right”)  every day. But in recent years I have seen a change in my prayers, now with wisdom and power I also ask for good health for me and my family. In past few years I have met and read about people who are suffering from some health issues, and after seeing how their health problem affected their family emotionally and financially I am petrified. I want no such thing to happen with my loved ones or say with anyone for that matter.

If we go by the different survey reports, in recent years the longevity of human life has increased due to advancements in medical field but the health standards saw a fall. I remember my great grandfather was fitter in his 90’s compare to my dad is in his 50’s. Elders say that this was the effect of pure food and fresh air which they used to get in their time. Now time is different, lifestyles are different, eating habits are different too. If I talk about myself, as a kid I used to be very fit and active. I never bunked school due to poor health, but when I started working and started living on my own, numbers of sick leaves increased. I used to feel tired and lousy, and fell sick many times during the first 2 years of staying away.

Consequently with time I understood that it’s my deteriorated immunity which was resulting in frequent sickness and tiredness. In layman terms, Immunity is the resisting power of the body to different diseases. An individual with stronger immunity is less likely to fall sick in same environment compare to other individual with weaker Immunity. There are many internal and external factors that affect our immunity system, and if we work on these factors we can improve our immunity.

Talking about making India Immune, there are many things which we need to do for ourselves (that is the present of India) and for the younger generation (that is future of India). So based on my own experience (by comparing my lifestyle during childhood and later) here are the things which I feel makes the difference to our immunity system.

·         Eating healthy: Some 20 years back when Pizzas and burgers were not very common in India best snacks we used to have been fresh fruits, fruit chats, sprout bhel etc. Home cooked food and a glass of milk morning and night used to keep our tummy full. Now cola has taken over milk and with more junk food than fruits and vegetables in our plates, we are going low on essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Increasing the intake of leafy vegetables, fruits and nuts will help one improve the immunity.

·         Adequate sleep: Whoever Says sleep is waste of time must not be aware of the importance of sleep. Sleep is like a scheduled servicing for our body and mind. When we sleep our body generates new cells, and heals damaged tissues if any. For kids specially, timely sleep is very impotent for their healthy growth. Nowadays when parents stay glued to their gadgets till mid night kids tend to be awake with them too. Set an example for them; be early to bed and early to rise, and you will be healthier for sure J

·         Physical Activity: Now majority of us stay glued to our gadget most of the time and physical activity is almost zero. Even kids love to play video game more than going out and playing. Actually such physical activities are very important for the body. It makes the body fit and active. For better immunity we should try to incorporate some physical activity in our routine and we should encourage kids to play outdoor as well.

·         Personal Hygiene: Imparting habits like washing hands before food, taking bath when come back from outside and using sanitizer when using water for washing is not available is must. Adapting healthy habits like using kerchief while sneezing and coughing will also help us and people around us stay healthier. Personal hygiene should be part of our day to day routine to achieve better immunity.

·         Clean and Green Environment:Cleanliness is next to godliness” we all have read this as kids but we often tend to forget this. I was born and brought up in a township, which had plenty of trees (trees on sides of the roads) and was very clean too. Authorities there used to take care of the cleaning of the town very well. But when we see the other big and small cities in India cleanliness is a big concern. Piles of garbage on roads are a frequent sight, which gives shelter to mosquitoes and lots of diseases. Just keeping our home clean is not sufficient; we should extend it outside our home too. There are many communities and NGO which are working in this direction; we should try to help them in places of just cursing government for not taking care of things. Planting more trees is also important for us to have fresh air.

·         Go Stress free: Increasing stress level also invites many health problems. In today’s busy and stressful life going for yoga and pranayamas will help a lot in controlling the stress. With increasing competition and pressure to perform today even kids have more stress then we used to have before. Childhood is very precious time of life so we should motivate kids to perform but should not pressurize them to fulfill our dreams.

·         Go the Organic way: With all the above things I can’t forget the important part of natural remedies and supplements in my childhood. My mom never used to make me swallow tablets for every problem. Turmeric with milk, honey, ginger etc were some of the common home remedies we used to use for cough and cold. I have seen my grandparents eating a spoonful of Dabar chyawanprash (mixture of herbs and spices, which claims to improve immunity) every morning after the breakfast. Even we were fed the same every day, especially during winters having chyawanprash in morning and night was a must. After my marriage also when my mom visited me first time she got a big jar of Dabur chyawanprash with her. My husband catches cold very easily and giving him chyawanprash was a common suggestion everyone gave me, and it really worked. Now also I believe a lot on the natural remedies and supplements. They do improve our immunity without having any side effects like medicines.


With all these small-small lifestyle changes we can make our life healthier. Kids, who are the future of India, will make the future brighter only when they are healthy. And to stay away from diseases having strong immune system is must. I request everyone to impart such healthy habits in kids so that they and the future of India get stronger immunity.
PS: This post is written for #ImmuneIndia contest on Indiblogger for Dabar chyawanprash. And I strongly believe that a healthy kid can only give a healthy future to India.

Image Source: Google




November 11, 2013

Mystery of Missing Oil Diffuser

I always wonder if I was a dog in my last birth as some qualities of my previous birth are still there in me, for instance my over sensitive nose. Whenever I feel some different smell in one corner of the house I rush to that spot as a superwoman with Air freshener in my hand. Sometimes my Husband gets so chaotic about how I am able to sense the foul smell which he is not getting at all. Especially during the rainy season one can easily find me roaming throughout my 2 BHK apartment with air freshener in hands. In Bangalore where it rains almost every evening for 6-7 months, the foul smell is something we have to fight with every day. Me and my husband we both go to work and our home stays locked for 10-12 hours daily with no ventilation, in these circumstances to maintain the fresh smell in home is a bit of challenge for me and I keep looking for various ways to tackle this issue.

So when the festive season started, I decided to buy an oil diffuser for our home. I have seen them in spas and hotel and I loved the concept of burning essential oil for freshening up the air. I looked for them online and ordered one after consulting with my husband. (You know how we ladies get confuse while shopping, second opinion is must I tell you ;) ) He was quite happy with the idea of buying oil diffuser assuming that after this I won’t move around the house with air freshener in hand.


We ordered the Oil diffuser and happily forgot about it, until one evening when I got a call from that online shopping site. I was sipping my evening coffee with Husband in the living room when my mobile phone rang. Husband dear was watching TV so I went in the other room to talk. That call was from the same shopping site to inform me that due to some reason they won’t be able to deliver the Oil diffuser that I ordered from them. That was when I recalled the shopping I did some 10 days back and hang up the call saying its fine, because actually I felt that the oil diffuser was not required now anyway. I finished the call, came back and sat at the same place to finish my coffee. 

Eyes still glued on TV, Husband asked “Who called?

Online shopping site people” I replied while sipping my coffee.

Husband cross-questioned “What for?” eyes still on TV.

I hate it when people talk to me without giving all their attention to me “To inform that they cannot deliver the oil diffuser we ordered from them 2 weeks back” I said fumingly. 

What? But they have already delivered it right.” he said while looking straight at me. First time in the conversation he looked at me to say something which has not happened at all.

Really, And when did they deliver?” I was already planning a victory in my head, because I was going to prove him wrong very soon. :P

“I don’t know when.” He shrugged his shoulders.

Aaha... so when you don’t even know when they delivered it then why are you calming that they delivered it. Have you seen it anywhere in the house?” I was enjoying it now.

No. But I smelled it. The house smells nice all the time nowadays.” He had a point this time.

Hmmm.... So we have a mysterious oil diffuser at home.” I rolled my eyes, while trying hard to hide my smile.

See, I know I do not have a dog nose like you but I have the sense of smell” he said while bending towards me. “Moreover I have not seen you marching with the Air freshener spray from last few days, so I know it is the oil diffuser which is doing the work. Now will you please stop your stupid game and tell me who called you” he said with a grin on his face. 

I started laughing, and he was clueless. 

Your Highness, will you mind sharing your great PJ (poor jock) with us” here comes his typical satire.  

I controlled my laugh and continued “I don't understand how someone can be so ignorant. It is your home too love look around sometimes.” 

However, I have to give this to you that your smelling capabilities are improving in my company” I played with his hair while saying this.

It was obvious by now that he is annoyed; he removed my hands from his hair and asked for clarification.

And I pointed my finger to the Ambi Pur Set & Refresh, which was kept on the corner table in the living room. 


Then I told him that someday back this sample of Ambi Pur Set & Refresh was sent to me by Procter & Gamble. It has a cartridge full of perfumed oil, which when inserted in the outer cover releases the perfumed oil which is the reason behind this good smell in the living room. This perfumed oil is released all day long, and we can increase or decrease the releasing amount by moving the cartridge up or down. 

By now husband was really impressed with it and went to the corner table and took the Set and Refresh in his hand. “Nice Yaar, It works well. So next time again we have to buy this full thing.” he questioned while exploring the Ambi Pur Set & Refresh.

No. We just need to buy the cartridge. This one is lavender fragrance, next I want to try the other fragrances from their range.” I took the empty coffee mugs to the kitchen and when I came back Husband said “Write it down in the next month’s grocery list, we are buying one Ambi Pur Set & Refresh for our bedroom too” eyes glued back to the TV again.

I laughed and teased him “Look who is getting fonder of the good smell now

Without sharing his attention from TV he said “And it will be kept on my side of bed table” 

He was expecting me to get annoyed, I kept calm face and said dramatically “Oh Dear, keep it wherever you want but you can’t stop its smell to come to me” 

We looked at each other and burst out laughing. This is how our smelly home turned into a smiley home. With Ambi Pur we turned our home to a fresh and happy home :D


November 8, 2013

Our Platinum Day of Love

“Marriages are made in heaven but love happens on earth”. I have always been a very romantic person right from my teenage days, but I never expressed that to anyone. I used to read romantic novels, watch romantic movies and imagine myself as the protagonist in them, but whenever someone asked about my views on love my answer was always same “it’s waste of time”. In school I always left the “my views on Love section”  in slam books empty, or wrote that Loving my parents is love for me. In college I was busy shooing away the guys who proposed me because I was more conscious about retaining my “Love is waste of time” image than falling in love.  And then when I celebrated the silver jubilee of my existence in this world, my parents got a panic attack. They wanted me to get married. In spite of being from a conservative Brahmin family they allowed me to have a say in selecting my life partner.  I never knew what I want in my life partner but I exactly knew what I don’t want in him.

After marriage my life changed in many ways, as happens with every Indian girl. I was still getting adjusted to my new lifestyle when I got chance to travel abroad for work. I was supposed to travel just after 2 month of my wedding and the trip was for 3 months. People around me including some of my close friends were against my decision of accepting the travel opportunity. They felt that this is the most important period of my relationship and I should give it more preference than anything else. On the other hand my husband was always very supportive, he was happy for me. In spite of me asking him again and again about his opinion on my travel his answer remained same. He said it’s a great opportunity and I should not let it go. I was very excited about going to the USA, and was counting days. Finally the day came and I was all set to fly with 2 bulging suitcases.

My husband came with me to the airport, he was busy instructing me to take care of all important documents and other things and I busy telling him to go back home, as next day being a working day not sleeping full-night will take a toll on his health. Finally the check in started and it was time for us to say adieu. We hugged each other and at that point of time I felt very different. I felt as if I have so much to say to him but have no words to express. All this while I was checking time to go in but now I wanted some more time to be with him. I felt heavy but he kept a calm face, I was able to see care, concern and lots of love in his eyes. He smiled and asked me to leave as it was time. I slowly moved my trolley and went inside. All through the time I was standing in the baggage check in queue, my husband stood outside and we were able to see each other.  

After that for next round of formalities I was supposed to go to the next floor, I took the escalator and as I was moving up I just realized that this is the last time I am getting to see my husband in person. After this I will only meet him after 3 long months. I immediately took the escalator down and I found him still standing at the same place, he was looking straight at me. That was an amazing feeling, I was sad yet happy, I wanted to cry at the same time I wanted to shout and let him know what I feel for him. I called on his mobile phone, as we were on different sides of the glass wall. He gestured why after seeing my name flashing on his phone and I gestured him to pickup my call. As he picked up I said those three magical words to him and he repeated them for me too. It was not the first time that we said “I love you” to each other, but it was very deep this time. I gave him a flying kiss and he catched it in the most filmy way I ever imagined him doing.  I blushed and felt like some heroine in some romantic Bollywood movie. I was smiling but had tears in my eyes. That day we were far from each other still felt very close. That was our platinum day of love, the day when we knew that this love is going to last us forever and will never ever fade, just like the platinum.

After reaching the USA, there was not a single day when I did not miss him. He has been very supportive and caring throughout. He never complained about me being away and always kept my moral high too. That was the period we came to know each other even better than before.  That was the time I wrote love letters for the first time in my life, My husband used to laugh at me for doing all this but he preserved all those letters and cards I sent to him. And finally when I came back to India, he was already there to receive me at the airport. When I saw him there, I just left my luggage and ran to him like a child. He gave me a tight hug and said welcome back while taking out a rose from his jacket. I took the rose and held his hand very tight, as if I don't want to leave it ever. I felt very content, because I knew that this love will last forever and ever. And that made me believe that “Marriages are made in heaven but love always happens on earth”. ;)

October 31, 2013

Secondhand Love - Part III

Before reading this post author requests you to read part-1 and Part-2 of this story. That will help you enjoy the story better.
I got many calls from Aakash but I didn’t answer any. Richa too tried talking to me that night but I acted tired and went on bed early to avoid her questions.

I woke up with slight fever next day so Richa suggested me to take a day off. She made me breakfast and then left for college.

As some wise man said, spending some time with just you is the best way to introspect your problems. I eat my breakfast and then went back on bed. I was feeling tired but not sleepy. Our one bedroom kitchen house which otherwise feels so small looked very big and empty to me. I kept staring at the walls and started sinking in my thoughts, at one time I felt as if the wall are closing on me and I stared feeling suffocating. I took my phone and dialled Aakash’s number. Phone was ringing and my heartbeat was rising. After 2 rings I changed my mind and was about to hang-up when I heard Aakash’s voice “Hey Shikha, Hello can you hear me. I called you so many times, I am sorry Shikha.”

My silence was making him worried “Are you there Shikha, can you hear me? Hello”

“I am sorry Aakash” with so much of efforts I finally moved my lips. “I am sorry to disturb you in your office hours, but I want to meet you.”


I had no energy to travel far so I asked Aakash to meet me in the public park near my house. It was lunch hours and Park was almost empty, usually no one goes to park in afternoons so benches were empty. I went and sat under a tree. In sometime Aakash was there, he came directly from office so he was in formals and he looked good as always. His office tag was still hanging around his neck; it was clear how much I panicked him by asking him to meet me urgently.

I was not able to meet eyes with him but he was behaving as if there is no problem between us. “How are you feeling now?” he asked while gently touching my forehead.

I sat quite, but inside me there was a tsunami going on. I had endless thought coming and going in my mind, I was silent but not calm. Finally I dared to look at Aakash and asked him “Why do you care for me so much?”

He kept his hand on mine “Because I love you Shikha”.

“You don’t even know me Aakash.” I was looking directly in his eyes. He was calm. “I know you Shikha. You are a sweet, adorable, loving girl. How has her own rules and idealism in life and I respect you for that. What more I need to know for loving you”

I looked down “I have an ugly past Aakash, which is still haunting me.”
I was in 10th std, most important year of schooling. I have always been a studious kid, I kept myself away from everything which looked distracting. I had only one goal, to score high and to get admission in best college. That time we used to have many interschool festivals, I had interest in writing and I had won many prizes for my school in essay writing competitions. That year also I was participating in the competitions. Essay writing and Elocution competitions both were on same day. But to our bad luck the guy who was representing our school in Elocution competitions was absent; he has some health issue and was not able to make it there. Last minute finding a good replacement was very challenging for our teachers and she asked me to be the replacement. I was petrified as I was not very comfortable on stage but my teacher believed in me. She told me it is important for our school, if we are marked absent then we will get minus marks. I had no choice but to go for the competition.

I got the topic, which seemed easy to me as I knew about it but when I went on stage and saw so many people waiting to hear me I got nervous. I did whatever best I can but I was not happy with my performance. When I came down the stage one guy from other school, who was waiting for his turn smiled at me and said “nice points”. I didn’t bother to reply to him and went back where my teacher was. I didn’t know that this guy who is praising my points now is going to change my point of view towards life.
To be continued .....


October 26, 2013

Budget Gifting Ideas for Diwali

Diwali is that time of year when we do lots of parting. Our friends, family, colleagues everyone seems to be playing a perfect host that time. And going for the Diwali party is equality costly as hosting one, because we cannot go for the party empty hand “Ek Gift thobanthahai boss!!” J Otherwise also Diwali being the biggest festival of India, we are following this tradition of exchanging gifts on Diwali from forever.  I am personally not a big fan of gifting sweets, as that is the most common thing every one gives to each other on Diwali. During Diwali we all have our fridge loaded with sweets, and most of that sweet either goes to the house help or goes as return gift with someone. So when our gift is not even getting used by the person it was given to then why not give something better and different, that the giftee can really use. In today’s time when even a Kg of Kajukatli costs more than 750Rs/-   we still have some nice gits available which are unique and well within in our budget. So here I am sharing with you all some great budget gifting ideas for the festive season, which I feel is very festival appropriate for my friends and family.

I found that most of these items are also available online on very reasonable rates. And yes, whenever I do online shopping I always look for discount coupons, as a result I also found the Diwali deals on cuponation which are very tempting J So let’s get started with my budget gifting idea list for Diwali.
Candle holder: it is a very Diwali appropriate gift. For lighting the candles inside home using candle holder makes it safer and more beautiful to look at. One can easily find then anywhere between 150 to 700Rs/-
Decorative Bowls and Trays: During festive parties serving chocolates or dry-fruits to guests in decorative bowls will look very stunning. I found some great pieces online which can be a conversation starter  too J

Oil Diffuser: Now when people are leading such busy life aroma therapy is becoming more popular day by day. Using Oil diffuser at home will not only make the home smell wonderful but will also do wonders to your mood.
 Figurines: Spiritual idols make a very good gift for festivals. So this Diwali give these beautiful Figurines to your loved ones. It will look equally good in the Puja room as well as in the living area.

Playing Cards: Card parties are a must during Diwali, playing cards on Diwali eve is also a ritual in many parts of India. Here are some of the playing cards which can be used for playing as well as a showpiece.

Wall Art and Painting: Diwali is the time when everyone cleans and decorates their home and getting a piece of art to beautify the walls will increase the beauty of the house even more. This turns out to be a very good and pocket friendly gift, something that the giftee will cherish for very long J

Bar Accessories: People who love their drink will also love to get some bar accessories as gift. But remember not to drives back home if you drink in the party.

Fashion Jewellery: Thinking about how to please your wife or girlfriend when gold rates are touching sky this Diwali, then worry not fashion Jewelleries are here for rescue you. They will be light on your pocket but will bring big smile on your lady’s face J

All these gifts are budget products and something which are unique. I hope this list helped you all to come out of your “what to gift Confusion” festival syndrome. Still if you want to save some more this festive season then as I mentioned before don’t forget to check the Diwali discounts going on Cuponation if you are shopping online, because using discount coupons is the smartest way to shop online ;).

I am sure with all this awesome offers and great gifting ideas this Diwali will be more glittering and fun for us and our loved ones. They will be happy to get amazing gifts and we will be happy for being the reason behind the smile on their face.



October 4, 2013

Secondhand Love - Part II

Before reading this post author requests you to read part-1 of this story. That will help you enjoy the story better.

“Please Richs, we are not dating” I surged her hand off my shoulder.

“Oh Come-on  Shiks, I know you do not want everyone to know about your relationship, but you can’t hide it from me, after all I am your BFF” Richa smiled. 

When I was going through the worst phase of my life, other than my mom it was only Richa who stood by me. She was the one who will constantly try motivating me to bounce back and she was always on her toes to make me feel better.

I hugged her and said “I know you are my only BFF. And I am still not sure about Aakash. I want to be friends with him but not ready for anything else now, really!” 

Richa squeezed my hand warmly “I understand. Anyways give me all the update at night, okay. Need to rush for my class” she left and I went back for next lecture.

I and Richa are friends from 5th std. Richa’s dad had a government job and his transfers used to disturb Richa and her brother’s schooling. That was why her parents decided to leave Richa and her brother with their grandparents. Her grandparents were our neighbors and Richa got admission in my class only. Her grandparents were very fond of me, and as I used to score well in class they asked me to help Richa with her studies so that she can catch up with new syllabus quickly. I always admired the liveliness and fun part of Richa. She was good in dance and sports. Her company used to make me happy and with time our bond grew so deep that we were more like sisters then friends. And now in this new city she only is my roommate too.


I reached the coffee shop 2-3 minutes early and Aakash was already there. “You came so early.” I said while shaking hands with him. He wore white polo T-shirt with khaki pants and was looking very smart in them. Aakash asked me what I would like to have and after placing our order we comfortably sat on my favorite corner seat. 

“So tell me, what is it, which you do not want to talk over phone” I asked him while keeping my bag down. 

“Why are you in hurry always? You just want to hear what I have to say and leave?” he made fun of me.

“Nothing like that, I thought you have something serious to discuss. You know I have lots of assignments to finish.” I defended myself. But the truth was I wanted to hear what he has to say as I was able to see soothing coming my way and I was really confuse about that.

“Actually, I have been selected for an onsite assignment and my boss really wants me to go for it.” He said while sipping water from his glass.

“Oh that’s great. For a software engineer getting an onsite project is like a dream come true right? Congratulations to you. Is this my treat for that?” I laughed.

“Not at all. Actually I wanted to know your views. I mean, you know….” He paused for minute and I didn’t said anything.

After a long pause he said “Okay, Shikha lets not play this hide and seek game anymore. You know what I feel for you” I was still silent.

3 months ago I met Aakash in Aadi’s Birthday Party. Aadi was Richa’s friend and when she asked me to accompany her for the party I went there with her. Aakash was also there in that party and in his words it was love at first sight for him. He approached me in the party but as I have promised myself I behaved reserved. After that on few more occasions we crossed each other’s way and I am very sure it was not a coincidence every time. Finally when I felt that Aakash is a genuine guy I came out of my cocoon, we became friends. I knew Aakash has feelings for me and he is a great guy but my past never let me go free. It was very tough for me to believe people, and the fear of getting hurt was making me stay away from relationship. However deep-down I knew that this day will come soon, when I have to face my fears and my past.

We drank our coffee in silence and when it was time for me to leave Aakash held my hand “it is killing me Shikha. Please speak.”

I pulled my hand back and took out my wallet to pay for my coffee. I never liked others to pay for me, so whenever we went out we shared the bill. Aakash stopped me from giving money and asked me to keep the wallet inside “Please Shikha, stop it. I want to do all this for you. I want to give you the best, I want to make you smile, I want to keep you happy, and I want to take care of you.” He was sounding tense now.

By now some people in the coffee shop already stated staring at us, it was bothering me. I took my bag and stood to leave. Aakash also stood and come face to face; he held my hands very tight his face all red “I love you Shikha, Please be mine.” 

I was not able to take it anymore, I broke down and started crying. Aakash was clueless, and he started apologizing. I took my hands out of his and left that place without saying a word to him.

To be continued..... Here

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