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What is so wrong with “conveniences”?

I didn’t see a better example for something that was running in my mind for many months, what can be so wrong with a cuttable kitchen-ready coconut? 

cuttable kitchen-ready coconutNo, there is nothing wrong with the coconut or the business model that made it ready for the kitchen. You don’t have to worry about breaking it, no hassle with the safety of your fingers, right?

But the problem is its too much of a convenience.  At the cost of what? They cut the coconut in two halves and then drained the actual tasty water that was inside (probably there was another business around bottled coconut water).  Then they sealed the two halves with a hard ‘wax’ after filling the space with distilled water and some air. That water is labelled ‘undrinkable’ and you have to drain it after “cutting your coconut” into two nice pieces with a normal kitchen knife.

So far, so good. If you want a coconut along with its natural refreshing water, then buy a normal coconut and break it yourself.  Or if you want the convenience and pleasure of cutting it with a normal knife, then buy this.

I thought a ‘convenience’ is something that makes my life easy. The ‘cost’ I am paying in return, often goes into fine print and I was made to conveniently miss it.

There are tons of such conveniences in our every day life and we are silently paying a price. Our lives were just good without any of these conveniences but we chose them, we pay a price and we miss something in the process, something natural, something good.

Don’t jump into any conclusions yet, but lemme give you few more examples:

  1. We were walking, cycling or taking a public transport to go to a workplace or a museum etc, but now with the transport ‘conveniences’, we go there by a car. Lets not talk about congestion, pollution and global warming now, NOT YET.
  2. We were buying fresh vegetables, or grow them in backyard, or store them for a short period of time, but with all the storage ‘conveniences’, you hardly eat fresh vegetables but just keep them in refrigerator for a very long time, I have seen people frequently throwing away rotten veggies and spoiled meats, almost every week. Lets not talk about the cost of growing and the cumulative loss now, NOT YET.
  3. Many of the families have even given up cooking as a daily activity, with the advent of all cuisine ‘conveniences’, that they just eat out every day.. almost every day. I can’t even imagine myself in their shoes but lets not talk about MSDs, health hazards, carcinogenic preservatives used in restaurants and their lethal impact now, NOT YET.
  4. We were playing outdoor games on a daily basis or spending lot of time outdoors otherwise, but with all the living room ‘conveniences’, we are stuck to TV, I mean your every day entertainment whatever it is.  Tell me what is used more frequently? Your TV or your treadmill? Be frank.
  5. We used to remember by heart, at least 20 phone numbers, another 20 full postal addresses, at least 200 names of people in every day life, people at the vegetable market, grocery store, bus conductors, autowallahs and who not? And the thousands of interactions it triggered, hudreds of relationships and tens of friends. But with all the electronic ‘conveniences’, we hardly remember 2 phone numbers. We don’t go out for shopping groceries, clothes, books at all. The e-commerce is slowly taking it away and yes, there is a ‘one-click’ ordering convenience too. Lets not talk about how many businesses are shutting down in your local area now and the wonderful personal moments you missed just like that, NOT YET. 
  6. We used to go out with different kinds of people and when a true difference came up, we fought, we patched up and then we moved on. We lived a 100 years together in spite of all our differences. But with the advent of friendship ‘conveniences’, you go out with like-minded people. you cut down your risk of getting into a difference. Lets not talk about how you just screwed your mind into a comfy-zone and forever denied it an opportunity to evolve, and thereby run into relationship issues later, NOT YET.

In fact, this list is endless. I don’t want to sound ridiculous or unwelcoming of the modern day changes or the techy pleasantries we enjoy having accustomed to live with.

But I want you to consciously look out and understand the price you are paying for the convenience you are claiming. I am sure it will change your life and lifestyle. 

Thanks for reading.

B

Categories: analysis, entertainment, friends, fun, health, home, life, my, suggestions, urban, world | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

3 weeks of happiness

spoonful to plateful

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poetic mornings

winter morning lazy sunday
cozy bedding, no school today
sleepy eyes in dreamy thoughts
crazy dad to play with all day 🙂

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breakfast heaven :)

breakfast heaven

Steelcut oats with walnut and banana topping.. oregano’ed wheat bread toast and an omelette treated in premium olive oil and laden with mushroom, cheese n red/green/yellow peppers.. 🙂 you should be here 🙂 Full Credits: Head Chef Satish

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How I improved my ‘deep sleep’ hours

Sleep is a true privilege.. you can’t buy it.. you can’t snatch it.. Neither your social status, nor your hidden dollar stash, none of your cool gadgets, nor your costly cot… no my friend.. none of them can make you sleep well..

If you have not yet seriously observed your sleep patterns, then you better start doing it. Because the quantity and quality of your sleep directly impacts your health, your cognitive skills, reflexes and reactions, way of thinking, social behaviour and finally even the number of chess games you win. 🙂

You can read about REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and how sleep is categorized into light and deep phases, there are innumerable reports out there.. And you would need a health tracker device something like a ‘Jawbone UP band’ or a ‘Fibit flex’ or a ‘Nike+ FuelBand SE’ etc.. Trust me! Its worth money. Compare them and buy one that suits you… and there are some smartphone apps too that do a similar job.. check em out but how to improve your deep sleep? haha… thats the secret i am going to tell you now, but mind you! Its very tough to do all this:

Timely food and sleep

aah! you can’t do that? ok next..

Healthy diet

I too swing too much, but for most of the week, I am on a balanced diet, with really a lot of vegetables, leaves and just a few carbs that are barely enough. Ensure you are served with more uncooked raw food. I found ‘1:3’ as the best ratio for cooked vs uncooked portions. And yes unfortunately, ‘NO SWEETS’ please…not at all. Start doing this in your lunch.. Ensure you dine very light so as not to stress your tummy too much..

a cute wave of light / deep. 4.46 is huge for a 7.13

a cute wave of light / deep. 4.46 is huge for a 7.13

Quantity of sleep

Yes, the number of hours matters. Observe it carefully, its the sleep time that we abuse most and usually cut it short for our unplanned events by sacrificing a few hours sleep on that day.. Its bad. There is no catching up later. It won’t work that way. I was sleeping 6 to 6.5 hours a day with 2 hr deep sleep, but one good samaritan has told me the ‘8-8-8’ rule.. 8 hours work, 8  hours of play and 8 hours of sleep… It would be fantastic if we can truly do that, but I am afraid I personally cannot.. So I pegged my sleep goal at 8 hours, but ensured sleeping at least 7dot5 hr a day…I planned the rest of the day in a way that gives importance to these most abused 8 hours of sleep time..  Few weeks like that and I can see the ‘deep sleep’ part actually increasing from 2 to 3 and then to 4.. and haa to 5.

Exercise

I think we have outgrown the old adage of ‘What food to the hungry and what bed to the sleepy’.. No! Mere exercise won’t give you deep sleep, while it surely can make you sleep more. So, its mandatory you have a moderate to strenuous exercise routine but you still have to follow the rest of the rules in here..

Forgive and move on

This is another important thing you have to do.. Stop comparing yourself with others. Stop feeling insecure. Forgive them who did bad things to you. And move on. Forgive the bus driver who spoiled your day. Forgive the autowallah that almost pushed you into the gutter. Forgive the lady next door for all her stupidities.  Life is bigger than the petty things you fight with every day. No one is eligible enough to give you a nightmare.

Divert the mind before you hit the bed

Keep your mind occupied all through the day. Don’t just watch TV or work for the office all day long but develop some habits that keep you happy and your mind occupied. And just before hitting the bed, divert your mind, like I play chess for 20 mins that helps in forgetting everything else before I go to sleep. Though I wake up suddenly when I defeat Grand Masters Anatoly or Anand in a dream, overall, it helps me go to bed with less nagging thoughts inside..

Dark room, Silence and Family

Make sure the bedroom is dimly lit or better if its completely dark with a handy switch or torch.  And yes! you need a silent night to have a good sleep. And finally! If you have infant kids sleeping on the same cot, the device might detect their movements and your graphs would come down. But most of us are used to having a kid in the arm and I can sense the same freshness of deep sleep even though its not reported by the device. If the kid wakes you up, then its just a bad night.  Otherwise, it seemed fine to me. Am still researching this part.

Its all guys! Thats how I keep clocking a 4-5 hour deep sleep every day.. 🙂 And my weight is coming down too from 96 to sub 90’s.. Thats my next milestone 🙂 Keep watching this space.

Hope this helps you…Thanks for reading,
/balu

Update-1:

I clocked a 78% deep sleep today (20130105) — its not a random shot — improving my deep sleep percentage from 40’s to almost 80’s 🙂 I can’t explain how supremely refreshing the feeling is 🙂

Jawbone doesn’t give in-depth analysis as below, neither it makes the input data available for off-app analytics… so I spend few seconds extra every day to keep my sleep data in an excel sheet and this is how it looks like over the last 3 months 🙂 .. hope this helps you or perhaps inspire too  🙂

see the % of deep sleep increasing from 40’s to late 70’s

Categories: analysis, health, home, life, me, mind, office, philosophy, psychology, suggestions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Images always Inspire

Images Always Inspire

yes, they do.

.

I had this photo framed on my wall for so many years (12”x5”).. I loved the two extremes of human mind posing in a single picture… scientific excellence on one side and a literary marvel on the other. In fact it was one picture that kept me motivated through some of my toughest years.

If I ever get a chance to have my own wall-to-wall painting, this would be the one that stands first 🙂

Photo Courtesy: “The Hindu”. I scanned it from that news paper and got it framed, at a time when I didn’t know anything about copyrights. Not sure of the original photographer. May GOD bless them and now I would not think twice to stake all my earnings to buy the copyright, if needed.  What is there in this pic? I can’t explain. You can only feel it.

Thanks for coming here,

/balu

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a 1-minute game every father plays with his kids

Its a silly one minute game, i think every one plays it and must do so.. 🙂 But then, I am not sure how many of you would tie up dreams, games and memories into a single bundle.  I watch time flying by fast and ruthless. Kids are, no doubt a respite from all the other tensions ( often by being themselves a tension fountain). They certainly have changed the course of my life and with all the new/unplanned flood of events and emotions, I lost track of where I started, what I wanted to do and when I would stop. But I learnt one thing by now… To convert everything into a memory and to keep it forever.  Some are good, some are bad and a few are ugly, but you know, sleeping on the terrace, looking at the stars and then pulling out a decade old photo to relive the memory, is just exhilarating. Try it.

Every man, in the end,
is just a bookful of memories and a bagful of sand.

what say? 🙂 please watch this:

thanks for reading and watching. 🙂

~balu

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kids are real fun

Its been 5+ months the bundles of joy arrived at our home and I wonder how/why I couldn’t give them some space in my blog till today. Its quite sure that your life & daily routine change forever with the advent of new borns.  You play with them a lot. You like his smile. You buy lot of fashion/funky dresses for her.  You spend all your time with them and what not 🙂 And the first thing I observed is that the time just flies by with the speed of light.  The last 5 months passed off in a snap, I can’t believe it.

Anyway, here is a brief video I really enjoyed compiling over the past few weeks, playing with them, taking their pictures, talking to them etc.. I hope you too will love watching it.

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Navaratan roti – a traditional indian recipe


IMG_2587, originally uploaded by balusss.

If only you agree that what you eat directly affects your overall health, if only you are convinced of this cycle of influence (Food->Sleep->Work->Performance->Success->Food), may be then that you would need to read further.

Millets were a major part of the diet in ancient India. What our ancestors relished before rice/wheat became main stream agricultural products, has now of course become a portion of our recipes, but then.. um, here is one such extraordinary recipe.

Millet Magic – Add these 9 grains to wheat (each 250gm to 4kg wheat) and it makes the magic flour for you. You can believe what difference ‘health’ can make, only if you experience it.

Long live .. Traditional India.

wheat, mung bean(pesalu), fenugreek(menthulu), chikpeas(sanagalu), corn, jowar(jonnalu), soya, horse gram (ulavalu), black-eyed-peas(bobbarlu) and pearl-millets(sajjalu)

While i like each of them individually, horse-gram being my fav, it really turned out very well that the mixture of all these can make the best ‘atta’ for us. Have been using this for ~2 years and I vouch for its supremacy. The rotis are soft and simply taste healthy 🙂 You only have to try them and u will never use that normal flour again.

Bon appetit.

Categories: home, world | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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