Mind Full

When I was asked by my friend what I ate today, my mind went blank for a minute without even being able to process that information. I went to the kitchen to look for it. There are days where I have forgotten if I had taken a bath or had my tea.

I had my meal one day and just after half an hour, I ate again forgetting that I ate already. This made me wonder what I am doing to myself pushing me towards observing my actions.

Image from Goalcast

As a child when your parent feeds you – you just eat, when you want to play – you just play, when you were massaged – you just laid down and enjoyed it. This is how we developed different senses over time. I believe it is a beautiful feeling to be able to use your senses and experience every activity in your daily life.

Our generation has been doomed with a lot of distractors like social media which consumes us in different ways. Though we are aware of its implications, we always have a love-hate relationship with our social accounts. Even though I agree that social media is a powerful tool, it is up to every individual as to how they are going to use it.

Though these accounts help us to keep in touch with people/stay updated with certain topics, over time we could develop FOMO (Fear of missing out) which might lead to stress, anxiety, or disturbed sleep patterns.

Does that mean we need to quit social media accounts altogether? I don’t think that is going to help. Probably being aware of how long you spend your time every day might be of some help. But this does not address the main problem.

I wrote down a set of question to ask myself to understand the problem :
1. Do you brush your teeth focusing on every teeth to make it clean?
2. Do you take bath giving attention to every part of your body?
3. Do you enjoy your meal without any distractions like tv or phones?
4. Do you stop using your gadgets at least 1 hour before your bedtime?

Yes, I am talking about ‘Mindfulness‘. This word sounds so fancy and complex at the same time, though it simply means “to be aware“. Often mindfulness is misunderstood for being fully focused all the time. However, it is about being aware of your thoughts and actions (without trying to control or fight the mind).

Here was a small mindfulness experiment I tried with a goal of eating as slowly as possible:
Day 1: I got so restless that I ate my meal fast.
Day 2: I tried to slow down though I yearned to watch some content
Day 3: I scrolled my phone when I ate
Day 4: I tried to stare at my watch as I was eating eat
Day 5: I tried to eat as slowly as possible

This simple exercise gave me reassurance that being aware of what I do is possible, though it needs a constant effort to be present at the moment. This has also helped me to not plan so much for the future and enjoy the present moment. In the end, the choice is ours if we want to be “Mind full or Mindful

Probably making time for some ‘childlike moments‘ in your daily life would be a giant leap towards mindfulness.

All of this feels like a mountain to climb, then I realize it is all about taking one step at a time surrendering yourself in this process, like a child.

Cardamom buns

It is an interesting history to read about how cardamom has traveled to the lands of Scandinavia. Coming from India, to see the spices like Cardamom, Licorice, Ginger, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cloves, Saffron being a part of the Scandinavian kitchen made me all excited and happy. 🥳

When I first tasted Cardamom buns in Sweden, it left me all nostalgic and reminded back home that I chose to hunt for the best versions at the local bakeries. 🤤 It was thrilling to see Swedes appreciate cardamom the way Indians do 🤠

Thanks to the scary corona warnings, I decided to make my own version of kardemummabullar. 👻 Baking these lovelies was an amazing and grounding experience altogether. 🧘‍♀️😇

The twisted lil dough getting ready to be baked 👯‍♂️
Baking in progress 😌
I literally screamed after seeing the batch of cardamom buns come out of the oven and my entire home smelled divine sweetness. 🥺
And the Swedish kardemummabullar is here 😭🤤

Dark winters

Embrace the dark is the first thing I heard when I moved to Sweden.
Having been living all my life in a tropical climate, this was something new to me.

Image source : My photography

Making the home lit with nice scented candles, lights all winters, getting active with a sport, spending time with friends was how I learned to spend my winters.

The winter this time is unusually dark and gloomy with no trace of sunlight throughout the day.
With the pandemic becoming worse day by day, this prolonged darkness is of no help 😑
Our mental health has gone for a toss! 🙆🏻

Image source : Movie ‘The Shining’

The only savior from these dark and depressing times is a glass of warm glögg with some crunchy almonds and raisins! Ah, bliss! 😌🍷

Image source: The Local sweden

Marching towards zero waste

Have you wondered how restaurants and cafes would tackle their surplus food availability? When I come across bakeries where all the breads get sold up near the closing time, it gives me immense satisfaction as a customer. But in reality, this is not the case all the time. The consumption patterns vary and we cannot safely assume that all the baked/cooked food would be sold at the end of the day.

Hotels and food waste: What happens to breakfast buffet leftovers

It is said that an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally each year, one third of all food produced for human consumption, according to the FAO of the United nations.

Food waste är allas ansvar | Air Liquide - Sverige - Blog
One third of the world’s edible food is wasted every year – and that’s set to grow as the global population does.

As I had this thought about solutions for food waste in my mind, I came across an app that helps in this mission. Too good to go (TGTG) is a Copenhagen based company that not only helps to tackle the food wastage issue, but at the same time, be a connecting point to support the local business with their surplus food available with them. The local restaurants, bakeries, cafes, groceries stores etc are connected via this app.

Costa Coffee expands partnership with Too Good To Go to tackle food waste  in Exeter | The Exeter Daily
The surprising element is that we do not know what food we would be getting when we make an order. Thus, it is called a magic bag.

Interestingly, I also came across another food waste app based out of Sweden, called Karma which is similar to TGTG app. One fascinating feature of this app is that you would get a personalized profile with data related to the number of kgs and items you have rescued so far. It also motivates us to win a batch and be consistent in this zero wastage mission.

Both the apps provide us choices with dietary preferences and the ordering goes like this:
– Check what’s available in the store for you based on your location
– Pay it through the app in advance
– Collect the food at the prescribed time slot allotted

One major difference between TGTG and Karma app is that, the former offers us a bag filled with surplus foods (magic box) and the latter is the individual food items that we select and buy (there are no mystery/magic boxes).

Få 80 kr att handla för i appen Karma! - Gratisprinsessan
Ordering food through Karma app

Both the apps are exciting and provide an interesting dimension which complement and help in reducing the food wastage. Personally, I felt like a rescue warrior while using these apps with an added joy of getting quality food at an affordable price. I believe that this is a personal win-win solution to the customer, the local business and the planet!

Have you used the above apps or come across any other food waste solution apps? Would be great to hear from other (potential) rescue warriors.

Wild Wild documentary

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The Netflix documentary on Osho named “Wild wild country” can’t be a better title. As we travel through each episode, it unveils every aspect of the story beautifully.

It was truly intriguing to watch how every character that was a part of this story had built/destroyed what Osho’s vision was. The best part of the documentary was undoubtedly the storytelling! And as it progresses, you end up thinking ‘It can’t get this real’.

When Osho and his followers moved to Oregon from India, the people of the town seem to hate them for being free, different and practicing a weird religion/cult which they have not heard of. ‘The fear of unknown‘ and ‘Acceptance by the society’ were the two major factors that flipped the Oregon chapter completely. Wondering if this story would really have a crime side to it, if Rajneeshee’s were accepted for the way they were!

Every spiritual movement have used different means to attract followers, and Osho was no exception to it. The intent was to lead people to a universal spirituality, rooted in an affirmation of life which was based on science rather than belief system and dogma.

His practices were truly far ahead of time. The only crime this rebellious master would have committed was to ‘awaken’ the individuals from the agonizing religious beliefs!

Blissfully dangerous

Oh, the sweet sound of water,

You melt my heart like a snow!

How gifted you are to be free-flowing,

Travelling your own mysterious path,

Going beyond obstacles by being playful and wild,

You are indeed Blissfully dangerous! 😍💧🌬️🌅🏞️

S’he’ – It matters

Happy Women’s day to everyone including the supportive and lovable men in our lives. Well, this isn’t a women’s day post precisely.

Our society has always made all of us think that men don’t have emotions. We, women, have a constant battle to be fought against misogyny, chauvinism, stereotyping society etc. But men life’s too is not a ’cakewalk’.

I pretty much sum that up in majorly two issues:

Men & emotions: Men have been brought up with the idea that showing emotions in any way is a symbol of weakness. (Did we know: Men and women understand & process their emotions differently, but they both feel about a certain emotion quite similarly!)

Men & being expressive: We always associate expressiveness with women. Men are expected to be physically & mentally strong. They are supposed to bear stress silently by not sharing or expressing it outside.

But yes, we can’t put all of them in a box & label them as emotionless and inexpressive. We have come across a lot of men who are completely contradicting to the so-called societal branding. Honestly, everyone has their own way to express what they feel. There is nothing to do with gender here.

Having said that all, is it not stereotyping of how a man should behave?  Unfair isn’t it. We have been constantly taught that Masculinity is for men and Femininity for women. If caring, being helpful, Gentle, Innocent, being relationship-centric are feminine characteristics, well I know quite some who possess it all.
Masculinity & Femininity is again a gender-based stereotype done for convenience. Frankly, every human has a mix of both traits & must integrate both of these parts in them for their psychological well being.

To all men out there: “Nurture your feminine side too” 🙂

Beauty salons

Beauty Industry as such is always overrated, be it Products/Salons. We all humans at some point of the time end up in a Salon, even if we wish we don’t want to – Social norms you see!

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Salons somehow make us believe that we are the ugliest beasts alive and that they can turn us into beauties if we agree to go for whatsoever they are selling to us.  😐

Accept it or not, they have made their fortunes by targeting our Confusions and Insecurities. The worst part, yeah you guessed it right “We are falling for it”.  🙄

One day I went for an eyebrow trimming after ages.
And the lady who was attending me was like “Do you want a haircut too?”.
I was like, “no thanks”.
And she goes on “Ma’am, are you applying oil for your hair?”
I was wondering, what else do we apply and replied: “Yeah I do” 😯
And she came up with a strategy “Oh now I get it, this is why your hair looks frizzy and dry. It may break anytime and you would have a severe hair loss. Let me help you with this situation. We have a hair spa treatment – A complete hair care treatment “and she goes on. 🙄😓

You don’t have any option other than to listen to them. 🤐  The moment you try to justify why you don’t want one, they are going to take up an hours’ time to convince you. *Warning* ❗

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Being dark is their fortune too. Be it a beauty product/salons, their sole aim to make us pity ourselves for being dark and eventually fall for their treatment/facial creams.  😳
Until being dark is a taboo, their business will thrive! 😒

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These salons are pretty good at advertising and selling their service without even a marketing degree. Pretty good eh?  😕 🤓 On the other hand, it all comes down to earning their piece of bread. 🤑 It is we who need to consciously make our choices to what we really want for us and not fall into the trap. Peace ☮ ✌

Why Jallikattu ban could lead to extinction of native bulls

The darker and deeper implications of the ban.

In May 2014, the Supreme Court of India banned the sport citing animal welfare issues; post which during January 2015, SC upheld its decision after protests all over Tamilnadu against the ban.

Jallikattu , an ancient sport, the seals of the Indus Valley civilization depict it, which is proof that this sport was in vogue 5,000 years ago. Ancient Tamil poetry, known as Sangam literature (2nd BCE – 2nd CE), has many detailed references to ‘Eru Thazhuvuthal’ (hugging/embracing the bull).

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Jalli means ‘coins’, and kattu is ‘tied’. A small bag of coins was tied to the horns of the bulls, which the players claimed as a prize money. The only way you could get that was to embrace the hump of the bull long enough to grab the bag without getting hit.

The ban, imposed by Supreme Court after organizations like PETA India, FIAPO protested the practice, followed by Animal welfare board of India (AWBI) which filed a case to ban the game.

Now about the BAN! Yes, this sport is being banned by Supreme Court after organizations like PETA India, FIAPO protested the practice, followed by Animal welfare board of India (AWBI) which filed a case to ban the game.

The accusations by these organizations are:

  • Bull is tortured & killed
  • Players die

Does this really happen? Is ban an “ultimate” solution? Doesn’t it look like an extreme step?

The ‘urban disconnect’ from rural India plays a major role in this issue. We are letting the citified mindset to get away with the rampant destruction of our own livestock and farming. Our media reports over the last decade had shown every headline that screams about injuries during Jallikattu event thereby sensationalizing news and grabbing eyeballs of the viewers. We must also not forget that the decision makers at the courts, influential organizations, associations, including the city people are in fact ‘urbanites’ who support the ban. No wonder they would hardly know the game!

Are there any regulations by Tamilnadu Govt. to protect the interest of Bulls & players?

The answer is yes. There is an act in TN to regulate the sport named ‘Tamilnadu Jallikattu Regulation of 2009’. Every bull owner needs to submit an application along with the physical fitness certificate to AWBI with a fee prescribed. Only on approval from the body, Bulls get eligible to participate in the event.

By the state act (TN), every bull is giving a serial number first (JK XXX). Tests are performed by the veterinary doctors which include physical check-up including horns, breathe test, urine & blood sample test etc. After the event also, the same set of tests are being performed. These pre & post medical tests are carried out under the supervision of the AWBI appointed observer and are recorded. All these test documents and videos before and/during the event are then submitted to state govt., AWBI &court etc. It is to be noted that the sport happens under the supervision of the collector, RDO, SP cadre officer of police and an AWBI appointed observer.

Are animals being tortured before & during the game? Do a lot of players die?
PETA & other organizations accuse the bull owners of using chilli powder, pouring liquor into bull’s mouth before the event. If the above accusations are true, then these claimed tortures should be visible in the Govt. veterinarian test records or videos. Secondly, they can identify a bull with its serial number allotted and the owner can be mapped from the data to be acted upon.
Isn’t it illogical to do such acts and make the bull play the game? Well, liquor would have the same effect on bulls as it has on humans!

It is to be noted that there is no single registered case of injury post this regulation was passed in 2009. There is a likely chance of evidence produced by PETA to be a staged or an exceptional case of any place before 2009 ie. Before the regulations had come. In Spain, the participating bulls are killed. But here in India, bulls are celebrated by village and family & no bull is killed.

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A leading cool drink Industry is planning to enter the dairy industry in India. How do such corporates survive in a market where people are having their own milk production and products? Where do they create a need for their products in the Indian market? How can they make this happen?
Well, it would work like this: Ban the game – Make the bulls unavailable for breeding by sending to slaughterhouses – Establish the empire. A big game isn’t it! Our native bread (bull and cow) are at a great demand for export knowing their value.Do we all know that we import Jersey cows for every two years? This is a whole new topic to talk about.
It is to be noted that earlier the same cool drink industry wanted to set up its factory in TN which was opposed by villagers in and around the place since gallons of water will be consumed by the factory, not making it available for agriculture. Again a threat?!

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A strange aspect is that these organizations focus on bulls being used for the sport, however, there is serious animal exploitation happening all around where there is no voice raised. Not to mention about the pain horses go through during training for horse races. Why aren’t these organizations coming forward to talk about this? In fact, it is a game for the rich, funded by them. Why would they even talk?! What about all the animals sent to slaughterhouses? Is that not cruelty?

Questions to animal welfare activists:  By banning this sport, are we not making the bulls available for exploitation? What would happen post ban? How would these animal welfare organizations stand against these bulls sent to slaughterhouses? How will we protect such bulls from becoming extinct? The repercussions are really serious on this matter.

A bull is raised in the household like a family member. They are taken care by the family throughout the year in a protective environment with food, proper shelter, and medication. It is to be noted that this sport is being played only once in a year. It is also a part of their culture to worship the bull as god and do the honors. For the rest of the year, such bulls are being used for agricultural & mating purposes. This is not just a sport or tradition alone, it is a breeding science!

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Consequences of Ban are really dangerous. One needs to completely understand the ecosystem in order to decide whether such ban is justified or not. To begin with, if the game is banned, that would lead to bulls being tamed & taken to slaughterhouses. This would lead to native breed to bull becoming unavailable for mating purposes, which would, in turn, create a huge demand for artificial insemination for breeding purposes (A Costly affair for cattle owners). And not to forget that we would be import dependent even on these bovine animals. It is alarming to know that there were around 130 or so cattle breeds in India 100 years ago and now there are only 37 of it. The ban would lead to further destruction of local livestock breeds in the name of animal rights. It is our duty & responsibility to conserve and safeguard such native breeds from extinction.

Whether we find the traditional game relevant to today’s world or not, the banning of the game is not the solution, looking at the repercussions it can lead to. Amending Protection of cruelty to animals act is the only way out to save the event. Jallikattu is a sustainable way of maintaining native breeds & hence is not to be banned, rather can be modified for the benefit of all.

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