No life-altering philosophies. No depressing stories. No war crimes or injured puppy pictures. This is where you come at the end of a long day to smile and relax. So sit back, order a refreshing drink and share a laugh with me, your bartender for the evening.
And always remember that age-old, fluorescent green rule of life : An appletini a day keeps the doctor away.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Benefits of a balanced diet

The mistake people often make while going for a diet is to aim for weight loss alone. Often, it is a crash diet which claims to make you lose weight within a matter of weeks. That is where you are wrong. In the long run, a crash diet ends up doing you more harm than good.

1. The results are often temporary. Sure, you will fit into that dress in time for the wedding but once you give up the diet, the kilos are going to come rushing back with a vengeance.
2. These diets cut down your calories significantly, thus starving you of vital vitamins and nutrients as well. This will leave you weaker at the end of the day.
3. Most of the weight lost in these diets is water weight. 
4. Canceling whole food groups is not a solution. You end up losing muscle mass alongside the fat and thus end up looking sickly rather than thin. 
5. Above all else, the simple fact is that you cannot sustain a crash diet for a prolonged period. 

The aim of a healthy diet should not be just to lose weight - you should aim to get the right balance of nutrients, minerals and proteins to keep yourself healthy and capable of warding off illnesses. The end goal should be to attain a sense of physical as well as mental wellbeing.

A regular diet combines all food groups in healthy amounts and keeps in mind the rigours of your body as well as your daily cycle. Fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, vegetables and yes, even diary, fish and meat products all find space in these diets.

* With more focus on nutrients rather than calories, your body is given the right combination now to become healthier and help you ward off ailments in the long run. 
* Studies show that diets rich in omega 3 fatty acids aid in improving brain function. They also help in mood alleviation and reducing depression.
* Not eating sufficient nutrients has been shown to reduce and even suppress immune functions of the body.
* Reducing calorie-laden fried food and using healthy alternatives to keep your energy levels at their optimum levels is the key here. 

In this regard, it is important to know what is good for you and what is not.
Image source: Dabur 

Dabur's Honey is one such example of a healthy alternative with multiple benefits. The healthy natural sweetener has been clinically proven to have vastly superior benefits over sugar and other artificial sweeteners. 

  •  Besides having lesser calories than sugar, they also contain vitamins and antioxidants as well. 
  • A single spoon of honey with warm water early in the morning is known to aid in weight loss.
  • It is a proven source of energy. 
  • It is also often used in the treatment of cough and cold. 
  • Besides aiding in digestion, it also nourishes your skin.

When you go back to the history of it, honey has been used in diets for its taste and added benefits for over 2000 years. So, at the end of the day, the real question is, what is your reason for not adding it to your diet yet?

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

As time goes by... #YuviSurfsUC

It is no secret that cricket is the one religion that truly unifies in India. For generations, we have watched crowds throng outside electronic stores during a match, bunking work and school often to watch the likes of Sachin and Saurav take on the opposition. With time, the cricketing world came to our doorsteps, entering first in the form of cable networks dedicated to sports before slowly becoming a part of us with the dawn of the internet.

But these are not without their flaws, mind you. The early days of dial up internet was a harrowing time if you were dependent on it for news updates. I still remember one eventful afternoon in March 2001. We were all students back then and you would have found us that day hovering around the college library. Of course, rest assured our eyes were not on any textbook. No, we were all gazing at the lone computer screen with internet access as the fan slowly rotated around above a dozen of us.

You see, March 2001 may have had other significant events I am sure but for us cricket lovers, it was the beginning of a miracle. It was the second test in the Border Gavaskar series which we were already trailing 1-0 and having been forced to follow on, were staring at a humiliating loss. Obviously somebody forgot to hand over the script to VVS Lakshman and Rahul Dravid though. Nobody would have bet on what was to transpire during the final three days of that historic game as the duo did not just overturn the deficit but actually brought India to a position where Australia were set a target of 384 in a little over two sessions.

After a sedate post lunch session, the magic began in the last session as wickets started to tumble dramatically on the turning minefield of a Kolkata pitch. Harbhajan wove his guiles around the Australian batsman, slowly but surely prying them out until only two wickets remained with nearly 20 overs to go.
Once more there was a twist in the tail though. Having taken out the likes of Steve Waugh, Ponting, Gilchrist and Hayden in the span of five overs, suddenly we found ourselves unable to break through the defences of tailenders Kasprowicz and Gillespie. As over after over passed by, the frustration grew more and more intense.

I remember all this a decade later because we as students stood there inside that college library, clicking the 'REFRESH' button over and over again as watched the dial up internet slowly twist and turn to deliver us the update of the next ball. As great as the tension was for the players out there, here inside the college, all of us were biting our nails too frustrated as much by the slow delivery of information as the lack of wickets.

In the end, we did get those last two wickets in the dying overs of the day to win what many still consider one of the best tests of all time. No doubt the librarian must have wondered what subject could be so amazing that the students would scream and give each other high fives.

The present generation is far luckier than we were in that regard. You have access to brilliant internet speeds today and even handier mobile devices that you can actually access the net with. From standing amidst a crowd outside television shops, in a single generation we have moved on to getting cricket scores from across the world at the touch of a button.  And now, with sites like UC Browser that provide faster data transmission, you have dedicated sections like UC Cricket that combine lightening speed with the game India loves best. Now there is no need for clicking that REFRESH button like we had to years ago as the site has its own Live Score section that boasts both commentary as well as Auto Update facilities. They provide you with the latest news and even have videos so you truly cannot miss the best moments of cricket anymore.

Today, cricket from across the globe truly is at your fingertips and you can find out the distance of Yuvraj's latest sixer moments after he has hit it, whether you are in a crowded bus or a business meeting. You no longer have to bunk from work or school, thanks to UC Cricket which ensures you don't miss a moment of the action.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Waiting his turn

Everyone has their own escape mechanisms at the end of a long day at work – some choose to turn towards music and movies while others may focus on the finer cuisines that surround them. But if I had to give you one advice on how to bring a smile to your face, it would simply be this – get a dog.

During bad times in our home, the one constant that remains unfazed through the murky haze is that adorable munchkin, Snoopy. He entered our house at the age of 40 days and is closer to two years now but he still does not cease to bring a smile to our face with his antics. But it goes beyond him being silly – it is the selfless love that he shares every day without fail that truly make him a priceless part of the family.

One very peculiar aspect (among many, I agree!) regarding Snoopy is his eating habits. Like most beagles, he is a voracious eater and often ends up stealing even from the doberman’s bowl of food at times! He knows who the weaklings are in the house too; the ones most likely to share their food should he beg.

But does that mean he gives up on food that he knows does not belong to him? Well, as it turns out, yes and no. 
The last time I came home, as always Snoopy was overjoyed to see me. He knows the routine of the house well by now and anticipates our meal times better than us. This time though, we all got slightly delayed because of a discussion that was going on in the living room. I recall my mother mentioning that food had been served at the dining table but had forgotten all about it, engrossed in the conversation.

It was only about ten minutes later that we realized that Snoopy was nowhere to be seen. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to guess where his nose would have led him. When he refused to come when we called out his name, we rushed to the dining room. The sight that we saw left us laughing instead of enraged. 

There Snoopy was, sitting on a chair patiently, with the plate of mutton and rotis right in front of him. While he was staring hungrily at it, he still wanted to get a fair share without getting into trouble with us so he just patiently waited at the table for all of us to start so that he could start flashing those “puppy dog” eyes of his.

He was so sure he was going to get his quota he did not even feel the need to steal anymore from us. Coming right off an intense discussion, the sight of him stealing our food could have resulted in us scolding him rougher than he deserved. Instead, his innate belief in us to give our food to him willingly diffused the tension in the room and got us all laughing. He even posed for pictures as you can see while he awaited a plate for him too! You may call Snoopy optimistic but damn! That dog was self-assured, if you ask me.

There is a lot you can learn from dogs - it is easy to give in to personal temptations when you feel you can get away with it but sometimes you just have to have faith that if you do the right thing, you will win in the end. Its so simple a lesson, even dogs know it. When did we forget? 
When I see Snoopy and how much he has matured over the years, I know that he will bring happiness and joy to all who meet him. And I am also happy because I know that like him, a million other Snoopys exist around the world, making people smile every day with their unique antics.

And yes, in case you are wondering, he did get his share of bones at the end of the meal.
What can I say? He knows us too well.

Authors note:
This post was written for Housing.