All posts by Ancy Abraham

Worked as Magazine and Educational Books Editor, Developed industrial websites, brochures and profiles. Writes about lifestyle topics related to health, food, shopping, etc. Presently writing for lifestyletodaynews.com. Many other life-changing projects are in the pipeline, keep reading, Enjoy!

To lose weight, make friends with lean people

A scientific study says that if you want to lose weight make friendship with lean people. The attitude of my friends towards walking proves the finding to be true. Read this post to know about the walking habits of four generations of a family.

I have a couple of lean, perfectly in-shape, friends who have a predominantly fatty food diet. The difference between the lean, heavy-eaters and the obese is that the former does all the physical work without applying any brain, while the latter tries to find short cut for all activities. Since the zebra crossing is faraway, I would risk the busy traffic to cross the road. But my lean friends follows the rule and goes all the way to the zebra crossing to cross the road. When I take the escalator to go to the metro train platform, my lean friend prefers to take the stairways. Such lean people burn so much of calories during their daily routine, that they do not need any form of physical exercise

During friendly chats, when I tell my friends about the refreshing morning walks, they complain that I was too mean to not call them for company. So one of them decided to come for the walk at 7:00 in the morning. However I was awaken by a mobile message at 3:00 AM; which read ‘I won’t come for walk, as I slept very late yesterday‘.

Another friend decided that her children also require some exercise, so she accompanied me on morning walks with two teenage son and a little daughter. While we walked, the kids played badminton in the park. As the children were playing, our concentration was on the security of the kids; so we walked less and watched the kids more. In order to cajole the children to come everyday for walks, we used to have a small party of cookies and hot coffee after the walk and game section.
Walking with friends strengthens friendship but fails to achieve the ultimate aim of achieving physical fitness. So on weekday I walk alone and on on the longer weekend walks friends are also invited.
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Serve global brands in India with desi tadka

global brands in india
Global brands in India know that only Indian consumers can save the slowing luxury market. Many global brands in India have tried to convert the simplicity loving Indians to consumers of luxury. Read this post to find why the common man in Delhi still prefers a nearby Kirana store to a hypermarket. 
During my school days, Maggi 2 minute noodles was one of the first global brands to be launched in the Indian market. Most of my friends brought the Maggi after being enthralled by the advertisement of children greedily eating the Maggi. 
 
The taste of the Maggi was so alien that word of mouth spread about Maggi being tasteless. After a few days, two packs of Maggi were distributed to every student of my school. As we did not like the cooked Maggi, we preferred to eat bits of raw, crisp Maggi. After a few years, someone discovered that Maggi is tasty if prepared like Upma, with sauteed onion and spices. Slowly Maggi became part of our diet. Now Maggi has become a member of the staple diet of India. Bachelor or kid alone at home have Maggi as the main course for the lunch or dinner. 
Maggi
 
Maggi, took more than a decade to become ‘sells by itself’ consumer good in India. Though I don’t remember the initial taste, I’m sure the taste of the spice powder with the Maggi pack has been reinvented to suit the Indian taste. 
 
A study by Departures magazine in association with Ledbury Research, also says that the Indian market is hard to get because they prefer ‘log-free clothes and accessories’. In India, we look for quality, durability and reasonable rates. The attitude of the shopkeeper is a great influence in the choice of a product. If you treat the customer like a king and assist them in their selection they will surely buy at least one product. If you think that by announcing with the launch of a famous global brands in India, with a bang, the customers in India will make a beeline to the outlets, then forget it! Only those who travelled abroad are aware of the brand. Forget about the foreign brand, even some Indian brands are more famous abroad than in India. I brought a Hidesign bag and proudly displayed the brand in front of my friends, neighbours and colleagues; sadly no one recognized the brand, they just said, “the bag looks good, how much did it cost?”
 
Marketing strategy of global brands in India has to be tailor-made, with a bit of desi tadka.  Indians consumers like to adopt the goodness of the western lifestyle, without compromising on their Indian identity. Products and brands like Indo-western wear, Globaldesi, Satyapaul and Macdonald’s Masala grill allow the consumers to follow the global trend while still holding on to the tradition. If global brands in India wants the Indian consumers to save the luxury market, then add a little tadka, Indian flavour, to the products. 

Ancy Abraham

The Career-oriented housemaid

housemaid

Housemaid is the only empowered and emancipated lot in India – thus believes working women in Delhi, who spare no effort to do equal justice to her home and office duties. Her indispensable support at home is the housemaid. Her day is made or marred upon whether the housemaid comes or not. Read how cheaper electricity can improve common man’s lifestyle. 

Conversation between the employer and housemaid:

You didn’t come yesterday, Bai?” the woman asked politely to bai (that’s how housemaids are addressed in Delhi).
I couldn’t come” she replied indifferently, deeming it unnecessary to give explanation for her leave without notice. She can take up more houses, if sacked. No enticements, in the form or gift or money, can help to bring her punctually and regularly to work. Every perks has an effect of two days.
Ignorance in bliss!
“You didn’t come yesterday, Bai?” the woman asked politely to bai ( that’s how housemaids are addressed in Delhi).
“I couldn’t come” she replied indifferently, deeming it unnecessary to give an explanation for her leave without notice. She can take up more houses if sacked. No enticements, in the form or gift or money, can help to bring her punctually and regularly to work. Every gift has an effect of two days.
Ignorance in bliss!
Ignorance! is what make the housemaids powerful in comparison to educated working women:
  • She says she is illiterate, so she doesn’t know about family planning; she has six kids from the age of six to twenty-six; and ten grandchildren.
  • She doesn’t know how to tell the time; so she cannot be blamed for coming late. Employer has to keep guessing every day whether she will come or not.
    Morning walks in the park depend on Bai’s grace. If she is absent then an extra hour has to be spend doing household chores. Even by taking sympathetic line, it is not possible to gain favour of housemaid. When one employee told the housemaid about her health problems, which will aggravate on doing lot of Physical work. Pat came the reply, “Even I have the same problem“.
Unique description of housemaid
  • Most of the housemaids have the same story to share.
  • They were married too young, between 9 and 13 years of age.
  • One says she was too young to remember her wedding.
  • They grew up illiterate or without watching television.
  • They had the first exposure of the outer world after marriage, and now they are the primary breadwinners of the family.
  • Their husbands help them in taking care of the children.

One housemaid has a toddler, and she cooks food her family before leaving to work in eight houses. When asked how she manages to stay away from home for the whole day leaving small kids at home, she said, “Let the house go to hell, when at work I’ve to concentrate on my work”. In addition, she has a joint family comprising her husband’s family member and her bigger children who help her with distribution of work at home. Her attitude and work strategy are what every working woman should adopt. She has the right kind of career-oriented perspective which can be a yard stick for every woman professional.

Parenting now and then differ

Parenting now and then; is a common topic of discussion when parents of two generation meet. Parents groom the children to attain certain goals. They want their children to be social, good at sports, academically excellent and gifted artist. Parents plan the course of the kid’s life with activities and classes that will nurture them to reach the goal. Parent of 80’s and 90’s say that when they were children they just grew up like plants and trees; now our children are nurtured, with nutritions and skills, so that they have the right kind of growth. Read this post about introducing wife as ‘The wife’.

 This is an age of abundance, and people want to hoard everything and gear up for an uncertain future when thing can go really wrong. May be the doomsday will happen, or a deluge, or global warming may destroy the earth, or maybe there will be war for water. Parenting now and then has a wide gap.
My parents had short term goal, they saved to buy a cot, or a television, or a house. Now I have everything, what I want to make sure is that these comforts remain forever. All the ‘how to’ articles give some tips to make a better tomorrow. 
 
Here are a few of parenting now and then –  ‘Then’ (of 80’s & 90’s) and ‘Now’ (of the present time). Difference is how our parents lived their lives and how we plan our lives now:
  • Parenting: 
Then – They spent all their earning to sent the children to the best school they can afford. They gave the children the same food they ate. The children played outside the house when they were not studying. Children participated in school and community cultural programs without any formal training. 
Now –  Now also parents sent children to the costliest school, but they make sure that the children get all round development. Children are given special diet supplement, fruits and  vitamins, that will ensure proper growth. The timing of the study, play and other activity is set in advance. The children are encouraged to use play-way method games so that their play time is also utilized for education. Regular Coaching classes are given for sports and music. Children participate in all the competition in a very professional manner. 
  • Housing: 
Then – They just wanted one dream house in any one part of the world. 
Now –  People buy apartments and plots is different parts of the world as part of investment. Many houses means you can change the residence according to the favourable condition of the place. 
  • Food

Then – Mother did all the cooking, whether for school, office, home or a party. There was a strict food regime; biscuits and chocolate were a treat once in a blue moon.

Now –   You can even get home delivered kid’s school lunch box. Most of the nutritions are acquired from processed food like corn flakes, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, milk supplements and tetra packed fruit juices. Biscuits and ice creams are so common that children have choices of their brands and flavours. 
 
 Parenting now and then dynamically differ. Now there is a branding is all the activities, while then parents followed traditional methods and took advice from elders. 
Whatever may be the methods of parenting now and then, nature has given us a parents instinct to nurture our kids. Rely more on our instincts to groom the children.
 
 
 
 

Ancy Abraham

Five green leafy recipes for winter

 green leafy recipes

‘Sarso ka saag’, ‘methi parantha’, ‘palak paneer’, all green leafy recipes, make a Delhiites mouth water.The fondness of Delhiite for green leafy recipes, puzzles non vegetarians living in other parts of the world. Delhiites talk a lot about food; and mostly they talk about vegetarian food. Read about vegetable recipes for kids in this post.

Green leafy recipes are nutritious and affordable. These leaves have anti ageing properties; lots of vitamins and minerals; and they are also known a ‘hot food’ best for winter climate. Largely people refrain from preparing  green leafy recipes as children do not like the bland or bitter taste.
Over the ages the Delhites have developed different green leafy recipes where the leaves are camouflaged (mixed with other ingredients) so as to make them more palatable. Dishes of five green leaves are popularly prepared at home and restaurants.
Bathua/Pigweed: The pigweed used to grow very liberally in the past, now you can find them in parks. Poor labours pick the leaves in the parks, and others buy it from the vegetable vendors. Bathua is palatable when sauteed in oil with some spices – You can blanch Bathua and ad to curd to make a salad for dinner – Mix the chopped bathua with soaked and ground split chickpea. Add spices as required, make them into small ball, flatten it and deep fry. Have it with sauce.
Palak/Spinach: A leaf with anti aging properties and iron content, spinach is a staple dish of Delhi. Blanch the spinach and make it to a paste, saute in oil with spices and cottage cheese (paneer) cubes – Palak paste can also be mixed with idli batter to make ‘green idlis’.
Sarso ka Saag/Mustard Greens: Mustard greens make tasty dishes because of the pungent taste. Experts say that Mustard green are good for those with choleric temperament.  Chop the leaves and at the same time boil and cube potatoes. Saute the leaves and potatoes with spices.
Methi ka Saag/Fenugreek Leaves: Plucking the tiny leaves of Methi requires lot of patience, most of the housewives and grandmas pluck the leaves while basking the sun. Women sit on foldable cots outside the ir houses with a bundle of fenugreek in front of them. When the tedious process of plucking the leaves is done, there will be just a bowl full of methi leaves and a huge cluster of empty branchlets. Wash the methi leaves thoroughly as long as you are satisfied that the leaves are clean. Chop the leaves and mix it with wheat flour, turmeric powder and salt. Nice parthas can be made, top it with butter – Saute the leaves with boiled potatoes, skinned and chopped tomatoes and spices. Saute for a long time to get the best result.
Amaranth/Chaulai Saag: Amaranth leaves is sparingly used in Delhi, they are a good substitute for spinach.
A mixed treat: Clean and chop all the five leaves, and pressure cook with lentils and tomatoes. Temper the cooked mix with mustard seeds, spices and dried red chillies. Children will love to have them with Parantha/Rice.

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Delhi Winter time is Party Time!

Delhi winter
Delhi winter according to Dehi residents in the best time of the year. For those new to Delhi winter you have to stay here for a few years to understand what they mean. I used to think, people hibernate during winter season. During the first two Delhi winter, I spent most of the time sitting at home, under a blanket. Read about five green leafy recipes for winter in this post
People wait eagerly for the coming of Delhi winter, which comes soon after Diwali. The first nip in the air is welcomed by wearing the first winter clothes and dark make ups. One thing that women like about Delhi winter is that the make up stays longer, they don’t sweat and they can wear dark colourful clothes.
Delhi winter and Sunlight
In the parks there are fewer walkers in the morning, during Delhi winter, as the day breaks late and so people walk in the evenings or late in the morning. By 11:00 AM there will be enough sunlight, so the elderly and housewives gather in the parks to bask in the sunlight. Basking in the sunlight during Delhi winter is as delightful  as having a cup of coffee during coffee breaks. The women in the park do a lot of small talk while cutting vegetables or knitting woolen clothes.
Foodstalls do brisk business
During Delhi winter, in the evenings, all the foods stalls are crowded by people enjoying a hot snack in the winter chill. The chinese food stall has the largest soup sales during this season. People also like to have a lot of meat in this season. Usually people in Delhi have a predominantly vegetarian diet, they say in winter any food you eat is digested fast so fatty food like chicken, meat, butter, and cheese all are used lavishly in diet.
People do not like to stay inside during Delhi winter, there are sometimes 20000 marriage on a single day during Delhi winter. Passing by the marriage celebration in open tents, you can see beautiful women in traditional wears, and hardly any winter clothes. Curiously women say they do not fall ill in the winter chills.
Traditional concoctions to resist winter diseases
Grandmothers wears only a thin cardigan during the thick of Delhi winter. They say Delhi winter is not strong. The diet of the natives of north India, makes them resistant to the harsh Delhi winter. Having a lot of green in the diet helps you gain resistance from the winter diseases.
Green and Fresh Vegetable Market
The weekly market held by the road side, in Delhi winter, looks much prettier than the fruit and vegetable section of a hyper market. There are a variety of vegetables which is garden fresh, because of the cold weather. The fenugreek leaves, spinach, mustard leaf, mint leaf  and a variety of other local leaves make the vegetable stalls looks greener and prettier. “Batua”, a common herb found in parks, is a very good winter protector which can be had with salads or other vegetable dishes.
Delhi winter is a partying time and not a a lazy man’s favourite climate. Winter is usually associated with death and darkness, there is a phrase in english ‘during the winter’s of life’. The activities connected with Delhi winter are of enjoyment like basking in the sun, having lot of food, marriage celebrations and so on. Life never stops in Delhi winter, the daily businesses run as usual in freezing winter or scorching summers.

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10 birds in delhi spotted in parks

birds in delhi
Birds in delhi is hard to spot. A friends said she spotted a crow in her balcony after a decade, her children never watched birds in delhi while growing up. The growing number of building in the city has deprived the children of experiencing the beauty of nature while they are growing up. Read how the saptaparni tree  perfumes the air during autumn in Delhi.
Compared to other cities, Delhi has a  better green cover; by putting in a little effort you can help your child watch a number of birds in delhi . While visiting the park you will be easily distracted by the activities and the noise of the people, therefore some level of concentration is needed to spot birds in delhi.
Unlike in olden days when there were more birds than leaves on banyan trees, now you can easily count the birds and there are even fewer banyan trees. While walking through the park you will come across different types of birds in delhi that are either residents of the park, migratory birds or visitors. Some of the birds in delhi that can be spotted in the park are as follows:
  1. House sparrow: Many articles have been written about the sad disappearance of this friend of children of yesteryear’s childhood days. They used to come home to peck at the grains and mothers showed them to pacify crying children. Now those kids, in their 30’s and 40’s, are running campaigns to save the remaining birds in delhi. There are house sparrows in a large number in a housing colony where a few trees are planted together in a yard. Some bird lovers provide bird food and water.
  2. Myna: Kids in olden days used to predict coming events depending on the number of myna that they spot. 1 means sadness, 2 mean happiness, 3 means someone is sending letter, and so on. There are a lot of mynas in the park and their future seem to be secure in the city.
  3. Parrot: They can be spotted mostly when the guavas are ripe. They will have all the guavas in bungalows  and then enjoy the cool air by perching on the trees in the park.
  4. Peacock: Peacocks are mostly found in agricultural fields; sometimes they visit the cities and sit on trees in the park. If  you are lucky you can witness the beautiful ‘peacock moment’ – peacock spreading it’s vibrant wings.
  5. Flower-pecker: She is a frequent visitor to houses with garden, which is smaller than a sparrow and can sit comfortably on a tulsi branch. It’s eggs are as small as lizards eggs and the babies are so small that when four of its babies perch together on a tender tulsi branch, you will mistake it for a big caterpillar. She eats all the bittergourds in the kitchen gardens.
  6. Crow: One of the birds in delhi that was so common in the olden days, now two or three can be spotted in the park.
  7. Pigeon: Known as the ‘lice of the city’, they can survive in any situation. They took the place of crow, and other birds in delhi, and literally make a mess of home and public place with their nests and droppings.
  8. Baya Weaver: The most photogenic variety of birds in delhi; they are colourful, elegant and their  perfectly woven nest are tempting enough to be taken home as a show piece. You can spot their nest on the top branches of huge trees in the park.
  9. White Eared Bulbul: These birds are flycatchers and so their numbers are increasing. they are second in position, among birds in delhi, after the pigeons.
  10. Pied Cuckoo: This migratory bird can hardly be spotted, however their beautiful songs after rain, brings back nostalgia of one”s native place.

Ancy Abraham

Delhi diwali…..The Day after

Delhi diwali

Delhi diwali is the time for celebration, shopping and socializing.  Diwali is also known for the noise of firecrackers. Loud fireworks indicate the fervor of the season. According to Newspaper reports this year’s pollution was less; but noise was more on Diwali. I beg to differ on the analysis. In the area that I stay this years Delhi diwali was a noiseless affair compared to the loud fireworks of previous years. Read this post to find how to gain resistance from pollution in Delhi.

The decibel of the sound of firework may differ from place to place. Our residential area consist of Bungalows with few occupants so the Diwali firework is a low key affair. As the smoke and noise did not penetrate into the house, like other Delhi diwali’s, yesterday’s night was as peaceful as any other night.

Today I went a little late to the park, because days break late as winter has set in; and the park, I thought, would be empty after late night Diwali celebration. To my surprise there were people of all age groups in the park and the green juice vendors were busily serving customers. There were some family with children playing on the swings and see-saws.

Walking through the park was a precious experience today, as there were few walkers which meant more space to walk leisurely through the park. To accompany the serenity that prevailed in the park , there was the chirping of birds that still survive in the concrete jungle. I counted alteast five varieties of birds – house sparrow, house crow, pigeon, myna and kite. Usually the birds cannot be spotted in the crowd of walkers and their beautiful songs are diluted in the cities noise. A mongoose fearlessly crossed the paths and squirrels were seen in large number busily nibbling some food.

Even at 9:00 in the morning the day was still young and the sun was slow to make an entry. Today the walk was really perfect as I had no fear of bumping others while walking fast; the calm in the park refreshed the mind. The day after a Delhi diwali was a gift to the walkers!

Ancy Abraham