Fresh Meat & Sea Food Home-Delivered
Exposure to the various cultures of the world helps you become a better person and encourages you to bring positive changes around you. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s exposure to various cultures and interactions with people of different communities influenced him tremendously.
After fighting against injustice and class division in South Africa he returned to India to deliver the country from subjugation. He used to dress in the impeccable well-tailored suits, in England, later became a ‘half-naked fakir’ in a dhoti. Thanks to his exposure to the world he returned to lead the country to freedom.
There are so many stories of great men in the ancient and modern days whose travelling changed their life. Prince Siddhartha who travelled to see his kingdom was enlightened and became Sri Buddha.
A woman from Dindigul in Tamil Nadu was astonished that I did not know Tamil. She asked ‘how can anyone survive in this world without knowing Tamil’. She is one of the millions of people in the world who have never travelled out of their hometown. For them, there is nothing beyond their town, which is their world.
The Britishers who dared to leave their native town and travel to India during colonisation returned wealthy. Travelling makes you rich in terms of the wealth of knowledge, treasured memories, financial benefits and so no.
Travelling not only benefits the person but his/her community as well. Perhaps his/her State as a whole. For instance the story of the State of Kerala. You might have heard of ‘Kerala model of Development’ which happened as a result of Keralites penchant for travel in search of greener pastures.
The travelling stories of Keralites did not begin with the Gulf Exodus around four decades ago. Keralites travelling history is dated back to the Maritime trade with Mesopotamia.
As you can find Keralites in every nook and cranny of the world, so you can find the reminiscence of various countries and cultures in Kerala.
Reminiscence of ancient cultures in India
The Uru, the large dhow type wooden ship made in Kerala, has been used by the Arabs for trade. The relation between the Uru, Beypore in Kerala, and the Arabs dates back to thousands of years old. It is said that the boats were used even in Roman sea fares.
The arrival and departure of ships brought with it many historical people and cultures that shaped the history of Kerala. St Thomas the disciple of Jesus came to Kerala by the ships from Gulf. He came to work as a carpenter for a King. Vasco de Gama the first of the European coloniser, from Portuguese landed in Kerala, on 20th May, 1498. So did the Muslims and the Jews, who were fleeing their country.
Remnants of Buddhism are also found in Kerala. In my hometown, Mavelikara, there is a Statue of Buddha. Some temple traditions have a resemblance to the bygone Buddhist tradition.
It is said that Colombus discovered America while he was trying to find the spice route to India.
Keralites have always been migrating and they have always welcomed foreigners to Kerala. Whoever comes to Kerala and stays back becomes a Keralite and contributes to the society. Rev. Dr. Hermann Gundert, a German Missionary, who stayed in Kerala for two decades compiled the first Malayalam grammar book.
Laurie Baker a British-born India architect built low-cost, high-quality houses in Kerala. The low-cost houses not only benefitted the poor, but the rich also built low-cost Laurie Baker houses for its beauty and environment benefits.
Fast forward to the Modern days
Keralites have been always going out to other states and countries to work. In 1640’s and 50’s, they went to Burma and Singapore. By the 1960’s they started emigrating to the Gulf countries.
Some say that it was poverty that drove the Malayalees to abandon they native place.
Keralites never abandon their homeland. They come back with the mission to improve the state of affairs in Kerala. And it was not the poorest who left their homes. It was the well to do and the educated who wanted to explore better opportunities to harness their talents and skills.
What makes Kerala so unique?
The success of the Kerala model of development is because they #SayYesToTheWorld. Kerala has 94% literacy and Human Development Index (HDI) on par with many developed nations.
Wherever they went Keralites contributed to the development of that country. The render their dedicated services as Nurses, Doctors, Engineers, Accountants and so on. Wherever I travel people tell that Malayalee people, unlike me, are friendly, sincere, trustworthy, hardworking and loyal.
How Kerala evolve over the past few decades
Food has changed
My grandfather who had a staple diet of rice started having wheat flour roti for dinner in 1985. And now in 2018, my elderly parents have Oats for breakfast and atta roti for dinner. Rice only for lunch.
I remember my aunt, who has hardly travelled outside Kerala and used to abhor anything other than Kerala’s authentic food. In the last two decades, she has changed. She enjoys pastries, cakes, shawarmas and colas.
Dressing has Changed
In the early 90’s my cousins used to wear only the sari when they go to college. In school, they wore long skirt and blouse. In pre-college half sari and sari in college sari, that was the order. By 1993 churidar or salwar kameez became the trend in colleges. Yet you could never dare to wear Jeans. Now 25 years later no one cares what the other person wears.
Travelling in the Night
Traditionally Keralites wake up at 4 in the morning, have supper at 7 in the evening and sleep by 8 in the night. After the Keralites started staying abroad and in the cities, where the day starts only at 8 in the night, the night travelling culture is routine now.
Minding one’s own business
There was a time in Kerala when if a car came to your house neighbours will be asking or guess the reason for the arrival of the guest. If you walk on the road we have to give a valid reason for the purpose of the walk to every person you meet. If you eat out you have to give a reason why no food was made at home. And if you go out as a family you have to mention the occasion.
For those who stay abroad, such questions are irritating. Now Kerala has changed. Since most of the families are exposed to the world in one way or the other, they do not ask uncomfortable questions anymore.
No more Cultural Shocks
The exposure to various cultures has reduced their cultural shocks. They have become open-minded.
In the 1990’s if a foreigner came to our village people gathered around them as if they were Aliens. And they feared that if they touch them they will get AIDS
Now many families are providing home stays and they are ok with the arayum muriyum (scantily) dressed foreigners.
Keralites have a very conservative family value system. Yet now our elderly uncles and aunts accept their foreign guest as they are without meddling with questions about their family life.
How change came to the Kerala Society?
The change in the Kerala society came because Keralites became world travellers for work and for leisure.
There is hardly any home in Kerala which does not have someone working abroad. Most of the Keralites have travelled abroad or at least to another state because their children or siblings are working there.
Travelling to other countries and welcoming foreigner in Kerala, has made Keralites more understanding to other cultures. When they go to a hospital, school or a mall in Europe or Gulf, they want the same facilities in their hometown. The rich and enterprising ones will invest their money and build world-class facilities in their hometown.
If we do not travel we are like a frog in the well. We think we are the best and there is no scope for improvement. When we travel we understand our deficiencies. We can learn and improve our standard of life.
(Kerala State was born on November 1, 1956, with the union of Travancore and Kochi Kingdoms. In the ancient time, there were several kingdoms like the Cholas, Cheras and the Pandyas. But Kerala has some unifying factors which kept them united from the ancient to modern times.)
Nowadays many Keralites are either giving up having rice completely or reduce the consumption of rice. There may be various reasons for the abstinence. They might have been asked to stay away from rice because of diabetes. Or they might want to reduce weight. In some cases, the abstinence from rice helps to reduce inflammation.
For a Keralite, there is nothing as torturing as staying away from rice and rice flour food. So they have their cheat day. Some say that it is better to die than to live without having rice.
A doctor opined that ‘wheat is heat and rice is ice’. Since people suffering from arthritis must have warm they must have wheat and avoid rice says the doctor.
Here are a few Kerala breakfast recipes with wheat flour or atta. Recipes like idiyappam, kozhukattai, vellayappam, vattayappam and puttu which are traditionally prepared with rice flour, are here prepared using wheat flour or atta.
To some extent, the craving for the rice-based Kerala recipes can be subsided by having the wheat-based alternatives. All the traditional combinations go well with the recipes. For instance, chickpea curry and atta puttu taste as good as the chickpea curry and rice flour puttu.
A surprise recipe!!
While trying out the atta variation of the Kerala recipes I stumbled upon a new wheat flour recipe – Yeast made of wheat flour. The recipe for the homemade wheat flour recipe is included as a bonus in this post.
How to squeeze out, effortlessly, the idiyappam dough through the idiyappam maker is the main issue. Preparing idiyappam with rice flour itself requires a good amount of effort. Watch the video to find out how to prepare atta or wheat flour idiyappam easily.
I searched the internet thoroughly but could not find the exact substitute for the Kerala Kozhukattai using wheat flour or atta. Here is the wheat flour Kozhukattai which I am experimenting for the first time. The texture was good and the inside portion also cooked well. My family said the kozhukattai tasted good too. You can watch the recipe and improve on it. Send your version of wheat flour kozhukattai and we can publish it.
Vattayappam is mainly made on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday to remember the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples. Traditionally vattayappam is prepared without yeast. Since the unleavened vattayappam is a bit hard nowadays people add a little yeast. Here is atta or wheat flour vattayappam in particular for those who cannot have food prepared with rice flour.
Vellayappam with curry is the main food to celebrate Easter and Christmas. And what if you are not allowed to have rice-based food. No issues!! Prepare vellayappam with wheat flour. The appam came out very well and tasted yummy with the festival special curries. Watch the video to know more.
Atta or Wheat flour puttu recipe is as old as the arrival of wheat flour to Kerala. It is an easy and commonly prepared breakfast. However I am sharing the wheat flour puttu for those who are yet to learn the art of preparing atta or wheat puttu.
Homemade Yeast with Wheat flour
This happened accidentally. I wanted yeast for a recipe and there was no option for shopping at that moment. That is when I came across various options to prepare homemade yeast. Here is one method using wheat flour. This yeast is good and effective. Probably takes a bit longer than the dry yeast for fermentation. Check out the recipe here.
Every Mumbaikar knows the meaning of, ‘Cutting Chai’. For the rest of the world, a cutting chai means half a cup of tea that is cheaper than a full cup’ yet enough to get refreshed. Now Livpure has started a campaign #CuttingPaani to spread awareness about the rising shortage of potable water globally. #CuttingPaani means if thirst is little, then drink only half a glass of water.
A small but impactful campaign to make each person responsible to take steps to preserve drinking water.
When one hears of the water crisis, the first picture that comes to mind is of the viral news of the water shortage in Cape Town. A city with 4 million people provides just 50-litre water per day for a person. In the US a person gets 350 litres of water per day. And very soon, a ‘zero-day’ will arrive in Cape Town when one million households in the city will not get any running water.
What is happening in Cape Town, is a bleak story of what every city in the world can expect. Interestingly, one reason for the water crisis according to reports is ‘poor water management’ and ‘insufficient preparation’.
We fear there will be Zero-day in Bengaluru. According to reports if the rainwater is harvested properly, the water crisis in Bengaluru can be managed. Which means if we manage our water we can avoid the zero-day.
#Cuttingpaani is the first initiative in the direction of saving water. We can save water by #cuttingpaani in a number of our activities at home.
Drink less water in the night
One must drink 3 to 4 litres of water in a day. But the majority should be consumed in the daytime. Having more water in the night may lead to kidney and other ailments.
No water-thirsty plants at home
You might have indoor plants, outdoor plants and kitchen gardens at home. Some plants like Cactus family and aloe vera require very little water. Some plants and soils require water only to be sprayed. Keep only those plants at home that requires hardly any water.
Avoid using tap water directly
For bathing use bucket and mug. For brushing and shaving use water in a mug. Wash dishes by taking water in a small basin. Avoiding tap water usage directly saves a lot of water.
Handwash some clothes
Handwashing requires only that much water as is required in the first round of washing in a washing machine. For a washing machine, at least 12 to 15 buckets of water is for three rounds – one washing and two rinsing sessions. Whereas in hand wash the whole activity will be over in 3 buckets of water.
Mop the veranda floor, do not wash
A common view in Indian cities is to see hose pipe with running water being used to clean veranda. Mostly maids just waist the water pouring the water on all the vehicles, plants, gates and so on. Using a hosepipe to clean is an easy but a water wasting method of cleaning. Mop the veranda floor to save water.
If we use our resources more reasonably and more collectively we can avoid a zero-day.
Also, sing the petition for #CuttingPaani to spread the awareness to fill the glass with only as much water as you have thirst. Watch the video to know more about the campaign.
In order to remain fit and healthy one needs to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet. In India, 90% of the population do not follow any health and fitness regime or a healthy diet.
In India, we are aware of the benefits of exercise and diet. But we are unable to follow a health and fitness regime for a long time. There are many reasons to why we cannot follow a fitness regime:
- India is not a sporting nation.
- Health and fitness come last our list of priorities of our daily routine.
- Most people leave early in the morning for office and come late in the evening, so there is the time constraint.
- Exercise and walks make you feel tired, thereby making you cut short some other daily routines.
- There is no time to exercise after the daily chores.
Benefits of EMS fitness training
EMS technology, used at ZYNK Fitness Studio, gives you fitness and health by just working out for 30 minutes, every week, in their fitness studio.
How the EMS technology works
Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) technology stimulates the muscles in the body just as in workouts. The movement of the muscles is called the contraction. The fitness achieved from exercise depends on the number of contractions of the muscles. The EMS technology used at Zink produces 3600 contractions in 30 minutes which is not achieved even by two hours of Gym exercise.
In a normal gym routine, every time a contraction is done by the muscle the message is sent to the brain. Thus the process becomes tiring. In the EMS technology, every contraction produced by the electrode is effective as 10 contractions in a normal gym workout. When the information of one contraction is sent to the brain, the muscle has already done 10 contractions with the EMS. Therefore we feel relaxed while doing an EMS fitness routine.
The Zynk fitness trainers say that during a normal gym routine some of the muscles do not get exercise. But in EMS training, 90% of the body muscles are activated.
The person is made to wear a specially made jacket with EMS electrodes. The size of the jacket varies from person to person. The EMS used at Zynk fitness is wireless.
Who can do the workout using EMS
This technology has been used by professional athletes like Usain Bolt, Karim Benzema, and many others. Athletes do EMS training for more strength, more endurance, more speed and more flexibility. EMS shot into prominence when YohanKots, a Soviet Scientist, revealed that EMS could boost strength by up to 40% in elite athletes.
According to Vani Trivedi, of Zynk Fitness, “For 48hours after workout body in on a weight loss mode.” With a proper diet and EMS training, you can lose weight in 90 days.
Sitting job complications
For those who suffer from neck and back pain due to continuous sitting jobs, EMS therapy is very effective. EMS technology used in rehabilitation and training for people under physiotherapy.
EMS helps to tone the body and helps achieve the original weight and tone. It supports the regeneration of deep muscle fibres and connective tissues affected by pregnancy.
Benefits of using EMS
All areas of the muscles are covered
In the gym, all areas are not covered. But with EMS 90% of the muscles are covered. Electrode works all over the body.
Improves skin tone
EMS is very effective for skin. The skin glows after undergoing the training. As one gets older skin gets sagging, and it not toned and tight. Your skin tone improves with EMS training.
Keeps you young for longer
Growth hormones are responsible for our looking younger. Celebrities do botox to look younger. By EMS training you can boost growth hormones well. It will keep you younger for longer.
Keeps you fit and healthier
When you age, size of bone gets weaker and smaller. EMS does systematic work of bones and muscles and not joints. You feel oiling happened in every bone. Every bone feels fresh and light. Therefore your confidence increases.
There is an overall improvement in health and fitness because of deep tissue strengthening, improvement in the cardiovascular system and improvement in blood circulation.
Why at zynk Fitness?
There are over 1000 similar centres around the world, this is the first EMS fitness studio in India. You can workout without being tired. Even after having a long day’s works you feel rejuvenated after the Zynk fitness training.
Besides if you come for the Zynk fitness session before going to the office, you can have a shower and look fresh. As there is negligible sweating you feel relaxed after the workout.
The is no pain of exercise and you do ten times more of fitness training. The trainers at Zynk say that EMS works on the muscles and bones, and not on the joints. Injuries happen when there is overload on the joints.
According to the Zynk fitness trainer, the EMS workouts produce long-lasting results using simpler workouts.
Fashion and lifestyle are fast evolving. We are influenced by the fashion and lifestyle of various parts of the world. If we look at our food habits – we have western food for breakfast like cereals and bread. We have Indian food for lunch like roti or rice. We have Italian or Chinese for dinners like pizza or noodles.
Our dressing is a mix of the traditional and the western. We wear the casual Indian tops and western trousers or jeans for work. We wear traditional wears for weddings or family function. For parties, we wear the fashionable western gowns.
Inevitably, every aspect of our fashion and lifestyle is being influenced by the global trends. We need to look and behave in a certain manner so that we are accepted in our workplace and social circuits. There are certain unwritten fashion and lifestyle rules which are followed by the people of all age groups. We need to remain updated on what is the latest fashion and lifestyle quotient around the world.
Gone are the days when we could stay in the comfort zone of our friends and family. Now we have to make presence felt in the outer world. We need to be comfortable interacting with people other than our family and friends.
We need a style guru, we need a consultant for our various needs like psychological, fashion, family matter. We need an expert to give us an opinion, if possible from more than one person, for our queries on anything and everything under the sun. Our friends may be unable to give answers to all our doubts. And we cannot fix paid appointments to get answers to all our doubts.
For all your fashion and lifestyle requirements you can join the fashion and lifestyle community of Sheroes. The fashion and lifestyle community is for every woman whether she is a creator, an entrepreneur or a homemaker. By becoming a member of the community you can share information about your business. You share pictures of the beautiful products you make. And you can do a lot of networking.
If you are more comfortable on your mobile, then you can download the Sheroes fashion and lifestyle community app.
Some of the benefits of joining the fashion and lifestyle community are as follows
Peer to peer interaction
You can interact with women of your age group and experience online camaraderie.
Answers from fashion experts
There are fashion Experts in the fashion and lifestyle community to answer all your queries related to fashion and beauty.
Meeting people with a common interest
There is a saying that birds of same feather folk together. To be connected with people of similar interest is a matter of enhancing and nurturing our stream of activity. For instance, if you love fashion designing, here you can find people to give you ideas to create beautiful designs and also prospective buyers.
An everyday dose of beauty tips
Standing out in a crowd is very essential today. No matter in which field you are your appearance speaks a lot about you. In the fashion and lifestyle community get tips on how to dress up beautifully on a daily basis.
Leela Menon is the Mamooty and Mohanlal of Journalism in Kerala. Even after forty years in the field of journalism, her position as the most dynamic Journalist in Kerala remains unrivalled. Twenty years back when I joined Indian Express, Kochi, for an internship, Leela Menon was working there. She was one of my inspirations to join journalism.
Leela Menon, 83, has got enthusiasm and tremendous memory that people half her age do not have. Some of her investigative reports paved the way for social changes, especially for the women. One such story she always narrates is about reporting of the prostitution happening at a village called Aruvacode. The villagers who were potters turned to prostitution when pottery business became unprofitable.
Leela Menon went to the village with photographer Jeevan Jose and made a report that gained national attention. Finally, the potters were taught to make terracotta pots. And thus the village was back to a normal village.
She wielded her pen to bring changes to the society, especially to the women. At Indian Express, the senior journalists used to advise me to write like Leela Menon. She was the yardstick.
Her wording, whether about humans or animals, was so powerful that when she wrote a report steps were taken on a war footing. Once she reported about how using elephants at a certain function was cruelty to the animal. Immediate steps were taken to ban the parading of elephants at the function again.
Leela Menon, might be a rare achiever in India, who has been working from the age of 18 in 1948 to the present date. She started her career at the Post Office and went on to become the first woman telegraphist in the post office. When a Journalist, from Indian Express, published story about the telegraphist, ‘sitting pretty at the post office’ she became interested in Journalism. After getting trained in Journalism, she became a journalist with Indian Express.
Her journalist instinct, nose for news, was so strong that sometimes she could bring out powerful, life-changing stories by just sitting in her office. She tells when she was at the desk in Delhi, Indian Express, her air hostess roommate told her that they were not allowed to marry when in service. Leela Menon interviewed some air hostesses and wrote a story that not allowing them to marry was against their fundamental right. Her story paved the way to change the law that prevented air hostess from marrying.
She was born in an aristocratic family, in a pristine village in Eranakulam district of Kerala. She was surrounded by book and the beautiful landscapes in her childhood. She married Bhaskara Menon who was very supportive of all her works.
Leela Menon is a fighter, who survived second stage cancer in the 1990’s. When I met her she was so jovial and energetic that little did I know that, at that time, she was actually a cancer survivor. She now gives counselling to cancer patients. A heart attack and facial palsy could not dampen her spirit.
She is now the Editor in Chief at Janmabhoomi.
When I tried to contact her I came to know that she is under treatment at a hospital in Kochi. Wish you, Mam, a speedy recovery.
And Happy Women’s Day.
Sridevi, who was 54 years old died of a massive heart attack in Dubai on Saturday Night. We have seen her in movies for decades so we thought that she is older than what she looked. She was so young and active until her last breath that we never realized that she a going to celebrate her Golden Jubilee (50 Years) in the Indian Film Industry.
Sridevi, Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan was born in 1963, to Ayyapan and Rajeswari in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu. She began her acting career, at the age of 4, in the Tamil movie Thunivan. From then on she acted in a number of movies in South India. She made her Hindi debut as a child actress, at the age of 12, in the famous movie ‘Julie’. And her first Hindi movie as a heroine was ‘Solva Savan’ in 1979.
In the 1980’s Sridevi became the sensation of Hindi cinema, where her fans adored her for her acting prowess, dance, beauty and timely comedy. She is known as the first Indian superheroine because of her pan Indian presence. Throughout her career, she has given a number of blockbuster films not only in Hindi but also in the South India Languages Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Tamil.
In 2013, she was honoured with by the Government of India with Padma Shri, the fourth highest state award. She has won a number of awards both in India and abroad. She has won at least six Filmfare awards.
In a poll conducted by CNN-IBN, Sridevi was selected as the greatest Indian actress in the 100 years of Indian Cinema. She has been described as the ‘Empress of Indian Cinema’, ‘Queen of Indian Cinema’ and ‘Meryl Streep of Indian Cinema’, and so on.
Sridevi was literally a born actress, with natural acting and dancing talents. Even after taking a sabbatical of 15 years, she made her entry with the blockbuster movie ‘English-Vinglish’ – a movie which is going to remember the outstanding performance of Sridevi.
On the final day of her life, she was in Dubai for the wedding celebration of her husband’s nephew Mohit Marwah. Her husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Kushi, were with her. The elder daughter was in Mumbai as shooting of her debut film, with Karan Johar was going on. Like a true professional Sridevi did what she was good at until the last moments of her life. She was dancing, posing for a picture and entertaining the guest by meeting and greeting them. Her death reminds of the final moments of Dr Abdul Kalam, the former President of India. He collapsed while addressed students in a college.
Sridevi was at her elegant best even at the last few hours of her life. She has left behind a number of beautiful pictures and dancing videos at the wedding ceremony, as a parting gift. The videos and pictures will be cherished by the fans of the Heroine of the hearts throughout the Length and Breadth of India.