Category Archives: CITY

About the activities in the city that contribute towards a improved lifestyle. And also inspiring stories and tips to pep up your lifestyle.

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

5 native trees that are fast disappearing from Delhi’s landscape

The giraffe and the trees, in the mirror, reflect the image of  today’s city. The wild flora and fauna are used to make a beautiful and friendly city. The blackboard tree that dots the Delhi city is a forest tree.

The trees dotting the Delhi city is a feast to the eyes and soul. The basic qualities of all there trees, like eucalyptus, blacboard tree & neem trees; are their green foliage and the powerful scent. The green cover provided by the trees, though they’re enticing, has raised a question in my mind – Like we are desperately counting all the existing sparrows in the city; do we need to do a counting of the native trees present in the city. The native trees are useful plants that filled the courtyard of the single and double storied building of yester years? Some trees that I think are clearly on the part of the extinction are as follows:

Bael tree: There was a time when the round bael fruit were strewn around under the bael tree. The bael fruit juice which is a excellent potion to beat the scorching heat of Delhi summer, has now to be brought at a costly price from the fruit vendors. Bael trees can be planted in the parks, and they do not need much caring. 

Jamun tree (Syzygium cumini): The fruit of a jamun tree which is sometimes mistranslated as ‘blackberry’ is nowadays a much sought after fruit by the diabetic patients. The leaves of the jamun tree is a main ingredient for the ‘diabetic juice’ provided by the green juice seller in the park. So far I remember seeing just one jamun tree is my locality. 

Guava tree: As my childhood days were not spoiled by junk food; and biscuits and chocolates were too costly for the middle class, we friends spent most our time plucking guavas from every guava tree that was available in our locality. The guavas in every yard differed: some were red inside, others white; some where sweet and juicy, and others were a little hard and tasteless. In any form we loved nibbling the guavas more happily, than my kids enjoy munching the chips packets. Eating guava does not cause obesity, so mother never complained

The are a number of other trees that are hard to find in the city like the banyan tree, the tamarind tree, and other native indian trees. The restoration of these trees in the city is essential because their fruits and their presence will serve as resistance to the pollution of the city. The native trees have the immunity to withstand the extreme climatic conditions of the city; on the other hand the natural growth process of trees that are imported from the wild is mutated. 

Trees are silent and their changes are not perceivable right now. The consequence of planting the wild in the city will be revealed only as the time goes by. The Delhiites mourn about the disappearance of the sparrows and other native birds; and they are pestered by the pigeons(also known as city lice) which is a new entrant to the city. Let us hope we would not have to face the same situation after planting ‘wild trees in the city’!

Saptaparni tree – Sweet Smell; Sweetens Season

The volume of green canopy, covering a large area of land, makes the district park different from the parks in the residential area. The hue and scent of the park changes with the the changing season. In summer the neem trees are bright and full of life. In rainy season the park become greener as the dust from the foliage is washed away by the rain and the grass grows taller. Now the autumn is here and the trees circulate the cool breeze with a tinge of perfume of their flowers. 

I associate the autumn season in Delhi with the ‘Saptaparni’ tree (Alstonia scholaris) also called White Cheesewood, Milkwood Pine, Blackboard Tree and Devil’s Tree. Residential areas have blackboard tree lined on either side of the road. While passing through the roads in the evenings, the cool breeze scented with the strong, sweet smell of the blackboard flowers, soothes the mind. The beautiful smell is a pleasant companion for the festive fervor that is associated with October/November months. 

According to records, the saptaparni was brought from the Himalayas and planted in residential areas in Delhi in the 1940’s. A tree that grows more than 30m in the himalayan forest has a stunted growth in Delhi. 

In some places the saptaparni tree is also known as devil’s tree. There is a superstition that  witches reside on the tree; and the enticing smell is used by the witch to woo passerby’s, so that she can drink their blood.

For me the saptaparni is a natural air freshener that sweetens the atmosphere in the bright and colourful festive season of Diwali and Dusshera. The saptaparni also heralds the coming of the winter season, which is the most favourite season of the year for the delhiites. 

Lunch box home delivery system

Lunch box home delivery
The ever growing number of kid’s consumer goods, is a matter of concern among parents. Parents are torn between traditional values and peer pressure. As if all the splashy garments and gadgets were not enough, a new industry – the school lunch box home delivery shops –  has entered the kids market segment. Read in this post about the nukkad natak (street play) by consumers about junk food.
The pioneering entrepreneur, of the lunch box home delivery industry, is a woman who wants to help working parents provide kids with healthy lunchbox for school. Place an order in the morning and the lunchbox will be delivered at the door-steps before the kid leaves for school. The menu is healthy; as the entrepreneur, herself a mother, ensures that she caters wholesome and nutritious food for the young customers. Lunch box home delivery is a good substitute for homemade food, once in a while; however substituting homemade lunch boxes entirely with home delivered lunchboxes will be a bad idea. Not only will the children be denied the intake of right amount of nutrition, they will also develop dislike for traditional, staple food. Lunch box home delivery industry is hereto stay. The growing number of time-starved working parents is only increasing the potentiality of the thriving industry, so as to feed the healthy food starved children.
Lunch box home delivery business is its salad days, and it’s growth has to be watched carefully. Since the health of children are at stake there are many challenges that this industry will have to tackle so as to gain the approval of parents and children. Here is a guideline for lunch box home delivery companies to follow so that they earn the patronage of both parents and children:
  1. The lunchbox should taste good when children have the food at lunch breaks.
  2. The food packed should be high in nutritious content
  3. The food should taste like home made food which mama cooks.
  4. Specialize in some recipes that are tasty and nutritious. Too much of variety in menu will help to gather curious customers, however you can only be retained by highlighting your specialty.
  5. Prepare the common dishes of that place. If in chennai prepare more of idli, sambar; and upma. Lunchbox preparing companies should understand that they are appointed to provide the kids with food that contains enough nutrients for the growing period. There is no need of exotic dishes!
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Say ‘No’ to pollution in delhi

pollution in delhi
 
Pollution in Delhi is not a new topic of discussion. According to World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer, air pollution is a major cause of cancer. Their studies show that pollution in Delhi has high level of life-threatening pollutants. More about lead pollution in Delhi in this post.
 
That Delhi is a highly polluted city, is well-known, you can know the difference by staying here for sometime. Due to pollution in Delhi people say their food intake is less than half of what they have in the village. Delhiites always say “Nothing is fresh here”. To gain something we should also lose something (Kuch Paane ke liye Kuch Khona Padta Ha). In the village you would not have the income to buy all the fresh things. 
 
The cheapest and the simplest method to gain resistance from pollution in delhi is early morning walk and exercise in the park. Walks will prepare the body and mind to resist the pollutants inhaled during the rest of the day.  
 
In the park there were a few volunteers of alternative medicines distributing flyers and telling walkers about how therapies can heal various diseases. The flyers contained names of diseases like arthritis, osteoporosis,  diabetes, BP, Amnesia,……….. These diseases can be summed up under one name – lifestyle diseases. There is no need of medication, these diseases can disappear by adopting corrective measures in lifestyle. We cannot stop pollution in Delhi until the people and authorities work towards the common goal of making Delhi pollution free.  Until the pollution in Delhi in eradicated we can remain well armed to fight the menace caused by pollution. 
 
I find no school going kids in the park. Half of the walkers are the elderly; and the rest youth and the middle aged. People become conscious of their health after they develop some kind of diseases. 
 
Many business that promise better health are mushrooming in and around the park. Yoga, pranic medicine, auyrveda, all claim that their treatments are good to gain resistance, and cure, from diseases. Tell the herbal juice wala what kind of disease you have and he makes the right concoction for you ‘a glass of juice for arthritis please’. As it was weekends there were also camps for free medical check up. 
 
It will be a great blessing for the health of the city, if children put in the habit of running and exercising in parks. They will benefit in two ways. Firstly children, who are the largest victims of air pollution diseases like asthma, will gain resistant.  Secondly, if children inculcate the habit of walking they will be conscious about their health for lifelong. 
 
For the health of the City – Say ‘No’ to pollution in delhi ! Say ‘Yes’ to walking and exercise!

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The fitness freak elderly

 

Going to park in the morning is the most refreshing way to start a day. Parks are so common that every place in Delhi is within walking distance of one or two parks. There are parks in my colony, however I like to go the District Park which is situated in acres of land and the whole place is buzzing, in the morning, with fitness activities. Read this to know about an 83 year old international woman athlete.

Most of the early morning park goers are the elderly who can give tough competition to youngster with their innovative fitness techniques. In the ‘laughing clubs’ who stand in a circle and laugh their lungs out on some artificially created jokes. Some of them sit on the bench and sing spiritual songs or poems. Sometimes they decide the future of the government by just sitting on the bench – without jumping on their feet or running to the well of the house. Their spirits defy their age and they come up with new projects for the development of the colony.
As they have lot of time and they are keen to stay fit, they opt for traditional fitness lifestyle. So they use dantoon (neem twig) to brush teeth and have green herbal juice consisting of bitter herbs like alovera, gooseberry, bitter gourd, china grass,……etc.(tips: any herb or vegetable that in green and bitter can be included). The fitness-freak-elderly enthusiasm led to three make-shift herbal juice shops being erected inside the park, that make sweet money in return of serving the fitness-freaks bitter juice.
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