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Use photographs to add life to your home decor

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 24 April 2014 | 18.48

Photographs are wonderful ways to add warmth and a sense of vibrancy to your home decor.

A photograph says a lot. And photographs are wonderful ways to add warmth and a sense of vibrancy to your home decor. Photographs that recall fond memories also can give a personal touch to your home. It brings in loads of happy memories. And photographs always encourage conversations with guests too.

For instance, if you have old family photographs, then have these framed and hang them on the wall. Choose your frames carefully. A frame adds much life to photographs. You might even want to use photographs you have taken of places that you have been - in fact, you could even change these to reflect the most recent trip that you have made. If you are not an avid photographer, you can still buy photographs. There are many photograph exhibitions happening in cities these days. While buying photographs, make sure that you connect with the photographs. Say for example, if you are living in Ahmedabad, a beautiful photograph of the stepwell can add much context to your decor. Similarly, if you love historical monuments, then it makes sense to display those pictures.

Arrange them well so that it gives the maximum visual delight

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Political overdose amid election fervour

The timing just couldn't have been better. Writers, journalists and experts are using all their political wisdom to analyse and dissect events, politicians and governance to help people form an informed opinion during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Our bookshelf has political books of many hues. Take a look.

Book: The New Indian Middle Class
Author: Pavan K. Varma
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 101

The 2014 elections should be, ideally, the watershed for the middle class to make the transition from being a relatively marginalised political participant to being a factor of importance in deciding the future of India, says diplomat-author Pavan Varma in this work.

For this to happen, it must develop a definitive alternative vision of the story of India. This vision must include ideas for better and more inclusive governance, the return of ethics and idealism to politics, a sustained battle line against corruption, more equitable centre-state relations, and the strengthening of the essential multi-religious plurality of India.

To make this vision come true, the middle class must introspect and evaluate its own behaviour in the past; it should then go into the next elections in a far more vigilant state of mind and be prepared for much greater public activism through a much more intensive engagement with the issues of the day, the book contends.

Book: The Disrupter: Arvind Kejriwal and the Audacious Rise of the Aam Aadmi
Author: Gautam Chikermane with Soma Banerjee
Publisher: Rupa
Pages: 226

The meteoric rise of the Aam Aadmi Party - from inception to running the state of Delhi - in 13 months is a story with three principal strands. First, Arvind Kejriwal; iconoclast, leader and disruptor par excellence, who has dared to defy the fundamental templates of Indian politics and governance.

Second, the coalescing of a group of unprecedented diversity - a lawyer, an academic, a policy maker, a CEO, an architect and a poet, among many others - on the streets of Delhi, all bound together by a shared idea of an India that could be.

And third, the awakening of the aam aadmi, and of his realisation that he can be as active a participant and change-maker in national politics as any other.

In this book, the authors provide an in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of how these three strands came together to create a brand new political tapestry. And how a single political party shattered the status quo; captivated the imagination of the citizenry and changed the contemporary political narrative in ways that are unthinkable, unprecedented and audacious.

Book: Crusader or Conspirator: Coalgate and Other Truths
Author: P.C. Parakh
Publisher: Manas Publications
Pages: 288

In 2012, a controversy over allocation of coal blocks to private companies rocked the country. The government's finance watchdog - the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) - found the government had picked favourites and avoided open and competitive bidding, which would have generated far more revenue for a cash-starved state. The CAG concluded that India had lost Rs.1.86 lakh crore (over $30 billion) in the process, the benefits going to the private companies. It was the biggest recorded scam in India's history.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's premier investigation agency, then filed an FIR against the top officer in the coal ministry at the time - its secretary P.C Parakh - and industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla. Parakh had earned a fine reputation for ability and integrity in over three decades as a civil servant. His stint as the top bureaucrat in the coal ministry was his last posting in a sterling career. The FIR outraged the civil service and corporate India and was widely condemned by the country's intelligentsia.

The book isn't just about the coal scam. It is also about working with some of the biggest Indian politicians like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Shibu Soren and Mamata Banerjee. It is an account that startles with never-before revealed information.

Book: Anticipating India: The Best of National Interest
Author: Shekhar Gupta
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 516

How many in a Mumbai room full of Hermes ties and finance whizkids are Dalits? What if Mahesh Bhatt's son, David Headley's friend, had been a Muslim? Why is Delhi getting better as a city and Mumbai going downhill?

When did the Congress first start shrinking its prime minister? When did it become clear that Narendra Modi would take over the BJP? What does an angry Arvind Kejriwal have to say about us?

This book interprets everything from the successes and failings of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh to the ascent of Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, from the forces that have deepened Indian federalism and constitutionalism to the public mood that keeps a check on excess use of political power.

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Dogs offer more than just companionship

Dogs offer more than just companionship. There are umpteen number of benefits if you own a dog. Here go some of the advantages:

You will exercise more Owning a dog can motivate you to exercise every day. If you are feeling lethargic to do your workout, one look at your dog standing by the door waiting to go for a walk can give you the push you need to get out there. Taking your dog for a 30 minute walk every day can greatly improve your health.

You will feel less stressed There have been lots of studies that have shown how dogs decrease stress levels. Petting your dog, playing with your dog, and simply watching your dog can reduce your stress each day. Research shows that dog ownership reduces stress hormones and the effects usually outweigh the stress caused by caring for a dog.

Your social life will improve You can make many friends when you take your dog out for a walk. Going to the dog park or taking your dogs to run errands can also lead to strangers striking up conversations with you about your dog.

Your heart will be healthier Studies have shown that petting a dog lowers a person's heart rate. In fact, some research has shown that dog owners are much more likely to survive a heart attack compared to non-dog owners. Male pet owners in particular tend to experience a reduced rate of heart disease.

You are less likely to feel depressed The benefits of dog ownership extend to your mental health as well. Caring for a dog helps relieve symptoms of depression and encourages people to be more positive.

You will feel safer Just knowing that you've got a dog who can use its keen sense of hearing to detect anyone prowling around can help increase your sense of security, which is good for both your mental and physical health.

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Recipe: Gujarati Kadhi

It is a hot favorite with non-Gujaratis too

Four tbsp of beaten curd, two tbsp besan, two tsp sugar, ginger, one tsp each of methi seeds and cumin, half tsp mustard seeds, two dry red chillies, one green chilly cut into half, coriander leaves, salt to taste, two cups water, two tsp oil.

Mix curd, besan, sugar and salt in a bowl. Heat a pan, add mustard seeds, cumin, methi seeds, chillies and ginger. Add the curd and besan mix, and pour water. Stir till kadhi becomes slightly thick and garnish with coriander leaves.

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Cellulite facts worth knowing

Cellulite, the fat beneath the skin that looks more like an orange peel, can plague women no end -- but not many are aware of the facts associated with the unwanted fat deposits.

Skin care expert Jill Zander of the Jill Zander Skin Rejuvenation Clinic, in Surrey, provides a few facts on cellulite, reports femalefirst.co.uk:

The different types: Adipose cellulite (firm cellulite, orange peel effect on loose skin), oedematous cellulite (fluid retention, soft cellulite often on loose skin), fibrotic cellulite (hard, compact cellulite with orange peel effect).

Get moving and shaking: Cellulite forms in areas with the least circulation. Everyday energising movements and skin warming exercises will make you say goodbye to dimpled skin if you are consistent with it. Running, swimming and brisk walking are the best form of exercises for increasing blood circulation and loosening the fat tissues.

Do it yourself: Body brushing, massage and good scrubs support circulation.

Little things help too: Cellulite is a big fan of women with inactive careers. Take breaks, make tea and walk and talk. All of these simple steps remind your rear it needs to keep in shape.

Cellulite is often hereditary: It's likely your family members will be suffering from the same problem. Also, it is said that 95 per cent of women have some type of cellulite somewhere on their body and post-pregnancy it can bring on uneven skin too.

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8 Indian spices that prevent cancer

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 23 April 2014 | 18.47

Not every battle is struck by a wave of violence and not every fight culminates in bloodshed.

When the opposition in question is an adamant disease like cancer, our armoury should be packed with a lifestyle of regular health check-ups and a diet including foods that double as anti-cancer agents.

When actress Lisa Ray was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a relatively rare cancer of the bone marrow, all she said was, "I'll beat cancer". Carrying this spirit of defeating a disease often labelled 'incurable', we try to find out diet methods, especially in the selection of spices that can avert the multiplying of malignant cells in the body that gradually mature into insurmountable cancer cells.

Our grandmothers would in no time prepare us a glass of warm milk with saffron sprinkled on top when we went crying to her with bruise on our knee or wound on the elbow. The herbal turmeric paste soothed minor cuts and healed all skin rashes. These age-old kitchen tricks are little more than mere quick-fix tactics. Spices like turmeric and saffron are inherent with medicinal properties that, when incorporated to our diet from an early stage strengthens our bodies against invasion of toxins, bacteria and virus.

Senior consultant surgical oncologist Dr. B. Niranjan Naik and senior clinical nutritionist, Fortis La Femme, Shipra Saklani Mishra, inform us about the goodness of Indian spices with cancer-fighting properties and the necessity of their inclusion to our eating habits.

Turmeric/Curcumin: This is the king of spices when it comes to dealing with cancer diseases, besides it adding a zesty colour to our food on the platter. Turmeric contains the powerful polyphenol Curcumin that has been clinically proven to retard the growth of cancer cells causing prostrate cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, brain tumour, pancreatic cancer and leukemia amongst a host of others. Curcumin promotes 'Apoptosis'- (programmed cell death/cell suicide) that safely eliminates cancer breeding cells without posing a threat to the development of other healthy cells. In cases of conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the surrounding cells too become a target in addition to the cancer cells. Therefore, the side-effects are imminent.

Fennel: Armed with phyto-nutrients and antioxidants, cancer cells have nothing but to accept defeat when the spice is fennel. 'Anethole', a major constituent of fennel resists and restricts the adhesive and invasive activities of cancer cells. It suppresses the enzymatic regulated activities behind cancer cell multiplication. A tomato-fennel soup with garlic or fresh salads with fennel bulbs make for an ideal entree prior to an elaborate course meal. Roasted fennel with parmesan can be another star pick.

Saffron: A natural carotenoid dicarboxylic acid called 'Crocetin' is the primary cancer-fighting element that saffron contains. It not only inhibits the progression of the disease but also decreases the size of the tumour by half, guaranteeing a complete goodbye to cancer. Though it is the most expensive spice in the world for it is derived from around 250,000 flower stigmas (saffron crocus) that make just about half a kilo, a few saffron threads come loaded with benefits you won't regret paying for. Saffron threads can be used in various ways:

Cumin: Yes, it aids digestion and probably that is why we like chewing a handful of cumin seeds at the end of every meal. However, its health benefits go beyond. A portent herb with anti-oxidant characteristics, cumin seeds contain a compound called 'Thymoquinone' that checks proliferation of cells responsible for prostate cancer. So, instead of loading your usual snack options with calories and oil, add this seasoning to your bread, fried beans or sauce and make the dish rich in flavour and high on health. You can rediscover the magic of cumin in your regular bowl of tadka dal and rice too!

Cinnamon: It takes not more than a half teaspoon of cinnamon powder every day to keep cancer risk away. A natural food preservative, cinnamon is a source of iron and calcium. Useful in reducing tumour growth, it blocks the formation of new vessels in the human body. Some of the effective ways of including cinnamon in your diet are:

-Start your day with a cup of cinnamon tea (in leaf or sachet)
-Make your breakfast meal a super healthy one; just add this wonder spice to your
morning oatmeal and you are going well!
-A fruity delight comprising chopped apples, a few walnuts and your magic potion cinnamon
-Honey and cinnamon in your glass of milk before going to bed; no cancer nightmares assured!

Oregano: More than a pizza or pasta topping, oregano confirms its worth as a potential agent against prostate cancer. Consisting of anti-microbial compounds, just one teaspoon of oregano has the power of two cups of red grapes! Phyto-chemical 'Quercetin' present in oregano restricts growth of malignant cells in the body and acts like a drug against cancer-centric diseases.

Cayenne Pepper/Capsaicin (Chilli peppers): A promising spice with anti-cancer properties, an overdose of chilli peppers however should be restrained. Capsaicin induces the process of apoptosis that destroys potential cancer cells and reduces the size of leukemia tumour cells considerably. It can be concluded that apart from setting our tongues on fire, chilli peppers can scare cancer pathogens off too.

Ginger: This humble spice boasts of medicinal qualities that help lowering cholesterol, boost metabolism and kill cancer cells. Easily added to vegetable dishes, fish preparations and salads, ginger enhances the flavour in cooking. Chew on fresh parsley if the odour bothers you.

Others: Cloves, anise, basil, garlic, caraway, fenugreek, mustard, mint leaves, rosemary, Limonin (fresh lemon), virgin olive, vinegar and avocado are other cancer-fighting diet components.

Dr. K Medhi, Senior Consultant, Medical Oncology informs us on other diet habits that can keep cancer risk at bay:

1. A plant-based diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and beans is the best organic way to fight cancer.
2. Add fibre: Replace white rice with brown rice in meals
3. Substitute whole-grain bread for white bread; choose a bran muffin over a pastry
4. Snack on popcorn instead of potato chips.
5. Eat fresh fruits with skin.
6. Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation.
7. Cook with olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil
8. Avoid packaged or fried foods that are high in trans-fats
9. Avoid processed salt. Celtic sea salt/Himalayan salt can be consumed sparingly.
10. Cancer patients: Do not load your diet with turmeric or Curcumin supplements without doctor's consult or prescribed dosage.

Cancer fighting salad recipe: Couscous salad with sun dried tomato


Couscous Wheat- 120 gms

Turmeric - 1 gm

Salt/pepper To Taste

Sun dried tomato- 2 nos

Olives (black/Green) - 2 nos each

Mint leaves- 2 sprig

Lemon juice

Ginger dices

Bell pepper dices- 15 gm

Olive oil- 2 Tsp


Pickle onion- 2 nos

Lettuce leaves


1. Take a pan and add salt, pepper, turmeric, couscous, olive oil and saffron. Steam the couscous for 5 minutes and chill immediately.

2. Now add lemon juice, bell pepper, olives, sun dried tomato, pickle onion (chopped) and dice ginger. Mix well and add mint. Mould it on top of lettuce leaves and serve chilled.

(Recipe contributed by Chef Diwas Wadhera, Executive Chef at Mosaic Hotels, Noida)


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How to win a guy in 7 days

Are you vying for the attention of your college hottie or that handsome suit-clad gentleman at work or the guy you often bump into at your favourite coffee shop? Have you already started imagining a rosy future with him but don't know to approach him.

We tell you how to get the man of your dreams in just 7 days.

Day 1: Exchanging glances
Making eye contact is the key here. The way you look at a person says a lot about your affiliation towards them. He'll get the hint that you're interested in him. But, do NOT stare or bump into him everywhere. You don't have to show serious stalking tendencies; else, he'll run away as far as he can.

Day 2: Introduce yourself
Today try initiating a little conversation with him. He would already have a faint idea that you're interested in him but he needs a confirmation before he would think of making the first move. Make a small remark when you see him around and then go ahead and introduce yourself. You really need to strike an interesting conversation with him that would make him remember you for who you are. Just remember, he could turn out to be the man of your dreams, and you wouldn't want to lose him only because you fret making the first move. Go ahead, work your charms on him.

Day 3: Sustain his interest
If you managed to strike a chord the previous day, he might in all likelihood approach you today. This would also give you an impression whether or not he's actually interested in you. Furthermore, if he tries a small talk with you without any initiation, be assured he is attracted to you. Now the tricky part, you have just caught his attention but you need to sustain his interest. Don't hesitate if he asks you to join him for lunch or coffee. Just go ahead and accept the offer. While actually having a conversation with him for the first time, ask leading questions and listen well to his responses. Remember, men like extrovert and knowledgeable women with whom they can have a decent conversation.

Day 4: Passive stalking
It is alright to send him a friend request on Facebook today. You never know by now he may already have sent you one. So get set to do some research on his likes, interests, his social circle etc. This would give you leads for next conversation, but please refrain from liking or commenting on any of his old posts or asking him directly about any of the posts he has made in the past. This is just to give you a brief idea about the person he is and nothing else.

Day 5: Send an event invite
Now, that you're well versed with his interests, find out what's happening in the city in line with his interests (something he can't say no to!) and then send a group message to a bunch of your friends including him asking if you can work a plan of going to the play/exhibition/concert together. At the event, just don't drool over or ignore him completely. But by the same token, it's important he know that there are other people in your life as well whom you are close to. However, pay him just enough attention to keep his interest in you going.

Day 6: Let him chase you
You have done enough work. Now, it's time to reap the fruits of your hardwork. Wait for his call or text. Do not send a text yourself and don't even reply promptly to his text. People want what they can't have - it's human psychology. Thus, remaining out of reach a little and making him realize that he's still got some work to do will only add to your advantage.

Day 7: When he actually asks you out...
The time has come when he'll ask you out officially on your first date. It's completely normal to have butterflies fluttering furiously in your stomach, but you need to take it easy for your own good.

Follow these tips for a lasting impression on him:
- Coco Chanel popularly said, "Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman." Take her advice.
- Be confident, it is enamoring. There's nothing better than a women who knows what she wants and isn't afraid of voicing it.
- Spray a little perfume into your hair and flip your locks when you are sitting with him. There's this thing about the scent, you remember it even when the person is not around, so this way, you'll be in his memory until you meet again.
- Do not forget the golden rule of looking into his eyes and coyly linger there for a few seconds. At the end, give him one last look (a mental image) that he won't be able to get over in a long time.

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Aam Panna recipe

Recipe to most popular summer chiller

As the heat is already catching up, we get a clear indication on summers just round the corner. And as the mercury goes soaring, chilled drinks are the must have. And what can be better than the flavour of the season i.e. raw green mango. No prizes for guessing the recipe we are refering to which is aam panna. Here's the quick recipe to this popular summer chiller:

Raw green mango - 1 large or 2 medium sized
Roasted cumin powder - 1 1/4 tsps
Black salt - 1 1/4 tsps
Jaggery - as required
Black pepper powder - as required

1. Pressure cook the mangoes till soft. Cool and remove the soft mango pulp from the seed and skin. Grind to a smooth paste.

2. Add crushed jaggery as per your taste to the paste followed by 3/4 cup of water. Bring this mixture to boil and allow it to cool to room temperature. You may add cardamom seeds to this, if your taste permits.

3. To prepare a glass of aam panna, add 4 tbsps of the mixutre, 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder, 1/4 tsp of black salt, black pepper powder and blend to combine well. Add 1 1/4 cup chilled water and continue to blend for few seconds.

4. Pour into a tall glass with crushed ice and serve.

The above prepared paste of mango pulp can be refrigerated for 3-4 days or can be stored in deep fridge for 6-7 days.

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How to remove wrinkles from your cotton suit

Is your cotton suit too wrinkled to wear and you have no time to take it to the dry cleaner? This is how you can remove the wrinkles.

Are you scared your cotton suit stands to go bad due to excessive dry cleaning and ironing? This is what you can do to remove the wrinkles without having to take it to the dry cleaner everywhere you wear.

There is no real need to give your suit to dry cleaners unless it is dirty and need a good washing. As for the wrinkles that are bothering you, you can get rid of them at home itself. Your dry cleaner can not only spoil it, but would cost you money as well.

The best and the simplest thing is to steam your suit before you wear it. This will remove the wrinkles without having to put pressure of the iron on the suit. If your regular wardrobe consist of various suits, irrespective of the fabric, it is a good idea to have your own steamers and be able to use them efficiently. They are not only easy to use, but will help you save up a lot of money in the long run.

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Signs you are dating an immature man

Nothing can be more frustrating than being in a relationship with a man who isn't as mature as you are.

Immaturity is a clear sign of emotional instability. Here's how you can suss out if your man fits that bill...

Shies from commitment
He may just not want to commit himself to anything in particular. Getting him to spend quality time with you is like getting a tooth pulled out.

Never accepts mistakes
Instead, he resorts to pointing fingers at everybody. He's not the sort to readily accept the blame. And if in case you manage to hold him responsible for something, he will still find a way to brush off the blame.

No steady job
This man may never have a steady job. Instead you may always find him cribbing about work. Apart from this, you may feel that he lacks ambition and only talks big about himself.

Never had a meaningful relationship
When talking to you about past relationships, he may never mention a long-term one. Instead, he may just talk about one-night stands or a one that just lasted for a month.

Is way too vulnerable
You may often find your man breaking down at the drop of a hat. While it's okay to feel upset sometimes, when you go overboard in a relationship, it breeds trouble.

Is indecisive
Says Pallavi Vaz, 28-year-old advertising professional, "Many times I have felt that I am the one constantly making decisions not only for the growth of our relationship, but also for him. He almost leaves every decision upto me, which is quite frustrating at times."

Is very inconsiderate
You may find him to be very selfish at times. His priorities are way different and "more important" than yours. You may feel agitated when you find him only thinking about himself and not about anyone else. Further, he may not even take a minute to be rude to someone.

Has no real life plans
Your man may not have an idea about what he wants to do for a living. Says Devyani Parikh, 23-year-old media professional, "My boyfriend prefers to live his life on a day-to-day basis and take things as they come to him." Such a guy couldcare less about his future or where he will be (personally and professionally) a couple of years down the line.

What do you do if you are already married to such a guy

It is said that women mature faster than men. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the main ones is that a man usually looks at responsibility as an enemy, something that would get in his way of living and be a hindrance to having fun. Women are more or less ready to take responsibilities in all its forms.

Don't take responsibility for his irresponsibilities
One of the mistakes that women make in their relationship or marriage to an immature guy is that they make peace with their husband's irresponsibilities. The only way you can probably make your husband more responsible and mature is not only by ignoring his irresponsibiltity but also let him suffer the consequences alone. You may have to do this in complete silence. Do not shout at him, lecture him and don't mother him. He will gradually understand his ways and will start being more responsible.

Communicate better
Even though many women recognise this problem, they fail to communicate in the right way to their partners. If you feel that over time your husband has been immature and shows no signs of maturity, you must talk it out with him. Once you communicate your feelings and your opinions to your husband, he will make a move to taking up more responsibilities for the household, you and your children.

Involve your family in decision-making
Never make any decision alone. Make sure you involve your family and keep them in the loop when talking to your husband about something. This way if things go wrong in your relationship, you will not be the sole person blamed for it. Also, with the help of your family, you might be able to instil maturity in your husband and get him to be more serious in life.

Get help from a counsellor
If you feel marriage is on the rocks due to this nature, it is best you seek help from a professional. This will ensure that your husband communicates his problem better. This will go a long way in helping your husband grow up and mature.

(Inputs by psychologist Mimrah Ansari)

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