Tuesday, December 24, 2013

a distant rose

the naughty smile
that sweet innocence always present.
too sweet to ignore

but each time I go near
the thorns prick
and the smile vanishes

hence I stare from afar
at the brave heart
that commands an iron body

smooth yet firm is the face,
always lit up with the bright smile
the mind clear and straight

always swimming in great ideas
no time for petty people
for the journey is long.

open to strangers
but finding the good ones is difficult
for everyone is behind a mask

the mind is held high
heart ever racing
future is bright

but one doesn't know
who is being talked of here
only that someone I love

Sunday, December 08, 2013


A sweet voice beckons me to the golden plates with mounds of mouth watering delights , as I get down from my bright and warm carriage. The journey had been long and wonderful but I am tired and irritated.

I recognize the greenest and freshest treasures from our garden, and my mouth resembles the suez canal.

My mother's preparations adorn this royal feast and I start picking up one after the other, commenting on how each one tastes and occasionally ignoring a bit of imperfection.

I eat to satisfaction and dunk myself into the refreshing juices from the orchards, while eyeing the mounds of ice cream made from the ice brought in from the Himalayas.

The same Himalayas, on the peaks of which I sang a hopeful song before returning home for the feast. No mountains can keep me away from the love of a handful of rice. Or was it just the growl of the tummy? Anyway here I am, and I would have regretted if I wasn't.

As the feast ends, I eye the clock and the voice in the head starts uttering strange things. It is time to leave and my carriage has arrived. The carriage painted in bright yellow, with green stripes seems hypnotizing and the voice in the head seems more and more distant as I get into the carriage and tuck myself in, into the comfort of the warm blankets, and continue my wild quest into the lands unknown.

Sayonara and happy lazy sunday evening :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

250th Edition - "What goes around comes around"

Its official. This is the 250th published article!

When I left for Chennai last weekend for some time with relatives, my mind was in turmoil. I had written 249( including 1 draft) articles by the end of exactly 7 and a half years from the very first post. I wanted to write something special for the 250th, but I was out of unique ideas and only had some travelogue series going on.

On Monday, I was back in Bangalore and was checking my mails in a hurry before leaving for office. One comment on my blog caught my attention. I have been nominated again for a Liebster's award - this time by Divya. How timely!! I finally found a fitting content for the 250th post. But on checking her blog, I found even more reasons to rejoice.

If readers remember, it has hardly been a fortnight since my first nomination for the Liebster award. As part of the nomination process, I had nominated ten other bloggers for the same award. After giving out my nominations, I planned to track all the blogger who would be nominated down the line and observe how the tree would expand. I knew a couple of recipients personally, and a few more through online interaction, but the rest were pure strangers. But, after tracking a few nominees, the interest fizzled out and soon it was all forgotten.

On tracking back from Divya, I found an interesting relation. Here is a pictorial representation of it. And none of these are people I know personally..

"What goes around, comes around". Whoever coined that line must have been insanely brilliant or just plain wise. Yes, it was my first Liebster nomination that eventually led to my second. But the credit purely goes to each one who received a nomination and passed it on those whom they appreciated. A first, second or 100th Liebster doesn't depict anything more than the level of appreciation people have for one's works. And that appreciation is very important to each and every one of us, as Aparna pointed out in her response to my nomination.
that explains the circular arrows

I am glad I could pass on the valuable appreciation to ten talented writers, and to get that chance again makes me every more luckier. I am deeply honoured by the appreciation and support given to me in the blogosphere, especially Indiblogger. Good begets good, they say. It can't be any truer. I hope my nominations had motivated hundreds down the line to write with greater vigour and  contribute to making the blogosphere richer :) Seriously, I am still in awe at the way my 250th article was formed out of nowhere by a serendipitous nomination from unknown persons, remotely linked to my own action of sharing goodness :D

Enough ramblings, here are the answers to the questions raised by Divya.

1)    What is your favourite place and why?
Ans: My room in my house at Kochi. That is the place where I forged my dreams, fought my demons and learnt to take my own steps. I am me in all of my colours there, and only there.

2)    What would be that one wild thing you intend to do in your lifetime?
Ans: Leave the norms of society and become a villian who tries to break it and show people how brittle we really are.

3)    How do you define serenity? Illustrate with examples.
Ans: Serenity is when you mind is devoid of nagging conscious thoughts. Serenity is when you sense the peace within and outside merge into unity. I feel it when I sit by the ocean, when I see the long road ahead and no one beside me, when I lie listening to the raindrops, when I wake up one fine morning after a good sleep and thank God for the wonderful life I have been given.

4)    If you were to ask only one question to an alien, what would that be?
Ans: Can you hear me? :)

5)    Light shades or dark colours? Reasons?
Ans: I prefer light shades when I want to express myself and in dark colours when I tend to keep to myself or don't bother to express explicitly. I guess its because light colours catch attention, whereas dark repel.

6)    What is your dream job?
Ans: But my dream job is to be a dreamer.

7)    Describe your favourite birthday experience.
Ans: My birthday is very rarely celebrated at home and there are a very few experiences. Hence all of them are special. But the favourite would be the night when my ex-roomie came from afar with a cake to celebrate my birthday. I myself had expected no one to even remember, due to busy schedules and distances. I was living alone those days too, and was going through some depressing times. :-)

8)    Given a chance, what will you change about the planet earth?
Ans: I wish there were no fossil fuels and we all learnt to tap resources that would maintain harmony and balance for all.

9)    What do you do when you have absolutely free time?
Ans: I would have tonnes of pending things in my to-do. Crazy things, big plans, ideas, tasks for self-improvement, places to see, people to meet, cook, eat or sleep even. The list is endless..

10) What is it that you don’t like in someone?
Ans: Inability to sympathize and tolerate people with different ideas and beliefs.

And the questions..
1) Do you acknowledge the evil in you? If so, do you find it easy to accept that you can be evil too?
2) What is the book that you read last?
3) What kind of music do you listen to?
4) Would you prefer religion to be formally taught in schools? Give reasons too.
5) Do you ever imagine yourself doing nasty things to random strangers?
6) When was the last time you made someone smile?
7) If the world were to end tomorrow morning, would you wish to hold onto whatever you have or would you be ready to give up everything and surrender?
8) Are you a morning person or an evening person?
9) What is one thing in your TODO list that has remained there for the longest and you are willing to reveal in public?
10) Finally, do you believe the policy of "paying forward"? According to it, you would prefer to give help, support and do things ahead of time without expecting results or anything in return.

Unforunately, I just googled and found out that a blogger cannot nominate others a second time. Alas. I feel bad for the nominee list I had half prepared :'(
Well, the questions are open for the readers. Feel free to answer them :-)

To the nominees I couldn't nominate (which could be any one of you reading this), keep writing all those wonderful things you write and use every chance to shower your appreciation on other writers who motivate and captivate you with words :-)


Chasing the monsoon - Season 5

Morning 4 AM:- I woke up with bleary eyes, staring at an unfamiliar roof. It took me a while to figure out where I was. I could make out the outline of the apartment we were put up in Pune. I must have slept like a log for at least 3 hours. Not enough, but given the length of journey lying ahead of us, I was quite content.

Day 2 planning started after a couple of hours once the other chasers were woken up from deep slumber.

I was hungry for adventure and the first day's lengthy rides along the green mountainous roads in the rain were just recce as far as I was concerned. We set out targets for the second day:- Lohagad and Lonavala. It took lots of back and forth discussions to get the routes and schedule right. Finally, the plan was made to hit the two spots asap and head onto Mumbai for the night. I was super excited at the prospects of this plan. I haven't been to Mumbai after a very short visit while waiting for our transit flight to Kochi when I was in my sixth grade. The distance and the prospect of the wild chase entering a large crowded city was challenging, but I trusted my mates who knew Mumbai well. We were off soon, powered by the wonderful Poha, Misal pava and Idly.

Around 60kms from Pune, Lohagad has been in my sights for more than a year now. I had fallen in love with the fort just by visual appeal.
A random album in facebook, narrative by a friend, and follow up research, all that ran through my mind as we made our way through the inviting Mumbai-Pune highway gunning our engines in high spirits.

The regular route to Lohagad involved a decent trek. The trek promised to be mesmerizing in the monsoon, and we were already proven monsoon chasers. The image of the lush green routes dripping with fresh rainwater was too exciting to ignore. But we had a practical problem to solve. Lohagad lay right in the path to Lonavala and if we chose to trek the Lohagad, all our plans would get delayed. The distance to Lonavala and Mumbai would never get covered if we were to walk up the Lohagad. So I reluctantly agreed to the plan to 'ride through' Lohagad and move onto Lonavala. At least that is what we could come up, using Google Maps for guidance.

The route to Lohagad takes a deviation from the highway at a point and goes through Kachcha roads and villages. In spite of being an extended weekend, there didn't seem to be much of a crowd. Only children walking along the road going to school or village women carrying pots of water on their heads were visible throughout the route. We were just beginning to wonder why we were the only people on vehicles, when we almost fell into the first ditch. Technically a pothole, but practically it was a well.

We had ourselves deep in dirt when the first pothole led to many more of varying sizes and complexities. Large ditches of mud and puddles meant we crawled through slowly, trying not to fall and make a scene in front of the pretty girls walking in large groups, around and through the same puddles. Keeping our minds firmly on the road and grips on the handles, we moved slowly to the tiny waterfall on the way. I was riding the unicorn rented from a friend of Sumeet, one of the three chasers. Keeping it in control was no small matter. After the trip, I would observe significant muscle development in the region of my right forearm, all thanks to the wonderful accelerator of this unicorn.

Anyway, no sooner had we taken a few customary clicks at the crowded waterfall, the heavens opened up and the crowd of youngsters vanished under rain coats and umbrellas. I felt very jealous. While they laughed and walked up the scenic rocky routes under their raincoats,

we had an almost impossible task to ride the slick FZ and the monstrously unyielding Unicorn up the 60 degree slope that was fast turning into a river of mud through slippery rocks the size of  footballs. We stopped at a small shop to ask some locals if we could ride the bikes all the way to the top and continue to Lonavala. The local fellows in the shop made a mockery of us and asked us to take an auto. Hearing that, all our frustration turned to pure determination and we rode ahead with renewed vigour and confidence, with only the cold rain leaving no spot warm on us.

And so started the long and precarious ride. I had never in my life attempted such adventures with bikes, and never so far away with someone else's bikes. The unicorn's accelerator too didn't help in making it any easier to traverse the boulders and maneuver on the slippery mud. We made slow progress and to the amazement of the small groups of trekkers, we managed to climb most of the hill without much incidents, apart from a few times when we had to push the bikes up to avoid slipping all the way down. Then we came to this..

My heart sank on seeing it. But there was no turning back. I could in no way rely on my physical strength to push the heavy unicorn up this one. We both gave it our best to climb up the almost 75 degree mess. There were no foot holds, no even surface. Only deep sticky mud with lots of loose rocks. Even after many attempts, we found ourselves close to the foot of this small hill, bikes already covered in thick layers of mud and hot fumes emanating from the engines. Fortunately for me, a local boy came along and offered to help. He took over my bike and I resorted to supporting him by guiding and pushing from the back. Aswin did the same to the lighter FZ while Sumeet was on the saddle. Slowly, painfully, we pushed both the bikes up the 50m slope. Puffing, panting and covered in mud, we were close to exhaustion. But relieved off the mortal danger we were in, we thanked the boy and paid him Rs 100.

The road began there and all the tension and pressure of the dangerous climb were soon forgotten as we rode freely through the heavy rains, surprising many a gang of trekkers who would have been basking in the glory of having climbed that hellish path. Yes, we did the ultimate. We rode on heavy bikes through that difficult-to-climb path. Our euphoria and excitement was back. I could imagine myself as the heavy cavalry of Hannibal that traversed the impossible Alps to launch a surprise attack at the Romans. Soon we had our fort in sights, and were more than ready to unleash ourselves on it.

The trek up the steps of the Lohagad was refreshing after two days on the bike saddle. I could feel the fresh oxygen energize every cell of my body as my mind was seduced by the naked beauty of nature that was draped in the thin veils of fog that hung almost everywhere. Strategically crafted pathways, bastions, towers, large gates, all covered in slippery green moss gave an eerie feeling to the entire place.

Only the thick white fog that hung everywhere and the water that flowed down the steps reminded one that the fort was no longer operational. But standing at an isolated tower, I got goosebumps imagining being under the watchful eyes of hundreds of carefully positioned guards of Sivaji.

Needless to say, I was in love with the fort in its wintery, foggy, wet outfit. But I also wanted to love its green version and marked in my heart to revisit the fort in another season. As usual, I had to be dragged out of the fort by my mates. That was a fort we fought hard to conquer! I had to say goodbye with a heavy heart..

Soon, we were on our way to Lonavala. There wasn't much of interest there. Tiger's leap was the only point that was recommended. But the heavy rains and thick fog which had begun rolling all over the region made it inaccessible to us. We had a long way ahead and decided to skip most of the places,and apart from a beautiful waterfall we stumbled upon by the road side, we mostly focussed on riding to Aamchi Mumbai..
some costly snacks

The roads were perfect, the scenery mesmerizing and the rain kept constant companion. As I was wondering how Maharashtra manages to provide such good roads everywhere, we hit an even wider road with mind blowing quality of lanes and it smelled of international quality. I was taken aback and we riders exchanged amused glances while maintaining the bikes at top speed.

It was not until we noticed the angry stares and constant honking of trucks and cars that we stopped to think. Then it stuck us.

We were in the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Wow!!! Jackpot!! Wait.. what did that board read? "Two-Wheelers Prohibited." Shit. We realized that if caught, it would not just be a matter of paying up. Three mud covered, unkempt youngsters claiming to be engineers from Bangalore riding a rented bike from Pune with almost no papers and a Karnataka registered bike in someone else's name, speeding at 100kmph in the heavy rains on the expressway on Aug 16th would need a lot of explaining.

the illegitimate ones..
That was exactly when the police jeep we saw earlier came round the corner, and I thought I could see the wicked smile on the officer's face. We were screwed..

To be Continued..

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Aroma of Nilgiris - The memories

Its been almost a year since I went on the longest ride of my life - The Aroma of Nilgiris ride from Bandipur to Ooty. A mega ride of 80kms and 4560 ft altitude gain on the first day to Ooty and a 94km ride on the second day for the return. The 14 extra kms were kept aside for the expert ride to Doddabetta, a popular tourist spot within Ooty.

Phew. Thinking back to that event, I can say with certainty that it was one good decision I took to not sit in the side lines and wait until I was super fit or acquainted with long rides. It set the pace for many things to follow :-)

The ride was conducted on the 26th of January 2013. It was a saturday. The ride was conducted by Cycling and More. A bus was arranged to transport the riders overnight from Bangalore and a truck followed, carrying our bikes with it. At the pickup point, we met several enthusiastic and interesting people who came from various backgrounds,professions and age groups. We had short introductions between ourselves and were getting all excited about the ride as experienced riders confirmed that the route was difficult but doable and thoroughly enjoyable.

Soon we were on our way, and the stories narrated by Brian, Mike and Srinivasan were what made everyone in the bus sit up for a long time. Brian was an aged person and so was Srinivasan at 70 years, with lots of long rides under their belts. While Brian was a jovial person cracking jokes and narrating funny incidents, Srinivasan who sat next to me was very quiet and only on enquiring revealed the vast distance he has covered on the pedals. He was a regular long distance office commuter on bicycles and for him mountains, valleys and highways were alike. I felt like a toddler among these great men. The regular riders were all flocking to them. But Mike, he was the star. Mike was originally from Germany and he had been in India for a long time now as part of his job. On being prodded with questions, he revealed how he started off as a newbie in France and soon conquered many peaks of the Alps (on road bikes) before arriving in India. The list of places he conquered made us all roll our eyes. The pro was among us. It gave us immense pleasure and pride to have a guy like him with us. He never hesitated to share tips and crack jokes :D

Mike n Sallu
 Next day at seven in the morning, we were dropped off at the Tamilnadu border ,where the Mudumalai forest started. Breakfast was served and our bikes and gears were set out for us to get started. With great energy, we all set off through the wide open roads that cut through the green forests. Experimenting with gears and trying to compete with each other, our group consisting of Salahudeen(Sallu), Tinu and me were roaring through the forest.

People who have been to the Nilgiris, especially on motorcycles know how immersing the route is. I would not be able to narrate the experience of the ride, after all this time. But I still remember every moment like it happened yesterday. The initial energy turned to slow pace once the 35 kms long steep slope started after Gudalur. I made teams with many other riders who were slogging it out to get warmed up. The going was slow, but everyone was high in spirits.
Not many stopped for rest and we kept on going, climbing bends and slopes, one after the other. Sallu, being an expert rider was soon coasting ahead of us and we let him go. Sweat beads turned to sweat streams and jackets and woollen clothes were stuffed inside. The hot sun came up after a while, and we started feeling the real sting. Every ten minutes, someone would mention the remaining distance, with optimistic estimates.This went for what seemed like an infinity. Me and Tinu stopped a couple of times, to refill water or stockpile Perk from village shops. Two fully geared men(both bearded at the time), asking to empty the jar of Perks into their bags attracted a lot of amusement and people came to us shooting a lot of amusing questions.

The climb continued for some more time until the lunch break, which was thankfully a very big relief, with a roadside waterfall and all :D After a heavy lunch, we were stuck by a moment of laziness and when the support van rolled by, the devil got into us and we got into it. After a five minute drive, we realized that the climb was over. Overcome with regret, we got off soon at the next stop point and then rode with vengeance.

Ooty at 5 PM welcomed us with the chill and dimming light. We had our stay arranged at the YWCA and traversing the Ooty town was a special feeling after all the puffing and panting in the hot sun. YWCA accommodations were perfect and cheap. We roamed around the town a bit to grab some local food and retired early to rest our sore bodies. The cold was biting and we never knew when sleep hit us. We had the jovial company of Siva and Om, who shared our room.

Early morning risers were few and they went off to conquer the Doddabetta while we rested ourselves more, having a relaxed breakfast. That was when I got a call my mother when she came to know that I had cycled to Ooty, thanks to my brother :) I had a some explaining to do for not informing, taking risks, etc etc. Soon, the pros were back, and we were all in super high spirits to start the return ride.

After fixing brakes and clicking some photos, we started off. The return was more relaxed as we knew what lie ahead. The ride was fun, with us often stopping for lots of photographs, some shopping and racing each other downhill. I for one was in vengeance mode, using my fully body weight for momentum to gain maximum speed downhill. I must have hurtled myself through some of those hair pin curves at nearly 50kmph screaming out emphatically for those in the way to make way, until I realized I was probably taking it too far and slowed down later.

Rest of the ride was very enjoyable and it was not until Gudalur that we had to climb up slopes again, albeit smaller ones. It was here that a couple of us took some bad falls and one broke his arm. Even I had a freak fall at this point, much to the amusement of the onlookers. I dusted myself up and slowly rode up the remaining trail, which was getting tough as now I was near my physical limits, having tested them a lot in a short span of time. Motivated by the water and chocolates offered by many passing by cars, I rode through to the end point, to be cheered by the good fellows who were there already. The sun was scorching. The body was broken. But the heart and mind were in Cloud Nine. It was such a special achievement :-)

 But Mike, the bloody genius had finished both the directions 6 hours ahead of anyone else. We could only sit jaw dropped on hearing that :D

A special mention required for the kids in each and every village on the way who greeted us, ran behind us and asked all sort of questions, sometimes in Tamil or some testing their knowledge of English.

I tried to answer as many of them as possible, and the fun helped me relax in the extenuating ride. Some questions were tough like "Why would you want to cycle all the way from Bangalore to Ooty? Can't you catch a bus or something?" or the regular "How much does this cycle cost? I heard it costs 40000. Why waste it on a bicycle?" or "Anna, are you famous? Do you appear in TV? Will I also come in TV?" Such innocence and energy. I marked in my mind to come back another time just to spend time with these kids :-) A random thumbs up from other gangs, travellers always raised our spirits whenever it ebbed. A gang of Bullet riders who gave us a riding salute when we were traversing some tough areas, filled up my motivation tanks for more than a day. Thanks Bros!!!

In those two days, in the sweet scent of Eucalyptus trees, the cold breeze, the chilled crystal clear springs, the countless packets of Perk, the warm beds, the hot asphalt, the paining joints and muscles, the pungent sweat, the euphoria and bliss on the faces of my comrades - I smelt the real Aroma of the Nilgiris. It was a life changing experience I would probably remember forever. A 160kms cycle ride with full support for two days - INR 4000. A bunch load of experiences, lessons and friends gained in two days - Priceless.

Adios Amigos :-)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Health is Wealth

Health is wealth. I grew up hearing these words from my father. I saw this being put to practice by my grandparents too.

But I never knew how valuable that wealth was, until I saw the pains that people had to go through when they lose it. Every time a friend or a relative falls sick or gets hospitalized, I had to witness the agony and the distress that they suffered. The worst happened when I myself get hospitalized. It feels horrible to have to lie on a bed for as long as the disease persists.Obviously, a sick person in the family affects everyone detrimentally in some or the other manner. Many such disturbed families leads subsequently to a weak nation and society.

Thinking about it, why do people fall sick? And there too why do some people frequently fall sick, whereas some rarely do? The answer lies in one word - Immunity. The dictionary meaning of this word is "the ability of an organism to resist a particular infection or toxin by the action of specific antibodies or sensitized white blood cells." It fairly translates to "your natural capacity to resist diseases". Though various other factors also contribute to the onset and spreading of diseases, from a personal point of view, immunity is what makes the most difference between a life of receiving help and sympathy from others, and a life where you can help and support the needy. And immunity is not something you can gain by any drug that you get over the counter, or by switching to healthy food and habits once the diseases start swamping you.

Immunity is a natural property of your body and your genealogy has a lot to contribute to this. But there is a major portion that can be gained purely by practising some time tested habits from childhood. Though they do work on adults as well, its most effective when inducted from childhood, when the body and mind are at the weakest and the most flexible state alike.

Hence, when I saw that Dabur has started a campaign for "Immune India" in Indiblogger, I marked in my mind to sit down and write what I think is required from parents to nurture their kids with good immunity.

Here are a few things that I learnt by observing my elders and a few by my own experiences which I believe helps in maintaining a healthy body and mind. I have tried to acquire sources to substantiate my claims that I put together from what I know. Please check those too for more information.

1) Take bath in cold water every day
I found this as one of the most refreshing tip when I was in Kochi, where temperatures rise upto 35 degrees in the summer and the constant humidity makes it a very pleasurable activity to take a cold water bath every day. But after moving to Mysore and subsequently to Bangalore, I found it absurdly difficult to follow and had switched to hot water. It was only three months back that I finally got back to the habit of taking bath only in cold water. Needless to say, the effect was obvious. The constant colds, headaches, tiredness and lethargy that plagued me for the last four years were instantly replaced with highly energetic days where I can concentrate of tasks more easily and overall I found myself disease free and happy.

2) Drink lots of water
Again, something I didn't realize while living in the hot and humid climate of Kochi. You needn't be poked in such a climate to drink enough water. But in the colder climates, I forgot to keep this up and effect was very bad. Acne, hair loss, dry skin, improper metabolism, tiredness and even kidney stones plagued me until I went on a water crusade to regain what was lost, only partially succeeding though. Every health article talks about drinking a lot of water, but not many people follow it. I paid for the ignorance, and I wish my readers don't have to.

3) Play hard
Play hard under the sun, sweat and get dirty. Its fun, its healthy and its mandatory. Make sure kids get enough time outside and are not stuck inside with homework or video games instead. The psychological and physical benefits of playing outside is immense. I can't stress enough on this.

4) Watch what you eat
These days, a bag of chips, burgers from big names and other fast food items are the main highlights of every kid's diet. Make sure these things are limited, if not absent in your child's diet. Such foods are known to be high in saturated fat, sugar, artificial colours and so on which can affect all functions of the body ranging from the heart, liver, brain, skin etc to the functioning of the taste buds even. A cue for identifying such foods is to not purchase any food item that has a TV advertisement for it.

5) Meditate everyday for 10 minutes
The benefits of meditation to memory power, concentration, creativity, patience and stress handling is very well studied and documented by science.

As kids rarely like to sit still, it would take a lot of effort from parents to instill this practice in them. Many households insist that the entire family sit for a prayer together. This is the time to teach your kid some hymns and make him/her sit still for a while chanting those. My mother did the same with me until the age of 9 when I was initiated to the Vedas which gives ample practice for a lifetime if followed strictly.
one more reason

6) Get adequate sleep
Make sure kids get to bed at regular times and they get enough sleep. These days even young kids get to spend time outside watching movies late night or going for parties. Such activities, while being fun and in line with modern lifestyle should not hamper the need to get enough sleep. Especially for kids, when the brain is the growing stage, sleep is what makes it grow faster and stronger. It can make a huge difference in the overall immunity level of kids.
couldn't resist this one :-)

7) Enjoy vacations and time with family
These days, even young kids are bombarded with loads of homework, tuition, exams and what not. All this stress severely inhibits their abilities to grow up psychologically and physiologically. A healthy, stress-free environment has to be created within the family for children to grow up in, giving them space to expand themselves as individuals with a healthy attitude. Regular vacations and outings with family is one very effective habit that boosts family bonding because kids get to enjoy along with their parents and share happy moments.

8) Read to them and Teach them to read
Effect of a healthy reading habit on overall health and attitude of a child is something that is often not considered in studies. I have personally observed major effects in families I know of where reading habits have boosted overall wellness in children.
Reading not only improves concentration and trains the brain in grasping concepts, but also reading many of the classics and award winning books have proved to improve the emotional quotient of children. This has been observed in various studies. A healthy attitude and outlook towards will go a long way in making champs out of your children.

9) Oil everyday
I recall a line from one of the slokas I learnt in school - "Murdha shrotha ghraana paada tailanityam syat", which translates to an instruction for "Oil the top(vertex) of you head,ears,nose and feet daily". This line is part of a sloka that talks about steps to maintain health, with a guarantee of 100 years of life. I have seen this technique being applied successfully by any octogenarians that I know of personally and via popular media. Various oils can be used for this, popular ones being Coconut, Gingelly and some Herbal concoctions.

10) Go the natural way
 Even with all these steps taken, there would still be a few things missing owing to the deviation from the natural techniques that modern lifestyle has taken. A regular habit of taking Chyawanprash is one technique that we used to follow when our household. Hence I can vouch for the it. Even regular drinking of Amla juice, Brahmi juice etc boosts immunity and improves memory power respectively. These are relatively easy habits to inculcate into a child's life.

What about experiments with some raw veggies? Studies have found that raw consumption(after washing) of many vegetables can supply a significantly larger quantity of nutrients to the body than the cooked variant. It used to be relatively easier in the older days with all vegetables being produced organically. Nowadays you have to take extra precaution to avoid effects of harmful chemicals and fertilizers. Hence, do this only if you really trust your source, or even better if you grow your vegetables in your kitchen garden. I personally have experimented with a few vegetables from our kitchen garden in my childhood and there are a few favourites even today.

11) Life is not a bed of roses
Last but not the least, please don't make the lives of kids too easy. Don't provide too many facilities and protection. Not only does such pampering affect the social behaviour of a child, but also the psychological and physical growth gets inhibited. Immunity is a natural property and it grows against the harmful elements around the body. So don't stop your child if he wants get drenched in the rain or play in the dirt or help you in the garden. A few stumbles initially will go a long way in creating world class citizens who won't be defeated by ill health, both physically and mentally.
Enjoy a bruise :-)

This is my vision for an Immune India. Thank you for taking your time to read through. Please let me know your thoughts on how we can build a very healthy society in the comments section.

This post has been submitted as an entry to the "Immune India" initiative in Indiblogger, an online blogging community.