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Here is why Bali's Sacred Monkey Forest a must visit

Bali, the paradise island of Indonesia, is known for its natural beauty and protected wildlife. One of the well known forest reserv...

Sunday, October 22, 2017

In The Making Of Super Delhi



It would not be wrong to state that the environment we live in is in grave danger. This not only refers to the pollution that harms all the five senses of humans but also the society as a whole and the perceptions that we have for life. There are people from all walks of life, from the filthy rich to the underprivileged, from farmers to industrialists and we are connected to everyone directly or indirectly.  But how many think for the environment and do something positive for it? Few do, many don’t.

When Delhi choked in 2016
Who can forget the odd-even rule that was applied in 2016 in Delhi post the aftermath of Diwali crackers? This was one of the initiatives taken by the Delhi Government. Among many other organizations, Vodafone initiated several measures to contribute to the environment. 


In the wake of air pollution that converted Delhi into a gas chamber in 2016, this year Vodafone pledged to celebrate Green Diwali. Between 16th to 19th October, the brand made super crackers available in 52 Vodafone stores. Super crackers are one of its kind initiatives where the crackers are full of seeds and people only need to plant them. While crackers sale was banned in Delhi NCR by the Supreme Court this year, super crackers kept the essence of the festival alive without harming the environment.  If only everybody thought of such innovative ideas, the world perhaps would be a better place.




Vodafone’s philosophy “Resolve” was another program based on the three R’s i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle for waste management. Implemented in many other states, this ongoing activity also takes place in Delhi through local NGO partnership. The program aims at enhancing the livelihood as well as providing sustainable livelihood opportunity for the urban poor by creating awareness and imparting education on waste. This involves education on categorizing waste into wet, paper and plastic or hazardous- non-hazardous waste. The waste management policy ensures adequate disposal of all types of waste. Adhering to the same Vodafone facilitated e-bills, reduced the size of recharge coupons & bill envelopes to save paper, reduced sim size to cut consumption of PVC and initiated reviving of dead cells generated in the network operators to give life extension of 6-12 months. Such little steps in Delhi besides other states were to make this a smart city and let each one live a super life.

Drishti: For the visually impaired
As we speak of improving livelihood, the telecom giant gave a serious thought for the visually impaired under their project Drishti. It partnered with National Association for the Blind (NAB) to provide employment opportunities to the sightless. NAB helped Vodafone recruit visually impaired personnel who were made to man call centers and reach out to postpaid customers in Delhi. What stood out was the training imparted to them on voice recognition system instead of Braille which enabled them to handle calls. Launched in 2011, this initiative by Vodafone proved its commitment to help the under privileged and improve the quality of life. It sets a fine example of moving to a super life. After all why should the physically challenged be deprived of jobs or the basics rights?


Air purifying bus shelter in Delhi

Vodafone also launched the first of its kind air-purifying bus shelter in the busy area of Safdarjung Hospital bus stop so that commuters could breathe in pure air. The bus stop is surrounded by plastic curtains and has three industrial purifiers fitted inside with an indicator showing the difference in air quality inside and outside. This super-move was launched in December 2016 after the increased levels of toxic gases choked Delhi. This was some respite for the commuters or patients from the polluted gases they inhale daily. Vodafone deserves a huge applause for this out-of-the-box initiative.  

Wi-Fi enabled bus shelter
Among many steps towards building a smart city, Vodafone introduced first Wi-Fi enabled bus shelters in Gurgaon. The first was launched in July 2017 in Huda City Center and the second recently came up at sector 14 Bus Stop in September. This was done to let customers enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi for 20 minutes even if they are on a different network. The initiative aims to let people stay connected on the go and enhance data consumption among smartphone users in the region.  Just one year ago, Vodafone partnered with GMR to create India’s largest Wi-Fi hotspot at both terminals of Delhi airport. There are 120 such free hotspots in Delhi NCR to let people stay digitally connected even while travelling


Our environment also comprises of animals and they often subjected to abuse, negligence or illegal trade practices. NGOs like Fauna Police contribute by rescuing animals, helping them getting adopted, treat the ill or injured ones and creating awareness for animal welfare. Fauna Police has rescued hundreds of species of exotic birds from illegal trade and sheltered abandoned pets. The NGO has significantly created awareness on rules of treating and upbringing of pets as well as built aviaries for birds. They aim to sensitize children on animal welfare and stop animal abuse. It takes courage and strength to stand up for the cause of animals and Fauna Police deserves a salute for the tremendous efforts put in by them tirelessly. It’s because of this NGO that illegal selling of goldfish and exotic birds stopped in South Delhi, more people started adopting strays and illegal transportation of cows was brought under control.


There are several other positive efforts which have been taken in Delhi to make it a smart city and enable super living. It is commendable to see Vodafone taking steps towards creating a super life in NCR. I sincerely hope and wish for many such mass initiatives to make Delhi the best city to live in.  

For more super initiatives visit https://www.vodafone.in/home-delhi


Friday, September 22, 2017

Tanah Lot- The most photogenic temple in Bali



With the record of being the most photographed and the most photogenic temple in Bali, Tanah Lot stands tall and firm on the black rocks since the 16th century. Literally translating into “Land in the sea”, Tanah Lot is said to be a work of Dang Hyang Nirartha, a Hindu traveler and a religious figure in Bali. 



This is one of the seven sea temples around the Balinese coast dedicated to the sea gods.
The large offshore rock has been shaped by the sea waves continuously for years. Resulting this, the temple's face rock started to wear out, posing danger to the surrounding and inside potions of Tanah Lot. The Japanese Government in 1980 helped in conservation of the temple and offered an aid of $130 million for its restoration . The exposed areas were restored and parts of the rock temple are artificial installations, unknown to the public.





Like all other temples, public entry is restricted inside the temple. Visitors can roam around the temple premises and the temple cave. Tanah Lot offers magnificent view of sunset and the surrounding enormous ocean that washes the rocky banks with full might. The holy snake housed in the cave at the foot of the temple is said to be guard Tanah Lot from evil spirits. Seeing the snake is said to bring good luck. Well, you can see and touch it by buying a ticket at 50k IDR which they term as"donation".

Cave of the lucky snake






I made it to the Tanah Lot around 5:30 pm, just before sunset. You need to enter through the market place, passing by the colorful souvenir shops. Suddenly the street echoed with soothing music and got crowded with people dressed in traditional attire, carrying a palanquin or paalki. I instantly felt a divine connection while witnessing the procession.



The market street in evening
The long distance that we traveled and spent lavishly on refilling our scooter's petrol were worth the pain . The gorgeous sunset, the magnificent temple and the traditional procession were visual treats. Post sun down, the market street started to bear a deserted look. We made a pit stop at an eating joint to have an early dinner, since we had famished. My growling tummy gave up and I refused to budge without eating. So much for skipping lunch!




Bali is non vegetarian food haven. For the veg eating mortals, noodles is the safest option. We had a wholesome meal at Naty's with veg noodles topped with egg, crispy fries and banana shake. A smiling courteous staff, great food and relaxed ambiance makes Naty's a "must try" in Tanah Lot.
With beautiful memories and full appetite, we rode back to our hotel, passing through the rice fields and crowded streets.

Though wearing a sarong is practiced at the premises, we did not see anybody sport it. Neither we were asked to tie one. I am assuming they ask to do that during the worship/puja time.

Advisable- Be dressed in breathable comfortable clothes, since the weather is humid and hot during the day. Carry water with you and be prepared for a long ride to and fro. The roads are literally jam packed in the evening. Be patient, do not honk or shout when stuck in traffic in the narrow lanes. It is a common sight and locals are used to this chaos. All you can do it wait for the traffic to clear.

Location-  20 km from Denpasar.
To reach- Hire bike /scooter or taxi.   
Best time to visit- Evening. Reach after 4:30 pm to view the sunset and the religious procession leaving from the temple.
Entry Fees- 60,000 IDR
Entry to the cave of snake- 20,000IDR 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Atmos for royal atmosphere, literally!

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The rising levels of pollution and resulting climate changes have been prime concerns for all since long. India wasn’t behind in the race towards contributing to the level of daily poison. And then the controversial Odd Even happened (in Delhi) to combat pollution.

As conscious citizens, husband and I took careful measures to minimize pollution, because every contribution matters. Husband humbly drove his CNG fitted car to cut down air pollution and I planted saplings in my residential colony to improve air quality.  During Diwali we refrained from crackers and discouraged others as well. In spite of being proactive and aware with outdoor pollution, we could not escape the negatives while indoors. And the reason was our ignorance for indoor pollution which is 5 times as much the outside effluence. As the realization dawned upon us, we scratched our grey matter figuring out how to fight indoor pollution:

The scratching of grey matter further polluted the indoor air but cleared our rational. We immediately bought snake plants which are known to clean indoor pollution commendably. This is one of the plants that releases oxygen at night and filters all toxin from air. Ah! We felt our mission was accomplished. We proudly owned and placed this plant in every room of the house. Several other indoor plants help control pollution, besides emitting positive energy and decorating the place naturally. Go for happy greens J




And then my mind raced to the scented sticks which my mother in law lit up for pooja every day. “Don’t they cause pollution?” I asked myself. Several researches have proved the toxic effect of agarbattis and scented sticks. But who bells the cat, was the question. How dare would I challenge the religious beliefs of my own mom in law. I faked headaches and gradually shifted the agarbatti holder outdoors under the holy basil tree. Though I added toxin to outdoor air, atleast the indoor air would be clean, and I patted my back.



Did you know your footwear also bring in dust and trash indoors? Besides the negative energy ofcourse.  Hence many Indian families practice leaving footwear outside their house to avoid bringing in dust and pollutants. You can call me superstitious, but I leave footwear outside my bedroom. I do this to ensure the room is clean sans dust and negative energy. (I am talking too much on energy. No it causes no pollution but does impact the vibes of the air, if you believe in it)


To keep indoor air clean, people have retorted to air-purifiers. Though I find these puny and over hyped, I may want to give it a try. Who knows it might as well just work.



Ignorance is bliss, but not always. It’s not good to ignore your ceiling fan and carpet that lie neglected, collecting dust since eternity. It is advisable to clean these un-noticed assets at-least once a month, if not weekly. Invisible dust in your carpet and the thin layer of grime on the fan easily makes way to your nasal passage and even contaminates your food. Let the mattress, pillows and doormats soak some sunlight so that they remain free of moisture and germs. Now you see that Vitamin D is not only good for us but for home too :-) 



Often unnoticed and under-estimated, the LPG gas in kitchen or freshly painted furniture also releases toxins in the air, strong enough to trigger migraine or breathing trouble. The best possible solution is to check the cylinders for leakage and use paints less toxic pollutants or VOC content. Chemicals in paint have been found to react with forming smog that triggers respiratory disorders. So much for beauty of our homes!


Last but not the least; we can paint our homes with Asian Paint Royale Atmos. Didn’t see Deepika Padukone swear by Royale Paints? Take a look here-


Precisely, Royale Atmos is a paint that reduces harmful air pollutants and makes the air cleaner. The activated carbon technology absorbs various foul smells & makes the air fresher. Thus, for the first time, Asian Paints presents a paint that not only looks good, but also helps purify air and improve the air quality inside your home. You can even wash your walls before the autumn cleansing ritual without spoiling the paint. Certainly gets brownie points for wash-ability and durability. 
What’s better than purifying your home in the colors of your own choice! Let’s make a pure choice for clean, fresh and pure indoor air.  Let’s make it happen with #RoyaleAtmos. Visit https://www.asianpaints.com/atmos for cleaner details.


Picture credits- Free images from Pixabay

Thursday, September 14, 2017

10 strict NO's for empty stomach


Often food and lifestyle define you and your personality. Eating right and at the right time has been the secret of good health. While there are several things you are advised to refrain from post meals, there are various other things you should also refrain from on empty stomach. Surprised? Don’t be. We will tell you what not to do on empty stomach so that you remain in good state of health and avert unwanted consequences.

1.       Drinking coffee/tea on empty stomach? Think again

 Addiction to bed tea or coffee shot for energy is not new but you need to stop doing that right away. Coffee is high on caffeine which if taken empty stomach causes heartburn and severe digestive problems. Consumed over a longer duration may lead to stomach ulcers, acid reflux or irritable bowel movement. The same goes for tea that erodes the lining of intestines and causes acidity and indigestion. In case you cannot do without your morning beverage, have breakfast along, add creamer to coffee or replace your normal tea with green tea.
    
2.       Never take medicines if you haven’t eaten anything


This piece of advice has been passed on through many generations. Apart from the pills recommended on empty stomach, all others are advised to be consumed only after eating something. This is because empty stomach lining is exposed to reactions from medicines that cause nausea, constipation, vomiting and intestinal bleeding besides reducing the effect of the medicines. To reduce the negative effects of pills on empty stomach, you can replace water with milk.    
 
3.       No food in stomach? Skip spicy food
 
 
Spices are good for metabolism but certainly not good until you have something in your tummy. Spices, especially chillies are pungent in nature which trigger indigestion and upset the stomach lining. It is hence important to mix something with spices to avoid such reactions. Perhaps something like bread can be consumed along.
 
4.       Alcohol is a big NO-NO



 
Haven’t we all seen people binging while boozing? Well, that’s because alcohol should NEVER be taken if you are empty stomach even if your last meal was three hours ago. One simple reason behind the same is that alcohol absorption rate in your body will be high and at the same time the breakdown of alcohol will be even slower. This takes a toll on your liver, heart, kidneys and needless to mention, a major hangover that follows. Advisable to eat and layer your stomach before you booze.

5.       Don’t go shopping on empty stomach


Hungry body is low on energy and glucose. To replenish it, your body demands food, especially sweets or those high on calories. Since your ability to concentrate and making decisions gets negatively impacted, you end up buying unhealthy food or junk that would instantly satisfy your hunger. Because the need of your stomach gets converted to stress, your brain sends wrong signals to your body leading to an overload of unwanted items in your cart, even in non food stores.

6.       Intense workout


 
The need for those flat abs and toned muscles make you work harder on your body. But have you been working out on empty stomach in morning or evening? That’s all wrong! Your body starts running low on energy during workout and lowers your performance. Also, working out hungry may cause loss of muscle instead of fat. The logic is low glycogen levels which burns muscles if you demand too much from your body while exercising. You hence need to fuel yourself before hitting the gym. Banana or fibrous salads are the most recommended foods before you work out.


7.       Avoid citrus fruits or juices
Ah, we know how a warm glass of lemon and honey in morning has been treated as a mantra to lose belly fat. Little did you all know that lemon will not harm your stomach since it is diluted in water. Citrus fruits should be avoided when you haven’t eaten, since fiber and fructose slow down your digestion, irritate stomach and cause acidity. Just like lemon, you can dilute the fruits in water to reduce the acidic level or else totally avoid till you eat something.
 
8.       Never sleep empty stomach

 Did you know that low glucose prevents from us from sleeping and lack of sleep triggers your hunger? Hence the next day you end up hogging more, because of increased hunger hormones. That’s one reason you should never sleep hungry. Secondly, it causes mood swings and stress. Good enough reason for you to not skip meals now? An alternative to eating is consuming milk with honey that keeps you full and helps you sleep better.

9.       Say no to chewing gums


 Can something as simple as chewing gums on empty gut, adversely affect your body? Yes, it can! Always remember, empty stomach is prone to attack on the soft stomach lining. When you chew gums, the digestive juices produced with saliva creates an acidic effect on stomach lining leading to gastritis. The sweetening effects of gum effects your food habits and leads to addiction of junk, instead of natural healthy food. Hence,  it is advisable to chew gums for not more than 10 minutes even if you are full.
 

10.   Dodge raw vegetables






Yes agreed, one should eat healthy and salads or raw vegetables are good source of vitamins. We know diet conscious ones often do that. We are sorry, you would be surprised that you had been doing that wrong. Consuming raw veggies on empty stomach causes an overload of coarse fiber which causes abdominal pain and accumulation of gas in intestines.

We hope the above tips proves to be useful and helps you to be healthy. In a busy and hectic lifestyle, we tend to ignore these little things that eventually harm our body in the long run. All you need is a little bit of precaution and willingness. 



Monday, September 11, 2017

What happens when you skip meals?



A shapely sexy figure and flat abs is a dream that every girl sees. They work out, give up junk and follow healthy diet. Do all girls do that? No, they don’t. In an attempt to lose weight or inches quickly, often many people are seen fasting. Little did they know that skipping meals is no time saver and can pose bigger problems than they imagined. When skipping meals becomes a habit or a part of a dieting plan, it has serious long-term implications on the body like development of some chronic conditions or even gaining weight instead of losing.

Here are scary things that might happen if you skip meals regularly:

Low glucose level: Your blood glucose level rise after meals. It remains constant if you don’t exercise (hence recommended to work out if you want to control the level). A long gap of fasting causes your blood glucose level to fall, leaving you feel sleepytired and exhausted. Mind you, glucose is the source of energy for blood.


Low metabolism: Low glucose means low metabolism. Its simple. A low metabolism leads to dip in energy, imbalance in body and metal activity and improper eating patterns as you tend to eat more the next time.

Poor performance. As scary as low metabolism sounds, equally scary is poor performance. Not only you become physically slow but also mentally you are unable to concentrate and make quick decisions. Hampers your professional and personal life majorly!



Overweight:  Those who skip meals to reduce weight, rather tend to gain weight. If you eat less number of times you typically should, your brain signals you to eat more when you get food loading your body with calories which are not required at that moment. This leads to slow digestion and bloating of stomach. Ouch!






May lead to diabetes or excess calories: Ignoring the hunger pangs of your body will drain all glucose of your body leading to low level of energy and high stress. It’s your body’s natural tendency to hog sweets or junk food to replenish the loss of glucose. This also happens when stress level is hgh. So, this leads to excess of sugar or calories in your blood. So much for skipping meals yeah?

Acidity: You may experience acid reflux or nausea if your stomach is empty for too long. An old long habit of staying hungry may cause heartburn, acidity or dry cough. Skipping meals gets scarier hence.

Brain drain. The brain’s exclusive fuel, glucose, is compromised within four to six hours if you have not eaten. That’s because the glucose stored in the liver as glycogen, runs out during this time period. The liver is like a traffic cop for blood sugar. When blood glucose dips too low, the liver converts glycogen into glucose and releases it into the blood. But if its glycogen has been depleted, the body turns to less efficient fuelling methods resulting which you start to feel anxiety, depression, have mood swings or always hungry.

Bad breath: Your tongue produces saliva as you chew food. Long breaks of skipping meals make your tongue dry and create a breeding ground for bacteria, hence causing bad breath. Remember, the same happens when you fall ill?

 

Few tips to stay healthy and lose weight without skipping meals.


      












  1. Eat small frequent meals instead of one large meal. Recommended to eat in an interval of every 2-3 hours
  2. Include fruits, veggies and whole grains in your food. Chuck junk for good. Replace refined/processed sweets with natural sweeteners like dates or fruits.
  3. Water intake should be 8-10 glasses every day.
  4. Drink water before meals, not during meals. Avoid drinking water immediately after meals.
  5. Exercise daily for atleast 30 minutes. Hitting the gym is not possible we understand. So go for brisk walk, ditch the elevators and take stairs or exercise indoors.
Image courtesy- Pixabay

Monday, September 4, 2017

Here is why Bali's Sacred Monkey Forest a must visit






Bali, the paradise island of Indonesia, is known for its natural beauty and protected wildlife. One of the well known forest reserves is the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. As per the legend, the forest is home to thousands of monkeys who are said to be the guardians of the forest god. The fact that monkeys snatch belongings, had scared us initially and we voted against visiting the forest. However, as Ubud Palace turned out to be a fifteen minutes affair, we shunned our inhibitions, crossed our fingers and bought tickets to the Sacred Monkey Forest. Trust me, it was worth it.

           

Though the monkeys are harmless most of the times, they might crawl up your back and sit on your shoulders asking for a treat. Better cling to your belongings and try not to open your bag in front of them. We did not encounter any angry primate apart from a baby monkey who jumped to husband while opening the camera bag, thinking we would feed it. We got away safely. Phew!


Spread over 12.5 hectares of land, the lush green forest has more than 186 species of trees and several points of interest to explore. It generally takes 2.5-3 hours to see the forest. Each artifact in the forest is a masterpiece of Balinese architecture. It is the raw unspoiled beauty that makes these so authentic. The statues stand tall in their full glory without artificial reconstructions. It amazes to see the untouched structures with slippery green moss. May be that's how they preserve the natural beauty.

                              


The starting point of the forest is the Center Point which exhibits a fountain, animal statues and signboards with directions. The fountain has animal structure drinking water from this pool. Imagine, this was made long ago even before the forest was open to public. Good imagination leads to great innovations and I found this particularly cute. 

Center Point of Monkey Forest



We started walking left from the center point and descended a flight of stairs which was the way towards Holy Spring Temple.

The descend towards Holy Spring Temple



Like all temples of Bali, this was too closed for public. You can only appreciate the beauty from outside. A beautiful pool, full of gold fish, with spring water source, across the temple accentuates it’s beauty.

Holy Spring Temple

Holy Pool of Spring Temple
Behind the temple, a little Wooden Bridge brings you to the end of that part of the forest. Sans monkeys and less footfall of tourists, this makes a great place for photo opportunity. So could not miss one :)

The small bridge behind Holy Spring Temple

As you walk back, you would cross the Dragon Statue and long Wooden Path, leaving you stunned with their finesse.
      
Dragon statue
 
Wooden path
The most striking structure of the forest is the Main Temple, where every corner is an example of sheer brilliance. The Hindu temple is surrounded by statues of monkeys as well as real ones, which throng the place for food.



Exploring further you'd cross the open stage, where occasional events are organized. The amphitheater was a pit stop to take a much needed break for our tired feet. We had covered more than half of the forest area by then and my new shoes gave me shoe bites. AS we relaxed marveling the beauty, we watched baby monkeys cooling off themselves in a pool nearby.

Little ones beating the heat

Apart from the above, an exhibition hall is also a part of the forest, which was not open that day.

As the Sun and clouds played hide and seek, the hues of the forest kept changing shades from light green to deep emerald. Green not only makes you happy but also energetic. At least I was full of energy and positive vibes after touring the forest. Perhaps the effect of abundant oxygen? Natural beauty and playful monkeys gets the forest a footfall of more than 10,000 every month. Still need a reason to visit this delightful place? Think not. Plan your trip now!

Some vital info for all readers-

The monkeys do not harm or attack you unless provoked or threatened. They are busy eating or lazing around most of the times.



The forest guards are present anyway to help if required.

You can buy food for the monkeys in case you want them to jump on your back. Do not scare or hit them, especially the ones with their baby. Remember its their home and you are the visitor intruding into their privacy.

Do not look them into the eye and stay away from the alpha males or angry ones lest the entire herd should attacks you. 

Ladies, you would be required to walk a lot. Wear shoes or flats. Heels are a big no no.

Be dressed in comfy cottons as the jungle tends to be humid and hot.

Not wheelchair friendly. 

Entry ticket to Monkey Forest- 50,000 IDR
Location- Ubud in Kabupaten Gianyar
Timings- 8:30am to 6pm
Nearby places- Ubud Palace, Ubud Art Market