Saturday, April 16, 2011


it is interesting to learn new words.

Greenwashing is not a new word, but recently when i came across a reference to a chair that had a low carbon footprint, i could not feel anything but amused!

this was one of those hi-tech chairs that comes with buttons for umpteen adjustments. sitting in those chairs makes one feel in control – of what, i do not know! but the novelty wears off soon.

once adjusted, most of us are going to sit / work in the same position.

i like car seats that can be adjusted. particularly when you need to make some minor adjustments in a car driven by someone else before you. most of those are mechanical adjustments.

by adding extra motors and increasing the costs and the carbon footprint when a company says that the latest model is their lowest carbon footprint, i am not sure if that is also not  form of greenwashing.

in my school going years, i remember reading a monthly newsletter from a Canadian company that would have articles on new technologies and products. i used to wait for every issue eagerly. That company used to have a bye-line ‘if technology cannot solve problems, what else can?’. i remember writing to them asking how many of these problems solved by technology were created by technology! i never got an answer..

those were days before email and internet technology Smile

don’t get me wrong – i love technology. like when earlier today, i was on a phone call with my daughter – who needed some  directions to reach a place in Boston.

Here i was, in Bangalore, checking an online map and pretty much giving block by block directions over the phone to locate a place half way across the world!

i know, you my ask if a local GPS or a smartphone would have given the same or better results.. but the human touch would have been lost and sharing the feeling of being lost in real time is something that technology alone cannot completely capture or share..

Thursday, April 7, 2011

a prize for [writing about] walking..

Today is World Health Day!

for a contest organized by the wellness council @ the office, i wrote this piece while waitig for other to join a conference call..

not sure how many entries were received by the organizers, my entry was chosen to be one of five winning entries..


I shall not respond to any queries related to how much of this is fact…

if you decide to jump to conclusions, maybe it is good for your health on this world health day..


I like to walk.

Even as a child, my mother used to say that I would convince her that we should walk, rather than take a rickshaw – and use that money – to buy some biscuits or juice that I could have while walking!

As we watch babies grow, it is always a very special moment to see a child standing up and taking the first step! That is the first sign of growing up and standing on one’s own feet and becoming mobile. It increases the confidence of the child and everyone around too!

While I enjoyed walking, particularly with bare feet sinking in the sands of Marina beach, it became a serious activity soon after I discovered that my cholesterol levels were high. The doctor was surprised to see that though the rations were high, the good cholesterol [HDL] levels were also high – higher than the normal expectation.

When I told him that I like and do walk regularly, he asked me to continue that practice. From that time, I try to walk for at least 30 minutes a day.

A few years ago, I used to walk at the Lalbagh gardens in Bangalore with a few friends and their families every weekend. Since that was limited to weekends – and also required some commute to get to Lalbagh, I was looking for other options. When we moved to the flat where I stay at present, the ‘mini forest’ close by became a convenient path for a walk.

An old saying goes – sit a while after supper; walk a mile after dinner. This walking would be more of a leisurely stroll, as it is not advisable to walk briskly after a [heavy] meal – as the body needs the energy to digest the food consumed.

Walking as an exercise has to be more aerobic. The action of walking with swinging arms and keeping a steady pace improves the blood circulation and also regulates breathing.

Breath control is a technique that many yoga schools also recommend. The side benefit of breath control is to have your pulse rate also low! This is something quite normal for athletes. They need to conserve their body energy to peak at the precise moment they need additional energy to push themselves higher or faster or farther.

Walking every morning is one of the best exercises one can get. It is advisable to walk at least for half an hour every morning. Studies show that walking has a positive effect on problems related to high sugar levels [diabetes] as well as high cholesterol levels.

If you are not able to walk any day, try to make up for it by climbing stairs. Someone told me once that ‘your health can be assessed by what you take two at a time. Steps – or tablets!’ from the time I heard it, I have been trying to take two steps at a time.

Our flat is on the 4th level – and we are probably the only family in the building that takes the steps most of the time.

I am happy to see many colleagues take the stairs to get to work in the morning or to the cafeteria in the afternoon.

Now, are you enthused enough to start walking?

This page can be your starting page to get some basic concepts.

See you soon on the stairs in Surya Sapphire – or if you walk in the mornings, at JP Nagar Mini Forest! If there are sufficient enthusiasts, we can start a walking club – to explore electronics city and the neighborhood during lunch hours!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Summer is [almost] here!

Today was Ugadi.

Tthe first day of the new moon cycle of the month of Chaitra.  In terms of ritu (season), it is the last fortnight of basant (spring), and the onset of grishma ritu (summer) is a fortnight hence.

The day is celebrated as the beginning of the new year in various parts of the country.  It is Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra; and Yugadi in Andhra and Karnatka.  In Goa, today is being celebrated as Samsar Padvo.  The Sindhi community celebrates today as Cheti Chand.  It is also the beginning of the spring Navratra, the nine days of celebration and worship of the Mother Goddess. –-*--

While in other states, the new year is a couple of weeks away. the difference being the calendar based on the moon or the sun.

essentially, what this means is -- Summer is here.

that means the next two months would be the least comfortable weather wise in Bangalore.

before it gets too hot, this is a good time to enjoy cold water baths. after that, the water will also be hot through the day!

while i always have cold water baths in chennai, warm water in Bangalore feels more natural during the winter Smile this season marks the return to cold water baths!

as refreshing as the water is the mental preparation for the first splash of cold water on the body.

a cold water bath after a sweatey morning walk is very refreshing. with the early mornings still soemwhat cool, the water could be … cold! it is a major decision. whether to wet the head, toe or thigh first.

after that, it does not mater. just plunge in - if under the shower, or pour it on - if from a bucket!

today, i also realized that i am not alone. look at the sequence below, when this bird hesitated for a moment, before jumping in to the little lilly basin!

step 1: take a close look at the water. is anyone else watching?

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step 2: take a look from another angle

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step 3: another view .. just make sure it is not too cold or hot!

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step 4: just check the water – be ready to take off!

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step 5: what does it matter now! just enjoy the summer bath..

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the lilly basin has become a regular watering hole for mynahs, doves [recent visitors] and… sparrows! yes sparrows. i saw the first one today. i guess the SOS is working..

I remember a trip to kovai kutralam, where even at mid day, the water was very cold. the localite who took us there encouraged getting into the water, saying it would be very refreshing. jumping into the water without realizing it – was a resl shock! but very enjoyable and surely refreshing..

--*--thanks to a friend and former colleague for the fundas on the calendar!