Saturday, 16 February 2013

Tick all those boxes

Now i know of a 60 + something American couple, living for about 2 years in Mumbai. She and her husband will be boarding a cruise ship from Bombay for 74 days.. Whoa !! Isnt that just amazing ? Let me tell you why its amazing.
  •  Firstly, you come down with your husband who works very hard in a city that is beyond comprehension. Ways of living in Mumbai confuses us locals, one cannot imagine the turmoil that goes in the head of an expat. (i can sure blog about this)
  • Its not about the money, dont get me wrong.. i know many people who do not think of a holiday beyond 3 weeks. Its not about the zest to travel. But think about how many of us can balance it all right ?
  • Recently, a to-be-married couple called to discuss their honeymoon plans.. and told me.. (exact words) " trip for not more than 2 weeks.. Bore hojayega yaar" . Its your honeymoon we are talking about. Show us some LOVE people !!!
  • Then there are couple who plan honeymoons with other couples.. WTF !
  •   I am yet to recieve queries which read "Honeymoon Trip for family.  5 adults and 2 children..Cheap & Best Char Dham yatra for family  with excursion to Valley of flowers for me and my fiance only." . And that would be the day i would probably shut my shop !
  • Thats that and then you take a trip with your loved one for 74 freaking days. It doesn't matter if its in a Suite room of a 19 floor luxurious ship or in a tent in the jungle.. But, the idea of a holiday with your wife of 42 years for 74 days is amazing..
  • This isnt their first 70 days + holiday. She says that last time there were on a 71 day holiday and came back rather upset about not getting an extension since the trip further was sold out.
  • Those who have the money , do not have the time... Those who have the time do have the right partner.. and those who have the partner and money , do not have the time. I suggest , Make a list. and tick them as you go along.
Before, she could start on how they first met, i asked her "would like to meet for coffee ?".  I have a coffee meeting with her coming Tuesday. Keep you posted.
Until then,  keep looking for your partner with whom you would love to travel for 74 days and ask for an extension later.. If you have found one already, hold on to them tight.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Big C

A staff walks in my cabin, "Ma'am , I will be coming late to the office tomorrow." When I questioned why he answers "My aunt.. (his voice softens) my aunt she is in last stage cancer. She has had a couple of chemo sessions and the doctors say the chances of survival are slim". I say , " We see on on Monday. Take a day off. God Bless"

Moments later, a family friend calls from London. Our chat goes on for 47 mins. One thing he mentions is he wants me to plan a tour for his friend and spouse. The man is cancer survivor and needs a break from the torment he has gone through in these past months.  Now NHS in the UK gives strict instructions to patients not to travel. there is a long procedure to get approval from panel of doctors before getting a green signal to fly out of the country. So , I have the task to make a person who has just about fought one of the most deadly diseases, happy and feel alive and rejuvenated.

A few days earlier while a casual chat with a dear friend, " I was at some friend's place , we were playing poker that night. My friends wife is suffering from  breast cancer. The treatment is on and this ordeal is on the family is tough so we generally meet up at their place to lighten up the mood once in a while". (Deep breath)
I ask , "How old is she? ". I cannot believe what i hear next.  I do not want to believe that a 30 year old young woman is battling breast cancer. A young marriage and a fatal disease, a woman in her prime is taking rounds of hospitals

, chemotherapy and appointments with Radiologists ? A time when she should be living her life to the fullest !"

Facebook. A social networking site that has the world addicted to it. Now there is no way to escape whats happening in others lives. People now keep tabs on the colour of their ex-ex-boyfriend's current girlfriend's  nail paint ! We all Facebook-ers are doing what detectives do for a living oh-so-brilliantly.  So few months a ago, I noticed our common friends posting get well soon , be courageous messages on an acquaintance/ friend's (from University day) wall. There was no let out of information.I had not spent much time with her. All i remember is one crazy girls night out which landed in to a case of missing cellphone, driving license & some dear friends paying 50 GBP to a cab guy to come to our rescue (Good times)  is a long long crazy story.  Later i was told that  found out through Facebook that a friend/ acquaintance from my university days is fighting cancer. I was shocked. She is not more 24- 25 years of age and battling the big C is heart wrenching. . :-(

Why is the BIG C a part of each ones lives ? Do you not know anyone not fighting cancer ?

Lets all keep healthy.
I 'd refrain from googling gyaan on such things but i just did that. Lets do little things that will help us all in a big way.. 

Here is what i read about ways to prevent Cancer..

1. Eat your fill of broccoli, but steam it rather than microwaving it. Broccoli is a cancer-preventing superfood, one you should eat frequently. But take note: A Spanish study found that microwaving broccoli destroys 97 percent of the vegetable’s cancer-protective flavonoids. So steam it, eat it raw as a snack, or add it to soups and salads.

2. Toast some Brazil nuts and sprinkle over your salad. They’re a rich form of selenium, a trace mineral that convinces cancer cells to commit suicide and helps cells repair their DNA. A Harvard study of more than 1,000 men with prostate cancer found those with the highest blood levels of selenium were 48 percent less likely to develop advanced disease over 13 years than men with the lowest levels. And a dramatic five-year study conducted at Cornell University and the University of Arizona showed that 200 micrograms of selenium daily — the amount in two unshelled Brazil nuts — resulted in 63 percent fewer prostate tumors, 58 percent fewer colorectal cancers, 46 percent fewer lung malignancies, and a 39 percent overall decrease in cancer deaths.

3. Pop a calcium supplement with vitamin D. A study out of Dartmouth Medical School suggests that the supplements reduce colon polyps (a risk factor for colon cancer) in people susceptible to the growths.

4. Add garlic to everything you eat. Garlic contains sulfur compounds that may stimulate the immune system’s natural defenses against cancer, and may have the potential to reduce tumor growth. Studies suggest that garlic can reduce the incidence of stomach cancer by as much as a factor of 12!

5. Every week, buy a cantaloupe at the grocery store and cut it up after you put away your groceries. Store it in a container and eat several pieces every morning. Cantaloupe is a great source of carotenoids, plant chemicals shown to significantly reduce the risk of lung cancer.

6. Mix half a cup of blueberries into your morning cereal. Blueberries rank number one in terms of their antioxidant power. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are unstable compounds that can damage cells and lead to diseases including cancer.

7. Coat barbecue food with a thick sauce. Grilling meat can create a variety of cancer-causing chemicals. But researchers from the American Institute for Cancer Research found that coating the meat with a thick marinade and thereby preventing direct contact with the charring flames reduced the amount of such chemicals created. Another tip: Precook your meat in
the oven and then throw it on the grill to finish.

8. Every time you go to the bathroom, stop by the kitchen or water cooler for a glass of water. A major study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1996 found that men who drank six 8-ounce glasses of water every day slashed their risk of bladder cancer in half. Another study linked the amount of water women drank to their risk of colon cancer, with heavy water drinkers reducing their risk up to 45 percent.

9. Take up a tea habit. The healing powers of green tea have been valued in Asia for thousands of years. In the West, new research reveals that it protects against a variety of cancers as well as heart disease. Some scientists believe that a chemical in green tea called EGCG could be one of the most powerful anticancer compounds ever discovered.

10. Have a beer tonight. Beer protects against the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, known to cause ulcers and possibly linked to stomach cancer. But don’t overdo it. Drinking more than one or two alcoholic drinks a day may increase your risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, liver, and breast cancer. [hahaha.. u think !]

11. Throw some salmon on the grill tonight. Australian researchers studying Canadians (go figure) found those who ate four or more servings of fish per week were nearly one-third less likely to develop the blood cancers leukemia, myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Other studies show a link between eating fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, and tuna, as well as shrimp and scallops) with a reduced risk of endometrial cancer in women. Ah, those amazing omega-3s at it again!

12. Take a multivitamin every morning. Many studies suggest getting the ideal levels of vitamins and minerals can improve your immune system function and help prevent a variety of cancers.

13. Get about 15 minutes of sunlight on your skin each day.  Researchers find that getting too little vitamin D may increase your risk of multiple cancers, including breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, and stomach, as well as osteoporosis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and high blood pressure.

14. Carry a shot glass in your beach bag. Then fill it with sunscreen and rub it all over your body. A shot glass holds about 1.5 ounces, which is how much sunscreen dermatologists estimate you need to protect yourself from the cancer-causing UV rays of the sun. Repeat every two hours.

15. Cut a kiwifruit in half, then scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Now eat! Kiwi is a little hand grenade of cancer-fighting antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and copper. You can also rub a couple of cut kiwifruit on a low-fat cut of meat as a tenderizer.

16. Eat grapes. They’re great sources of resveratrol, the cancer-protecting compound found in wine, but don’t have the alcohol of wine, which can increase the risk of breast cancer in women. Plus, the closeness such an activity engenders (we hope) strengthens your immune system.

17. Sprinkle scallions over your salad. A diet high in onions may reduce the risk of prostate cancer 50 percent. But the effects are strongest when they’re eaten raw or lightly cooked. So try scallions, Vidalia onions, shallots, or chives for a milder taste.

18. Make a batch of fresh lemonade or limeade. A daily dose of citrus fruits may cut the risk of mouth, throat, and stomach cancers by half, Australian researchers found.

19. Take a 30-minute walk every evening after dinner. That’s all it takes to reduce your breast cancer risk, according to a study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Turns out that moderate exercise reduces levels of estrogen, a hormone that contributes to breast cancer. When 170 overweight, couch potato women ages 50-75 did some form of moderate exercise for about three hours a week, levels of circulating estrogen dropped significantly after three months. After a year, those who lost at least 2 percent of their body fat had even greater decreases in estrogen. Another study linked four hours a week of walking or hiking with cutting the risk of pancreatic cancer in half. The benefits are probably related to improved insulin metabolism due to the exercise.

20. Buy organic foods. They’re grown without added pesticides or hormones, both of which can cause cellular damage that may eventually lead to cancer.

21. Buy clothes that don’t need to be dry-cleaned. Many dry cleaners still use a chemical called perc (perchloroethylene), found to cause kidney and liver damage and cancer in animals repeatedly exposed through inhalation. Buying clothes that don’t require dry cleaning, or hand washing them yourself, can reduce your exposure to this chemical. If you must dry-clean your clothes, take them out of the plastic bag and air them outside or in another room before wearing.

22. Choose cucumbers over pickles, fresh salmon over lox. Studies find that smoked and pickled foods contain various carcinogens.

23. Switch from french fries and potato chips to mashed potatoes and pretzels. A potential cancer-causing compound called acrylamide forms as a result of the chemical changes that occur in foods when they’re baked, fried, or roasted. Not surprisingly, many foods with the greatest amounts of acrylamide are also some of the worst-for-you foods, such as french fries, potato chips, and baked sweets. Although the results aren’t final yet, Michael Jacobson, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, estimates acrylamide causes between 1,000 and 25,000 cancers per year. His agency has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to set limits on the amount of acrylamide foods can contain. The FDA is studying the issue.

And most of this, you already knew, now didn't you ?  *Bites into a piece of steamed brocolli*

Friday, 1 February 2013

Aye Aye Captain

"Shagufta, pull the rope... PULL" screams RAMA, a kenyan instructor. I am in state of panic. Our Yatch is has tilts to to 70 degrees now. I see Zia dunking in the  salty waves of Arabian sea waters. Oh god... Oh GOd.. I can't hold on this rope any further..My fingers will fall off,  Thats when i hear RAMA scream.. almost in slow motion.. "let go of the rope... don't pull it anymore.. "  WTF , Why was i pulling it all this while long !  I am thinking of my camera. "Let go of this damn rope, save the SLR". How important could this rope i am holding on to be ? Its just something they call it a MAIN SAIL. My fingers won't hold this rope any tighter. Our boat is tilting in the Arabian Sea. Its too late now, Zia is all wet and so am I

Welcome to the thrilling world of sailing.. !!

Did i mention I went sailing in Bombay ? You have to read this. I am planning to promote wind sailing as a fun activity for adults & children in this maximum city. I struggle to keep tourists entertained in our city, especially those who are less of the shopping kind and more of want to see - want to do kind. So heres my bright idea.. go sailing. I know i know what you are thinking. Sailing in brown water , eww?
I thought the same. So i signed up for a recce sail. And its not ewww at all. Its awesome !  Aboard Beneteau 7. 5 , five of us set sail on a rather windy afternoon.  So windy that we didn't need three sails to be put out. We just needed two of them that to now fully opened. One of the first questions asked when you come aboard is , "Do you fancy a leisure sail ?" I screamed "Sir , NO. Sir"... "So then , do you prefer an active sail ?"   I scream, " Aye ye captain".. And thus began the saga of my sore fingers !  There are 5 tasks on board that need our attention , the crew helps us to understand each of it. We turn the boat also known as tacking. We had very over enthusiastic sailors on board so we did as many as 5 tacks. Its a total confusion.. while tacking , you got to change sides and while doing that you got to keep pulling the ropes

What fun !!! What fun !! If you haven't tried it yet.. you must..  Sail Away Amigos.. :)

(Pictures to be added, soon)