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Have Fun with Fermentation with This Handmade Life!

‘Fermentation and civilization are inseparable.’ 

—John Ciardi 

If you’re curious about how fermentation works, or what it is, read an excerpt from This Handmade Life by Nandita Iyer! 

“Where there is life, there is fermentation. 

This Handmade Life Blog
This Handmade Life||Nandita Iyer

Microorganisms are intimately related to human life. Unlike the womb, the birth canal is teeming with bacteria. The journey of a baby from the womb to the outside world through the birth canal gives it the first dose of microbes. The baby’s microbiome continues to be nurtured by the mother’s milk, which was earlier thought to be sterile. Breast milk also feeds the existing gut bacteria in the baby, kickstarting the baby’s fledgling immune and digestive systems. Our first brush with bacteria continues into the rest of our life, until death and beyond. A study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on a fascinating census sorting all the life on earth by weight. The weight of bacteria on the planet is 1200 times more than the weight of all the humans on the planet. They are omnipresent, on our skin, inside our bodies and on the surface of all vegetables and fruits. When humans channelize the power of bacteria and fungi to benefit us, to add flavor to food and to modify food in a way we seek, it is called fermentation.  

It is fairly simple, and you don’t need a degree in biochemistry to figure out how to ferment foods. By fermentation, we are harnessing the bacteria and yeast to do the cooking for us, pre-digesting food, creating flavors in a way we cannot do ourselves in the kitchen and providing more bioavailable nutrients.  

Fermented foods are less prone to spoilage because harmful pathogens cannot survive in the acidic environment. It was used as a method to preserve food for longer when there was no access to refrigeration and other food preserving technology. 

Using fermentation, we can make a variety of fermented beverages like whey sodas and ginger ales at home, reducing our dependence on artificially flavored and highly sugary drinks. These are not only low in sugar but have no artificial colors, preservatives or additives. Seasonal fruits, herbs, spices and pretty much any other natural produce can be used in these beverages. Homemade fermented beverages are also low in alcohol content, making a good replacement for alcoholic drinks for those who are keen to cut down on alcohol.  

 Eating fermented food regularly helps maintain a good gut microbiome. Gut bacteria play an important role in immunity, mental health, digestion, regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and more. The majority of commercial ‘probiotic’ supplements don’t survive stomach acid. A thriving gut microbiome requires a regular intake of fermented foods and foods containing resistant starch (for example, raw papaya, plantain, beans and legumes, cooked and cooled rice or potatoes) that feed the good bacteria in the large intestine. Regular consumption of fermented foods also helps ease gut-related problems like acidity, bloating and poor digestion.  

Homemade ferments have a microbial diversity that commercially made bottled fermented drinks lack, as they are inoculated with a set quantity of known strains. This is understandable as a fixed quantity of known microbes will give a predictable result and the standardization that commercial brands need.  Fermentation makes vegetables fun. Raw carrots that are tooth-breakingly hard do very well with three days of lacto-fermentation. It is a great way to snack on carrots with hummus, or you can simply dice these and add them to salads for a beautiful flavor profile.  

The brine can also be drunk diluted in water as a digestive beverage as it is full of beneficial bacteria. Fermentation is a step towards zero waste where excess produce can be preserved for longer or kitchen waste such as peels, pith and seeds of fruits like pineapple, mango, apples, etc. can be used to make sodas and vinegar.” 

This Handmade Life is all about finding a passion and becoming really good at it. Divided into seven sections-baking, fermenting, self-care, kitchen gardening, soap-making, spices, and stitching-this book tells us it is all right to slow down and take up simple projects that bring us unadulterated joy. Get your copy of This Handmade Life today! 

Our all time favourites for World Book Day!

Classics are timeless reads that bring you comfort, nostalgia, and warmth to invigorate and inspire you from time to time. This World Book Day, we’re bringing you our favourite books that will stay with you for a lifetime!

 

Navarasa by A.N.D. Haksar 

Navarasa
Navarasa || A.N.D. Haksar

 

According to Indian aesthetics, “rasa” is the sap or juice that permeates our culture, art, and helps to direct our basic human feelings. The Natya Shastra, an ancient Hindu text, first made reference to the Navarasas; our art, dance, theatre, and literature are all founded on these nine human emotions. For the first time, 99 verse translations of the nine rasas of old Hindu history are presented in Navarasa: The Nine Flavors of Sanskrit Poetry, coming soon.

 

The Monkey’s Wounds by Hajra Musroor

The Monkey’s Wound and Other Stories
The Monkey’s Wounds || Hajra Musroor

A compilation of sixteen short tales by Hajra Masroor called The Monkey’s Wound and Other Stories serves as an example of her unyielding voice, her piercing depictions of the bitter realities of life, and the wounds and traumas of women’s inner lives. The tales are taken from her renowned compilation of tales, Sab Afsanay Meray, and are translated from the original Urdu. They are tales that showcase Masroor at her finest.

 

The Sacred Wordsmith by Raja Rao

The Sacred Wordsmith
The Sacred Wordsmith || Raja Rao

 

Raja Rao’s best works, including his autobiographical Prefaces and Introductions, are collected in The Sacred Wordsmith. The book includes a number of his well-known acceptance speeches, such as those for the Sahitya Akademi Award and Neustadt International Prize, as well as other well-known writings, including “The World is Sound,” “The Word,” “Why Do You Write?” “The West Discovers Sanskrit,” “The English Language and Us,” and “The Story Round, Around Kanthapura,” a fascinating, unpublished account of the creation of his well-known first novel.

 

The Postmaster by Rabindranath Tagore

The Postmaster by Rabindranath Tagore
The Postmaster||Rabindranath Tagore

 

Poet, novelist, painter and musician Rabindranath Tagore created the modern short story in India. Written in the 1890s, during a period of relative isolation, his best stories—included in this selection—recreate vivid images of life and landscapes. They depict the human condition in its many forms: innocence and childhood; love and loss; the city and the village; the natural and the supernatural. Tagore is India’s great Romantic. These stories reflect his profoundly modern, original vision. Translated and introduced by William Radice, this edition includes selected letters, bibliographical notes and a glossary.

 

Selected Stories by Saadat Hasan Manto

Manto's Selected Stories
Selected Stories|| Saadat Hasan Manto

 

The gentle dhobi who transforms into a killer, a prostitute who is more child than woman, the cocky, young coachman who falls in love at first sight, a father convinced that his son will die before his first birthday. Saadat Hasan Manto’s stories are vivid, dangerous and troubling and they slice into the everyday world to reveal its sombre, dark heart. These stories were written from the mid 30s on, many under the shadow of Partition. No Indian writer since has quite managed to capture the underbelly of Indian life with as much sympathy and colour. In a new translation that for the first time captures the richness of Manto’s prose and its combination of high emotion and taut narrative, this is a classic collection from the master of the Indian short story.

 

Lifting the Veil by Ismat Chughati

Ismat Chughtai
Lifting The Veil||Ismat Chughtai

 

At a time when writing by and about women was rare and tentative, Ismat Chughtai explored female sexuality with unparalleled frankness and examined the political and social mores of her time.
She wrote about the world that she knew, bringing the idiom of the middle class to Urdu prose, and totally transformed the complexion of Urdu fiction.
Lifting the Veil brings together Ismat Chughtai’s fiction and non-fiction writing. The twenty-one pieces in this selection are Chughtai at her best, marked by her brilliant turn of phrase, scintillating dialogue and wry humour, her characteristic irreverence, wit and eye for detail.

One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan

Perumal Murugan
One Part Woman||Perumal Murugan

 

All of Kali and Ponna’s efforts to conceive a child-from prayers topenance, potions to pilgrimages-have been in vain. Despite being in aloving and sexually satisfying relationship, they are relentlessly houndedby the taunts and insinuations of the people around them.Ultimately, all their hopes and apprehensions come to converge on thechariot festival in the temple of the half-female god Ardhanareeswaraand the revelry surrounding it. Everything hinges on the one night whenrules are relaxed and consensual union between any man and woman issanctioned. This night could end the couple’s suffering and humiliation.

But it will also put their marriage to the ultimate test.Acutely observed, One Part Woman lays bare with unsparing clarity arelationship caught between the dictates of social convention and the tugof personal anxieties, vividly conjuring an intimate and unsettling portraitof marriage, love and sex.

 

Loom of Time by Kalidasa

Loom of Time by Kalidasa
Loom Of Time||Kalidasa

 

Kalidasa is the greatest poet and playwright in classical Sanskrit literature and one of the greatest in world literature. Kalidasa is said to have lived and composed his work at the close of the first millennium BC though his dates have not been conclusively established. In all, seven of his works have survived: three plays, three long poems and an incomplete epic. Of these, this volume offers, in a brilliant new translation, his two most famous works, the play Sakuntala, a beautiful blend of romance and fairy tale with elements of comedy; and Meghadutam (The Cloud Messenger), the many-layered poem of longing and separation.

Also included is Rtusamharam (The Gathering of the Seasons), a much-neglected poem that celebrates the fulfillment of love and deserves to be known better. Taken together, these works provide a window to the remarkable world and work of a poet of whom it was said: Once, when poets were counted, Kalidasa occupied the little finger; the ring finger remains unnamed true to its name; for his second has not been found.

 

Loved these recommendations?

Head over to our Instagram for regular updates about amazing books and refreshing book recommendations. Happy World Book Day!

 

Eggs-tra special April book recommendations

April is here! This means that very much like the vibrant colours of the Easter eggs you’re hunting for this season, our rich array of books are ready to bring immense joy into your little ones’ world. This eggs-tra special month calls for reading eggs-tra special books that will brighten your kids day. Taking care of their TBR is our prerogative and we’re ready for the little easter bunnies and penguins to dive into our captivating stories about art mysteries, pets, science experiments, and detectives. Let the easter games (and stories) begin!

Scroll through this curated list to find just the perfect books for kids of all ages.

*

Inni and Bobo Find Each Other
Inni and Bobo Find Each Other
Inni and Bobo Find Each Other || Soha Ali Khan, Kunal Kemmu

Ages: 4+ years

Little Inni loves all animals, especially cute little puppies-and now she wants to get one! That’s when Mama and Papa take her to an animal adoption centre. Once there, Inni wants to take all the puppies home-after all, they’re so cute and adorable! But then she sees the scruffy-looking, floppy-eared Bobo. And her heart is set! She has found her new best friend!

Endearing and narrated with a lot of heart, the Inni and Bobo Series, is not only about a little child finding friendship but also about the beauty of adopting dogs. It’s about learning empathy and imperative life lessons, and most importantly about opening one’s heart and homes-which is what life is all about.

 

Young Indian Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Change-makers
Young Indian Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Change-makers
Young Indian Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Change-makers || Rupangi Sharma

Ages: 9+ years

LET’S MEET:
the teen whose tech company got a $75 million funding
the boy who created the world’s smallest satellite
the nine-year-old who set up her own software firm
the girl who started a social initiative to impart life skills through sports
And many more!

These are the inspiring stories of India’s future generations-innovative thinkers, dreamers and tinkerers-who have created amazing solutions to real-life problems. Aged seven to twenty-one, these youngsters are effecting change from far-flung rural villages, small towns, and urban cities. There’s no stopping these kids!

Motivated by their passions and the everyday problems they witnessed around them, these wunderkinds have succeeded in making a social impact. Their stories promise a young India, full of pioneers wowing the world with their prowess in technology, innovation, and social change.

 

10 Indian Art Mysteries That Have Never Been Solved
10 Indian Art Mysteries That Have Never Been Solved
10 Indian Art Mysteries That Have Never Been Solved || Mamta Nainy

Ages: 10+ years

This book tells the stories of ten mysterious people, styles and objects in Indian art from the prehistoric period to the present day-and in the process, it captures some of the diversity and range of the very large canvas we call Indian art. The stories told here include those of:

The Bhimbetka paintings
The evolution of the Buddha
The Ajanta caves
The Kailashanatha temple
The Pithora paintings
Women artists of the Mughal era
Bani Thani
Indian yellow
Manaku of Guler
The Sripuranthan Shiva Nataraja

Mamta Nainy explores diverse artistic periods, explains different art forms, and gives insights into the lives of artists working in different times and spaces, one curious case at a time.

 

Paati vs UNCLE
Paati vs UNCLE
Paati vs UNCLE || Meera Ganapathi

Ages: 7+ years

Inju wants is a quiet, boring holiday at the most boring house in Mumbai, but life at Parijat Retirement Colony is not the same anymore.

A thief is on the loose, and Paati has decided to become an UNCLE! But when the uncles of UNCLE (The Underground Nightly Cooperative League of Elders) act not so cooperative, Inju takes charge.

Joining forces with a lady whose papads were stolen, the skinny building watchman and Paati, Inju forms PAATI (The People’s Association against Thieves International).

Can this motley crew of detectives crack the code?

**

So, this April, get ready to read some super fun stories with us!

Leaders and Legacies: Understanding the connect with Leadership To Last

Have you ever wondered what inspires the most iconic leaders you know today to build empires and legacies that last for decades?

Leadership To Last
Leadership To Last||Geoffrey Jones, Tarun Khanna

Leadership is multifaceted and multi-dimensional. It is not a linear function: it exists and thrives in every aspect of a leaders’ life, be it personal or professional. In Leadership to Last by Tarun Khanna and Geoffrey Jones, the lasting aspect of wonderful leaderships that ultimately turn into legacies is highlighted. Through several interviews with leaders, entrepreneurs, and successful visionaries which include the likes of Ratan Tata, Adi Godrej, Shabana Azmi, Ela Bhatt, Seema Aziz, Narayana Murthy, and many more!

What sets Leadership To Last apart from other books that talk about leadership is its diversity in setting and a unique interview-like approach. Through these interviews, you are transported to a completely different world, and it’s almost as if you’re in the same room as the leader you’re reading about!

Emphasizing what makes this a riveting read for people from all walks of life, the co-authors also highlight how the focus of the book is on the long durée. By selecting cases that have led to lasting institutional changes, triggered by individuals over multiple decades, the book brings out what truly helps successful leaderships become long-lasting legacies!

Divided into 7 sections that talk about different factors that help create iconic legacies, Leadership to Last also helps you understand the importance of aspects such as managing families, committing to values, innovating for impact, contesting corruption, challenging gender stereotypes, promoting inclusion, and creating value responsibly.

Finally, the learnings from comprehensive interviews of different leaders are summarized to help you understand their experiences better, while also creating a lasting impact through a skillful writing style.

Learn how great leaders leave legacies behind, and everything in between with Leadership to Last!

Celebrating stories by women this International Women’s Day!

“Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is all a woman is fit for.”

Jo March’s words still resonate with women across the globe. This International Women’s Day, we’re here to help you understand their perspectives better with a handpicked selection of stories written by women!

 

Madam Prime Minister by Seema Goswami

Madam Prime Minister||Seema Goswami

Asha Devi is India’s youngest ever Prime Minister. She is twenty-nine years old, charismatic and driven. Elevated to power after the assassination of her father she must prove that she is more than just a dynasty.

As Asha struggles to retain her hold on power, defeat the terrorists, keep her family together, win over coalition partners and tackle the beast of 24×7 news TV, she never loses sight of one objective: She must track down the man who murdered her father.

Written in a cinematic, fast-moving style this book offers an insider’s view of how things move at the top echelons of government and gives us a rare peek into the underbelly of the TV news business. It also brings back Asha Devi, the much-admired heroine of Seema Goswami’s bestselling Race Course Road.

 

 

 

Black Magic Women by Moushumi Kandali

Black Magic Women||Moushumi Kandali

In the recent past, many writers have acquainted readers with the composite culture of Assam. Moushumi Kandali makes a similar attempt in The Black Magic Women, but with a stark difference. She brings her characters out of Assam and places them in the mainstream, capturing their struggle to retain their inherent ‘Assameseness’ as they try to assimilate into the larger society.
The stories makes one pause, think and debate issues that range from racial discrimination (‘The Fireflies Outside of the Frame’) to sexual harassment (‘The Hyenas and Coach Number One’, ‘Kalindi, Your Black Waters . . . ‘) to the existential and ideological dilemma induced by the state’s complex sociopolitical scenario (‘The Final Leap of the Salmon’). The title story is revealing of how mainstream India perceives Assamese women-as powered with the art of seduction and black magic-as a result of which they face social discrimination that can range from racial slurs to physical abuse.
The writer ventures into a surrealistic mode, using a generous sprinkle of fable, myth and metaphors to deliver a powerful punch. With all the shades of emotion these ten stories from the North-east evoke, the reader cannot remain a passive observer.

 

Beguiled by Ruchika Soi

Beguiled||Ruchika Soi

Gitanjali met Randeep Singh Taneja at a farm party in Delhi. He called himself ‘Randy’. He flirted with her; she resisted. She was a single mother, a divorcee, and Randy was five years younger. They became friends, went for walks in Lodhi Garden, had coffee in Khan Market, and he asked her hand in marriage. She refused, he beguiled her, they fell in love, and she said yes.

The couple moved to London and this is where the first signs of trouble began. Away from all that was familiar to her, Gitanjali began to notice that Randy was not all that declared to be. Random phone calls from women who claimed to either be his wife or his girlfriend, a child who called him ‘Papa’, photographs of Randy with other women, multiple cell phones…and for all this he had reasonable explanations that left her with no room for doubt.

Gitanjali thought she knew her husband. That is until she hadn’t opened his cell phone and found out about the many lives he was leading across the world.

This book is a dark and gripping story about a marriage gone wrong. It is a cautionary tale of how we may think we know someone when we really don’t.

Beguiled is a true story.

 

Destiny’s Child by Raghu Palat and Pushpa Palat

Destiny’s Child||Raghu Palat, Pushpa Palat

This is an intimate account of the extraordinary life of Parukutty Nethyaramma, who went on to become one of the most powerful rulers of the Kingdom of Cochin.

At the tender age of fourteen, her marriage thrust her into a hostile world. Taking on her detractors, Parukutty stubbornly and fearlessly forged ahead to become a voice none could gainsay. Despite a seventeen-year age gap, she had built a special, unshakable bond with her husband. When he was crowned the sovereign ruler of Cochin, she vowed to support and protect his position throughout her life. Theirs was an enviable partnership of two incredible equals who together went on to break many traditional norms. At a time when women were relegated to the shadows, Parukutty travelled with her husband, participated in important discussions, and even went on to rule as his proxy. She became a force to be reckoned with in her own right.

Narrated by Parukutty’s own great-grandson and his wife, Raghu and Pushpa Palat, this deeply personal chronicle paints a vivid picture of a woefully understated icon from the twentieth century.

 

Boys Don’t Cry by Meghna Pant

Boys Don’t Cry||Meghna Pant

When Maneka Pataudi is arrested as the prime suspect for the murder of her ex-husband, she reveals a chilling tale of marital abuse and neglect.

But is her confession the truth or a lie? Is she telling the story as a victim or a perpetrator? And, is it better for women to kill for love or be killed for it?

Based on a true story (mostly), Boys Don’t Cry is a gripping, compelling and courageous novel that takes you behind the closed doors of a modern Indian marriage.

 

 

 

 

 

Dangerous Pursuits by Suniti Namjoshi

Dangerous Pursuits||Suniti Namjoshi

Humankind’s unrelenting mistreatment of our planet has finally led to a seemingly futile awareness of our acute shortage of time. What separates us from an oblivion preceded by excruciating pain and strife? The characters of this unique book, inspired by legends from lore and literature alike, pursue paths they believe are best for them and for their world. They are unaware of the flaws that distort their dreams. Divided into three parts, Suniti Namjoshi’s Dangerous Pursuits turns righteousness and virtue upon their heads, making for an irreverent and ruminative exploration of the beginning of the end of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Queen of Indian Pop by Usha Uthup

The Queen of Indian Pop||Usha Uthup

Usha Uthup, India’s undisputed icon of pop music, has enthralled an entire generation of listeners with her unforgettable voice and continues to do so. Completing fifty years as a professional singer in 2020 was just another milestone in her fabled career.

In this vivid biography, which was originally written in Hindi, Vikas Kumar Jha captures the entire arc of Uthup’s career in music. From her childhood days in Mumbai and her first gigs singing with jazz bands in Chennai’s glitzy nightclubs to her meteoric rise as India’s musical sensation and her philanthropic work, Jha covers it all and manages to weave a narrative that is colourful, inspiring and bound to keep any reader engrossed till the end.

This pitch-perfect English translation, by Srishti Jha, offers the reader a front-row seat to the life and times of the inimitable Usha Uthup.

 

 

The Blind Matriarch by Namita Gokhale

The Blind Matriarch||Namita Gokhale

The blind matriarch, Matangi-Ma, lives on the topmost floor of an old house with many stories. From her eyrie, she hovers unseeingly over the lives of her family. Her long-time companion Lali is her emissary to the world. Her three children are by turn overprotective and dismissive of her. Her grandchildren are coming to terms with old secrets and growing pains. Life goes on this way until one day the world comes to a standstill-and they all begin to look inward.

As certainties dissolve, endings lead to new beginnings. Structured with the warp of memory and the weft of conjoined lives, the narrative follows middle India, even as it records the struggles for individual growth, with successive generations trying to break out of the stranglehold of the all-encompassing Indian family.

Ebbing and flowing like the waves of a pandemic, the novel is a clear-eyed chronicle of the tragedies of India’s encounter with the Coronavirus, the cynicism and despair that accompanied it, and the resilience and strength of the human spirit.

 

 

From the Heart of Nature by Pamela Gale-Malhotra

From the Heart of Nature || Pamela Gale-Malhotra

Called ‘Noah’s Ark’ by an Oxford University scientist, SAI Sanctuary is an example of how Nature exists in a delicate balance. You cannot destroy Nature, and you cannot rearrange it without serious consequences to your existence.

Coming from two rich wisdom cultures, one Native American and one Indian, Pamela and Anil Malhotra made it their mission to salvage what they could in Kodagu, Karnataka, where years of illegal logging and poaching had ravaged the land and decimated the wildlife. Today, with the forests and the ecosystem restored, and the wildlife protected, this sanctuary is a treasure trove of a rich variety of indigenous trees and plants, and a refuge for numerous rare and threatened species of animals, some found nowhere else on the planet.

In this deeply fascinating and inspiring personal narrative, Pamela recounts how she connected and communicated with animals and trees at both physical and spiritual levels, and how the only way to save humanity is through understanding and preserving Nature.

 

 

Women of Influence by Rajni Sekhri Sibal 

Women of Influence||Rajni Sekhri Sibal

Women of Influence is a compilation of the untold stories of ten women IAS officers who have walked the extra mile and made a difference despite facing major pressures in governance. Having worked in the civil services for thirty-seven years, Rajni Sekhri Sibal has been in a unique position to see things at close quarters, which is why she is able to present narratives that provide an insight into the challenges of being a woman IAS officer, and also highlight episodes where the protagonist displays immense courage and commitment during the most difficult of times.

The book relates accounts of how different protagonists responded to threats of violence post-death in police custody, to illegal mining by a sand mafia and to resistance to the introduction of technology in a government organization. Strategies adopted for making India Polio-free in 2011 and interventions to deal with the scrouge of human trafficking also provide interesting insights in the book. The narratives are inspiring tales of ten strong and efficient women of substance, and their extraordinary careers wherein they made a difference.

 

Sita by Bhanumati Narasimhan

Sita||Bhanumathi Narasimhan

Sita, the beloved princess of Mithila, is one of the most revered women in Indian history; so well known, yet probably the least understood. At every crossroad of her life, she chose acceptance and grace over self-pity. Her life was filled with sacrifice yet wherever she was, there was abundance. It was as if she was carved out of intense longing for Rama, yet she had infinite patience. In every situation, she reflected his light and he reflected her love.

In her, we find someone who is so divine yet so human.

In this poignant narration, Bhanumathi shows us the world through the eyes of Sita. We think what Sita thinks, we feel what she feels, and for these few special moments, we become a part of her. And perhaps, through this perspective, and Sita’s immortal story, we will discover the true strength of a woman.

 

 

We hope you enjoyed this exclusive list curated to bring out the views and perspectives of women and their diverse voices.

Which book stands out for you?

 

Five Traditional Morning Routines to Optimize Your Energy

Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda Cover
Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda||Janesh Vaidya

In a post-pandemic era, your immunity is your only savior. The following five traditional routines to optimize your energy can help you feel energized not just physically, but also mentally. According to Janesh Vaidya’s Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda, the morning is the best time to start a good habit. This is because when we choose good thoughts in the morning, it sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. Moreover, following this, every day can bring in positivity for the rest of the week, and eventually, your entire life will be a cycle of positive energy.

If you’re struggling to find a good morning routine to help you get started, don’t fret! Here are five traditional Ayurveda practices to help you start your day with healthy habits. The following morning routines have been practiced by the traditional Ayurveda practitioners in India, known as Vaidyas. No matter what your presently dominating elements are, you can incorporate them into your morning routine and optimize your energy, both mentally and physically!

 

 

Clear your mind

Physical Practice: When your mind wakes from sleep in the morning, instead of rising, stay in your bed for a couple of minutes, lying in savasana and breathing gently, with eyes closed.

Note: Savasana is the corpse pose in yoga.

Mental Practice: Be grateful for being alive today. Cultivate affirmative thoughts and connect with your positive feelings, contemplating what you would love to do today to fulfill your heart’s wishes.

 

Clean your mouth and your mind

Physical Practice: Brush your teeth and tongue and massage your gums with your index fingers. (If you are following a clean, plant-based diet and you brush your teeth with toothpaste in the evening, you only need to use warm water to clean your teeth in the morning.) If you have any Kapha symptoms, such as mucus congestion in the throat, gargle with warm saline water.

Mental Practice: Look in the mirror with a smile from your heart, seeing a reflection of your good sides. Plan how you can invest your positive energies in the coming hours of the day to find joy and peace in your life, and prepare to greet the people you meet with a smile.

 

Cleanse your esophagus, stomach, and mind

Physical Practice: Practice water therapy or drink herbal tea as prescribed for your Pre-Dominant Element or PDE. For more information on water therapy, you can consult Janesh Vaidya’s website here.

Mental Practice: Sit in a comfortable position, with a focused mind leading to affirmative thoughts. Drink slowly, as if you are eating the water/tea.

 

Eliminate waste particles and toxins from your intestines, and release tension from your belly

Physical Practice: Make a habit of sitting on the toilet for a few minutes in the morning after drinking the water/herbal tea. This routine helps the brain program the excretory organs to eliminate waste matter from the intestines every morning, even for people who have difficulty emptying the bowels regularly

Mental Practice: While sitting on the toilet, try to connect your mind to the bottom of your abdomen by placing your palms over your belly. Inhale, filling the diaphragm until the belly expands to its maximum, then exhale, gently drawing the belly toward the spine.

 

Vitalize your body and mind

Physical Practice: Follow your daily morning exercise/yoga therapy program. You can find specialized yoga programs for your PDE in Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda by Janesh Vaidya.

Mental Practice: When you are on the yoga mat, keep your complete focus inward and observe your body from head to toe while making a rhythmic flow of breath through your inhalations and exhalations.

The morning often brings with itself a set of new opportunities, and according to ancient health practices, the early morning sun rays can heal many illnesses in our system. The sunlight improves Agni, the fire element, which controls the immune power in the body, and the morning sun rejuvenates the brain and supports the production of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which are essential for our mental function.

Follow these five traditional morning routines to optimize your energy throughout the day. For more insights into ayurvedic practices and how they can help your immune system, grab a copy of Boost Your Immune Power with Ayurveda today!

Exploring the fascinating world of Abrahamic Lores with Eden

Mythology is often regarded as the sacred history of humankind, with elements of mystery, human nature, and supernatural elements rolled into enrapturing tales and stories. Myths are intrinsic to every culture’s existence and being, and often become bedtime stories that are passed down from generation to generation to keep that culture alive and roaring. Devdutt Pattanaik is no stranger to myths, and with Eden, he has explored the vast world of Abrahamic lores and myths uniquely through an Indian prism.

 

What are Abrahamic Lores?

Eden cover
Eden||Devdutt Pattanaik

 

Abrahamic lores, derived from the word ‘Abraham’, consist of monotheistic religions that strictly worship one God. These include three of the biggest religions in the world: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. There are mentions of ‘Abraham’, the one true God, in scriptures of these religions throughout history, be it in the Torah, the Bible, or the Quran. Abrahamic lores remarkably bring together these three contrasting religious beliefs with a series of common and entrancing elements. These include believing in a paternal, judging, and completely external God, to which humans and living beings are subordinate. Another common theme that is consistent throughout these religious texts is the longing for salvation or transcendence which can only be achieved by pleasing God. Abrahamic lores often have prophets, beginning with God creating the world, and ending with the resurrection of the dead and a final judgement.

 

 

Eden: Retelling Monotheism through an Indian Prism

 

Eden spotlights how the same lores have different retellings in three of the world’s most dominant faiths in the modern era. The similarities between the scriptures of these three religions and the obsession with ‘one truth’ have, in fact, created inter-religious rivalries, instead of unification. These lores also reflect the plethora of insecurities we have as human beings and instigate a much-needed sense of empathy to heal the wounds we earn while constantly fighting these battles.

 

“In the beginning, there was nothing but God.

God has no form or name.

But God existed-conscious and sentient.

Humans refer to God in the masculine,

but that reveals the inadequacy of the human language.

God is neither male nor female, neither human nor animal,

neither plant nor mineral, neither wave nor particle.

God is beyond it all, an entity uncontained

by measurement or word

Before creating the world,

God gave seven things:

God’s law, God’s throne, Heaven to the right,

Hell to the left, God’s sanctuary, an altar with

the name of the first and final prophet who

would tell all about God and God’s law,

and a voice that kept chanting,

“Come back, children of humans.”

 

Written by veteran mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik, Eden introduces readers to the many captivating tales of angels, demons, prophets, patriarchs, judges and kings. It also retells stories from Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Zoroastrian mythologies that influenced Abrahamic monotheism over time.

Get your copy and delve into the fascinating and captivating world of Abrahamic lores today!

Leadership or Management? Both. Transform explains why!

Leadership and Management. What comes to your mind when you think about these concepts?

We often read about being successful, but how often do we really think about making the people around us successful? That is exactly what Transform, Chandramouli Venkatesan’s latest and final book talks. It also aims at helping people navigate people management and how intricately it’s connected to being successful professionally, as well as flourishing socially.

The word ‘management’ often has a one-dimensional approach for a majority of people However, Chandramouli explains how it’s irrevocably connected with another aspect of success: good leadership. They are both different sides of the same coin. Managing is the art of impacting people while being involved directly, and leading is the art of impacting people without being directly involved. They are mutually inclusive and even though they can be executed independently, the best results can only be achieved when they are practiced simultaneously.

Catalyst by Chandramouli Venkatesan
Catalyst||Chandramouli Venkatesan

In Catalyst, Chandramouli’s first novel, there was a great emphasis on career management and life management. It had crucial insights about the important strategies and decisions people take to move forward in their respective careers. Catalyst focused on helping people win where it matters- the second half of their careers. Moreover, it also took into account life management, and how success is not limited to professional boundaries. Excelling both personally and professionally is possible.

 

 

 

front cover Get Better at Getting Better
Get Better at Getting Better|| Chandramouli Venkatesan

Get Better at Getting better was the sequel and the second guide in this series, and eloquently talked about improving consistently. While it’s great to be good, you can always be better, and even hack the process of getting better. With a heavy emphasis on improving one’s skills, capabilities, judgements, communication, and decision-making abilities effectively, it talked about how to grow rapidly as a professional and remain relevant.

Getting Better Continuously, Career Management, and Life Management are three out of the four of the author’s pillars when it comes to effective management. They focus on bettering themselves to excel and have an inward approach. However, management and leadership are functions that involve people. Hence these three pillars and their success depend on the fourth and final concept: People Management.

 

Transform book cover
Transform||Chandramouli Venkatesan

Transform, the ultimate guide to lead and manage, is an insightful and interactive read for anyone struggling or striving to be better at being a good leader and manager. By keeping leading and managing as pre-conditions instead of mutually exclusive alternatives, Transform puts into perspective the importance of being good at both. With revelations and key learnings in all four sections, it helps managers who aren’t leaders and leaders who are struggling to be good managers understand how the two are connected through their own experiences.

Transform stands out from the long list of books on people management by facilitating two-way communication instead of a jargon-rich monologue. With exercises to improve self-awareness and steps to create practical action plans, it also takes into account that different things can work for different people. People management is the pillar that supports the other three, and according to Chandramouli, “It is not important whether you are a leader or a manager, what is important is whether you are leading and managing.”

Renew the way you approach success at the workplace and in life and evolve into a more self-aware professional with Transform!

A Delightful Glimpse into the Beautiful World of Chamor

Chamor Book Cover
Chamor||Sheba Jose

Do you crave nostalgia in this sultry weather? Chamor is our most heartfelt novel of 2021. This gritty novel, while offering the reader delightful glimpses of daily life in the two regions of southern India that form its setting, also brings them face to face with the less savoury and disturbing aspects of the human condition. The mostly lovable characters, who are at the mercy of a universe that does not discriminate between good and evil, cannot take anything for granted. Whether man, beast or bird, each must deal with their destiny according to their nature and instincts. Here’s an excerpt to give you a taste of this beautiful novel!

**

The car that my father drove was an old one—a grey Morris Minor. It looked weird to me, like a bug, but its colour reminded me of a certain grey, syrup-filled toffee that used to be a favourite of mine as well as of my school friends. The car had belonged to my father’s brother, who had arrived in it with a friend, but when they tried to drive it back to Kerala it would not go. Uncle did not care to have it returned to him, and between the mechanic, Raju, and my father, they managed to keep it running, though it could not be taken for long trips. As dinnertime approached, my mother would still be busy with her books, and Jency could be seen bustling about, clinking utensils in the kitchen as she hurried to finish making the last dish. With both of them wanting me out of the way, I would go looking for my father and find him lying on his wheeled plank under ‘the Morris’, as he called it, tinkering with its wires and nuts and bolts. The sound of wrenches and spanners being put aside is, in my memory, associated with the urgent cawing of crows and the plaintive cry of the cuckoo as late afternoon merged into the evening. Clouds of sparrows kept swooping in and bursting out of the thorny acacia shrubs that were their home, and a flock of tiny silverbills, with their distinctive, black-tipped tails that looked like wet paintbrushes to me, sat in a long row on an overhead cable, waiting for the right moment to dive together into their home, which too made for a pretty thorny dig—a jujube tree. A stout, old date palm inside the park thronged with colourful bee-eaters, the two needle-like feathers sticking straight out of their tails making them recognizable in flight, while species of parrots and other birds fought angrily for holes and hollows on the cycads and coral trees. Sadly, at this time, inside the houses, too, feelings ran high as students suffered corporal punishment over mere homework. I would have a brush with this medley of sights and sounds as I hung about my father, kicking my heels. Sometimes, I would lie beside him under the car, shining a torchlight up at its brown, metal underbody. After the job was done, I would be rewarded for my help with a ride around the block, at the end of which we stopped at Mr Nair’s thatched establishment. While my father waited at the wheel, I took the rupee note that he gave me and went inside the lantern-lit shop, which was reputed for its quality goods and hygienic tea stall. Jency and I were regulars there as it was the only shop near us that

sold our breakfast staple of Nendran bananas. As I entered, I found that there were no other customers, and Mr Nair and his wife were busy arranging the stock. Bhavani Auntie cast a glance outside, concerned that I had come alone until she saw my father, and fished out from her mixed candy jar the two specific ones I wanted—the round orange-flavoured coconut bonbon for Jency and the aforementioned grey confection for myself. As per the slip that I had handed in, Auntie gave me a slab of wax paper-wrapped burfi, which was for my mother, and some change. This indulgence was a rare thing, as my father was strictly against ‘putting rubbish in the mouth’.

**

Poignant and perceptive, Chamor will haunt you for a long time. Get your copy and explore vulnerability and honestly like never before!

The Lawyer and the Lizard by Vivaan Shah

All of us have had awkward and uncanny encounters that almost always amount to nothing or make up for lukewarm, ‘only to be told at a party’ stories. Here’s something out of the ordinary, penned down by Vivaan Shah, the author of Living Hell and Midnight Freeway, that is definitely a treat for mystery lovers!

***

I flipped my phone around to five missed calls from the office once I got off the Sea Link. A high-alert police check-post was set up on the Worli sea-face, which I thought irregular given their general preference of time and place. Whether they were wrapping up for the night or starting the day I couldn’t rightly tell. Two armored cars stood tilted diagonally to the barricade, a squad of four RTO cops and two khaki-uniformed 2-star officers inspecting every vehicle that passed by, peering into the passenger seats and checking every number plate.

A navy blue police van, with its caged backdoor open, stood parked behind a hauled up-tempo and a scooterist without a helmet humoring one of the junior constables. From ahead, I saw this creature walk out of a bright red Honda city—thin, furtive, practically bent double with the way he was arching his shoulders. He sashayed right past the police ‘Dabba’ towards the barricade, his arms dangling from the pectoral girdle like strings of wire attached to an electricity pole—his head leftwards and right as he expanded his chest before the senior-most constable, clicking open his jeep door with one hand, and gently holding it out with the other.

He whistled out to a passing havaldar, one of those squeaky mawaali catcalls you’d hear out on Band Stand or in the Complex. He caught my eye not because he was particularly distinctive looking, but because he was the only one who stood a chance of distracting the officers while I crossed the check-post.

As I attempted delicately to steer on past the zig-zagging yellow barriers, one of the cops caught hold of my open window and stalled me before I could get the gear back into third. He had a sling-on sten gun hanging from his right shoulder, and a slight slouch defeating an otherwise pretty stiff posture. He looked first at my number plate and then at my fingers spread out over the wheel.

‘License and identification please!’ he asked, from behind a pair of the darkest aviators on the force. I keenly obliged, handing him the necessary particulars.

‘So…Pranav…?’ he asked, reading from my license. ‘What do you do?’

‘Lawyer.’ I said.

Tallying the information on my PAN card with my license, he leaned forward on the half-open window and lowered his aviators to initiate eye contact. I looked away as his elbows squeaked on the polish.

‘Come here.’ he wagged one of his index fingers at me.

‘What happened?’

‘Come here! What’s that smell?’

‘What smell?’

‘You been uhh….doing a bit of eh-eh?’ he clenched his fingers into a fist and stuck his thumb out to demonstrate the neck of a bottle. ‘Huh?’ he inquired, shaking his fist to elaborate on his half-hearted pantomime.

‘Ohh no-no! No! I don’t drink sir!’ I promised him.

He semi-circled the bonnet and got into the front seat displacing my briefcase to the back.

‘Excuse me, sir!’ I coughed.

He mumbled something out in Marathi on his walkie-talkie and placed his sub-machine gun under the seat by his feet.

‘You know what the penalty for drinking and driving is?’ he asked, turning towards me.

‘As a matter of fact, I do.’

‘Five to ten years!’ he spat.

‘For drinking? Since when?’ I laughed.

‘Yup! Those are regulations!’

Just then, a vague tapping at his window dulled his enthusiasm. It was the same creature from before beckoning assistance. The cop slouched in his seat on noticing him, raising up his collar to cover his face.

‘Get in the back!’ He swung his thumb around demandingly at him.

‘Who is this guy?’ I asked as the wastrel reached for the door just behind the cop.

‘No one. He’s a lizard.’

‘A what?’

I slowly started the car, it seemed I was taking them both for a little spin.

‘Pranav Paleja!’ I tipped a half-hearted salute at him from the rearview mirror. ‘Pleased to meet you.’

He nodded, looked aside and then out the window, neglecting to give me his name.

‘That’s Nadeem.’ The cop took the trouble to introduce us.

The guy in the backseat still didn’t acknowledge the name was his.

‘Take a U-turn.’ the cop instructed me. I did so at the approaching roundabout, without as much as flinching from the order.

‘Okay, let’s make this quick, how much we got?’

‘I’m sorry sir?’

‘How much cash you got?’

‘Well, actually sir…’ I said. ‘Absolutely nothing! At present, I’m broke! I spent all my money on the petrol!’

‘Hmmm…petrol huh?’ he murmured, putting on the A.C and rotating its knob till he was satisfied.

‘Sir…..’ I mumbled. ‘I’m sorry but I don’t usually use that!

‘Aaaaahhh!’ he exhaled, enjoying the soft fragrant breeze of the A.C.

‘Sirr….’

‘Let’s go for a ride!’ he barked, turning the A.C all the way up.

We skimmed past a redlight without him as much as noticing.

‘Take a left.’ he asked me to pull into a one-way.

‘It’s a no-entry.’

‘Doesn’t matter.’

The tyres squealed when I turned left and nearly grazed a stationery vehicle at the curve whose driver was mercifully missing. Two ATMs stood facing each other in the empty lane, one an Axis Bank Branch and the other an outlet of HDFC.

‘What about you Chipkali?’ he asked the guy seated at the back.

The guy just nodded his head. ‘I told you, I’m out!’

Turns out I had to pay his fine too, he had not a rupee to his name, not even the most rudimentary debit card of any sort. He promised he’d pay me back, but I had nothing more than his phone number to go on. I’d had only two pegs from the night before that were probably still swimming about in my system, but this Nadeem Chipkali had been on an all-night bender, emerging periodically out of every late-night dive this side of the Sea Link. We had to roam around Worli with the cop for around half an hour before we could collectively get him to settle on five thousand between us plus breakfast.

Once we paid him off, he took a ride with a passing patrol bike outside City Bakery, and that was the last we ever saw of him. Nadeem and I  just stared at each other from the rear view mirror.

I pushed the front seat back to broaden leg space for him, but he didn’t budge from the backseat, half-expecting me perhaps to play driver to his esteemed rear-end. As I let go of the lever, something pointy and metallic cooled my hand from below the seat—a jagged touch of something entirely alien to my possessions—then came the ruffled cloth of a strap, and soon the rusty perforations constellated over a barrel.

Just as Nadeem finally creaked open the passenger seat door, which I in this revelation had disregarded to reach for, the muzzle of the stun gun stared me back in the face from below the folds of the floor mat.

We both looked at each other, our mouths agape, and our eyes bulging wide. I immediately reversed back to the signal and spun the steering wheel around furiously to cut across the three or four cars that swept by. From afar on Worli sea-face I could faintly perceive, some of the junior constables beginning to pick up the traffic cones and wheel out the metallic Mumbai Police barriers toward the pavement.

Scarcely had we made it to the second red light when, from a clearing in the traffic, we caught the remains of the barricade being speedily disbanded. By the time we were crossing the same spot we had been pulled over at, there wasn’t a cop in sight. We were stuck with the policeman’s submachine gun, which he had irretrievably forgotten, and had no means by which to return it, without of course being thought of as perhaps dangerously insane.

Written by Vivaan Shah

Midnight Freeway Cover
Midnight Freeway by Vivaan Shah
Living Hell Cover
Living Hell by Vivaan Shah
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