Sunday, 29 April 2018

Are You Happy With Your Body ?

Last week a mother brought in her son  X to me for acne and hair loss. I was gobsmacked as I took in the pubescent teenager sitting in front of me with rippling muscles and a heavy frame . He was just seventeen years of age and was heavily into gymming and taking some supplements (probably steroid laced ) to get a heavily muscled body.He was probably( I say probably because some teenagers can actually take grave risks to achieve their ideal looks ) unaware that the use of steroids and too many protein supplements can cause acne, high blood pressure,hair loss,skin darkening and kidney problems .

I asked the mother the reason for allowing such a young boy whose bone development is not yet complete, to go for such heavy duty exercises .
The mother then confided that X was an only child and the whole family pampered him a lot .Most of the pampering came through a constant supply of  junk food and that lead to the child becoming a grossly obese teenager .

That child gradually became the butt of jokes at school for being 'fat ' and started feeling depressed and angry .
X threatened his parents of quitting his school or committing suicide unless he was allowed to go to a gym.The anxious parents gave in and you know the story after that.

The reason I bring up this case is to highlight a medical issue that is being increasingly reported and recognized as 'Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)".
                                               




Sometimes we are not flawed - but it is our judgement that is flawed 

BDD is a mental disorder in which the affected person can't stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in their appearance — a flaw that, to others, is either minor or not observable. But the affected person  may feel so ashamed and anxious that he/she  may avoid many social situations or resort to drastic beautification procedures to correct the self perceived flaw.


The case I mentioned was of course not that of BDD but I  shared it to highlight how vulnerable our teens are to peer pressure and media idealisation of certain body types .

More and more people are seeking treatments for getting rids of scars,marks, hyper pigmentation,breast enhancement weight loss ,fairness ,hair fall etc etc.These are all actually non diseases or sometimes just signs of some underlying imbalance in the body's hormones. Even though they do not impair a person's physical abilities  they can affect a person's mental well being .

Role of MEDIA  and MEDICAL SCIENCE

Cosmetology is a flourishing industry reaping the benefits of media-portrayed Ideal body types.With Instagram and Facebook on most mobile phones ,suddenly how many people like and comment on your profile has become very important ,everyone now needs to look good .We get bombarded by images of perfect individuals (hence the popularity of beautification Apps)  which can lead to a constant comparison of the self with other individuals .The exercise ,diets, cosmetic surgery and digital enhancement that goes behind the making of these perfect models is hidden from our eyes.All we see is the perfect model beckoning us to try the miracle product they are endorsing.

As humans,as social animals, we do have the need to be validated in a group but how far we should go to achieve the validation and how do we know that any negative image of the self that we are harbouring is real or perceived is the question.
When it comes to youngsters it is even more important to recognise and understand the symptoms of negative body image so that they can be helped before they undertake any drastic measures .

Recognising a Negative body Image is the first step to fight it
                                               

Let us try to understand Body image ...

What is BODY IMAGE ?

The term ‘body image’ incorporates themes of body perception (the extent to which an
individual has an accurate perception of their body size, shape and weight) and body satisfaction
(the extent to which an individual is satisfied with their body size, shape and weight).

When a person has low body satisfaction they often suffer from a negative body image, where they imagine their imperfections to be of a greater magnitude than what it is . A woman may think she has too large a nose or has tiny breasts or big hips . A man may think he is too scrawny or too hairy etc etc .

Can we measure BODY IMAGE  Perception ?

Most cases can be diagnosed by keen observation and talking to the affected person and relatives.
Though there is no fool proof method devised yet there are some tests like a Body Image Score that can give us a rough idea of how healthy is an individual's perception and satisfaction of his/her body image. These tests are based on Self Report Questionnaire, Figure drawings and Actual body weight and shape of the person.



WHAT can cause a Negative Body Image ?


Studies done so far have thrown up some potential causes of negative body image .These include

A. Being overweight or obese : As mentioned in my previous example, being actually overweight and Obese can make them have a negative body image as being fat is socially not desirable in most cultures and looked down upon.


B. Portrayal of Desirable Body Image by Media -Though Media has often been painted as the sole culprit yet not all who  are watching are affected by images of thin and attractive women, or men with well-defined muscles.
But individuals who already have low body satisfaction are more likely to be negatively affected by images of idealised body shapes whereas individuals who have high body satisfaction are unlikely to be affected by images of idealised body shapes.
The duration of exposure to such images also plays a role in affecting the perception of the person seeing them .

Parents as responsible in shaping our views from the very onset
                                         

C.The influence of family and peers -As parents we influence the body satisfaction of our children both positively and negatively.
Children in a good quality relationships with parents and peers have higher body satisfaction whereas children with poor quality relationships (facing Rejection,discrimination or bullying ) by parents or peers are relatively less satisfied with their bodies.
Mothers and fathers are able to influence body image in positive directions through words of encouragement and negative directions through criticism and also through being role models   Mothers who are concerned about their weight are more likely to have daughters who are dissatisfied with their bodies and more likely to have both daughters and sons who try to control their weight.



D.Individual psychological factors - humans have a basic drive to evaluate their opinions and abilitiessuch as an increased tendency to compare yourself to others.
  Low body satisfaction is linked with low self-esteem and depression. Individuals who have low body satisfaction are more likely to also have low selfesteem or depression if they are female or overweight. People who have certain psychological patterns, such as believing they should have perfect bodies or an increased tendency to compare themselves to others, are more likely to have low body satisfact


The potential consequences of negative body image include low self esteem, depression, and the use of unhealthy weight control behaviours (such as crash dieting).Negative body image is linked to eating disorder symptoms, unhealthy weight control behaviours, and risky sexual practices like multiple sex
partners  and more likely to have had sex after drinking alcohol or using drug.

HOW  to combat Negative Body Image ?

There are some actions that can help in preventing and protecting a child from developing a negative body image.

1.Maintaining a healthy weight - A healthy weight for the age and height can help in creating an affirmative body image .

 2.Encouraging close relationships with parents and friends - Spending quality time with parents and frinds can improve your confidence and sense of well-being .

3.Avoid the practice to compare your child to others and discourage your child from comparing themselves  to others.

 4. Having healthy and positive attitude to your body will set forward a positive signal.If you follow a healthy lifestyle and have a positive body image, it helps your child in accepting their bodies better and following a healthy lifestyle

In case all fails , you may need to seek psychotherapeutic treatment with lifestyle changes .
                             
Love yourself !

Till then - Stay happy, stay healthy and love yourself !


Saturday, 14 April 2018

Eight Tips to Beautiful Hair in Summers



Our hair is exposed to and affected by many environmental pollutants every day. Apart from chemical treatments and chlorine water which cause harm to hair, sunlight and UV radiation also causes a lot of damage.

In summer, as the temperature rises, hair undergoes lot of changes due to UV radiation. Loss of hair pigment results in paler hair which appears dull and lacks the sheen. UV rays remove moisture content from the hair shaft making it dry, brittle and easily breakable. The protein content in the hair gets altered making it frizzy and easily breakable.

                                    

Hair that has been bleached, colored, straightened and chemically treated or exposed to chlorine is more susceptible to damage due to UV radiation. Both UVA and UVB can penetrate, absorb and change the structure of your hair permanently.

Other skin conditions such as Seborrheic Keratoses, moles etc. may appear on the scalp due to bad effects of chronic exposure to the sun.

                               
seborreic keratosis - a wart like growth on
the skin (source-dermquest.com)

TEN SIGNS THAT YOUR SCALP AND HAIR IS ALREADY SUN- DAMAGED
                                   
1) Dry and brittle hair 
2) Dull hair which looks lighter than before
3) Loss of hair
4) Split ends
5) Prematurely grey hair
6) Growths on the scalp and near hairline
7) Frizzy hair
8) Flaky, itchy skin on scalp.
9)  Hair that doesn’t grow much in length
10) Hair that tangles easily and is difficult to comb


EIGHT TIPS to keep your scalp and hair healthy and shiny in summers 
                                           
1. WASH - Regular hair washes with mild shampoo, making sure you rinse off well, applying a conditioning agent suitable for the hair type.Avoid harsh chemical-based shampoos that contain harmful Parabens and Sulphates which zap the moisture from the hair. Avoid chemical hair colours as it causes itchy skin and pigmentary issues. Hair follicle infection or folliculitis can occur if hygiene is not maintained, especially in those who sweat a lot as excessive sweat and oil encourages  bacterial growth.
                                   
Livon Moroccan Silk Serum With Suncreen and MutliVitamins

Washing the hair and scalp at least 3 to 4 times a week also helps rid of lice and dandruff which worsen hair fall.
Post hair wash, you can use a hair serum with multivitamins and sunscreens.

                                        

2. NO to BLOW DRY - Drying of hair with a dryer is not advisable as it produces air bubbles inside the hair shaft due to the heat which makes it break easily. 

                                       

3. OIL - Oiling hair once in a while acts as great conditioning agent. Cold pressed Coconut oil has a wonderful role in conditioning hair and protecting it from chlorinated water and UV radiation. Apart from applying oil, rinsing the scalp and hair of all chlorine from the swimming pool and applying sunscreens go a long way in protecting hair.
                                      
4. FOLLOW RAJINIKANTH - Cool shades is synonymous with Rajinikanth and summer is the perfect season to “do a Rajinikanth” if we may say for your hair.

Confused?
Don’t be.
You need to protect and shade your hair from the sun with all its glory as this summer it’s out to get your beautiful mane.
                                             
 
                                                            (source -http://pdwallpaper.blogspot.in)
Covering the hair while outdoors with a scarf or a hat and applying sun-protective sprays and gels help to prevent the UV-related damage.  A little known fact is that sun burns can occur on scalp too especially where hair distribution is thin. Sunscreens are now available for the hair too as sprays and this can protect one from harmful rays.

When choosing the right sunscreen, the points to look for a good UVB and UVA protection  and a physical block. Just an SPF indicator of the UVB protection does not determine the  overall effectiveness of the sunscreen.
                                              
                                           

5. COLOUR WITH CAUTION - When coloring hair, take precautions to choose the right  one, especially if the scalp and skin is sensitive. The best way to find out is to do a test patch on the skin and then apply on scalp.
                                            

6. GORGE on healthy foods - Eating healthy plays a great role on health of hair and scalp.  Food groups rich in vitamins and minerals like green leafy vegetables, fruits, whole grains,  and proteins; food groups rich in omega 3 fatty acids like walnuts, salmon, fish and  almonds are good.

                                           

7.GLUG - Consuming a good amount of water according to body weight, is a good way to  re  hydrate internally. Physiologist Sharon E. Griffin suggests that you drink a half ounce of  fluid  per day for every pound of body weight which is roughly 36 ml per Kg body weight.

                                           

 8.CONSULT A DOCTOR - Our scalp often indicates our health. When it gets oily too often  can be an indicator of hormonal imbalance, when dry and flaky, it is indicative of fungal  infections. Dry brown and brittle hair can indicate hemoglobin deficiency and other  nutritional deficiencies.Loss of hair can be due to various reasons for which a consultation with a doctor can bring  forth the causes and treatment options available.


Article published with inputs from Dr. Tina Ramachander 
(M.B.B.S.,M.D. Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy, FRGUHS, Dermatologist and Cosmetologist)

Dr. Tina Ramachander, Medical Director at Dr. Tina's Skin Solutions is a Consultant Dermatologist, Medical Cosmetologist, Laser and Dermatosurgeon, practicing in Bangalore. She completed her masters in Dermatology from JJM Medical College in Karnataka, Dr. Ramachander has a Fellowship in Dermatosurgery from the prestigious Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute and a Fellowship in Dermatosurgery and Lasers from the state of the art National Skin Center, Singapore.





Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Defying Disability - Overcoming Obstacles

If you’re reading this and are not disabled then you are among the fortunate majority of Indian population that does not have to live with a disability and has access to education and employment as a basic right.The other 3.8% of Indian population, unfortunately, has some or the other form of physical disability which deprives them from having access to equal opportunities towards education and employment in our system and society.

                                             
Recently I got injured and had to wear a cast in one leg for about 15 days. Life with only one fully functional limb was a revelation to me. I could appreciate the hundreds of obstacles that a differently-abled person must face in their daily life. Be it crossing streets or walking on roads riddled with potholes or going up a few flights of stairs - it opened my eyes to the plight of millions of persons with disabilities who are bravely battling it out and still holding their head high with or without support and guidance from us.
                                

                                                    


Fortunately there are people and organizations that are working selflessly and tirelessly, to uplift and empower these specially abled brave-hearts.

         

                                                 
Shishu Sarothi  is one such non -profit organization that has been working with a proven track record in the area of early intervention and rehabilitation, education, arranging livelihoods, providing advocacy and legal aid and creating awareness for children and persons with disabilities in North East India since 1987 .
                      
They have been working towards creating an inclusive world where children and persons with disabilities have equal opportunities and are empowered to participate freely and live fully with dignity and respect.
                                         
                                        

How does Shishu Sarothi empower the Disabled?

Shishu Sarothi has 13 dedicated units that cater to specific needs of the person enrolled with them including - 

1. The Early Intervention Unit - This unit offers services for early detection, screening and management of high risk babies and infants for diseases that can cause disabilities.

2. The Centre for Inclusive and Vocational Education (CIVE) - This unit is run like a regular school with the big difference being in chalking up Individualized Educational Programs for each child. The parents are closely involved throughout the training program. Multi-sensory and low cost teaching learning materials are designed and provided for more effective teaching and learning experiences.

3.The Information and Communication Technology Laboratory (I.C.T.L.) - This unit is responsible for  imparting comprehensive computer aided training programs for the children and  make them proficient in basic applications and to build their computer skills. 

4. The Training and Human Resource Development Division -This unit runs government approved training programs with the aim of creating a cadre of trained rehabilitation professionals.

5.The counselling unit - The Unit assists parents in understanding the special needs of their child by assessing psycho social aspects related to disability, and to cope and manage the situation. 

6. The Disability law Unit (North East) - The DLU offers help in litigation, conducts sensitization programs for all tiers of the public and advocates policy changes in favor of the disabled.

7. Disability Employment Unit - It empowers the disabled by facilitating access to employment opportunities both in the public and private sector. 



SUCCESS STORIES -                             
                                           
                 
 


Rida Arman Hazarika , a child who was diagnosed with Delayed Developmental milestones , though she was physically independent, she had a habit of pinching herself and being very aggressive at times. She was also socially shy and lacked self-confidence and did not get well with others .Her parents were worried as they wanted her to have a regular schooling.

After regular counselling and Behavior modification sessions,along with I.C.T. lab training to boost her confidence and skills,  Rida has made significant improvement , her self-confidence has upped and she has been able to make friends and socialize, her aggressiveness has reduced and she now helps her mother at home. Not only this but most importantly Rida cleared her 10th standard exam from National Institute of Open Learning (N.I.O.S.) scoring 75% and is now pursuing her 11th Std from N.I.O.S.

                                       

Debotri Dutta - This young girl was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegic CP .C.P. is a condition that affects the movements, coordination, mental development and even vision, speech and skeletal system of the person affected.She could neither walk properly nor speak properly when she was brought to Shishu Sarothi. Her parents were clueless about how to deal with her.

She has been undergoing sessions at ther Functional Unit where she is being imparted pre-vocational training and the ICT for computer skills .Her parents were regularly counselled and the parents are now supportive of her.Debotri can now do basic calculations and write her and her parents’ names, she has learned the skill of block printing and beading as part of vocational training to lead an independent life .Her parents are now hopeful of a better future for Debotri .

Rida Hazarika, Debotri Dutta , Tamanna Mahanta ,Pooja Das are just a few success stories of children whose lives have taken a turn for the better and who are finding their foothold in this competitive world through Sishu Sirohi. 

Timely diagnosis, intervention, counselling and vocational training and legal help are the keywords when it comes to taking care of a disabled child.

Most importantly funding,resources and encouragement from the government are intrinsic if we want more Tamannas and Ridas to come out of the shadows, spread their wings and soar.


To know more about Sishu Sirohi , their accreditation and the facilities offered , visit their website - http://www.shishusarothi.org/

To become actively involved in enabling a secure future for these special children, you can make contributions HERE 

To become a volunteer, enroll HERE


            

 Let us help spread smiles and build better futures for our children even if they were not born equal.




Thursday, 29 March 2018

Goa Diaries - What you must do when in Goa

Goa is the most sought after holiday destination in India and it was on my bucket list for a long time.After umpteen deliberations about the dates we finally set out for a get away to Goa.We went there in the month of August, when the rains were ebbing and you get relatively less crowds . October to March is the peak tourist season in Goa.
                                       
We flew down to Goa from New Delhi by Indigo Airlines (cause it’s the cheapest ) and reached  in just two and half hours.Our hotel had offered free pick and drop from the airport and the moment we touched the Goa airport, I received a call from the taxi driver  informing me that he was waiting for us outside the airport and also gave us the details of the vehicle .Within fifteen minutes ,we reached our hotel – Joet’s Guest House on Bogmolo Beach,Goa .
                                       

We had access to the swimming pool at
 Joet's sister concern - The Coconut Creek Resort 
At first glance we were quite disappointed by our hotel room .It seemed so tiny and the website description had said that it was close to the beach but on looking out of the window I saw no beach (of course it was past midnight anyways and pitch dark too).We slept very well that night but not before gorging on the chips and chocolates and the Coke cans in the mini bar.
                                           

The lovely morning scene - great for a walk on the secluded beach 

The next morning, I woke up early, as is my habit, and stepped out into the balcony to have a look around and get some fresh morning air.



                                    


I was taken aback by the view – lush green coconut trees and a blue sky greeted me .There was the  swirling sea and waves crashing onto the beach (the waves are higher in the morning and late evening because of the tides). I shouted with joy and woke up my companions to witness the glorious sight.They were as taken in as I was with the mesmerizing sights of the sea and we quickly went down to the beach which was just a few steps away and spent almost the entire morning taking in the sea breeze and feeling the warm sea water and sand under our feet .
                                                 
     
The restaurant on the beach giving a full view of the sea as you dine

The beach near our Guest house was not at all crowded and we enjoyed the tranquility of the breach save for the roar of the surfing waves.                                           
Time just flew as we lazed and frolicked on the beach and it was only when our stomachs started grumbling that we realized that we were famished.

                                               

We then proceeded to a lazy brunch in Joet’s restaurant which overlooked the beach.Joet's also has live music and Karaoke nights on Friday and Saturday which draws big crowds especially foreigners.
We had a hearty English Breakfast of Buttered Toast, marmalade, boiled eggs and coffee/tea/Fruit juice.
                                         
The hearty English breakfast 
       
Refreshed and fortified, we then chalked out the itinerary for the day and it was decided that we shall visit churches in the vicinity .

BASILICA OF BOM JESUS

We booked a taxi (taxis are very expensive in Goa so if you can rent a car or bike then you can save a lot of money ) for visiting The Bom Jesus Church .

   
                                                                      The scenic view during my Taxi ride

The taxi ride itself was fun with the driver offering a lot of insights into the local living , local issues and the history. We witnessed the charming Portuguese houses , women selling " Zoya " flowers for worship and greenery all around .
                                       
                                                                                        The River Mandovi
                                                                 A Portuguese Style  House in Old Goa

The famous Basilica of Bom Jesus Church of Old Goa , is one of the oldest and most famous churches of Goa . Located at Old Goa, 10 kilometres east of Panaji, the Bom Jesus Basilica is a World Heritage Monument. The church is called "Bom Jesus" meaning 'good Jesus' or 'infant Jesus' to whom it is dedicated. The foundation stone of this remarkably large church was laid on 24 November 1594 and construction was completed in 1605.


                                             
     
                       
The Basilica of Bom Jesus
On the southern side in the transept ( the area in a church that lies across the main body of the edifice) is a chapel with gilded twisted columns and floral decorations of wood,where the sacred relics of the body of St. Francis Xavier are kept. The interior of this chapel is richly adorned with wooden carvings and paintings, depicting the scenes from the life and times of St. Francis which make for very interesting viewing.

St. Francis Xavier was born in a powerful family in Navarra (Now Spain),the Young Francis met Ignatius in Paris and his life took a turn , he devoted his entire life to serving others and spreading the name of Christ wherever he went .He reached Goa on 6th of May, 1542- after a painful journey of 13 months and Goa became the base of his operations for the next ten years of his life . St. Francis Xavier died in Sancian, near China, in 1552.
                                           
The Relics of St. Francis Xavier 
The legend goes that even after 76 days of death,when the body of St.Francis was exhumed, it was found fresh and without any signs of decay despite being buried without embalming.He was then canonised and his body or rather the relics after being transferred from one place to another finally rest at the Bom Jesus Church .

There's a modern art gallery attached to the Basilica and after an Entry Fee of INR 5/- only, we got to admire the Paintings by Don Martin, Photographs by Benoy K. Behl and Sketches by Sunita Dalvi. The sketches impressed me a lot.
                                         
After seeing the Bom Jesus Basilica ,we were tired and settled down for lunch ( on the recommendation of our guide ) at a popular local eatery "Ratna Sagar " which was a multi cuisine restaurant where we had The Goan style Fish Curry and Poori Bhaji Goan style with the local Goan beer - Kings'  Beer .

At the RatnaSagar restaurant (Left to right -Kingfish 
curry with rice ,Goan King's Beer ,Poori Bhaji )
                                   
This Beer was quite good , it is very inexpensive too and liquor is freely available at all restaurants and shops.Public drinking is allowed and surprisingly I did not see any brawls or rash driving despite the freely flowing liquor in Goa !
                             
ABYSS MARINE FISH  AQUARIUM                                      

On our way back to the hotel ,we  stopped at Abyss Marine Fish Aquarium - a small place but it had some very interesting varieties of fishes like Lion Fish , Starfishes etc.on display. This is a place that will interest both adults and kids greatly.The entry charge was Rs 100/- per head and you could see the whole place in 15 mins as it is a small aquarium.
                                         
The Marine Fish Aquarium and Fun park 
      
  
                                            

Alert - The place smells ( what else but fishy !) and is not very spacious -in fact it was rather eerie to me with its dark ,congested interiors and dimly lit aquariums full of strange and large sea lives.
Claustrophobics  may avoid .

FOOD IN GOA - Being a coastal state , Goa is a sea food lover's paradise so do try out all sorts of fishes (they even serve shark ) like sukka ,bangda ,Kingfish ,Prawns,Crabs , Mussels, Squids etc when you are here.

The cuisine uses raw coconut ,Curry leaves,fennel,coriander, kokum and vinegar quite liberally .

The Catholic and Portuguese influence also has its presence in the food through Vindaloo, Xacuti,Sorpotel ,Rachedo and Balchao dishes , Roast beef pork sausages and also the famous Bebinca dessert .
                                         
The Sea food dishes in Goa 
The Maharashtrian and Hindu influence on Goan food is also seen in the Bhaji ,Varan ,Kokum sherbat , Solachi Kadhi and laddoos and halwas .
Vada Pav - local street food 
                                                 
                                                  
                                                                                 Typical Vegetarian Thali in Goa 

Do not miss the locally made Goan country liquer - The Feni - though it is quite potent I must warn.
Also Goa is famous for its Cashews -from whole to roasted,spiced etc . which make for good gifting option .

SE CATHEDRAL

After that we went to the SE Cathedral which is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria .
This is one of the most ancient and celebrated religious buildings of Goa, a reminder of  to the Roman Catholic rule in Goa under the Portuguese.SE Cathedral is the largest church in Asia.It had some breathtaking indoors .
                                         

Word of caution – you are supposed to dress conservatively ,so while jeans and skirts are allowed , one is supposed to cover the bare shoulders while entering the premises..Do carry a stole to cover up .


Some more sights of Goa -Vasco


ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF GOA 

The museum has been functioning since 1964 in the abandoned convent of St. Francis of Assisi and is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The collection here  consists of some Brahmanical sculptures hero-stones  ( stones  erected in the memory of brave men slain in battle or met an unnatural death and were worshipped as heros ) and Sati stones ( Sati was the practice in ancient India where a widow chose or was forced to burn herself in the funeral pyre of her husband like Lord Shiva's consort Sati did ,after the death of her Husband .These women were then called Sati Mata and were worshipped ).
                                           


The museum also houses  portraits, coins and currency, revenue and court fee stamps, wooden and bronze sculptures and arms from the medieval period .

DONA PAULA BAY

It is a very popular tourist spot in Goa. It is here that two of Goa's  rivers – River Mandovi and River Zuari meet the Arabian Sea and the place offers a very fine view of the Marmagao Harbour.
 Named after Dona Paula de Menezes, this place is called the Lovers Paradise due to a popular myth that has been attached to this place. According one legend the Viceroy's daughter after facing objections from her family about her love affair with a poor fisherman jumped off the cliff here.The locals shared some interesting stories about Dona Paula with the most hair raising being  being that on Moonless nights, the ghost of Dona Paula rises from the sea and roams the area,wearing a string of pearls and nothing else!
                                       



Myths and folklore not withstanding , this place looks beautiful and tranquil at night and has a romance to it on moonlit nights .Visit it only after sunset to feel the charm , the area has some great casinos and cruises which you can try before going to the bay.

NIGHT LIFE AND BEACH LIFE IN GOA

CRUISES – When in Goa , you have to experience a cruise on the river Mandovi . There are plenty of options depending on the time on your hands and the money in your pockets from  overnight cruises , daytime boat cruises, sunset boat cruises to moonlight boat cruises even special Honeymoon packages for love birds !
During the cruise professional dance troupes entertain and even perform the local dance forms of Goa like  Dekni Temple Dance, the Fugdi Dance and the Corredinho  Dance.

Casino Cruises are also available but the prices are on the higher side .

                                           

A cruise ship at anchor 
                        
We tried a one hour short cruise on the river Mandovi since we were very short on time .During that one hour we were entertained with dance performances by local performers. Beer and snacks were available on the deck at extra cost.

The dance performances were quite run of the mill and we decided to leave them midway and go onto the deck.I loved the sights from the top of our cruise ship under the moon light.It was a surreal and exhilarating experience -the shore dotted by lights and the moonlit sky with our ship cruising gently along.In fact we even did a bit of yodelling !
They have various cruises to suit every pocket from the super luxurious cruises  (per head Rs 5000 plus) that have unlimited food, entertainment and casinos to the more pocket friendly short trip ones which give you a short one hour cruise in as little as Rs 300 per head (food and drink extra).

CASINOS
                                             
Goa is considered the Las Vegas of India due to its teeming Casinos and nightlife.There are lot of casinos that offer you a chance to romance Lady Luck and change your fortunes by a roll of the dice or Poker or whatever is your favourite game of luck .

Once again,Goa has some splendid Casinos housed in Five star hotels like the Casino in JW Mariott, Panjim, the famous Deltin Royale Casino which  is located at Noah's Ark, Panjim, Casino Dunes – another popular option located at the Zuri White Sands resort.


source- worldcasinodirectory.com
We went to Casino Pride which is located at River Mandovi because it was near our cruise.
The entry fee to the casino from Monday to Thursday is Rs 1,500 and one-time Play Coupon worth Rs 1,000. From Friday to Sunday the entree fees goes up to Rs 2,000 though .

This is inclusive of unlimited drinks while playing at the gaming tables.It is quite fun and addictive though I did not play myself .

NIGHTLIFE 

Goa is considered the Las Vegas of India for its booming nightlife and houses some very happening clubs that are very popular for their nightlife ,music and ambience . Most of the Famous and must visit clubs are situated towrds North Goa like Club LPK (Love Passion Karma at Candolim Beach),Club Mambo’s (at Calangute Beach),Sinq Beach Club (Calangute ),Tito’s (at Baga Beach ), Nyex Beach Club (at Anjuna Beach).

I got marked !

The Open Bar at Tito's Night Club 

I visited Tito’s and though the food and drinks and ambience were quite good , I did not find the discotheque any better than the regular ones .We were lucky to be there on a Saturday Night which happened to be ladies night and got us free entry and free cocktails .

                                              
We ended up having dinner there and I must say that the food and wine served were quite good . It gets quite crowded in the tourist season so I would recommend getting entree tickets online before hand to avoid disappointment later .


WATER AND ADVENTURE SPORTS 
                                                 
Of late Goa has been hosting some great water and adventure sports including parasailing and whitewater rafting .
                                                         


Parasailing -Dona Paula, Majorda,Oberoi Beach resorts and Anjuna, Bogmalo, Calangute, Colva, Candolim and Vagator beaches provide the facility for the Parasailing .


Jet Skiing -You can be enjoy Jet skiing at many beaches in Goa such as Aguada Beach, Colva Beach, Candolim Beach, Calangute Beach, Miramar Beach, Benaulim Beach etc. They are capable of reaching very high speeds and thus one is advised to go along with an instructor if trying it for the first time.

Banana Boat Ride - The banana boat can accommodate up to 6 adults and life jackets are provided for your comfort and safety.

The banana boat ride is really an enthralling activity where one needs to sit on a boat which is molded to take the shape of a banana and can accommodate six people in one ride. The thrill of the ride starts when the boat rolls and pitches over the undulating waves of the sea. One receives a flip after each and every ride which adds another dimension of enticement for those riders who have taken the ride for the first time. Each and every banana boat is accompanied by lifeguards.

River rafting or whitewater rafting is also an adventure sport  available at Madhaei River and Mandovi river among others .You can enjoy these sports during monsoons too .

SHOPPING IN GOA 

Other than seashells and products made from seashells , you can find lots of funky and cheap clothes and junk  jewellery here. The place is famous for its Feni (a local alcoholic drink ) - The cashew Feni is much more stronger and has a very sharp taste and smell , the coconut Feni has a milder smell but both are very potent.Besides Feni,Goa is famous for its cashew nuts and you can get all sorts from salted, sweet to unpeeled ones . I took some cashews and some sea shell key chains to gift   .


Feni with Limca and Lime wedges 

I missed The Dudhsagar Falls, The Aguada Fort and The Mario Museum on this visit but I am planning to go back and visit these soon .

Till then - I shall miss you Goa !








Sunday, 25 March 2018

It's #CuttingPaani Time NOW


             ( #CuttingPaani is an initiative by Livpure ,the market leader in RO purifier ,
to raise awareness about water conservation in India  )

Some of you might laugh and smirk about the concept of  'CuttingPaani ' but I am sure most would agree that water conservation is no laughing matter .The increasing  population, improved living standards, changing consumption and needs, and expansion of area under irrigation combined with climate change (read  droughts or floods), deforestation, increased pollution, and wasteful use of water are all contributing  to the  rising global demand for water and water scarcity .


SCARY WATER FACTS  

1. An adult residing in an  urban area needs about  126 Litre of water per day.
2. Of all the water on Earth ,only 2.5 – 2.75% is fresh water.
3. Out of the total fresh water on Earth , 1.75 -2% is frozen in glaciers and beyond use.That leaves a         mere 0.014% of all water accessible for human use.
4. One in eight people in the world does not have access to safe water even today
5. Water Crisis will loom large in the next decade with demand for water expected to outstrip supply      by 40% in 2030 unless we do something about .
                                               
Millions of young girls are missing education
because they have to scout for water everyday(wikipedia)

The keyword here is Conservation .Use less and recycle more !

Here are some ways in which I try to recycle water and use less water :

1. Clean cars with bucket and washcloth not by using pipes. I recycle water left from washing clothes  to use for mopping and cleaning cars .

2.I water my plants with water left over from school bottles, discarded water from the aquarium water and the R.O. water purifier .

3. I avoid taking showers ,of course I do take baths (LOL!), but I use buckets and do not let the water run when the bucket is full so that I can regulate my water usage .

4. I try and use minimum amount of detergent and try to wash clothes in one go to reduce water consumption by my washing machine .

5. To check any leakages in water lines as soon as possible .

6. If role models could lead the way - going bald may reduce water needed for washing the hair !
I know it sounds drastic but could help with a population of crores.It is all about taking initiative .
                                                           
A water ATM in Himachal Pradesh -making clean
drinking water more accessible and cheaper
(Pic courtesy -Arun Kumar)

What Government can do ?

1. Make Rainwater harvesting compulsory in all localities

2. Use two types of water supply lines - treated water for drinking and another water line for untreated raw water that can be used for washing and cleaningand gardening purposes .This would cut down costs incurred in purifying water. That money can then be used for conservation methods.

3. Afforestation to reduce soil erosion and improve ground water charging .

4. Have a cap on the supply of water per household like ration cards.


Not all hope is lost, here are some examples of innovation and age old ancient wisdom that have opened up  new channels of hope :

Chewang Norphel - Nick named as Ice man of India ,Chewang Norphel has engineered artificial glaciers in Ladakh that provide water for irrigation round the year .
                                                     
A Tanka in Ismailpur for storing rainwater
(source-hindustantimes )

Ismailpur village of Jhunjhunu district (Rajasthan)  has fought government apathy and its water woes by setting up 13-foot-deep underground tanks in each home.These tanks can store 20,000 litres of rainwater which is sufficient to meet their daily needs throughout the year.These tanks are charged with rooftop water harvesting during monsoons.
                                         
A revived Baoli
 (source - http://4.bp.blogspot.com)


The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has successfully revived  two medieval 'baolis ' in South Delhi, and projects are underway now to revive other water bodies and step wells in the city.This will not only help in conserving our heritage structures but also help in providing water for local use.

What can you do ?

Fuel the initiative to Save water, Sign the Petition  and join the growing Tribe of  #CuttingPani lovers.

Comment below if you have any #CuttingPaani type of ideas for saving water that you would like to share with the world.