Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 comes to an end

2006 would come to an end…A year, in which I ...

• realized that Indian judicial system can take a sudden and swift positive turn after being in a dormant state for many years and all this happens with a single man at the helm of judgmental affairs. This is true not just with High court and Supreme Court but also with lower civil court.
• joined the league of Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Woody Allen, Michael Douglas and Frank Sinatra.
• learned the art of visual deception of aging.
• have germinated the seed for continuation of genealogy and immortality.
• came across benovalent souls of Zokhuram, Sham Bihari and crooked souls of Tyagi.
• became arya samaji by participating in rituals without understanding the essence of arya samaj
• met two Brahmins who are proud and passionate about their profession and the role they play in the society.
• understood the mechanism of wheeling dealing at Kapaseda – tahsil
• familiarized myself with pahadi culture and traditions in rural jat dominated suburb of urbane delhi
• realized that people who are possessed by hatred and zealot ness can never be satisfied.
• have continued my interest in writing, poetry , Japanese language skills and Nanhi Kali .
• learnt newer blog tools
• read beautiful books like The God of Small Things, Losing Virginity, An autobiography of Yogi, Shantaram, Maximum city, Argumentative Indian,
• was impacted by movies of Rang De Basanti, Gangster, Lage Raho Munnabhai,
• undertook first time visits to fascinating places like vagator, Kihim , Johannesburg, Cape Town, Chiang Mai, Hamburg, Edinborough, Penang.
• experienced the excitement of performing the role as that of movies ‘fugitive’ ‘farar’ ‘majboor’.
• undertook my most arduous journey spanned in 48 hours : dubai- new delhi – lodhi road – najafgarh -kaspas kheda- gurgaon- new delhi- mumbai- dubai- johannesberg – cape town – reaching somerset west at 10 pm of the following day.
• missed Hrishi da, Bismillah khan, Saddam hussien by their passing away
• experienced the thrill of taking Japanese nude bath with foreign customers.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Absolute Honesty

‘I am blunt and straightforward ’. ‘I call spade for spade’.
We often hear such statements uttered by some with affront and arrogance. It’s a loud proclamation of the truth they espouse in dealing with people. But do such people endear others? Don’t they cause hurt and anguish to the others? On the other side, there are people who are cautious about their verbal expression as if they are handling expensive cut glasses. They hardly take a firm stance on any subject or rather have an opinion before they ascertain the viewpoint of the opposite person and are often in unison with the opposite person. People with such attributes endear people who surround them. But Are they honest?

This is one aspect of life that I have always battled with.

What is righteous and appropriate? To be honest or To be endearing to others?
Should one accept the fact that one is bound to hurt someone sometime?
Can I take clear stance and behave with conviction with utter disregard to people how they say and feel’. ? Would this lead to my life being more intact?

Few years ago, I was introduced to the term ‘absolute honesty’. I didn’t understand much then but was always intrigued with this term as I battled to balance myself between honesty and diplomacy. But in recent days, I am slowly understanding this wonderful term ‘Absolute Honesty’ and how it offers deeper nuances to the life.

Absolute honesty is not what I do with others but with my own's thoughts, actions and behavior.
Authenticity is "The highest courage is to dare to appear to be what one is.":
-John Lancaster Spalding

Lissa says: The key word here is "appear." So many times it's just easier to put on a mask, to play a role, to go along with what is expected of us. But the courage is in being authentic, in being true to ourselves and our convictions. Being true to ourselves is one thing - but showing the world who we are is another. Do we dare risk Judgment? When we are authentic we answer to ourselves, we know that to appear to be anything other, anything less than "what one is" is heart-breaking. says An Absolute honesty is an art to recognize and realize when you are intentionally misrepresenting yourself (or are about to), and that this recognition triggers a personal exploration of why deception is being relied upon to manage a particular event. This then triggers a values-based exploration as to whether or not it is appropriate to use deception in this instance and healthy decisions/actions are made accordingly. The practice of absolute honesty is the first wave of protection against relapse.

I have realized that practicing absolute honesty is not ‘reveal all ‘ approach in communication with others, it is being aware and alert to recognize the exact vulnerability of oneself when we portray is different to our instincts of conviction. It’s like – automatic pinching – of one’s brain when spoken words or expressed behavior or gesture is contrary to ones beliefs. That is absolute honesty.

I have understood that if I have urge to cheat, lie or do anything illegal, immoral; practicing absolute honesty would allow me to accept the vulnerability of being foible mind and admit compulsions and limitations and then help me set appropriate benchmarks for further actions. Becoming aware of the root cause is practicing absolute honesty. Trusting me without inhibition owns the responsibility for my actions without any shame, condemnation or self eulogy.

I have experienced the closer I am towards the absolute honesty; nearer I am towards serene enriched life. Deviation from the deception, deceit of mind-path transforms me being accepted by others as trustworthy, reliable, dependable and all of the other values that are associated with a good human being. Absolute Honesty made me arrive at a perfect equilibrium between authenticity and diplomacy.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said ‘It is as impossible for a man to be cheated by any one but himself, as for a thing to be and not to be at the same time

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

SALT – Silent Alarming Longevity Threat

Mid of this year, during Japan Hemodialysis conference at Yokohama, I had an opportunity to attend the presentation of Prof Stanley Sheldon – Pioneer figure in Hemo Dialysis. His talk on SALT’s havoc on our body was so profound that now whenever I pick up a salt dispenser or order potato chips or observe sauces poured on spaghetti, I watch it with trepidation

We all are concerned of elevated sugar, cholesterol levels. We fear Diabetes, Coronary artery blockages. But we needn’t worry. Medical science is already advanced to offer us a remedy for this and in some cases a reversible cure with products like Artificial Pancreas (Insulin Pump), Lipid Removal drugs and Cardiac Interventional Procedures. But scenario with SALT is different. SALT is what we should be worried about. Our body during whole day doesn’t need more than 5gm of SALT per day and in one helping we stuff our body with excess.

Where does this excess SALT go? Can we take it out?

When sodium intake exceeds the amount the body can handle, it builds up in the interstitial areas and the kidneys have to work extra hard to excrete it. An extra fluid around the cells contributes to increased blood pressure and also excess weight gain from water. We don’t look abnormal with water retention as body’s tissues have plenty of capacity to hold excess water. This extra fluid is what makes one look fat. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for SALT is about 2,300 mg - slightly more than one teaspoon. While SALT is naturally present in many foods but our penchant to use food additives makes us go overboard. In fact, in our body, 75% of the excess SALT is from processed foods, with just 10 per cent from SALT we add during cooking and the remaining 15 per cent that occurs naturally in food. So more we eat processed food, we are bringing our Kidneys to knees.

There is no way we can take excess SALT from our body. SALT increases Blood Pressure. Drugs that bring the pressure down don’t do anything with SALT but just dilate the vessels and reduce pressure on walls.

Be watchful of processed food industry. They play havoc with our health and bring all of us closer to the door of death. Fast food mfrs bend backwards in offering Maha Burger at throw away prices. What they do is just add extra SALT in the burger and make it bigger. SALT absorbs water and adds to its weight. So is the case with every processed food mfr who sell their products by weight. Just imagine, how much SALT is added to pickles to preserve it. Most common preservative is SALT to increase shelf life of the product. And we love to buy products with longer shelf life. How foolish are we!!!

A lot has been said and written to put the warning sign on processed foods but Food industry with silent backing of Pharmaceutical Industry would make it difficult for any Govt to pass the legislation. After all, they are the biggest fund contributors to all political parties In US; however, they have started putting warning signs on salted peanuts, almonds and pistachios.

So what do we do after having deposited enough of SALTS in our body? We can’t bring down the level but we can slow down their rising to alarming levels.

We often complain that without SALT, food is unpalatable. Prof Sheldon says, it’s incorrect. In fact SALT is dominant in anasthesiasing our other taste buds. When we say the food gets palatable, we only appreciate taste of SALT. Other tastes are all numbed. Once we cut down the SALT intake, it takes 2-3 months to reduce dominance of SALT on taste buds. Slowly, we start understanding and appreciating the taste of raw food. Try it and we can see the dramatic difference.

Prof Sheldon has proved that by mere cutting down SALT, he has brought down BP and Hemodialysis patients have increased longevity. Margaret Wilde writes in her blog about ‘salt and obesity’ and her own personal expereince.“I became aware that there was a lot of salt in bread and cheese and breakfast cereals. Because of the connection between hypertension and salt intake I altered my eating to reduce, and eventually to exclude, all avoidable sodium. This lowered my BP & I no longer needed to take ATENOLOL. More spectacularly, and very unexpectedly to me, eating less salt reduced my weight by 51 pounds! -This was nothing to do with calories, fat or sugar. The weight I lost was clearly water, that was held in my body.”

Soviet specialists prescribe "no salt" for people who have diseases of heart and kidney. They have found that even some common ailments like bronchitis and skin eruptions are helped, by giving up salt. The theory seems that, giving up salt relieves the kidneys, heart and even certain glands, from the chemical work of forever removing excess salts out of the body via urine. Excess of salt also interferes with the elimination of certain wastes from the body like uric acid and therefore contributing indirectly to diseases like gout.

Prof Sheldon showed that Urban Japanese who use SALT very heavily suffer from higher death rate from strokes (due to high BP) compared with rural ones who don’t have SALT. Natives of South Pacific, who eat no salt ever, almost ever have high blood pressure or strokes. Blacks in the USA, are heavy salt takers, and have three times more BP problems than Whites in the same areas. If every one went on a low salt diet, BP related diseases would fall by 50%. These diseases kill far more people than cancer.

According to Prof Sheldon, Indians have become victim of blatant imitation of US lifestyle. In old days, Indian ate fresh food and people labored in the fields. Now the situation is different. In the guise of economic liberalization, we are bringing processed food industry to create havoc with our health. Japanese doctors jocularly mention popularity of McDonald’s fast food joints in Japan is a silent revenge by Americans of attack on Pearl Harbor.

Which products are high SALT bearers: Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Brine, Broth, MSG (Ajinomoto) Soya Sauce. Common foods and their average sodium amounts: Table Salt (1/4 teaspoon) 580mg ; Ketchup (2Tbsp) 380mg ; Bacon (3 slices) 435mg ; Canned Soup (2 cups) 1880mg ; Pickle (1) 833mg ; Salad dressing, commercial brands (4 Tbsp) 860mg ;Soya sauce (1 Tbsp) 1014mg ;Chicken Broth (1 cup) 980mg

Here are some basics to stay away from danger:

When you order chips, ask not to pour SALT on top
After regular workout in Gym, don’t have drinks supplement containing SALT. Only manual labourers or sportsmen who work in beating sun need SALT replenishments.
Sauces, Dressings contain huge SALT. Watch out before you pour.
Sea food already contains lot of SALT, don’t add any more.
Fruits, vegetables, lean meant, beans, whole grains have little sodium. Do with little extra salt. Rinse salt from canned foods.
Sparingly eat canned soups or broths or 2 minute noodles.
Switch to low-sodium margarine, or low-salt butter.
Avoid salted nuts, chips, pickles and other snack foods.
The best way to protect yourself is to prepare meals at home. If you do eat processed foods, check the labels carefully -- and aim for a daily dose of 2,400 mg of sodium or less from all your food sources.

Watch out when you eat Indian Chinese food. You are eating processed noodles, lots of MSG (Ajinomoto) and Soya Sauce. Ever thought why you feel thirsty after Chinese Meal?

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Secret affirmations - Gift Of Life

I am avid admirer of Lissa Coffee and I make sure to save her regular email newsletters of wisdom news, coffee news and 'whats your dosha'. Her observations and analysis cover subtle nuances of day to day life in most articulate manner.
Today, she posted about The Law of Attraction. she says " We are creating our reality, every moment, every day. There are three elements that go into helping us achieve our goals: our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions. When we understand the law of attraction and consciously use these tools to attract what we want into our lives. "
"The Secret" DVD she strongly recommends is indeed wonderful! It's beautifully done. She is right in commenting that rather than being part of soap serials that portray nothing but negativity , Its better to watch such DVD's that remind us of all the possibilities in life, all the potential that is available to each one of us all the time.
Its an awesome inspirational video that will soar and lift the spirits with immence gratitude towards one wonderful gift that we are fortunate to have been recieved 'Life'. Dont miss it!!!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Keep Walking

Whenever I watch the above ' Keep walking' advertisement of Johnny Walker, I relate it to Mahatma Gandhi doing a Dandi march - bare footed with stick in hand. At least, this is what it I perceive through black & white sketch. I am surprised, how any political party has not seen the similarity. It would be an easy cause to burn few buses, smash liquor shops and enhance leadership claims.
The above advertisement is Beirut version of 'keep walking'.
Here is something funny for those who 'keep walking'

Side effects of alcohol ... and remedies!!!

1. Symptom: Cold and humid feet.
Cause: Glass is being held at incorrect angle (You are pouring the drink on your feet).
Cure: Maneuver glass until open end is facing upward

2. Symptom : The wall facing you is full of lights.
Cause : You're lying on the floor.
Cure: Position your body at a 90-degree angle to the floor.

3. Symptom: The floor looks blurry.
Cause : You're looking through an empty glass.
Cure: Quickly refill with your favorite drink!

4. Symptom : The floor is moving.
Cause: You're being dragged away.
Cure: At least ask where they're taking you!

5. Symptom: You hear echoes every time someone speaks.
Cause : You have your glass on your ear.
Cure: Stop making a fool of yourself!

6. Symptom: Your dad and all your brothers are looking funny.
Cause: You're in the wrong house.
Cure: Ask if they can point you to your house.

7.Symptom: The room is shaking a lot, everyone is dressed in white and the music is very repetitive.
Cause : You're in an ambulance.
Cure: Don't move. Let the professionals do their job

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marriage - one liners

Mukund Jamkhandi came up with something brilliant, hilarious and real.

I recently read that love is entirely a matter of chemistry.
That must be why my wife treats me like toxic waste.
David Bissonette

When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.
Sacha Guitry

After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin; they just can't face each other, but still they stay together.
Hemant Joshi

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a

Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them.

The great question... which I have not been able to answer... is, "What does a woman want?
Sigmund Freud

I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.

"Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays."
Henry Youngman

"I don't worry about terrorism. I was married for two years."
Sam Kinison

"There's a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It's called marriage."
James Holt McGavran

"I've had bad luck with both my wives. The first one left me and the second one didn't."
Patrick Murray

Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming
1. Whenever you're wrong, admit it,
2. Whenever you're right, shut up.

The most effective way to remember your wife's birthday is to forget it once...

My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.
Rodney Dangerfield

A good wife always forgives her husband when she's WRONG.
Milton Berle

Marriage is the only war where one sleeps with the enemy.

A man inserted an 'ad' in the classifieds: "Wife wanted". Next day he received a thousand letters. They all said the same thing: "You can have mine."

First Guy (proudly): "My wife's an angel!"

Second Guy "You're lucky, mine's still alive."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Lake Nakuru and Flamingoes

Sept First week : I arrived in Nairobi on Saturday evening and left to Johannesburg by noon of the following Wednesday. I would have been happy to visit Masai Mara again to meet my friends who are back from Serengeti with their little ones. But with just one free day of Sunday in Nairobi, Masai Mara was ruled out. With 5 hour drive either way, Amboseli national park next to mighty Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain with a game drive to meet lion, cheetah, elephants and hippos was also discounted and so was Mount Longonot and Lake Navisha- highest lake in the rift valley where without the presence of predatory animals, one can have a luxury to walk with herds of Zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, and giraffe

So our choice was narrowed down to Lake Nakuru - one of a chain of 8 lakes, a part of famous Rift Valley that stretch from Ethiopia to Tanzania via Kenya. Nakuru is 3hrs drive from Nairobi. We arrived at Nakuru in time for lunch and that gave us few hours to go around Nakuru national park to see pink flamingos, white pelicans, marabou stork and a variety of other water birds that breed in the lake’s alkaline waters.

Last time, I had visited Nakuru village on our way to Masai Mara. This time, I was inside Lake Nakuru, an area of 180 square kilometers - yet relatively one of the smaller national parks in Kenya. My Japanese colleagues who were first time visitors to Nakuru were in for surprise seeing pink horizon caused by a million flamingos that have squeezed in the shallow, wading lake's edge waters. Excitement was building up as we drove inside the park. But for me, this was pale in comparison to Masai Mara, a true spectacle I have ever witnessed on this earth. Kruger National Park in South Africa too is touted by South Africans, but I doubt if it can come close to Masai Mara.

At Masai Mara, we were a lucky to see the elusive, determinedly non-social black rhino shy of anybody in the sight but at Lake Nakuru, it was the turn of white rhino. Who didn’t budge either by the presence of our vehicle nor those birds that were pecking insects from his back? We had buffet lunch in the comfortable open environ of woods accompanied by background chirping of 400 plus species of birds in unison with rustle of leaves from quiet breeze that flew past the lake.

Time was short to find our own way in reaching for wild animals. Best time to see wild animals are in the early morning or late evenings. In the afternoon, they take rest and rarely venture out. Our Kenyan friend used his PR skills to become friendly with a park ranger who accompanied us in taking us to off beaten path to give us a glimpse of family of giraffe, buffalo, hippo and baboon. Our eyes were scanning tall trees for possible hiding leopard. But when we saw the herd of gazelles standing erect with their neck protruding in one direction, we knew a big one - was in sight. Smaller animals have this uncanny ability to spot the danger. At Nairobi national park, I had witnessed similar scenario and had alerted everyone that Lion must be in the vicinity. I was happy when we spotted pair of lion trudging indolently one behind the other. I was confident of seeing the event get repeated. At Nakuru, we circled in anticipation but I guess it wasn’t our day. A ride to a game reserve is never fulfilling unless one sees lion. It’s magnificent sight to see Lion walking in arrogant swaggering fashion with utter disregard to anyone around. He doesn’t need to fear from anyone. As he walks, only sign of irritation from him is by his occasional sweeping tail to shoo away flies. His big belly under his weight shivers as he straddles. His mane, an iconic symbol of his superiority in the animal world signifies his fighting ability, testosterone level, aggression, pride, and offspring survival. I felt sad that I couldn’t see my best friend in Lake Nakuru. However, ranger took us to the site where Lion had killed a buffalo just few days ago. A dried skeleton and horns was the only sign of evidence of the mighty battle that must have ensued.

We couldn’t go closer to the lake to see flamingos as we were worried of getting stuck in muddy water. You need an expert guide and driver to navigate your way through game reserve. Watching a singular flamingo in a zoo or park would be rather ridiculous with its straw-thin legs, strangely hooked beak, with his leg bent backwards while eating upside down, I doubt if it portrays graceful approach. But when they descend in millions, it’s another canvass altogether. En masse, they are transformed into a spectacle. When flamingos gather the resulting group is called a pat and the name flamingo comes from the Latin word for flame. And sure, they generate Pink Flame. But how do they survive in this alkaline water of Lake Nakuru? This is because flamingos are uniquely designed to survive in the caustic environment of volcanic soda lakes. Unlike any other bird on earth, flamingos’ beaks have evolved to skim tiny algae from the water’s surface. By swinging their upside-down heads from side to side or swishing water with their fat tongues, they siphon the lake water through filtering plates along the inside of their bills and trap algae. They can filter as many as 20 beak-fuls of algae-rich water in a single second. Flamingos breed every two years and out of the 500,000 hatch lings more than 300,000 survive with the average lifespan of the flamingo is 50 years. When flamingos take off, it’s a sight to watch. They fly with their necks fully extended. Getting airborne is not as natural as many other species. They run with their necks thrust forward, wings flapping in gingerly manner to stay afloat with great efforts. I am not an avid bird watcher, but Nakuru would be great place for wildlife photography enthusiasts.

Journey from Nairobi to Nakuru was a combination of smooth and rough ride. 30 Km dirt road (they must have completed by now) ensured that my bone joints proved its utility even in this mid age. As we entered Navisha, either side of the road had herd of families from -old grandma’s holding hands of little ones – to young couples - all of them going to the church. Despite being in tepid heat, every man was in his black suit and tie with hat; kids in colorful frocks –best attire reserved for his Sunday church attendance - depicted the depicted influence of church in Kenyan social fabric. Somehow, herd of black Kenyans on Navisha resembled me to white flamingos of Lake Nakuru. Flamingos were naturally fitted to filter clean water from alkaline algae, Christianity gave Kenyan villagers seek peace and salvation through drudgery of poverty, unemployment and HIV specter.