Happiness is deep fried

How often do you have deep friend snacks or food? Most people don’t have it very often. There could be various reasons which mainly come down to either health or expense.

The best way to have deep fried food, is sparingly, and preferably making it at home. Now, if you take shortcuts and have it from outside or have something crappy to satisfy the craving, then although you are done for the short term, you have eaten something that is difficult to handle and breakdown and will most likely give you aches and fat – or both.

Similarly, for happiness to be hand, you need to do certain things. If you cut corners, you maybe fine for now but there’s nothing to be had at the end and a sort of bloated feeling persists all along.

If you are eating right otherwise and indulging every now and then- that is the perfect formula.

If you are working hard most times and taking well-earned measured breaks from it, that’s nice. If , however, you start too late and try to take shortcuts just to fill in for the while, you are as far from happiness as it gets.

The reason I used this analogy is, as tempting as shortcuts are, you are the person who will be most annoyed for taking them, at a later point in your life.

Therefore, whenever you feel like cutting corners, think of a home made golden sizzled pakoda, that does not increase your weight because you had it right!

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Easy periods, difficult men?

I’m going to talk about periods.. those who feel uncomfortable, better make themselves comfortable. What’s the point of making a common biological phenomenon such a taboo?

Many of my female friends and acquaintances often complain how horrible are their periods for them. The first couple of days are really bad for the most. They get enraged at whisper wishing us a happy period. Stupid company, right? Wrong. You can have an easy, happy period. Even without Whisper.

I was once the lot who had it real bad too. Going to school and college was scary because of the constant threat of a stain. Sports were out of bounds during those days. I felt all swollen, stupid and ugly. In a world where the appearance of a woman matters so much that we internalize it, its a tough phase to go through. Add to that the fact that your hormones go haywire, and you crave fatty food, and are irritable and angry.

What changed? I had visited a gynaec, but only as long as I took her medicines, would my periods be fine. She had said that the hormonal imbalance was also the reason for my weight gain, and so I did complete the course of the medicine. But periods were still bad later.

Then I started to work as a content writer, and had to read a lot on health in order to write my articles. I’d started working out to lose weight, and I was also more conscious of what I was eating.

I realized that if I worked out for roughly 21 days a month, and ate good food, I didn’t face a painful period. Now, I work out even during the periods, except on the first day. It is advisable not to do weight training and abs throughout, though. Now the periods come and go, and I’m least affected. How?

1. Eat right – Make it a habit to eat as much home-cooked, and fresh food as possible, all the times, not just during periods. It’s great for the skin. But if you can’t at least during the periods, avoid processed food. The more processed food like wafers etc you eat, the more your body has to work to digest it. It’s like giving a sleep deprived person another night of work. Make it easy for your body be eating fresh food, foods containing fibre and protein, and lots of water. You might want to reduce on the caffeine as its a diuretic and may hold water in the body, increasing swelling. Alsi seeds soaked in water overnight are a good home remedy if swelling is a recurrent problem.

2. Exercise – Most women I know don’t exercise outside of the little walking that they have to do in order to get to and fro the workplace/ college. It’s a pity because I can’t stress how important exercise is, in order to feel good. Especially during your periods, it helps the blood to flow out easily, and thus the pain in the lower abdomen that may happen due to blockage will not happen. I know, it is difficult to think of exercise when you’re writhing in pain, but just some walking or jogging for half an hour will also do. When it becomes a habit, it will be your first response to periods-pain.

3. Take care of yourself – All said and done, periods are still a stressful time for your body. Take care of yourself. Use massage and heat to release the pressure wherever you feel pain. Lighten the workload in possible. Rest adequately, try to indulge in things you like. My mom would go on a rampage during her periods and clean as much as possible – leading to pain and swollen feet. I know periods give you free time, but use that to rest and be happy.

4. Talk to the men – Most women say that doing all the above will only make them feel good, but what about external issues, when people misunderstand them? and in my experience, by people, they mean men. The day a man automatically gets what it’s like to have a period is the day a women gets how it feels like to get kicked in the balls. Not gonna happen. So, TALK TO THEM. Tell them that you may be irritable around your periods, but every time you are angry, you’re not menstruating, so that they do not trivialize justified anger.

I’ve done all this, and believe me, life is a lot easier. Go on, make it easier for you too. You deserve it.

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A Kashmir Hangover.

When I left for my college trip to Jammu and Kashmir, I had within me. a pleasant anxiety of the days to come. Kashmir is beautiful, this I knew from others who had visited the place. But, whether the beauty would absorb and overwhelm me and make a cumulative difference to my thought, was the question.

I flatter myself as being someone of good organizational habits and a little more than slight literary bent of mind. And so, on my trip, I jotted down observations and made a couple of sketches. Their true worth, I realized only after getting back. I am going to treasure these diary entries.

I found Gulmarg and Pahalgaam most beautiful, what with the lovely snowfall, endless meadows and stunning valleys. The pure and clean river streams with colourful smooth stones underneath, with the slow repetitive sound of running water, was incredibly soothing. Dal lake, our nightly stay in the houseboat, and the shikara ride which showed to us the vast expanse of the lake was calming and peaceful.

I believe we went there at the right time, with autumn in progress. The gently falling leaves as they traced their path along the helpful breeze, could literally slow down time for me. I could gaze at the view for hours.

We were, however, a group of almost 60 people, and with such a large group, do come some annoyances. Disliked personality traits, delays, and frustrating change of plans are a few of them.

Because of the terrain of the area, most of the travel happened by bus and jeep, and most of the times, for hours at a stretch. People did fall sick out of dizziness or motion sickness, but nothing lastingly harmful or damaging happened. An added discomfort to the women was the absence of proper bathroom facilities on the way, but since that is the scenario all over India, Kashmir can’t be expected to be an exception.

All the above apart, the sight seeing was definitely worth the trouble we had to go through and the mismanagement we had to face.

As a psychology student, I incurred some interesting insights and observations about the locals. I felt bad that they deceive tourists in money matters, charging them double or more, but, it might be their only source of income, especially for those of low socio-economic status.

I also observed that the locals got angry very quickly, and did not often make an attempt to control or hide it. I would think its biological, but a friend informed me, that the locals are provided basic necessities by the government, and therefore, there is no motivation to inculcate hospitality towards tourists. This could be the reason why I did not see any malnourished poor people, which are a regular sighting in Mumbai.

Though, the locals are not to be entirely blamed for their display of stronger emotions. By experience, I do admit that tourists often act in irritating and offensive ways, as cultural transcendence doesn’t come easily to all.

I learnt from my trip that having something that drives you, is as important as taking time off and joyfully exploring the world around. That, stability is a requisite, just like change is. Only then, can life be truly and satisfactorily enjoyed.

In these ten days, I have seen bronze valleys full of characteristic Chinar trees, the prettiest of faces that are so without any conscious effort at beauty, tasted kahwa, tuj and other amazingly tasty local food, and above all, carry within me, the warmth and glow of having seem one of the most beautiful places on the planet.