Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ramadan: The Holy Month

Ramadan, has approached again, this is considered the holy month for muslims all over the world. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calender. Fasting during this holy month teaches muslims modesty, patience and spirituality. Muslims throughout the world fast for the sake of Allah and offer prayers more than usual. People abstain from eating and drinking between dawn and sunset, They refrain from indulging in anything that is considered excessive and ill-natured.
Ramadan is the time to reflect our sins and ask for forgiveness from God, We pray for guidance, to refrain from evil and bad deeds. This is also the time to make peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen bonds with family and friends, do away with all things that are bad: basically to cleanse our lives and our cluttered minds.
Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline and self-control, show empathy for those who are less fortunate; thus encouraging acts of generosity and charity. While fasting is not considered compulsory in childhood , many children attempt to complete as many fasts as possible as practice for later life.
Besides engaging in prayer and spiritual reflection, the evenings are spent with family and close friends partaking meals. In many Muslim countries, markets and shops close down in the evening to enable people to perform prayers and consume the Iftar meal –(the evening meal eaten when muslims break fast,) These markets then re-open and stay open way past midnight and till the time of suhoor: the meal taken before sunrise.
The Holy month of Ramadan is a time for fervent and devoted prayer, and the rewards and blessings associated with it are multipled. Thus by fasting Muslims feel a closeness to God.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

From My InBox

I have an obsession collecting email forwards, that I deem fit to read a multiple times. The ones with a story and a moral behind it. Here is one such inbox collection which is truly worth reading time after time, as it enlightens the power of Gossip, that could do harm and cause many misunderstandings among society. Gossip is the creation of a twisted mind.! The pain caused by this is incalculable. Next time lets think twice before participating in any kind of smear campaign.

The Gossip

A woman repeated a bit of gossip about a neighbor. Within a few days the whole community knew the story.
The person concerned was deeply hurt and offended.
Later the woman responsible for spreading the rumor learned that it was completely untrue.
She was very sorry and went to a wise old sage to find out what she could do to repair the damage.
"Go to the marketplace," he said, "and purchase a chicken, and have it killed. Then on your way home, pluck its feathers and drop them one by one along the road."
Although surprised by this advice, the woman did what she was told.
The next day the wise man said, "Now go and collect all those feathers you dropped yesterday and bring them back to me."
The woman followed the same road, but to her dismay, the wind had blown all the feathers away. After searching for hours, she returned with only three in her hand.
"You see," said the old sage, "it's easy to drop them, but it's impossible to get them back.
So it is with gossip. It doesn't take much to spread a rumor, but once you do, you can never completely undo the wrong."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thrash that Rash!

Today I was reading some health issues on my favorite Health website www., when this informative slide show caught my attention. Sometimes we all take skin rashes for granted, simply brushing it aside for a minor irritating nuisance.
There are a lot of causes that trigger a rash to erupt on your skin and the most common of them is due to an Allergy. Years back, my younger daughter had to deal with a skin irritation, called Hives, which I learnt later was triggered by an allergic reaction. Consequently I took an interest in reading anything about allergies, their symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Thank God gradually she overcame this irritable quandary.
Childhood illnesses like chicken pox, measles, are also known for the rash that develops during the incubation period.
Fortunately, most rashes can be alleviated by medicines or just go away without complications. For me, the presumption was that any kind of rash on the skin was due to an allergic reaction .But I was wrong!
It astounds me that a rash could also indicate an underlying illness. Rash could also be something fatal. It could be an early sign of cancer. This admonition could be adhered to seek treatment in the early stages to prevent further complications.
This slideshow enlightens the reader/viewer to emphasize the kind of rash that is in need of immediate medical attention. Nonetheless it is always advised to get your doctor’s opinion.

Precancerous Skin Lesions and Skin Cancer Slideshow

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Tale of Ellie Pooh

“Mom - You can’t be serious!” Cried out my daughters, when I recounted an incredible news scoop that I had gathered from the Internet. Although this was breaking news to me, I believe the story had been in focus for a while. Actually it all began, when I was browsing the internet looking for a picture of an Elephant for my eight year old son’s class assignment, when this bizarre caption caught my eye. It was beyond belief!
Curious to find out more, I went to the website, and thus established the validity of the story. It may for some, sound highly amusing or ridiculous but I thought it was laudable!
Elephants have always been identified with a lot of appealing adjectives like majestic, magnificent, largest, huge or more often by the common term wild.
They have been a part of wildlife, responsible in maintaining ecological balance in nature. In one way or another Elephants have been useful to man! But now not only are they recognized for their mighty appearance but also for their bountiful resource that they provide, enabling a growth of a new industry. It’s incredible but true, when I affirm (thanks to my reliable source, the internet) that the waste they produce is being recycled into paper which is then fashioned into something more creative.
This renewed paper from the elephant’s dung promoted as “Mr. Ellie Pooh” paper, goes through several procedures before advancing to the craft stores! And mind you! during the recycling process, the smell of dung is completely eliminated.

I have been captivated by these magnificent creatures since childhood. For years, having lived within close proximity to the zoological gardens, we were fortunate enough to have had easy access to see these animals being fed and pampered by the zoo workers. What made me even more interested in reading about Ellie Pooh was the fact that the animals talked about, are the Elephants of Sri Lanka, which play a major role in this remarkable venture.

It is exclusively the dung of Sri Lanka’s Elephants that is transformed into paper, which is used for making of scrapbooks, cards, books, note books etc. What a whole lot of discoveries, reading about this project led me to. The entire recycling process takes place in the outskirts of Sri Lanka. Furthermore, the recycled paper in Sri Lanka is known as Jumbo Poo paper. Ellie Pooh and Jumbo Poo are associates working together to bring about a friendly and pollution free atmosphere. It’s note worthy to cite, that one of the objectives by the people behind this endeavour is to bring harmony between the Elephants and the local farmers. This perception will significantly improve the relationship, no doubt. It would be no bolt from the blue when the uncontrolled hostility between man and beast subsequently dies down, by this out of the ordinary notion.

After that initial uproar, I caught my younger daughter snuffle the paper cluttered on our computer table, to distinguish the dung variety.Unfortunately we haven’t to date purchased any, but next time we shop for paper to scrap, I will, without a doubt mull over Ellie Pooh paper! I couldn’t ever have imagined that the Elephant’s dung was such a beneficial article of trade.

With the children on Summer Break, I was determined that this was the appropriate time for my daughters to divert their attention from their current favourites - Jodi Picoult, Cornelia Funke and Meg Cabot - to a different storyline, something dissimilar to the all time favourites: ‘Winnie the Pooh’, which they have all grown accustomed to.
Equipped with more facts in succession, I sat with my foursome and continued my recounting of the unusual saga of Ellie-Pooh!

Gallery of Favorites

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Reliable Source

For a working Mom or a stay at home like me, the Internet has become part of our lives now. We have got so dependent on this medium, that we look up for various news and information and indulge on it as a trustworthy source. With this, came the most easiest and convenient form of communication; the e-mail, which took over the traditional form of letter writing. Electronic mail or E-mail crept into our system speedily. It is very difficult now, for most of us to switch back to letter writing, the conventional way.

As for my family and I, who reside many miles across the seas, away from our native place, our only communication with the rest of the homefolk is via a phone call or a letter. At the beginning, I would be on the edge of my seat in anticipation for my husband’s return from office, when he would bring with him, the snail mails we get from family back at home. Over here there are no door to door postal services; I depend on my husband’s company mailing address to receive my mails. Then things changed, when my husband got us a computer and the internet connection... It made easier for me to correspond. Since then there has been no looking back .

I love reading, from news papers, to magazines! I love reading paperbacks too , but with children and their workload, I had to be selective in my choice of reading and simply stand firm by my decision , Nonetheless I simply couldn’t resist the internet, the addiction that I fall back on to satiate my thirst for some reading.
The primary thing I do when one of my children fall sick is browse through my favorite health web site for information on the related illness . By doing this I tend to be more relaxed and calm. Getting some first hand information on the internet relieves the stress off me. Before the advent of the internet in my home, I used to be so panicky whenever the kids fell sick not knowing what wedged their immune system. I’d like to know the severity of the sickness before proceeding to the doctor. If it’s just the common cold, I try to subdue by some home remedy. Otherwise a visit to the doctor is a must.

Even my children, who are all of school going age, need the internet for some reference work for their assigned homework. Every now and then my 3rd grader, comes up with some class assignment and thus it is necessary that I approach the internet for assistance!

And in lighter vein I must add, when my eight-year-old wanted me to Google a picture of an elephant from the internet and get a print out from the computer, for his class project, My youngest , looked all perplexed and taken aback, wondering how on earth was I going to download an elephant-as big as that!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cooking With Potato

Everyone loves potatoes. Who doesn’t ? But sometimes you could get a bit exasperated eating the same dish made of potatoes every day.The only food my children eat without any pressurizing is POTATO. They love it fried or cooked with a creamy gravy. They relish it when it is cooked with coconut cream. This recipe is most popular among my native folk. I tend to use less spice in my food because my children abhor the too spicy stuff , the fiery ones. Those of you who love trying different recipes, could try this one too. This is written in the simplest method so as not to confuse the cook.

There are some adjustments which I did make , to the original recipe that my Mother delighted us with. The changes were necessary to cater my children’s palate.
There are no hard and fast rules here . You could change and adjust some of the ingredients accordingly .You could either add more or less spices. The spices I have used here would be available in any Asian or Indian supermarkets.

Potato In Coconut Cream

The Ingredients ( Serves 2-3 persons )

2 large boiled potatoes

2-3 pieces of chopped garlic

1 medium sized onion finely chopped

1 green chilly chopped ( optional)

Half a tsp mustard seeds

Half a tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp curry powder ( you can adjust accordingly)

One tablespoon of oil

A few curry leaves ( optional)

Salt to taste

1 cup water (250-300ml)

3 generous tablespoons of coconut powder

Coriander leaves for garnishing


Cut boiled potatoes into chunks. Heat the oil in a pan .When the oil gets heated , put in the mustard and the fenugreek seeds .

As it starts to splutter, turn in the chopped onion and the green chilly. Cook till onions become translucent and then stir in the garlic and the curry leaves . (cook for less than a minute)

Mix in the turmeric and the curry powder. Add the cup of water into the pan and bring it to a boil.

Now put the boiled potatoes into the cooking broth. Mix in the coconut powder and give it a quick stir, so that no lumps form.

Lastly add salt to taste .Cover the pan and simmer for 2 minutes . Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

This could be eaten as an accompaniment either with

1; Hot toasted bread and a salad of your choice
2; Steamed rice and a meat dish of your choice.

Bon Apetit!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Home Remedy

Over the years I have had gathered these home remedy tips from various sources.Some were passed on from the family..I have tried some of these at home which I have found to be very effective. These really help you or or your loved ones from relief from minor ailments, They are cheap and readily available in your kitchen cabinet . .Home medicines are the the spices you use for your cooking or the herbs you grow in your garden (to get that extra flavour and aroma in your cooking). Furthermore no preservatives or additives added, they are simply home made!!!

Pepper is an excellent medicine to treat digestive disorders.. A decoction prepared with one cup of water, 5 to 6 pepper corns, a piece of crushed ginger and a little jaggery (this will reduce to half on boiling). when sipped, while it is still hot, gives relief from cold, cough and sore throat.

Ginger -helps digestion, cures cough when taken with bees honey. Take a little ginger juice (you get the juice by crushing a piece of ginger) mix in half teaspoon lime juice and a little bees honey to get relief from cough).Repeat this 2-3 times a day. Include a piece of crushed ginger in your daily tea and you may not have many digestion problems. (Try this next time you make your cup of tea. It's delicious too.)

Coriander seeds- to stop the vomit, soak coriander seeds in water and then sip this water at regular intervals. For conjunctivitis, soak cotton balls in coriander water and rub the eyes with this solution, to get immense relief.

The magic of bees honey: -Bees honey has been known in alleviating internal ailments , such as the common cold, cough,sore throat and related conditions .If you include bees honey in your daily diet, your immune system will benefit and you will be more able to resist diseases. Bees honey is a natural antiseptic, try it on minor scrapes and bruises.

Some other common herbs

Parsley- A natural breath freshener and eases an upset stomach.

Thyme-calms cough and may ease menstrual cramps, some rub this natural antiseptic on cuts and scrapes.

Sage- makes a soothing mouth wash for canker sores or gargle for sore throat. Brew the leaves (like tea) and gargle for sore throat.

Rosemary - crushed and added to your bath may stimulate the blood circulation.

Cardamom is known as a good medicine to treat indigestion and also treats gas problems. Chewing cardamoms gets rid of bad breath. When you suffer from a tooth ache, clench a clove on the aching tooth.

So next time you have those nuisance aches and pains , try these simple home remedy tips.Nature's healers could do wonders for you!