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October 2019

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You must have always heard that a book is a man’s best friend. That’s true because reading opens many chains of thoughts in minds of people, builds confidence, broadens the horizons, and reduces stress. If you happen to be liking a reader off late and still contemplating to go ahead with this romantic relationship or not, then, you must sit down and think about it again. Why? Because readers are extremely humble persons with great understanding and patience. They are intelligent and witty people and that’s a killer combination that many people want in their lovers. It is true that readers are also the ones who enjoy solitude and can start reading a book anytime and anywhere which might make you feel unattended or unnoticed sometimes. But there is so much more that you can absorb from a reader.

Read below to know why you should date or continue dating a reader:

Readers Are Romantic People:

Oh yes, if you want dollops of romance in your life, you should definitely not let go of that boy or girl who reads a lot. Lovers of books, these readers are huge admirers of things that takes back to the old-world charms. They don’t crave for instant love but intensely and passionately romantic love. They are the ones who will drag you out on a rainy day to soak in the rain together. Readers are the ones who will sometimes surprise you with a candlelight dinner. And sometimes if you find a lovely poem in your pocket or bag – don’t be surprised. You will always get a sense of fulfillment while in a love-relationship with a reader because the romance in them never dies.

No Materialistic Demands:

They will never bother you with high-maintenance demands that will make a hole in your pocket. All they need is books to keep going apart from the essential things in life. They are practical-minded people who have a great understanding of money and expenses too. A reader will never bombard you with a materialistic or luxurious list of things and thus you can save a lot and be thankful towards him/her.

They Will Never Cling On You:

If you say that you cannot make it to the promised date or cannot spend the weekend together, they won’t complain. Because they always have their books to lean on and they always have much to read and learn. One of the many problems that makes regular couples part ways is that neediness to stay close and this is the problem you will never face while dating a reader.

Not At All Superficial:

Ok so when you are dating a reader, remember that everything he/she says has a deep meaning. They are not at all shallow or superficial people who go for show-offs. Being pretentious is just not their cup of tea. These readers know a lot and that’s why the depth of mind and heart they carry is something you just cannot find in others.

Great Listeners:

The biggest advantage of dating a reader is that they will always listen to your minutest details. They can never leave you unattended because they love to listen and know more about everything that is entwined with their lives. So, whatever you are feeling or experiencing you can always a have shoulder to lean on and talk fearlessly.

Learn Vocabulary:

The way a reader speaks is way different than anyone else. Being voracious readers, they have a great romance with words. So, you will be astounded with the great vocabulary he/she always puts in the speech. This way you can also improve your vocabulary. You will always learn a new word and its history. Isn’t that exciting?

Understanding Partners:

The best quality of a reader is that they understand you like no one else ever did. They patiently listen to all your problems, understand them deeply, and offer a nice solution. Readers read regularly and that’s why they are wiser than the rest, they think more and understand more than any regular person. It is always easy to deal with them.

Easy To Please:

Whenever there is a special occasion, you don’t need to sit and scratch your head and think about how to please him/her. You know the latest book or anything related to reading like a bookend, handmade bookmarks, or a reading lamp can please your reader lover. It is always so easy to decide to gift such a person.

Creative Genius:

Readers are creative people because they have read a lot, learned a lot, and have a great sense of understanding. Whenever you are stuck somewhere they are there with their creative brains to offer you a solution. The one-liners about worldly affairs, the captions to your photographs, or the poems about you – they always prove their creativity.

Healthy Discussions:

One thing is assured when you are dating a reader and that is you will never get bored of him/her. There is always so much to talk about. Rather than fighting over stupid things, arguing about your schedule, or getting angry on habits of each other, you will always end up having healthy discussions that will have a constructive effect on your personality.

So, if you are getting up, close, and personal with a reader, then, don’t leave him/her.

When you are born to veteran film critic & director Chidananda Dasgupta and launched to the world of cinema by one of the best directors the world has ever seen – you are bound to be special. Aparna Sen never took these blessings for granted and showed to the world that she is the correct heir to the mentioned stalwarts. She was barely 15 years old when she performed that iconic role in Ray’s movie and then continued to dazzle with her power-packed yet subtle performances in various roles. She successfully swayed between that art cinema and commercial cinema, beautifully lip-synced some unforgettable songs, and perfectly fit into a variety of characters.

When it comes to her contribution to Indian Cinema – I must say I am more a fan of that director inside this woman. No one can come near to her sense of production design, her understanding of littlest human emotions, her treatment of sensitive psyche & issues, and her interpretation of life. Be it Sonata or Sati, Paroma or Paromitar Ekdin – her sheer elegance mixed with intelligence has always been cherished by the cinephiles.

On the occasion of her birthday let’s see some of her finest performances both in front and behind the camera.

Aparna Sen In Front of Camera:

Teen Kanya & Basanta Bilap (1961 & 1973):
Teen Kanya & Basanta Bilap
Image Source – Google

Teen Kanya was one of the first anthology films in India. Directed by Satyajit Ray, this movie was based on the short stories of Tagore. Aparna Sen played the role of Mrinmoyee in the story named Samapti. A teenage village forced to marry a Calcutta returned educated guy. But Mrinmoyee is a child at heart who doesn’t understand the value of relationships because she is a free-spirit who loves to talk to the sky, wind, and her squirrel. She loves to spend time in her swing. The story is all about the trials & tribulations she goes through and finally unites with her husband. The immaturity of the tomboy character to the refined version of Mrinmoyee- Aparna really won hearts!

In Basanta Bilap, she is seen as a college student – a modern woman with rebellious thoughts and high-spirit. The notorious fight between boys and girls hostel, numerous funny scenes, sweet romance, and some amazing songs make this movie one of the most memorable & easy-going Bengali comedies of the bygone era.

Unishe April (1996):
Unishe April
Image Source – Google

The dancer Sarojini who is fiercely independent and a brilliant performer easily wins the hearts of millions outside the world. But inside her home address, she struggles every day to win the heart of her husband and later her daughter. Sarojini was always misunderstood by her late husband and her daughter and that’s why her dance became dearer to her with the passing days. One night all these misinterpretations dissolve & this movie beautifully captures the loss of death, the realization of life, and the spirit to own the self. The world saw Rituparno Ghosh directing Aparna Sen for the first time and what a terrific performance it was. No one can emote the emotional layers of women better than Ritu Da & no one could have been a better Sarojini than Rina Di.

Paromitar Ekdin (2000):
Paromitar Ekdin
Image Source – Google

This is one of the finest performances of Aparna Sen who also directed this National Award-winning movie. She played the role of Sanaka and this movie is all about the deep bond that she shares with her daughter-in-law Paromita (unlike Ekta Kapoor tone). Sanaka has a mentally challenged girl child and later Paromita also gives birth to a mentally challenged boy. Therefore, they are tied by a common chord. Sanaka was that air of confidence which is why Paromita could later end her marriage with her son. A complicated story and a layered character – both were spectacularly presented.

Iti Mrinalini (2011):
Iti Mrinalini
Image Source – Google

Many critics slammed it but I find it endearing. Mrinalini – the superstar who is hopelessly in love with a married actor somehow gives up hope on him and moves on even after giving birth to a child. Later in her career, she finds love again in a much younger director but is ditched again brutally. This is a movie about finding love, losing hope, gaining spirit, wanting not to want to forget the past lanes, understanding platonic love, and realizing the uncertainties of life. I was mesmerized by her presence here.

Antaheen (2009):
Antaheen
Image Source – Google

This is my all-time favorite movie. Antaheen or the endless wait is about freeing your expectations for love. The characters here are all despondently romantic but they won’t admit to that. They all want love, had that very special person to love and lost them on some incidents. But what they didn’t give up is the wait for the time to love. There is a kind of bliss in waiting for love with hope. Aparna plays the role of a marketing head of a News Channel to perfection who is brave, strong, independent, but torn somewhere – all at the same time. That balance of loving and yet not revealing is beautifully captured by Sen.

The Special Mention from her stint on camera would be Titli, Chotushkone, & Ekanta Apon.

Aparna Sen Behind The Lenses:

Mr. & Mrs. Iyer (2002):
Mr. & Mrs. Iyer
Image Source – Google

The lead characters – one austere Tamil Brahmin married woman & a Bengali Muslim unmarried man are on a bus journey. In that journey along with other people belonging to different socio-cultural-age groups become a victim of communal strife. Brilliantly shot and beautifully performed this one is undoubtedly one of the best that Aparna Sen gifted to Indian Cinema.

The Japanese Wife (2010):
The Japanese Wife
Image Source – Google

A movie that tells the story of pure love – love where two souls connect over letters. A Japanese girl Miyagi and a village boy Snehmoy from Bengal fall in love and exchange vows through letters. He could never meet her but both remained loyal to each other till their last breath. Upon his death, the Miyagi comes to her husband’s place to stay forever. This movie celebrates incessant love over time and geography. They don’t make or believe this kind of love anymore. Rahul Bose, Moushumi Chatterjee, Chigusa Takaku, & Raima Sen were tailor-made for their roles here.

Goynar Baksho (2013):
Goynar Baksho
Image Source – Google

A jewelry box and three women who own that box in different eras and how they perceive that box – is what the movie is all about. Based on a short story and a novel – this movie featured Konkona, Moushumi Chatterjee, and Srabanti Biswas. The impeccable production design is one of the big reasons to fall in love with this movie apart from the performances. The rage of a celibate widow, the fear of a regular housewife to hold her family & to fall in love with an unknown admirer, and the fearlessness of a college student – all are woven beautifully in the fabric of the film.

36 Chowringhee Lane (1981):
36 Chowringhee Lane
Image Source – Google

Aparna Sen’s first foray into direction is touted to be one of her best work to date. This movie about an Anglo-Indian school teacher and her desperate attempt to come out of her loneliness. Shashi Kapoor produced this movie and his wife Jennifer Kendal acted as Violet – the teacher who teaches Shakespeare in school. Her senile brother is ailing at the nursing home. Her niece is married, and her students don’t carry that passion for Shakespeare making Violet lonelier. She befriends an ex-student & her author boyfriend later to be deceived by them too. That scene where Violet recites aloud from King Lear, with stray dogs as her only audience would be remembered forever.

Paroma (1984):
Paroma
Image Source – Google

Long before the term “feminism” outburst and engulfed many, Paroma was made and made an impact. Paroma is one of those first Indian movies where a married woman – known as bahu, chachi, mummy, bhabhi, etc. is given an identity. A woman can do a lot more than just being tagged as someone’s someone and this is what Aparna Sen presented without any noise.

An ardent fan like me would love to include all her directorial work. Apart from the rest mentioned above, special mention would be 15 Park Avenue, Arshinagar and Sonata. Arshinagar because she dared to do something different with the template of “Romeo-Juliet”. The dialogues were written in verses and the brilliant mirror placement showing the alter-ego of the characters is something I cherish. Sonata is awesome because it is one of those rare movies that is shot in one space – the characters come and go to and from this place. 15 Park Avenue, of course, dealt with schizophrenia without beaing preachy or sympathetic.

Happy Birthday Aparna Sen – May you continue to enamor the cinephiles with many more creative presentations!

Oats are a species of cereal grain grown for its seed that is known by the same name. They are suitable for human consumption in the form of oatmeal or rolled oats. Oats are a type of food that is rich in nutrients and helps in lowering cholesterol in blood if consumed regularly. In a 100 gms oats serving, there is 389 kcal. It provides 34% of the Daily Value or DV of protein, 44% DV of fiber, 233% DV of Vitamin B and manganese. They also have 7% fat, 4% beta-glucans, and 66% carbohydrates.

Due to all these factors, oats are suggested for daily intake as they help your body to remain fit and healthy. Read the reasons below and know why to include oats in your everyday menu.

Weight Loss:

Regular consumption of oats is a great way to reduce weight. But remember that it is the plain oats that help in weight loss and not the high sugar-induced flavored ones. As the fiber content is high in oats – it makes one feel full for a longer time and therefore there is no binging on junks. One study in Taiwan says that oats prevent obesity and the distribution of abdominal fat. And the regular dose of oats acts as adjuvant therapy for metabolic disorders. Another fact is that oats can soak up water that adds to its gratifying properties and the beta-glucan in oats delays emptying the stomach. Also, if you are looking for weight loss, you should avoid peanut butter kind of fatty toppings and opt for fiber-rich toppings like almonds, cashew nuts, blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries.

Fights Cancer:

Any kind of food that is a high amount of antioxidants is known as a great agent to prevent cancer. Oats are a rich source of antioxidants and regular consumption of oats would help you to combat cancer. The high fiber content would fight rectal and colon cancer. There are avenanthramides – a special compound that is present in oats and they carry anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds are found to hinder the growth of cancer cells.

Good Bone Health:

Oats have many essential minerals that are amazing for bone health. The steel-cut oats are preferred more than rolled oats as the steel-cut oats have less air exposure and thus will take time to turn rancid. Silicon is another significant mineral in oats and that helps in bone formation and maintenance both. This silicon is also helpful in treating postmenopausal osteoporosis among women and thus oats are highly recommended in the daily diet chart of all the women.

Boosts Immunity:

The level of immunity would improve with the daily consumption of oats as they have a rich content of beta-glucan. There is a major part of immune cells in the human body that have special receptors that absorb beta-glucan. This process, in turn, kicks up the activity of the WBC’s (white blood corpuscles) and protects against diseases.

No Hypertension:

Regular consumption of oats reduces systolic blood pressure by 7.5 points and diastolic blood pressure by 5.5 points. The risk of heart diseases is also cut down by 22%. Among those who have hypertension, oats play a crucial role in improving the situation due to the high presence of soluble fiber. In a nutshell, oats diminish the levels of stress hormones and boost serotonin (that which spreads calmness).

Better Heart Health:

The lower the cholesterol, the better your heart is. With regular consumption of oats, your body will get a powerful fiber called beta-glucan that will help the cholesterol level to lower down. Apart from beta-glucan, there are antioxidants and vitamin C too in oats that prevent LDL oxidation. All these help in retaining a healthy heart.

Removes Constipation:

The consumption of rich in fiber oatmeal is a wonderful way to reduce constipation. In research, it has been found that oatmeal improves constipation and the bioavailability of B12 among older adults. In rolled oats, the percentage of insoluble fiber is higher which is very good for gut health that in turn treats constipation. Oats are also found great in protection against colorectal cancer.

Treats Diabetes:

Oats have a low glycemic index and high fiber content that helps in regulating the blood sugar level. As oats have rich fiber content they are digested slowly. Foods that are quickly digested can cause blood sugar spikes making it difficult to manage blood sugar spikes. Now oat or oatmeal makes the contents of the stomach much thicker making them digest slowly. Another study says that oats reduce insulin dosages. Beta-glucans in oats also reduces blood sugar. But always have the normal oats rather than the flavored ones because they contain high sugar content.

Looking into the history of Bollywood for the past two and half decades, one thing is crystal clear that Bollywood loves the Diwali time. Since the time people started staying away from their home and made returning home during Diwali a tradition – Bollywood has used this scope beautifully. Go back to your parent’s childhood – they never had big-budget Diwali releases. It all started with the open gates of globalization if you think deeply.

Anyways, so, Diwali is the time when people meet and greet their family, close relatives, and friends. Everyone wants to spend some quality time and movies are one of the binding forces here. People love to go to the theaters with their loved ones and fortunately Bollywood has always gifted some amazing movies to its large audience on Diwali. They say Goddess Lakshmi blesses people on Diwali. Looking at the Box Office report of the last 25 years, it seems Bollywood has got all her blessings as the Hindi Movie industry has profited the most from Diwali.

Check out the list of the historic Diwali releases of Bollywood that created big Dhamaka:
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Image Source – Google

This is the longest-running Indian cinema. It was the directorial debut of Aditya Chopra and till today remains one of the most iconic movies ever made in Bollywood. Every girl hopes to meet a Raj while on a trip and those leather jackets of SRK are still a favorite among youngsters. A sweet and innocent love story set in Europe and Punjab – this movie always make us fall in love with the concept of love …. All over again (just like its tagline)

Raja Hindustani (1996)
Raja Hindustani
Image Source – Google

Every actor has that one movie that plays a pivotal role in his/her career. This movie changed the graph of Karisma Kapoor in Bollywood. The love story of a rich girl and poor boy is nothing new in Bollywood and this movie gave a fresh & innocent touch to the same old storyline. Supported by soothing & melodious music, this movie introduced Karisma Kapoor in a new way. It set the Box Office on fire and the make-up & costumes (Manish Malhotra) of Lolo set a new trend among the youngsters those days.

Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)
Dil To Pagal Hai
Image Source – Google

The Box Office was blazing, no one could stop raving about the trio on-screen, the costumes (sporty and traditional both) became a trend, the music is one of the most soulful albums of Bollywood till date, and it also fetched all the prestigious awards that year. A musical love story circling a theater group is one of the milestone movies of 100+ years old Bollywood.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Image Source – Google

Karan Johar stepped into direction with this college romance tale where an 8-year-old girl goes to bring the love of her father’s life back. Shah Rukh Khan & Kajol got another blockbuster to their name while Rani Mukerji got a secure place in this big Bollywood. The music, Mauritius, cool accessories, funky & sporty outfits, POLO t-shirts, and of course Friendship Day & Friendship Bands became trendy from this flick.

Hum Saath Saath Hai (1999)
Hum Saath Saath Hai
Image Source – Google

Coming from Rajshri Productions, this is another non-violent film dealing with family issues. The year was 1999 and the formation of nuclear families just started when this movie came and made people believe in the magic of big families. In today’s time, it is hard to find such a big family and perhaps that is another reason why people go back to this movie again and again.

Mohabbatein (2000)
Mohabbatein
Image Source – Google

Aditya Chopra directed this movie to tell the story of a college where “falling in love” is a taboo. It sounds quite strange but it was believable back then. So, to save the three heroes of the movie who fall in love, there comes SRK with a violin in his hand, charm in his eyes, and confidence in his words. He taught to write love letters on a dry leaf, taught to love fearlessly, and also taught that loving only one person in life and beyond death is so easy. With soothing & melodious music, this movie gave six fresh faces to Bollywood.

Veer-Zaara (2004)
Veer-Zaara
Image Source – Google

No one can design and dream of a love story the way Yash Chopra does. With his death, there is truly a vacuum in Bollywood love stories. We won’t get those timeless love stories anymore. This movie was special because Yashraj Films launched their music label YRF music with this movie. For this launch, they used the unused music of the Late Madan Mohan – recreated by his son. An Indo-Pak love story that made the president of Pakistan also praise the outstanding performances, this movie always makes you shed a tear. The impeccably emotional dialogues and scenes of SRK-Rani were the high-points for me. This movie still makes us believe in the power of selfless love. The lavish sets, beautifully designed costumes, beautiful cameos, and perfect cast won’t let you forget this movie easily.

Om Shanti Om (2007)
Om Shanti Om
Image Source – Google

This is one of the biggest hits of SRK’s career and the only hit Farah Khan is probably looking for nowadays. The old reincarnation story was told here again but with the backdrop of a film personalities. A junior artist falls in love with a leading lady and dies due to a villain. They are reincarnated to complete their love story and the most unbelievable part was that the mother and friend of that junior artist were still alive to be a part of the lives of the reincarnated ones. Bizzare, impossible, and yet this Dard-E-Disco won hearts of people

Golmaal (2008, 2010, 2017)
Golmaal
Image Source – Google

The first one is still the best in this Rohit Shetty series. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th one got their Diwali dates and became big earners of the respective years. The story of 6 friends continues in various plots and problems with regular sidekicks like Sanjay Mishra, Murali Sharma, Ashwini Kalsekar, etc. People just want to have a great time laughing with their friends and family which is what the Golmaal series make them do.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016)
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Image Source – Google

This movie directed by Karan Johar saved the career of Ranbir Kapoor. After a few bad movies and a much-talked-about break-up, all he needed was a big hit. Karan Johar delivers what he does best and that is a story about love and friendship. Here, one friend fell in love with the other and not vice-versa. But that didn’t stop the other one from loving with the same dedication because there is immense power even in one-sided love. Songs, Anushka Sharma’s heavy Kohl eyes-nude lipsticks-heavy jewelry, and Aishwarya’s dialogues won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Other festive seasons are also important these days and the top stars divide these big festivals among themselves. If you look closely, SRK has maximum Blockbusters that released in Diwali, Aamir has his Christmas, and Salman comes with Eid release every year. This Diwali will see Akshay Kumar with Housefull 4, Rajkumar Rao with Made In China, & Bhumi-Tapsee with Saand Ki Aankh. Hope they all do well and gift us some great stories to remember forever.

All our festive moments include great food and desserts. Food binds people, spreads happiness, and gives us memories to ponder forever. Diwali is our biggest festival and like all our festivals, sweets play a major role in this one too. As a gift for your loved ones or to treat the family and guests, there are various types of sweets. The days of old grannies are gone when all these sweets used to be prepared in the kitchen itself. Now mostly people order from the shops nearby or online to treat or greet people on festive moments.

Laddoos are the most special types of round sweets and there are various types of Laddoos. Coconut Laddoos are the Diwali favorites along with the Motichoor ones. Coconut is a tropical fruit that is crunchy and tasty. There are many benefits one can draw from coconuts because it is a powerhouse of antioxidants. It helps in raising the good cholesterols and also offers a good amount of potassium to the body. Coconut is known to boost immunity, cut down fat, control diabetes, increasing energy, improving bone and teeth health, and fighting the aging process.

Preparing coconut laddoos at home is very easy. Diwali comes once a year and thus you must do something different so that people remember your sweet dish. Here, I will let you know about two different, unique, and new type of coconut laddoos. Just follow the simple steps mentioned below:

Orange-Flavored Coconut Laddoo
Orange-Flavored Coconut Laddoo
Image Source – Google
Ingredients:

Ghee – 20 ml

Chopped Almonds & Pistachios – 1 tsp each

Orange Juice – 400 ml

Sugar – 150 gms

Cardamom Powder – ½ tsp

Grated Coconut – 160 gms

Process:
  • Take a pan and heat 10 ml of ghee first and then add the chopped almonds and pistachios in it.
  • Let them fry in the ghee for some time and keep stirring. Once they are fried well, keep them aside.
  • Now take another clean pan and add the orange juice (there shouldn’t be any pulp in it remember that) and heat it for some time. Just before it starts to boil add the sugar (you may cut down 25-50 gms than the said amount).
  • Now you have to stir it and bring it to a thick consistency (just like the normal sugar syrups have)
  • Once you achieve the one string consistency of this sweet orange syrup, you have to add the cardamom powder and give another round of stir.
  • Now add the grated coconut, fried nuts, and remaining 10 ml of ghee and mix them very well. This mix should be greasy a bit but not watery.
  • Let the mixture cool completely for an hour. Keep it covered though.
  • Now grease both your hands with ghee and take two full spoons of the coconut mix to give it a round shape.
  • Follow the same step for the remaining coconut mixture and you are ready to serve.

The tanginess of orange here is sweetened by the sugar but still, the orange lovers would find the refreshing smell of their favorite fruit in it. It is a must-try this year to woo your guests in style.

Paan-Flavored Coconut Laddoos
Paan-Flavored Coconut Laddoos
Image Source – Google
Ingredients:

Betel Leaves – 8

Condensed Milk – 380 gms

Green Organic Food Color – 2 drops

Ghee – 2 tsp

Grated Coconut – 200 gms

Gulkand or Rose Preserve – A Small Bowl

Process:
  • Take the betel leaves and condensed milk along with food color in a mixer and a nice mix. The mixture should be smooth without any trace of leaves at all.
  • The paan mix should not be too watery or too thick. You can adjust that consistency with a spoon of water if you need it.
  • Keep the Paan mix aside and take a clean pan.
  • Put the ghee in the pan and let it heat up for a minute and add the grated coconut and give a stir for just 10-20 seconds.
  • Now add the paan mixture in it. Give a very nice stir so that coconut mixes with the paan mix properly.
  • Let this coconut and paan mix cool completely like in the previous laddoo recipe.
  • Now grease both your hands with ghee and take 2 spoons of paan mixed coconut and flatten it on your hand. Put 1/4th spoon of gulkand or rose preserve right at the center and cover it up from the sides. Give a round shape to it.
  • Your Paan flavored Coconut Laddoo is ready to be served.

Isn’t it a unique recipe for the lovers of coconut as well as Paan? The refreshing paan, sweet gulkand, and crunchy coconut will create a beautiful sensation inside your mouth.

Diwali is on 27th October 2019 and that means the time of the year has arrived when you have to buckle up and first of all make lists. A list of things you need to renovate or redecorate your house, things you need to cook the delicious meals, people you need to gift, and what to gift. This is also the time of the year when you will see flashes of sales going on in various shops to lure you. But don’t lose your track and stick to your list only and that way you will save much.

This festival of lights is all about a celebration of the victory of good over evil. Diwali is also about removing all sorts of darkness from life and filling it up with hope and positivity. The exhilarating celebration includes homework and the homework is nothing but shopping. Your home needs to dazzle up to welcome the blessings of Lakshmi Devi and other guests. The gifts need to be sorted because they are the token of your love, respect, and gratitude.

So, here is a list of things that you can shop for and impress your friends and family members easily.

Designer Diyas
Designer Diyas
Image Source- Google

Buy it for yourself and also for others because this is the most relevant Diwali gift that resonates with the spirit of this bright festival. You will come across varieties of designer diyas available in sets. Some are designed like diyas but have candle wax in them and they are easier to lit up as you don’t need to put oil and cotton in them. But you can choose the beautifully colored clay diyas for those who prefer traditional things.

Designer Dresses
Designer Dresses
Image Source – Google

For your darling wife or daughter, you can opt for a designer label dress. Manish Malhotra or Sabyasachi Mukherjee are all-time favorites in the list of the ladies. And anything created by them would make your wife or daughter or mom or girlfriend happy.

Personalized Gifts
Personalized Gifts
Image Source – Google

There is nothing better than personalized gifts when you have to show your reverence and gratefulness towards someone. You can order for personalized mugs, LED cushions, photo frames, chopping boards, lamps, etc. for your parents. In fact, you can settle for one type of personalized gift for everyone in your family. All you need to do is search the best photographs of your family members and select a product type to get that perfect Diwali gift.

Jewelry
Jewelry
Image Source – Google

A Diwali gift for your wife or girlfriend must be special. Buying gold and silver is considered auspicious during Dhanteras – the 1st day of Diwali. So, walk into a jewelry showroom and take advantage of their deals or offers and buy jewelry for your wife, girlfriend, sister, or daughter.

Kitchen Essentials
Kitchen Essentials
Image Source – Google

For your mom or aunt or a friend who loves to cook, you can settle for kitchen essentials. During Diwali, most of the online portals run lucrative sales where you can shop for those items you are looking for. A set of induction-friendly containers, colorful pressure cooker, cool storage boxes, a gorgeous set of tea port & cups with saucers, etc. There are various items to impress your loved ones.

Home Décor Items
Home Décor Items
Image Source – Google

There are so many things that fall under home décor that you will be flooded with choices. So, it’s better to jot down the likes and dislikes of your friends or relatives before buying a home décor item for them. For example, someone who loves to read books would appreciate a funky bookend. Someone who is a believer in Feng Shui would love a lucky turtle or wind chime. Therefore, look out for fancy lamps, bright curtains, decorative door soans, or quirky posters and shop the best ones for Diwali.

Plants
Plants
Image Source – Google

Due to the incessant use of firecrackers during Diwali, the level of pollution goes up, especially in the metro cities. So, plants would be a great gift cherished by your family and friends. On any weekend or while returning from work, go to a nursery and pick up some plants that are easy to care for and are fuss-free. Given the shortage of space in all the modern houses, indoor plants or bonsai or terrariums would be a great choice. They will break the monotony of the household objects and furniture apart from boosting oxygen supply.

Chocolates
Chocolates
Image Source – Google

This is a thing that can be given to anyone and everyone would love it. Those who face a lack of time to go out and shop or to look online and shop can simply send the mouth-watering boxes of chocolates. The branded ones or the exotic ones – both will work wonders. Those chocolates in the shape of a diya or “HAPPY DIWALI” written on them are also gaining popularity. So, choose the chocolates wisely and surprise your best buddies or relatives.

We hope these shopping ideas would help you a lot to surprise your friends and family this Diwali. So, hurry up and hit the stores to avoid the last-moment rush.

India is a land of diversity as people of different cultural backgrounds stay here. So, as a result, there are various important festivals for all states or cultural groups. But if there is one festival that unites the whole of India, then, it is Diwali. Diwali is celebrated in all parts of India with regional tweaks to the rituals. This is a major occasion during which families, friends, and relatives meet and spend a nice time with each other. This is also the time when the schools, colleges, and offices remain close and that’s why many people plan a nice Diwali vacation to rejuvenate their tired minds and bodies.

If you are also planning for a Diwali Vacation, then, here are some amazing places you can visit.

Varanasi
Varanasi
Image Source – Google

It is one of the oldest cities in the world. In all their alleys and ghaats there are numerous stories. Just sitting near a bank of the Ganges and watching Diwali – you will feel spiritually awakened. As the sky grows dark and dark and people here lit up thousands of delightful diyas and float into the Ganges. Imagine the floating diyas all over the Ganges – isn’t that a sight to behold forever? You will feel like the whole sky with bright stars have descended onto the earth. Along with blazing fireworks and that Ganga Aarti – Diwali here is a time you must not miss. Travel with your family and relatives and experience this divine Diwali atmosphere here.

Dubai
Dubai
Image Source – Google

If you want to go somewhere away from India, then, you can plan Dubai. The sight of Burj Khalifa to the Miracle Garden and the famous mosques – there are many things to explore in Dubai. It is a rich city and people from all across the world come here to see the glitz of the city. You can take the boat rides, roam around the malls, visit the ice-skating rink, or go for the desert safari. Your stay here would be a memorable one. Above all this, you will also get to see a memorable fireworks on the skies of Dubai during Diwali.

Goa
Goa
Image Source – Google

The lovers of Goa say that every occasion and every holiday is Goa-worthy. During Diwali, you will see a different Goa. The local residents of Goa mimic the killing of Narakasura by Lord Krishna and celebrate this festival of lights. After watching that grand show, you can spend your time here by visiting the famous and the not-so-famous churches, the iconic Dil Chahta Hai location, sea beaches, etc. Just soak into the salty air of Goa and come back refreshed.

Manali
Manali
Image Source – Google

If you want a cool and cozy kind of Diwali celebration away from your home, then, choose Manali. It is the most popular hill destination in India. There are no noisy firecrackers and everywhere you breathe fresh air. If you are looking for a peaceful time with yourself and your loved ones, then, Manali would be the best place to visit. The temperature during Diwali is not too cold and so you will have fun. The clam alleys, small cafes, and the mesmerizing view of the mountains will let you shed off the tensions and stress of the city life.

Jaipur
Jaipur
Image Source – Google

Right from the day one of Diwali, i.e, Dhanteras, the bright city of Jaipur becomes brighter. The colorful bazaars feature lamps, diyas, and musicians performing the local songs. You will surely have the brightest Diwali celebration here. If you book a royal palace for your stay, then, your joy will be doubled with the hospitality you receive. And you must not miss the imperial Nahargarh Fort, especially at night. You will feel out of the world – the whole lit up city seen from the top would make you feel surreal.

Hampi
Hampi
Image Source – Google

Hampi – the UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most underrated tourist locations. The remnant of the Bijayanagara Kingdom is a delight to witness. The history enthusiasts would find it a perfect place to unwind their minds. It is located in the Hospet of Karnataka and has wonderful architecture. You will find royal pavilions, royal platforms, treasuries, and bastions here. The beautiful temples are surrounded by lush greenery, jade-green hand groves, and banana plantations. Surely, you will get many Insta-worthy captures here.

Every year, the mercury is rising to newer heights leaving the people in a frenzy almost. The school and college students and teachers are the luckiest ones as they get to enjoy one and a half months of summer vacation. Sadly, the regular office goers and business owners cannot have the fancy of giving themselves off. And summer is a season that really can drain out your energy by noon if you do not prepare yourself to stay fit. Staying fit in this season is quite challenging but in order to have a productive work life and peaceful domestic life, you need to take up some measures – that’s all. A fit body means the zeal to work and a fit mind means a calmer decision making process. Both are important for a better life.

Thus, take good care of your mind and body this summer season with these mentioned simple tips.

  1. No Over-Intoxicating:

When a colleague invites you for a beer or vodka post office work or when you have planned for a weekend get-together – always keep in mind not to over-drink. Be it noon or afternoon or evening, the heatwave and temperature remain the same and that will dehydrate you further. As a result, you will perspire and urinate more. In case you cannot control certain parties, then, make sure that you have plenty of water between your drinks.

  1. Never Skip Breakfast:

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Many people just wake up, get ready, and rush to their work life – and that’s really bad. Your body needs nutrition and without a proper breakfast, your body will wilt in summer. You may faint too. So, have a high protein breakfast in the morning like eggs, grains, fruit, milk, and juices or smoothies. A good breakfast will kick start your metabolism and you can feel more energetic.

  1. Enjoy Sun Tea:

Do you know about sun teas? They are a really wonderful way to stay fit and fine. You can use organically grown flowers and leaves or flavoured tea bags in a glass jar filled with clean water. Choose those flowers or leaves that have medicinal properties. Leave the glass jar under the sun for 2-4 hours. This tea will be a bit mellow in taste as you didn’t boil it. You will enjoy a very different tea. You can keep it in the refrigerator for some time and then serve in a glass with a dash of lemon, honey, or other favorable flavors. These kinds of sun teas keep the heart in good condition and cool the body from within.

  1. Use Essential Oils While Bathing:

You surely cannot step out in the summer season (or any season for that matter) without a proper shower. Take cold water shower and use the summer favorite lemons or lavender shower gels or soaps. Once a good bath with essential oils once a day or once in two days would keep your spirits high. You will feel more energized and all your stress would be removed. You will also sleep well after this bath. So, once you are done with your day work, come back home, have your dinner, and then enjoy this bath. Just 2-3 drops of lavender oil, jojoba oil, rosemary oil, or jasmine oil will do wonders.

  1. Nothing Can Replace Water:

Drinking water is the most important task for you during the summer season. Why? Because the scorching rays of the sun and the boiling temperature dehydrates your body. Nothing can replace water. So, wake up in the morning and drink 2 glasses of water. Finish as many bottles of water you can in a whole day (minimum 3 liters is a must).

  1. Vacation Is Important Too:

Your kids have off and if you are a teacher then you are also lucky to have off. In case you don’t have summer vacation, then, at least manage 7-10 days break. Go for a vacation with your family and spend quality time walking through the woods or get engrossed in other outdoor activities. This vacation will fill your mind and heart with renewed energy. You will be happier!

  1. Sunscreen & Other Accessories:

Cover the exposed portions of your body well. Use sunscreens, wear a nice hat, cover yourself with gloves and scarf, & don cool sunglasses. This way, your skin, and hair will be protected. You won’t get sunburns or sunspots.

  1. Yoghurt Is Must:

Include yoghurt in your meal or make a practice of having yoghurt at least during one of your meals. It helps in easy digestion and also prepares the body to face the heat outside. Discard sugar in your yoghurt and enjoy the tangy taste of it. You can add some black pepper to it.

Actually, staying fit and fine during the sultry months is not so difficult at all. These simple techniques will help you stay healthy and shine brighter.

Travelling involves a lot of planning. You need strategic planning to ensure a smooth journey and a pleasant stay. It is always exciting to travel to new places, explore new cultures, and learn about new traditions. And this excitement doubles up when you have to take your first trip overseas.

Travelling internationally for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. You may feel thrilled and scared at the same time, which is very obvious and happens to a lot of us. But efficient planning can ensure a stress-free first trip to a foreign land.

Here is a list of simple yet important tips to ensure your smooth sailing in a foreign country.

Get Your Passport Ready

The first and foremost tip when travelling abroad- get your passport in order. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months before you enter a foreign country. Don’t forget to carry hard copies and soft copies of your passport just in case the original one gets lost or stolen.

Check If You Need Visa

Make sure if you need a visa to travel your chosen country and how long it may take to process. There are also some countries where you can travel without a visa or receive one on arrival. You need to check this before booking your flights and making travel arrangements.

Check Immigration Requirements

You need to get ready with all your immigration documents that state your reason for travel or what you intend to do in a foreign country.

Check Entry & Exit Fee

There are some countries that ask travelers to pay entrance and exit fee. And always remember this fee is not included in your flight ticket charges.

Make Photocopies of Travel Documents

It is always advised to carry photocopies and scanned copies of all your travel documents, including Passport, Visa, proof of identity, and permission letter of entering the country. Keep them in a separate folder so that they come handy if you lose your original documents.

Get Vaccinated

Depending on the country you are travelling, you may require to get specific vaccines or medications as a precaution against the diseases floating in the air. Check with your doctor to ensure you have all the proper vaccinations. If you are already taking any prescribed medication, make sure you have stocked enough to cover the duration of your travel. Don’t forget to carry painkillers and antibiotics for occasional headaches and stomach issues. Ensure whether your medical insurance is valid in the country you’re travelling or if you need to add extra coverage.

Take Care of Your Finances

Before you travel overseas, check the exchange rates to get a fair idea of how much you are going to spend. Make sure you exchange the currency at banks and ATM’s as they won’t charge anything extra. Talk to your credit card and debit card providers to check whether your cards will work in the country you’re visiting. Always try and carry local cash whenever commuting through public transport like trains and buses.

Make Bookings in Advance

Make flight and hotel bookings 50-60 days in advance to get a good deal. Look for discount coupons while booking tickets online. There are many search engines that offer attractive discounts to students on flights and accommodation. It is important to have pre-booked exit flights for each country as many airlines won’t let you board the plane if you have a one-way flight.

Get an International Driving Permit

If you are planning to drive on the roads of a foreign land, then make sure you have an international driving permit. Get familiarized with the local driving laws of the country you are travelling. You can also get in touch with the foreign embassy regarding official rules and regulations of driving in that country.

Get Necessary Electronic Items

Electrical power points are different all over the world. Make sure you have adapters that allow plugging your electronic devices into foreign sockets. Check the strength of the electrical current of the country you are visiting to make sure your devices are compatible. Invest in portable phone chargers and laptop charges to keep your devices fully charged.

Prepare Yourself Mentally

Last but not least, you need to prepare yourself mentally when you are about to go on your first international trip. Be open to connecting with people from other cultures. Take it as a great chance to learn something new in life. Don’t stress much and embark on a new journey with confidence and positivity.

Every part of a banana tree is useful. The most famous part of a banana tree is the fruit which is a popular fruit all across India. In the raw form, the banana chips are famous and the ripe bananas have wonderful health benefits. Bananas are also the cheapest of all fruits which are quite fulfilling. Apart from ripe bananas, do you know that banana flowers are also extremely beneficial to health? In South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, the banana flower is used as a vegetable, in fried foods, curries, and in soups. They taste like artichoke and both the fleshy part of the bracts and the heart are edible.

In 100gms of banana flowers, you will find the following:

1.6gms of Protein

1.07mg of Vitamin E

9.9gms of Carbohydrates

13mg of Copper

56mg of Calcium

553.3 mg of Potassium

73.3mg of Phosphorous

48.7mg of Magnesium

56.4mg of Iron

0.6gms of Fat

Banana flower is also known as a banana heart. They help eliminate infections, reduce free radical activity, managing diabetes & anemia, reducing anxiety, boosting mood, and reducing menstrual bleeding.

In Bengali cuisine, banana flower curry is regular in every home. Prepared without onion and garlic, this special Bengali dish is extremely tasty and the preparation requires quite a hard work. The magic of this dish lies in the use of mustard oil, ghee or clarified butter, the play of different textures of banana flower, brown chickpeas, raisins, and coconut.

Check the recipe of banana flower curry or Mochar Ghonto here:

Ingredients You Need:
  • Banana Flower or Mocha (Big-sized)- 1
  • Potatoes (peeled and cut into cubes)- 2 medium-sized
  • De-skinned coconut pieces cut into small cubes or shredded- A handful
  • Raisins- handful
  • Green Cardamoms- 4
  • Cinnamon stick- 1 inch
  • Bay Leaf- 1
  • Cloves- 5
  • Cumin Seeds- 1 tsp
  • Dried Red Chilies- 2 (broken into a few pieces)
  • Mustard Oil- 10 tsp
  • Ginger Paste: ¾ tsp
  • Cumin Paste or Powder- 1.5 tsp
  • Bengali Garam Masala (powder made from Cinnamon, green cardamoms, and cloves)- 1.5 tsp
  • Red Chili Powder- 1 tsp
  • Brown Chickpeas Boiled with Salt- Half a small bowl or a handful
  • Coconut (freshly scrapped)- 1/4th tsp and keep 1.5 tsp aside for garnishing
  • Cow Ghee- 1.5 tsp
  • Green Chilies- 5
  • Salt- As per taste
  • Sugar- 1.25 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder: ¾ tsp
How To Prepare Mochar Ghonto or Banana Flower Curry?
  1. Firstly, the banana flower needs to be cleaned. For that, you need to oil your hands. You need to peel the purple cover and remove the florets. In each floret, you have to remove the longest string with a round head called stamen and the translucent thin cover. Then, you have to chop these florets and soak them in water.
  2. It is suggested to soak them in water overnight because this peeling and chopping requires a long time.
  3. Now pressure cook the banana flowers for 2-3 whistles.
  4. You now need to fry the potatoes with some salt and turmeric powder and then keep them on a plate.
  5. Then fry the coconut pieces too until they turn golden brown.
  6. Now in the same oil fry the raisins till they puff up.
  7. Take some more oil and heat it up. Once the oil releases vapor, you have to reduce the flame and add the bay leaf, cumin seeds, and whole garam masala (cinnamon, green cardamoms, and cloves). Now, wait till the color of these spices changes to light brown.
  8. Use 3 tsp of water and make a paste of cumin powder, turmeric powder, ginger paste, red chili powder, and salt.
  9. Add this mixture to the wok and stir continuously.
  10. When the beautiful aroma of these spices fills up your kitchen after like 2-3 minutes, you need to add the semi-cooked or semi-mashed banana flowers.
  11. You need to cook this now for 15 minutes on a high flame. Sauté it continuously until the water dries out totally.
  12. Now you have to add the boiled brown chickpeas, fried potatoes, and freshly grated coconut.
  13. Then, add the green chilies and cook for 10 minutes on a medium flame and sautéing twice in between.
  14. Open the lid and sauté continuously. Then add the fried coconut pieces, raisins, sugar and cow ghee followed by Bengali Garam Masala.
  15. You now have to cook until oil or ghee leaves the sides of the wok or kadhai.
  16. Spread salt as per your taste and give a nice mix for 2 minutes.
  17. Now, garnish with freshly grated coconut and ghee.

It tastes like heaven with steamed rice and green chili. So, enjoy this amazing banana flower curry or mochar ghonto and surprise yourself and your loved ones.

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