Friday, December 30, 2011

It Is Raining Discounts! At Mushrooming Online Indian Shopping Sites!

There is a flood of online discount shopping sites in India, with more new and attractive sites being launched every few weeks. Very attractive discounts are available on a large variety of items like Readymade garments and accessories, Beauty and Personal care items, Perfumes, Health and Fitness articles, Sports goods, Outdoor gear, Luggage, Books, Magazines, Cameras, Computers, Computer accessories, Mobile phones, Flowers, Cakes, Sweets, Gifts, Televisions, Music systems, Music and Movie Discs, every category of Home appliance, Home décor equipment, Kitchenware, Office supplies, Baby care products, Toys and Games and of course many more items. This apart, discount coupons for Health Checkups, Diagnostic centers, Spas, Restaurants, Hotels, Resorts and Vacations are available.
I have tried a few such sites like flipkart.com, fashionandyou.com, amigobuy.com, shoppingindiatimes.com, snapdeal.com, 99labels.com and I am quite happy with my purchases, especially with the books I procure from flipkart at very attractive prices and within 2 or 3 days of my ordering, at no extra shipping charges! Then there is one more site I would like to mention: zomato.com, which helps me to choose a restaurant in the Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad by cuisine or restaurant name or location and view their menus; so I know well in advance what we can order and at what price. All very helpful and beneficial sites indeed!
The mushrooming number of online shopping sites is an indication of the rapidly growing ecommerce in India. And the competition among these sites would result in heavier discounts and better deals on more merchandise, all to our advantage, the growing online shoppers!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

VahRehVah! India’s formidable batting line-up and bowling wizards! Five consecutive memorable Test results!

VahRehVah! (Appalause / Appreciation!) India’s formidable batting line-up and bowling wizards for five consecutive Test defeats! VahRehVah! Indian Bradmans, Master blasters, Walls, Bowling Wizards, chasers of centuries, achievers of world records, innovators of Helicopter shots and Gilli Dhanda shots, pet subjects of Indian media and gossip and symbols of all that is great, greater and greatest in the world of Indian Games, Sports and Athletics. In today’s Test Match with Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground, our great top order batsmen decided to give a chance to our mighty tail enders to win the match for India. And the tail enders adopted the strategy of hitting sixes, to quickly win the match for us and set a record for the fastest Test win and a victory with most sixes.
And the last ball commentary sounded as follows:
“Lyon to Yadav, OUT! he goes for another big one, but this time he hasn't got enough on the shot, and Warner takes a leaping, scrambling catch at Long On just inside the rope, running to his right, throws the ball in the air and Australia celebrate!”
Always love and appreciate our great Cricketers and the excellent Team!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world,
And behold, everything is softer & more beautiful!
Wish you all A Very Happy Christmas!
May it bring Peace and Joy for Everyone!
Please play the video below,
To see Santa Claus at our house!
video
Christmas Eve 2011 - Photos with Santa!:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Right thinking Russia would never ban our globally respected Bhagavad Gita.

It is very unfortunate that the Srimad Bhagavad Gita has been termed by some in Russia as extremist literature spreading social discord and the accusation has gone to Court. Ever since Lord Krishna preached the Bhagavad Gita and Sage Vedavyasa wrote about it in the epic Mahabharata; in ancient times, Bhagavad Gita has always remained a highly respected eternal message of spiritual wisdom, not just for Hindus but to all Indians and scholars all over the world and whoever have read or heard it. With great veneration; the title of immense respect, Srimad is affixed to Bhagavad Gita and it is addressed as Srimad Bhagavad Gita. In all Indian Courts of Law, Hindus are asked to take the oath of speaking truth by putting their hand on Gita, because after doing so nobody would dare disrespect the wisdom that has come from Lord Krishna. You can read about Bhagavad Gita and its importance and greatness easily from various sources on internet. You may please see a few thoughts and comments on Gita by prominent men from India and abroad like Mahatma Gandhi in the second photograph; above this article.
Bhagavad Gita which is in Sanskrit was first translated into English in the year 1785 and similarly into every other major language in the world by different authors. Thousands of books written by different authors in different languages have been published in India and abroad. “Bhagavad-Gita As It Is” - by Sri. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is an excellent work and a widely read book in India and all over the world, in different languages. It is the Russian translation of this book which is being sought for ban by some Russians. The Russian Court has today suspended its verdict and postponed the ruling to 28th December 2011.
I hope good sense and wisdom will prevail and the Russian Court will dismiss the Gita ban move.
You may please click on the video below to listen to Lord Krishna’s short - Gita narration to Prince Arjuna. This is from the English movie – Mahabharata, directed by Peter Brook: 
video

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Book Lovers Flock to Hyderabad Book Fair!

I visited the Hyderabad Book Fair today along with my grandniece, Ch. Sudhiksha. I was greatly surprised to see a huge crowd at the book fair because I usually find very few people at the regular bookstores available at Hyderabad. Though being in a large bookstore and browsing and selecting from a huge collection is a great feeling, I too am not visiting the bookstores much these days because of the attractive discounts available over internet ordering, of course from a limited choice.
Sudhiksha was very happy to be amidst so many book stalls and books for children. She picked up a few books as she followed me patiently through some selected stalls where I bought a few for myself. While there is a general discount of 10% on all purchases, there is a higher rate of discount on some books. For instance I bought a book titled “IRIS – Practical Photography Book” priced Rs. 1500 for Rs.199!
This book fair “The 26th Hyderabad Book Fair” was inaugurated at Peoples Plaza Grounds, Necklace Road, on 15th November. It is an eleven day fair and will go on until 25th December 2011, from 2:00 PM to 9:00 PM on weekdays and from 12:00 Noon to 9:00 PM during weekends. There are over 250 Stalls from leading publishers and book houses with a very wide variety of books.
I have visited on a Saturday, and due to the heavy holiday rush it was not possible to go through most of the shops. So I am planning to go again, to pick few more precious books! on a week day, early afternoon before the evening – ‘book loving, huge crowds’ descend. I hope everyone in Hyderabad is aware of this book fair.    
“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” – Jorge Luis Borges.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Is today “Remember Afzal Guru Day”?


Is today “Remember Afzal Guru Day”? Yes, because it is the tenth anniversary of his attack on our Parliament! The media is busy covering him and debating his mercy petition. The parliamentarians have spared sometime today to pay tribute to the brave martyrs and heroes who protected them and the Parliament. Concerned countrymen are angry that a traitor and terrorist is not being punished.
Others in the country are perhaps watching the events as a Television serial. Looking at the way things are this Tele-serial and the other Tele-serial involving Azmal Kasab will go on for a very longtime. One must have patience to see all the interesting turns of law, administration, corruption, politics, elections, votes and so on and some day those alive may be able to see the climax scenes. And hopefully the end will make us proud of our country.
I don’t like it when people say we are like cats afraid of mice!     

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

To safeguard my house, it is my right to reprimand my inefficient and stealing servants.

A letter to M/s. Indian Numbskull Company:
You are a corrupt, irresponsible, deceitful, indecisive, inefficient and a greedy; Company. It is unfortunate that we have entered into a contract with you to be our servants and take care of our house for five years.
Do always remember that you are our servants, SERVANTS, S E R V A N T S, including your Chairman & Managing Director. We have every right to criticize your clumsy talk and your innumerable misdeeds. We shall respect and treat you well; only as long as you serve us sincerely and well. Just because we have given you power to watch our house does not mean you have become our masters. Remember that we can kick you out the moment this five year contract terminates.
As usual at the end of your term you will come begging to us with false promises and fall at our feet for extension. Decades of your dirty tricks to enter our house as servants and then misrule and boss over us will soon come to an end. We are fed up with mismanagement by you. We shall then surely neck out you and your fit for nothing Chairman and Managing Director and all the buffoons in your Company and of course your upcoming leader, so called super human being.
Don’t you dare tell us not to criticize you. With the power we have entrusted you, you have the guts to tell us not to use the social networking channels to point a finger at your never ending mistakes. Don’t act like dictators and villains and harm the interests of your masters. We reprimand you for your mistakes, correct yourselves or you will be out of business.
The wise world is not prepared to listen to villains like you. And today’s papers are full of such news:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Oh! Goddess Lalitha! Thou art fond of Mandara flowers! And they are trying to reach out to you from our house!

Hibiscus flowers are called Mandara Puvvulu in Telugu. These beautiful flowers are considered very dear to Gods and Goddesses. In Sri Lalitha Sahasranama Stotram – the sacred Hindu text or mantra, Goddess Lalitha that is Goddess Durga, Goddess Parvati is addressed as Mandara Kusumapriya, meaning one who adores Mandara flowers. What prompted me to write this article is the way the Hibiscus plants in our house have bloomed and seem to be reaching out to the Gods in the sky. The colorful and pretty plants and flowers can be seen in the accompanying photographs.
Hibiscus flowers are also popularly known as Shoe flowers and China Roses locally. We have four Hibiscus plants in our house which give us Red, Pink and White flowers and the fourth one; flowers with Red cluster of petals, more than the usual five. You can see all these varieties of flowers in the attached pictures, the White flowers are at the back and appear small.
You may click on the following link to see an animated view of one of the four plants, with over thirty flowers and listen to the chanting of Lalitha Sahasranamam:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Grandchild at the “National Abacus & Mental Arithmetic Competition”, 26/Nov/2011, Bengaluru.

Our six year old granddaughter, Sudhiksha represented her Abacus Class of Secunderabad at the National Abacus and Mental Arithmetic Competition held at Bangalore on 26th November 2011. She fared very well and was awarded the above Certificate and Memento. Her selection and performance has made us all very happy.
A lot of good is being said about Abacus learning these days. The abacus learning program is said to train young students to use both the left and right hemispheres of the brain effectively. One side of the brain is said to be concerned with logical operations and the other with abstract concepts and the training program is said to exercise both sides simultaneously and strengthen brain function in the following areas:
Ø  Fosters the child’s confidence in arithmetical calculation
Ø  Develops mental ability in all forms of calculation
Ø  Enhances self-satisfaction of achievement as one’s proficiency improves
Ø  Enhances left and right brain coordination and ability
Ø  Enhances hidden mental capabilities
Ø  Promotes intuitive thinking abilities
Ø  Enhances problem solving capabilities
Ø  Enhances creativity and thinking skills
Ø  Enhances retention and recall of both short and long term memory
Ø  Enhances psychomotor skills
Ø  Enhances sensory stimulation by increasing brain neuron inter-connectivity.
Ø  Improves concentration spans and mental endurance.
Ø  Energizes the body and mind.
Ø  Helps release mental blocks and emotional stress.
Great many advantages!
In contests held between users of Abacus and Electronic Calculators the Abacus users were much faster than the Calculator users in the case of additions and subtractions and a little slower in the case of multiplication and division. And when it came to mental calculations Abacus students were much faster than an Electronic Calculator! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Today is NCC Day: Me and NCC.

Today is National Cadets Corps (NCC) Establishment Day, the 63rd one. Every year NCC Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of November. While in School I was in NCC for four years, two years with the Air Wing and two years with the Naval Wing. And my brother was in NCC – Army Wing for five years, at School and then at College that is in Junior and Senior Divisions. It is just not my brother and me but several friends of us were in NCC and NCC was active at every School in those days, in the Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Today the scenario is different, I hardly see students joining NCC. There might be several reasons for it, but I feel students are missing all that they could have learnt in NCC, not just the Motto of NCC “Unity and Discipline (Ekta Aur Anushasan)” but much more. We learnt Parade, we learnt to maintain our uniforms in top condition, we learnt about armed forces, their ranks, arms, about Air Force Aircrafts, Naval Ships, we learnt firing, we learnt rowing, and we attended annual NCC Camps and experienced the life there, we learnt to respect our Armed Forces and our Country. All this, by attending classes two evenings a week, with refreshments at the end of every class!
You can see pictures of the NCC Certificates I have earned in the Air Wing and Naval Wing at the top of this article.
I have a feeling that in present times many people do not know about NCC or have forgotten about it. And today the media instead of reporting on NCC Day and the importance of NCC prefers to propagate cheap news. Under these circumstances I thought I should write a little about NCC. NCC – National Cadet Corps is the Indian Military Cadet Corps. It was raised on 15th July 1948. It is open to School and College students on voluntary basis. Cadets are disciplined to obey orders cheerfully, to be punctual, to work hard without fuss and to make no excuses or tell lies.  
The Aim of NCC is to develop qualities of character, courage, comradeship, discipline, leadership, secular outlook, spirit of adventure and sportsmanship and the ideas of selfless service.
I am proud of being a NCC Cadet for four years and having learnt a lot. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

A delicious “Nashta” from the Irani Restaurants of Hyderabad – Kheema Roti!

My last two articles were on some popular snacks from Irani Cafés in Hyderabad; those were about Osmania biscuits, Salt biscuits, Tie biscuits, Lukhmi and Irani Samosas. There are many more Irani Café exclusive snacks like Roat biscuit, Nankhatai, Dilkush, Cream Cones, a variety of Cup Cakes called Round Cakes, Cheese Cakes, a variety of Veg. and Non.Vegetarian Puffs and a large variety of other biscuits like Tutti Frutti, Cashew, Walnut and so on. I thought I should write on these snacks but then I suddenly remembered my favorite breakfast “Kheema Roti” and decided to write about it first.
Most Irani Cafés in Hyderabad have Restaurants attached to them. A large variety of typical Hyderabadi Non.Vegetarian items like Mutton Biryani, Chicken Biryani, Tandoor Roti, Rumali Roti, Naans and a large variety of Non.Vegetarian Kababs, Tandoori Chicken and Curries are available for Lunch and Dinner. And in the mornings starting from dawn; Kheema Roti is available for breakfast.
Kheema Curry is a very rich and delicious minced-lamb meat curry. And the Roti is a typical Hyderabadi Tandoor Roti. This Kheema Curry is prepared in a typical Hyderabadi style using Ginger-Garlic paste, Onions, Cloves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Bay leaf, Green Chillies, Chilly powder, a pinch of Turmeric & Salt, and garnished with Cashew nuts, boiled Egg, Carrot and Coriander leaves. The above photographs are of Kheema Roti. This sumptuous Kheema Roti is very popular in the Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Every morning, at every Irani Café serving Non.Vegetarian food, you will find a mad rush for this delicacy, to have it there or to carry it home.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Popular snacks from Hyderabad’s Irani Cafés – Lukhmi and Samosa.

The Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, specially the main and old areas have Irani Cafés and Restaurants at every Crossroad and on every Street. The most popular item available and sold in thousands at every Irani Café is Irani Chai that is Irani Tea. It is available from well before sunrise to midnight. I wrote about the popularity of Irani Chai earlier, which you may read by clicking on the following link:
Along with Tea; a number of snacks are available at these Cafés. ‘Tea Biscuits’ like Osmania biscuits, Tie biscuits and Salt biscuits are available at all times. Starting from dawn to about 8:30AM Lukhmi is available. Lukhmi; as available at all Irani Cafés is a thick and huge triangular, flat Bhatura / Puri  sort of a soft snack made from Maida (Refined flour), with a very little stuffing of potato curry. Lukhmi’s irregular three sides measure from 7 to 9 inches! You can get an idea of Lukhmi’s large size by comparing it with the size of the tiny Samosa, in the above pictures.
After 8:30 AM, Irani Samosas also known as Tikki Samosas are available at all these Cafés. These Samosas are made by some private persons as a cottage enterprise at some central locations and supplied to Irani Cafés. The Samosa wrapping is with Atta (Wheat flour) and Maida (Refined flour). The stuffing is of Onion, cooked with Coriander leaves, Green Chillies, Chilly powder, Chaat masala, Cumin powder and Beaten rice (Poha). Samosas are available at these Cafés till evening; or until stocks last.
For Hyderabadis away from home and missing Irani Samosas, and those who cannot come down to Hyderabad to taste this favorite snack of Hyderabad; here is the ‘Video recipe’ from my favorite Chef, Sanjay Thumma:
video

Popular snacks from Hyderabad’s Irani Cafés – Osmania, Salt & Tie Biscuits.

The Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, specially the main and old areas have Irani Cafés and Restaurants at every Crossroad and on every Street. The most popular item available and sold in thousands at every Irani Café is Irani Chai that is Irani Tea. It is available from well before sunrise to midnight. I wrote about the popularity of Irani Chai earlier, which you may read by clicking on the following link:
Along with Tea; a number of snacks are available at these Cafés. While some snacks are available during specific times of the day, biscuits are available at all times. The most popular among these ‘Tea Biscuits’ are Osmania biscuits, Tie biscuits and Salt biscuits. You may identify these biscuits from the above pictures. They are all soft and crispy. People enjoy dipping these biscuits in Irani Chai and eat.
Osmania biscuit is named after the last ruler of the ‘Princely State of Hyderabad and Berar’ (from 1911 to 1948), H.E.H. The Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan. It is named after him as he loved these biscuits! Surely it is food befitting royalty!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Greet Brihaspati and “Make-A-Wish”, it shall be fulfilled!

Today on the auspicious day of Karthika Pournami we were able to see the most beneficial planet Jupiter that is Brihaspati, bright and beautiful. We enjoyed watching the Full Moon and Jupiter from atop the hillock at Keesara the abode of Lord Sri Ramalingeshwara Swamy, a very important place of pilgrimage and also from our house. The above photographs are of these sightings. The photos convey very little of the dazzling views we have witnessed.
It is very strongly believed that when you sight Brihaspati / Jupiter and make a wish; it would be fulfilled! According to Hindu mythology, Brihaspati is the teacher of Gods. Hence in Vedic astrology, Brihaspati is referred as Devaguru or Guru. Thursday is named after Brihaspati the Guru as Guruvar or Guruvaramu. In astrological predictions Brihaspati is a good indicator of fortune, wealth, luck, fame, wisdom, devotion, compassion, spirituality and morality. When one is passing through a bad phase in life several remedies are suggested for pleasing Brihaspati and other planets to bring about good times. 

The Hidden Castle! Is most enjoyable!

Enjoyed yesterday, 20th August 2017, a daylong stay at the Hidden Castle! Every moment was joyous for our group of twe...