Fit At Forty

“Eat those greens” was the regular admonition administered by my doctor mom.  But who pays heed in childhood to well-meaning nagging of parents?

A year ago I weighed 67 kg.

Fat Forty at Golconda fort

For a person who had not put on any extra weight even after pregnancy, I looked fat. My girth was not at all flattering, my face seemed puffed up and I wasn’t really feeling confident. I had become laid back, my clothes seemed ill fitted and I looked ‘old’ to myself.

I had turned forty… An age they say to be naughty and flirty! But I felt fat and fifty!!

That is when I pulled myself together. I did not want to enter on other side of middle age huffing and puffing with pills and pains. I joined a gym…

It isn’t that I was eating junk all the time, but the nutritionist pointed out that my carbohydrate intake was definitely much more than the proteins and iron. While proteins help in building muscle mass, iron too is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in many bodily functions. Lack of sufficient amount of iron may lead to anemia, headaches, hair fall, brittle nails, breathlessness and even irritability.

Iron is important

I had no clue that my headaches could have been due to insufficient iron.

Found in two forms in foods, heme in animal products and non-heme in plants, the average intake recommended is 18 mg per day which may vary depending on age and gender of a person.

We women often suffer from anemia. Anemic women may even have trouble during pregnancy with mother’s anemia adversely affecting the fetus. With menstruation being added burden on women, we need at least 27 mg during pregnancy.

Meat eaters have the advantage over vegetarians as the iron content from animal products is easily absorbed in our bodies. Hence the vegetarians need to have more iron rich food and more frequently.

So now at 63 kg, though  yet miles away from an hourglass figure, I know where I went wrong. Besides a daily exercise routine, I brought some changes in my eating habits especially the breakfast.

Reduced weight gives more mobility and fresh look

Now my breakfast menu looks something like this:

Monday:   2 boiled eggs, 1 bowl oats garnished with almonds, colorful tutti-fruity, raisins, walnuts and sometimes banana slices.
Tuesday:   1 generous bowl of spiced boiled sprouted black gram and 1 boiled egg
Wednesday:  2 boiled eggs, 1 khakra
Thursday:   1 generous bowl of steamed spiced sprouted Moth and Moong (brown and green lentils)
Friday and Saturday repeat either of these. Sunday is for either poha, upma, sabudana khichdi or bread-omelette.

I also changed my dinner habits by eating smaller portions and twice a week I eat only sautéed broccoli and mushrooms. Some may however not relish these exotic vegetables, not to forget the exorbitant price these days. Legumes work best for vegetarians, if I may say so, both in cost and iron content.

Now Livogen, aims to educate women on importance and benefits of iron intake for a healthy lifestyle by sharing iron rich food recipes. So here is an easy recipe for vegetarians with cooked lentils.



  • Soaked sprouted whole moong (green lentil) 1 cup
  • Soaked sprouted whole moth (brown lentil)   1 cup
  • Ginger julienne 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds 2 tsp
  • Seasoning : Mustard seeds, Asafoetida, salt, sugar, green chilies, curry leaves, dry mango powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder
  • Oil


  • Soak overnight the two lentils. Drain excess water and let these sprout for a day. These can even be eaten as quick snack. (Quick snack recipe: mix raw sprouts with finely chopped onion, tomatoes, capsicum, spinach, chat masala, pepper powder, salt, pinch of sugar and juice of half a lemon).

    Sprouted lentils rich in iron

  • Pressure cook the lentils for just about one whistle to avoid over cooking. The cooked lentils should keep their shape.
  • In a pan heat 1 tbsp oil preferably mustard oil or olive oil for added advantage.
  • Add hing(asafoetida) and mustard seeds.
  • As the mustard seeds crackle, add curry leaves, green chilies, turmeric powder, pinch of red chili powder.

Season it away…less oil, just about spicy with sweet and sour taste to balance

  • If the spice in green chili is not very strong add red chili powder; aim is to prepare a breakfast which is easy for digestion and not that will burn your insides.
  • Add cooked lentils. Add a pinch of sugar or little more, salt and dry mango powder.
  • Add raw ginger julienne and raw cumin seed after the water is almost dried.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander(I did not have fresh coriander at home though) . Serve hot.

Usal, ready to eat

The best chefs also recommend cooking food in iron skillet for that iron content in food.

There are however some foods that reduce the absorption of sufficient iron which may not be totally avoidable but can be eaten in moderation. Similarly there are foods that facilitate the absorption of iron. White wine is one such thing.

So what are you waiting for?

Grab that bottle of bubbly, a bowl of sprouts or a roasted chicken and get your fill of the iron!


#BergerXP Indiblogger Meet, Mumbai

Mere color, unspoiled by meaning and un-allied with definite form can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.”

Oscar Wilde

Ever notice how peaceful it seems amidst blooming flowers of myriad colors….how playful it feels snorkeling among the colorful fish in the sea…how royal a colorful peacock dancing with its feathers spread in gay abandon looks….how the flirty colorful butterflies make the heart flutter..?

Imagine if everything instead were dull grey…or only white…or black!!

How would have we distinguished between happiness and sadness….

Colors are known to be the mood up-lifters…that is why nature has a rainbow after the monotonous gloomy grey of rain clouds…. Even our dreams are not in dull Eastman colors but always in technicolor!!

But we live in cities with not necessarily an access to a well laid out private garden to have flowers bloom or butterflies to dance and birds to sing…so what is the next best thing to do?  Of course…fill our spaces and life with colors!

And here is where Berger Paints step in to make our spaces brighter and beautiful with their Express Painting which is faster, cleaner and better!

Meet the Paint

Together with Indiblogger, Berger Paints organised a bloggers’ meet at Vivanta Taj, Mumbai to introduce the pioneering concept of Express Painting and I became an enthusiastic participant of the meet.

Berger paints was founded by Lewis Berger in 1760 with the paint Prussian Blue and the brand arrived in India in 1923 with its headquarters in Kolkata. With its presence internationally, Berger has also been named among 50 unusual billionaires by Forbes.

Armed with the concerns of a common-man who finds the conventional methods of painting his home cumbersome because of time factor, dust and quality of finished product, Berger has introduced automated methods of painting and claims to be faster, cleaner and better.

Berger Paints came up with a tinting process and introduced tints and paints which could be mixed with a base of white and with each other to create a new color shade as per the user’s choice….as simple as a painting on an art paper…paint your imagination!!

All hues and tints

All hues and tints

With a painting project coming up soon at home front, I am quite tempted to use the services of Berger’s trained painters. And why not…. If someone is there to clean up and finish the paint job within few hours all the while taking care that none of my furniture and furnishing is dust laden?

And the tools

While the high-speed sanding machine fixed with a suction motor prevents the dust particles from escaping in the room, the automated paint roller, mixer and airless sprayer finish the painting work almost 40% faster. The best part is that there is no extra cost !

Paint the Meet

Well, it was not all shop talk…we had oodles of fun too!

Once the registrations were done, the bloggers were up for a sumptuous meal and umpteen photographs before the meet session began..some new friendships were forged and some old acquaintances renewed.

To emphasise on how difficult the manual wall sanding process was, each team was asked to sand a board painted white. We were all game and rubbed away with the sand paper.. Only when the last of the teams had created enough dust and the room wore a dusty look, did the Berger’s service head, Mr Chandranath Banerjee pointed out again how efficient Berger’s sanding machine was!

Sanding selfie

Sanding selfie

The tints had been displayed and talked about so once we learnt the lesson of sanding it right, it was time to paint the meet red….umm…the art sheets in colors depicting a theme ‘Mumbai meri Jaan’.

Done with playing with colors

Done with playing with colors

Like small kids all of us were eager to get our hands messy and paint away. Various concepts sprung up in colorful splashes…pinks and blues, yellows and oranges, browns and blacks, greens and whites…lofty thoughts emerged in a bid to outdo each other… As each team came out with its idea, surprise gifts greeted the unsuspecting bloggers…the atmosphere was laden with high-spirited gaiety and no one realized that the meet had sneaked past its schedule.

All is well that ends well….a happy fun meet concluded with all of us leaving a bit wiser as far as home improvement and paint job was concerned. It was a first for me and though I was bit shy and could not make my presence known but I connected and made new great friends!

That was what the meet was about I guess and I look forward to next such event…

The Bloggers Lot

The Bloggers Lot


Gifting love…

It is at such times, during festivals, birthdays, anniversaries of near and dear ones, that staying at far off places, which are not conveniently connected to rest of the cities, hurts the most. You miss out on so many occasions of getting together with friends and family, on fun and quality time spent together…..

Due to work, I am staying in a small town in Tamilnadu among people who do not speak the language I do, do not celebrate the festivals I do and because of the language barrier I have not been really able to forge a strong friendship either. In all, the only interaction I have with locals is for small talk… a smile, a hello or for asking directions. I miss my friends and family terribly.

The only thing that I can do to let my loved ones know that they are being missed and remembered is call them up often and send them gifts on their special occasions. Thank God for technology….not only can we stay connected with chats, social media but also surf for that perfect gifts on-line and get those delivered anywhere in the country.

When I search for gifts, I am biased towards handicrafts and home décor. My obvious choice for a go-to site for my kind of stuff is CraftsVilla. This is one portal which is a storehouse of Indian handicrafts that are both reasonably priced and appealing to the eye. They have a variety of items from paintings, wooden, metal and fancy photo-frames to painted and enamelled vases, mirrors, candles, clocks and many more….

That reminds me, mother’s day just around the corner. She has insisted on a CV-MTHE_75880156990-Home_Decor-The_Woods_Hut-Craftsvilla_1complete family photograph with me, my sister, our husbands, kids and ‘nan-nani’ for her dining room wall. It would be a pleasant surprise for her to receive it framed beautifully….I think this might be just the right one as it goes with her home decor too….

Portal has lot of home decor stuff including furniture. In fact the whole house can be beautifully decorated from home decor section of the portal. Don’t believe me…? Go check it out yourself….

Give In To Cravings At Place Of Origin

Craving(noun) : A powerful desire for something, yearning, urge, hunger, addiction etc…

If you are an Indian you must be fully aware of what craving is; after all at least half the nation can’t do without ‘subah wali kadak chai‘. Yes, we crave for something simple as tea….well, most people do. I have the cravings for coffee twice a day at least.

My day doesn’t begin unless there is a hot cup of coffee in my hands and husband dear doesn’t open his eyes even unless I brew up a hot chai for him. We end up stocking up both beverages at home.

On a recent trip to United States, I tasted Rich Hazelnut Cream coffee and honestly I fell in love with it. I brought one pack to savour back at home. But the other day I realised, that the coffee packet is almost finished. Now I live in a small town where I do get good coffee but alas there is no hazelnut flavour available.

PLACE-OF-ORIGIN-LOGO1My craving for the flavour made me search the internet. I couldn’t believe I hit upon a jackpot of a site, the Place of Origin. It was like I found Aladdin’s chirag, the magic lamp and the moment I clicked, a world of food was spread in front of me….the genie from the lamp granted my wish ‘coz there in the staples section was the flavour I was yearning for and not only that, there were so many varieties of coffee. I never imagined I could find all kind of health foods, snacks, confectionery items like cakes, biscuits and savoury namkeens at one place. They even have mangoes…can you imagine and everything gets delivered at your doorstep…just add it to your wish list and voila! soon the stuff is there to titillate your taste-buds.

I found something for my husband too and I know exactly what to gift him as a surprise…you guessed it right….An entire range of teas especially green tea, festive blends, oolong, white tea, kahwa, chamomile teaYou are spoiled for choices really!!

So give in to your cravings, go try the Place of Origin.


The Unsung Hero…

When people visit the Bahái Lotus Temple, they are taken in by its beauty and amaze at the peace it exudes.

Lotus temple, New Delhi

Lotus temple, New Delhi

Or when people travel on the Bombay-Worli Sea link, they are awed or when prices of shares go up or down at Bombay Stock Exchange, people are worried about their own profit and loss or when Delhi metro is delayed, people create a fuss….

Though we often take pride in the iconic structures like Lotus Temple and Bombay-Worli Sea Link, which have none other than Tata Tiscon rebars running in their veins, but not one of us gives a thought to the effort that goes in and hardly do we think of the bones and skeleton of these magnificent constructions…the invisible steel that holds and strengthens the complete structure.

Even I, as a fresh architecture graduate, though fantasized myself to be the next Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies Van der Rohe…the Howard Roark of Fountainhead…the unassuming iron bars that would go in silently in my buildings however never found themselves in my dreams….

Eighteen years ago, I was excited to put my newly acquired knowledge of designing and planning into the construction of a house for my parents….my first project. I was of course in love with the idea and had a dream to fulfil…the house even before it was built was my baby and close to my heart.

home 1

Clinic cum home under construction

There was not much of a difference between me and others, common people who dreamt of getting their house constructed. The only advantage I had was the basic knowledge of the structural design. It was easy for me to point out the anomalies and rectify those in the structural elements like beams, columns, footing and the slab.

Finally the house cum clinic was completed in about a year and in fact it was where the guests during my wedding first assembled but the amount of stress that me and my father went through during the entire process of building our home was actually nerve-wrecking. I remember when the first slab was under construction and it rained…it was a frantic morning and humongous effort to cover the entire grid of iron rods for the slab. A whole day later when we rechecked the bars for displacement, re-tied some of the binding wires…the slab could only be laid the next evening…

The only time concern for the quality of steel bars crosses an individual’s mind is when he/she is involved in making their own house of dreams!! And it was no different in my dream project either…I was concerned about rusting and breakage of binding wires or failure of the structure…

It was then that I, for the first time, woke up from my world of dreams and glamour of the glass façade buildings and ‘saw’ the real hero…..

The humble TATA TISCON Rebars


Few weeks ago, I was at TATA CENTRE, Kolkata attending a presentation on structural steel for building construction. I couldn’t help but agree about the time it takes for unskilled labour to cut and bind the bars during construction or about the margin of error in accuracy by manual bending or the wastage of steel during construction.

Come to think of it, back then if I had access to a reliable, branded corrosion resistant steel bars, stirrups and wires of standard sizes and consistent composition like those of TATA TISCON combined with services of trained local thekedars (local contractors), masons and rod binders half of my worries, time and effort would have been reduced…..

The steel bar is the unsung hero….the embellishments which attract our eyes to a built space…the paints, tiles, marble floors all come later. When Maya Angelou said “There is a kind of strength that is almost frightening in black women…It’s as if a steel rod runs right through the head down to the feet” she unknowingly also commended the role of the humble steel rod that goes in the concrete structures strengthening them to stand for years.

Its importance is realised only when structures fail…One wrong bone…displaced, added, ill fitted…and the entire structure comes crumbling down…slabs cave in, columns bend, floors sink or at times entire building tilts….I am reminded of a tagline from a popular advertisement here…“ye banaye andar se strong (it gives you inner strength)”

We often overlook and forget the silent crusaders, the good Samaritans….the real heroes. May be it’s time now we give credit to all unsung heroes….be it our men with guts of steel guarding the borders or be it the steel rod itself.

So next time somebody compliments you for what a wonderful house you made, you could humbly say….

“Ye andar ki baat hai…” 😉

This post is a part of the #BuildingBlogsOfJoy activity of TATA TISCON  in association with