Aerobics vs Yoga

Me! Writing a blog post on exercise is really an exercise for my mind! Well, I never exercised in past years apart from school days where P.T. was compulsory. I was so petite that I was under the impression; exercise is for those who want to loose weight. How wrong!

Our own lifestyles teach us lessons and me, the olive (remember Popeye the Sailor cartoon) kind of looking started gaining weight due to sitting in front of computer all the time. Long hours in cab – office & computer- food- Long hours in cab- food- computer- sleep. Where is walk when you talk? And see, I gained weight! In past 2-3 years I am no more same as I was in college. Now the same people, who used to tell me to eat, started asking me to loose weight!

So I joined Yoga class few months back. Yoga is a trend globally from some time. In foreign people pay huge amount to learn yoga and in our country Baba Ramdev is spreading the ‘yog rog’.

Yoga has different asanas, meditation and slow movements. You feel the pain in initial days and gradually you become flexible and learn to hold for longer period. As yoga is relaxing and slow, you feel relaxed and calmer after it. Yoga interests every age group- from young soul to souls going to heaven soon.
BUT
Aerobics! It’s fast (of course fun too) there is music and variations are many and you can do floor aerobics or step aerobics- many types. But yoga also many types like bikram yoga or circus yoga. But there is lots of cardio work, fat burning and muscle definition where as in yoga you are under control of body & mind and soul. And mostly young and middle age group people do aerobics.

So after doing yoga for 3+ months I switched to aerobics as I was looking for a morning class in my premises and I find the class very professional, strict trainer and fun filled. BUT legs are hurting like hell and the day you work with dumbbells, your every part is going to ache! After that I can only say, yoga is easy and aerobics is crazy. Yoga is relaxing, aerobics is taxing!
Let’s see, will I continue my fitness gaga or sleep & laziness will take over the saga!

Image Source: MSU.edu and fitnesscafe.

Go Goa.

Goa is a favorite tourist destination. But somehow I was not in favor of visiting Goa because I thought it would be crowded or beaches would not be clean. But when I went there, such doubts were clear. I would have made a mistake, if I didn’t come to Goa.

Goa for sure a fun place, as soon you land there you know you are going to have fun. Either you are looking for complete relaxing holiday or some water adventure based package fun & food would be there by default.

 

We stayed in South Goa and rented a cool bike. Tip 1– if in Goa, better have own vehicle else you would be paying a lot to rude auto rickshaw guys or expensive taxis. Anyway bikes/ scooters are cheap to hire.

 

Travelling on bike from south to north goa in itself was a fun filled ride. Narrow but traffic free, clean country roads for sure ignite the lost youth passion of riding a bike with glares on and bandana on head. Tip 2– before getting out from hotel room- put enough of sunscreen. Anyway, you are going to get tanned.

About water sports– You can do from water scooter to parasailing to going on boat to see dolphins or if dare than go for a scuba drive when in Goa. There are enough activities to keep you busy for a day that you would not mind warm sun rays on beach. Tip 3– being little apprehensive about water is normal. Once you are in water with your life jacket on, you will only flow and fear will go away slowly 🙂

 

If in Goa, and not going for a mid night walk on beach than there is something missing in your romance life. And ya, don’t be ‘kanjoos’ to have a nice candle light dinner. Also don’t mind having sea food in beach shacks too. Tip 4– forget about diet when in Goa. Just enjoy the food. Dieting can wait.  😉

 

Goa is also famous for hand painted tiles. I couldn’t do that during my visit to Goa in early march 2010 so whenever I go next, will do. BTW I loved my hotel (Zuri, South Goa) – their staff was very courteous and we even got a surprise cake but best was their own beach, we went their in night time only. Waking up early on a holiday is little tough thing so what I could not click sunrise shots. 🙂

Dubai dreams.

Dubai is a global business hub with 90% expat population, which makes it very unique. Recently I got a chance to visit Dubai. It is one of 7 emirates of UAE. It is a city that has so many things to offer from petroleum to real estate to one of the best malls and sand dunes for adventurous desert safari including harsh sun.

Burj Al Arab- Resembleing a billowing sail, a luxury Hotel, looks great in Dubai skyline.

Dubai to live.

Affording a home in Dubai is not cheap if you are not staying from few years. The rent of homes cost a lot of Dirham (Dubai’s currency). But it has few great residential properties like Dubai marina, which is the second largest man made marina in world. Aspiring to own a villa on Palm Jumeirah is only possible, if you are either born with a silver spoon or are a celebrity.

Cost of living in Dubai is not very high – it is just that water costs more than double of what petrol costs. You can get all the vegetables, fruits as well as Indian brands packaged items. Best is there is no personal income tax in Dubai.

Malls & Souks.

Aquarium at Dubai mall

Skiing at Dubai Mall

Name a brand and you will find it in Dubai. With so many huge malls in every corner, if they really have to stand out, have to offer something different. That’s how Dubai Mall,  world’s largest shopping mall has an under water zoo & Aquarium, ‘Mall of Emirates’ has Skiing, yeah can you believe skiing in such hot weather of Dubai.

one of gold shop in Gold souk area

Souks, which are traditional Arabic markets, are one of the more popular word in the city. Gold souks are more popular due to cheap price and varied options availability, which is why it is also known as the city of Gold. Though, I didn’t find it any less expensive than other places. Other popular souks are Spice souk and textile souk.

Fun

desert safari

If you went there and didn’t go for desert safari, then your visit is not completed. A humpy ride on golden sand dunes while sun is setting followed by Arabic barbeque and belly dancing and smoke flavored sheesha (hubbly-bubbly/water pipe) is just the right way to enjoy the time there.

Tip– don’t opt for over night safari unless in a huge group. We chose that and we were the only person left after meal so we had to come back.

a kid having fun with a belly dancer

Go for a night walk on Jumeirah beach, if you are lucky and all those tall buildings Burj al Arab, Burj Dubai are well lit you can click nice night shots. (I didn’t get any pic, so I was disappointed.)

deira creek area

After having a tough day at Media city; Dhow cruise really came as a relaxing option to spend the evening. Or just watch Hindi cinema in one of the multiplex. Reel cinema in Dubai mall has 22 screens with lots of movie choices. We watched 1st day show of London Dreams there.

 Something more.

You will like the men and women roaming around you in white and black dresses. (Men wears traditional dishdasha / khandura with ghutra and agal and women wear abaya (a long black cloak) with sheyla or hijab (a scarf).

Special parks for ladies are common there, and even in amusement park or Jumeraiah beach you will see a day especially for women and kids or family.

Cars are cheaper compared to India. Toyota is market leader followed by Nissan and Honda. Cabs are quite nice, most are Camry, Innova or Lancer. Before hopping in the city bus, make sure you got pass from some terminal or metro station as most of time bus drivers would not carry tickets/pass.

Now metro service is also started in Dubai, take a ride. In fact I got a better view of city from it.
Do some shopping at Dubai Festival city, can get good deals at IKEA store. Taste some Arabic sweets too; I liked it a lot. Most important, don’t forget to have as many dates as possible. 😉

Can find more Dubai’s shots here.

Why say NO to crackers!

Festivals like Diwali has own uniqueness- “it’s a festival of lights” apart from mythological stories, God’s worship, sweets and gifts what we look forward is crackers! As a kid, I used to love bursting crackers. Fine, I was bit afraid and used to be away from bomb, rocket but it was fun. But when I see, today’s kids, all they get from school “say no to crackers”, Government making appeal “lets have a peaceful diwali” and parents saying “crackers are expensive”.

But my question is, why a small kid is stopped to have fun, why s/he is forced to all good deeds, when we as a grown up are still doing what is not good, like not believing in Car pool when going office as we have own ego problem with a colleague. When we don’t have patience and keep doing continuous honking, and when we emit lots of pollution by keeping engine ON on a red light and when we don’t obey order of not smoking in public areas – I wonder! Why a kid is getting mentally prepared that bursting cracker is not a good thing. Why we grown up learn good things first before preaching!

why Say NO to crackers?

I am not favoring that crackers are good for health or something. All I want is a little bit of fun, which is fine under a secure guidance. I have found today’s kid don’t even know how to light up gas. They never open match box. But if they play, they will learn how to deal with material safely. Watch them, teach them, just like when you were bursting crackers, your elder brother, uncle and dad guided you. Of course do not give them bomb or something to play but let them see the spectacular view of cracker bursting high and opening into an umbrella of colorful embers or lighting their name in air with a sparkler.

I did a small survey of 25-35 yrs old and found most of them enjoyed crackers- Chakri (ground wheel), Anaar (flower pots), Phooljhari (sparklers), fire pencil, rocket, toy train and bomb etc. But over time they got so busy with higher studies, settling in career that they left that sparkling time in their childhood memories but what about today’s kid , are they suppose to just content with ‘made in china’ wires of glowing and dimming lights on their balconies railing? On the name of ‘festival of light’ are they suppose to buy gifts with neon glowing lights or buying them a new PSP game will add extra sparkle and noise?

Fine, there should not be rocket flying in high rise buildings, there should not be crackers bursting in small balcony of 9th floor and no crackers 11 pm onwards but little bit of fun with those colorful sparklers and seeing the sparkling eyes of kid will not make any harm to earth. You can always remorse by planting two trees in your neighborhood or gifting a tulsi plant on this Deepawali. Let’s have a sparkling Diwali!

No follower on TWITTER.

When I heard about twitter almost 2 years back, I was not sure will I use it. But yes, I created an account as it seemed different, not like an SMS sending service. I become active in tweeting from end of 2008. In this tweeting journey, I made many tweeple friends and I met few either in some conference or in meet.

Journey so far was going quite tweetful. I was following around 150 people- from designers, photographers, bloggers to social media enthusiasts. Almost 760 followers I had till 28th july 09 which included some very great & genuine persons from celebrities to ad world guru to photographer, researcher and many more.

But, one bug which Twitter had eaten by mistake and made my account go crazy. I lost all my followers (except few spammers) and no timeline updates for me. Yes, my timeline is frozen and I can not see any updates. Even if I follow back people my following count stay zero! I can only see, if someone specially write a @paavani tweet.

twitter_fail- bird

 

It is frustrating that twitter has not fixed the problem though many people are facing the same. There is no customer support. See this twitter support page on following list vanished and timeline frozen.

Now when twitter is getting popular and everyone started tweeting, facing such a problem and loosing data is big nonsense. Twitter will loose the trust, if it keep surprising their tweeple with such mis-hap. One side twitter is coming up with business  strategies and other side when they launch a new home page this is what bugs come up!

 twitter_fail_whale

If you don’t know what TWITTER is-: it’s like writing SMS- 140 characters is a tweet limit. One can follow certain people and check their updates in own timeline. One can send and receive message on mobile phone too. Read some good stories about twitter.

Anyway, I am damn annoyed with Twitter. It is acting like a cheap, buggy web application site.

Updates: as of now, my twitter account @paavani is back to normal. Some twitter correction means Spam/ Bots cleaning is happening which will reduce the followers count by some percentage. But that’s fine! I can see time updates 🙂

Updates: as of now, my twitter account @paavani is back to normal. Some ‘twitter correction’ means Spam/ Bots cleaning is happening which will reduce the followers count by some percentage. But that’s fine! I can see timeline updates 🙂

Are colors important in Mobile Phones!

Few days back I got a chance to meet Axel Meyer, Head of Nokia N-Series Design. He was in town to talk about latest Nokia’s N97. There were lots of questions about operating system, camera, battery, storage and touch screen.

Axel MeyerLots of comparison with phones available / or releasing soon in same segment also happened, like HTC Magic, Palm Pre, Toshiba TG01 and  Apple iPhone 3G S.

Form and design of all these mobile handset looks similar- thinner and rounded corner. But N97 has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Talking about QWERTY, people aren’t excited about the shorter spacebar and awkward placement. With huge storage capacity 32 + plus 16GB microSD, it could lead the pack but operating system choice make it less attractive to geeky guys. People were looking forward for LINUX based web OS.

Though N97 got both touch (resistive) + QWERTY, it is way behind iPhone which has capacitive multi-touch screen. In fact, Palm Pre has the best offering – Capacitive multi-touch screen + QWERTY. I also heard people’s opinion on slow response of resistive touch if they have used iPhone or own it. Now coming to the camera, being a DSLR holder, I can never enjoy the camera phone but let’s see what everyone is offering. N97 has 5 MP with Carl Zeiss Tessar f/2.8 optics and dual LED flash but N82 is going to launch with 8MP. Same time Sony’s Satio will have 12.1 megapixel camera with Xenon flash.

He talked a lot about India, culture and designing gadgets keeping in mind their needs. One important question was asked by someone-What are the most important aspects that you keep in mind while designing a phone” and Axel responded “It’s all about people; always taking into account people’s needs as a driving criteria”. Axel also said, “All Nokia N-series devices are aware of beautiful solutions”.
And when I asked why such a high end gadget fitted with lots of features & user friendly interfaces comes only in Black or white colors, I did not get a proper answer from him.

Why doesn’t smart phones come in user’s choice of colors? Take example of Dell, Sony’s laptops or digital cameras, which offer a choice of colors. Thankfully, Sony is quite a leader in matter of colors, heard Sony Ericsson Satio will come in multiple colors.

I also did a small survey to know people opinion- would they like more color choices when buying high-end mobile? The results were interesting- Black is the most popular choice, closely followed by wine. Other preferable colors are blue & silver.

Nokia N97

Final verdict– I doubt N97 design team did an in-depth research for colors. Like white color for Indian market and climatic condition is not so good. It’s not an appliance like washer, refrigerator that people will buy for neat & hygiene white feel. Form & design need more fresh approach to look different in league. Immediate improvement needed on multi-touch, camera and OS. It is expected to be priced at Rs. 35,000 +, pricey for sure but most phones are in the same bracket.

Your Environment day.

You love your family because they are part of you and you need them. You love you house because you put lots of effort to build it. You even love your job because it pays you.
But how much do you love your mother earth? Anyway, I am back to you. You love your family member than why most of grocery shopping is not organic or local veggie?
You love your home and appliances and gadgets than why you leave them alone to work? Switch it off. When you are a good team member why you don’t like the idea of car pooling?

There are so many small -small things that could make the change to environment system. We all are aware still we look for a bigger change; a change made by someone else, some MNC come and ask you to be a part and you join it for showoff. Let’s start from ownself. Please, stop fooling ownself. Going green is not a trend, it’s your NEED & DEED.

Start using what is needed, don’t create unnecessary requirement. Don’t discard your old mp3 player for the sake iPod or switch to new mobile just because it has that extra* feature, like GPS. Or really want to track, when get lost in a concrete jungle! Before disposing off the old xyz GB Hard disk, dispose off the useless stuff that’s lying on your computer and you too know, you are never going to check it.

Change your lifestyle; else this world will change so drastically that you will not find any comfort. So better adapt now rather than making adjustments later.
Please check Greendex 2009: Consumer Choice and the Environment survey report (as per report Indians are most Greenest! )  and also take this quiz and you will be amazed to know, how each of us are demolishing the nature.

If you want to know, how you can make an impact in saving environment, read these useful daily tips.
Also check my similar post on environment Green Alphabets and Start acting to save Earth and Need an earthy treatment.

Make a greener world for your own sake!

I see, AC!

In summer days all we want, as we enter the home, is a cool zone. Cool breeze, natural or artificial, flowing in the room and no more sweating or noise pollution. Thanks to present days Air-conditioners, they are energy efficient, make low noise, are slimmer and cool in looks.

This weekend I went to check split AC in the Indian market, and I was not surprised how AC companies are filling their pockets by talking to half-aware, half-confused customers about vitamin filter, dual display and filter with this and that technologies which hardly a customer understand but still pay his hard earned money to get some coolness (pun intended).

So what is selling in India-: If Indian Brands like Godrej has come up with Mirror and Silver finish, then Chinese Company Haier has come up with vitamin filter and AC’s remote with fluorescent buttons. An earnest plea Godrej – please improve the red logo print quality, it looks pathetic on all white AC.

Top image- Samsung Split AC, bottom one is Haier

Korean champion Samsung’s Air-conditioners have bio sleeplus feature. In finish, they are offering all silver panels on the front and also wine other than classic white. Nothing great but overall look is cool, due to neat & clean form.

LG latest Split AC range

Other Korean company LG, as usual is offering last year old floral patterns apart from latest engraved baroque style floral pattern on gold and white. This gives quite a traditional and rich look. But it is not suitable for most of apartment’s interiors. Their Vogue series offers cool big display for showing current room temperature. Color scheme is white & grey with one more flowers option on same.

Whirlpool has nothing new to offer other than wide silver panel but their energy meter card is good for consumers to understand the star-rating and monthly electricity bill savings.

whirlpool- Energy meter

Hitachi AC, Ace
Best of best is Japan’s company Hitachi, which rules with ‘follow me’ feature that follows your every movement and circulate air accordingly. Slimmer, neat and clean elegant look also set it apart. Off course, for all this, you have to pay higher price too.

So enjoy the Indian summer 🙂

Do “Not Mind”

How many times have you run out of ideas? How many times have your mind gone blank? Forget about out of the box thinking, you could not even suggest an ordinary idea. It happens with each one of us. Accept it or neglect it, choice is yours. And who gives this choice to you? Your tired, rotten mind!

After all, mind also needs a change, a change from the routine life. Just sleeping with a thought that an extraordinary idea will strike in your dream and you will wake up like August Kekulé; who day dreamt about snake and formulated the Benzene structure. That’s not going to happen. Better find easy and reliable method.

meditate everyday

Innovative ideas, creative skills and design skills depend on mind. Meditation is the key. Because in meditation you are not suppressing the thoughts or ideas rather your mind is in relaxation state. It is not running behind finding solutions. The peace, power and purity that your mind will experience after meditation, will be immeasurable.

Also mind it, doing meditation is not easy. In past, I tried and failed. Because, the mind keeps wandering and doesn’t stay focused for sufficiently long duration. A new thought comes and the mind again become active and starts working. Practicing it in a right manner can help. (One can try Sudarshan Kriya by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar). It will not only give you peace but also help you in concentration and focus.

Our day to day life stress and working style (all the time glued to computer screen) makes our mind linear and stressful, and it needs rather it “demands” NOTHING. Yeah, no more wandering mind or forever search for peace. It just wants to DO “NOT MIND” state.

Try this or join Art of Living beginner’s course. I am sure, you will love it. This article, I wrote specially for H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar birthday on 13th May.

So celebrate the silence of your mind by doing meditation. Creativity will flow after this golden silence 🙂

Summer Escape.

When the summer heat makes us restless, all we look forward is soaking ourselves in water. Best way to do so is indulging in some water sports. So what if you, like me, don’t know swimming 🙂
White water river rafting used to be a mode of transportation but now it’s a popular recreational activity which gives you thrills when doing so. Raft and rapids and you are rowing your paddle. Life seems so much calm and adventurous at same time.
relax-at-rishikesh 
River Rafting in India.
In India, we have many nice places to do the White water rafting, from Zanskar river flowing at high attitude in Leh to Rafting on River Brahmputra in Arunachal Pradesh, which is in the top ten best destinations to do river rafting or go to Uttarakhand, where have relaxing time in sandy river camp and do the rafting on holy Ganges i.e. near Rishikesh. Here you can have grade 4 rapids.

kayaking

How to reach.

If you live in New Delhi or near by, it’s just 5-6 hrs car journey and if taking train from New Delhi, reach to Haridwar, from there its hardly 25 KMs. In Rishikesh, you can stay in cool & comfortable beach resort, like I stayed in the Ganga Beach resort or opt for a nice cozy tent to spend the night.

rafting-in-rapid

Other than rafting, what else?
Apart from rafting, you could learn yoga, have nice massage or spa (Ananda is a famous destination spa but expensive) and do rock climbing, trekking and spend evening by visiting Ram & Laxman Jhoola. Ganges aarti happens at 6-7pm everyday and you would feel so content & relaxed. Don’t forget to have nice meal at Chotiwala restaurant near Ram Jhoola.

cliff-jumping-scene1

I am quite regular to Rishikesh and it was my 2nd time to do the River rafting. I am planning to do rafting on Brahmaputra River some time. But before that I should wash my water phobia in MCD water 😀