Friday, 10 July 2015

Stay fit, feel young. After all, the #HoneyDietIsHere

"Health is Wealth" they say and this perhaps is the biggest reason why we all chase health, aka its  form of wealth. We do all that we do to ensure that we lead a happy and healthy life. Almost every thing in out lives somehow connects to having a good health, be it work, be it family, be it money, be it exercising, be it food, or anything. Everything connect to leading a hale and healthy life.

As the world progresses into more commercial forms of life, we keep forgetting this whole goal. Someone has rightly said, "We spend all our health to gain wealth, and then we spend all out wealth to gain back health". This becomes so relevant in modern times where we live restless lives at a point of time when economics has overtaken the world and we keep calculating out productivity in minutes, and perhaps seconds too. In such a fast paced life, one often forgets to concentrate on several facets of life like family, love, social responsibilities and of course, health. So, what do we do? We often realize this once in a blue moon and start a diet. The world is filled with some gruesome diets like the GM diet, Cigarette diet, Cotton balls diet, Water diet, and so on, which claim that you will attain an instant nirvana on following them. However, neither following these diets is easy nor are the results sustainable. Often, we end up consuming greater volumes of food and break the diet in haste. 

When I got to about the Dabur Honey diet (http://www.daburhoney.com/), I was greatly impressed. Firstly, this doesn't need any additional efforts from us. Its just about replacing some kinds of foods with some other kinds. The honey penetration in our country is very low, despite the fact that it is a great food. In fact, the funniest part of human lives is that good food comes at a great price, and that's perhaps the reason why we end up consuming all the junk fund around us. A tender coconut costs Rs 25-30, a handful of dry fruits easily cost a hundred rupees, and so on. The Dabur honey diet is a wonderful program that insists that we replace the sugar that we consume with honey. The day starts with a spoon of honey with warm water, which is more than enough to add energy to hit the gym or go for a walk or a Yoga class. Pooja Makhija, a health and nutrition expert says that honey has all the properties in it to kick start our day and it helps in ensuring that our taste buds aren't activated for the wrong kind of food.

The website (http://www.daburhoney.com/) provides great deal of details about how this diet is not just simple and easy but also healthy and sustainable. The website has some great tools like a calorie calculator, honey recipes, advice from experts that Michelin star chef Vikas Khanna, tips on fitness, and the most important being the 3 step diet planner. This is a great initiative from Dabur that caters to the current generation which has started becoming more cautious about health.

I have always heard that there are 2 kinds of food. The first kind are the ones that are meant for the mouth, for the taste buds in other words. These are food like sweets, junk food, etc. which make us feel elated. These food should only be consumed in such quantities that they meet the needs of the mouth. The other kind of food are food for the stomach. They may not great taste but are great for our health (like green leafy vegetables, etc), and these must be consumed for the stomach irrespective of what the mouth feels like. Often we end in trouble when we feed the stomach with food meant for the mouth and vice versa. Honey is one such great food that falls in both the categories and thus it helps in a great way to achieve the goals in our fitness schedule.

Check out and explore the benefits of this food, and get started on your journey to be fit with a sustainable course or laid out plan which you can practice all life. 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

UC Cricket - the savior for cricket lovers #YuviSurfsUC

Cricket is perhaps the biggest single thing that unites India together. We all grew watching one man called Sachin Tendulkar change the entire landscape of this game. Of course, several other players have made great contributions to take the game to where it has reached now. It is definitely my favorite sport like it is for many Indians.

Over the time, due to lack of time, it hasn't been able to catch up with the game. When the IPL is happening, there is a huge buzz and we somehow get to know the course of the tournament. In fact, the buzz isn't so high even when the World Cup is going on. When it comes to bilateral or trilateral series, the news isn't really there unless there's some earth shattering record being created. In fact, even that fails to get highlighted, and it appears like the game isn't happening.

When I had lost touch with the game, and wanted to keep a track, I decided to install a host of applications in my phone. However, again, these apps did not fulfill my purpose for various reasons. In the process, I once came across the UC browser (http://www.ucweb.com/), which claimed that it helps to surf faster and the transitions are seamless. So, I started using the browser for web browsing and it really worked well. What surprised me the most the was UC Cricket, a space dedicated to cricket, which was so wonderfully designed. This page had details of all the ongoing cricket matches and upcoming tournaments too. The live commentary loaded at a real quick pace and the discussions tab was a fun filled center. I kept using this space, and over time, it has become the most visited place on my web devices.

When compared to other applications that provide live scores and live streaming, the UC browser does a great job in actually making things live. The other applications have at least a 5 minutes lag. This is where the UC browser scores the most. When we are watching the game on the phone, we want to be sure that it doesn't delay the scores as it would again lead us to the TV or some other place where the event is streaming live. The experience I have been having on the UC browser and UC cricket has been really fantastic and I hope this continues and becomes even better in the days to come. Great job guys, you've added a new dimension to the world by cricket by making it a seamless experience to catch the match on the phone and this is no less than a great blessing for cricket buffs like me. After trying all browsers available for a Windows phone, I must say here that it is not only the most downloaded browser (after IE which comes default), but also the best in its category. It makes up for several flaws that exist in IE, and the most important benefit is that it is a stable browser and easy to use.







Sunday, 17 May 2015

Decoding Sensex - Do stock markets really help you make money?


Disclaimer: The post below is a result of personal work. The full version can be accessed at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/decoding-sensex-do-stock-markets-really-help-make-money-pattar

The main purpose of the stock market is to make fools of as many men as possible.
Bernard Baruch

Indian stock markets have created a great interest among investors in India and world wide, yet again. While we aren't seeing the kind of euphoria that we saw in 2008, the interest is no less. Perhaps, the 2008 experience is still keeping a large number of retail investors at bay and thus, making it difficult for market makers to take the full advantage of the last 1 year's unprecedented bull rally. This rally definitely smells more sensible than the one we saw in 2005-2008 but the picture will only get clearer as we scroll further.

We all keep reading several articles and stories of how investing in stock markets has made people millionaires or billionaires. It appears such an easy thing to do. People keep saying how Rs 10000 invested in Infosys is worth some 2-3 crores today, how some x amount invested in mutual funds is 100x today and so on. All said, how certain can we be that the same will repeat over the next 10-15-20 years? To this, the market experts quote historical returns of stock markets and guide that this will be replicated in the future, although they add the disclaimer that past performance are not indicators of future returns. So, how do laymen decide whether or not to invest in equities or equity underlying instruments? A million dollar question.

Following are some numbers that give you interesting insights on performance of the stock markets in India from January 1991. For the purpose of ease and convenience, I have used data for Sensex (monthly data). All percentages are in absolute terms (unless stated otherwise)

Monthly performance
  • On a closing basis, in March 1992 saw a return of 42%, highest ever. In October 2008, the Sensex fell 24%, again the highest month over month decline.
  • Would you believe that in October 2008 (intra month), the Sensex fell 42%? The month high was 13203 while the month low was 7697.
  • The Sensex nearly doubled between Feb and Mar 1992. Lets say you are successful in buying at month's low and able to sell in the next month at the month's high, the highest gain you could make is 97% (March 1992 saw a high of 4318 and February 1992 saw a low of 2193).
  • Can you believe that you would never lose money if you bought at any of the month's low as the Sensex has always gone higher in the next month. In other words, in all the months, at least on one occasion, the Sensex has always gone higher than the previous month's low in the subsequent month.
  • On the other hand, lets say you bought at month's high and sold next month at the month's low, the worst possible case is that you would lose 49% and the best possible case is that you could gain 2%. It is even more unbelievable that you would make a gain only in 4 out of 291 months. (2.1%, 1.1%, 0.3%, 0.2%). You'd end losing money in the remaining 287 months.

3 month performance
  • The sensex has posted a 124% in the 3 month period ending March 1992. It declined 38% in 3 month period ending November 2008.
  • Assuming you picked the index at the lows of December 1991, you could have made a gain of 139% by March 1992. On the other hand, if you had picked up at the highs of July 2008, you could have lost 49% by October 2008.

Continue reading on Linkedin Pulse


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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Donating to #NepalEarthquake, PMNRF clauses, and other points


Update: Its clear now that the PMNRF will help Indian citizens who have been affected by the earthquake.




Like many, I have been wondering if the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund can offer help to Nepal, especially because of the 3rd clause in the T&Cs of the donation as copied below.
  1. Contributions from Government/budgetary support or from the balance sheets of PSUs  are not accepted in PMNRF.
  2. Conditional contributions, where the donor specifically mentions that the amount is meant for a particular purpose, are  not accepted in the Fund.
  3. PMNRF provides relief only to the citizens of India. Hence contributions wherein the donor mention that the amount is meant for the foreign citizens/calamities abroad, are  not accepted in the Fund.   
However, it is interesting to note that the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) is working in Nepal and its source of funding is definitely Indian Government. Next, whatever help India is offering to Nepal also is funded by some source in India only. So, we can not be sure yet about how they account for these transactions and expenses. So, I'd just go ahead and donate to PMNRF and let them take a call on what they do. In any case, I can be certain that my donation will be used for a right cause.


So, where are people donating now? And where should you donate if you plan to?

This tweet by PM Modi doesn't clarify where the donation was sent.

Several companies are pledging funds to the PMNRF now. So, what I'd do is simply go ahead and donate to the PMNRF. The amount will definitely be of help, in some way. Moreover, I am sure that my donation gets used for a good cause. 

Just take that step now and donate. No second thoughts. Donate wherever to whomever whatever you can but take care to ensure your funds are going to a correct organization. 

Unfortunately, the world has vultures and scavengers who are ready to take advantages of adversities too. 

Personally, I wouldn't donate to any NGOs, especially considering the kind of outcomes we are seeing these days and also their dubious claims. If I, personally, would have to choose among NGOs only, the I would choose Sewa International, solely because I have seen their work.


Donate now, and #PrayforNepal




Here are some points taken from the PMNRF and PMO India websites for further reading.
  • The PMO has 2 funds, namely the PM National Relief Fund and the National Defence Fund. 
  • The resources of the PMNRF are utilized primarily to render immediate relief to families of those killed in natural calamities like floods, cyclones and earthquakes, etc. and to the victims of the major accidents and riots. Assistance from PMNRF is also rendered, to partially defray the expenses for medical treatment like heart surgeries, kidney transplantation, cancer treatment, etc.
  • The fund consists entirely of public contributions and does not get any budgetary support. The corpus of the fund is invested with banks in fixed deposits. Disbursements are made with the approval of the Prime Minister. 
  • PMNRF has not been constituted by the Parliament. The fund is recognized as a Trust under the Income Tax Act and the same is managed by Prime Minister or multiple delegates for national causes. 
  • PMNRF operates from the Prime Minister’s Office, South Block, New Delhi-110011 and does not pays any license fee. PMNRF is exempt under Income Tax Act, 1961 under Section 10 and 139 for return purposes. 
  • Prime Minister is the Chairman of PMNRF and is assisted by Officers/ Staff on honorary basis. 
  • Permanent Account Number of PMNRF is AACTP4637Q.

Now, some important questions and answers that PMNRF offers.

What criterions have been fixed for disbursal of funds held under PMNRF?
  • The disbursement out of the fund is made at the discretion of the Prime Minister, and in accordance with the Prime Minister’s directions.

Are contributions towards the PMNRF exempted from Income Tax?
  • Yes, all contributions towards the PMNRF are exempted from Income Tax under Section 80(G).

Who are eligible to receive money from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund?
  • The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is primarily utilized to render immediate relief to families of those affected by natural calamities like floods, cyclones and earthquakes etc. and to victims of the major accidents and riots. In addition to this, the PMNRF provides financial assistance to indigent patients for treatment of major diseases at Government/PMNRF empanelled hospitals to partially defray the expenses.

Now, the next big question is, Can a National Relief Fund be used to offer help outside India? 

  • The straight answer could be NO. However, there could be situations where the PM may use his discretion but again, that should in some way help Indian citizens.

So, what will happen to the funds that are donated to PMNRF for the purpose of #NepalEarthquake relief?
  • They could be used to help Indians stranded in Nepal or those who have unfortunately lost their lives due to the earthquake. There has been one situation that I have sighted below. Thus, we should await details on this.

Details of relief measures funded out of the PMNRF for purposes such as accidents, terrorist activities and communal conflagrations in recent years are as follows:-
S.N. Purpose Relief Measure
6. Bus accident in Nepal on 15-07-2012. Ex-gratia of Rs. 1 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased persons has been sanctioned. Rs. 37 lakh has been released for 37 death cases.




Friday, 27 March 2015

Breakfast with #KelloggsWaleGuptaji


Written exclusively for Kellogg's India

Verma: Hello Guptaji. Kaise ho

Gupta: Badiya Vermaji. Aap bolo. Bahut din se Golf course mein nahin dikhe?

Verma: Kya batayein Guptaji, health problems hain. Doctors se milne mein hi din nikal jaata hai

Gupta: Khaane pe control rakho, sab theek ho jaayega.

Verma: Ab aap ki tarah dieting toh hum nahi kar sakte. Rukha sukha khaana humse na ho paayega.

Gupta: Arey, main toh badiya aur swadisht khaana khaata hoon ji. Ek kaam karo, kal breakfast ke liye mere yaahaan aa jayo. Khud pata kar lo.

Verma: Theek hai, subah milte hain phir

Gupta: Jaroor. Jai Shri Krishna.

* * * 

Gupta: Sunti ho, kal Vermaji aa rahein hain nashte par. Achha sa kuch bana dena. Woh Kellog's ka kuch naya recipe mil gaya toh maja aa jaayega.

Mrs Gupta: Theek hai ji, dekhti hoon

Log on to https://www.facebook.com/anaajkanashta

Mrs Gupta: Yeh kuch Tandoori Cheese Cornflakes aaya hai ji, naya wala.

Gupta: Tandoori Cheese? Badiya hai. Dekho na, kya karna hai, kaise karna hai.

Mrs Guptra: Yahaan pe poora list toh diya hai. 
  • 2 Cups crushed cornflakes
  • 2 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp chilli flakes
  • ½ Tsp salt
  • ¼ Cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Tandoori Masala
  • 2 Tsp oil

Directions :
  • Combine all the ingredients in a plastic bag, Seal and shake.
  • Toss till evenly coated and serve

Gupta: Arey dekho, video bhi hai. Click karo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceE_vZ3xZ-g

Mrs Gupta: Arey wah, kitna aasan hai. Yehi karte hain.

* * *

Verma: Namaste Guptaji.

Gupta: Aayiye aayiye Vermaji, bade dinoan ke baad. Kaise ho bhabiji.

Mrs Verma: Acche hain. Aap kaise ho. Bacche kaise hain

Mrs Gupta: Sab Bhagwan ki krupa.

* * *

Verma: Guptaji, aapne to healthy breakfast ka daava kiya tha. Yahaan pe toh mukje Tandoori Cheese ki khushboo aa rahi hai.

Gupta: Haan Vermaji, yehi toh hai woh raaz. Kellogg's ne kayi saare naye recipes diye hain corn flakes banane ke. Isse aapko corn flakes khaane ka ehsaas bhi nahi rahega, aur taste ka taste bhi mil jaayega.

Verma: Accha. Yeh to badiya hai. Humko bhi batao isske baare mein.

Mrs Gupta: Bahut aasan hai. Bas Kellogg's pe website, ya facebook page, ya youtube page par jaayiye aur aapko saari jaankari mil jaayi. Sau se jyada recipes hain wahan pe.

Mrs Verma: Yeh aapne bahut achhi baat batayi. Kal se hum bhi shuru karte hai #KelloggsWaleGuptaji

Mrs Gupta: #KelloggsWaleVermaji

Verma, Gupta: Ha Ha Ha !!!


Times have changed and live too has changed. From a world where we had enough time to cook food and savor it, we have run into a world where we hardly have any time to eat food, forget preparing it. Further, the commercial world around us has been quick to catch up this mess by opening us restaurants at every corner of the street. The food consumption outside home has only been rising over the years. Its always a great practice to have food at home for several reasons. For those of us who are stretched for time, Kellogg's has come up with these brilliant options. Corn flakes have been turned into a tasty recipe and packaged in a different way altogether. Consuming ready food along with satisfaction to taste buds is a great advantage that this provides. Breakfast is perhaps the most important meal of the day. Let's begin the day with a Kellogg's meal.