BEING MORTAL- A Book Review

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Some time back, i  had gifted a book by Atul Gawande “The checklist Manifesto” to one of my friend, and received really good feedback. Prior to that i had only heard about the writer, from various sources, and many recommendations were available for his books. So this time around , roaming around the shelves of Crosswords , when i came across “Being Mortal” , i decided to pick it up. The initial few pages weren’t that interesting , however i started gaining interest soon enough.

Writer is a surgeon in US and talks about gerontology, assisted deaths and old age care facilities in general. The topic is as such new and at least i haven’t read anything on these lines prior to this book. Atul has relevant questions like even after having substantial number of elderly people, we do not take the enough measures to make their last phase comfortable. He also points out to issues in medicine world, where doctors are ready to offer options  after options but refrain admitting that no matter how much they attempt, each one of us is mortal and is bound to die.

He has quoted examples and real life scenarios to make a case for assisted deaths , hospice care to be  specific. I am not expert to comment on the subject as i think the concept is yet to gain popularity in indian context, but his arguments do have a valid point. I also liked the section where Gawande has advocated having last phase discussion with the patient, to know what their preferences would be. It actually enables the family to take tough calls and also provides assurance that whatever was done, was what the patient himself wanted.

The language of the book is easy, and even though he is a medical practitioner, book is devoid of any jargons so as to make it difficult to comprehend. With increasing medical bills , hospitals & doctors turning more into business , it surely gives us food for thought

All & all, a very good and thought provoking work of Gawande. I surely do recommend.

EAT, PRAY, LOVE- A Book Review

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved to read, and always carried books along. Suddenly one winter evening , when the sun was all orange and red, she realized she had nothing left to read that night. She became really tensed and started desperately searching for a book to read. She searched and searched in her collection, for something to lay hands on, but finally could manage to find only one book , lying there untouched , since the time it was bought. And the book was “Eat Pray Love”.

The above was , because i wanted to give some different start to my blog posts…. 😉 🙂 . Anyways , so i recently finished reading the novel “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert   . Yes its the same book which formed the basis of a film by the same name starring Julia Roberts. I wasn’t much enthusiastic about the book from the very start as somehow i just knew , it wasn’t “MY TYPES”. But as my cardinal rule goes, a book can never be left unfinished, so i struggled , but completed reading it.

The book  proved all my doubts and apprehensions to be right. It was a big disappointment. The writing is so shallow that you can actually catch that she is making it all up and they are nowhere close to any real life experiences. As per Gilbert , all italian do is eat and all indians do is see god. Her description of the countries is so skewed and so foreign that it actually makes you wonder if she really has ever visited the countries she is talking about.

She talks about attaining moksha and kundalini jagruti,in just matter of months,however anyone who is remotely associated with meditation, will tell, that this is impossible.By making up stories about yoga, and moksha, and niravana, Ms. Gilbert has very cunningly made millions out of her book.

The idea of leaving all your problems , and running away to a distant land , is i think so compelling to everyone , that many of the readers would probably fall for that mirage. But in reality, real courage is not in running away , its in facing and fighting back. Yes travel is fun, its liberating but you can’t use it to escape from your issues. There is no miracle which will happen , so as to dissolve all your issues, and problems in thin air. (BTW that’s exactly what happens to her issues with her husband, its actually hilarious to read her describing  her and her husband’s soul meeting in vaccum and Voila !! issues resolved) Travel, meditation , Yoga, Nature , they don’t teach you to run away, they infact give you strength to counter your problems and find solutions.

I haven’t visited Indonesia , so can’t comment on how true her account of Medicine men & Women were, but it did feel fictionalized. I personally did not find the book inspiring or liberating, as many claim it to be and would probably  not recommend it.

 

PS: Views are purely personal and even though i did not like the book, i know various others who swear by it.

If we were having coffee…

I would tell you that i wanted to capture the sunrise from my newly bought SLR , and was wanting to go to some hill out of the city limits for the same. Going alone wasn’t much of an option and i couldn’t manage to find a company. So finally i had to settle for a sunset instead and i could finally try my hands on landscape photography. img_0206

I would tell you that in my recent trip to Vadodara, i finally managed to visit Laxmi Vilas palace museum, with the sole purpose of having a look at Raja Ravi Verma works displayed there. And i was floored.. even for a novice like me, with no background whatsoever in art; they appeared phenomenal. The paintings gave a physical shape to the divine beings we worship, they seemed so real. I am so glad i visited the place, as the collection is said to the largest in the world (As i read somewhere)

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(Painting  depicting story of Ganga & shantanu along  with bhishm . Source : Internet)

I also tried some really good non veg preparations at one of the local restaurants Khama Ghani. The menu stood out , with some lip smacking items like keeme ki potli, leemda chicken, patthar ka gosht etc . They had authentic jodhpuri cuisine and even the price was quite reasonable.

I also tried Nitrogen icecreams for the first time, and found it to be good.. Nothing extra ordinary but just good enough.

I would ask you how your weekend was, and what all you did !!!

 

THE JUNGLE BOOK

I am a big wildlife lover.. there is something about the dense and thick forest, the rustling of woods, the call of birds, that feels so enigmatically attractive. I have recently started travelling to wildlife sanctuaries and have managed to see some animals /birds in their natural habitat. It is fascinating to see them roaming around ,undisturbed and unperturbed. Here are few of my chanced encounters which i truly cherish , however lack of a good camera, might be one reason , that the real charisma of the moment will not be that evident from the photos. Nevertheless , it definitely will give you some flavor of my Jungle book diaries….

 

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THE MAJESTIC… a Female Lioness along with her Cubs @ Gir , Janugadh , Gujarat

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THE CROOKED ONE ..we saw this fox near a village , while our way back from Gir

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WILD BOAR @ GIR

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These are the Migratory Greater Flamingo @ Nal Sarovar , Ahmedabad

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This is a tough one to guess.. As the animal has its back towards the camera. Its a Hyena, which we spotted @ BERA, Udaipur.

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A White Eyed Buzzard

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THE INDIAN TIGER @ Bandhavgarh

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If you pay a little attention..  Its a female Tigress with 2 of her Cubs . This also is from Bandhavgarh.

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A Leopard spotted in the dark @ Bera, Udaipur

Apart from these i have also seen flying squirrels, but since they were spotted in absolute darkness, i don’t have a proof of it.

But indeed these are some my best wildlife moments so far, hope i have many more !!!

Ghar wali diwali

This Diwali was a rushed one, unlike my other Diwali holidays. Some official work ,which was communicated at the last moment , made me travel to Mumbai and getting a railway ticket became an impossible task. Finally managed to get a bus ticket for quadruple the usual amount and reached home. In between all this, i had to forego one day leave that i had taken. Alas.. Work is work !!! Anyways this time there was work piling up even at home , as lot of chores i had been putting up for quite some time, had to be completed on war front mode. And by the way they had no connection whatsoever with Diwali. So getting up early , completing the work till well past midnight , assured, i remain exhausted. Nevertheless, time with family is always fun; so all cousins in place, we managed to hold some HIGH PROFILE MEETING 😉 . Endless laughter sprees, leg pulling, sumptuous food , made the trip worth it. Posting some pics i have managed to capture:

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The rangoli i managed on the D Day…

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A photo wall, which me and the sister tried and create as part of home decor..

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Yes we are kind of a crazy family…

 

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Diwali Decor….

FOOD & ME…

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I am a die hard foodie, and quite unapologetically so. I find it fascinating to indulge in the myriad of food options one have, not just eating but i also love cooking and trying out different things. Although i am yet to taste like a million food items from across the world, but i do consider myself a bit above average , in terms of knowing quite a bit of them. At least i can boast of having tried quite a rich variety of cuisines and food items available in India. But i have often encountered that people around me are not that experimental about their food choices. They more often stick to the known , tried and tasted varieties and miss out on some really amazing stuff. Lot of my relatives and friends often ask me to tell them what exactly to try out , when they go to some restaurant which is not indian or for that matter Punjabi or south Indian. I thought i will list down some of these suggestions on my blog as well. Although these are really really basic food items and NOT AT ALL exhaustive, but would definitely help those who are still in FRESHER zone, and have just started their food journey:

  1. ITALIAN : Italian has to be one of my all time favourite. That is my GO TO food, when in doubt I say ITALIAN. For those who wish to start with Italian, let me tell you first, Pizza hut /Dominos pizza and pasta is not what ITALIAN actually is. For the appetizers,  try the limitless varieties of Bruschetta , consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with tomatoes, olive salt and pepper ; the toppings can vary from restaurant to restaurant. The most common soup , is Minestrone; having loads of veggies along with pasta. The main course can be Cannelloni which is a form of pasta but has  filling stuffed inside (If you are trying at Little Italy, it is going to be spinach filling), or  Wood burnt pizza , Raviolli (type of dumpling composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin pasta dough or Risotto ( Rice dish, but i am not a big fan of this one). End the lunch /Dinner with a sweet panna cotta, a sort of cooked and flavoured cream.
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  2. MIDDLE EASTERN :This brings only one name to my mind ” HUMMUS”. Boiled chickpea paste with garlic, tahini(which by the way is sesame seeds powder) and lots of olive oil. You generally eat it with a Pita Bread which is made from fermented maida. One can also try falafels , a deep fried patty made from again chickpeas. If you are a non vegetarian, you can try out  Kibbeh, which are made from meat and cereals. For the non vegetarian in you, gorge on the Amazing variety of Kebabs.Image result for middle eastern cuisine
  3. THAI : Thai cuisine is among the most popular cuisines in the world,and is said to be one of the tastiest. It is definitely a bit heavier on the non veg side, but you can find many vegetarian variants as well. Lay your hands on Khanum, the thai rice noodles; easy on the stomach yet very tasty. Thai food is often loaded with veggies and have very strong and distinct flavours.You can also try the Jasmine rice, and one of the salads that tops my list is Som tam, which is  made from raw papaya. And of course your THAI rendezvous is not complete without the Thai curry, mix of vegetables, curry, coconut milk and spices.

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To be continued ……

 

PS: Pictures are downloaded from internet.