A pinch of faith

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We secretly believe and hope to sail through life achieving all that we ever wished for, but troubled waters somewhere hit the life shores and knock us over. While battling internally through dark ties, is there a way to deal with these moments of helplessness and weakness ?  Learned people and wise words can show a way, but we need to find our own path and must reach out for our own truth.
There is one thing that helps us all through by following us in our journey of finding our truth, and that is our own little PINCH OF FAITH.  A deep down feeling of “knowing” that it will all pass and you will get through.
Faith helps defy fear, because fear is a paralysis that shuts down our sense of reasoning and therefore our sense of taking a rational action.
Faith gives us courage.  All the unfathomable things achieved by great men started with courage.
Faith gives us hope.  Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison in a hope that he would be free one day and change things forever.
Faith is light that doesn’t let any cobweb or doubt enter our hearts while we are struggling to stay afloat in tough times.  **Faith helps us see the temporary nature of everything in life.
Do what you must in your reach to set things right, do it with the determination of steel that sees you through till the end, do it by taking full ownership of consequences, do it with all your might and will and lastly, do it with that PINCH OF FAITH.
—- Anadita Singh
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The guardian tree

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The Guardian Tree or ‘NAGALINGA’. believed to be a native of the Central American rain forests, nobody is sure how or when these tall, spectacular beauties arrived in the Indian sub-continent.  While some scholars say they were brought by European traders, others propose a more ancient migration route.
The tree could have been a native of an ancient land mass connecting Asia and the Americas several millennia ago, that later separated into the Continents that we know today.  Bengaluru and Chennai were once famous for their NAGALINGA avenues, very few of which survive today.  There are bound to be at least a couple of them in every neighbourhood though.
Known as Mallikarjuna, Lingada Huvu, Nagasampige and Kaman Gola around India, the trees are commonly planted as GUARDIAN TREES around Shiva temples and Buddhist shrines, as they hold special significances in the mythologies of both religions.
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They are also called CANNONBALL TREES in English, because of their spherical woody fruit that fall to the ground with a loud crash as they ripen.  The strong-smelling pulp of the fruit is edible, but with caution, as it’s known to cause allergies.  It is used in traditional medicine as a disinfectant and an anti-depressant.  The pulp is sometimes fed to pigs and poultry as an anti-helminthic.
If you want one of these beautiful trees in your neighbourhood, you will have to remember that it is going to be an enormous tree, and you’ll need to make sure there aren’t any overhead cables and things obstructing its growth.
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Collect one of the fallen fruit and scoop out its translucent bluish pulp.  Separate the black oval seeds from the pulp and dry them out in the shade.  Plant them in partial shade, and water them daily until the seedlings are about a foot high.  Plant them out in the sun, with plenty of room for them to grow tall and big.  If you can’t find any ripe cannonballs, you can just as easily take a woody cutting from the top of the tree and plant it out in the sun.  And, in just a few years, you’ll be the proud parent of one of these beautiful, mysterious trees, that will be the talk of your neighbourhood for years to come.
—-Sriram Aravamudan.

For peace and harmony

Choosing colours according to your zodiac sign helps create PEACE & HARMONY at home.  An ancient esoteric belief is gaining favour with many, that the colours at home influence or alter moods and feelings of the inmates.
ARIES : Red, scarlet and carmine are usually colours associated with this sign.  However, your self esteem and sense of independence tend to disable you from comprehending another’s point of view, so avoid these colours.  Use the harmonising and healing hues of GREEN in lanterns, torans, rangolis, candles, table display to decorate your room.  Also, bringing in live greens as embellishments will surely dress up your home with positive vibrations.
TAURUS : Being an earthy sign, shades of green, orange and yellow at home empower your personality traits.  To help strengthen love and social harmony at home, you need to control your streak of rigidity and stubbornness.  Surround yourself with vibrations of RED-VIOLET and VIOLET by placing accents in these colours in your home.
GEMINI : Bedspreads, cushion covers, drapes, candles, artifacts in shades of blue will emanate calm and cool vibrations in your rooms promoting feelings of peace in you.  Since any display of passionate emotions makes you uneasy, you would do well to align with HUES OF BLUE.
CANCER : You need a lot of inner quiet too.  Even as you use the colours of your sign, such as white, opal, iridescent silvery hues, smoky grey and blue, opt for INDIGO.  Use this colour liberally in your torans, rangolis, candles, curtains, carpets, table cloths and what have you.  Indigo radiates just the kind of energy that will balance your over-sensitive nature.
LEO : While gold, orange and red colours in your house will surely be compatible with your innate virtues of loyalty, generosity, creativity and royalty, the energies emanating from ULTRAMARINE BLUE and INDIGO will surely add that extra sparkle and light at home.  Use liberal doses of these colours to empower the vibrations of social harmony and joy while dressing up your home.
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VIRGO : Your sign, by default, makes you, at times, sceptical, fussy, and overly critical in pursuit of perfection.  Surround yourself with the vibrations of AQUA BLUE.  The colour will aid in calming both, the positive and negative electro-magnetic links around your body at home.  Bring the colour into your home by ornamenting with appropriately-shaded accessories.
LIBRA : Colours that promote love and social harmony for you are RED, SCARLET & CARMINE.  Dress up your house with candles, flowers, frames, torans, etc in these hues and your aura will be in harmony.
SCORPIO : If the predominant colours in your house are those of your sun-sign maroon, crimson, dark red or violet, then it is believed, the weaker traits of your personality tend to get empowered.  Choose shades of GREEN to ornament your abode.  The hue is said to heighten the virtues of your personality such as loyalty, depth and determination, and temper the weaknesses.
SAGITTARIUS : Incorporate the auspicious colour of TURMERIC YELLOW in your décor.  The vibes you will receive from this colour will help you to have a more balanced perspective towards whatever unfolds.  A spattering of ORANGE will further enliven the spirit and mood of your living space enabling you to bond well with those in it.
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CAPRICORN : One of your characteristics best avoided is undue conservatism.  Bring out the silverware or anything else that will help deck up your house in silvery hues.  Envelope yourself in the vibrations of SILVER.  It will help you be more tolerant towards others and accommodating to changes, new trends, attitudes and outlook of family and friends.
AQUARIUS : One of your weaknesses is that you can be very cold.  Hence, ensure your house is adorned with embellishments in GOLD and ORANGE colours.  The energies of these hues are believed to invoke traits in you that promote love and social harmony.
PISCES : Decorate your house in the traditional auspicious colours of YELLOW, ORANGE-YELLOW and other EARTHY TONES.  The vibrations of these shades will enable you to be structured and grounded, by tempering your flip side impractical, laid-back or complicated.  Bed sheets, cushion covers, curtains, table cloths, candles, flowers, rangolis, radiating the energy of these colours will help harmonise your relationships with those at home.
——- Shahin Ashraf Ali.

I choose to be a happy being

Blast from the past…

SPEAKZEASY

As children, we often sang this little ditty : IF YOU’RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT, CLAP YOUR HANDS, and again, IF YOU’RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT, STAMP YOUR FEET, and so on. The pursuit of happiness is not easy.

Material possessions——-wealth, a car, a house——do not guarantee a good life. Close relationships, job satisfaction and working towards greater good ——-DO.

The tendency TO BE HAPPY is an INHERITED TRAIT. The secret to happiness is KNOWING WHO YOU ARE ALREADY HAPPY. Happiness needs to be a BEING STATE.

the-art-of-being-happy-lies-inSonja Lyubomirsky, ( author of THE HOW OF HAPPINESS) : 50% of our happiness levels are GENETICALLY DETERMINED, 10% are affected by CIRCUMSTANCES, while the remaining 40% is subject to SELF-CONTROL.

Seeking external sources of happiness can SABOTAGE YOUR PEACE. Dr. Aymee Coget suggests : Focus on controlling your emotional state by CHOOSING HAPPINESS. The American writer, Rita Mae Brown says :…

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Authentic Mexican dishes

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(1) MOLE :  It is a sauce containing a complex mixture of more than 20 ingredients, ranging from chilli pepper to chocolate.  Also referred to as MOLE POBLANO, this thick and tasty sauce is served over turkey, chicken, pork or even rice.
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(2) TAMALES : is a traditional Mexican dish, made usually with corn dough, called MASA. It is either wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves.  This preparation is interesting because it can be eaten with chicken, turkey, eggs, honey, fruits or beans —- as fillings.  TAMALE could be paired with ATOLE, a thick hot chocolate-flavoured drink made from watery corn-starch, which is a by-product of TAMALE preparations.
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(3) POZOLE : Known to be the traditional pre-Columbian stew from Mexico, POZOLE is made from hominy corn.  This is stewed for hours, sometimes even overnight, with either chicken, pork or just vegetables.  Once it is thick and smooth, other seasonings and garnish are added for a desired flavour.  Typically, lettuce, radish, onion, lime, oregano and chilli are added.
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(4) GORDITA : It is a small cake made with corn flour, which is stuffed with cheese, meat or other fillings of your choice.  Prepared as a thick tortilla, this dough can also be prepared with wheat flour.  Some interesting fillings, in a GORDITA, include pork, chicken, beef, beans, cheese, potatoes and eggs along with your choice of your Mexican sauces.
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(5) CHILAQUILES : These are nothing but corn tortillas, cut in quarters and lightly fried.  These tortillas are made interesting because of the green and red Salsa or MOLE poured over them.  The mixture is then boiled, until the tortillas begin to soften.  Once this mixture is ready, it is served with either re-fried beans, eggs, beef or chicken and onion and avocado slices too.

Super cool dos at Jeju Island

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(1) The ATV : Get your Batman on and indulge in cool edgy rides while at Jeju.  Skid along as you get set to break allowed limits and be a total badass.
(2) Horse Riding : Get on those handsome horses and race with the wind.  Take in some fresh air and adventure to experience the magic of Jeju.  Giddy up !!
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(3) Find Nemo : Hah, kidding.  Visit the Aqua Planet and say “Aenyonggg” to the fishies.  Take pictures of them and have a super entertaining time.
(4) Rock n’Roll : Sand castles are so last decade. Be innovative, and make cool rock structures.  get that arty genius out and pull off a Picasso.
060551_110901015106(5) Just Chill : Take some time off to, well, do nothing.  Just pick a cool spot and laze around, enjoying the surroundings.  Sometimes, all it takes is to do nothing and chillax.  Planning is so over-rated, no?
(6) Check how close you are to being Superman : Come on and box, box, and box some more as Jeju helps you find out how strong you are.
(7) Drive your own yacht : You get to feel like a total king.  Drive your own ‘luxury yacht’ and soak in all the glory.  That is cooool.
(8) Gorge On : No matter how much you love travelling, some corner of your heart always wants Ghar ka khana.  So, dig into some delicious Indian food while in Jeju.  Our personal favourite — The Baghdad Café.
(9) Finally jump around a little and see the scenic backdrops which you will find in bulk.  You know that a perfect picture is always the cherry on the cake, after a mind-blowing trip.
—— NDTV Goodtimes  
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The cushion of the sea

Blast from the past…

SPEAKZEASY

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There is what is called the CUSHION OF THE SEA.  Down beneath the surface that is agitated by storms, and driven about with winds, there is a part of the sea that is never stirred.  When we dredge the bottom and bring up the remains of animal and vegetable life, we find that they give evidence of not having been disturbed in the least, for hundreds and thousands of years.

The peace of God is that eternal calm which, like the CUSHION OF THE SEA, lies far too deep down to be reached by any external trouble and disturbance, and he who enters into the presence of God, becomes partaker of that undisturbed calm.

—-Doctor A. T. Pearson

When winds are raging o’er the upper ocean

And billows wild contend with angry roar

It is said, far down beneath the wild commotion

That peaceful stillness reigns evermore.

Far, far beneath…

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