Organics & Millets 2018 International Trade Fair at Bengaluru

Organics & Millets 2018 International Trade Fair is scheduled to happen from January 19 – 21, 2018 at Palace Grounds, Bengaluru.

To promote the event, Karnataka’s Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Shri Krishna Byre Gowda, visited and interacted with us bloggers and journalists at Prems Grama Bhojanam, Adyar, Chennai. A few glimpses from that event is embedded in the below slideshow –

This organic and millet fair will happen over three days and 400+ stalls are expected to occupy the 1,00,000+ sq. feet of exhibition space. There will be millet food courts, conferences, workshops, interaction/competitions for students and public & promotions for businesses operating in this space.

The 3-day expo prominently features organic foods & processing, organic textiles, organic dairy and animal products, Millets and processed millet products, certification bodies, processing and packaging technology/machinery, etc.

Visitor profile includes farmers, vendors & businesses, consumers, Government and everyone else who wants to switch over to healthier foods or help others do so through their businesses.

Why you should opt for millets over rice/wheat –

  • Highly nutritious
  • Gluten-free
  • Low glycemic index
  • Grows well with minimum water as rain-fed crops, reducing the consequences of water scarcity and carbon emissions.
  • Requires minimal soil fertility hence avoiding harmful chemical pesticides and manures to a great extent.
  • Some millets can be harvested and be re-grown multiple times in the same year, increasing profits.
  • Cost required to produce millets, and hence the selling price, is lesser.

On the day of the promo meet at Prems Grama Bhojanam, Adyar — which is an eatery that serves millet-based cooked food in Chennai — we discussed on how all agriculture was organic even a few decades back, how businesses and foreign Governments promoted chemicals, how those chemicals affect people’s health, why organic and millet foods are beneficial, what are the issues hindering the adoption of millets, and other topics.

  • It seems there are entire villages, even in Tamil Nadu where people primarily eat millets, and rice is only a festival food.
  • Eating just one type of food is not advisable and millets bring a balance in the nutrition.
  • Millets are healthier and easier to digest.
  • Although the cost of millets is higher now, mass consumption and hence mass production can bring down costs drastically.
  • Lack of trust in a few organic shops — with or without certifications — is a hurdle that we need to tolerate and cross together in the initial stages.
  • More eateries and cooking shows ought to be organized to make public acquainted with millet-based foods, which are very similar to the regular rice/wheat foods that we eat.

Personally, I switched from rice to kambu (bajra) about 4 years back and have reduced at least 15% of my weight just because of that one change. I need much less bajra per serving and it is very light on the stomach. Overall my health has been better since that change.

Hence, I suggest others also to try millets. Even if you don’t want to switch over to millets right away, try to eat millet-based food occasionally – like once or twice every week. Govt. of Karnataka has even released an entire recipe book featuring millet foods.

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Our Visit to Kaveri Maha Pushkarani, Mayiladuthurai

So last Sunday (24.9.2017) we went to Kaveri Pushkarani/Pushkar at Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu. Generally, Kaveri Pushkarani is celebrated once in 12-years. But this year is special as it is the year of Kaveri Maha Pushkarani/Pushkaram where a special alignment of stars occurs once in 144 years! For more details refer to this Wikipedia article.

This festival is observed for a period of 12-days and this year it was held from Sept. 12 to Sept. 24, 2017. We were lucky to have found time to visit and take a dip in the water on the very last day.

We poured water on ourselves from some tanks/wells set-up (initially by Medival Cholas) at this location. Maybe due to the heavy crowd, the water was quite muddy. You can see it in the above slideshow. Besides, it seems there is not much water in Kaveri.

We went to a couple of Temples next to this Pushkar location and returned to Chennai on the next day. Many notables including Kanchi Acharyas and even EPS visited this holy place this year.

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AXN Vikings Warrior Workout by Gold’s Gym

AXN Live R.E.D TV Channel’s Vikings – The Heroes of Nords Mythology Action Drama International series is now being aired in India at 10 P.M., Monday to Friday.

Coinciding with this series, Gold’s Gym India has come up with the Vikings Warrior workout that involves doing the following workouts, one-minute each, continuously – without taking a break.

The exercises involved and their order is given below –

  1. Jump squats
  2. Plank to push up
  3. Jab – cross punches
  4. Mountain climbers
  5. Crunches
  6. Burpees
  7. Knee kicks
  8. Warm walks
  9. Uppercut punches
  10. Side plank

Here is a graphic gif illustration of each of the above workouts.

Gold’s Gym Chennai (Adyar – LB Road branch) gave a demonstration of this workout where the participants perform the Vikings Workout for 30-seconds each. Here’s the video,

For more information about AXN Live R.E.D. Vikings, refer to this article, for more information about Gold’s Gym, have a look at their Facebook page.

Preethi Turbo Chop – Our Experience

Preethi Turbo Chop is the smaller version of a mixer grinder (mini mixie) that can grind/chop vegetables and fruits into fine pieces. If you are looking for a device to cut/chop vegetables into large/medium pieces to make poriyal (large bits), etc. this is not the apt device.

If you are looking for a device to cut/chop vegetables into large/medium pieces to make poriyal (large bits), etc. this is not the apt device.

However, if you want to chop them into finer pieces or even grind them into a paste or make them into finely ground poriyal, kesari, juice, chutney, etc., Preethi Turbo Chop is a good option.

Here is a small overview video of Preethi Turbo Chop, its parts, assembly, and a short look into its operation –

Recently, we made a few Deepavali dishes using Preethi Turbo Chop – Tomato rice, Cabbage vada, Carrot Halwa & Pomegranate juice. Detailed recipes for making these dishes are available at the above link. Based on our experience, here are the advantages & limitations of Preethi Turbo Chop.

Advantages –

  1. Easy operation
  2. Saves time, chopping is fast
  3. Press action enables us to choose rotation/cutting intensity
  4. Large bowl
  5. Simple setup & assembly
  6. Easy to clean
  7. 450W motor is powerful and doesn’t consume as much electricity as its 750W mixer grinder variants
  8. Not only a chopper but also a blender
  9. Value for money
  10. Occupies very less space
  11. Sharp blades
  12. White colour looks simple and elegant in the kitchen

Limitations –

  1. Slightly difficult to clean at the motor opening, especially in between chopping multiple veg/fruits
  2. Doesn’t chop veggies into medium or large bits, chops them only into fine bits or powder. If you accidentally extend the operation, it becomes a paste. Need to be careful how long you use the motor
  3. We are dependent on electricity for its operation. Doesn’t work during power cuts
  4. Lower jar could have had a handle

Here is a demo video created by the company –

You can buy Preethi Turbo Chop Online from Amazon.

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Thupparivaalan Movie Review

Thupparivalan is a Tamil movie directed by the popular director Mysskin. I have seen two other movies made by him – Onayum Aattukuttiyum & Pisasu and liked both. So I wanted to see this movie too.

One thing that sets Mysskin apart from other directors is his gripping narrative style. You cannot think of taking your eyes off the screen even for a moment, although the story is average, the plot has a lot of holes and inconsistencies, there are no songs, the fights are artificial and,

For the first time, there is so much gore and violence. Pisasu and Onayum Aattukuttiyum, in contrast, were movies that had the potential to be gory but the director chose to make them emotional affairs. Hmm…

This movie did not need all that violence. I suggest not taking kids with you to the movie hall!

There were a number of places where we think why did the character had to do this, but the director skillfully compensates all these flaws using his inimitable style of narration. I really missed his emotional touch, which was predominant in his two previous movies.

But I liked this movie as well. There was not a single frame where I was bored. If you like horror movies, I guess you’ll like this movie even more. I don’t think this movie belongs to the detective/mystery genre – it’s more of a thriller. Although the movie is quite long, it didn’t feel long. There are no songs in the movie and they weren’t required.

A good & different movie featuring a private detective. Do watch the movie in a theater – Tamil cinema is trying to move closer to Hollywood quality while still keeping the commercial elements intact!

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BTW, I forgot to mention that Vishal and Prasanna are the leading actors. Maybe that’s because the movie belongs to Mysskin right from the first frame 🙂 That said, I should mention here that the main antagonist (Vinay Rai) did one hell of a job. His action gave the jitters to all 🙂

Reduce Air Pollution at Home by Reducing Formaldehyde Exposure

You thought air inside your house is clean and free from air-pollution?

Think again.

Formaldehyde, a dangerous air pollutant – carcinogen and sensitizer, is found ten times more inside homes than outside.

Which materials are responsible for formaldehyde release at homes? 

  • Air fresheners/fragrances/perfumes
  • Wallpaper
  • Cleaning products containing tarpenes
  • Adhesives, Carpets
  • Cigarrates/e-cigarattes
  • Wood/Coal and even Gas Stoves
  • Combustion Exhausts from automobiles
  • Paper napkins
  • Easy care, Anti-wrinkle/shrink clothes and curtains treated with formaldehyde
  • Polyester clothing and pillow foam
  • Skincare products using formaldehyde as preservative
  • Cosmetics like nail polish and hair smootheners
  • Manufactured wood furniture products & furniture preservatives/coatings (Especially when these are brand new)

How does continuous exposure to formaldehyde affect one’s health?

Exposure to formaldehyde increases the risk of developing any of the following ailments depending on the exposure and body resistance of individuals.

  • Headaches, vomiting
  • Irritation/burning eyes and nose
  • Allergic reaction, fatigue, nausea
  • Wheezing, asthma
  • Skin rashes, allergy
  • Even cancer

How to reduce exposure to formaldehyde at homes?

  • Don’t allow smoking inside homes
  • Ventilate garages well enough that vehicular exhausts are released directly to the atmosphere
  • Ventilate homes with sufficient open windows, fans and exhaust fans so that any formaldehyde and other pollutants leave quickly
  • Don’t use chemical-based perfumes or air fresheners. Opt for natural/organic sources like agarbathi, camphor, sambarani, etc.
  • Have exhaust fans directly over cooking stoves
  • Buy and use natural/organic cotton-based clothing materials and handcrafted textiles that use natural dyes
  • Reduce humidity and temperature by using an Air Conditioner
  • Use denser filters with ACs.
  • Use indoor/outdoor plants that are known to reduce air pollutants in and around homes. A list of few such plants and trees is available here and here
  • Use natural and organic products as far as possible for cleaning and personal care
  • Try to avoid finished wood products like MDF, hardwood plywood, particleboard, etc.
  • Give preference to formaldehyde-free building materials like stainless steel, plastic, gypsum, etc. instead of wood
  • Prefer other (safer) coating materials instead of formaldehyde coating for furniture and other materials
  • Buy antique wooden furniture which mostly does not emit formaldehyde or have at least exhausted their capacity and no longer release this dangerous chemical
  • Develop a healthy lifestyle – keep switching between indoors and outdoor frequently to avoid continuous exposure. Encourage kids to play more outdoors

Use Royale Atmos paint from Asian Paints

Asian Paints has come up with Royale Atmos paints which, the company claims, reacts with formaldehyde and breaks it into harmless molecules. They also say that this paint also absorbs other air irritants like nicotine, ammonia, etc.

All you need to do is paint your house/office with Royale Atmos wall paint to protect your home for up to two years from air pollutants, as mentioned on their website.

Asian Paints says that Royale Atmos also absorbs malodours/foul smell and releases a good fragrance. It gives a smooth matte finish that gives a nice look to your walls and is equipped with Teflon surface protector to protect your walls against stains – which makes cleaning the walls easier.  It also comes with green assure seal.

More Information: Asian Paints Royale Atmos website.

Have a look at their TV Commercial featuring Deepika Padukone,

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For more exhaustive information on formaldehyde pollutant and how you can protect your family against it, check here and here

Leave me a Message through Sarahah!!

OK, finally I have also jumped on the bandwagon 🙂 Sarahah is a service/app that allows anyone to send anonymous messages to others without disclosing their (sender’s) identity. Of course, the recipient needs to first register in Sarahah to get a unique link for themselves which they can share on blogs, FB, etc., like how I have done here. They can later login on Sarahah to view the received messages. All messages through this app are anonymous.

I request you all to send me some constructive (or otherwise – it’s OK) feedback regarding my blogging activities, FB activities, etc. so that I can improve myself and create better content in the future.

Here is my Sarahah link –

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PS: I am purposefully closing comments on this post. Kindly use the above link to send me your views, whatever they may be 🙂 Of course, I won’t disclose/reply to your views even if I am able to guess the sender 🙂

Business Opportunities for Indians in South Africa

Doing Business with South Africa - SICCI Session, Chennai.

Today I went to an interactive session on “Doing Business with South Africa” organized by SICCI – The Southern India Chamber of Commerce & Industry and South African High Commission @ Taj Coromandel, Chennai. Here are some important pointers I gathered from that event, for people interested in engaging with South Africa economically –

  • No. of Indians in South Africa: 1.5 Million, 3% of the population.
  • South Africa accounts for 25% of the GDP of the entire African continent. Besides, the dignitaries claimed that SA is a good base for people wishing to do business with other African countries.
  • They mentioned that companies investing in South Africa can take back 100% of the profits generated. There maybe some T&Cs, do check…
  • Indian companies investing in SEZs in SA have lower corporate tax (15%) and are allowed duty-free imports of components used in production/assembly over there. Govt. also contributes a share of local training expenses.
  • People who wish to know which sectors would attract upcoming investments could refer to Industrial Policy Action Plan and National Development Plan released by Govt. of SA.
  • Tax incentives (12 i) are available for manufacturing investments; Incentives are also available for film/TV productions and a no. of other sectors.
  • South Africa, it seems, has a lot of ore deposits like platinum, iron, etc. They have 80% of the manganese ores of the world. They are looking for companies/ partners who could help them “beneficate” (probably they mean process or convert into a product) these ores in South Africa itself.
  • Opportunities are available to supply pharmaceuticals, especially generic medicines, and other medical equipment/devices.
  • Most MNCs in South Africa (including major car industries) are 100% owned by the parent companies in the respective countries. The No. 1 automobile component they export is Catalytic Converter.
  • SA has already invested more than $10 billion USD for renewable energy. Scope for RE industry in South Africa is good, going forward.
  • Govt. plans to spend close to $2 billion USD over the next few years for developing sea ports. Opportunites for foreign investments abound in this sector also.

Have a look at South Africa at a Glance to know about the country.

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Obsession with Marks Now = Obsession with Money Later?

I find human beings an interesting species because,

  1. They want to be obsessed about something always
  2. They are never satisfied with anything anytime

Let’s take any animal or bird. They go out and get food when they feel hungry. Only when they feel hungry.

Of course, there are exceptions like ants, honeybees, etc. that have been created with hoarding traits similar to humans. But even ants and honey bees don’t feel so inadequate that they start competing with each other to build the biggest mountain of a nest or the flashiest of honeycombs.

Human beings, ostensibly the most intelligent of all species on earth, seem to be driven by a single agenda: Make More Money. For that, what do you need? Get More Marks. That’s it. That’s life. That’s the purpose and meaning of one’s life – Of course, you wouldn’t know that if you have been living on Mars lately.

And you know who is the most intelligent person on earth? The person who gets the most marks, consequently makes the most money, deposits most of them in Swiss Banks (hey – they’re tax-free, aren’t they?) and then dies a wealthy person.

I wish life was that simple. I really wish.

So, for a change, instead of fattening the pockets of educationalists (who are already suffering from the weight of fat pockets) and their more marks = more money = more happiness agenda, why not stop and think? Outside the box, of course.

Unless we do that, we as a society are going to fail more and more youngsters like this.

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