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Prevent Diabetes

This proverb is applicable to many conditions in life. How can diabetes be an exception? The theme of world diabetes conference was also prevention. Normally we talk for hours about treatment and complications of diabetes. But what about prevention?
People who visit the doctor have often already been diagnosed to be diabetic. People who have not developed diabetes but are in the high risk group are the ones who need to be targeted. The topic of discussion here is Type 2 or non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and not Type 1 or juvenile diabetes.
1 - People with a family history of diabetes. i.e. either a parent or grandparent has diabetes.
2 - Asian Indians have a strong genetic tendency to develop diabetes.
3 - People who are over weight or obese. People with greater amount of belly fat accumulation have a higher risk.
4 - Stressful lifestyle.
5 - Age greater than 55. Increasing age is a risk factor but even people in their thirties and obese teenagers are developing this type of diabetes.
6 - Women who had diabetes during pregnancy or had polycystic ovarian disease.
7 - Family history of high cholesterol or triglycerides(a type of cholesterol).
The catch is that a healthy 30-year-old male or female does not usually visit a doctor. So how is this generation to be approached? Where do doctors have the time to counsel these healthy individuals? Hmm! May be the internet is the best place. Something that appeals to the newer generation, the electronic medium.
Once Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, it can only be controlled. There never is a permanent cure.
The health costs associated with diabetes are not just restricted to the medicines, blood and urine tests or glucose strips. The complications that occur due to uncontrolled blood sugar and related treatment costs are tremendous. The mental anguish is something that cannot even be measured.
If you are reading this article it shows you are interested in taking a step towards a healthy lifestyle. It is said that if one parent is diabetic there is a 50% chance of developing diabetes. If both parents are diabetic, the risk increases to 90%.
What is this diet? Do I have to cook separate food for me?
The answer is NO. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is said that breakfast like a king, lunch like a common man and dinner like a pauper.
* The day should begin with a healthy breakfast.
* The amount of tea and coffee consumed in a day should be reduced.(can cause acidity and unnecessary calorie intake). If for any reason the tea or coffee consumption during the day cannot be reduced, the QUANTITY consumed each time should be reduced.
* The amount of sugar used in each cup of tea or coffee can be reduced.
* Introduction of fruits or flavoured yogurts  as snacks when hungry.
* Switch to baked variety of chips instead of fried.
* Over eating should be avoided.
Simple logic is that if calorie intake is greater than that spent, it is stored in the body in the form of fat. While we are still in school, college and on junk food diet, we burn out those calories with all the running, playing and dancing around that we do. As we begin to work in our respective fields, often our lifestyle turns sedentary. Over the years we put on weight, pound by pound and inch by inch the waist size also increases. Gradually the risk to develop diabetes also begins to rise.
* Exercise -aerobic or resistance training both help. A combination of both is useful.
* Daily brisk walk is also useful.
* Yoga and Pranayam are both useful. Pranayam is particularly helpful in reducing stress.
* Cigarette smoking should be stopped.
* Alcohol consumption must be reduced.
All these measures ultimately help to delay or even prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. ALL THE BEST!

Prevent Diabetes

Kids thrive under the shade of motherhood...Part 2

You may also like - Mother of orphans - Sindhutai Sapkal,  Story of Hirkani Kalpana Chawla

Words on the wall of Sindhu TaiQuote -‘Oh God, teach us how to laugh; but let us not forget that we had
also cried once upon a time.' – Unquote
These words are etched on the wall behind Sindhu tai's chair at the Sanmati Bal Niketan, Hadapsar, Pune.

Beginning with her first ashram at Chikhaldara in Amravati district, Sindhu Tai went on to set up five homes.

A home for destitute women, The Nadarmai Mahila Adhar Kendra, functions out of the same building that houses orphans at Chikhaldara. Her homes survive on donations and grants, and she unabashedly begs in village after village to put whatever they can into a cloth she spreads out on a table after her speech.

At the Krantijyot Savitribai Phule Hostel for girls at Chikhaldara,42 of the 50 inmates receive a grant of Rs 335 a month . "We bear the other girls' expenses," says Sindhu Tai’s son Arun Sapkal, who heads the institution and is a co-opted BJP municipal councillor. With money from Arun's curio business and money sent by Sindhu Tai, the inmates get by.

For Mai's children, the sorrow of being abandoned or orphaned gradually fades from memory as they follow the home's regimen. The children are divided into batches which alternately study, work and play.

At the Mamata Bal Sadan, at Kumbharvalan, home to 70 children, if one group is in the classroom, another will be tending the tomatoes, vegetables and chillies in the gardens.
At the Gangadharbaba Chhatralaya at Guha, which houses 45 children, the kids even grow wheat.

Deepak Gaikwad, the first child she took under her wing in the 1980s, in his thirties now, has taken over the charge of Mamata Bal Sadan from his Mai. Mai set up the ashram on a piece of land which Deepak inherited from his uncle. “ Donating the land, Deepak told me that, had I not taken care of him, he would have been nowhere," says Sindhu tai. It was the second home she built.

The boys and girls are segregated after the 8th standard. While the boys go to Gangadharbaba ashram, the girls are sent to the girls' hostel at Chikhaldara. There are exceptions though. Vishwas Chaphale, 14, stayed on at the Kumbharvalan ashram to help look after the Small children, who run to him to get their cuts and bruises bandaged. For a boy who wants to become a doctor, he is starting young.

Quite a few people opt to live and work for Mai. Babasaheb Dushing, 35, left his job as a hotel watchman in 1997. After his wife's death he had sent his children to Sindhu tai. "But
then I realized I could not stay away from them," he says. "So I asked Sindhutai if I could come here." Since then, he has been working at the Kumbharvalan ashram.

Gangadharbaba Chhatralaya at Guha is a bungalow on 10 acres, all donated by former Bombay High Court judge B.G. Kolse Patil in 1997. Though he wasn't an orphan, Patil had grown up in a home for the destitute. "It is totally selfless work," he says. "She is a living example of what a woman can do."

Some of the destitute women who land up at Mahila Aadhar Kendra are sent as gruhamata (mother of the house) to the children's homes. Kavita Gavand and Lalita Magar are gruhamatas at the Chhatralaya at Guha. While Lalita is a widow, Kavita walked out on her alcoholic and abusive husband. Their children do not stay with them, but at the ashrams in Kumbharvalan and Hadapsar. "It was a deliberate decision to keep the children away," says Deepak Gaikwad. "Most of our children are either orphans or abandoned.
What will they feel if some children began staying with their mothers?" Vacation time, however, reunites the kids with their mothers.

Sindhu Tai with kidsAlthough the children are not given in adoption, there have been cases where couples come forward to sponsor them. For instance, Udaysinh Mohite Patil and his wife, waymprabhadevi, have undertaken the responsibility of educating Pawan, who lives with them in Akluj, Solapur district. "My wife had organised one of Sindhutai's functions in our village some five years ago," says Patil. After Sindhu tai's talk, Swaymprabha devi decided that they would contribute by sponsoring a child's education. "He studies here and goes to Sindhutai during vacation," says Patil. The couple have decided to sponsor another child as
soon as Pawan completes his studies.

Like Deepak, most of her kids once they grow up support Mai in her work.

Uttam Yevale, 27, who grew up in Mai's ashram at Chikhaldara, is a college teacher in Ahmednagar. "She is like my mother. In fact, she is my mother," he says. On the days he is free from work, Uttam potters around Gangadharbaba Chhatralaya at Guha.

Prakash Sapkal, 24, who grew up in the Chikhaldara ashram, heads the Chhatralaya. The history graduate took up the work after failing to get a government job. "Maybe I will not get money, but all my needs are taken care of," he says. "Besides I am proud of contributing to Mai's work."

Influence to her thinking & how:
"Great strength comes from faith in God."
~ Zechariah 12:5 ~
This has been true with Sindhu tai too.
On the streets of Chikhaldara, she has been singing bhajans of great saints like Sant Gadgebaba, Tukaram, Namdeo, Tukdoji Maharaj and Varkari saint Bahina bai. She has so much love of poetry that she very easily and fluently quotes Bahina bai, Jana bai and Suresh Bhatt and offers amazing anecdotes. All this learning comes from scraps of newspaper used for wrapping grocery that she read and secretly treasured.
To this day her speeches are fiery, thoughtful and inspiring. One of her very catchy slogans is “Bhashan naahi tar rashan naahi” which means ‘Without speech no food for my kids”. No wonder, the response is immediate. Her sari pallu rapidly fills up with coins and currency notes! But Sindhu tai humbly says “My hunger taught me to speak and the pain within me taught me to sing.”


So inspiring has her life been that the Karnataka government included a chapter from her autobiography - Mee Vanvasi, released in 1988, in its Marathi textbook for 10th standard students.

Today Sindhu tai proudly states that she has 36 daughters-in-law and 177 sons-in-law. Most of her children are well placed in life. Sham Randive is a lecturer in history at Mhasvad in Satara district. Seema Kokare is an Ayurvedic doctor and settled in Aurangabad. The list goes on. But at 61, Sindhu tai says she still has plenty more to accomplish. "Let me tell you I am not Devaki who gave birth to Lord Krishna, I am just trying to be a perfect Yashoda."

This mother's ability to work is just amazing. She can work tirelessly for 8-10 days at a stretch. There have been times when she has travelled throughout the fortnight, came home for a while and then set out again. She is ever willing to respond to a plea for help from an orphan or a destitute. She refuses to take any rest saying she cannot afford to till every institution she started becomes self-sufficient.

The Marathi film Mee Sindhutai (2010 ) is a bio-pic inspired by the true story of Sindhutai Sapkal. The film was selected for world premiere at the 54th London Film Festival.[4]

Few of her awards:

* 2010 - Ahilyabai Holkar Award, given by the Government of Maharashtra to social workers in the
field of woman and child welfare [3]

* 2008 - Woman of the Year Award, given by daily Marathi newspaper Loksatta

* Sahyadri Hirkani Award (Marathi: सह्याद्रीची हिरकणी पुरस्कार)

* Rajai Award (Marathi: राजाई पुरस्कार)

* Shivlila Mahila Gourav Award (Marathi: शिवलीला महिला गौरव पुरस्कार)

Donations can be made to Sanmati Bal Niketan, Behind Vaibhav Cinema, Hadapsar, Pune India. For
more info: visit www.mysaptasindhu.org

And now, read about - Jhansi Rani Laxmi Bai,  Sarojini Naidu

Kids thrive under the shade of motherhood...Part 2

Holi Mubarak - A Memoir

Holi Mubarak ! ……………Aap ko bhi Holi Mubarak !!!

In the background, there is a crackling sound of burning wood and the beats of a drum, commonly known as dhol or dholak. Joy is all around in the environment. But, before this grand finale, preparations usually start a month ahead. Holi is a big community event in Rajasthan, especially in one of the neighborhoods of Udaipur, where I grew up. It is considered as important as Diwali and is certainly very eventful.

Holi celebration starts with Muhurat for Danda Ropna - starting to build the Holi pyre (literal meaning installing central log for Holi). Every year we looked for the biggest center log / Danda. The bigger the Danda, the greater the Holi fire. Gathering fire wood was a team effort and there were ten to twelve neighborhood kids involved in this activity. Once we found a big & heavy log, it took us about 2 hrs to bring it back. 

While the kids were involved in outdoor activities, the moms in the community used to get together and prepare special dishes for "Dhulendi”, the color playing day. Mouth watering goodies like Gujiya, Sev, Khurmas, Karela papdi chat, Chiwda, Dahi wadas, Barfis etc., were prepared by the ladies. Cooking was a fun activity as the ladies chatted and shared tips & tricks.


As days passed, every child in the neighborhood developed scratches on legs or arms while collecting the firewood but our effort never stopped. Since we were in Rajasthan, it was easy to find dry kejadi bushes around the area. We used to call it "kante ikkhatte karne chalo"- meaning collecting thorns. Maids who worked in our houses used to bring "kandde" (cow-dung cakes) as their contribution to our Holi. In honor of Holika, the mythological character associated with Holi, some ladies use to buy ornaments made out of "gober” - Cow dung”. Their belief was “It is good for your brother's life!!!”

On the day of Holi, Holika was decorated. The activity started with kids putting gulal on their foreheads. A big earthen pot was painted with Holika's face. The tallest kid in the community was assigned the job of installing the earthen pot-face at the top of the central log “Danda”. Next, the body of Holika was assembled using the thorns collected by the kids. In the end, the cow dung ornaments were placed atop the body.

Holi is celebrated on Poornima - full moon day. Usually, it is in the month of March. A good muhurat (auspicious time) is chosen using a Panchang (Hindu calendar). Everybody would gather around the Holi pyre at the muhurat. Ladies would perform Holika Pooja and distribute "Prashad". It is believed that doing a Pradakshina (circumnavigation) around the Holi is a good thing for newborns. The oldest person in the community had the honor of lighting the fire. Green wheat was also roasted in the Holi fire. It was believed to be very auspicious and tasted great! So whenever I see green wheat by the side of the road, it always reminds me of Holi.


Drummers from nearby villages would play at the celebration and received monetary tips. Kida used to enjoy dancing to the rythm of drum beats. On some occasions we played "Gher" - a version of Dandia, originating in Mevad, Rajasthan. Instead of fancy dandias, Gher is played with sticks about 2 to 3 feet long, on the rhythm of drum beats. There used to be fierce competitions to judge whose Holika was biggest and would last the longest. Boys used to guard Holika. Adults used to ensure no untoward incidents happened as kids played around fire.

The day following Holi is called Dhulendi when the whole community was involved in playing with colors. The custom was to go around the neighborhood from door to door, getting the folks out and spraying them with colors. There would always be one or two people in the neighborhood who were hard to catch. It used to be fun trapping them and spraying color. Around 2:00 PM, the fun would started winding down and we would come back home for a much needed shower and lunch. This day use to be the first day of the season to take a cold water shower or bath. Later, boys from all the communities use to gather together and have fun by pouring buckets of water on passersby. The ladies and the girls would visit all the houses in the neighbourhood to wish holi mubarak. Men would stay home and offer snacks and sweets to the visitors.


Halloween, which is celebrated in the US during autumn, reminds me of Holi. Instead of the masks/costumes, we used to have colorful faces and wet color soaked cloths. And instead of chocolates and candies, home-made goodies were shared.

With the times things have changed. However, these old memories are the ones I cherish the most.

Holi Mubarak - A Memoir

Mother of orphans - Sindhu Tai Sapkal -- Part 1

You may also like - Kids thrive under the shade of motherhood,  Story of HirkaniKalpana Chawla

Sindhu Tai Sapkal - MaiIndia has the largest population of working women and professionally qualified women in the world.

Last year, four Indian women corporate leaders made it to the Asia Pacific's 48 'Heroes of Philanthropy' list and they were Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw CEO, Biocon – India’s first woman Brew Master, Anu Aga ex-Chairman of Thermax, took on to social work and was awarded Padma Shri in 2010 Kiran Nadar, wife of HCL Technologies co-founder Shiv Nadar and Rohini Nilekani, wife of IT major Infosys' co-founder Nandan Nilekani.

Major newspapers, blogs, worldwide websites have a plethora of success stories about all of them and many more. Let me tell you more about a  lady who may not match many of them in educational qualifications but has profound knowledge, an enlightened soul, an inspiring personality & a legacy and still looking for help.

She has nurtured more than 1000s of orphaned children and transformed them into doctors, engineers, lawyers and well educated people. She has taken on a dreaded mission that most would not dream ,if they were in abject poverty, hungry, beaten & abandoned by her husband when pregnant and absolutely destitute…

She is none other than Sindhutai Sapkal & also known as Mother of Orphans is an Indian social worker and social activist known particularly for her  work for raising orphan children. She loves being called ‘Mai’.

Her nickname was ‘Chindi’ meaning ‘torn cloth’ in Marathi. She was named thus as an unwanted child. Her father, Abhiman Sathe was an illiterate  cowherd in Pimpri who was keen on educating her, much against his wife's wishes. So every day on the pretext of sending her out to graze the cattle, he would pack her off to the village school. She could only attend school until 4th grade. She was brought up in abject poverty. "There was  no money to buy a slate," recalls Sindhu. "I practiced the alphabet on thick, palm-sized leaves of the bharadi tree, using its thorns to write."

Marriage at the age of 10 put an end to her education. The groom, Shrihari Sapkal, alias Harbaji, was 30. "I was told there are only two  processions in a woman's life. Once when she gets married and the other when she dies. Imagine my state of mind when they took me in procession to my husband's home in Navargaon forest in Wardha," says Sindhu tai. In course of time, she bore three sons.

Sindhu tai created a sensation in Navargaon in 1972 when she demanded that the forest department pay the village women for the cow dung they collected. The department used to auction the dung to landlords and pocket the cash. "We won the fight," says Sindhu tai.The taste of success was  sweet, but it broke up her family. She claims that an annoyed landlord, Damdaji Asatkar, spread the rumour that the child she was carrying was his. "My husband decided to abandon me," says Sindhu tai. She was beaten up and dumped in a cow shed, where her daughter, Mamata, was born. "It was October 14, 1973," Sindhu tai intones. "I cut the umbilical cord with a sharp-edged stone lying nearby."

She later sought shelter at her parental home, but her mother did not accept her and instead told her to go and die on the railway line. Sindhu tai  wandered from town to town, singing and begging near temples. In Faijpur, Jalgaon district, she left Mamata in the care of a temple priest's family  while she moved around singing bhajans. "Those were the days of soul-searching. I began feeling I must do something for those suffering like  me." she said.

Then one day as she was begging for bhakri(bajra roti) to feed herself and her 2 year old daughter and wandering in the scorching sun for long,  she was so exhausted that she almost decided to commit suicide with her 2 yr old tied to her stomach. She was standing under a tree and suddenly its stem caught her attention; she noticed that it was badly axed but it was still giving her shade. She almost screamed ‘No I will not die.’  She hit upon a plan to take care of orphaned less privileged children of Adivasis.

The idea was just taking root when she found herself in Chikhaldara. A section of the Melghat jungles on the border of Maharashtra and Madhya  Pradesh had been earmarked for a tiger project. It meant people from 84 villages would have to be evacuated. "I reached there on a very  dramatic day," says Sindhu. A project officer impounded 132 cows of the Adivasi villagers of Koha. "For three days he did not free them; one cow  died. The Adivasis stood looking at their cows helplessly. That day I decided to take up their cause." Adivasis are primitive tribal groups which live  in utter poverty, have low levels of literacy and health and are a result of severe feud since 18th century.

Sindhu tai fought for the rehabilitation of the 84 villages. In the course of her agitation, she met Chhedilal Gupta, the then minister of forests. He  agreed that the villagers ought not to be displaced before the government had made appropriate arrangements at alternative sites. When Prime  Minister Indira Gandhi arrived to inaugurate the tiger project, Sindhu tai showed her photographs of an Adivasi who had lost his eyes to a wild bear.  "I told her that the forest department paid compensation if a cow or a hen was killed by a wild animal, so why not a human being? She  immediately ordered compensation."

Those things made people look at her with admiration.

Soon she realized the plight of orphaned and abandoned Adivasi children. Initially she took care of the children in return for some meager food. Looking after them was a source of livelihood. It didn't take long for it to become the mission of her life. She later donated her biological child to  the trust Shrimant Dagdu sheth halwai, Pune, only to eliminate the feeling of partiality between her daughter and the adopted ones.

Many of the children that she adopted are well educated lawyers and doctors, and some including her biological daughter are running their independent orphanages. One of her child is doing PHD on her life. Till date she is honored by 272 awards. She used all that money to buy land to  make home for her orphan children. She has started construction and still looking for more help from the world.

And now, read about - Jhansi Rani Laxmi Bai,  Sarojini Naidu

Mother of orphans - Sindhu Tai Sapkal -- Part 1

Diwali Themed Table Decor

The festive season is knocking on the door. Deepavali or Diwali is just around the corner. I am getting into the festive mood and getting my home into the festive mood as well, starting from the dining table.

My dining table is the center of anything happening in the house and shows the mood of the people living in it !!! This is what my table looks like today, decked with flowers, candles and .....



....yes as you can see a carved watermelon as a lantern. I carved it last night. This is not the first time I carved a watermelon. It can be used for Halloween or another festival as well. It is going to be my substitute for pumpkin Jack O Lantern!


Coming back to the festive Diwali table décor, Diwali is the festival of lights and so the most important decor element is lights, lamps (wax or oil), traditional Indian diyas, candles. I arranged small candles which are made in shells around the carved watermelon. They are in vanilla scent. I also decorated some candles around the stargazer lily.

The second important decor element is flowers. As you know that I moved to Singapore last month and discovering my favorite flowers was a moment of happiness. I arranged some in a cut-glass bowl which I brought from Berlin and on its side is a Swan from Austria.


I arranged the stargazer lilies in a tall vase to give rhythm and symmetry to the arrangement. The focal point is the carved watermelon. I lit the candles and it gives a magnificent glow and makes a beautiful pattern when it is dark.


The warm glow and the pattern gives a calming and magical effect. And of course it is a great feeling to have created it myself.


I arranged the cut pieces of melon around the dish. They make a pretty pattern!


The silver leaf gives the glittery effect of the festive season. Coming back to the important decor elements for Diwali, the third important one is colors. India is known for bright and happy colors and it is obvious during festival time. Colors denote happiness. Reds, maroons, orange, greens, gold and silver.. all glam & glamour and bling bling!! I am not that adventurous or flashy so I used colors in subtle and natural form. I just love the colors and the shapes and the harmony between them.. all natural !!


Purnima is a fun loving, laid back person who writes a creative Blog to document, share and inspire others. She posts her creative projects, tutorials, table decor and travel stories on her Blog @ http://acreativeproject.blogspot.com


Diwali Themed Table Decor

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