F is for Fit

Hello! Welcome to my seventh attempt at the April AtoZ blogging challenge. My theme this year is Experiences of a first time grandmother! Some sweet some not so sweet moments and learnings! My posts are totally based on what I felt (may even border on rants) and are not meant to be a guide. 

 am sure my thoughts may cause a deja vu to some of you especially someone who has hosted a newborn! I would love to hear from you!

Is that a surprising topic from me? 
Well, grandmom has to be fit to look after her babies right? She is also managing her own household and job (if she is working), so staying fit is of utmost importance.

Its important to have strong, fully mobile and painfree knees.. As also to have a strong back and shoulders. Bending and straightening and lifting happens all the time and a catch or stiffness can really make things difficult. 

With a newborn infant at home, time is at a premium. I cashed in on fitness acquired by a regular regimen over several months.  Whenever I could, I did Yoga and Suryanamaskar (Sun Salutations). 

What has been your experience? 
See you tomorrow folks!

Here are links to my previous AtoZ attempts. 
2013 Mixed Bag
2014 Exercising For Fitness
2015 Gardens of Pune
2016 Herbs
2018 Contemporary A to Z
2019 Caring for the Caregiver

Disclaimer: My posts do mention some products or service providers but these are not sponsored and not meant to be an advertisement.  All posts from a maternal grandmother’s point of view!

B is for Books

Hello! Welcome to my seventh attempt at the April AtoZ blogging challenge. My theme this year is Experiences of a first time grandmother! Some sweet some not so sweet moments and learnings! My posts are totally based on what I felt (may even border on rants) and are not meant to be a guide. 

Decades ago, I had referred to a book called Dr Spock’s Baby and Child Care… 
It was invaluable especially as we had lived in remote places (to put your doubts at rest.. let me say we always had a Doctor at our base) and this was a huge help..

That’s my decades old copy!

In this Internet age, I was unsure about the status of hard copy books and if they have any takers at all.

But I was pleasantly surprised to see that new parents in my family are referring to ‘books’ as I know them. Some of the authors have associated websites which means there is access to images, data and information that cannot be put into a book .

Yet another surprise was now, there was a Dr Spock series specially for India

What to Expect the 1st Year by Heidi Murkoff has answered many of our questions and doubts.

I am sure there are many more informative books. Which do you refer to or recommend?
I am sure my thoughts will cause a deja vu to some of you, especially anyone who has hosted a new born. 
I would love to hear from you!

Here are links to my previous AtoZ attempts. 
2013 Mixed Bag
2014 Exercising For Fitness
2015 Gardens of Pune
2016 Herbs
2018 Contemporary A to Z
2019 Caring for the Caregiver

See you tomorrow folks!

Disclaimer: My posts do mention some products or service providers but these are not sponsored and not meant to be an advertisement. 
All posts from a maternal grandma’s point of view!!

E is Exercise

Hello and Welcome to my sixth attempt at the AtoZ blogging challenge.
My theme this year is Caring for the Caregiver. My posts are based on my experience and are not meant to be a comprehensive guide on the subject. I would love to hear your experiences..
You can catch up with my previous posts here.
With each post, I am sharing a sketch that I have done as a means for stress busting.


Here I refer to physical activity for the care givers. Looking after a sick person is extremely demanding physically. It is vital for care givers to stay healthy and fit. Hence they must exercise regularly. He must continue to exercise at the usual health club. If care is being given at another place, then try to find a jogging track or garden close by where its possible to work out. If nothing, simply put on your walking shoes and walk briskly for at least an hour.

This not only gets the heart rate going, muscles working but also drives all morbid, sad thoughts out of the mind. Post work out, we become fresh and alert to continue the task in hand. 

Yoga is a good indoor exercise option. You Tube and other health Apps provide a huge variety of exercise plans. Choose a suitable one and stay with it. 

Never miss your exercise session. Care givers need those endorphins!

There is no one size fits all solution. 
Every family has to find something that suits them best. 
At best, posts such as mine will inspire a family to come up with their unique workable plan. 

Since we are talking about exercise.. today’s sketch is about taking our ‘ward’ for a walk… 
Like I said, I am not an expert, so please excuse me if the walker in the figure’s hand looks like a toy!!

ageing, aged, care giver

See you tomorrow folks!
Stay happy!

Z for Zumba

We are with the 2018 April AtoZ Blogging challenge and its my fifth attempt. For those who missed it, here is the link to my Theme Reveal post. Do the alphabets still stand for the same things we learnt about in Nursery school? 

Its day twenty six and the alphabet is Z. 

This will be last post for the series though I guess I may put up my Reflections later..

The list of things that I yen for should also include Zumba. Its an exercise form that is quite the rage in my city. From what I have read its a kind of dancercise but somehow I have not got down to signing up for a class. 

Alberto Perez created Zumba in the 1990s and it incorporates aerobic movements with dance accompanied by some fast paced high intensity music. This Wikipedia article states that there are 9 types of Zumba, of which the Gold program is meant for older people and beginners. I guess I fall in both categories so this should be the one for me…

As I understand this falls into the aerobic workout category. This article in Time, quotes a study which found that Zumba boosted balance and core strength in overweight women who are older in age. Since it is non-judgemental there is no fear of not being a good dancer. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that Zumba is indeed a very effective type of exercise. 

All in all there is enough scientific data in favour of Zumba. I know of a couple of classes in my neighbourhood too. So why am I sitting here in front of my PC and typing its benefits instead of joining? 

That’s just what I will do after I read some fantastic Z posts, catch up with Twitter, schedule my Wordless Wednesday photos, cook, sleep, catch up with my book.. by which time it the health club will have closed…

Getting back to my basic premise, Z for Zebra still holds as a visit to the great grasslands of Africa is on my travel wish list. Till that happens, Z belongs to Zumba!

My heartfelt thanks to you folks for your visits and comments. Your support has meant a lot.I have tried to read and comment on as many blogs as I possible.  There is all of May to catch up! 
See you around!

O for Oxygen


We are with the 2018 April AtoZ Blogging challenge and its my fifth attempt. For those who missed it, here is the link to my Theme Reveal post. Do the alphabets still stand for the same things we learnt about in Nursery school? 

Its day fifteen and the alphabet is O.

While in the first associations for O were with Ox, Orange .. today, I first associate O with Oxygen. Naturally you may think I am referring to the ever growing menace of pollution and poor air quality. But maybe that is more of a case of increase in ‘bad’ gases …

So which oxygen am I referring to… ???

To get straight to the point, this post is about the oxygen or rather its depleting quantities at higher altitudes. Earlier it would have only affected mountaineers on expeditions to the high peaks but these days, more and more people choose to trek the mountains as a holiday of choice. This includes both young and those young at heart !! 

At elevations of over 10000 ft the effective amount of oxygen reduces. Some people get hit by what is called as Acute Mountain Sickness or HAPO which stands for High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema. It may begin with headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, feeling of uneasiness, vomitting and then worse. 


These symptoms are NEVER to be ignored at high altitudes. The immediate treatment will be to be administered oxygen and then descend to a place at a lower elevation. Naturally, folk dont want to miss out on a holiday but its better than putting your life in danger. 

There is a complicated explanation for why HAPO occurs and I will not get into that.

Its not possible to totally avoid it but one can take some measures to reduce chances of its occurance. The first is to get properly acclimatised at the base camp or the first place of halt at 10000ft. One step is to take things slowly for atleast 24 hours, avoid unnecessary activity and that includes normal sightseeing. Factor in this extra time in your holiday plan. 

Many people take a course of tablets called Diamox starting one day prior to the journey till the day they return to 10000ft. There is a huge debate if this really works and I suggest reading this indepth article by IndiaHikes on this topic. Personally, I have taken Diamox on my two visits to regions of over 10000ft. 
Please consult your doctor before starting on Diamox. Self medication is not advisable. 

Besides medicines, one must take up a good cardio training program ahead of your travel/trek. Being physically fit is a big plus. 

Trekking at about 14000ft

Here is another important article again from IndiaHikes about how the author has recognised and dealt with impending HAPO.  

Have you travelled to high altitude locations? Did you face any health issues due to reduced oxygen? 

This post is not meant to put anyone off such destinations. A little care and training before travel will surely give you a beautiful enjoyable stress-free holiday!

X is for eXtreme, eXcellent, eXtraordinary

We are almost at the end of the April 2015 AtoZ Blogging Challenge and the letter X is almost always eXtra challenging!! I am writing about gardens in Pune and I think the tedkis (hills) of Pune some of which have reserve forests on the top are truly unique to this city. 
These tekdis offer all of the adjectives in the title of this post: 

eXtraordinary: Pune is blessed with two rivers and importantly also has many hills located right inside the city limits. They can justly be called as the lungs of the city! We have the Vetal Tekdi (which is the highest), Hanuman Tekdi (which has the Gokhale Smarak Stambh), Parvati temple which is atop the Parvati hill, the Parvati Pachgaon forest area, the Tukai Tekdi and Durga Tekdi. The changing landscape over the seasons is a visual treat!


eXcellent: the hills are excellent places to exercise – for a walk, jog or even train for long treks in the Himalayas. In fact, March and April are months when one commonly sees many walking up and down the hills with huge backpacks, as they gear up for their outings in June or July… The tekdis are also home to some indigenous tree species that are either uncommon or are simply not seen in the city. Some of the trees are Ganer (Cochlospermum religiosum ), Bartondi (Morinda pubescens), Salai (Boswellia serrata), many species of the Capparis Genus. Regular walkers very commonly sight Peacocks on their morning walks on the Vetal tekdi as also a variety of birds…  What bliss… 

Acacia sp

Alangium salvifolium
Gardenia turgida
Dichrostachys cinerea
Dolichondrone falcata
Evolvulus alsinoides
Flower of Watakaka volubilis

eXtreme: They are an example of extremes of human intervention. Some hillocks have been almost flattened as they have been razed to make way for buildings and concrete jungles all under the name of development. Simultaneously, other hills have been ‘saved’ by peoples movements and resistance to the same ‘development’.  There are umpteen examples of organisations who have taken up ‘greening’ of the hills or who spend their Sunday mornings cleaning up the waste or folks who daily take up some water to water new plantations! 

Pune, hills, plantations
 Morning walkers fill up such bottles and carry them up to water saplings to help them survive the harsh summer heat

The most surprising part of these tekdis is that despite their obvious presence, a large number of people are simply unaware of this wonderful natural beauty. I know of people who have lived over five decades in Pune and still have not gone to any of the our tekdis… 

The tekdis should be a must-visit place in the itinerary of every nature lover visiting Pune. 

PS: Location Map here

N is for Necklace Garden

The frequency of my visits to this part of Pune soared after I took up cycling and our favourite route is the ‘Necklace‘. Here Maps has marked this area as the Necklace area. Initially I assumed it was because of the semicircular road that traverses the area. Then I thought the reason was because this particular patch of road is the among the beautiful parts of the city – clean, green, hardly any traffic and so totally different from the hustle bustle that’s now associated with Pune. Then I came across the Necklace Garden. 

This is an area of government defence establishments and the Necklace Garden only meant for defence personnel. Since my husband is a retired military officer, I could take a short walk inside. The garden seems to be part of efforts to beautify some deforestation in the area and a wonderfully successful effort I must add. The lawns were perfectly manicured bordered with low Duranta hedges and larger Ficus that were pruned into barrel like shapes. Besides the usual tree species seen in Pune, this garden has a row of Bottle Palms on its boundary along the road. They are still young but in a few years, they will become stately ‘green’ screen for the garden. 

The dew -covered  lawn in this garden glitters in the early morning sun rise as we cycle on the adjoining road and its a sight for sore eyes! I must add that this part of the town always seems at least a couple of degrees cooler than elsewhere in Pune. Another reason may be its proximity to the Pashan lake. 

Photography is not permitted.
A wonderful garden that lends it name to a fairly challenging and popular cycling route among cycling enthusiasts. 


This post is part of my April 2015 AtoZ blogging challenge and I am writing about parks in Pune. You can read other posts on this theme here.

G is for Gool Poonawala Garden

G was one alphabet where the garden recall was almost instantaneous. Not because I visit it often but have seen it often! Yet another site on my frequently used roads, only to be admired from the car but never visited. This blogging challenge got me to make a dedicated trip to the Gool Poonawala Garden located in Salisbury Park, Pune. 

This is basically set up as a jogging track. The oval track is surrounded by a wall of Silver Oak and Acacia trees. I spotted a colony of bats living in the Acacias. The centre of the park predictably has pretty lawns and some seating. I did not see anyone jogging but there were several walkers mostly senior citizens and ladies from nearby residential buildings. Possibly the demographic may be different at another time of the day.

Jogging track, Pune
Jogging Track
Plenty of seating
Jogging track, Pune
Look carefully and you will see the bats hanging on these trees

A couple of imposing Ficus benjamina’s loom over the entrance and one is immediately on the track. Turn left or right to jog/walk around the entire site. The park is flanked by the road on one side, homes on two others, but the fourth side seems to be merging into a jungle of sorts that often crops up in land that is not ‘developed’. There is a gazebo that would be ideal for folks to exercise when its raining. Its not very rich in terms of diversity or age of trees but then this garden is more about exercising/jogging rather than botany. Come here to work out, or Yoga or for Pranayama. 

Trees, Udyan, Jogging
A jungle of sorts is seen at one edge of the garden

An great initiative by the PMC for local residents. The Sachin  Tendulkar Jogging Track in Rajendra Nagar area is a similar but smaller garden that people of the area would surely be enjoying daily. 

Entry Ticket: Nil
Timing: 6AM to 10AM and 4PM to 8PM
Parking: Available and Free
Drinking Water: Available (hygiene and quality not checked)
Restrooms: Available (hygiene and quality not checked)
Location Map here

Zero… Size Zero

This is the final post for the April 2014 A to Z
Blogathon. Its been a month of “exercising for fitness” and I was not
really sure I would be able to complete the challenge and stay within
the theme. Suddenly I had a gamut of ideas for blog posts which had
nothing to do with my theme. They were banished to the ‘drafts’ and
hopefully should be up soon. So keep visiting.

to all of you who have visited and commented here. Its been a pleasure
knowing all of you and reading your thoughts. Do follow my blog on  GFC or on Twitter so
we can stay updated on our posts.

 Stunning models in fashion magazines look beautiful, lean and toned and whatever I do I somehow never achieve that look. Obviously a lot of it is due to superb photography, make up etc but size matters as well. I had a painfully thin frame and never ever was it considered to be beautiful. Rather it was looked down upon.

In my time, fat was beautiful.

Some years ago, the so-called size zero became quite the craze in India when Kareena Kapoor (an actress in India’s film industry) was down to this size for the 2008 film “Tashan.”

So thin was in.

Later on I saw the movie “Bride Wars” when this dialogue about a wedding dress by Vera Wang has stayed with me till now: “You don’t alter Vera to fit you; you alter yourself to fit Vera.”

I am not sure what dimensions qualify as size zero but I assume its something painfully thin as is evident in photos in the links above. Can one reach and stay in this size in a healthy manner? Obviously it would mean cutting down on food which will affect nutrition and energy levels. Will there be long term side effects? This is an eye opening article about models who go to all lengths to maintain the sizes required for their work.It involved eating less or not at all, sustaining oneself with drips but not much mention of exercise. The focus was only on the size and not on fitness. Fitness is not only size but involves overall strength, flexibility and endurance. Its the combination of these that makes a person fit.
But obviously the requirements of the fashion industry go beyond fitness. Appearances count.

So is it worth risking long term damage to our bodies to reach and stay at size zero? Thats a question we have to answer for ourselves.

If you ask me then its better to be happy with our bodies as God’s gift, try not to damage it wrong diets, wrong exercises, wrong lifestyles. 

Stay fit all of you. Stay healthy.

Disclaimer: All
suggestions are general in nature. Readers are advised to exercise
caution before implementing them and seek expert advise about what is
suitable for their specific needs.