X for Xmas

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 four and the alphabet is X. 

Among the several festivals that we celebrate, Christmas is among my favourites. Technically I do not ‘celebrate’ Christmas but possibly because I studied in a convent school, this festival has always been special to me. We always had a party in schoolwith each class having its own celebration. Sometimes they took us to the chapel and we sang carols. 

Now years later, I still make it a point to listen to Christmas carols. 

Besides carols, the Christmas cake is yet another favourite. I learnt to bake one from an expert baker and it is really awesome even if I say so myself.The recipe calls for advance preparation but the results are worth it.
Most shopping areas in Pune are all decked up right from start of December and its a joy to walk down the streets or in the Mall. Christmas trees are look wonderful with fairy lights and ornaments. Here are some wonderfully decorated trees from homes…

Image credit Rajendra Sonarikar
Image credit Rajendra Sonarikar
Image credit Dr Meenakshi Pande
I am sure there are many more facets to this great celebration – family reunions being an important one. 

What do you like best about Xmas? 
Only two more days to go.. See you tomorrow folks…

The Hidden Life Of Trees

As you may have noticed, its not often that I have posted book reviews. Today I am compelled to write about an amazing book that has accidentally come my way. Accidentally because it was spotted at our library by my husband who immediately brought it home for me! And I have been glued to it since…

Peter Wohlleben, trees, book

The Hidden Life Of Trees by Peter Wohelleben is a book for all tree lovers. The author is a forester from Germany and naturally he mostly describes trees in Germany and Europe. Beech. Pine. Birch. Ash and so on…Tropical trees barely find a mention yet I am sure, the ‘behaviours’ that he has described is quite likely apply to trees in my part of the world too. 

Do trees have emotions? How do trees know when to break out into bud? How do trees defend themselves from pests or infections? Do trees talk to each other? What about competition among forest trees? Who wins and why? Who loses and why? Do trees have a ‘brain’ and where is it? Did you know that forests have a ‘wood wide web’ which is a network of  fungi in the soil and this network is vital for survival of plants? 

These are just a few of the questions on any nature lover’s mind and the author has answers in very simple, easy-to-understand, non-botanical terms. His eloquent words took me on a walk in the German forests as I could visualise the towering tree canopies, the dense dark under story…. Every chapter gives an amazing insight into the apparently silent life there.

Somewhere over the years, trees have never been thought of as intelligent thinking beings. “The Hidden Life Of Trees” puts an end to such ideas. And there is scientific research cited at the end of the book to prove it! 

Our lives are closely interwoven with those of the flora and fauna. We need to understand and protect those if humans have to survive on earth. this book is a step in that direction. 

Take care folks!

The Hidden Life Of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
Publisher Penguin Random House India

Rest and Recuperation

I expect this is a post that should get me some brownie points and boost popularity with those who find excuses to not exercise. Yes, you are right in thinking that Rest IS important when exercising. 


Simply because it gives time for the muscles to recuperate and for broken muscle fibres (they are broken down during when doing resistance training) to repair. Its this repair process that increases our BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and makes the muscles stronger and bigger (over time). 

Obviously by rest I do not mean sleeping or becoming a couch potato. It simply means a day without your regular workout. For those who have specific fitness goals it can mean exercising a different group of muscles with a different workout or activity. There should be an interval of about six to eight hours between exercise sessions.Obviously I refer to those who exercise to stay fit not high performance athletes or those with specific health goals.

Besides rest as I have described above, one needs to get adequate sleep at night. It is the best healer for our body and mind. Overexercising can cause many problems and in this case more is not always better. 

So go ahead and take a break once a week in your workout. You’ve earned it.


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. 


When I chose to write about exercising
for fitness for this 2014 AtoZ Blogathon, I was a bit apprehensive that all of
my posts would end up being ‘preachy’ Don’t do this, Don’t do that, Do this, Do

This post is deliberately meant to break
the trend. Continuous exercising and adhering to proper diets can become
boring. In fact the restrictions and strict regimen can be a turn off and I
speak from experience.  That’s when I
came across this wonderful article that gave a rational point of view. As long
as one follows fitness guidelines for most of the week its OK to indulge
oneself once in a while. That means sleeping in late on a day or skipping a
workout or even giving in to temptation of a plate of fries or fried chicken. An
indulgence can be a motivator of sorts, something to look forward to. Remember to strike a balance.

Here are some tips before you indulge:

Plan ahead: If you have an invitation to
a party then accordingly modify the other meals of the day to low calorie, high
fibre ones. Then go ahead and tuck into the cake but be regular in the diet and
exercise in following days. Trust me, whatever its benefits, the indulgence is
not worth erasing days of hard work already put in.

Split: Share a serving with your friend which
will reduce the number of calories you consume. Its quite common restaurant
order here for one smoothie topped with icecream but served in two glasses. Its
called 1X2 (one by two) or 2X3 and so on depending on the group size. Cool!

If you have worked hard, you have earned
this ‘break’.   

Indulge, Profiteroles
Photo courtesy @puneribaker

a break: Taking a day off from exercise is actually good for the body
especially when doing resistance training. This is because the muscles
get a chance to rebuild so they become bigger and stronger. 

Go on. Enjoy!

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.