HONEY! I LOVE YOU…

Honey Glazed Walnuts ?? Yes, yes. Heard you. They are delicious and healthy. But so are honey glazed chicken, honey glazed carrots, sriracha and honey glazed broccoli. Browsing these recipes is like food porn, watching the ingredients bring the dish to life while salivating almost makes me full sometimes. If one has to ask me what is that one versatile ingredient that you would want to experiment with while cooking, my answer without a doubt would be honey. It can be added to any vegetable or meat to bring that twist. Have you tried honey with a bitter gourd? If you love bitter gourd, you should try this. 

My morning routine starts with a glass of warm water with honey and lemon.

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(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

It gives the required kick to the morning. Lemon is refreshing, and the honey helps boost energy.  For many years of my life, my morning beverage was coffee, but once I replaced it with lemon and honey water, I saw dramatic improvements in my health.

Honey acquires its characteristic taste depending on where the bees collect the nectar from. If the honeycomb is an area where Neem plants are more, one could easily taste the bitterness in the honey. 

Honey improves our immunity, which helps us fight a lot of diseases. Are you anemic? Have a tablespoon of honey a day, and you would see improvement in your hemoglobin levels. Honey also is an excellent remedy for cough. Honey was considered a medicine in ancient times, and in India, it is still part of many home remedies. A mixture of honey and ginger juice helps heal sour throat. Honey has antioxidants that can prevent cancer, heart diseases, and in some cases, can heal wounds. 

I was watching a food show a couple of days ago where they said that honey is not recommended for infants less than a year old. I was curious to know if this is true because, in our households, we do give honey to newborn babies. After some reading on different websites, and this is what they say, “Honey can contain spores of a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, which can germinate in a baby’s immature digestive system and cause infant botulism, a rare but potentially fatal illness.” So, let your kid be of a year old before you start giving honey to them. 

little kid looking at homemade pancakes with berries and honey on table
(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

Do you know how to check if the honey you are using is authentic and not adulterated with sugar? Take a bowl, add a tablespoon of honey into the bowl. Add a quarter cup of water to the bowl and gently swirl the bowl. After a few rounds of water on the honey, the honey would look something like a honeycomb. If the honeycomb shape is not formed, you can be sure that the honey is not pure. This amazed me when I tried it. Honey is so versatile, can get along with any food item, helps us stay healthy and all of this while maintaining its own authenticity. This is so important for us humans to understand from honey, honey bees, honeycomb or I must say, the honey-making process all in all teach us to be selfless, have a meaning for life, help others and be kind without losing our own self-identity. 

The glob of precious honey that I had poured into my mouth at Ace’s was the life’s work of hundreds of bees, a unique floral ode collected from thousands of blossoms in a poetic foraging ritual – Holley Bishop

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HAND – THE REFLECTION OF OUR MIND

Have you ever thought about your life without hands?

Well, it may sound weird but that’s a reality! On the streets, in our train journeys, and at differently-abled homes, we meet such amputee sports people. As we meet such people, we feel compassionate, we quietly intercede for them, if they beg, we give a few coins but does the story end there?

God has uniquely created us. He has wonderfully weaved each of our body parts that it exactly works like a supercomputer which is finely tuned or programmed to meet a definite set of purposes daily in our lives. It reflects the beauty of God’s handiwork in our body and as we gaze upon the beauty of the magnificent work, we tag it “PERFECT”.     

The works of Potter’s hand gives me my required vessel.

The work of the Painter’s hand brings beauty to my living room.

The work of the Carpenter’s hand designs my choicest furniture.

The work of the Chef’s hand feeds me my choicest food.

The work of the Writer’s hand enlightens my mind with knowledge.

The work of the Computer Engineer’s hand makes me technologically advance.

So on and so forth…

Well, what about them who do not have hands? Who are accidentally or by birth amputees, how about life for them? Who is responsible for their loss? Is their life imperfect and ugly?

In school, when the teacher calls my roll number, the sound of his speech beats my eardrum and alerts my mind to process the received information and my mind instructs my hand to raise up and respond “Present Sir”.

At the bus stop, I was waiting for the bus to the office. While my mind was instructing me to catch the bus for office, my eyes saw the moving object “bus” proceeding towards me and it immediately signalled my mind to read the route description on its dashboard and as I read the route description, I raised my hand to ask for a lift.

Wow, amazing! So much of technicality is happening in just a fraction of seconds!

Every output is the reflection of some input stored in the finite memory space. Yes, the translation of it is the “WORK OF MIND”. The hand is designed to give the output of our mind and the mind is designed to input information for a definite action intended for a definite cause.

When I joined the upper primary school as a newcomer, I hesitated to mingle with my classmates. During free hours, I preferred to eat my tiffin and sit alone observing the activities of my new classmates. In my observation, I found them using their hands for a particular sign language to express their anger to dominate the opposition team in the Cricket match and in my tender mind I thought to learn it for my survival in the group. Gradually, after one year I found myself using different vulgar hand sign languages which brought a bad reputation for me. Thank God, I was able to overcome as earlier as possible.

Irrespective of the nature of work the most important organ to reflect the knowledge of mind in our action is “hand” which plays a vital role. A creative thinker thinks creatively whereas his creative thinking is only confined within him but his creative thinking is recognized as Creative work only after the work of his hand. The hand is meant to work but dealing with the roots, it is the mind that instructs the hand how to work and what to work on.

The Bible always prompts for the renewal of the attitude of our mind because it is apparently the renewal of thinking reflects in the works of our hands.

Work on the mind for the work of the hand…  

May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands.
– The Bible

TAME YOUR TONGUE

Give thy thoughts no tongue” – William Shakespeare

It is said that half of a person’s beauty comes from their tongue. An amazing truth about the tongue is, it takes years to learn how to use it but a lifetime to learn when and where to use it.

Here’s a free verse poem on the tongue:

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moist and pink
it’s a small soft flesh
without a bone,
but sturdy enough
to twist the words and turn

smitten by the briney
winds of the sea
it licks the lips with haste,
savours the flavour
beackon for more
it lives mostly for taste

but don’t be fooled
with its smooth texture
if you haven’t seen
what it can do,
it’s as mighty and evil
as one can get
tongue is a powerful tool

it speaks your mind
also your heart
sometimes chatter idly
bringing on mischief,
or time the words
to persuade a crowd
and if it slips
can ruin the world

nerves make it dry
otherwise drools amply
it’s an organ of flair
Connoisseur in matters of taste;
it bends and curls
in raspberry twirl
when it devours another lips
always willing to assist
in matters of the heart

hold it, bite it
if you’re feeling too sharp
tie it with words
it’ll mock your heart
maybe it’s forked
making you lie
put it in your cheek
it’ll play the part

don’t let it go astray
tame it with care
teach it the language
of fairness and quiet
it’ll know what to speak
when and where.

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EVERY NOSE IS BEAUTIFUL

God made us so beautifully. He has given us enough to survive in this world and feel its beauty. He has gifted us with different body parts and has assigned a specific work for all of them. Even if one is completely different from other body parts, it is equally important.

Out of all the sense organ, the nose is the only one that is capable of smelling and performing the process of breathing. Doesn’t matter if the smell is pleasant or not, the nose never fails to perform its duty (except for the time when you have nose congestion). Even if, out of frustration you say, I don’t want to live, your nose won’t stop breathing. Such a dutiful organ nose is.

In schools, we were taught idioms and phrases based on the nose. For example: “don’t poke your nose”, “keep your nose clean”, “keep your nose out” and many more. Have you ever wondered why?

In my perception, the whole idea of using nose in idioms is to highlight and compare a person’s behaviour. Also, according to me, these idioms were made to remind people of how an ideal person should behave. For example: what’s the need for interfering in other’s matter unnecessarily? This is similar to not being satisfied with the amount of air we are breathing in and out and trying to inhale every single molecule left in the air.

Now, let us move to an incident of my life that is closely related to my nose.

I am a person with small and a little fat nose. Though it looks good on me (I am proud of it), I have gone through so many bizarre comments. Even today, I go through the same.

When I was a kid, one of my relatives would consistently say, “Oh what a pity, such a lovely face but ugly nose”. She would repeat this comment twice a day (this continues till now). Other people considered it as platonic. My aunts did the same and this would upset my mom and my grandmother. These two ladies would massage my nose to and forth every day, in the upward direction, just to make sure my nose looks good to people. Thank God! my nose remained the same.

Since I was a kid, my mind developed a mindset that my nose is ugly and people with the long, straight and thin nose are the only pretty beings. I had this mindset until I was in class 11th. Shocking, isn’t it? I guess I am not alone in this world to hear such things.

One day, one of my teachers said, “hey girl, you have such a pretty and cute little nose. I have never seen such a cute nose”. I couldn’t believe my ears. A quick question went through my mind, “was he saying the truth?  But my nose is not at all pretty. How come on the earth he found it cute?” That one compliment changed my mindset and since then, I consider every nose as a beautiful and unique one. Moreover, I have people in my life who admire my little nose. I love those people.

Big, small, crooked, fat, thin or flat, all noses perform the same job. Owning a straight nose won’t supply more oxygen to your lungs as compared to the person having a crooked or small nose. So, it is better and advisable to accept the fact that every nose is beautiful and functions similarly.

And those who get to hear this type of blabbering should say to others, “keep your nose out of it!!”

EAR EAR WHAT DO YOU WANT TO HEAR?

I am sure like me, even you are grateful that all our organs function well. Every organ has its own importance in functioning the body and today I am going to throw some light on ears.

Ears help us to hear and listen. We all know that don’t we? But do we know what is the difference between hearing and listening? Is there a difference in hearing and listening in the first place? Yes, there is. Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences.

Hearing or listening, apart from being just a bodily function, it is also based on your psychology. A lot of times, you hear only what you want to hear really. For example, if you want to ignore a person, his words will fall on deaf ears. No matter how loud and clear the person is, you will not want to react to his saying. Of course, ears don’t do this on their own. Their partner in crime is the brain! But ears do obey the orders of the brain and turn themselves non-reactive in such circumstances.

Let’s look at a more subjective example – A feedback session. If your boss tells you about your performance, he will tell you your strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. If the rapport between your two is good, or if you make an effort to listen to his feedback carefully, you will notice the true words that he is appreciating something about you but is also showing some areas of improvement for your own good. However, if you don’t like your boss, you will hear only the negative feedback of his and whine about how difficult it is to please him or that he always wants to point out your mistakes. Your ears will hear what you really want to hear. Again, the partner in crime is the brain because the instructions to do so flow from there. Hence, you must fine-tune yourself to listen and not just hear.

How many of us listen intently? God has given us two ears and one mouth which signifies that we must listen double than we talk. A listening ear is often a saviour of a troubled relationship while a complaining mouth can spoil even a strong relationship.

Put your ears to the best use. Listen carefully. Understand others. You don’t know how to love if you don’t know how to listen. If you are a good listener your ears will never get you in trouble.

Some tips for being a good listener:

You will find plenty of material on Google, click here to see one of those articles.

I would like to reiterate that you must groom your body to hear or listen. It’s not just ears, but other organs also contribute to listening.

Hearing is listening to what is said. Listening is hearing what is not said. So ask your ears what do they want to hear!

THANK GOD!! MY LEGS ARE STILL INTACT 😜

I am a fearless person when it comes to adventure. My father used to warn me many times when I had to go for sports tournaments or bicycling tournaments with the same sentence every time, “Do not attempt any feats.. please“.. Such was my interest in doing different stunts.. Jumping from the top of water tanks (12 – 15 feet), running down slopes that are made of rocks, stand on the window shade of the top floor of our school building, walk on the roadside parapet wall overlooking a steep valley, I can go on with a big list.

Several times I got wounded. Most of my summer holidays were spent in hospital or at the least making rounds to the hospital for dressing of the wounds. There was one incident, that has changed the way I thought. Many of you in India may have used or seen a teak cot. The double cot in our home is made of teak, a type of wood considered very strong and durable. One day, me and my sister were playing a game which required us to jump from over the head board of the bed. I am pretty sure I would have invented that game only because I wanted to jump :p In the process of jumping, or should I say playing (LOL), my leg hit the head board, right in between of the knee and ankle. It was a very small bruise. There was not much of pain either.

4 or 5 days after this incident, I started to experience pain, followed by swelling. I kept this to myself for a couple more days thinking it would subside on it’s own. Well, no, it came to a stage that I could not put on my school shoes. My father noticed this and as usual performed his duty of taking me to the hospital. The doctor said the wound is infected and covered it with some medicine and bandage. She said we should come back the next day for dressing and she would attempt to remove the puss. The next day when she opened the dressing, there was a fist sized perforation which was red. She started with the puss removal process. It was quite painful and lasted for more than an hour. She dressed my wound again and asked me to come back after 3 days for dressing.

This puss removal and dressing cycle continued for 3 more rounds but the doctor could not understand why the puss formation wasn’t reducing even after the medication. We got an X-ray done and there it was, a tiny piece of wood in my muscle. She cut open the wound and removed the piece of wood. Are you wondering what changed me? The simple ritual of using the restroom at home took as long as 20 minutes, to get off the bed, drag myself on the floor because I couldn’t walk because of the pain, then a struggle to hold whatever I can so that I can get up and do what’s needed and get back to the bed. My parents are very caring, but come on.. I cannot ask them to help me use the restroom because I wanted to try a crazy act of jumping off the bed. I felt ashamed as that situation of mine, it aroused because of my ‘adventures’.. All of this is mischief as a child but a lesson learnt to be very careful while having fun.

So, should I stop trying anything new? I keep doing adventures even now, I tried sky diving when I was injured. Somehow adventure brings life into me. Usually when I am going to attempt an adventure, there are two kinds of feelings in me. The first one, of course the excitement and the second one, the fear.. What if, this adventure leaves me disabled physically or even mentally? It is extremely difficult to find someone who can care without criticizing me or I might end up spending my entire life cursing myself for attempting it. Weird feeling I must agree. All of our body parts are very important, but mobility gives us freedom. I lived without using my hands, my eyes, my mouth, my legs etc (substantial injuries you know :D), out of all these lacking mobility was difficult to manage. When we can balance our body on our legs and move forward everything seems a little simpler or so I feel..

I use my legs a lot. I usually stand in all my meetings at office unless the organiser wants me to sit. One of my colleagues used to joke that some day I might get varicose veins.. Of late, I have become very lazy and uninterested in exercising making by body unfit especially my legs. I realised it after practising Bhangra (a Punjabi dance form) for couple of days. I could hardly move my legs for four days post the practice sessions. This motivated me to start going to gym again. You notice the fear? I told the trainer I would come back when I get fit enough to attempt tough Bhangra steps 🙂

Mobility is an important part of our day to day life. If we imagine our life without legs or even decreased mobility as per norm, we would notice that it takes two to three times the time to move from one place to another. Compared to a normal person, an amputee or a physically disabled person would have to invest time to plan their commute, considering the places they have to be and also the extra time that would be needed. A sore knee can set us back by a good amount of time. Please take good care of your legs. My mom says, several glands and organs of our body are connected to our legs. If we maintain healthy legs, then automatically our body would be healthy.

THE EYE: THE LAMP OF THE BODY

In my school days, I used to play a game with my friends called the Blindfold Challenge. There are many variants to the game. In one type, one has to chase a friend who would call out the name and then run in a different direction. In another variant, one has to identify objects and name them. In another type, one has to trace one’s way out of the room and reach the spot where the rest of the friends are (it goes without saying that they keep on sneaking from room to room silently). The game is fun! Especially those who are on the running side enjoy it a lot. But for the one who is blindfolded, it gradually begins to feel as if a state of perpetual blindness is creeping in to take a grip. I remember many of my friends used to remove the blindfold out of frustration (even before completing the task) just to get rid of the darkness. And how relieving it felt to be in the presence of light once again!

I’m sure many of you would have played this game as kids! Blindfolds are often used in reality shows on the television when participants are to be given a surprise (either a surprise gift or to welcome a surprise visitor). Have you ever thought why the eyes are the ones which are blindfolded and not any of the other sense organs? The ears, the nose, the tongue, the skin are left to function normally, whereas the eyes are covered, when a person is made to guess/identify/recognize something or somebody. Ever thought why?

In human beings, vision/sight is neurophysiologically, the most dominant sense. Research says that thirty to forty percent of our cerebral cortex is devoted to vision while the other sense organs together make up the rest. Isn’t it now easy to understand why blindfolding is so much made use of?

So tough for those with partial or complete visual impairment!

To add a tinge of humour before delving into some serious lessons, I would like to share something that happened just a few days back. I stepped out of my house in the scorching summer heat around noon, all the while feeling that something was wrong with my eyes – especially with my right eye. All along the way, I was trying to figure out the reason for my blurred vision. The problem was not with my sunglasses. And yes, I had remembered to wear contacts in both the eyes. I closed each eye with my palm by turns and tried seeing through the other. A few times of this exercise and I was sure that my right eye was at fault. Somehow I managed to finish the chores and return home in a few hours. And when I set to remove my contact lenses, the one in the right eye wasn’t there! But, I was sure that I had put it in place. After a little bit of fiddling, I successfully traced and removed the lens from beneath the eye lid!! Though I did smile to myself, I also decided to check and rectify any fault without delay should a similar thing recur in future.

So crucial are our eyes! And, they are placed at just the right position to guide the other important parts of our bodies. That is why the Bible aptly says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness . . .” 

A lamp lightens the place in the absence of other sources of light. And so, with the help of the light of the lamp one can find his/her way around without much difficulty. In order to get as much light as possible, three things are crucial. Firstly, the lamp has to be placed in a location where the light rays would cover the maximum area. Secondly, the glass/fibre covering of the lamp has to be clean. Thirdly, there has to be a continuous supply of energy to generate light (without which a lamp becomes an useless object).

You may visualize the above three requirements with respect to an oil-lamp or electric lights. Applies just the same!

These three requirements apply to our eyes as well. Our eyes are the natural lamps fitted in our bodies. They serve the body by being windows to the world. The eyes not only help the body to perform its function well, but also help the body as a unit to function normally and usefully with respect to others.

  • Imagine that you had your eyes near your toes. You would then be able to see only the area under your feet. The rest of your body would go berserk without a lack of guidance. Since you and I have had no role in placing our eyes (of the human species) where they are, we just need to thank the Master Designer for His remarkable design. So wonderfully are our eyes lodged that they can see and make seen the maximum.
  • Our roles gain significance in the second requirement, i.e, in keeping our eyes clean. Keeping the eyes clean not only refers to keeping the sclera (the visible white part of the eye) clean, but also to guard the eyes against seeing anything wrong. Here, I would like to mention that our sense organs are crucial gateways to temptation. It is important to keep our eyes externally clean and healthy. Eye exercises are a must. If nothing else, then looking at a stretch of greenery for 10-15 minutes regularly helps ensure good health of the eyes. Any irritation in the eyes, needs to be addressed on an emergency basis. However, once the eyes are clean, what do we see? For the sake of brevity, I will not go on to elaborate the wrongs that the eyes are exposed to, but I sure will leave some food for thought. Deliberately watching things that may be sensually pleasing but are wrong (acts of rage, injustice, sexual perversion, porn) or letting the eyes gaze around lazily and aimlessly – are sure grounds to invite trouble in our lives in the long run.
  • What do we fuel our eyes with? The sclera is just the visible outer covering. It is a protective layer. The mechanism of sight operates when light passes through the cornea and the lens and casts an image on the retina and this information from the retina is sent via optic nerves to other parts of the brain which process the information and allow us to see. If there occurs a disruption in any one stage, vision is affected. In all this, the electrical signals play a crucial role is transmitting to and from different parts of the eyes and the brain. What external signals do we permit our eyes to carry? If we fuel our eyes with sights that are good, healthy and edifying, the signals sent by the brain to other parts of the body will be good, healthy and edifying as well. In certain cases, people are forced to witness what is wrong (for example, a child witnessing the murder of a parent or a husband being forced to watch his wife being raped). These are cases beyond one’s control where the healing touch of God and the comfort of understanding people are needed to come out of it. However, when we decide to deliberately fuel our eyes with all that is destructive and wrong, we prepare grounds for our physical and spiritual destruction. In recent news in India is a couple where the husband has been convicted and jailed for forcing unnatural sex on his wife. Five years of marriage went by smoothly and happily, after which the husband entered into the world of pornography which resulted in his atrocious behaviour. A family shattered!

The eyes indeed are the lamps of the body. They have been placed in the appropriate position by the Creator. Let us resolve to keep them clean and fuel them with supplies of edifying energy!