Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Exercise is one of those things which everyone knows will be beneficial to their health but no one is willing to put in the effort to live a healthy life. Advantages of exercising are good immune system, better body, relief from stress, longer life, etc.

I'm not an expert at exercising but I do know a few points about it gained from experience of learning some forms of exercise. Exercise means different things to different people and it should be based on the end result that people want to achieve. If you want to stay fit, regular walking, jogging, swimming, should be enough. If you want to tone muscles, weight reduction and weight training exercises are necessary. To bulk up, heavy eating and heavy weight training is required.

There are n number of exercise techniques available and it just confuses the hell out of people (it did confuse me). But I prefer to keep exercise into two basic forms keeping in mind my goal is muscle toning. Before I mention them, before any exercise an important thing is warm up to avoid any damage to the muscles or soreness. Warm up means light stretching movement of the muscles and the body before beginning heavy exercises.

1) Cardiovascular exercises:
Cardiovascular exercises are those when you perform will increase your heart rate. So exercises like brisk walking, jogging, swimming, aerobics fall into this category of exercises. They are simple exercises which anyone can do and are the fastest way to lose weight (brisk walking for around 45 minutes daily can work wonders to lose weight and it also refreshes the mind). Since they improve the heart rate, they are good for increasing endurance. Everyone can and should be doing these. Highly recommended by doctors.
I have been able to incorporate cardio by walking from the station to my house which gives me a 30 minute brisk walk.

2) Weight training:
Weight training involves strengthening the muscles of your body by providing resistance to them. This involves lifting heavy weights like dumb bells, bar bells, and all the other fancy gym equipment you can think of. By straining your muscles, you break them and when they repair they become much stronger. That is the basics of weight training.
I don't have fancy equipment nor the time to go to a gym, so for me weight training involves push ups, crunches and bicep curls.

Any form of exercise is better than nothing. While I have mentioned these exercises, people who don't have time (which I can't see why) should atleast try simple stuff like taking the stairs instead of lifts, walking short distances instead of taking bikes and cars or participating in sporting activities.

This is what I can share about exercising. I too am a learner and hope to improve as I go. I did not mention another aspect of fitness which is equally important as exercising and that is the diet we follow. Maybe in another post.

Best way to communicate

A friend of mine mentioned that she feels the best way to communicate with friends is through a phone call. And that internet communication, mainly text chat was way too manipulative as per her experience (I guess some friend might have pissed her off on the internet by being manipulative. Well, then he/she shouldn't be a friend in the first place) . As usual, I dislike generalization of habits to people because each and every person is different and we cannot expect everyone to be the same.

I feel every mode of communication, be it direct face to face, on the telephone or through the internet has its own purpose. Of course, still the best form of communication is a straight face to face and heart to heart talk. But then what happens when distance separates the people? Telephone and the internet serve this purpose of long distance communication. Telephone has the advantage that we can still hear the tonality of the voice of a person which internet chat fails to do (of course, yahoo, gtalk and skype can be used to talk on the internet as well). When telephone calls become costly, that is inter continent calls, then the internet is the best medium of communication.

Frankly, it was orkut that helped me gain contact with many of my friends whom I would not have heard from (bless the person who introduced me to it). And yes to improve our relationships, we need to communicate as much as possible either directly or through the phone. But the important thing is we need to keep in touch even if it is passively through the internet (once again, yahoo, gtalk and skype are closing the gap between calls and chat).

And one more lesson: If a person is manipulative, he/she will be the same whether talking directly, through the phone or the internet. So instead of blaming the internet, maybe we should spend time building good friendships using whatever way is possible.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

IPL: What does it hold for Indian sports future?

IPL (Indian Premier League) had the auctioning of its players recently. And from what can be seen a huge amount of money has been spent by industrialists on bidding for players on their team. The IPL will kick off in April with a total of 59 twenty20 matches. More information can be found at
It is basically trying to create a sporting event somewhat on the lines of Premier Leagues that are seen in soccer or baseball. As in players play for clubs and clubs are involved in bidding for players they want.

So how will the IPL change the way cricket is played in India as well as the world?

Only time will shed some light on this question. But from what was seen in the twenty20 world cup, this version of cricket does generate a lot of appeal because of its fast entertainment providing way. No more waiting for days or hours to watch the outcome of the match. Like in popular sports like soccer or tennis, less boring moments can be expected by the spectators. So basically I feel that in terms of the entertainment factor, the IPL will succeed in providing a lot of cricketing entertainment to spectators. But then what happens to the other forms of the game i.e One day cricket and Test matches. Well, from what has been seen since the introduction of twenty20 is that Test matches are still popular especially among the purists and they still generate interest among the viewers. It seems like One day cricket is the one which might suffer loss of interest because people do find twenty20 better in terms of entertainment that the One dayers. Also there is the issue that can good twenty20 players play well in One days and Tests? Well, I think twenty20 players can do pretty well in One days but Test matches require real skill and the instinct of a twenty20 player will make him unsuitable for the longer version of the game. On the positive side, some guys might emerge who are kind of allrounders who can play all versions of cricket with ease and that will be exciting.

A thought has to be given to the bowlers who will bowl in twenty20 matches. Bowlers will have to have real heart to participate in these matches as batsmen will surely score a lot of runs from them on most days. So while the number of wickets they take will increase, their run rate will increase as well.

Some purists have shown displeasure with the IPL and it's bidding because it seems like commercialization of cricket. Well, cricket was commercialized since a long time and the spirit of cricket hardly matters nowadays. It can only be found in Test matches if any. As previously stated, twenty20 and IPL are for entertainment sports. But there is also a thought provoking side to this. As some people have mentioned time and again why is it that only cricket generates such revenue. If something similar would be done for other sports (hockey, football, etc), we would be having better teams, better players and better interest in those sports by now. Well, I feel the reason for that is a cycle. Cricket seems like the only sport in which India does show some skill and winning ability. Other sports (hockey is an on/off thing, not like it used to be and don't even talk about football) can compete with cricket only if the produce some great wins backed up by good promotion. But then promoting other sports is what is lacking. Hoping someday this might change. Personally, even I have more interest in cricket that in other sports (hoping to change this).

So in short, what IPL will do is it will strengthen people's interest in cricket (as twenty20 world cup did when India was knocked out of the ICC World Cup). Sure players are now more like pieces of talent to be sold or bought but then considering how it has worked for soccer hopefully the same happens for cricket.

So, let's wait for IPL to begin and enjoy the show.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The most beautiful woman in the world

We had this story in our English textbooks in 4th or 5th standard with the title "My mother is the most beautiful woman in the world". It was about a Russian boy and his mother who was ugly looks wise but her love for her son made her the most beautiful woman in the world in her son's eyes. I don't remember the full story though. But I do remember another one.

There is this widowed mother and her child who are living in poverty. The mother sacrifices her life and working hard educates her son and brings him up with the most love and care. Every need of the son she tries to fulfil. The son grows up and becomes a man. He falls in love with a beautiful girl and they get married. Now unfortunately the mother due to old age and working hard becomes sick. Her son knows the sacrifice his mother has done for him and takes care of her. His love for his mother makes his wife jealous. So she tells him that if he loves her then to kill his mother and bring her heart to her. The husband does not want to lose his love so he reluctantly agrees to do it. He manages to kill his mother and puts her heart in a bag. As he is walking home, he stumbles and falls and the heart pops out of the bag. At once his mother's heart cries, "Son, are you ok? Did you get hurt?"

Well the moral of that story is a mother's love for her children is unending.

And truly when we look at our own mothers, don't we know that it is true? Personally, I feel my mother is a reincarnation of superwoman or something. The amount of work she does at home along with tending to the old members of the house as well as the young and also being the society secretary makes her more than a superwoman. We tend to forget the amount of love that mothers have for their children. When we have our life, we ignore them, forgetting what sacrifices they have done for us. No one wants an old person in their house as it is too much of a burden. How fickle and selfish we humans can be? Only wanting the good things of love but not ready to sacrifice for that same love?

So I pray to God that whatever the situation may be, please give me the strength so that I can provide to my mother at least some measure of the love that she has given to me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Books: Our best friends

I love reading books. Right now I am reading "The Magic of Thinking Big" by David Schwartz. Fiction, non-fiction, technical, any will do. It is true that books are our best friends. We laugh with them, learn from them, sometimes even shed a tear with them.

The best thing about books is that we can learn from the author's experience. What takes a person decades to learn has been put in an understandable way into books. It is thanks to such wonderful gifts of learning that we can enrich and improve our lives.

There are good books and bad ones. Picking out the good ones is an important task and only true book lovers master that skill. Also knowing the treasure troves of books is very useful especially in a city like Mumbai which discourages reading. I would love to know about the small book shops especially down town which offer some really good bargains on really good books. There are plenty of book chain stores in the city but they all keep the usual stuff: best sellers and all.

And first hand books are out of my budget as for many of the city's book lovers. So the few options that we have is either to purchase pirated books available at railway stations or the city streets (Just bought The Greatness Guide - Robin Sharma). Or go to some book store with second hand books. Or go to CST and try to find some goodies in the piles that are stacked on the footpaths. Another option if you cannot travel easily is to find a local raddi wala who stacks books (most are very impolite and don't be optimistic about bargains). One other option which I find is great for people who read books is to join a library. I think the good ones are all downtown. I hear the British Council Library is good. It has a vast range of books in many diverse subjects. Also it has an online library access provided with membership. So that is pretty cool.

Hoping we read lots and lots of good books this year.

Visit my book shelf at

Friday, February 8, 2008

What is the most important thing in life?

Spending a few days in the hospital taking care of a loved one made me think about this. What is the most important thing in life. Money, career, success? What matters? Well the truth is only love matters. Money, fame, career, everything is just to give some direction to our lives. But the one thing that defines human life is love. We would not be here were it not the love of our parents. Their love cannot be re payed even with our lives. Having some one to love you for who you are is the best achievement a human being can have. Not just farcical love but love that is unconditional. Love that does not only see the strengths of the person but also accepts the weaknesses.

And love is what matters in the end. At the end of our lives, it will not be the money, fame, success that will matter. But how many people loved you and will miss you that is what matters. To love and be loved is what makes life successful.