Vintage touch to nostalgia

Chowmahalla Palace is a perfect day-off destination to get soaked in Hyderabad’s history

Most spaces make us realise how time flies; the Chowmahalla Palace on the other hand, freezes time. In stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the area surrounding the Charminar, the Palace, located in a quieter corner, not far away, lets you slip immediately into a different world, a prettier world that is splashed with the umpteen evidences of the affluence of the Nizams.

What strikes you immediately is the staff, bearing the humble efficiency of a well-trained unit, amply demonstrated by the one who manned the parking lot, asking me to nonchalantly leave my helmet near the bike, assuring me that he would take care of it. The impeccable cleanliness of the place strikes you – well-manicured, lush green lawns, fountains amidst pools cleaned incessantly of dried leaves, and floors, constantly mopped by women in blue, right through the day. There was a reception planned for the evening, a conference delegation which would probably enjoy the charms of the place in the soothing solace of evening colours that might make the already majestic palace, prettier.

 

Time still ticks

The entrance leads you to the Khilwat Mubarak, the durbar, with its gorgeous windows laced with detailed and ornate stucco work, and flanked by the timeless clock tower, the Khilwat Clock that has seen 250 years of Hyderabadand still ticking – what can be more humbling? Inside the gorgeous hall are beautifully carved archways with chandeliers of Belgian crystal, sparkling in multitudes of colours.

As you walk along the foyers adjacent to the durbar, you can feel the affluent touch of the Nizams’ illustrious history cajole you into a world of nostalgia – beautiful furniture, ceramic-ware, princely dresses and court uniforms, paintings, correspondence and armoury in chambers lined with beautiful arched windows, and walls embellished with framed photographs and paintings boasting of the fine palates of the connoisseurs of art. But, the best is yet to come, the guard would remind you, of the riches that lie beyond the durbar – the four palaces that give Chowmahalla its name – Afzal Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal and Aftab Mahal.

 

But for the resolve of one great lady, aided by some efficient, upright men, the palace would have been all but lost to us. The opulence of the Nizam, who was once the richest man in the world, the Chowmahalla Palace, had fallen into decadence; it was a derelict Ruritania, to borrow the phrase used by William Dalrymple in his essay on one of the greatest restoration works in the modern world.

As I walked along the lush lawns, the buzz building up for the reception in the evening, I couldn’t help but wonder about the magnanimity of the stewardship of Princess Esra, the first wife of the present Nizam, who after a hiatus, returned to set the house in order, metaphorically, the heir, Mukarram Jah giving her the authority needed to do what was necessary. And in six years, things have been turned around remarkably, hundreds of litigations dealt with and debts taken care of, before the Palace was turned into a museum. The Princess’ remarkable hand ensured the Nizam’s legacy wasn’t lost to the churning wheels of time.

It is hard to guess, how many more riches lie in the chambers of the palace but walking along the courtyard from one Mahal to the other, one can only admire the courage and efficiency needed to restore such a grand place, employing teams of carpenters, photographic experts, antique upholsterers, historians, Persian and Urdu experts, and ceramic and art conservators and consultants who worked unrelentingly to keep alive a dynastic legacy that was once the unofficial seat of the leading Muslim ruler of the world.

As afternoon creeped into the courtyards of the beautiful Mahals, with their Persian and Mughal influences demonstrated proudly by the arches contrasted against green lawns and blue skies, alive with the flutter of pigeons, I finally walked into the much-hyped corner of the Palace – to the Nizam’s collection of vintage cars. You can’t help but have your jaw drop, so mesmerising is the first glimpse of the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, restored to its pristine beauty, with a nice canary yellow exterior.

You might need an entire day to soak in the beauty of everything the palace has to offer, for one can spend a quiescent hour or two just gazing out of the arched windows in the hallways at the verandas, or lying in the alluring lawns brimming with artistic topiary and landscaping. What would I not give for a few whiffs of Hindustani classical music, echoing through the quietly proud halls, to celebrate a great fightback!

Courtesy     The Hindu

 

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Festivities from folklore

Festivals get even more colourful when people from different communities come together to celebrate. Navratri, or Durga Puja, is celebrated with as much fervour in many parts of India as it is in Hyderabad. Elaborating on the Telugu community’s celebrations, artist Sravanthi Juluri says, “We don’t worship Goddess Durga’s idol, instead we worship the kalasha for nine days. It signifies nine different forms of the goddess  — Laxmi, Saraswati, Gauri, etc. What more, each day has a different significance and we mark it with a different colour. We make food in that colour and also decorate the place with flowers of the same colour.”

While the Telugu community worship the kalasha, the Bengali community’s celebration is all about themes and idols of the goddess and her children. To explain this further, Shyamoli Bose from the Hyderabad Bengali Samitee says, “The five-day festivity is of utmost importance. But the most auspicious time is when Ashtami meets Navami — when we perform Sandhi puja. We light 108 diyas and place 108 lotuses which signify the goddess’ third eye.”

Interestingly, she adds, “When everyone is celebrating Dasara with great enthusiasm, for us it’s a day of sadness. It is the day when Maa Durga is going back to the Himalayas and we bid her adieu by playing with sindur (where married women apply vermilion on the each other’s foreheads and cheeks).” When talking about Navratri, one can’t miss these two communities which have very similar ways of celebrating yet are different in their own way — the Marwaris and the Gujaratis.

It’s quite well-known that the Gujaratis play garba and dandiya during this time but little do people know that they dance around a garbi at their home first. “We place a garbi, which is a decorated matka and within lies a diya. After puja every day in the evening, ladies dance around the garbi and that’s why the dance is called garba,” says Zeny Momaya, who organises dandiya and garba events in the city.

People from the Marwari community as well fast and indulge in garba and dandiya in the evening. However, they also follow another age-old tradition. “An important tradition that we follow from our grandmothers’ times is that apart from the morning puja, from the first day, we put wheat in a new pot and place it in a corner for the entire duration and water it. By the last day, it turns into wheat grass and we use it for puja on Dasara,” shares Madhu Jain from the Deepshikha Mahila Club.

 

courtesy     The Hyderabad Chronicle

 

Vitamin C can help fight leukaemia says study

For cancer patients, vitamin C can be given only as a supplement or as a part of the diet, says Senior Oncologist.

Leukaemia is caused by mutation in Tet Methylcytosine Dixoygenase 2 gene. This gene mutation leads to an uncontrollable growth of cancerous cells. (Representational image)

Vitamin C is being touted as the super strength vitamin to fight leukaemia, according to a study published in Cell. The study has found that vitamin C helps combat the effect of a mutated gene that can cause uncontrolled stem cell growth, triggering leukaemia.

Leukaemia is caused by mutation in Tet Methylcytosine Dixoygenase 2 gene. This gene mutation leads to an uncontrollable growth of cancerous cells. It was found that the use of vitamin C helps restore TET2 gene to working order, slowing the progression of leukaemia.

Dr K. Srinkanth, a senior oncologist, said, “Vitamin C is prescribed for all cancer patients as it is known to limit proliferation of cancer. It is found to be effective in the linings of intestine, stomach and mouth areas. Hence vitamin C is found to work in these parts of the body. But in blood cancer it is in the bone marrow and it has to be established with larger studies.”

Dr Srinivas C., another oncologist, said, “Vitamin C is given in combination with the chemotherapy or oral anti-cancer drugs. This is done to fight cancer cells and the combination is found to be effective. Vitamin C as single treatment may not be that effective and has to be further probed.”

Studies on animals have found that vitamin C can block cancerous tumours. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved vitamin C in the form of intravenous treatment for cancer patients as it has demanded more testing to prove safety.

A senior oncologist, on condition of anonymity, said, “For cancer patients, vitamin C can be given only as a supplement or as a part of the diet. There are many studies claiming that it restricts the tumor growth but in clinical practice we have found that it does not do so.”

 

 

COURTESY     DECCAN CHRONICLE

 

“Bypass the Bypass surgery” By Dr Syed Zair Hussain Rizvi*

*EVERY SEED OF POMEGRANATE (DELUM) WHICH GOES IN YOUR STOMACH IS A SEED OF LIFE FOR YOUR HEART….*

Two things are full of benefits for the human being, Lukewarm Water & Pomegranate.

I prepared a decoction boiling a fistful of dried seeds of Pomegranate in half litre of water for 10 minutes, strained the decoction and advised those patients suffering from painful Angina to drink a glass of lukewarm decoction on empty stomach early mornings.  Amazing result was observed, _the decoction of dried pomegranate seeds worked like a magic, the feelings of tightness and heaviness of chest and the pain were relieved._It encouraged me to try more experiments on various types of cardiac patients.  So I experimented on patients who were suffering from painful Angina, Coronary Arterial Blockage, Cardiac Ischemia (insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle) etc, who were waiting for  bypass surgery.

_Drinking lukewarm decoction on empty stomach in the morning provided quick relief in all symptoms including painful condition._In another case of Coronary Arterial Blockage the patient was given half glass of fresh pomegranate juice everyday for one year, although all symptoms were completely relieved within a few weeks but they continued taking it for a whole year. This  completely reversed the plaque build-up and unblocked arteries to normal, the angiography report confirmed the evidence.

Thus decoction of dried pomegranate seeds, fresh pomegranate juice or eating a whole pomegranate on empty stomach in the morning proved to be a miracle cure for cardiac patients. But _the lukewarm dried seeds decoction proved to be more effective_ compared to eating a whole pomegranate or fresh pomegranate juice.   _Consuming  pomegranate has demonstrated even more dramatic effects as blood thinner, pain killing properties for cardiac patients, lowers LDL (low density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) and raises the HDL (high density lipoprotein or good cholesterol)._

There are more than 50 different types of heart diseases and the most common being Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), which is the number one killer of both women and men in many countries, and there has been no medicinal cure for this disease.  Many cardiac patients have reversed their heart diseases by drinking one glass of lukewarm decoction of pomegranate dried seeds, half glass of fresh pomegranate juice or eating a whole pomegranate on empty stomach in the morning.  It was the very first real breakthrough in the history of cardiology to successfully treat the cardiac diseases by a fruit..    It is regretted to say that treating the heart patients and bypass surgery has become far more profitable business around the world.

*A regular use of pomegranate in any way ensures a healthy cardiac life, thinning your blood, dissolving the blood clots and obstruction inside the coronary arteries, maintains an optimal blood flow, supports a healthy blood pressure, prevents and reverses atherosclerosis (Thickening of the internal lining of the blood vessels).*   From these experience and observations in last several years, I can say:  

“A Pomegranate a day keeps the Cardiologist away”._

You can try and see the wonder work….
From today let us try and see.

The wonder boy

In 1994, when a fortuneteller told Lokanatham, an AP State Govt. employee (Tirupathi), that he will be blessed with a boy who will create sensation, he didn’t pay much attention. After two decades, much to Lokanatham’s amusement, the prediction has come true. The boy is Devi Sri Prasad (11), who recently created four Guinness records in Limbo Skating — Forward and Backward Skating under 60 vehicles for 115.6 m, and Forward and Backward Skating under bars of 10 inches height for 184 m and 167 m respectively.

11-year-old Devi Sri Prasad Gandupalli has become the cynosure of all eyes after setting four Guinness records in Limbo skating.

“I practiced for four hours every day. I injured my leg several times — suffered bruises, bleeding, cuts — but my parents gave me first aid. They are there with me during all my practice hours and continuously encourage me,” Devi expresses.

Apparently, Devi’s fascination towards skating started when he was 5. “When I took him for swimming, the authorities said he was not eligible, but Devi saw people practicing skating and that’s how his interest developed,” recalls Lokanatham, adding, “He was so passionate about the sport that three months from then he won a silver medal at the Open National Championship (at Dehradun). Since then, he has won numerous medals.”

Prof. Kishore, Director of Physical Education, Acharya Nagarjuna University, felt that Devi could become an Olympic winner and referred him to Aaradhana Sharma (Sports Nutrition Consultant and Wellness Coach, Pune) who gives dietary advice to badminton star P.V. Sindhu.

“When Aaradhana saw me, she kissed me on the cheek and said ‘I am your fan and had been following you on Facebook’. I felt very happy,” beams Devi.

His father adds, “The diet plan she suggested was very expensive. We are a middleclass family and can’t afford it. So Aaradhana agreed to be Devi’s dietitian and has also been looking for sponsorship. All Olympic aspirants had to undergo a medical check-up at the Army Sports Medical Institute (Pune). Devi had undergone all the medical tests, costing `5 lakh. I couldn’t afford it but seeing his talent, they have provided everything free of cost. Even the medical commandant said he has never seen such a boy during his service.”

The international media, too, reported extensively about Devi’s incredible achievements and now he has his eyes set on the Olympics. “I know I need to complete 15 years to participate, so I am preparing for it,” says Devi.

  • 4 Guinness records in Limbo Skating (2017)
  • Awarded ‘The Honorary Doctorate’ from International University of Higher Martial Arts Education, USA (2015)
  • 3 Gold medals in Open International Inline Skating (2013)
  • World record for Non-stop Limbo Skating — 6 hours (2014)
  •  Won National Championship in CBSE, RSFI and FGFI (2015)
  •  2016 Extraordinary Performer — for Longest Limbo Skating (forwards and backwards) under 53 cars & bars of 8.25 inches

 

courtesy       Deccan Chronicle

 

A weed that cures

Thumma, with its sweet white flowers and pungent leaves, is a nutritive powerhouse

A lot of the rituals involved in Indian festivals have a significant importance in our day-to-day lives. Ganesh Chaturthi involves a lot of plants and climbers, which are meant to be beneficial for us, and my colleague suggested I discuss the importance of thumma (Telugu) leaves during this season.

Every ritual in traditional religious practices has a co-relation with our daily lives, season and climate. Thumma is a common weed, but people who know about its medicinal properties consider it as Nature’s cure for sinusitis. “As a common home remedy, the juice of this plant obtained by crushing it in a stone grinder is given to children with cough and cold,” my domestic help said.

I made the connection between sinusitis and weed and realised that this is what is called duron xaak in Assamese. This led me to probe the names in which this weed, whose botanical name is Leucas cephalotes, is known in other states. Hindi-speaking people identify it as guma; in Telugu, apart from calling it thumma, it is also called peddatumani; Bengalis call it dandakalas, halaksa and ghalghase; in Marathi, it is tubari and tumba; Kubo is its Gujarati name; the Tamil name is tumbari, thumbai; Kannadigas call it tumbe, tumbe hoovu, tumbe gida andthumbe; and in Malayalam it is known as tumba and tumba poovu. The Sanskrit name of the herb is dronapushpi and it bears white flowers.

I remember, as kids, we would chew these flowers to relish the sweet nectar in it. If the flower is sweet, the same cannot be said about the plant. When the plant is steamed and mashed into a paste to be consumed during lunch, the morsel of rice can be the most pungent ever. It is as good as eating wasabi by itself. But the pungency is a magic potent. It not only clears your cold and cough, but is also supposed to heat the body normally, preparing it for colder winter days. Apart from being a medicinal plant, the weed is also used in various Hindu religious practices. But its medicinal use is most prominent, because it is known to be beneficial for liver disorders, jaundice, asthma, cough and cold, among others.

The plant is not too tall and grows best in damp conditions. The milk-like extract, which is obtained on breaking the plant at joints, is used to treat skin disorders. While the leaves of the plant can be cooked and eaten to derive the best results, its raw juice is used as a nose drop to treat sinusitis. It’s bitter and pungent property makes it an excellent cure for cough and cold.

For sinusitis and headache

Dronapushpi’s fresh leaves are crushed to extract juice. Two drops of this juice are put into both nostrils on an empty stomach. This helps to relieve sinusitis-related headache.

As an antiseptic

The plant is dried, powdered and made into a kashayam by adding water and boiling it. This water is used to wash wounds.

Caution

Over-dosage may cause a burning sensation. Nasal administration of its juice extract should be done under the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic doctor.

 COURTESY     THE HINDU 

The Fable of Porcupine 

It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm.
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This way they covered & protected themselves;
but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions.  After a while, they decided to distance themselves one from the other & they began to die, alone & frozen. So they had to make a choice..
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Either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the warmth & heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.
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The best group is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others & can admire the other person’s good qualities. Better to be surrounded by warm pricks than be frozen in solitude!!!!!!