Monday, April 30, 2018

Change in Lifestyle - Effect on nutrition and Our Body

During each phase in our life, our way of living changes. Unlike when our parents used to force feed us taking care of our nutritional needs, once we are on our own, our eating habits turn unhealthy. Our priority is often to grab the most easily available and consumable food than one that would require hours to prepare, is often messy to carry around and eat. The result? We miss out on providing our body with essential nutrients.

What are the essential nutrients? 

The body requires six essential nutrients which are necessary for the body to function properly. The body cannot synthesize these on its own. We need to supply them through a balanced diet. These six essential nutrients include carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. 

Carbohydrates are the main sources of energy for the body. The body cannot function properly in their absence. Fruits, bread and grains, starchy vegetables and sugars are good sources of carbohydrates.

Proteins are the major structural component of cells and are essential for the building and repair of body tissues. Proteins consist of amino acids. Out of the 20 amino acids, nine amino acids known as essential amino acids must be provided in the diet. Lean protein sources such as low-fat meat, dairy, beans or eggs are healthy sources of proteins.

Fats are also sources of energy. When consumed, they also help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K. Healthy options such as omega-3-rich foods like fish, walnuts and vegetable-based oils. Omega-3 fatty acids help with development and growth. We should limit intake of saturated fats such as high-fat meats and full-fat dairy. We should remember to include nuts, seeds and avocado.

Vitamins help our body to grow and develop normally. There are 13 essential vitamins, each responsible for a specific job. We can find them in various fruits and vegetables.

Minerals of two types are essential to us. Macrominerals and trace minerals. Macrominerals are needed by our body in larger amounts. They include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. Our body needs only a small amount of trace minerals. These include iron, copper, iodine, zinc, fluoride, and selenium. Each mineral helps the body to perform better.

Water helps to transport nutrients to cells. It also facilitates the removal of waste products from the body. 

What can we do to remain healthy even with a hectic lifestyle?

Given below was how my daily journal roughly looked like while I worked as a civil engineer in Dubai.

The result was that I gained weight and began experiencing health issues which I never had. I realized it soon enough thanks to my health-conscious siblings and father who are doctors. They gave me strict instructions as to what to eat and what not. Also, I started walking regularly, by getting down a bit away from my place and taking the stairs.

Now, I am a stay at home mom and a full-time writer. I spend hours in front of the computer. But, I do an hour of yoga and walk for minimum 30 minutes daily. I now realize how important exercise is for a healthy mind and body. Yoga keeps my mind active and body energetic. Walking is my daily recharge module for creativity because it is during my daily walks that I plot the scenes I want to write or churn out the dialogues.

But this was not the case a year ago. I used to fall sick repeatedly. My shoulder and back would start aching by the end of the day. My productivity was also going down.

Together with exercise, I make sure my daily intake of carbohydrates and proteins are balanced and adequate. Vegetables and fruit intake have increased manifold. Mixed vegetable and fruit juices have become my favourite drinks. I remember to choose healthy alternatives instead of oily snacks or junk food.

I have realized that healthy lifestyle changes are a must whatever profession you are in. After all, we should respect the body which is the home of our soul. Health is indeed wealth.

How do you cope up with lifestyle changes? Do share your ideas in the comments section.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Writer

I am a writer. I write commercial fiction. Till a month ago, I led a very normal, mostly anonymous life. I used to spend hours in a parallel universe where I played the role of the creator. But nothing remains the same now. 

 When I landed in Bangalore last month, my husband was waiting for me along with a jeep full of policemen, who he said, was there for my protection.

A single tweet had turned my whole world upside down. One of my readers had posted the snapshot of a page from my latest book, where my heroine, a journalist, talked about the skeletons in the closet of a film star.

“I think I know who this is. Isn’t this about actor S?” the reader had tweeted and then tagged actor S. The tweet had gone viral. Unluckily for me, there had been a scandal concerning the star similar to what I had described in the passage. In my defence, I was not even aware of the scandal when I wrote the book. I had thought that I had made it up.  

To compound the worries, Mr S had just entered politics and was projected by his party as the next chief ministerial candidate.  His political enemies used it to defame him. His fans and party people began a hate campaign on my twitter timeline. I wasn’t very active on Twitter or on any social media. Once in a month is my habit. When the fans of Mr S were demanding my blood, I was busy finishing my new novel at my ancestral home in the hills completely isolated from the digital world.

 “Surely Mr S would be busy with movies and politics. Would he care about such trivia?” I had asked my husband.

“Care? That idiot tweeted that this is a vitriolic attack by his enemies. And that you are a part of it. Our phone hasn’t stopped ringing since and mostly they are threats.”

When we reached our house, there was a huge crowd waiting. Journalists shouted questions and microphones were shoved at me when I got out of the car. The police created a human wall around me and I scampered towards the safety of my house. Just as I was about to enter the house, something hit me hard on my right shoulder. A rotten egg.
Later, to understand what was happening, I opened my laptop. My inbox was filled with hate mail. I opened one and found the picture of an acid attack victim. The text on it read, ‘This is your fate if you dare to pick your pen again.’

My twitter feed was equally vile and obnoxious. Threats amounting to rape, acid attack, and death floated towards me from cyberspace. Fear paralyzed me.
I decided to seek refuge in my writing and sat down at my table. I took my pen and opened a new page. A strange fear overwhelmed me and my mind went blank. I felt nauseated and closed the book. After taking a few deep breaths and drinking a glass of water, I tried again. My hands trembled. 

 I called my agent, who is also a very good friend, to talk about it. She was nonchalant.
“Hey, don’t worry. It is working in your favour. All is well. Negative publicity is also publicity. Your books are selling like hot cakes. And guess what, I got an offer for your new book. The signing amount is going to be in six digits. So chill,” she said. She then went on describing how she and her team were going to use it for my benefit.

“Just stay at home and finish your book. The commissioner of police has assured that you will be given round the clock protection.”I had put the phone down then with relief. 

A month has passed, my fear still remains strong. I have not written a single word. What is this fear? Does it have a name? How can I cure myself?  Can you help me?

P.S: This story was written for Anita's Attic Graduation ceremony. You can see me read it HERE

NOTE: This article is written as part of the #SuperBloggerChallenge2018 by #Instacuppa conducted by and AllAboutTheWoman.comand should not be repurposed, republished or use otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any infringement caused.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Art of Slow Motion Narration

Do you cherish evocative, slow-motion narration in a story?
Slow motion narration is the evocative description of events that might happen within a short span of time, sometimes as less than 10 secs or less.

In this technique, the moment is exploded into tiny visuals that are memorable.
For example, while something important is transpiring, the smallest details gets imprinted in our memory.
A writer's duty is to hunt for such special moments and bring it alive on paper. Nora Roberts is an expert at creating such visuals, so are many other romance writers.
This kind of slow motion narration helps to bring down the pace of the narration, thereby giving the reader time to savor these special moments thus adding to the reading experience.

So how do you write in slow motion?

There are three steps involved:

1) Describe the feelings of the main character when the action is about to happen.
2) Describe the action vividly along with the feelings it invokes in the main character.
3) Describe what happened afterward.

If you are able to split any given action into these three parts and describe it, you will succeed to write in slow motion narration.
Slow motion narration is especially important in romances and thrillers. Don't we all love when we experience the adrenaline rush or the mushy moments that the characters in the book we are reading experience? It is like a snippet that will get etched in our memory.
Not only does this make the writing evocative, it also fleshes out the characters. 

Who are your favorite authors who make use of slow motion narration in their stories?
Is there any favorite snippet you would love to share?

NOTE: This article is written as part of the #SuperBloggerChallenge2018 by #Instacuppa conducted by and AllAboutTheWoman.comand should not be repurposed, republished or use otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any infringement caused.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

5 things I love about Namma Bengaluru

Some places grow on you and some you won't get attached to even if you live there for years.
For me, Bengaluru has become home and I can't wait to get back here when I am travelling.
Be it the friendly traffic policeman who stopped traffic to help me and my kid cross the road safely, or the auto driver who drove miles to return my kid's school bag to me or the friendly neighborhood eatery guys who greet us as though we are royals, people of Bengaluru often surprise me. 
They make me believe the world is a friendly, safe place. Apart from the people, there are things which make me fall in love with this place.

Let me list the 5 things that made me fall in love with Bengaluru or Bangalore or the Garden City as it is often called.

1) Bookstores:

Being a bibliophile and author, this, of course, gets the number one spot. There are so many bookstores here that are literally a paradise for book lovers. Blossoms, Bookworm, Sapna Book House, Atta Galatta, Crosswords, Landmark, Gangarams, Higginbothoms etc are some of the must-visit stores. Blossoms bookstore in Church Sreet, opposite Amoeba, especially has a huge collection of used books that are well preserved. You can discover literary gems among the thousands there. And they are painstakingly categorized as well.

2) Weather

Bengalureans get to enjoy pleasant weather throughout the year. It doesn't rain heavily in the monsoons here like it happens in Kerala, my native place. Here in Bengaluru, if the mornings are extremely hot, we can expect rains in the evening, that would cool down the weather instantly.

3) Gardens and Parks

Every locality proudly preserves lung spaces in the form of green parks here in Bangalore. There are joggers parks, Children's park, and the famous Lalbagh botanical gradens which contribute precious clean air to the city. Even builders incorporate green spaces in their housing spaces considering that Bangaloreans love green spaces.
Check out my post about a flower show at Lalbagh here: Lalbhag Flower Show

4) Food

Bengaluru is a paradise for food lovers. We even have food festivals according to the seasons. Avarekkalu food festivals, groundnut food festival, you name it, Bengalureans would be celebrating it. You can't be never too far away from a Dosa joint or a bakery or an ice cream parlour. Varied cuisines are at your beck an call starting right from Italian, Lebanese, South Indian, North Indian, we have many specialised eateries that would take your taste buds on an unforgettable journey. Authentic Karnataka cuisine is a delight and I have become a fan of it lately. Their variety of vegetarian delights are one of a kind.

5) Fashion

Bengalureans love fashion. Clothestores of every famous brand has found a home in Bengaluru. Adidas, Ritu Kumar, Sabyasachi, Pepejeans, can find them here. And they also have factory outlets here where you get it cheap. My clothes normally come from Max as the staff there is usually the most cordial and helpful. 

NOTE: This article is written as part of the #SuperBloggerChallenge2018 by #Instacuppa conducted by and AllAboutTheWoman.comand should not be repurposed, republished or use otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any infringement caused.