Bonsai is the art of growing ordinary plants in shallow pots

An exhibition of Bonsai plants organized at Korum, Thane witnessed smaller versions of common trees such as Banyan, Ficus, Jade, Baobab and many being displayed. An interactive session by Rajeev Vaidya, a bonsai expert was held to educate the visitors on bonsai plantation.

He spoke on basics of bonsai and the growing trend among urban households. Bonsai are common plants shaped to look like their bigger counterparts in nature having all attributes of a tree. Any ordinary plant from a number of plant species can be made in to Bonsai.

In Chinese and Japanese language the term Bonsai means ‘tree-in-a-pot’, which is an ancient oriental horticulture art form. “Bonsai is the art of growing ordinary plants in shallow pots by the selective application of common principles of horticulture and gardening,” he explained, while clearing misconceptions related to Bonsai plantation.


These are some of the tips he provided on essentials for bonsai plantation such as its placement, wiring and pruning and subsequent care that needs to be taken.

  1. Choose a small leafy size plant for bonsai.
  2. Beginners of bonsai plantation can buy small plants from nurseries to start off with.
  3. Choose a plant with thick woody stem but small stature. If possible the plant should have good attractive foliage, all around root spread, tapering trunk and a profusion of branches distributed along the length of the trunk line.
  4. Training of a plant in to a bonsai can be started once the basic shape of plant is formed.
  5. On an initial basis cut short the top growth of the plant to make the plant look shorter.
  6. Cut off the branches which look un-necessary and cross each other.
  7. Shorten the length of the top branches so that the lower branches appear bigger and longer.
  8. Prune the branches periodically without changing the shape of the plant.
  9. The plant should have a mature and a stronger look which is basic for a bonsai.
  10. Daily watering and exposure to sunlight for at least two to four hours a day is necessary for bonsai.
  11. Monthly fertilizing, pruning and re-potting the plant after 1 to 3 years should be done depending on the growth rate of the plant.
  12. Do not expose the bonsai plant to air-conditioning or extreme heat.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - September 19, 2013 at 4:35 am

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Infectious hepatitis

Infectious hepatitis

    • Sonam loves gorging on cut fruits sold by pavement vendors. But when this very habit got her exposed to the hepatitis A virus, and for the next three months she suffered from low-grade fever and fatigue, she vowed never to touch such cut fruits again.

    • Annie works in a rehabilitation center, and when she was down with infectious hepatitis, she just couldn’t figure out how, despite her carefulness, she could be affected by it.

    • Jatin was an entry level worker in the garbage recycling industry. Six months into his new job, he started suffering from low fever, and loss of appetite. He also passed clay-colored stools. His local doctor couldn’t get to the root of the problem, and referred him to the city hospital, where he was diagnosed with infectious hepatitis.

Hepatitis A, formerly called infectious hepatitis, is an infectious viral disease that affects your liver. The main culprit responsible for causing this disease is the RNA virus, which usually spreads when you eat contaminated water or food, or get into direct contact with a person who is infected. The fecal-oral route is the path through which this virus spreads. The virus can be found in the blood of infected people a couple of weeks before the illness develops.
How do you get infectious hepatitis?
You can get affected by this disease if

    • You come in contact with the blood or stool of a person already affected by the disease.

    • You drink or eat water or food that has been contaminated by feces containing hepatitis A virus (vegetables, fruits, ice, shellfish, and water are common sources of the hepatitis A virus).

    • You get involved in sexual acts that include oral-anal contact.

    • An affected person doesn’t wash his/her hands properly after going to the bathroom and touches food or other objects.

You could have infectious hepatitis if you have

    • Fever

    • Vomiting

    • Nausea

    • Loss of appetite

    • Lethargy

    • Dark urine

    • Yellowing of skin and eyeballs (Jaundice)

    • Pale colored stool

    • Abdominal discomfort

The Hepatitis A virus does not show any symptoms or vaguely mimics the flu, during its early stages. Usually, symptoms are seen 2 to 6 weeks after the person has been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus. Though the symptoms are mild and vary from person to person, adults may sometimes face prolonged suffering, which could range from 2 to 6 months. Adults generally show more symptoms than children. This is because children below 6 years do not experience severe symptoms, with jaundice seen in only 10%, whereas infected adults are usually affected by jaundice on a larger scale.
You can manage infectious hepatitis!
Managing this acute viral disease is not very difficult and can be prevented with proper vaccines, good sanitation and complete hygiene.

    • Vaccines: Two types of vaccines are present for Hepatitis A – one which contains hepatitis A virus in inactivated state, and the other containing live virus that is attenuated. There are two doses of vaccines providing protection for about 20 -22 years.Vaccine is very essential for following people –

      • Tourists and travelers who visit countries affected by hepatitis A.

      • Sewage workers and plumbers who deal with polluted water the whole day. Jatin could have been spared the ordeal had he taken the vaccine.

      • Drug users who take injections.

      • Patients of chronic liver diseases.

      • People suffering from hemophilia receiving plasma concentrate.

    • Treatment:Though no specific treatment is available, bed rest, intake of a balanced, healthy diet, avoidance of fatty, spicy food and alcohol, as well as drinking fresh water can prove to be very useful.

    • Hygiene:Mainly transmitted due to unhygienic conditions, the most effective ways to combat infectious hepatitis is to eat clean and healthy food, and use proper disposal of garbage within housing complex and communities. Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap water after going to the toilet, eating, handling nappies and condoms. When you come in contact with an infected person’s stools, blood, or other bodily fluid, you should ensure washing your hands thoroughly. Both Sonam and Annie could have reduced their risks of being affected by this disease had they ensured these steps.

  • Awareness:Making more and more people aware about the disease, organizing proper vaccination facilities for everyone, keeping the environment clean and healthy are some other steps that can help us all to fight this disease.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm

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ban on manufacture and sale of the widely used painkiller dextropropoxyphene

Doctors decry ban on low-cost painkiller for the terminally ill

 The ban on manufacture and sale of the widely used painkiller dextropropoxyphene has come as a huge blow for patients under palliative care. Experts said concerns about the long-term effects of the cheap opioid could be exaggerated and that it was extensively used in case of terminally ill patients.
    The drug and its formulations were supposed to be pulled out of the market after the Union health ministry banned its use in May. But instances of its “illegal circulation” continued to emerge from the market. The state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently booked five stockists from Mumbai, Pune and Kolhapur for selling the painkiller in huge amounts.
    An official said, “Around 25 lakh capsules were purchased by the stockists even after the ban came into effect.”
    The health ministry notified that the medicine was banned because of its potential to cause adverse effects. The unofficial reason for the ban was the possibility of the drug being misused by addicts, experts said. The drug was banned in the UK, Australia, Japan and the US after it was linked to suicides, apart from problems like seizures and hypotension.
    Palliative care experts believe that the grounds on which the drug was banned in the western countries may not be relevant here. A professor from KEM Hospital said, “How many Indians use a painkiller to commit suicide? The Indian ways of committing suicide are entirely different, and therefore cannot be used as a ground to ban a cost-effective painkiller.”
    At Parel’s Tata Memorial Hospital, the country’s biggest cancer hospital, 20-30% of the 3,000-odd patients who seek palliative care need the drug for relief from mild to moderate pain.
    Dr MA Muckaden, who heads the hospital’s palliative care facility, explained that there are three ladders of pain relief analgesics recommended by the WHO. “This drug was a Step-IIopioid available to doctors. Its alternatives are not as economical or safe,” she said.
    Honorary secretary of Indian Association of Palliative Care Dr Anil Paleni said the ban will only make the crisis of strong opioids, like morphine, more pronounced. “Given the restrictions on morphine availability, this drug was a good alternative,” he said, adding, “Dextropropoxyphene’s closest alternative is at least three to four times more expensive.”
    “Freedom from pain is a basic human right. So, our focus should be on providing pain relief to terminally ill patients. Side-effects of the drug, therefore, are not a pressing concern,” said Muckaden.
    Some experts argued that the drug was a weak one and that fears about its unavailability affecting pain management were misplaced.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm

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Celebrity yoga teacher to Madonna, Annette Bening


“Awaken your soul every morning”
It is essential to begin every day with gratitude. The essence of how to bring happiness to your life is to rise early in the morning, and say ‘thank you’. Offer your prayers, meditate, practise something that connects you with the Creator. These aren’t just simple acts, but ways to awaken your soul. Remember, that’s what you need every morning, to awaken your soul, not just the body.
I believe it is important to work honestly and to share material things. That’s pretty much it. If people can do that, they will be happy. It is essential to find peace through meditation as we are facing conflicts on an everyday basis in these troubled times. Troubled times are also when opportunity knocks at our door. When you practice yoga and chant every morning, you establish a connection with God. Bad things will always happen in life, but you have to have something to believe in, something that will give you a bigger perspective. Even when the heart is so broken that you feel you cannot go on, you can turn your experience into a positive one, with faith. Mornings are a time for reflection. I believe in the practice of rising up in the ambrosial hours, and praying. To live pure, you need to purify the mind. And this means to spend some time at a place where you worship or meditate or connect with your soul.
In today’s tough world, it is easy to forget the good and only see the bad, but don’t allow your mind to focus on the negative. It’s a spiritual experience to give and share. The act of giving heals the soul. You’ll be surrounded with more positive energy.
Live consciously. Eat green foods. Keep your body clean. Act with compassion. My mantra is simple: Learn the science of breathing. Breathe deep, you will live well. Breathe shallow, and you will live shallow.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm

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With the arrival of DD creams


With the arrival of DD creams, women everywhere are spoilt for choice and can’t decide whether to go for a BB, CC or DD cream! Purvaja Sawant asks experts to do a faceoff between these three alphabetic beauty buys

    Is it a tinted moisturiser or is it a foundation with skin-perfecting benefits? While you were busy trying to figure out the many facets of the numerous brands of BB and CC creams available in the market, the competition just got tougher. With DD creams hitting cosmetic shelves all over the world, the influx in beauty creams has got everyone in a tizzy! To help you take your pick of the best of these lettered creams, we ask experts to break down the three.

What is it: BB cream, which stands for blemish balm or beauty balm was South-East Asia’s hottest beauty export and it became popular all over the world, after South Korean actresses swore it was their secret to gorgeous skin! Historically, BB creams were intended to regenerate the skin after aggressive facial treatments, and conceal any possible redness by providing moisture and radiance. But today, they provide coverage with added skin care benefits like SPF antioxidants, anti-aging etc. (the list is endless, depending on the brand you choose).

How it works: Lighter than foundation but heavier than moisturisers, BB creams not only cover blemishes with a light tint but also give the skin a natural glow. They are light in texture and easy to use. But they are not a part of contemporary make-up. Some BB creams have anti-aging properties as well due to ingredients like hyaluronic acid, collagen, etc. Their texture, average coverage and SPF content make them popular.

Is it for you: Because of its light coverage and texture, BB creams are beneficial for women, with long office hours. If you have undergone an intense facial treatment and want to hide the rednesss of your skin but don’t want to use heavy make-up, opt for this cream.

What is it: Call it a refined version of BB creams, Colour Control, Colour Correcting or Complexion Care creams have similar properties that cover blemishes but have a higher colour content.

How it works: Since the colour content is higher in CC creams as compared to those of BB creams, they can be applied as an alternative to regular foundations and base make-up. They also come with a higher SPF. In addition to the benefits that are there in BB creams, CC creams usually have additional active ingredients. With its usage, dull, ashy skin appears more luminous and brighter; sallow, yellow skin gets a peachy glow and blotchy redness is neutralised. Skin imperfections are instantly corrected for a virtually flawless look, leaving the skin with a radiant finish.

Is it for you: If you’re looking for a little more tinted coverage and additional skin benefits but don’t want to apply make-up foundation, CC creams are your best bet.

What is it: The latest addition to lettered creams, even before the first Daily Defense or Dynamic Do-all cream released, beauty experts had predicted that DD creams weren’t meant for the face. They were originally touted to be heavy duty body and foot creams. But the current DD cream is being marketed as a hybrid of BB and CC creams.

How it works: Since they are considered to have the benefits of both BB and CC creams, these are heavy duty in texture, for extra hydration and provide not only tinted coverage but are also very high on SPF and anti-aging ingredients. These creams are designed to protect skin, moisturise, diminish fine lines and balance uneven skin tone.

Is it for you: Though they are very similar to CC creams, if you are looking for a tinted moisturiser which focusses more on anti-aging properties to treat mature skin, choose this one.

– beauty expert

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 3:43 pm

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If you are a food adventurer and travel to eat


If you are a food adventurer and travel to eat, then these are some crazy food festivals across the globe you must dig into. From eating a gourmet meal prepared by jail inmates to tossing tunas to winning prizes, there’s a plethora of activities awaiting you all,

Prison Gate to Plate, Wellington, New Zealand, Aug 9–10:This food fest has meals prepared and served by Rimutaka Prison’s inmates. As a part of New Zealand Corrections Department’s rehabilitation programme, these inmates have been under the tutelage of master chef Martin Bosley for the last seven months. Having been tutored in kitchen arts, the inmates have a lavish meal awaiting you, replete with canapés and a four-course feast! Sample some of the best Kiwi dishes here if you are visiting New Zealand. It wasn’t for nothing that someone said cooking was therapeutic! Vegfest UK, London, UK, Oct 5-6: Over a 100 food stalls serve vegetarian alternatives to regular pizzas, meaty hot dogs and kebabs at The London Olympia. You get vegetarian dishes of Indian, Chinese, Spanish, British and Thai cuisine! Popular segments of this fest are recipe discussions, cooking demonstrations and informal cooking sessions on vegetarian food from top chefs. Top athletes, bodybuilders, stand-up comedians and rock bands, that are vegetarian, attend, entertain and educate fellow vegetarians on the benefits of going green. Night of the Radishes, Oaxaca City, Mexico, Dec 23: Giant-sized radishes are carved into human figures and other forms by Mexican craftsmen to depict party scenes, Mexican folklore and global structures. Radishes are specially grown for this festival, with some weighing up to 3 kg and measuring a height of 2 feet! All these are later used for tasty preparations enjoyed by thousands who throng this fest. The celebrations, continuing till Christmas Eve, are high on parades, street dance processions and fireworks. Tunarama Festival, Port Lincoln Foreshore, South Australia, Jan 24–27, 2014: This one’s a seafood feast with lots of fun. Toss the tuna and win a handsome amount, kids 5-10 years age group can take part in the prawn toss while those between 11 and 15 years can try their hand at throwing the fish! The one who manages to throw it the farthest can pocket a cool AU$ 3,000! The other attractions are boatbuilding and racing contests and brilliant fireworks. Enjoy all this while feasting on seafood, especially tuna, along with the delicious dishes prepared using best of local produce.
    Stomach this!
Roadkill Cookoff, Marlinton, West Virginia, US, Sept 28, 2013: Relax, this day-long fest does not use meat from dead animals on the road! It uses meat from animals that are most likely to be found dead on the road, especially on highways, like groundhogs, opossums, deer, rabbits, bears, crows, squirrels, snakes, cows, chickens, pigs, etc. It’s attended by over 20,000 people, who feast on fried, baked, stewed and sautéed dishes. You can enjoy local arts and crafts shows, musical performances and fun games too. Some dishes you can try are squirrel gravy over biscuits, venison, smeared pig with groundhog gravy, rabbit stew and porcupine stew!

Rimutaka Prison (New Zealand) inmates are tutored in kitchen art. Their dishes are served to tourists and visitors
A contestant tosses the tuna to pocket the cash prize at the Tunarama Fest

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 3:16 pm

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a habit of eating a handful of roasted (unsalted) peanuts daily

I am a 45-year-old working woman and have formed a habit of eating a handful of roasted (unsalted) peanuts daily at 5 pm in office. Is it okay to consume peanuts daily? Also, please let me know whether consuming boiled corn (boiled at home) frequently safe for health.
Moderation is the key. A handful of roasted unsalted peanuts as a filler at 5 pm is absolutely fine. Peanuts contain health benefiting nutrients, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and vitamins. They contain mono-unsaturated fatty acids especially oleic acid which help lower bad cholesterol and improve good cholesterol. Barish and bhutta! Perfect monsoon snack I’d say. Boil it or roast it. Enjoy it as often as it lasts. Even the cup of corn available at most malls and theatres is a good snack option (without the lops of butter and cheese of course!).


I am 54 years old but my job demands late nights and I only reach home by 1 am, which wreaks havoc on my eating habits. I have dinner from out at about 10 to 10:30 pm, even though I do not like the idea of doing so. Sometimes I eat only after I’m home which is quite late. Due to my rigid exercise schedule so far, I haven’t had any complications. Outside food does not suit me always but I do not have any other option. What should I do?
Long working hours and even longer distances between home and our places of work can commonly give rise to above stated problem for many of us. In an ideal scenario, carrying your dinner with you would be the best solution so you could eat on time and also avoid outside food daily. However, if this is impossible, I’d strongly suggest starting a tiffin service. There are plenty available in our city that will deliver hot, nutritious, customised meals at your doorstep (home or office). This will help you to eat your dinner early and then perhaps you have a small snack or filler once you get home. Finishing your meals earlier in the night aids its complete digestion and helps you sleep better. Another option could also be a shared meal with a colleague (who lives close by and has dinner delivered from home). I have several clients who share the same work place and thus also share their responsibilities for carrying meals for each other; for example one carries lunch for two and the other dinner for them both or they divide carrying meals on certain days of the week each. It’s just an initial organisation effort and then a happy healthy nourished lifestyle in place. Good luck.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm

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Exposure to chemical in plastic linked to human infertility

    Researchers have suggested that exposure to common environmental chemical BPA (Bisphenol-A) could be a factor as to why some infertile couples have difficulty conceiving. Patients and medical professionals should be aware that BPA may cause a significant disruption to the fundamentals of the human reproductive process and may play a role in unexplained infertility.
    A randomised trial examined 352 eggs from 121 consenting patients at a fertility clinic. An egg from each patient was not exposed to BPA and served as the control. Researchers then examined the eggs and found that exposure to BPA caused:
    A decrease in the percentage of eggs that matured.
    An increase in the percentage of eggs that degenerated.
    An increase in the percentage of eggs that underwent spontaneous activation, the abnormal process when an egg acts as though it has been fertilised, even though it has not been.
    As the BPA dose increased, there was a decreased likelihood of maturity, an increased likelihood of degeneration and an increased likelihood of spontaneous activation.

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Give yourself a break and see how it gives your health a boost

Time to cut yourself some slack

Juggling with a strenuous schedule? Give yourself a break and see how it gives your health a boost

    While sticking to a diet and diligently attending gym are the mustdos for good health, experts say that’s sometimes it is okay to give yourself a break. If you’re being too hard on yourself, it’s time to cut yourself some slack. Here are some simple diet and fitness alternatives that are not only enjoyable but also effective.
Once in a while we all feel too tired to go to the gym or exercise at home. And experts say it is is okay to cut yourself some slack. Research has found that repeatedly laughing till your tummy hurts has the same effect on your body as moderate exercise. Not only does a good laugh improve your mood, it also lowers your blood pressure, reduces bad cholesterol, enhances your immune system and is good for your heart. Just 15 minutes of laughter daily is known to help your blood vessels function better and has benefits which are similar to a simple workout. So while we don’t say you give up working out in favour of laughing, sometimes it is okay to make the swap.
While the beauty industry cries itself hoarse on how important sunscreen is and how much damage sunrays can do in the long run, many people are forgetting that vitamin D is very important for the human body. Spending a few minutes in the sun daily (preferably early morning or before sunset) helps your body produce vitamin D — a nutrient that is essential for good health. A lack of vitamin D is known to increase the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and even mental illness.
A little bit of dark chocolate every other day is good for your health say experts. A plant compound called epicatechin, which is found in dark chocolate, stimulated the same muscle response as exercise, which slows down muscle ageing. Dark chocolate also has antioxidants, which keep you healthy and even prevent wrinkles. Don’t get carried away and gorge on a huge chocolate bar.
When you feel like reaching out for that unhealthy snack instead of a bowl of fresh fruit, have some popcorn instead.
    Experts say that popcorn is healthy alternative because it has almost double the amount of antioxidant polyphenols (which protect against cancer and heart disease) per serving as fruits and vegetables. It is completely unprocessed whole grain and has high fibre content, which ensures that you stay full and digest properly. Not only that, popcorn also helps lower cholesterol, is low in calories and has B vitamins. So while you maintain a healthy diet, have a bowl of plain popcorn or add some spices instead of processed foods, which are high in sugar, salt and oil content.
Realms may have been written about the benefits of music, and here it is, one more time. Want to lead a healthier lifestyle? Make sure music is a part of it! Studies say that listening to music will not only improve your mood but also lower stress, increase the levels of disease-fighting antibodies in your body and improve cardiovascular health. Some experts even suggest that music can provide relief from pain, help one recover faster from an illness and even improve mental health. Make it a habit to have music in the background at home. Or listen to it while you cook, travel or even simply go around doing your daily chores and errands.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 7:07 pm

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Don’t ignore the risk of common Respiratory Tract Infections during the monsoons

It’s raining infections

Don’t ignore the risk of common Respiratory Tract Infections during the monsoons

    With the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus causing a health scare abroad — it is yet to be reported in India — are we ignoring the other. Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs) that are common during this time of the year? Read on to know more…
RTIs are common throughout the year, but get they aggravated during the monsoons due to climatic changes.
    “In the past five to six weeks, I have witnessed an increase in the incidence of various RTIs. Laryngotracheobronchitis, pneumonia and bronchitis are a few examples. The patient demographic varies — from children less than five years old to the elderly (those above 65) and upwardly mobile young people, who travel a lot,” says consultant ENT specialist Dr Sanjeev Bhadwar.
RTIs are classified into two types — U p p e r Respiratory Tract Infections (URTIs) and Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (LRTIs). URTIs include tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, sinusitis and the common cold. They show symptoms like mild fever, cold, runny nose, etc.
    On the other hand, tracheo bronchitis and pneumonia come under LRTIs and exhibit symptoms like shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and tiredness. URTIs can be controlled with symptomatic treatment (under a doctor’s guidance), by taking cough syrups, paracetamol and antibiotics (not always necessary), explains infectious diseases expert Dr Tanu Singhal.
    However, one needs to watch out for LRTIs, as it could signal danger. If any symptom surfaces, consult a doctor. Diagnosis is made through blood tests, throat swabs and X-Ray, if necessary, adds Dr Singhal.
Though RTIs get aggravated during the monsoons, there’s no need to panic. Unlike MERS, which is a serious infection, most others are milder and treatable. “Individuals who travel by air need to exercise maximum caution, especially those travelling to and from from the Middle East, China and other East Asian countries,” says pulmonary specialist Dr Prahlad Prabhudesai. 

Watch out for LRTIs as it could signal danger

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