Lifestyle en Thu Oct 01 13:53:08 IST 2020 the-skipping-sikh-this-74-yr-old-british-sikh-makes-fitness-his-life-mission <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>When he was in his 60s, Rajinder Singh—now more popular as Skipping Sikh—could pull off 5,000 jumps in a day with his rope. Now the septuagenarian Sikh from Harlington in west London can clock two hundred jumps in a minute. On October 23, Amritsar-born Rajinder Singh will turn 74. "I will go to the gurdwara first, then go do a skipping challenge with Khalsa primary school kids and teachers in Slough. Later, (I will) take some cake and food to the homeless shelters," says Singh over email, two days before he celebrates his birthday in a year which has turned out to be quite special for the senior Skipping Sikh.</p> <p>On October 10, Rajinder Singh Harzall was featured in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2020 that felicitates recipients for their "outstanding contribution to British society". This list has 1,495 honours and 13 per cent of the awardees are from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities. Harzall received an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his services to health and fitness in a pandemic. In the early months of the UK lockdown, Harzall started posting videos of himself skipping to inspire the elderly to stay fit. In the process, he also raised over £12,000 for the NHS.</p> <p>Harzall has been skipping since he was six years old. His father, Makhan Singh, was in the British Indian Army as a Naik (corporal) and served in the second World War. Harzall was born at Devi Das Pura in Amritsar in the year India got its Independence. "My father would always tell me how skipping was something he enjoyed. It was a way for him to keep busy and stay out of negative thoughts," says Harzall who imbibed his father's fitness streak. He hopes to run a marathon like British Sikh centenarian Fauja Singh who, in 2011, became perhaps the oldest person to have run a marathon.</p> <p>"I have always been into sports. I have never gone to a gym. I made my own fitness plans and skipping has always been part of my life. I have run marathons and most charity events which involve some exercise," says Harzall who moved to England from Punjab in the 1970s. Harzall, a former Heathrow Airport driver, received a letter of appreciation from UK PM Boris Johnson in June this year. He was inspired to take up the skipping challenge from the 100-year-old army veteran Tom Moore, who raised more than 100 million pounds for the NHS. Moore walked 100 laps of his garden in April with the help of a walking frame in the lead up to his 100th birthday in April. The World War II veteran became a national hero and received a knighthood in July.</p> <p>"I would like to do more workshops in schools and community centres and encourage everyone regardless of age that you can keep fit and active. Age in nothing but a number," says Harzall on how he hopes to use his MBE to further promote fitness. "I have lived through other pandemics and to be honest, I always think the best way to tackle anxiety is to pray and be positive. Why worry when we are not in control?"</p> Thu Oct 22 21:04:49 IST 2020 a-case-for-churros-con-choco-with-coffee-for-breakfast <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Machan, Delhi's vintage 24x7 jungle-themed restaurant and cafe at the Taj Mahal Hotel, reopened this month after its third ever renovation since it began life in 1978. The year-long extensive renovations have discarded the easy, uncomplicated giveaways of protruding tusks and antlers with images of hunting scenes and leopards. The restaurant is more elegantly and subtly forest-wild. In the dense leafage of the wallpapers, the tiger is always watching even though the patrons may not spot it. Old favourites like Chicken Montecarlo and Bull’s Eye seamlessly coexist with new entries in the menu like Ocean Turns Purple and Lamb Agnolotti. But if there's one crackling idea which comes out a winner, it's the old and new duet played at the end of the meal: Machan's classic Kona Coffee with the delicately crunchy Churros, a breakfast favourite in Spain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The concept we were exploring began by looking at the world's best breakfast dishes which we could include in the new menu," says sous chef Siddhartha Saharoy at the hotel. "South Indian breakfast, including idli and filter coffee, is appreciated around the world. We wanted to recreate similarly resonant global breakfast staples. And Churros with coffee is a great idea and relatively under-explored in India," says Saharoy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This ancient fried dough pastry has sketchy origins, with China, Spain and Portugal as equal claimants. One theory attributes the invention to Spanish shepherds."High up in the mountains freshly baked goods were not available. So the shepherds came up with a cylindrical daily staple, which could easily be fried in a pan over an open fire. They named the fritter after Navajo-Churro sheep, as the horns of these sheep look similar to the fried pastry," writes Ira de Reuver in Roads and Kingdoms. But they were most definitely introduced in South America during the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th century. It was around this time that the Spaniards returned to Europe with cacao which they began to sweeten with sugarcane. The tradition of dipping churros in chocolate still hasn't been tampered with.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The tubular fritters speckled with cinnamon sugar is a popular walk-around snack around the world. There are multiple Churros-only outlets in Indian metros today, including The Bombay Churros and Chocolateria San Churro in Delhi. For the breakfast lovers divided between camps of sweet and savoury, one may wonder why eating fried white flour soaked in sugar first thing in the morning is a great energy booster. "Don't forget we also love our jalebis for breakfast. In fact, I feel we may have copied some version of churros to make jalebis," jokes Saharoy, who stands by the classic combination of Churros served alongside caramel and chocolate sauce, undercut with a pot of black coffee. But dishing out golden brown <i>churros con chocois</i> not exactly a cakewalk, using just flour, water and sugar in the mix. Cooked right it is warm, soft and crunchy dusted with snowy flecks of sugar. Here, Saharoy shares the recipe of the cylindrical sweet as it is prepared in Machan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Churros hazelnut, chocolate and caramel</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>1. Eggs golden yolked</p> <p>2. Butter</p> <p>3. Maida</p> <p>4. Sunflower oil</p> <p>5. Mawana breakfast sugar</p> <p>6. Cinnamon powder</p> <p>7. Fresh cream</p> <p>8. Dark chocolate (Callebaut)</p> <p>9. Chocolate filling caramel (Callebaut)</p> <p>10. Chocolate filling hazelnut paste (Callebaut)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Method</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the coating, whisk together sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish and set it aside. Add water, butter, sugar and salt to a large saucepan, bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Add flour, reduce heat to a medium-low and cook and stir continuously with a rubber spatula until the mixture comes together and is smooth. Add egg to the flour mixture, then blend immediately with an electric pedal and add eggs one by one for a smoother mixture. Transfer to a piping bag and carefully pipe the mixture into the preheated oil. After its fried, transfer to paper towels to dry and soak extra oil. Later, coat with cinnamon sugar mixture kept aside. Serve hot with chocolate sauce and coffee.&nbsp;</p> Sat Oct 17 22:40:17 IST 2020 opinion-does-detachment-mean-having-no-ambition-breaking-the-myth <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><i>“Just as an aimless task is futile so also is a task with which we get totally attached to.”<br> </i></p> <p>Let’s understand the importance of detachment and how it can help us become more aware and productive in our area of work.<br> </p> <p>Detachment to a task doesn’t take you away from focusing on it, rather it helps you function more effectively. Never take detachment as having no ambition. Our intentions give rise to desires and desires in turn produce ambition. Thus, intentions are the essence of any outcome in our life and they manifest results influencing our action.</p> <p>Detachment is essential to empower our intentions. In order to create a meaningful outcome, we need to be free of all emotions. For example, a sense of fear or pleasure deludes us to either live in the past or imagine about the future outcome. In the outcome, we lose on the present moment thereby impacting the main task on hand.</p> <p>Both these emotions of fear and pleasure while performing a task take us behind the real moment, as it exaggerates our thought on them and grabs our attention on magnifying them. Once the attention is gone to that thought of fear or pleasure it’s then like catching up with a moment that has already passed, but what is demanded of us is a constant race to keep pace with the present reality.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Synchronizing our thoughts to present actions can materialize through detachment of the outcome, failing which, we are left with semi-finished work or half-hearted attempts; it happens because our attention was not in the present moment, it got left behind and stuck in a thought, which is either of past or future, but not relevant to that very moment. The outcome of this would be an ordinary result through our efforts.</p> <p>Hence, we are never a hundred per cent with our task in hand. In order to use our full concentration in the task and to work with our inner spontaneity, we need to be completely in sync with time and be in the present moment. This process where our actions are completely in harmony with the present moment creates a flow which makes the task effortless and error-free. This seamless state of flow can only be achieved by remaining detached to unnecessary thoughts or emotions.&nbsp;</p> <p>Our inner spontaneity can blossom only when we are free from all the attachments pertaining to the outcome of the task in hand. Attachment to the outcome produces thoughts which break our concentration to stay in the present moment, and as long as attachment persists, it becomes impossible to ignite our spontaneity. That is the reason practice of detachment becomes all the more important.<br> </p> <p>How to practice detachment? We need two attributes to be completely detached from the outcome of our task in hand: Enhancing our concentration with a complete focus on the task and a calm mind with no distracting thoughts.</p> <p>When these twin attributes, which result in detachment are achieved, these become a natural invitation for our spontaneity to take charge of the task.<br> </p> <p>We can increase our concentration and an ability to stay focused to the task with the help of activities like meditation, playing any sport which enhances our concentration, or by getting involved into any activity we are passionate about, that can help us get completely engrossed in the task by the sheer love for it. Such activities include reading, writing, music and art. These activities require a high level of focus and our passion makes it easier to practice concentration through them. Our second attribute—a calm and composed mind—can naturally be achieved, when we give our mind an object of engagement to focus on a task. Consciously giving our mind an object of engagement to focus keeps it busy; disturbing thoughts come only when we lack concentration and focus on the task.<br> </p> <p>Detachment puts us in a position where we are one with our task with complete focus on it. The end result is perfection, which leads to accomplishing our ambition or task by perfecting our actions. Let’s not take the word ‘detachment’ by its literal lexicon meaning. From a spiritual context, the word has the potential to bring some magical results in our life.<br> </p> <p><b><i>Kartikeya Vajpai is an MBA and a practising lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. He runs a YouTube Channel by the name ‘Your thoughts and You by Kartikeya Vajpai’ Where he shares ideas and thoughts on spirituality and positive thinking based on his upcoming book; a fiction book where he will use his experiences and exposure of spiritual practices; transcendental meditation, Buddhist Mahamudra meditation, Advaita Vedanta and Kriya Yoga to touch some deep questions on life pertaining to career, happiness, and purpose of life.</i></b></p> Sun Sep 27 16:38:43 IST 2020 cheez-badi-hai-mask <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>When wearing a mask is inevitable, all we can do is make the most of it. And that’s exactly what many among us have been doing in our different ways. For political activists, masks come in handy as they go about discharging their day-to-day responsibilities, viz., roughing up citizens who dare to ‘like’ a social media post which they themselves don’t like.&nbsp; In the bad old days, they had to disguise themselves by wrapping their faces in turbans before getting into the act. Masks are such a labour saving device!&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now, a Shashi Tharoor may describe a mask as a sartorial accoutrement to impede the ingress of viral organisms, and preserve a salubrious state of being. But you and I will say, tsk – a mask is a mask is a mask.&nbsp; But we are wrong, and Mr. Tharoor is right. If there’s a new normal, masks are its status symbol. The old ways of flaunting your wealth and place in society don’t work anymore. There’s no point dunking yourself in J’adore or Paco Rabanne if there’s nobody around within sniffing distance of those expensive odours. Also, what’s the use of getting yourself a Lamborghini if it’s going to sit under your stilt parking all day long?&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Enter, the high fashion mask—the kind that you can depend upon in these Covid times to trigger thy neighbour’s envy. Major cosmetic manufacturers are graduating from mascara to masks and, as we speak, are coming out with their winter collection. Louis Vuitton has introduced an haute couture range of photochromatic face shields, designed to get everyone’s attention and make them go ‘oooh’. The only thing is that the oohing and aahing comes at a price. The price tag on these products is such that I am calculating whether the friends I will win and the influence I can wield with those exotic face covers are worth the money.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let’s say then that you settle for a plain cotton mask that is just a grade above the good old gamcha. It may look like a piece of cloth, but to the advertising eye, this could be a platform for strategic product promotion. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a mask is worth a thousand slogans.&nbsp; Imagine seeing ‘Amul Doodh Peeta Hai India’ straddling the mouth of a toddler. Or better still, it could be the way for Chanel to promote lipstick that doesn’t leave a tell-tale trail. You can’t get more strategic positioning! The CSR wing of a leading IT company in India has already come out with masks featuring Warli Art—it does a lot for your face value.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bollywood is of course one of the mass consumers of masks, for our stars need to be different people at different times. There is one mask that actors and actresses wear when the klieg lights come on, another when they are being interviewed by a fawning media and yet another when they go off on those deep inner journeys to find ecstasy or escape. As we now know, the practice is rampant—hero and heroin (oops, heroine) and the producer to boot. Tollywood and Kollywood, I am sure, are going to find material here for a story. And before long, Kerala will continue its long tradition of mixing social commentary with comedy and come up with a rib-tickling satire titled ‘The Three Masketeers’!&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For a country used to cover-ups, everyone should have taken to masks without a second thought. Yet there are still people who choose not to wear them or wear it half-mast below the chin. Such disregard for public safety and the rules of the game demands a stern reprimand best expressed in vintage Bambaiya– ‘ Yeh kya ho raha hai - mask hai ya maskari?’</p> Sat Sep 26 23:12:06 IST 2020