The Scorpios

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Thursday, November 05, 2015

Mosquitoes Out, Dengue Out ....All Out

Not just Payal, Save your family from Dengue. There are many people especially children like Payal who are vulnerable to catching dengue. Dengue is a deadly fever that can result in hospitalisation and even death. Payal has joined forces to help people in preventing and treating dengue. Youc an also pledge your action to prevent dengue.


The most important thing to be done to reduce the incidents of dengue is to remove the breeding grouds for disease causing mosquitoes and therefore stop them from spreading the deadly dengue.

Mosquitoes breed in standing water hence it is extremely important to allow the draining of water that gets collected during the rains.

- standing water
- discarded water tanks
- plastic cups, coconut shells, empty bottles, ant traps, tree holes, drums for water storage, cans, jars- any discarded object that can collect water
- blocked roof, tarpoline roofs
- discarded tyres, toilet tanks
-vases, flower pot
-plant sheaths like banana

- change standing water in flower vases and pots every alternate day
- Do not collect water in pails and buckets in the house.
- empty your kitchen sink of collected water in the vessels
-Clear water blockages of roofs/ in drains
-Empty dustbins everyday
- Cover toilet lids when going on a vacation


One must cover the exposed parts of the body with mosquito repellant lotion so that the dengue mosquitoes that are active during the day do not get the opportunity to bite people.

An early action can reduce the chances of people succumbing to dengue.


It pays to be alert to the symptoms of dengue...

· -Fever 40 degrees C

· -Weakness, headache, body pain. red spotson skin.

· Rush the patient to the hospital in cases of -

· -Vomiting, bleeding, abdominal pain, cold hands and feet, blue lips or drop in pressure.


Since prevention is better than cure, it helps to use products that will prevent the incidents of the disease causing mosquito bites.

All Out® is a complete line of pest control products that can be effectively used as a repellent to dengue spreading mosquitoes.

Liquid Electrics

Provide hours of continuous mosquito protection for you and your family.

All Out® Power Slider allows you to adjust the intensity depending upon the number of mosquitoes.

One could keep this switched on to prevent mosquitoes from entering the room.

In case mosquitoes have entered the room, use aerosols.


Kill flies and mosquitoes on contact, including mosquitoes that may be carrying dengue.

All Out® Flying Insect Killer kills mosquitoes and houseflies without the harsh smell of traditional insecticides and leave behind a lavender scent.

Power shortage or poiwer cuts? Fear not.


Protect rooms in your home from mosquitoes without the use of electricity.
All Out® Anti-Dengue Coils help protect your family from mosquitoes that may transmit dengue.

For those moments when you wish to enjoy the outdoors, use repellent creams, because children should not be kept indoors.

Repellent Lotions

Provide effective mosquito protection so you can enjoy an outdoor life.

All Out® OFF! Personal Repellent feels light on your skin and repels mosquitoes for up to 6 hours.


- You can join the education campaign to help people understand how to prevent dengue

- You can share information on how dengue fever is caused and why it is important to prevent mosquitoes from breeding

- Educate people to use mosquitoes nets, prevent entry of mosquitoes at home and to use repellents like All Out

- Arrange for blood platelets

-participate in Blood donation program to support with emergency blood

-financial help- to help buy blood

- spread the word- form communities that spread the word for call for help for blood.

- be active in the education of people- do not just tell

- partcipate in cleanliness programs

Give a missed call to 1800180181818 to and join us in the eradication of dengue

Read more on the All Out site-

SC Johnson, the makers of All Out® products, is a leading global maker of household products. A family company since 1886, SC Johnson opened its India office in 2005. The company is dedicated to driving awareness and prevention for mosquito borne diseases such as dengue fever in India. All Out® is SC Johnson’s main pest control brand in the Indian market. Through their efforts, SC Johnson hopes to educate communities on the disease while also providing tips on prevention and self-protection.

Go on, Pledge your support to eradicate dengue. Educate the people around you. Remove stagnant water. Use repellents and fight against dengue effectively.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Meet Alex Rutherford

> Meet Alex Rutherford- the authors of the Empire of the Mughal Series
> Alex Rutherford is the pen name of Diana Preston and her husband
> Michael. Both studied at Oxford University reading History and English
> respectively. They are keen travelers and have now clocked up visits
> to over 140 of the world's countries. So far 3 books of the series
> have been published the latest being- Ruler of the World.
> 1. How did it all begin? Your fascination with Mughal History and the
> will to convert it into a series?
> A. It all began about 25 years ago when we first visited India and looked at
> the Moghul architecture and motivated to look at some of the history that
> laid behind it. Our interest then intensified when we wrote a non-fiction
> book about the Taj Mahal and the background to it. we then decided the
> historical Fiction format would allow us to get into the minds and
> motivations of some of the great characters and personalities that inhabit
> our stories. Such a great saga couldn't be contained in one book, hence the
> quintet.
> 2. The Mughal History is a vast ocean in itself. Compressing it into
> books must have been a mammoth task. How do you go about the process
> of assimilating and sifting through the wide variety of information
> available? What is the rule of thumb you use while selecting what goes
> in and what does not?
> A. We try to read as many of the chronicles and accounts as possible and
> then to remove those things, although interesting in themselves, do not
> contribute to a strong storyline. An example of this is that we've only had
> limited opportunities to mention Akbar's interest in arts and cultures and
> in the next book in the series, we won't have space to go into too much into
> detail about Jehangir's scientific interests. Also, we omit many subsidiary
> stories about rebellions and subsidiary campaigns. If I recall correctly,
> Akbar's chronicler says that there were 144 rebellions against him during
> his reign, non successful of course, but several with interesting stories
> which we didn't have time to cover.
> 3. Akbar's rule was the longest of all Mughal rulers, apart from
> Aurangzeb who ruled for as many number of years. It is not a surprise
> that the book on Akbar is voluminous. But this book gives as much
> importance to Prince Salim. Was that consciously done because Salim
> loses most of his ruling years in the shadow of his father? Will the
> next book focus more on Salim or on both Salim and Khurram- the
> favourite grandchild of Akbar who is seen as being groomed for the
> role in Book 3?
> A. We thought it important to look at both Akbar's outstanding successes as
> an Emperor, but also some of the problems in his relationships within his
> family, for example, his chief chronicler Abu Faizal said that Akbar loved
> his grandsons more than his sons and this prompted us to try to see him
> through the eyes of both of his son and his grandson. The next book which is
> in the final stage of editing will indeed explore the relationship between
> Salim and Khurram and we hope to show a little of how this was influenced by
> their relationship with Akbar.
> 4. Akbar is the most familiar of all Mughal rulers among all-
> including children. The familiarity arises with the numerous tales of
> the nine jewels- Navaratnas of Akbar's court- especially Birbal that
> we have grown up with. It was quite surprising that there is no
> mention of the Navratnas/ Birbal at all in the book.
> A. We hope we've shown Akbar's religious tolerance which was outstanding in
> an age when Europeans were fighting and persecuting each other because of
> their belief in different sects of Christianity. The reason for not covering
> some of the most famous Navratans one of space and keeping a strong
> storyline, focused on a few characters. It would be a wonderful thought to
> be able to write about the Navratans in a future occasions.
> 5. How many more books are in the offing before the series conclude?
> Two and possibly a third.
> When is the next book coming in the market?
> A. Next year.
> 6. The Mughal Rulers has at least one fascinating aspect- be it love
> for religion, astronomy or the arts. Each of them has contributed to
> the Indian culture in their own way. With Akbar we had an elaborate
> understanding of his religious learning. What awaits us in the next
> books?
> A. With Jehangir, we will look at as far as space allows at his contribution
> to sciences and the arts. With Shah Jahan, it would be both architecture and
> his love of painting and also jewels. A French Jeweller who visited him in
> court described him as an outstanding gemologist. Some of Shah Jahan's
> happiest times were in Kashmir, just as were Jehangir's, where for example,
> Shah Jahan built a black marble edifice which may have been a precursor of
> the counterparting black Taj Mahal which he might have had in mind for
> himself but of course being imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb he never had an
> opportunity to put it in practice.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Shopping at in the comfort of your home

A shopping trip without moving away from the home can be best done at an online site like jabong
Creating a profile 

I logged on to and quickly made a profile for which I was given some free vouchers for posterity 

The profile creation was simple enough with a verification required. Not too many details were needed and that is a blessing.

Shopping on jabong
The first step was to shortlist a brand which would be the most simple to buy.
I chose from below because these are the shirts that my kids have worn earlier so I kind of know what would be the sizes that are good to pick up.

This being my first time on jabong  it took me  a few minutes to get used to the site but I liked the speed at which it sorted basis my choice of brands and age group and gender that I selected. However it was a little tricky because when I selected boys, age 11-14 and the above three brands I ended up with two choices.  I had to put in a broader age group choice to get more brands. 
But once I had figured out the way of doing it the process was smooth. There was a good choice of brands and designs and I loved the fact that the stuff were heavily discounted. Multiple views were given and the quick view helped doing back and forth with ease.


What I did not like 

The sorting by price was not very efficient.
However the moment I clicked on a larger size the price increased so it was not showing the price of clothes as per my size but the lowest price across age ranges which sort of frustrated me as I would like to have a quicker shopping experience.

What did I buy

I selected two shirts for the boys from gini&jony
The shirts were Rs 899 each but discounted to Rs 539 so I paid a few Rs extra including a small amount for tax. The order process was smooth and quick and I got a quick confirmation on my purchase.
The package 
I got an immediate confirmation and the package arrived today taking 48 hours to reach me which is quite good in terms of speed because in the days of instant gratification one wants to have what one purchased immediately.

See below the goodies. 

The shirts are pure cotton and good however I expected slightly better quality and smoothness of fabric considering it is a reputed brand and the original price is as high as an adult shirt. 

The acid test would be a few machine washes and I will update the post as soon as it passes those test stages. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Armed against odour

The go natural obsession now includes the following

-neem leaves in cupboards to ward against insects

- a pot of baking soda to remove bad odours especially near the dustbin

- cute baby socks filled with charcoal to remove moisture especially to prevent mould on my leather bags and damp smell in the cupboards especially where bed linen are stored.

Useful for bathroom cabinets too.

- used coffee grounds on bottles to deodorise and spread good aroma

- I am also adding coffee grounds to my compost pile

- plan to fill coffee grounds in a stocking and use as car air freshener. Perhaps add a few vanilla drops.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Catch the Match

Cricket match? On a working day?
No problem.
It is not like the eighties that one needs to be at home to catch the match. I remember people being glued on to the transistors even in those days so that they could follow a live update on the match. Today, we have moved further.

One could still skip work and watch the match in the privacy of the home. But the busy individuals do not like to skip work yet have the best of both worlds. So better still watch it at work. Cricket is a grand unifying force. Cross functional teams get together and get glued on to the TV to watch the match and match the others in the cheering or booing. And those who do not sit with the rest, watch it on their computers! Technology I tell ya.

Cricket Match during that birthday party?
Ah well, no problem. Just screen the match on one side of the party hall. Your party will be a bigger success.
And while you are at it, make it a cricket themed party so that the kids spend a fair amount of time playing and watching. Leaves you to watch the match in peace. But then, no cricket matches are watched in peace. Are they?

Cricket Match during classes?
It is a no brainer. We do not go to school that day. And even if we do go, we keep asking the teachers for the score who in turn are glued to their phones to see the scores.

Cricket Match on the day of your travel?
If cancellation of travel is not possible then you sit near the TV sets on the airport and of course surf at every possible occassion. Or may be, just take the train, You do not need to switch off your devices there.

Cricket Match is in itself a celebration.
It brings people together and creates a bonding across cross sections of people. World cup especially prompts people to get together and watch. We once set up a screen in our building and wore India tee shirts to watch the match.

But sometoimes when you are travelling and you need a fast connection to watch the match, you may get stuck with dodgy internet connections.

Make use of this dedicated space for cricket fans as below. This space is a browser which has faster speed so that one does not face the problem of buffering as most browsers and would enable you to follow the match in real time. A true boon to souls who are forced to miss the match due to unavoidable reasons.

Have a go at the browser. See the benefits below.

Details on UC Cricket.

UC Browser provide the best cricket service in India including Live Scores & Latest News.

Want to check the score? No need to google anymore! Download the UC cricket immediately.

How to find cricket?

Open UC Browser - HomeScreen - Find "UC Cricket" with blue icon


- Live Scores with auto update

- Fixture & Result

- Latest News

- Videos

Check out for more

Crash Diet Woes

For years I have substituted honey for sugar in my smoothie/ juice/ lassi/ coffee recipes.
Honey Diet would be a good term for the same because I reduce or remove white sugar from my diet altogether and it also gives me a nice, rich, honey taste which I love.

Do not get me wrong. I do not believe in dieting. Only in making lifestyle changes.

Honey instead of sugar was one such lifestyle change which allowed me to have my favourite drink without compromising on taste but making it lower in calories.

Most people today try to crash diet which means they follow fad diets or eat unbalanced meals or just do not eat at all thereby calling on the body to store more fat.

Instead of 3 large meals, one should take 6 small meals to help the body handle smaller amounts of food .

The body should get a  good mix of carbs, protein, vitamins, fibre. Rather than doing the fad diets which focus on just one group of nutrition one must go for a balanced meal plan which gives all the nutrients to the body.

Some diets believe in fasting and therefore doing a detox of the body. Which means the body goes into starvation mode and begins storing fat as energy. One tends to then over eat the following day and lose out all the benefits of the fasting in any case.
Weigh yourself two days after a day of fast and you will sense the shock.

For example, I use the following

On rising- lassi/ coffee with honey or buttermilk. sometimes when time is a crunch - it is simple honey lemon and warm water. Honey is believed to cut cholesterol.

Breakfast- cornflakes/ oats/ upma/ dosa without oil/ idly
Midmorning- tender coconut/ fruit/ vegetable juice, a boiled egg
Lunch- 1-2 glasses of cold water, Cup of salad, 2 roti, vegetables, daal, buttermilk. The water, buttermilk and salad will help you control the food quantity to near ideal
Afternoon- fruits
Evening- fruit
Dinner- before 7.00- 7.30 pm- soup, salad, wheat bread- 2-3 slices/ roti & salad/ veggies/ oats

Ensure you take 12-15 glasses of water. Can also include the tender coconut, juice in the tally.

Fruits, salads, oats give fibre.

Tetrapack juices are not always good- remember the sugar added so focus on getting drinks made at home and remember use honey not sugar.

Everything counts- yes that small piece of chocolate too.

Attain your target and then allow yourself one treat day in the week- not before that.

More importantly, honey is a good tool for beauty and has good skin benefits too. It makes for a great face pack meaning you can have it and eat it too!

Check out  for more understanding on honey and its benefits. The site also has calorie calculators and meal planners which will help one in a healthy diet plan.


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

My Children My Buddies


Two pairs of little feet jumped together in the water accumulated after the rains.

Up they went and down they came with a


Creating a crystalline crown of water droplets around their feet, totally unmindful of the rain that showered on their dark heads.

Unmindful of the fact that their pristine white shirts were getting dotted with big blotches of rain drops and would soon soak them and their skins.

Surely earning them an earful each from their mom.

Well, they were safe. They were being photographed by their Dad who was making a portfolio of a rainy day.

He clicked a picture of a leaf with shining pearls of water droplets.

And another one of three pomegranate seeds casually placed on the metallic water splashed boot of a car.

And one more of a wet frangipani blossom.

What he needed was a natural photograph with children in their element.

He needed something more evocative.

The twins would make a pretty picture with their naughty faces lit up with laughter.

The twins would truly give a different perspective to the rain series of photos.

A pair of legs and a crown of an enormous water splash.

A pair of delighted, ecstatic faces turned upwards to receive the shower of rain.

A pair of naughty boys running in the rain, creating a riot of water splashes as they chased each other.

A true kushi ke pal capturing the moments of togetherness between the father and the children, benefiting boith because the father gets to shoot that perfect photograph and the kids get to pose and understand how each pose affects the shot. Evident from the fact that after every single photograph, the kids ask to look at the result and then pose differently to help the dad capture the perfect photograph.

Buddy parenting in the true sense is interactive rather than instructive parenting. A learning experience that perhaps end up benefitting both the children and the parents.

It is an emotional experience because it involves all the facilities of senses including the heart and the head.


The remote controlled helicopter shot out into the sky.

To the chorus of excited whoops and shouts

They ran
They hopped and skipped
Following the craft

The Dads loved it
Boys and their toys

Fell the craft after a brave round of flight.

Many pairs of eyes followed the flight path.
Or rather the landing path

A part went missing

But thankfully was retrieved

The Dads tried hard to repair
The child was brighter

He pulled out the manual
And identified the way it should go

And Zooom
The craft flew again

Truly, it is important to sometimes take a step back and look at the scenario dispassionately because sometimes we do not have all answers. The child found the answer even as the adults could not because logic operates in many ways than one.

Oh c'mon
Where is the eject button
in this new car stereo
Said Mamma exasperately

The child pointed out to the right button
Oh, he would alsways press the right buttons

Mamma, look at the symbol

Oh yes said Mamma
Time I used other facilities
apart from the obvious

Symbols and not Words
That is how the kids communicate

And truly we grow older and miss out the obvious learning steps. Time to reflect upon the basics and see how that can be applied in our day to day life.

Truly said, children perhaps have more common sense than us.

And therefore a buddy style of parenting focusing on learning together rather than teacher and taught is richer and more effective than the traditional style

What is your Kushi ke pal aka Kellog's pal? What is your own learning moments?
Check out the page below and share your thoughts.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Paneer Butter Masala recipe

  • 400g paneer cubed 
  • 2 -3 tbsp cashew - soaked and ground to a paste. 
  • 6 tomatoes pureed
  • 1 green chilly
  • 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp kasuri methi 
  • 2 tsp garam masala 
  • ½ tsp kashmiri mirch powder
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • water
  • coriander leaves
  • salt and pinch of sugar 
  1. heat butter in a pan. add bay leaf and fry 
  2. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry 
  3. add the tomato and green chilly purée and red chili powder and  saute till the oil starts to leave the sides of the tomato paste.
  4. add cashew paste and stir well. saute the cashew paste till the oil begins to leave the sides of the masala paste.
  5. add water and simmer on a low flame.
  6. add salt and sugar and simmer till the curry begins to thicken.
  7. add the paneer cubes and cook them for 2-3 minutes till they become soft.
  8.  add crushed kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves & garam masala. stir.
  9. garnish paneer butter masala with coriander leaves. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

More on Delhi Trip

What would one do when going to Delhi with children for yet another holiday apart from lots of playing with cousins?
This time, I thought I could do a sort of Delhi darshan with the kids as a part of their learning.
So I made a bucket list of things to do in Delhi which would be a good mix of seeing the heritage in the city or beyond and doing some fun and learning.
Day 1- arrival
Day 2- Drive to Agra and be back by night to make the most of the Delhi trip
Day 3- While the ladies go to shop till they drop, the children are taken off bythe men for a movie
Day 4- a trip to Gwalior
Day 5- A visit to Sulabh Toilet museum, Science centre and India Gate in its full glory thereby doing at least one monument in Delhi. While the aim was to do at least a couple more, it was not possible because of time contraint and the heat
Day 6- rest, play and barbad night party with cousins
Day 7- Travel back
So it turned out to be a fairly good holiday, fun filled, with activities and also enough of leisure time


 Some Simple maths simplified

history of perfumes
Dinosaur round
mental reflexes
cycle and muscle movements
number maths

infinite well that they figured out easily

Louis's throne

Family that shits together stays together

simple way to stop poo


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Agra Trip

Agra more specifically the Taj had been on my bucket list to do with the family before I turned 40 and I have done it during my last Delhi trip.
We took the car to Agra from Gurgaon early morning and made it to Agra in about 4 hours from where Taj was a little distance away.
a small town, almost what I remmeber from my last trip in 1982 but it was more smelly and crowded and with lots of shops, more specifically the carrot radish vendors!!
This was a whirlwind trip with an attempt to cover as much as possible with as much detail as possible hence we could not do Fatehpur Sikri or Idmat e daula much as we wanted it.
We started with Taj, the most important one and below is the main / roytal gate for the same. We hired a guide so that he would take us to otherwise unknown nooks and corners.
I felt the guide was worth investing because he made us see the building in a different light and also took us to the right photo points
He showed us the central line which divides the makbara into two parts and the way it runs across the entire plot through the different gates.

 important photo spot!! hold the Taj
 another one from the tip
 exploring animal planet in the water body
 another photo point . reflects on the dark glasses when taken from behind. Note only two pillars are available. The pillars tilt outwards a bit so that they do not fall on the main structure

 the foundation for black Taj that never got completed due to cost constraints and Aurangzeb's intervention
 note the gemstones are stolen
 trick tower- looks like 6 faces on one side, but it is smooth. optical illusion

We did the Red fort also and hired a guide who took us through the motions
  royal bathroom - mirrored hall which reflects across

 view of Taj- vantage point in diwane khas

 doors to chambers

 clapping to warn the enemy at the entrance. the clap travels inside. the slope is so designed so heavy boulders can roll down on enemy line
 vantage point for picture taken slyly
 paid entertainment- feeding squirrel