Saturday, July 27, 2013

Age and Happiness


Photo from Home of Dr. Ashok Malhotra, July 2013
An aging friend of mine was commenting on how much fun it was to indulge in romantic episodes, something that youth and younger persons usually enjoy. My response was that personally I do not care for that sort of thing much now, although it was a pursuit for sure when I was younger.

One finds that from childhood to old age, what fascinates one most in life changes and that is how it should be. It is rather silly to see old men like Rupert Murdoch romancing.  It is business persons quite often who go in for that sort of thing even in old age perhaps because they feel that now that they have the money they should do something of value with it or perhaps because they were so busy in the pursuit of wealth in their younger days that they did not get time to enjoy lunch, when it was lunch time and are now having to partake of some very late in the night, metaphorically speaking. ( there is a story about that in this blog at http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2010/10/in-pursuit-of-happiness.html) It is not only silly but is often also damaging, physically, psychologically and spiritually when a human indulges in a pleasure inappropriate for his or her age.

Reading story books fascinated me when I was a child. As a young man I was fascinated by travel and I pursued that to my hearts content traveling from one end of the world to the other. At around forty five or so I suddenly found that travel does not excite me any more and can in fact be rather tiring.

Now past sixty, two of the things that have given me most pleasure (aside from educational, spiritual, philanthropic and philosophical pursuits) are interacting with a grand child or communing alone in silence with nature –flowers, trees, birds, lakes, forests, rivers and mountains. Over here in India one does not have to go far for that during the monsoon season. Even a home garden can fill up with flowers and green as the photo shows. I snapped it this morning.

UPDATE: July 29,  added a link in the post today that goes deeper into the topic of happiness in general . This one: http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2010/10/in-pursuit-of-happiness.html
It is must read for anyone who wishes to acquire a deeper understanding between the relationships of happiness to love and money.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Baby Basket

My younger daughter, Keya was born in 1982 and in the first few months she slept in a little cane basket. She is a practicing medical doctor in USA now and is also expecting her first child in a few months. I still had her baby basket in storage and she wanted to see a picture of it. So today I took it out. it was very dusty. It was taken to the back garden and given a good wash. The attached picture is one of it drying in the sun in the back yard of my home here in Jaipur. Now I am in the process of getting some new linen made for the new baby.

Update: August 2013: In the meantime the old linen  that occupied this basket has long been discarded. Therefore new linen is being prepared for the new arrival from the finest and purest cotton fabrics and fluffed cotton ( for the pillow and mattress) available in the market. The second picture shows some that is ready.
New linen for a baby basket


Friday, July 19, 2013

Listen Hear Ye Angels Sing, A New Prince Born Today

Badge of the House of Windsor

Listen Hear ye Angels Sing
A new Prince born today
Blessed by the Himalayan peaks
Nanda and Sunanda
The Baby shall be of bonny weight
Changa hoga Munda
Of our dearest William and Kate

Births between July 20 and 25th, have a special significance to Himalayan districts blessed by the Himalayan peaks of Nanda and Sunanda as well as other regions far away that have been spiriitually connected to these districts

UPDATE JULY 23: 2013  Just caught on the news that the prince with a bonny weight ( eight and a half pounds) arrived to the world yesterday at 4.24  p. m.. Some may wonder why this blog announced the arrival of a Prince before the fact was known. It could have been a princess too but then an element of prophecy and revelation has always followed spirituality  like a shadow follows a man, and although some of this blog's content is not spiritual some is. May the New Prince be blessed.


UPDATE October 2014: 
Prince George shall have a sister early next year on this Prophecy and the Princess to come, is here:
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2015/01/prophecy-and-spirituality.html

UPDATE May 2015

The Sweet angel, Princess of Cambridge has now arrived. many blessing to her from the Himalayas and around


Image Courtsey: Wikipedia Commons

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Biscuits for Relief – the OFR Biscuit




This Blogger appeals to every major biscuit, cracker or cookie maker in the world who is moved by compassion aside from a need for profits, to research and produce at least a couple of varieties of the OFR biscuits described here as a part of their Corporate social responsibility program and supply these to a relief agency or distressed area near them.
A biscuit is a compact baked food product with a long shelf life due to the fact that it has low moisture content. An ordinary biscuit may consist primarily of refined wheat flour. It can serve as a snack food that helps alleviate hunger due to its carbohydrate content. Addition of flavoring substances can even make it delicious. However, an ordinary biscuit is no substitute for food because it does not contain all the nutrients and proteins that are essential for good health. Yet there are special biscuits of various kinds that are fortified with proteins and nutrients that may be used to both ward of hunger and maintain reasonable health at least for brief periods stretching up to a few weeks. Such biscuits are ideal for emergency situations such as disaster relief e.g. people trapped in floods, or refugees displaced by natural disasters or wars etc. Such situations may be marked with lack of facilities for preparation and distribution of food on site and food hygiene dangers.

These special nutritional biscuits can be delivered or Para dropped easily to trapped humans because they are compact and store well. They may be sweet, salted or mixed. High energy fortified biscuits may provide up to 500kcal and up to 15 grams of protein per 100 grams, fortified in vitamins and minerals. (As an example see Development of a high energy biscuit for use as a food supplement in disaster relief, by H. Young and others, International Journal of Food Science & Technology, Volume 20, Issue 6, pages 689–695, December 1985)

A fortified biscuit may also be used over long periods as a quick lunch or in midday meal programs in schools where sufficient or proper infrastructure and monitoring does not exist to guarantee a healthy snack or meal for children during school hours.

These biscuits may serve to provide quick relief not only to those affected by disaster but also those trapped in wars or refugees suffering from hunger.

However, the usual  relief biscuits as presently available around the world cannot serve as a long term food supplement for several reasons some of which are,

1.   Lack of variety: They come as a single type (from each manufacturer) and cannot be eaten day in and day out since the human body naturally craves for variety in food

2.  They contain chemical fortifications such as bicarbonates, minerals and vitamins such as: Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Iodine, Folic Acid, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12b C, D, E, Niacin, and Vitamin A-retinol. Whereas this suffices over short periods of time the long term effects of consuming chemical supplements instead of natural foods is by no mean certain. It is definitely not natural or organic.

3.   A common protein component of such biscuits are soy proteins that cause flatulence and may not be digested easily by all, especially children. Its effects on health are controversial and fraught with risks ( see)

4.  Even with all its fortifications the chemically fortified biscuits are an incomplete food for long term consumption because the human body requires several other nutrients and micro-nutrients for maintaining good health.

Disaster relief food can be improved if these biscuits are consumed along with reconstituted milk made from milk powder provided in small sealed pouches and some fresh fruits and vegetables if available. Small pouches of milk powder are necessary because the shelf life of milk powder is drastically reduced when it comes in contact with atmospheric or other moisture. However, with enough research that is not rocket science requiring much labor, the four limitations of available biscuits listed above can be overcome considerably so that the biscuit can even serve as a long term food supplement to alleviate malnutrition in deprived communities including children. It would even be a better alternative in disaster relief situation. These biscuits are described next. They have been termed as OFR Biscuits (OFR for Organic Food Relief) here.

The first requirement for an OFR biscuit is that it should contain only natural food additives and not chemical ones. Dehydrated vegetable powders such as dried spinach leaf, goose foot/bathua, mustard leaf, Lucerne leaf, dried sea weed, dried carrot powder, drumstick leaf powder, mung bean flower, roasted chick pea flour, dried ground coconut, other ground tree nuts, peanut butter, milk powder etc. mixed up to 15 percent with biscuit flour and seasoned with natural herbs such as dehydrated ginger, garlic, cumin, aniseed, pomegranate seeds, dried tamarind, stevia sweetner, Crushed jaggery sweetener or spray dried sugar cane juice flakes instead of white sugar, rock salt, black and red pepper, coriander, dry Avla powder etc. are safer, more natural and healthier than those fortified and seasoned with chemicals, chemical vitamins and minerals. It may be noted that mung bean flour has replaced the soy flour here since it is more easily digested by children. Chick pea flour has been suggested as roasted chick pea flour only because the process of roasting makes it more easily digestible.

The food additives listed here is just a sample list. Numerous other useful foods may be considered and discovered to broaden the list. Only very limited additions of absolutely essential chemicals may be permitted in such biscuits such as raising agents and perhaps ascorbic acid. There is a need for more research along these lines to discover the best food combinations and seasonings to produce a range of OFR biscuits that may then be deployed around the world whenever required. This author is available for any comments or suggestions in this direction.

The motivation for the present note arose from a recent disaster in the Himalayas and several more disasters in the midday meal program for children prevalent in Indian schools. While the intention of the latter program is to alleviate hunger and malnutrition amongst children in deprived communities, the program has suffered major set backs due to lack of infrastructure, improper storage, spoilage, monitoring, hygiene etc. in schools spread across the country. The result is that the program often ends up ruining the health of the children in the program instead of helping them. With the availability of OFR biscuits as described here, the program may be more effectively implemented if these biscuits are supplied in small packets along with milk, fresh if a reliable controlled supply is available, otherwise reconstituted out of similar small packets of milk powder on site, Such biscuits once available would also serve as a replacement for existing disaster relief situations. Because of the variety of food additives possible such biscuits can be produced in a variety of types. Thus the above listed limitations of existing disaster relief biscuits shall be overcome.

These biscuits may easily be produced by minor modifications of existing production lines of large scale biscuit manufacturers for maximum economy and widest possible distribution. Most varieties would need to be salted but would vary in size and textures, thin cracker like or thick soft cookie types, green containing an abundance of spinach or leafy matter and red tomato flavored ones. Besides disaster and nutrition relief, some could even serve as a quick lunch with cheese; or a simple dinner with a soup and a salad for just about anyone who did not want to bother with cooking at times; and it would be an ideal companion for a traveler.

PS: The OFR biscuit may be pronounced as offer biscuit and may also be described as an OFFER biscuit - Organic food fortified economy biscuit

Associated links






UPDATE: MAY 2014: Either because of this blog or otherwise it seems that the Parle company has now introduced a new biscuit in the market  called Parle -G Gold that used vegetable oils instead of trans fats. The new biscuit is also reasonably priced.

UPDATE OCT 2014   It seems that many teachers across schools in USA are reporting that children are reluctant to be at home in weekends because there is not enough to eat and some good-hearted teachers are getting together to fill the backpacks of such children for the weekends. They might wish to look at OFR biscuits too as a part of the solution. Read about it here http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/10/06/3576236/teacher-backpacks-food/


UPDATE October 2015




OFR Crackers



The OFR biscuits may also be made by existing ingredients of crackers. Recently this author came across crackers made by an Indian company that do not contain Trans fats or artificial color and flavors. They are marketed by the Britannia Industries Limited under the name of Nutri Choice in India. However the existing varieties are primarily wheat based and others on line of OFR biscuits may be attempted by this or other companies. Two possibilities are



Mung Crackers: These may be made by replacing ten percent of the wheat flour by volume with Mung bean flour, both the flour of washed and whole beans may be attempted. The spicing for this may be turmeric and coriander leaf or seed powder

Spinach Crackers: Similarly replacing ten percent of flour by volume with dried spinach leaf flour and using garlic powder and cumin powder may be attempted. A caution must be exercised that dried spinach leaves are from a reliable supply source that ensures a pesticide free supply that is well washed before drying and cleaned of any grasses or weeds.

Milk Crackers: Both the preceding crackers would need to be salty crackers. A sweet one may be made by using milk powder in the mix with milk between 5-10% by volume.

Existing Cracker: Although it is great that the existing cracker does not use synthetic flavors there is no reason why it can not use natural ones. It is rather bland to be consumed alone just as a dry roti would be if eaten alone. Some natural flavors that may be considered are dehydrated onions, coriander powder and garlic while also increasing its salt and vegetable oil content slightly.

It would have to be checked if the cracker maintains its consistency for packaging and does not crumble when the flour mix is changed as in the above three suggestions and then adjust the mix accordingly. The precise mix and selection of spices may be varied by trial experimentation

Also see the New OFR biscuits here:

http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2015/10/the-new-ofr-biscuits-crackers-and.html

UPDATE Jan 2017

New studies appear to confirm the belief of this note that it is not advisable to use Soy proteins in fortified food. See:

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2006/jul/25/food.foodanddrink?CMP=share_btn_fb
 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why President Obama is the Most Representative American Personality type


A True American
  Although many persons around the world recognize President Obama as the first black President of America, it is a completely false recognition. Recently when the American President visited Africa and stood besides African personalities, the visuals told another story. The president was much-much lighter in complexion than his African hosts who were truly Black. The truth is that the President is of mixed ancestry and not black. He has kinky hair from his black ancestors and this contributes to an impression sometimes that he might be black, but take a closer look at his skin tone and it is different. If he had straight hair he would have passed of as belonging to another part of the world.

A very large part of America is made up of white persons, many of European origin such as Anglo Saxon, Irish, Germans, Latin etc. A fairly significant percentage of the indigenous population is also black. Besides, there are immigrants into America from every other part of the world in different proportions. A small but historically important minority are the original Native American inhabitants. If an American President is a white or black person he would not truly represent all of the American personality types. If he is white as some whites, especially men, would prefer he would represent the majority personality type and perhaps could also be  representative of the domination of something sick in some human minds called racial domination but not the American type. Only persons who are mixed black and white would in personality terms be most representative of Americans as a whole and that is precisely what President Obama is. In addition, if he had just a touch or influence of Native American blood or other parts of the world particularly Asia he would be even more representative American personality type. It turns out that President Obama does have considerable Asian cultural influence, having spent some of his childhood there and also  a genetic Arab and Asian component widely prevalent in his East African ancestry. To top it all he also has a touch of the Native American. Obama's claims to native ancestry were made back in 1995, when his memoir, Dreams from My Father, was published where on pages 12 and 13 of the 2004 paperback edition; the President unequivocally asserts his Cherokee ancestry. Some of his ancestors even had that beaked nose.

A few hundred years down the line, if USA does not admit a lot of oriental immigrants, the majority of Americans would perhaps be mixed and many more would look like Barack Obama and a few rare ones would have a beaked nose too, long enough to get into the beer mug before the lips do :)

And do Americans know that George W, Bush and Barack Obama are cousins? What do Barack Obama, Thomas Jefferson, George W. Bush and the other past U.S. presidents have in common? Besides holding the coveted title of commander-in-chief, it appears that all of them but one are cousins.  The remarkable discovery was made by 12-year-old BridgeAnne d’Avignon, of Salinas, California, who created a ground-breaking family tree that connected 42 of 43 U.S. presidents to one common, and rather unexpected, ancestor: King John of England.
See:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2183858/All-presidents-bar-directly-descended-medieval-English-king.html
Royal blue blood runs through his veins of European royalty and also perhaps that of African tribes, and while it is hidden in most, the dark skin tone of Barack Obama proudly displays it.
Note: Update in green added in July 2015

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Love and Peace Greetings

Roses of all shades grow in profusion in the lower Himalayas but in the harsher climate of Jaipur where I live presently, they do not grow quite well and last year especially there were hardly any. Therefore, today I was delighted to find two lovely white roses in full bloom in my front garden. I immediately snapped a picture and and added some words to it for friends.The white roses symbolises peace and roses of all hues symbolize love, different shades for different kinds e.g. the red for romantic love, yellow for friendship etc.