From Ayurveda to an Immune India, via Chywanprash!

It was around November, 2007 when the feeling of missing an early morning flight made me sit up the entire night. While I sipped tea at regular interval so that I stay awake, then I realized that winter has set in. The nip in the air was a little more than pleasant. My fragile immune system, thanks to my unhealthy lifestyle, gave up its fight against cold too soon. The quilt that I wrapped around me was of little help as I felt the cold creep inside me. A methodical chaotic lifestyle has resulted weak defense in my body. I realized how important is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Now, like a typical managerial straightjacket that I lived my life, I started to break it down – step by step. What is the problem? What is the source? What are the readily available solutions to address this? And, how do I employ counter measures to defend & strengthen my fragile immune system? The allopathic medication was good that gave a swift impact. The culprit was confused weather of not-so-warm-yet-not-so-cold. But, will it sustain your health with all the ills of the modern lifestyle?

I was all shook up. The first of all, I started to follow old treatise of “early to bed and early to rise”. The next in the scheme of thing was to do some kind of physical exercise regularly. Trust me! It works like a wonder. It may be a struggle at the beginning but if you make a start, it will show you benefits. The Lodhi Park is such a delight to jog in the morning as I look forward to this time of the day. The collateral benefit of jogging allowed you to make friends who are dead serious about living healthy. As conversation often stirs up in those long laps of short & heavy breaths, I stirred up the classic debate: new versus old.

As a contemporary corporate south Delhi-ite, I put up a stage for the modern energy drinks and advocated heavily for allopathic medication even for cold. A candid confrontation was put up by an elderly gentleman, who argued how age old traditional Ayurvedic herbal substances, with proven medicinal benefits, can help the body to regain strength and fortify its immune system. This is when I realized the power of our culture & decided to learn more about these medicines. I always heard about the benefits of Ayurveda from my elders but wondered if they will be easily available in urban India.

With this doubt in mind, I spoke to my cousin doctor. He laughed and gave me an answer in a name that I have heard since my childhood. He said, “Your answer is Dabur Chyawanprash. It is very good as preventive ayurvedic jam that helps in boosting immunity to prevent like cold, cough etc.” Amazed that I know about this brand but never realized that it is Ayurvedic. It is indeed a simple yet effective solution for an ayurvedic product with proven track record that is easily available. I tried to browse more on internet and found that Dabur’s chyawanprash actually is the market leader with almost 70% of the market. I was amazed at how such a health enriching product is available in my nearest cornershop but I never realized. When I studied more about it in, I realized that the Dabur Chyawanprash is enriched in Vitamin C. Often termed as ‘elixir of life’ in Ayurveda, it is rich with natural Ayurvedic items like Ashwagandha, Asparagus, Bamboo manna and many other important herbs that help in healthy metabolism. Its rich anti oxidant properties help your body to brace up for day to day health challenges. Known since the time of classic Ayurvedic treatise Chakra Samhita, this semi solid paste formulation has withstood innumerable challenges for thousands of years.

Today, we work late, party even later. Our atmosphere is polluted and we live amidst greater health risks as our bodies are exposed to flu & harmful bacteria. As the modern medical science is working hard to stem the new age diseases and health challenges, I think if we can reap the benefits through products like Dabur Chyawanprash that are easily available at any market in India at a reasonable price, then we can actually look at an Immune India.

Empowered with my new found knowledge about Chyawanprash, I bought my first Dabur Chyawanprash from neighborhood corner shop. The first benefit of this wonder is its beautiful and aromatic flavor. As foodie, I always cherished food but I think this is the first time that I cherished the taste of Chywanprash, a medicinal product. The good faith, which Dabur has earned over the years, was reinforced once again when I tasted Dabur Chyawanprash.

As their dedicated website says “Dabur Chyawanprash’s magnificent brew of Ayurvedic herbs strengthens the body’s natural defence mechanism by increasing your NK cells (Natural Killer Cells) three folds. NK cells assist in fighting with virus and bacteria in your body, thus giving us increased immunity from various infections.”  And, how I am impressed! The scientific studies have confirmed Dabur Chyawanprash’s immunomodulatory and anti allergic potential. As I started to have it regularly, I felt the difference in me. With a regular life of healthy home cooked meals, regular regime of physical activity and regular intake of Dabur Chywanprash, it has not only improved my immune system manifold that was reflected in my ability to withstand the sudden weather changes and corresponding virus, flu & infection. The After all this, I became the latest convert of Dabur Chyawanprash and since then it has been an integral part of my immunity.

The positioning of the Ayurvedic medicines has been a challenge to get a foothold in the huge young & urbane population market. As we evolve as a society, it is important that we package things with contemporary ideas. The marketing strategy of Dabur Chywanprash in this regard has been very innovative. By employing contemporary popular icons right from Madhuri Dixit to Amitabh Bachchan, from Indian Cricket Captain Mahinder Singh Dhoni to Bhojpuri starlet Ravi Kishen, it has not only tapped the different tiers of markets but also made Dabur Chywanprash as a contemporary medicinal product without any side effects.  The smart contemporary packaging of an age old time tested Chywanprash is the simple yet ideal mean to reach out to Common young people and provide us an Immune India.


Ram Leela goes Ruptured Lola!

If he thought of doing a Vishal Bhardwaj, then he fell flat on his face. The latest colourful cinema from Sanjay Leela Bhansali is nothing but a pathetic display of brilliant photographic frames, loud & not necessarily good music, incessant violence without any sense, style or substance, a love story gone completely wrong and vibrant colours. The took too much from Bhansali and I think it received little from the Bhansali of Black or Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. My suggestion is to save some time & money, divert your effort to watch another movie or just lay back in the arms of your loved one. Trust me, you’ll be more in love than you ever will be after this pathetic adaptation of Shakespearean classic play Romeo & Juliet.

Raam Leela

Courtesy Google

For a story to start, it has to have a start. The Ram Leela did not have one. Once upon a time, there was a holi celebration where she kissed him with colour and they fall in love. At a time, when films like Ishaqzaade by Habib Faisal, that is more or less have similar story lines, were made at a more dramatic yet pragmatic milieu, this Bhansali movie is shame on today’s film making culture from Bollywood. The biggest pull of a romantic play is the romance between the protagonists. It is flirting, the beautiful unease, the dreamy stares, the painful aloofness that made it beautiful. Sadly, these essential ingredients are given a complete overlook by Bhansali. It does not have romance but its is pitted as a romantic movie. That is the pity.

What is good about the movie is the frames! He has good eye for colour, for beautiful frames. But where Bhansali flops are editing and story telling. The romance of the movie never started for it to end. The plastic smiles, those dispassionate kisses, those distasteful acting by the Ram & Leela did their best to usurp the happiness of the viewers. Don’t be surprised if you see people leaving at the intermission not to return to their seats to watch the later part of the movie. I came back just to see how bad it can be. Is it so bad that it is good? Sadly, it isn’t.Ram Leela

The grand sets, vibrant colours, songs for each and every occasion made the lives of viewers pitiful. The viewers love songs when they arrive at the right juncture with apt timing. If you are bombarded with songs at every five minutes (it happened twice in this movie), then you will sunk inside your palms as you have no place to escape. The movie maker should note that romance is not about bootylicious heroines, topless heroes and smutty witty one liners. Even if it is for commercial reason, then it is to be weaved into a story for the viewer to enjoy it. Jumping the gun, wielding the gun and pulling the triggers at every turn of moment won’t get us an action pack. The worse was pathetic acting by leading actors (?) of the movie; Ranveer Singh (a sexy body does not imply good acting) and Deepika Padukone (some acting apart from joyful display of beautiful skin)

I wonder if Sanjay Leela Bhansali wanted to do what Vishal Bhardwaj has already done beautifully. They both adapted western classic plays by William Shakespeare (read Othello and Macbeth by Bhardwaj and Romeo & Juliet by Sanjay Leela Bhansali), Indianised the theme, Bollywoodised the movie & produced a product they deemed fit for commercial success. One important thing to note is that Sanjay Leela Bhansali also directed the music of the movie. However, Bharadwaj edged out Bhansali in all of the departments, hands down. The Bhansali should do movies where he can do justice rather than trying to do more than his might.

If you are looking for an one line review of the movie, then this is what I have to say: If you are planning for Ram Leela this weekend, then save some money and time. This is Classic Bollywood trash with no sense or sensibility in what is an adaptation of Romeo Juliet. Disgusting!

Overhaul Education: For a better & secure Tomorrow!

Speed is everything today. We are running a mad race today to catch something. We know that because we are told to catch that thing. But the sad part of the story is that we don’t know why we catch something particular but not something else. Metaphorically, the science has made our lives so simple that we want to complicate it now. We are hard pressed for time as we fail to secure time to do the basic things in life; like breath without fear, dream without anticipation and love with conditions. As Gandhiji said, ‘there is more to life than increasing its speed.’ Do we care to listen & understand it? Ailing South African revolutionary leader, Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” The tragedy of life is that not many of us appreciate the value of education today and the very philosophy that education tries to imbibe into a person. The philosophy of reason and logic are the ulterior objectives of any education that help to quench the natural human inquisitiveness about the unknown. As we fail to understand the power that education has to bring changes in the world, do we see cracks in our social fabric that is crafted with innumerable years of human experience? I think we do.

A typical middle class family from relatively poorer eastern part of India lives a dream to catch something. The baby enters the earth with that very urge to catch something, he’s grown up in the cocoon of competition, he’s trained hard to fight to stay ahead in the competition, and finally he catches that something. But, all his life, he has known only one thing that to catch something! Once he gets his engineering or medical degree, because it is only thing to catch as rest are mere options, he turns to catch his next something, and then to next. He gets old catching some things, growing old accumulating something without really enjoying any of his prizes because he does not know how to relish them. He was never taught to.

The Indian education system remains largely the colonial heritage of past century. The legacy of joining, for lack of a proper word, the rat race and bestowing the winner with the trophy is essentially sums up our education system. It is classically based upon the carrot and stick policy. Never a sincere attempt was made to move over from this bequest but efforts were initiated & hastened by society to perpetuate it even further. For lack of a system to relinquish such obnoxious and obsolete education system, today we are facing a system of cut off in the recent Delhi University reaching 100%. The severance from the realities of society and time has made it an elite model, rather than an ideal universal model. The incapacity of the regional universities to learn new things, explore novel ideas, deliberate and imbibe them in their education process has led to their tragic decay in importance in the present education scenario. The intelligentsia of such universities forgot the very basic of education which Albert Einstein quotes as ‘the most important thing is not to stop questioning.’

Are we asking the right questions and making the right echoes in the society? The growing vacuum of brilliant minds moving away from the state should have been regarded as a state disaster. However, the way the educational bodies are encouraging and paving the way to excel in these rat races to secure an admission in the elite university, it is far from identify it as a crisis. Having lost its teeth to mismanagement, lethargy and archaic operation, then the Universities bask in glory of the past. They effortlessly forget to improve the education, relinquish colonial educational hangover and imbibe a tradition of inquisitiveness, invention and innovation in their academic lives. Sadly, this has not been forthcoming. There has been marked improvement in the infrastructure of education institutions in Assam today. The government on its part has made a remarkable thing by introducing Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) for recruitment of teachers. Many other innovative schemes like mid day meals, bio metric card system, digital classes & libraries, setting up of newer educational institutions etc are laudable and indeed a lot has been done to improve the infrastructure of the educational institutions.

But, did we miss the brief? Do we need physical assets or do we need human assets that result from a vibrant educational environment? As the Chief Minister set 2016 as the deadline to improve educational scenario, it will be interesting to know what we are trying to achieve here. Are we trying to regain the lost glory of the state language? Or, are we trying to find confidence in the student of a vernacular medium government secondary school? Does the creation of new universities in the recent past will bring about a sea change as teachers teach a subject? Or, do we recognize the increasingly diminishing importance of the state language and initiate steps to promote it, quite like the promotion of the national language? Can we bring back glory to our state level educational institutions so that students don’t need to go outside for study? Are we bold enough today to recognize that brain drain is huge issue for the future of our society? Do we appreciate the grave danger that future possesses of an intelligentsia less society if the educational exodus from the state is not checked? Can we expect our respected intelligentsia to stand up and vouch for a system that promotes inquisitiveness rather than simply ‘hoping for betterment of education?’ Are we ready to initiate a process of believing in education and its inherent philosophy to bring light in the dark?

If the government and we are talking about these questions and many others, then I think Chief Minister is thinking in the right direction. However, to bring such a metamorphosis in next three years looks impregnable, I think it is important for the polity and society to set realistic set of terms & a meaningful pursuit to achieve logical conclusion. The society is standing today at a peculiar crossing point. We are confused. We don’t know where we are, where are we travelling to and why are we travelling that way. People, who imposed faith in their land, society, culture and customs, are afraid to hold on to their ageless traditions as they are deceived politically and historically. The economic realities are pushing the society further to abandon them so that they can adapt to a certain short term arrangement that will get them economic rewards. But as human history tells us the real wealth is customs, traditions, social practices, languages and pride. Change remains the spice of life and education brings change in the society. An overhaul of education is the need of the hour and not to think of ways and means to increase marks of the students of the state so that they can get admission into the elite universities outside. Then, I hope to see cut off for subjects in our educational institutions scroll down in the ticker of at least our regional channels.