Seniors Today Life Times Tue, 02 Jun 2020 04:05:55 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Seniors Today 32 32 172356064 10 Iconic and all-time favourite Raj Kapoor songs Tue, 02 Jun 2020 01:57:02 +0000 On showman Raj Kapoor’s 32nd death anniversary today (June 2), Narendra Kusnur chooses 10 iconic songs filmed on him. Enjoy!   When playback singer Mukesh passed away in August 1976, …

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On showman Raj Kapoor’s 32nd death anniversary today (June 2), Narendra Kusnur chooses 10 iconic songs filmed on him. Enjoy!


When playback singer Mukesh passed away in August 1976, Raj Kapoor famously said he had lost his voice. The two of them had combined on most hit songs picturised on the legendary actor.

On Kapoor’s 32nd death anniversary today (June 2, 2020), we choose 10 iconic songs filmed on him. Interestingly, Mukesh sang eight of them, with Manna Dey contributing the others.

Musically, Kapoor was known for these memorable combinations. Thus, music directors Shankar-Jaikishen create tunes for nine of these songs. Likewise, Shailendra penned six, though in his films, Kapoor also had some great songs written by Hasrat Jaipuri.

The thing about these songs was that the masses easily related to them. Whatever their theme – personal, patriotic, religious or romantic – they created an impact with their simplicity and melody.


1. Awara Hoon – Awara (1951)


One of the early hits filmed on Kapoor, the song made waves even in China and the Soviet Union. Composed by Shankar-Jaikishen, sung by Mukesh and written by Shailendra, it is considered the quintessential RK song even today, as he portrayed himself as a Chaplinesque tramp.



2. Mera Joota Hai Japani – Shree 420 (1955)


Similar to ‘Awara Hoon’ in its screen appearance, the song made waves because of Shailendra’s patriotic lines which say that even if one wears foreign clothes, one should be Indian at heart. Shankar-Jaikishen and Mukesh combined again. A small snippet was even sung by Phaldut Sharma in the 2013 Hollywood film Gravity.




3. Aaja Sanam – Chori Chori (1956)


One of the most popular love songs of the 1950s, this was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey. Shankar-Jaikishen used their trademark style again, and Hasrat Jaipuri penned the words. The song was picturised on Kapoor and Nargis.



4. Sab Kuch Seekha Hamne – Anari (1959)


Another beauty from Mukesh, composed by Shankar-Jaikishen and written by Shailendra. Picturised on Kapoor and Nutan, the song conveyed the feelings of a man who despite having learnt almost everything, lacked in street-smartness and cleverness.



5. Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai – Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1960)


Kapoor was seen in a group setting in this patriotic song composed by Shankar-Jaikishen, written by Shailendra and sung by Mukesh. The lines “Mehmaan jo hamara hota hai, woh jaan se pyaara hota hai” struck a chord.



6. Chhalia Mera Naam – Chhalia (1960)


Composed by the relatively new Kalyanji-Anandji and penned by Qamar Jalalabadi, this song was about treating all religions equally, as Mukesh sang, “Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaai, sabko mera salaam”.



7. Dost Dost Na Raha – Sangam (1964)


The archetypal piano-driven sad song in a love triangle, the song was filmed on Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar and Vyjayanthimala. The combination of Shankar-Jaikishen, Shailendra and Mukesh worked wonders again.



8. Sajan Re Jhoot Mat Bolo – Teesri Kasam  (1966)


An iconic song propagating the importance of honesty, this was composed by Shankar-Jaikishen, written by Shailendra and sung by Mukesh. The film also had the outstanding number ‘Sajanwa bairi ho gaye hamaar’.



9. Ae Bhai Zara Dekh Ke Chalo – Mera Naam Joker (1970)


Here we chose this classic rendered by the brilliant Manna Dey, though the film also had some great songs sung by Mukesh. Music was by Shankar-Jaikishen again, and lyrics were by the genius Neeraj, who drew parallels between the world and a circus.



10. Ek Din Bik Jaayega – Dharam Karam (1975)


The song was a huge radio favourite in the mid 1970s and was composed by R.D. Burman when he was at his peak. Lyrics were by Majrooh Sultanpuri, who wrote “Jag mein reh jayenge pyaare tere bol”, with Mukesh singing it in his inimitable style.



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The Tale of Two Shivaji Statues Mon, 01 Jun 2020 11:33:00 +0000 Chattrapati Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur proposes the idea of a Shivaji Memorial Hall in Pune   After the Peshwas lost to the British at the Battle of Koregaon (just outside …

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Chattrapati Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur proposes the idea of a Shivaji Memorial Hall in Pune


Shahu Chhatrapati Maharaj - Seniors Today
Chattrapati Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur Painting at Shivaji Memorial Hall. (source – AISSMS)

After the Peshwas lost to the British at the Battle of Koregaon (just outside of Pune) in January 1818, signalling  the end of the Mahratta Empire, the British signed treaties  with the Maharajas of Kolhapur (Shahu), Baroda (Gaekwar), Indore (Holkar), and Gwalior (Scindia). In 1917,  as no memorial existed for Shivaji at that time, Chattrapati Shahu Maharaja of Kolhapur mooted an idea to develop a memorial for Shivaji Maharaj that included an equestrian statute and a memorial hall honoring the Great Mahratta king.  All the Mahratta chiefs contributed financially to the effort, including the smaller states of Dewas and Dhar (Pawar/Puar).



Prince of Wales lays the Foundation Stone

As Chattrapati Shahu Maharaj also wanted support from the British, he prevailed upon the Governor General of India to invite the Prince of Wales to lay the foundation stone for the ambitious project. The British colonial rulers had come to accept Indian nationalism by supporting activities that potrayed them as progressive rulers who supported education of “natives”.On November 19, 1921, Prince of Wales arrived in Poona (now Pune) by train and was escorted by a parade of Gwalior and Kolhpur Lancers, along with elephants, camels and horses to the the site in Bhamburda (now Shivajinagar) to lay the foundation stone. In an effort to appease Indian nationalism, he spoke of Shivaji as “one of the great Indian soldiers and statesman and founder of the Mahratta greatness who not only founded an Empire, but built a nation.”

The committee led by the Shahu Maharaj commenced  the project by hiring two sculptors – Ganpatrao Mhatre for the statue  and Nanasaheb Karmarkar for the panels.  Shahu Maharaj died in May 1922 before his dream of the memorial was realized.  Maharaja of Gwalior, Alija Bahadur Madho Rao Scindiacontinued to lead the effort till he died in June 1925. Rajaram Maharaj of Kolhapur, son of Shahu Maharaj took over with an ambitious goal of finishing the statue by 16 June 1928 (in three years) to coincide with the three hundred years birth anniversary of Shivaji.


The Sculptors and their approach

Raosaheb Ganaptrao Mhatre was a well-known established sculptor who had completed many projects all over India.  His clients included the Maharajas of Mysore, Baroda, Kolhapur and several rich Parsee businessmen. His sculpture of the Persian poet Firdawsi commisioned by the Parsees of Bombay adorns the entrance of Tehran University.  In 1896, while at the Sir J J School of Arts hewas awarded the Victoria Medal for Sculpture and Mayo Medal for excellence in painting. As a young student, he sculpted a life size figure of a young Maharashtrian girl draped in a traditional nine yard sari on her way to worship, in Plaster of Paris, titled“Mandir path gamini (To the Temple)”. This masterpiece adorns the entrance of the Sir J J School of Arts.


Nanasaheb Karmarkar was discovered by Otto Rothfeld a colonial British civil servant who had seen young Karmarkar’s worksmanship in his hometown Sasavane(near Alibag). He got Karmarkar admitted into the Sir J J School of Arts in Bombay. Karmarkar was a student of Ganpatrao Mhatre who was a visiting faculty at Sir J J School of Arts.Karmarkar graduated with the top rank and found work in Mumbai and Calcutta sculpting statues of famous personalities and Indian dieties. He was orginally commissioned by the Shivaji Memorial Hall Committee to do the panels for the statute.Mhatre’s approach was to make the statue with piece meal sand casting technique whichtook more time but allowed for a better finish.  Karmarkar’s approach was to do a one piece cast that was more risky but took less time. His art is on display at his home (converted into a Museum) at Sasavane near Alibag.


A competition and race to finish

Rajaram Maharaj of Kolhapur had used Karmarkar for other projects and was impressed with the panels that he had produced for Shivaji Memorial projectthree months before the deadline given to him. Mhatre’s work had not progressed much. Frustrated by slow progress made by Mhatre,  he authorised Karmarkar to make another statute for the project. Now both sculptors had a hard deadline to meet.

Mazagon Docks Bombay from Building Ships to Statues

As there was no studio or foundry in India that could build a 13.5 feet statute which would translate into a 15-20 tonne statue, Karmarkar approached Mazagon Docks that had the capacity to cast such an undertaking in their foundry. The English foreman Rasmussen hedged by saying that he had never done such a project, but would give it his best effort. With that assurance, Karmakar built the sand cast that would be used by Mazagon Docks. The statue was finally cast on the night of June 1, 1928 by a team of mostly Chinese workers pouring molten bronze to create a single piece casting.

Poona Statue By Nanasaheb Karmarkar (Source – AISSMS)


Poona Statue By Nanasaheb Karmarkar. Shivaji Memorial Hall in the background. (Source – AISSMS)
The Side Panels sculpted by Nanasaheb Karmarkar


Side Panels sculpted by Nanasaheb Karmarkar
Side Panels sculpted by Nanasaheb Karmarkar (Source – AISSMS)

Side Panels – from Left to Right and  Top to Bottom


Battle of Wani-Dindori – between Daud Khan of the Mughals and Shivaji maharaj at Wani-Dindori (near Nashik).

Coronation Ceremony of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj performed by Gaga Bhatt, of Varanasi .


“Kalyan Khajina” at the rear of the pedestal, depicting the story of the raid on Mulla Ahmed (the Mughal Subedar of Kalyan), whose daughter-in-law is captured along with treasures.  Instead of keeping her as spoils of war, Shivaji Maharaj offers her safe passage to her home in Bijapur.

Goddess Bhavani in marble  atthe front of the pedestal, depicting Shivaji seeking blessings of Bhavani Mata.


The Journey from Wadala to Bhamburda (now Shivajinagar)
Train Journey
(Source – AISSMS)

As a part of his contract, Karmarkar was also tasked with bringing the statue from Mazagon Docks to the site at Bhamburda (now Shivajinagar).  Various options were explored including sending it by sea via Ratnagiri and then by road to Pune via Kolhapur to avoid the winding ghats. While the sea route was feasible it would not have made the hard deadline that was in place. With packing materials, the longest dimensions had reached 15 ft.  Technical help of GIP (Great Indian Peninsula) railway engineers was sought to find a solution. The smallest tunnel had a maximum clearance of 9.5 feet. The GIP engineers decided to load the statue without packing at an angle so that it would clear the smallest tunnel.


Ceremonial Unveiling of the Shivaji Statute June 1928

The statue was unveiled by the then Governor of Bombay, Sir Leslie Wilson on June 16, 1928. The event can be seen on the following British Pathe Youtube video, with all the royal splendor and parade of elephants, camels and horses.


Baroda Statue
Baroda Statue by Raobahadur Ganpatrao Mhatre and son Sham rao (source – Dr. Hemant Sant)

While Nanasaheb Karmakar won the competition, it put Raobahadur Ganpatrao Mhatre into serious financial trouble.  Luckily, Maharaja Sayaji Rao III of Baroda came to the rescue and bought the other statue and had it installed in the city center in Baroda. The construction of the Shivaji Memorial Hall was completed in 1933 and inaugurated by H.E Sir Fredrick Sykes, the Governor of Bombay on Sept 20, 1933. It serves as the main building of the Shri Shivaji Preparatory Military School.  During World War II, many graduating students were offered direct commission in the Royal Indian Army, to aid the British war efforts.


Arun Mantri is an alumnus of Shri Shivaji Military Preparatory  School and a descendent of NaroramShenvi-Rege alias Naroram Mantri of Bagni/Islampur, who was a Sardar Mantri (minister) in the cabinet of  ChattrapatiShahu Maharaj of Kolhapur.   Naroram Mantri also built the famous ShantaDurga Temple in Kavlem, Goa. The story is compiled from various sources.

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8 Ways to Manage Post Lockdown Anxiety Fri, 29 May 2020 14:12:29 +0000 Things are likely to change over time as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are gradually easing. Reduced social exposure may flare up social anxiety – for some people, returning to ‘new normal’ …

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Things are likely to change over time as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are gradually easing. Reduced social exposure may flare up social anxiety – for some people, returning to ‘new normal’ may be daunting. However, social anxiety can be navigated with some techniques.

As the lockdown restrictions are gradually being lifted, reconnecting with the outside world may seem daunting. Some people may feel particularly anxious about reconnecting. Some with social anxiety might experience heightened anxiety about the prospect of socializing again. Some who fear germs, such as some people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), might worry about re-entering public spaces. Even people who don’t normally have these tendencies might share similar worries.

It is sad that there is no definitive answer to when life will go back to how it was. However, its about time we prepare ourselves mentally so that we can get on with our lives safely.

Here are eight ways to manage anxiety as you step out.

  1. Acceptance – A pandemic took place and got the world to a standstill. Social distancing became a part of life. We got a taste of living isolated. It is essential to have acceptance for what has happened and how it has brought the change. Accept the change, it may feel uncomfortable but you will get used to it with time.
  2. Take one step at a time –Begin with stepping out of your house every few days so that you get adapted to the situation outside as well as get used to wearing a masks and gloves. As you get comfortable you may try stepping out of the gate, if you don’t feel secure stick to being in your vicinity, with time you will feel confident to get pass the gate. So, take it slow.
  3. Positive affirmations – While we are flooded with so much Covid-19 news it becomes hard to stay positive. Positive affirmations – phrases that we repeat to ourselves, this evokes self-positivity. Phrases that you repeat to yourself may not be true at first but with constant repetition your subconscious mind will believe in it, bringing a change to your thinking process as well as your life.
  4. Refrain overloading Covid news – Yes, the situation is bad, it is going out of control but that does not mean you binge on Covid news. The more you pay attention to it, the more damage it will cause you. Watching the news once in a day to catch up with the headlines will be a good idea. Don’t let news channels stress you out instead keep yourself busy with things that bring you joy.
  5. Keep the distance – As you begin to step out make sure you limit touching any surfaces. You may be wearing gloves but still it would be wise to be conscious of keeping distance.
  6. Exercise – Sweat, get your heart pumping and strengthen your body. If you want to step out you need to be strong. If your body is in good health it will be able to fight anything. Exercise not only helps your body but also your brain. You will be alert about your surroundings, you will think clearly and feel confident about stepping out.
  7. Take precautions – Take them seriously if you want to be able to move around. It all comes down to how much precautions you take. If by any chance you are careless about it then chance of you getting infected rises. So, no matter how tedious it may feel take precautions and take care of yourself.
  8. Seek help – It is ok, to not feel ok about stepping out. There are chance you may need help from someone to get you get going. You may try cognitive behavioral therapy or speak to a friend. Whatever makes you comfortable start there and gradually step up.

Your mental health matters, what goes in your mind will have an effect on your actions and reactions. You may feel scared to step out right now, however, with a little change each day soon you will be mentally prepared to step out. It may be scarier but this would be the first step to getting back to ‘normal’.

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India’s China War & The Himalayan Blunder of 1962 Fri, 29 May 2020 09:53:36 +0000 Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s idealistic visions and strategic bankruptcy led to the 1962 war against China into one of the most disastrous milestones in the annals of modern India. …

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Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s idealistic visions and strategic bankruptcy led to the 1962 war against China into one of the most disastrous milestones in the annals of modern India. Why is the Narendra Modi-led NDA scared of declassifying ‘General Henderson Brooks Report of 1962 India’s China War’ after 68 years, asks Brig GB Reddy (Retd)


Why is the Narendra Modi-led NDA scared of declassifying ‘General Henderson Brooks Report of 1962 India’s China War’ after 68 years? Surely, history must be recorded in true form for the present and future generations to learn from its lesson!

Ipso facto, November 11-18, 1962 was the most disastrous milestone in the annals of modern India due to cumulative blunders by the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. It is due to Nehru’s idealistic visions and strategic bankruptcy.

Never in my life can I forget the bombastic announcement made on his way to Colombo heard on my Japanese-made transistor’ (only means to know about Delhi’s policies): “Throw the Chinese out”. Shocked and surprised I was at Nehru’s total ignorance of ‘military affairs’ and knowledge of how battles are waged at the ground level. Throw the Chinese out with what? With vintage 1889 .303 Rifles against Chinese PLA shock-wave mass assaults?

The fact of Chinese unilateral declaration of ceasefire and withdrawing forces from the foothills of North East Frontier Agency (present-day Arunachal Pradesh) to the other side of the LAC on the McMahon Line in Tibet cannot be refuted even by the most ardent Nehru sycophants. It was certainly a direct slap on the face of Nehru’s pretensions of Third World leadership in the 1962 War.

In retrospect, it was a national shame and disgrace of the most humiliating order for a nation claiming to be a 5000-yea-old civilization nurturing regional/great power status in posterity.

Having served as a company commander in Mechuka of 2nd Battalion the Madras Regiment in Siang Frontier Division (mentioned in the declassified Part 1 of General Henderson Brookes Report), and survivor as “Rear Guard Commander” to cover the withdrawal of 2/8 GR Battalion, I strongly believe that the new millennial must be told the truth of developments and events of the 1962 humiliating debacle.

The declassification of the Henderson Brookes will provide a balanced perspective of politico-bureaucratic strategic bankruptcy and phenomenal military strategic and tactical bungling at all levels.

Map of the 1962 operations in the Namkha chu area
Map of the 1962 operations in the Namkha chu area (Source – Map by Brig John Dalvi, Commander of 7 Brigade – )

Troops were poorly clad and equipped – 1889 Boer War vintage .303 bolt action rifles, heavyweight Wireless Sets 62 with 12 volt batteries with no recharging facility during withdrawal, no lightweight winter clothing or snow boots, blankets, canvas backpacks etc. Most quixotic it was to conduct artillery fire support based on “blank non-surveyed quarter inch maps” until after mid-1965s. All I could watch on my induction in July 1961 was a quarter-inch map with blank top half towards McMohan Line marked with a thick line representing almost one mile in space.

Consequently, troops died unable to negotiate snow-clad high altitude mountain like Colonel Eric Taylor of 2/8 G R, his Adjutant and others in Mechuka whilst those who withstood the rigors suffered due to frost bites.

Be that as it may, the Jawaharlal Nehru-V K Krishna Menon duo is directly responsible and accountable for the most ignominious Himalayan Blunder or Humiliation. From failures of the past, one can learn many critical lessons for posterity. Neville Maxwell has placed ‘Henderson Brookes Report’ on his website long ago. It provides a deep insight into the failures of political and military leadership at all levels to shape current and future policies and strategies.

Let me highlight important features of the Henderson Brooks Report. At the political level, it clearly exposes Nehru’s despotic-cum-autocratic leadership style. The global strategic environment was hawkish given the Cold War era. The US and its allies were involved in the US implementation of Marshall Plan. Containment on the doorsteps of the Eastern Bloc – communism – was their avowed policy. Three Western Military alliances were formed: NATO, Middle East or CENTO and SEATO. Pakistan joined the CENTO and SEATO. The Chinese Civil War, the Korean War (1950–53), the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 brutally crushed by the Soviets, the Suez Crisis (1956), the Berlin Crisis of 1961, and the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 were major happenings.

Viewed in such a environment, Nehru’s strategic vision and foreign policy initiative – Panchsheel – five principles of peaceful co-existence – based on his idealistic or divine instincts or intuitive capabilities was based on non-violence: wars and violence have no place in conflict resolution. Perhaps Nehru wanted to be a la modern Ashoka – apostle of peace in the hope of Nobel Peace Prize.

On the foreign policy front, India sacrificed Tibet on 29 April, 1954 when the “Panchsheel” agreement with China at Peking and “Agreement (with exchange of notes) on trade and intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India” was signed. Nehru trusted China to honor the Panchsheel.

Nehru disbelieved Chinese intrusions in Barahoti in 1954 followed by Chinese violations of territorial integrity in Damzan (November 1955), Nilang (May 1956), Shipki La (September 1956), Khurnak Fort in Ladakh (July 1958), Lohit Frontier Division – NEFA (Sept-Oct 1958) and so on.

Also, Nehru’s defense policy after gaining independence in 1947 was also ill conceived. His stated defense policy “Rubbish, total rubbish, we don’t need a defense plan. Our policy is non-violence. We foresee no military threats. Scrap the Army. The police are good enough to meet our security needs”. No clear cut political end objective of border confrontation with China. “No loss of inch of territory and throw the Chinese out” was the higher strategic direction or obsession. By conception, the political end objectives were grandiose considering the ill-equipped, trained and commanded Army.

Worst followed during and after Chou En Lai’s visit to India in 1959 what with the “Hindi-China Bhai-Bhai” politico-media hype. More intellectually bizarre was Nehru’s championing the cause of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Belgrade in 1961, on the basis of “Panchsheel”.

Less publicised is General Thimmaya’s resignation in protest to Prime Minister Nehru due to Defence Minister Krishna Menon’s refusal to consider his plans for preparing the Army for the forthcoming Sino-Indian conflict of 1962. The full story of the episode is still shrouded in mystery.

Under such ego centric Nehruvian political leadership, the quality of Generalship that emerged was poor lacking in moral courage. Phenomenal “Crisis in Higher Command” prevailed. Generalship lacked moral courage. The COAS and the Eastern Army Commander were mere figure heads. Battlefield confusion was real with issue of orders to withdraw to be retracted later. Generals from Delhi were commanding platoon sized posts and issuing orders countermanding intervening headquarters.

Importantly, Nehru was ignorant of military affairs; lacked depth of military knowledge and experience to wage wars; and had no time for the Generals. Nehru held Generals in total disdain. Any information that did not fit with his (often wildly inaccurate) preconceptions were summarily dismissed outright. Had no clue of either higher directions of war or military strategy and tactics. No overall national aim and end objectives of war. Never balanced ends and means; no forethought, no planning to modernise the armed forces, winter clothing, ammunition and fuel and therefore they faced a whole host of logistical problems.

In sum, by the criteria of seizing opportunities as the hallmark of great statesman, Nehru failed dismally. Had Nehru accepted the quid pro quo basis for resolving the border dispute – recognise their claims to Aksai Chin in return of recognition of Manmohan Line in 1960, the entire scenario would have been different today. Even the 45 crore people of India, mostly illiterate and blind followers of Nehru would have accepted such a resolution what with hardly any opposition to blame Nehru for surrender. Certainly,it would have possibly pre-empted China-Pakistan strategic alliance today.

Undeniably, Prime Minister Modi and the NDA would not have been caught in a politico-diplomatic-military impasse today. Modi canill-afford resolution of the border dispute based on quid pro quo basis for the rival opposition political leadership vociferously supported by partisan media would spin, stir and spiral emotions and sentiments of 135 crore of highly articulate society to rise and throw out Modi-led BJP out of power.

Most critical to accept and admit that the Henderson Brooke’s Report clearly apportions the blame on intelligence failure. Until the induction of forces into Ladakh and NEFA in the aftermath of Longju incident in late 1960, B N Mullick, Director of Intelligence Bureau, was the repository of intelligence for all others. Nehru’s view that China will not be provoked for a showdown was reinforced by Mullick’s assessment that China would not militarily respond to Forward Posture Policy, which was accepted as the gospel truth by Nehru.

Even the military intelligence assessment during 1959-60 gave the Chinese capability of one regiment (Brigade) plus with some tanks opposite Ladakh which was later reassessed as one division plus by October 1960. Similarly, the initial intelligence assessment in late 1959 was one division against Sikkim and three regiments against NEFA. In 1960, it was revised to three Chinese divisions with bulk against Tawang.

The three-tiered military strategy, doomed for disaster by original conception, consisted of deployment in piecemeal in isolated platoon-sized border posts on the watershed to control entry into NEFA across McMahon line backed up strongly by bases in depth on the second tier followed by the Defence Line: Towing–Bomdila-Ziro-Daporizo-Along-Roing-Tezu-Lohitpur-Hayulang.

Before the issue of “Forward Policy”, 50 Assam Rifles platoons were deployed on 36 outposts to demonstrate flag-bearing role. In June/July 1962, Operation Leghorn was launched and 42 platoon-sized posts were deployed of McMohan Line. And they were tasked to defend the shoulders of passes until the “last man last round”. No artillery or air support. Logistical sustenance was a nightmare. My company in Tuting carried rations for the company deployed in Gelling-Kepang La on the McMohan Line during the buildup.

No troops were available to occupy defensive positions around bases; and no positions were prepared on the third-tier of the Defence Line to wage the battle of Defense Boxes based on the classical style of Battles of Imphal or Kohima. Woeful military operational unde-preparedness!

Furthermore, troops were not physically conditioned to sustain 20 miles (32) per day for seven days continuously totally self-reliant ala General Wingate’s ‘Chindits’ of the Burma War. Troops who moved from the plains had no time to acclimatise and were unprepared to fight battles in high altitudes.

Next, the Henderson Brookes Report reportedly provides a scathing indictment on General B M Kaul, a Nehru crony, an Army Supply Corps officer, woefully ill-equipped either tactically or strategically to wage wars first as Chief of General Staff at Army HQs and later as the ill-fated IV Corps commander.

General Kaul wanted to prove that he had the mettle to implement the political directive of “throw the Chinese out”. So, he moved with skeletal staff and raised the ill-fated Corps HQs overnight. Then, Kaul took piggyback ride on a Khampa porter to the battle scene in Dhola pass and fled from the scene feigning sickness to Delhi and conducted battle from sick bed. Height of cowardice!

Let me recount eight historical defining events or landmarks to provide a historical perspective of the border dispute to include: throughout 19th century, China exercised sovereignty over Tibet through a local governor; British invaded Tibet in 1903 and the Dalai Lama fled to Mongolia and then to China; an unequal treaty signed converted Tibet into a British protectorate in 1904; and after the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, Tibet became de facto independent under a British protectorate.

Followed a tripartite conference in March 1914 in Shimla with British and Tibetans agreeing on a common border – the famous McMahon Line demarcated on a quarter inch map sans surveyed relief features on top half portion which the Chinese initialed the main document, but did not ratify it.

In reality, the PRC always maintained that Tibet was a part of China. The idea of a Greater China was to unite Mongoloid race under one nation. China remained emphatic to redraw the borders calling them “accidents of history” imposed by external powers when China was weak. The PRC also proclaimed to “liberate” the Tibetans from a theocratic feudal system and made it a top priority to incorporate Tibet, peacefully or by force. Mao in December 1949 ordered that preparations be made to march into Tibet at Chamdo to induce the Tibetan Government to negotiate.

Yet another historic highlight is the meeting of the Tibetan delegation with the PRC’s ambassador General Yuan Zhongxian in Delhi on September 16, 1950. Yuan communicated a three-point proposal that Tibet be regarded as part of China, that China be responsible for Tibet’s defense, trade and foreign relations.

When in October 1950, Mao’s troops marched into Tibet, Lhasa appealed to the United Nations. India, though recognising Tibet’s autonomy (“verging on independence” as per Nehru’s words), began to vacillate and was unable to stand up in favour of their peaceful neighbour against Red China. The Tibetan delegation signed the 17-Point Agreement “under duress” on May 23, 1951 in Peking authorizing the PLA presence and Central People’s Government rule in Political Tibet. The Dalai Lama formally accepted the 17-Point Agreement in October 1951. Less known is El Salvador sponsoring a complaint by the Tibetan government at the UN, but India and the United Kingdom prevented it from being debated.

Finally in 1956, Tibetan militias in the ethnically Tibetan region of eastern Khams started fighting against the government. When the fighting spread to Lhasa in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet. Both he and the PRC government in Tibet subsequently repudiated the 17-Point Agreement and the PRC government in Tibet dissolved the Tibetan Local Government.

In retrospect, Nehru’s foreign and defense policies were rubbish. Not to lose an inch of territory remains India’s higher direction/grand strategy even till date. It reflects rank politico-strategic bankruptcy. How can army hierarchy evolve any worthwhile military strategy based on No loss of an inch of territory? Political decision-makers need to review the direction of “No loss of inch Territory” to allow operational flexibility and freedom; and specify a clear “Grand Strategy with end objectives defined”. No place in history for Nehru’s legacy.

Next, military strategy needs to exploit terrain features. Finally, training for fighting in high altitudes and logistic support must be maintained at efficient levels. Armed forces must be prepared to wage high intensity war based on enhanced threat scenarios on various well defined ingress avenues.

Why was the Indian Air Force not employed in countering the Chinese offensive in NEFA in particular? The political establishment must answer.

In sum, Nehru committed Himalayan Blunders due to his flawed understanding of the hawkish nature of geopolitics, ill-conceived historic-geographical strategic views and assumptions, lack of strategic foresight and far-sight and total lack of understanding of wars.

Viewed holistically today, the India-China confrontation may be viewed as ‘Clash of civilizations – Aryan-Dravidian v/s Mongoloid’, or Clash between two ideologies – Communism v/s Democracy” for gaining Asia-Pacific hegemony in pursuit of national interests before embarking in pursuit of global hegemony as the middle kingdom. Prepare to face such an eventuality; or perish at least in the short and midterm contexts.

It’s never too late to declassify the ‘Henderson Brooke’s Report’ on India’s China War 1962 so that the past shortcomings (fiascos) are not repeated today and in posterity at ‘Grand Strategy or Higher Political Directions’ and ‘Military Strategy, Operational Art Doctrines and Tactical Concepts’ of battles. Also, it should lay the strategic roadmap ahead to resolve the border disputes with China on quid pro quo basis.

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7 Worst Foods for Your Brain Wed, 27 May 2020 13:53:46 +0000 Proper nutrition will lead to a clear head with a sense of purpose and poor nutrition will lead to a foggy head with a sense of desperation. Healthy eating also …

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Proper nutrition will lead to a clear head with a sense of purpose and poor nutrition will lead to a foggy head with a sense of desperation. Healthy eating also slows the rate of aging-related cognitive decline and reduces the risk of developing dementia.

Brain health is an essential part of living a healthy long life. Our body is controlled by our brain, so what is we eat has an effect on how we react in our day to day life. Proper nutrition will not only prevent cognitive decline but also enhance the quality of thinking.

There are foods that are unhealthy for your brain. Too much of indulgence in such foods will make you experience confusion, low mood, and slowed reaction times. In a vicious cycle, a depressed brain has poor ability to make the right decisions in order to improve.

If you have been eating more of unhealthy foods then it is time to start scaling back. However, dietary overhaul all at once will only make things worse, and even though you know it’s the right choice, you will struggle to maintain it. Instead, take out one food that a time from your diet, making a gradual shift will protect the health of your brain without confusing it.

Here are the seven food to avoid for brain’s health


Trans fats1. Trans fats – 

The good news is that not all fats are bad for you. However, a particular kind of fat called trans fats does have a detrimental effect on the brain. Trans fats are found naturally in animal products including meat and dairy, but even these are not as problematic as the industrially produced trans fats that get pumped into all sorts of packaged foods.

Otherwise known as hydrogenated oil, people who eat a lot of trans fat in the form of margarine, store-bought baked goods, chips and crackers, frozen and canned meals, and creamy beverages are at a greater risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies have shown that high consumption of trans fats also leads to earlier cognitive decline, lower brain volume, and poorer memory.


sugary drinks2. Sugary Drinks – 

Sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and even fruit juice have little to no nutritional value. Regular consumption of sugary drinks can lead to a whole host of physical impairments, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

A high intake of fructose, a mega-concentrated sweetener that is found in many sugary drinks, has been shown to reduce learning ability, memory, overall brain function, and the formation of new neurons in the brain. It may also lead to increased inflammation in the brain, which negatively affects all types of brain function.


refined carbs3. Refined Carbs –

Refined carbohydrates are products made with processed grains. They may not necessarily taste sweet, but they break down into sugar in your body very quickly. That’s because the refining process strips all of the fibre and nutrition out of the original grain. A meal rich in refined carbs represents a high glycaemic load that spikes your blood sugar.

 That causes memory impairment, inflammation, and a higher risk of developing dementia. Studies have shown that seniors who take in more than 58% of their daily calories in refined carbs have twice the risk of mental impairment and dementia than those who eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.


processed foods4. Processed and Packaged Foods –

Processed and packaged foods remove important nutrition from whole food and replace it with sugar, fat, and salt., Eating habits which relies more on convenience and fast foods over slow-cooked homemade meals.

However, it is important to cook with whole nutritious foods as often as you can swing it. High consumption of processed and packaged foods, in turn, is associated with damage to the brain tissue and a reduction in the brain’s volume. It may also cause disruptions to the blood-brain barrier, the membrane that is responsible for protecting the brain from harmful substances.


alcohol5. Alcohol – 

Alcohol can harm the brain, considering how much you consume and how often. Getting tipsy every once in a while, probably won’t cause permanent damage, but alcoholism and bouts of binge drinking will cause a permanent damage.

Chronic consumption of alcohol tends to shrink the brain and disrupt the neurotransmitters that your brain uses to communicate. Alcoholics also often experience a vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to the development of Korsakoff’s syndrome. The syndrome is responsible for severe brain damage that causes memory loss, confusion, unsteadiness, and intermittent loss of eyesight.


fish6. Fish High in Mercury – 

Fish in general is a healthy addition to your diet. It is low in saturated fat yet contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and magnesium. However, some fish is especially high in mercury, which is a heavy metal contaminant and neurological poison. Mercury stays stored in animal tissue (including human) for a long time.

Fish that are longer lived and predatory tend to have the highest concentration of mercury in their flesh. That’s because as long as they live, they are consuming other fish that contain lower levels of mercury. Over a lifetime, these fish can accumulate higher mercury levels in the water they swim in. It is best to avoid or seriously limit your consumption of tuna, swordfish, orange roughy, king mackerel, shark, and tile fish to prevent disruption of your brain’s neurotransmitters.


aspartame7. Aspartame (Artificial sweetener) –

While producers of this sugar substitute swear that it is safe, several studies have linked aspartame to behavioural and cognitive problems. As a chemical stressor, it can cause deleterious effects on the ability to learn and regulate emotions.

In one study, just 8 days of a high-aspartame diet cause participants to score lower on mental tests and feel more irritable and depressed to boot. Another study revealed that people who drink a lot of diet soft drinks, which replace the sugar with artificial sweetener, have an increased risk of dementia or stroke. For now, the FDA says aspartame is safe, but also mandates warning labels on products that contain it.

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One Less Spoon of Salt can help improve your Heart Tue, 26 May 2020 09:53:31 +0000 Reduce salt to improve heart health, advises Dr Suresh Agrawal. The tiny granules can make your food taste so good, and too much can raise your blood pressure too high. …

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Reduce salt to improve heart health, advises Dr Suresh Agrawal. The tiny granules can make your food taste so good, and too much can raise your blood pressure too high. If you reduce your salt intake for longer, you are likely to see a larger fall in your blood pressure.

We know that Life on Earth began in the Sea, that means organisms were surrounded by sea water – rich in salt or Sodium Chloride. Since then salt has lived outside of cells in all organisms forming extra cellular fluids. The complex mechanisms in cells prevents entry of Sodium beyond requirements.

The habitual use of salt is intimately connected with the advance from primitive, nomadic lifestyles, agriculture-based life – a step in civilization which influenced the rituals and cults of almost all ancient nations.

Table salt or Sodium Chloride is a naturally occurring mineral essential for animal life. Saltiness is one of the five basic human tastes, in addition to sweetness, sourness, bitterness and savoury. It plays a crucial role in maintaining human health, it provides Sodium and Chloride in the human diet.

We need about 5 gm of dietary salt in our food every day, that’s about 1 teaspoon of salt. On an average, Indians consume about 10 to 12 gm of salt per day, consumption of salt differs in our society depending on food habits.

The majority of the salt we eat is hidden in spicy foods, pickles, papad, processed and packaged foods and most people aren’t aware that the amount they are consuming is raising their blood pressure.

Blood pressure in human body is determined by cardiac output — blood pumped out by heart during each its cycle and resistance offered by arteries.Those who have diseased kidneys in them BP will rise much earlier as kidneys is unable to remove extra salt.

Whenever a person consumes more salt than the requirement, the kidneys try to flush out extra salt by increasing its filtration rate. This is achieved by increasing pressure in blood vessels inside each kidney and by decreasing sodium re-absorption.

The kidney will flush extra salt from the body so as to maintain homeostasis – smooth function of muscles and nerves but at a high price that is raised blood pressure – Systemic Hypertension.

Human body cannot live without sodium. It is needed to transmit nerve impulses across all nerve fibers – contraction and relaxation of muscle fibers in human body including those in heart and blood vessels and maintain a proper fluid balance. Hence it becomes essential to reduce salt intake for our wellbeing. It may take while to reset your taste buds to get used to that lower-salt diet, but you can really make up for any flavour deficits by using more spices or more herbs.

Let us spread the motto ‘Ek Chammach Namak Kum’ or ‘One Less Spoon of Salt’ from our daily food.

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20 Laxmikant-Pyarelal songs that will get your feet tapping Sun, 24 May 2020 18:10:34 +0000 It’s been 22 years since Laxmikant Kudalkar passed away. Narendra Kusnur picks 20 songs of the music director duo of Laxmi-Pyare. Enjoy! It’s been 22 years since music director Laxmikant …

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It’s been 22 years since Laxmikant Kudalkar passed away. Narendra Kusnur picks 20 songs of the music director duo of Laxmi-Pyare. Enjoy!

It’s been 22 years since music director Laxmikant Kudalkar passed away (he died on May 25, 1998 at age 60). One half of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo, he was known for his immaculate sense of melody and his understanding of the pulse of the masses.

As a duo, Laxmikant-Pyarelal had numerous hit songs in the 1960s and 1970s, and though they arrived slightly later, their career ran almost in parallel with R D Burman and Kalyanji-Anandji. Interestingly, a large chunk of their major hits was written by Anand Bakshi, with Lata Mangeshkar singing most female songs.

Shortlisting 20 Laxmikant-Pyarelal (or L-P or Laxmi-Pyare, as they were popular called) songs isn’t an easy task. But we chose some iconic and popular ones, without repeating a film. Quite a few favourites didn’t make it (including songs from Do Raaste, Sargam and Khalnayak), but that’s the enormity of their work.


1 Woh Jab Yaad Aaye – Parasmani (1963):

In Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s first film together, Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar sing this nostalgic duet penned by Asad Bhopali.


2 Mere Mehboob Qayamat Hogi – Mr X In Bombay (1964):

A big hit for Kishore Kumar, penned by Anand Bakshi.


3 Chahoonga Main Tujhe – Dosti (1965):

Another feather in Rafi’s cap, this was beautifully expressed by Majrooh Sultanpuri.


4 Suno Sajna – Aaye Din Bahar Ke (1966):

A beauty sung by Mangeshkar, this one has been written by Bakshi and makes wonderful use of sitar, santoor and bansuri.


5 Saawan ka Mahina – Milan (1967):

A huge hit in its time, this was aired on Doordarshan for years. Mukesh and Mangeshkar sing Bakshi’s words, filmed on Sunil Dutt and Nutan. The song opening is legendary.


6 Baar Baar Yeh Din Aaye – Farz (1967):

A trademark birthday song sung by Rafi and written by Bakshi.


7 Chalkaye Jaam – Mere Humdum Mere Dost (1968):

Rafi sings this number that became an evergreen favourite at bars and cocktail parties. Lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri.


8 Aa Jaane Jaan – Inteqaam (1969):

The first time Mangeshkar sung a cabaret number, the Rajendra Krishan song is known for his vibrant, flashy orchestration.


9 Jhilmil Sitaron Ka – Jeevan Mrityu (1970):

A romantic duet on dreams and hope sung by Rafi and Mangeshkar, and penned by Bakshi.


10 Ek Pyar Ka Naghma – Shor (1972):

Picturised on Manoj Kumar and Nanda, this classic was written by Santosh Anand, and sung by Mangeshkar and Mukesh.


11 Mere Dil Mein Aaj – Daag (1973):

Another hit for Kishore, this beautiful love song was penned by Bakshi and filmed on Rajesh Khanna.


12 Main Shayar Toh Nahin – Bobby (1973):

Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Bakshi combine again, on this song rendered by Shailendra Singh and picturised on Rishi Kapoor.


13 Gaadi Bula Rahi Hai – Dost (1974):

This Kishore song was a huge radio favourite. Penned by Bakshi again, it attained cult status.


14 Ruk Jaana Nahin – Imtihaan (1974):

An all-time favourite Kishore song, this talks of eternal hope and self-belief. Lyrics by Sultanpuri.


15 Parda Hai Parda – Amar Akbar Anthony (1977):

Rafi sings this iconic qawwali-based number picturised on Rishi Kapoor and penned by Bakshi.


16 Satyam Shivam Sundaram – Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978):

Penned by Pt Narendra Sharma, this classic by Mangeshkar is one of their biggest hits. Zeenat Aman appears on screen.


17 Dard-e-Dil – Karz (1980):

Rafi sings this gem picturised on Rishi Kapoor and written by Bakshi.


18 Hum Bane Tum Bane – Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981):

Southern singing star S P Balasubramanyam sings for Kamal Hassan, and Mangeshkar for Rati Agnihotri. Words by Bakshi.


19 Lambi Judaai – Hero (1983):

Pakistani singer Reshma did a fantastic job on this song written by Bakshi.


20 Ek Do Teen – Tezaab (1988):

One can never forget the scene of Madhuri Dixit dancing to this song, sung by Alka Yagnik and written by Javed Akhtar.

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7 Tips to Ensure your Domestic Air Travel is Safe & Secure Sun, 24 May 2020 11:10:41 +0000 Domestic travel is set to resume on May 25, albeit with many hiccups. So what does it mean for the health and safety of passengers? We asked Dr Noor Gill …

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Domestic travel is set to resume on May 25, albeit with many hiccups. So what does it mean for the health and safety of passengers? We asked Dr Noor Gill for her medical view and we also replay the key guidelines issued by the Indian civil aviation ministry.


By A Staff Writer

Maharashtra has said naahi. A clear nyet. Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have also said that the time is not right. So while we don’t know whether air travel will actually resume on May 25, the scheduled date announced by the Government of India, there are some guidelines – Do’s and Don’ts – that people need to look at.

Let’s first look at the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, and then consider a medical view, from our expert, Dr Noor Gill.


Here are the guidelines that must be followed if you are travelling by air.

General Instructions

  • The process of air travel will be handled in a calibrated manner. Limited operations would be permitted in the initial stage.
  • Very elderly, pregnant ladies and passengers with health conditions are advised to avoid air travel.
  • Passengers with confirmed web check-in will be allowed at the airport, along with baggage identification number – boldly written on a piece of thick paper and affixed to the bag with a strong string. No facility of physical check-in.
  • Airlines to adhere to the lower and upper limits of fares prescribed by the Ministry during the period of Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Passengers with “Red” status in Aarogya Setu App would not be permitted to travel.It is mandatory to wear a face mask throughout the journey and only one check-in luggage will be allowed.
  • No meals/newspapers will be provided.
  • Arrive at the airport two hours before the departure time.

Guidelines from the origin to the destination.

  • Passengers to travel only authorized taxi/personal vehicle. 
  • During the transit, passengers should take all precautions to prevent infection.
  • If a passenger is not permitted to fly travels, he/she will be liable to penal action.
  • Passengers are to get their temperature checked at the thermal screening facility near the entry gate.
  • Social distancing to be strictly followed. Throughout the airport there are markings – circle, square or barriers, to be used.
  • Cooperate with security staff by following instructions for your own safety and security.
  • In the waiting area, maintain social distance and sanitisation protocols. Chairs marked ‘Not For Use’ should not be occupied.
  • Disposable of bio hazardous materials – masks, gloves, tissues, to be disposed in a yellow coloured bin placed at strategic locations inside the airport.
  • Passengers to collect safety kit (three layered surgical masks and sanitiser) from airlines near the boarding gate. Self sanitisation to be done before proceeding to the boarding gate for scanning.
  • Check-in of the boarding pass would be done by passenger themselves and are required to show their ID at the boarding gate.
  • Through the transit hygiene should be maintained by the passenger. Face to face interaction to be minimised.
  • Passengers are advised to minimise use of lavatory.
  • Eatable are not permitted for consumption inside the aircraft.
  • If any passenger feels uncomfortable, fatigued or have cough, should be brought to the crew’s attention.
  • On arrival passengers are to use authorised taxi services that maintain the prescribed hygiene protocols.


Guidelines for International arrivals

  • All passengers shall give an undertaking that they would undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days – 7 days paid institutional at their own cost, followed by 7 days isolation at home self-monitoring.
  • Only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to travel and if on arrival, any passenger shows mild symptoms, he/she will be immediately isolated and taken to the medical facility.


Medical Tips to Ensure your Domestic Air Travel is Safe & Secure 

By Dr Noor Gill

  • Maintain hand hygiene – Keep your hands clean. Wash them with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser every time you touch your face or nose. Cough and sneeze into your elbow and cover your mouth when doing so. Stay clear of people with a cough or cold.
  • Clearance from GP – The elderly, the chronically sick and those with a serious underlying health condition should avoid travelling or delay their travel plan until deemed fit and cleared for travel by their general physician (GP).
  • Breathe easy – All modern aircrafts have High Efficiency Particle Arrester (HEPA) which filters dust particles and airborne contaminants with high efficiency. So, you can breathe easy.
  • Usage of luggage cover – Your luggage is transferred to a low-pressure chamber and thus runs a very low risk to get contaminated during transportation. But if it helps you travel easy and makes you feel better, you can cover your bags with a luggage cover.
  • Avoid surfaces – Even though the airports will be following strict sterilization protocols and techniques. Not all surfaces and areas will get the same amount of attention. The evidence on whether the virus can survive on a surface and then be transferred is not solid so avoid keeping your luggage on a surface.
  • 14-day quarantine – If you are returning from an affected area or country, follow the 14-day quarantine protocol.
  • Awareness – Stay up-to-date on your vaccines. Although there is no vaccine available for the coronavirus yet, it is better to stay safe and keep your immunisation chart complete and update so as to avoid compromising your immunity.

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Study : Social isolation & Loneliness linked to Heart diseases/Stroke Fri, 22 May 2020 10:45:55 +0000 Addressing loneliness and social isolation may have an important role in the prevention of two of the leading causes of heart disease/stroke. The study backs public health concerns about the …

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Addressing loneliness and social isolation may have an important role in the prevention of two of the leading causes of heart disease/stroke. The study backs public health concerns about the importance of social contacts for health and wellbeing

With such rapid changes in the way people are interacting socially, research is needed to address several important questions. Does interacting socially via technology reduce or replace face to face social interaction and/or alter social skills?

Loneliness and social isolation are linked to 30 percent increased risk of having a stroke or developing coronary artery disease, published online in Heart – an official journal of the British Cardiovascular Society. The two leading causes of illness and death globally – risk of having a stroke or developing coronary artery disease. The study indicates, the size of the effect is comparable to that of other recognised risk factors, such as anxiety and a stressful job.


Loneliness has already been linked to a compromised immune system, high blood pressure, and ultimately, premature death, but it’s not clear what impact it might have on heart disease and stroke risk.

The researchers checked out 16 research databases for relevant studies, published up to May 2015, and found 23 that were eligible.

These studies, which involved more than 181,000 adults, included 4628 coronary heart disease ‘events’ (heart attacks, angina attacks, death) and 3002 strokes recorded during monitoring periods ranging from three to 21 years.

Analysis of the pooled data showed that loneliness/social isolation was associated with a 29% increased risk of a heart or angina attack and a 32% heightened risk of having a stroke.

The effect size was comparable to that of other recognised psychosocial risk factors, such as anxiety and job strain.

This is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, added to which the researchers point out that it wasn’t possible to exclude the potential impact of other unmeasured factors or reverse causation – whereby those with undiagnosed disease were less sociable, so inflating the findings.

In a linked editorial, Drs Julianne Holt-Lunstad and Timothy Smith of Brigham Young University, Utah, USA, agree, pointing out that social factors should be included in medical education, individual risk assessment, and in guidelines and policies applied to populations and the delivery of health services.

But one of the greatest challenges will be how to design effective interventions to boost social connections, taking account of technology – researchers.

“Similar to how cardiologists and other healthcare professionals have taken strong public stances regarding other factors such as – smoking, and diets high in saturated fats, further attention to social connections is needed in research and public health surveillance, prevention and intervention efforts,” they conclude.

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Top 10 Naushad songs that define his Genius and Versatility Fri, 22 May 2020 05:23:59 +0000 Composer par excellence, Naushad was also a captivating poet. Narendra Kusnur picks the maestro’s Top 10 songs that define his genius and verstatiliy   1.  Awaaz De Kahan Hai (Anmol …

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Composer par excellence, Naushad was also a captivating poet. Narendra Kusnur picks the maestro’s Top 10 songs that define his genius and verstatiliy


1.  Awaaz De Kahan Hai (Anmol Ghadi, 1946) – Sung by Noor Jehan and Surendra, and written by Tanveer Naqvi, this was one of Naushad’s earliest hits.


2 Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya – (Shahjehan, 1946) – The ultimate sad song, sung by superstar Kundan Lal Saigal and written by Majrooh Sultanpuri.


3 Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki (Dulari, 1949) – One of Mohammed Rafi’s early hits, this song written by Shakeel Badayuni was a rage in its time.


4 Man Tadapat (Baiju Bawra, 1952) – Baiju Bawra had numerous hit songs but ‘Man Tadapat’ was remembered for Rafi’s soulful singing and the use of raag Malkauns.


5 Insaaf Ka Mandir Hai (Amar, 1954) – Another beauty by Rafi, the Naushad- Badayuni magic is seen on the lines “Insaaf ka mandir hai yeh, bhagwan ka ghar hai”.


6 Duniya Mein Agar Aaye Ho (Mother India, 1957) – A song with an important and timeless message, this was sung by the Mangeshkar sisters Lata, Meena and Usha.


7 Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya (Mughal-a-Azam, 1960) – One of the greatest love songs ever, this was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and picturised on the gorgeous Madhubala.


8 Madhuban Mein Radhika (Kohinoor, 1960) – Best known its use of raag Hameer, this was sung by Rafi and picturised on Dilip Kumar. The sitar was played by Ustad Abdul Halim Jagger Khan.


9 Mere Mehboob Tujhe (Mere Mehboob, 1963) – Picturised on Rajendra Kumar and Sadhana, this Rafi song was a huge hit and was played regularly on the radio.


10 Aaj Ki Raat (Ram Aur Shyam, 1967) – Picturised on Dilip Kumar and Waheeda Rahman, this Rafi song makes remarkable use of the piano.


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The Mother of All Road Shows Thu, 14 May 2020 12:52:38 +0000 Hard on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic, the plight of countless migrant workers walking across the country to reach home is India’s biggest tragedy since Partition, writes Vickram Sethi …

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Hard on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic, the plight of countless migrant workers walking across the country to reach home is India’s biggest tragedy since Partition, writes Vickram Sethi

If the Holocaust was the biggest tragedy for the Jews, then the Partition was India’s biggest tragedy. Now we are watching lakhs and lakhs of migrants walking all the way home, wherever their home is. To me this is India’s biggest tragedy after the Partition. It is the mother of all road shows; now the whole world knows the face of the real India and also Indians themselves.

The young and the helpless – is this India’s future

For about over a month we have seen images and stories of lakhs and lakhs of migrant workers trudging thousands of miles across the length and breadth of this country. Watching a sea of humanity walk from one place to the other; young able-bodied men and women begging for food, standing in long queues from 6 in the morning hoping that at 12 noon when their turn comes, they would be able to get some food. During this trudge, many may have died, parents could have abandoned their little kids because they no longer could feed them. The migrants have one compulsive emotion and that is the need to get back to their family – parents, wife and kids. This is extreme cruelty. Human suffering at its worst. Why did this happen? Who subjected these people to such extreme cruelty?

Why didn’t someone take over the dhabas on the way and give these people free food, simple dal-khichdi that could provide warmth in the stomach, water to drink and a place to rest before moving on or even a pair of shoes to walk home. What you see in this mass of humanity is an explosion of cooperation, where the poor have walked through this cruel journey together with their friends, brothers, families and children. Each one has cared for the other. This kind of empathy is a quality of the poor.

No one’s people

The tragedy of 16 people crushed to death on the tracks near Aurangabad should hurt us and prick our collective conscience. Where are the netas who promise the world when they come to seek votes? May be a few of them should do the 500-mile trek across the country to understand what real hardship is. Can India see its own poverty? Does it make you feel sad? For a moment, get out of yourself and look at your face in the face of the poor to understand what poverty is. Do their lives have any meaning? What do words like social distancing, self-esteem, dignity mean to this mass of invisible labourers who are no one’s people. What would happen once they get home? Are they carrying the virus back with them amongst all their burdens? What kind of a life will they go back to?

It is cruel to see and hear statisticians, political analysts, economists, social activists and a whole bunch of people who appear on television mouthing platitudes on the poverty line, the GDP per capita, all the schemes that the government is implementing to make life better… soon a lot of armchair spokespersons whose job is to speak will make PowerPoint presentations on how they are working to improve the life of these migrants. I doubt if any of them have even seen the reality of their poverty or even looked at them in their face. What is bad, is that they will pass all kinds of judgments on inane issues but will never get to the core of the problems faced by the migrants.

Out of jobs and evicted from rented accommodation, out of- state workers have no option but to pick up their lives and leave

Where is the love and compassion for the poor? Even after so many days they are still dithering on providing transportation through rails, roads and such. Is this the superpower we call ourselves? Again, on television we will see yet another statistic on so many millions that have been added to the poverty numbers. The line of poverty if u can see, it exists in our eyes and that’s where we need to find it. What is the meaning of democracy for the poor? Actually nothing! People who are below the poverty line are probably out of the democratic process.

The binding factor
Lock, stock and shattered dreams, families leave for the only place they can now call home

Poverty is also a great binding factor, in recent times there has been a surge of anti-Muslim rhetoric amidst this Covid-19 crisis. You see rich people coming out of their kothis and asking the sabjiwallah his name, wanting to see his Aadhar Card (thank god, the person stopped there) to find out whether he is a Hindu or a Muslim. While they were at it I wish someone could have asked, what is the religion of gaajar, matar, gobi, palak, methi…? Do we know the religion of water? Unfortunately, this anti-Muslim rhetoric has moved up even to the top and the middle class, where Hindus and Muslims have problems with each other but not so the poor. Go to the slums in Mumbai – Kherwadi, Geeta Nagar, Dharavi, Worli, Govandi… the Muslim neighbour carpenter will often volunteer to create the neighbour’s Ganapati pandal and his wife would probably lend a helping hand in rolling out the modaks. Poverty is lack of cash and not lack of character.

India’s international image has taken a huge downgrade with the visuals of the migrants walking home. The anti-Muslim rhetoric has hurt the Hindus who are a minority in the rest of the world. When the government of UAE has to send a representative on the inter-faith council to the USA they send a Sikh, Surinder Singh Kandhari, to represent them. There is a lesson here for us.


Hopeless future

What happens when people lose hope? After such a long and horrible journey home, is life fair to them? What kind of life will they have once they have reached home? Would there be any employment opportunities? They lived on the fringe in the city and tried to create a life for themselves. The calamity of walking back, the darkness that will embrace them shattering a million dreams. They came to the city in the first place to create a new life for themselves; wanting to send their children to angrezi medium schools, clothes from Fashion Street, the big occasion of their child’s birthday celebration at McDonald’s. Now will they ever have enough money to save for a future that doesn’t exist?

Workers desperate to reach their homes are taking every available means of transport

At this point, they look into a hopeless future. The question is, what kind of a life will they have once they have gone home? How will they stop feeling sorry for themselves? All kinds of problems will come up in the most challenging circumstances. It’s like living in a beautiful house and suddenly there’s an earthquake and everything falls to the ground, everything is ruined, all hopes, aspiration and dreams have been turned into dust.

What hope do they have of rebuilding their life? Could they ever recover from this trauma? What happens when youth lose hope? Will we have people looting/robbing on the streets? This long walk is the worst thing that could have happened to a large population and yet no one is feeling sad about it. Give a twist to Eva Peróns famous line, “Don’t cry for me dear India, the truth is I never loved you.”

At an unemployment rate of 26% at the GDP of -2% (source: Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy), India today is a 72-year-old patient inching towards systematic organ failure. Welcome to the biggest roadshow of the world, India 2020.

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Guru Dutt: Introvert and Genius Thu, 14 May 2020 12:11:29 +0000 Artist Lalitha Lajmi reminisces on growing up with her brother Guru Dutt, a story of struggle, passion, love, and fate… the fate of traumatic depression that took over his craft …

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Artist Lalitha Lajmi reminisces on growing up with her brother Guru Dutt, a story of struggle, passion, love, and fate… the fate of traumatic depression that took over his craft of filmmaking

The story goes back to the city of joy where Shivashankar Rao Padukone and Vasanthi Padukone were struggling to make ends meet. Shivashankar was a poet who worked as a clerk at Burmah Shell, and Vasanthi was a self-taught linguist who worked as a Hindi schoolteacher. While Shivashankar did overtime, Vasanthi took tuitions, and both gave their best to raise four sons and a daughter – Atma, Guru, Devi, Vijay and Lalitha. When the couple worked Vasanthi’s mother took care of the children.

An introvert, Guru Dutt kept his sadness to himself

Later on, the family moved into a bigger house. The centre of the house was the kitchen where the children’s grandmother cooked vegetarian Saraswat meals. Everybody would gather together, sit on the floor and grandmother would serve the meal. There was a separate pooja room for her where she would do her prayers, lighting diyas in the mornings and evenings. Guru enjoyed playing with the shadows the diyas created. There was a little outhouse in the backyard – there was ‘houda’ (a tank full of water) where the children played paper boats during holidays, a tin shed where Guru made kites. He was fond of flying kites. In the same shed during Diwali he would make firecrackers. He had a parrot as a pet, and he would teach it a new word every day and make the parrot repeat it the next morning.

“I remember Atma fought with me often, he would pull my long plaits and Guru would intervene and take my side.”

To keep the children entertained, every weekend their grandmother would take them on a tram to their uncle BB Benegal’s home. The children eagerly waited for the weekend as all the siblings (the Padukones and the Benegals) would spend the entire weekend watching films. Visit to uncle Benegal’s was a place of inspiration. Uncle Benegal was a film publicist and his house had all sorts of paintings, posters, art – the atmosphere was a stimulus for the young creative minds.

Shouldering responsibility

At the age of 15, Guru passed his matriculation and had the desire to study more – go to college. Unfortunately, paying fees for his further studies were not possible as he had to shoulder the responsibility of the house being the eldest son. He took up a job as a telephone operator for Rs 30 a month. With his first salary he got presents for everybody – a sari for his mother, a coat for his father, a shirt for Atma, a frock for Lalitha and a copy of the Bhagwat Gita for his teacher.

Guru Dutt had an everlasting thirst for perfection, and his work reflected that

The Saraswat community held intimate cultural gatherings – more so a picnic every month. There would be performances, food and a lot of fun. Once Guru decided to put up a performance, too. He put on some makeup, wore a dhoti and a velvet jacket and did a surprise performance of a snake charmer. Everybody enjoyed it while uncle Benegal shot it on his 8mm camera.

On his sixteenth birthday uncle Benegal gifted him a box camera. It was then he discovered his passion for photography. He would click pictures of the community gatherings and family, and sister Lalitha would be his model. He would make her strike different poses, try different angles. He also took pictures of the shadows created by the diyas in his grandmother’s pooja room.

The performance bug bites

One day Guru went to watch dance maestro Uday Shankar. After the performance, he was so moved that he decided he wanted to become a performer too. He told his mother about how desperately he wanted to train under the maestro at the Academy in Almora, North India. After much thought uncle Benegal decided to help with the Almora fees and his mother with personal expenses. It used to be bitterly cold during the winters in Almora and Guru didn’t even have a proper jacket to keep him warm. However, he was the youngest there and everybody was fond of him, so he was taken care of. By this time Padukones had moved to Bombay and were living in a small flat in Matunga. Their hardship continued – his father did a clerical job, his mother taught in a school, his grandmother looked after the children and young Lalitha ran errands.

Guru Dutt’s life was wreathed in tragedy as much as creativity and joy

One day Guru told the family that Uday Shankar was coming with his troupe to Bombay for a performance at the Royal Opera House. His mother and Lalitha were looking forward to seeing Guru after a long time. They saw the famous Tandav Nritya performed by the maestro and a beautiful solo performance by Guru titled ‘The Swan’. After the performance mother went backstage along with Lalitha to meet Uday Shankar and Guru. The maestro said to his mother – your son has great talent and you should support him and his creativity.

Later on, however, the Almora Academy had to shut down and most of the young dancers came to Bombay looking for a job. Even though it was difficult, Guru helped four of his friends by letting them stay in his house in Matunga. Mother telegraphed uncle Benegal requesting him to come down to Bombay as he knew directors and producers. Uncle Benegal came to Bombay and helped Guru join Prabhat Studios as an assistant choreographer.

Guru also did small roles here and there to make extra income. Here he became friends with Dev Anand and Rehman. The trio would spend a lot of time together working on sets and later they would hang out and talk about how they were going to make it big. The friendship was such that they had promised each other that whenever either one gets success, he shall help the other two.

The director’s debut

Guru was rejected by producers several times, but he didn’t stop writing. He would ask his mother and Lalitha for their opinions on the script. At that time, he had written Kashmakash, which was later titled Pyaasa. He was very sensitive, curious, observant of the smallest details, and that kept him ahead of his times. By then Dev Anand’s career had taken off and as promised he invited Guru to direct a film in his new production company, Navketan Films. Guru made his directorial debut with Baazi… and thus began the life of the genius filmmaker.

Lalitha narrates, “Our whole family was invited for the recording of the song ‘Tadbeer se bigdi hui’ to be sung by Geeta Roy. At the mahurat, a Bengali beauty walked in, wearing a white silk sari with a golden border. She was so simple and humble for a successful singer. As the recording proceeded, we fell in love with Geeta and I suppose my brother too must have felt the same. My mother knew Bengali fluently so she conversed with her in Bengali and invited her over for lunch one afternoon.

Tadbeer se bigdi… was the song that introduced Geeta Roy to Guru Dutt

“She came with her father on her first visit to our home in Matunga. She was at the top of her career and my brother was just starting his first film ‘Baazi’. She used to visit us often; I remember her in simple cotton saris, arriving in a huge limousine. She was soft-spoken and called my mother ‘Mashima’ (aunt). My mother was very fond of her and was always happy when she was around. However, Geeta’s parents and her brother resented her visits to our home. So she would make the excuse of coming to see me. I was their messenger; I would help them exchange love letters. At that time Raj Khosla was her assistant; Raj and I would team up and help the lovebirds spend time together. Sometimes we would go to Powai lake; Guru and Geeta would stroll together, we would keep a good distance and walk behind them keeping a watch. Sometimes they fought and Geeta would disappear for days and I would go looking for her at her friend’s place, convince her to let go of the anger and come home with me. Sometimes Geeta would come home and stay back till the evening. On such occasions I would walk with her till her house in Dadar – she lived close by.

Love and marriage

“After almost three years of rendezvous, when Guru got some success he asked for her hand in marriage. They bought a house in Pali Hill and were so much in love. A happy couple, working together, hosting dinner parties, they had two beautiful sons. Their first-born child Tarun, was born on the same day as Guru, 9th July and later Arun, the second-born on the 10th, so Geeta always celebrated the birthday of all the three together. Those were the happy days.

“As time passed, Guru became more and more engrossed in his work. He would stay back at the studio working late. Geeta on the other hand would wait for him and this became a usual thing. The distance between the couple began to grow, he kept busy at the sets and she just kept herself busy with friends. The days Geeta didn’t have a recording she would catch up with her friends over cocktails. Guru began spending more time on the sets with his heroines, and rumours got out. The house that was once filled with laughter began getting populated by insecurities. Night after night of verbal arguments and loud fights – Geeta would often fight and pack up with the children to her mother’s house. Helpless and lonely, Guru would ring me up crying asking us (my mother and me) to come right away. My husband would drive us to Guru’s bungalow in Pali Hill. We would spend the night there and would leave the next morning when things looked better.

“Guru was very close to our mother but, like me, he was an introvert. He never expressed his emotions. He was always quiet, always living in his mind, he never said there were problems, he never said he was sad, he never said anything.


Life walks out

As time passed the environment of their house became distressful – the fights grew. Geeta took to alcohol and Guru got into depression, and this cut the already frail thread between them. At the end they got separated.

Reconciling art and the material world was a major theme for Guru Dutt

Guru began living in an apartment in Peddar Road and kept himself busy with work. On one of those days he had come to my house in Colaba to borrow some crockery; he said he was hosting a small get-together and left asking me to come home for lunch. Those days he was working on Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi.

The screenwriter of the film Abrar Alvi later on told me – Guru had asked him, “What will happen if one mixes sleeping pills with alcohol?” Alvi casually replied, “It could lead to death.” It was supposed to be a casual conversation as Guru was always curious about things and would never stop questioning. Everything seemed fine – at least on the outside, things had actually begun to look better. Little did anyone know, however, that there was a tornado inside Guru’s head that eventually pushed him off the ledge.

He couldn’t complete his last film; his will to die prevailed over his capability as a brilliant filmmaker.

I found him resting on his bed. He looked at peace. I believe he didn’t take his life; rather, life walked out on him and there was nothing anybody could do but accept it as it is.

(– As told to Sushmita Bhattrai)

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Guru Dutt’s Top 10 Iconic Songs Thu, 14 May 2020 11:54:54 +0000 Guru Dutt’s films have been a montage of his real life. From Pyaasa to Baharein Phir Bhi Aayengi, Guru Dutt has opened his heart to cinema and gives us some …

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Guru Dutt’s films have been a montage of his real life. From Pyaasa to Baharein Phir Bhi Aayengi, Guru Dutt has opened his heart to cinema and gives us some truly evergreen songs to remember him by.

10 Preetam Aan Milo – Sung by Geeta Dutt and picturised on Madhubala, who is seen yearning to meet her husband Preetam – Guru Dutt. The classic number from Mr and Mrs 55 which was actually taken from an album by C H Atma.

Listen Here –


9  Koi Door Se Awaaz De Chale Aao – A song from Sahib Biwi aur Gulam portraying the angst of a lonely woman in the middle of the night, sung by Geeta Dutt. The song is picturised on Guru Dutt listening to it.

Listen Here –


8. Aaj Sajan Mohe Aang Laga Lo – A song from the film Pyaasa sung by Geeta Dutt and picturised on Waheeda Rehman. Again, Guru Dutt brings out the angst of a woman with unfulfilled desires beautifully. The remains a hit even today.

Listen Here –


7. Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar – The Aar Paar hit song that has been remixed in so many versions and heard even today. In this song Guru Dutt being playful with Shakeela evokes the playfulness in the viewer.

Listen Here –


6. Babuji Dheere Chalna – Another hit song from the film Aar Paar sung by Geeta Dutt. Geeta Dutt’s singing adds naughtiness to the sequence, and again it defies era and age.

Listen Here –


5. Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen – An intense song from Kaagaz ke Phool, picturised on Waheeda Rehman and Guru Dutt, sung by Geeta Dutt. Waheeda’s acting bring out the pain while Geeta’s singing makes the listener feel it.

Listen Here –


4. Sar Jo Tera Chakraye – The evergreen champi song from the film Pyaasa, picturised on the irrepressible Johnny Walker. Even after so many years it continues to remain a popular song.

Listen Here –


3. Na Jao Saiyaan – The classic from Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam sung by Geeta Dutt for Meena Kumari, who is supposed to have said that the character of Chhoti Bahu resembled her real life.

Listen Here –


2. Jane Woh Kaise Log – From the film Pyaasa, picturised on Guru Dutt. The film shows glimpses from his childhood and the struggles his family faced, also what happened when he did succeed.

Listen Here –


1. Chaudhvin ka Chand – The romantic super hit from Chaudhvin ka Chand has remained popular even today. While the song is a great hit, it is Waheeda Rehman’s beauty that makes the song what it is.

Listen Here –

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Guru Dutt’s Top 10 Films !! Thu, 14 May 2020 11:52:28 +0000 Seniors Today film chronicler Deepa Gahlot picks her Top 10 Guru Dutt films   1. Baazi (1951): Movie lore has it that when Dev Anand and Guru Dutt worked in …

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Seniors Today film chronicler Deepa Gahlot picks her Top 10 Guru Dutt films


1. Baazi (1951):

Movie lore has it that when Dev Anand and Guru Dutt worked in Hum Ek Hain (1946), they became good friends and promised each other that whoever made a film first would give a break to the other. Dev Anand set up his production company, Navketan, and signed Guru Dutt to direct Baazi, in which he played a gambler; Geeta Bali and Kalpana Kartik were the leading ladies, SD Burman composed the hit music. The film, written by Balraj Sahni, established Guru Dutt as a director who could tell a story well using mainstream conventions but not pandering to popular tastes or trends.

2. Jaal (1952) :

When Guru Dutt was offered to direct a movie  by Film Arts, he cast Dev Anand in the role of a man who brings a touch of evil into a happy fishing village and breaks the heart of Maria (Geeta Bali). The film, written by him, was unusual for the time, but had a superb song (SD Burman again) picturisation, which came be a hallmark of his films.

3. Baaz (1953):

Guru Dutt co-wrote, directed and starred in this period pirate adventure, set at the time of the Portuguese invasion of the Malabar Coast. He played a prince opposite Geeta Bali’s rebel pirate. One of the few light-hearted romantic roles he played in his very brief career.

4.  Aar Paar (1954) :

Not yet out of the noir mode, Guru Dutt directed and starred in this comic crime caper, playing Kalu, a taxi driver who gets mixed up in a criminal enterprise and tosses a coin to choose between the two leading ladies, Shyama and Shakila.

5. Mr & Mrs 55 (1955):

Guru Dutt directed this romcom, playing a struggling cartoonist, Preetam, who agrees to a sham marriage with an heiress played by Madhubala, to fulfil a condition in her father’s will. The delectable OP Nayyar score added to the film’s charm, though the taming-of-the-shrew kind of plot seems a bit dated now.

6. CID (1956):

Guru Dutt produced this dark thriller directed by his assistant Raj Khosla. Dev Anand played a cop investigating the murder of a newspaper editor who was about to expose the criminal links of an influential man. Shakila played the romantic lead and Waheeda Rehman a femme fatale in her Hindi movie debut.

7. Pyaasa (1957):

Produced and directed by Guru Dutt, this is considered not just his best film, but one of the finest made in India. The story of an unsuccessful and idealistic poet, Vijay, who turns his back on a materialistic world personified by his ex-girlfriend (Mala Sinha) and her dishonest husband. Waheeda Rehman played a streetwalker who truly loves Vijay.


8. Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959):

The film about a filmmaker with an unhappy marriage and passion for his discovery (Waheeda Rehman) is considered to be semi-autobiographical. The film that flopped on release and sent the filmmaker into a spiral of despair is now considered a classic. It was his last film as director.


9.  Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960):

Guru Dutt produced this Muslim social and love triangle, Mohammed Sadiq directed this film with Guru Dutt,  Waheeda Rehman and Rehman, the success of which saved the production house from the financial ruin caused by the failure of Kaagaz Ke Phool.

10. Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962):

Guru Dutt produced this film for writer Abrar Alvi, his long- time collaborator. Based on a Bengali novel by Bimal Mitra, co-starring Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rehman and Rehman, the film had Guru Dutt playing an unwitting confidant to Chhoti Bahu, the wife of a zamindar. The innocent friendship causes a storm that ends in the downfall of the feudal family. The film was acclaimed, won awards and was sent as India’s entry for the Oscars, but its box-office failure was a blow to him. He tried to make one more film, Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi, but passed away while it was under production. It was completed with Dharmendra replacing him.

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What is it like when your spouse leaves you at age 59? Thu, 14 May 2020 11:10:10 +0000 The breakup of a marriage can test you to your limits, and also help you discover your strengths, writes Annette Muller When hearts are passing in the night, in the …

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The breakup of a marriage can test you to your limits, and also help you discover your strengths, writes Annette Muller
When hearts are passing in the night, in the lonely night
Then they must hold each other tight, oh, so very tight
And take a chance that in the light, in tomorrow’s light
They’ll stay together, so much in love

What is it like if your husband leaves you and you are 59 years old – and this is not the first time this happens to you?

To be honest – it is horrible.

My husband and I have been married for 13 years, and we have known each other and lived together for many more years. After that many years of being together the relationship is not as romantic any more as it used to be in the beginning… holding hands, saying “I love you” and so on. A relationship changes over time, of course, and that is a good thing. It matures, you understand each other without speaking.

After all you are building a trusted foundation that is stable and should grow for the time to come. If you are over 50 years old you know that times and age will come that will bring changes to your body and your mind. And you may become weaker and sick. Hence a strong bond and relationship you can rely on become even more important as it will mean that you support each other and continue to be there for each other, whatever the circumstances may be.

At least the above was my belief and when getting married I was very much aware of the responsibilities that come with a marriage. At the time of our marriage I knew already that one week after my husband had to have cancer surgery – “In good and in bad times.”

(Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. One of my favourite movies).

As most couples we had lived through easier and more difficult times in our marriage.

Until summer 2019, when I noticed that my husband, who is 9 years older than me, so 68 at the time, developed an interest in one of my close girlfriends, who often visited our house. She is the classic cliché of an attractive woman: blond, long legs, 10 years younger than me and someone who says what the other person wants to hear. And that was exactly what seemed to fall on fertile ground with my husband. He started visiting her every day, went to concerts with her and traveled to Paris with her for 5 days attending 2 opera performances. Every time he came back satisfied and happy, while I sat crying and desperate at home.

Falling off a cliff

What is the best way to deal with a situation that you are thrown in so abruptly and without expecting it?

First, it is like falling from a cliff, in free fall, not knowing when and how to get down. Is there a bottom at all?

What made the situation so bizarre is that this already happened to me 19 years ago. My partner at the time had also left me for a girlfriend of mine. And now again. A déjà vu.

Being let down by those closest to you can trigger feelings of worthlessness

This incentivised me to go deep and think about what leads men and women to enter into relationships with partners, who behave in this way. What is the trigger, where a man suddenly decides that his wife is no longer good enough for him and it’s time to move on, change to a new one? Is it boredom or longing for new excitement? All those years spent together were a waste? All the hard work that you put into each other can suddenly evaporate?

Love and marriage are both hard work. I knew that I had to take control of the situation. Death is very different to betrayal, when one partner is dead there is a feeling of helplessness and eventually the other partner comes to term, one can dweeb for a long time. Grief does not have an expiry date. In my case there was betrayal, anger and disbelief.

I knew in my head that I would master this situation as I had before. But the feeling, the emotions and the heart said otherwise.

Again and again the question: Why? What did I do wrong? What does she have that I don’t have? What can I do?

And there was just no answer to any of these question that I could understand and comprehend. Especially since I had always done everything to ensure that my husband was fine, that he was comfortable, and everything was going well on the business side. I fully and entirely supported him in every way I could.

‘What did I do wrong?’

Excuses for betrayal are aplenty, but it is often due to an inner loneliness

Let’s get back to the questions. What makes a 68-year-old man suddenly leave his wife? When asked he said he felt lonely even though we worked, lived and did a lot together. I didn’t understand that at the beginning. Only later did I realize that the loneliness was in him and that it can only be filled from outside for a short time. But not in the long run.

You can only fill this feeling in yourself. The new woman took away the feeling of loneliness from the outside by being very aggressive and always telling him that he was the best, that she loved him forever and couldn’t stay a moment without him. These were all empty image boy girl promises (the man was incapable of having sex)

A relationship should be on an equal footing and not one where only one gives and the other one takes.

What did I do wrong? No longer just giving.

Otherwise? I don’t know.

What does she have that I don’t have? She is 10 years younger? Blond? She tells him what he wants to hear? Supposedly promise him a new, exciting life?

What can I do? Nothing.

And this was the hardest part.

I couldn’t do anything. Just watch how he behaved more and more like a teenager every day who wears pink glasses and only sees himself and his world.

Not sleeping for so many nights, crying for so many days, and constantly asking questions to which there was no answer. What hurt me the most was that the two people most important in my life had lied to me in my face and betrayed me. For me, this was a very bad, physically noticeable disappointment and injury.

What gave me support internally was that it knew: I can do it.

The disappointment and the feeling of being worthless got better with time.

And this knowledge gave me a foundation. Even if it was still relatively thin. But it didn’t completely drop me to the bottom. There were also moments and thoughts when I suddenly wanted to flee from the whole situation and end it. But my will to survive won.

‘This situation is not worth it’

And now there is a very decisive factor. I had wonderful friends by my side. No matter, how many times I called and told them the story or my condition again and again. No matter, how often I only cried desperately on the phone or in person. No matter how many times I was angry. They were always there for me. I realised, who my real friends are and who only calls themselves friends.

Love and marriage both call for hard work

Without these people – I later invited almost all of them and thanked them from the bottom of my heart and told them that they are my true family of hearts – without these people, I would not have overcome this situation so well. It was them, who kept trying to answer my questions. I wanted to understand and have an explanation. They were the ones who gave me advice and action and kept me sane and alive. And it was them who strengthened the foundation more and more.

After my husband had physically left the house, I slowly started making our once mutual home to become mine. I repainted the bedroom, moved the furniture and designed it the way I want it so that I feel comfortable. Just me.

I no longer had to be considerate or ask anyone. Another new experience.

What do I want after all? What do I need so that I am fine and feel good?

The focus was no longer on him, but it was changing my focus onto me.

A very important step. Now I became important.

My mind, my thoughts, my heart and my emotions filled my home.

During a walk I saw a picture in me that clearly showed me in my current situation

I saw a big hole in the ground like a well and I tried to climb out. The upper body was already outside and I’m leaning on the edge of the fountain. But the legs were still down in the shaft. I saw the sky, the surroundings, but I couldn’t quite get out of the hole. In between the arms buckled again and again because of the exertion, but I no longer fell deep into the shaft. Later I tried to raise my legs, first one, above the rank so that I could pull myself out properly. Then the second. It worked. What an effort. I lay completely weak next to the hole and was so happy that I had made it.

The effort has paid off.

It’s the little steps, the little good moments that made me go on.

Always knowing that I can do it.

I chose the way to go through the unknown door without knowing what is behind it. And I have found that there is a new one behind it, my new life.

Some challenges have remained the same, but many are new and exciting. I got to know myself better, my weaknesses and strengths, I saw my real friends and now I know better what I want and what I do not want or do not want anymore.

The sun is shining outside, I can already see the first sailing boats on the water and it is slowly getting warmer. Spring is coming.

Everything wakes up from hibernation and starts to live again.

What more do we want?

A very dear friend of mine told me that if chocolate melts you keep it in the fridge, it is still chocolate but not like before.

The winner takes it all
I don’t want to talk
About the things we’ve gone through
Though it’s hurting me
Now it’s history
I’ve played all my cards
And that’s what you’ve done too
Nothing more to say
No more ace to play
The winner takes it all
The loser standing small
Beside the victory
That’s her destiny

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Lessons from Africa for the Lockdown Thu, 14 May 2020 11:03:34 +0000 What do wildebeest, zebras, gazelles and the lockdown have in common? Text and Pictures by Urvi Piramal                  Wildebeest, zebras and gazelles wander in a loop through …

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What do wildebeest, zebras, gazelles and the lockdown have in common? Text and Pictures by Urvi Piramal



Wildebeest, zebras and gazelles wander in a loop through the plains of the Serengeti and the Masai Mara, following the seasonal rains in search of green pastures even though that involves passing through dangerous territory.

Like them and unlike them, in times of this lockdown, when the body cannot move out, my mind wanders.

I find mine going, more often than not, to Africa: not to the majestic lion,(photo 1) nor the elusive leopard; not even to the fierce and sometimes fearsome elephants, rhinos and wild buffaloes(photo 4) but to one of the less famous and perhaps even less inspiring animals – the delicate and dainty fawn-coloured gazelle, and the wildebeest. On one of my numerous trips to Tanzania in March, I was witness to one of nature’s most beautiful spectacles: the birth of a wild animal, a little gazelle in the Serengeti. This is where the wildebeest, zebras and gazelles give birth as they wander in search of green grass.

Unlike antelopes, which prefer to give birth in private, gazelles are comfortable bringing their babies into this world in front of their entire herd. I watched in wonder as the mama rolled over in the grass and a gray, gassy, balloon-like shadow substance slithered out of her. She didn’t seem particularly uncomfortable though she grunted a little.

It took a little while for this slimy mass to completely emerge from her, and within seconds, a darker-hued baby was distinguishable from the opaque substance. The baby, very unsteady on his feet,(photo 5) lolled around with the umbilical cord still dangling loosely from him. Just at that moment, from the corner of my eye, I noticed two jackals: no doubt hungry, no doubt ready, no doubt eager to pounce at what was for them an undoubtedly required meal.

But the mother had seen them before I did and she stood up from where she had been lying in the grass and urgently nuzzled her baby – prompting him, pleading with him, firing him – to stay down. Down! It was a matter of life or death. The baby understood and stayed low, hiding in the long blades of grass. Once assured that her baby had understood the urgency, the mama butted his body reassuringly before turning with all her wrath on the two jackals.

They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but I beg to differ.

Hell hath no fury like a mama gazelle, one of the gentlest of animals, who knows her baby could be lunch to two hungry jackals: with a fury completely unexpected from her until now docile demeanour, she turned wildly upon the jackals – sending them helter-skelter. She actually chased them round our jeep a few times before packing them off – her baby left unharmed.

During yet another trip – this time to the Masai Mara in August, I was witness to the great annual migration. A multitude of more than two million animals strong – wildebeest, zebras and gazelles (photo 14) – move as one across the northern Serengeti plains to cross the Mara River in search (literally) for greener pastures. Wildebeest, the large, brown, scraggy and rather ugly animals that live in herds, eat grass, and belong to the cattle family, comprised the bulk of this army.

Keenly, we watched from the jeep, as the wildebeest thronged eagerly on the banks of that great river. (photo 15) The urgency was unmistakable – on the other side of the river lay fresh green grass, a better life, the promised future.

And yet, not one wildebeest took a step into that gushing river.

I didn’t blame them – the water was teeming with crocodiles – smooth and cunning under the waves, waiting with their nefarious crooked teeth to kill, to slaughter, to eat any hapless animals who lost their footing, were too young, showed any weakness. Such is life.

Finally, as the urgency grew and the wildebeest could handle it no longer, the leader stepped forth. I have never thought of the wildebeest as a beautiful animal until that time. Tall, dark and handsome he stood, aware of the dangers that lay below him but mindful of his duty to take his herd to a brighter future.

Even the young were silent as he carefully trod into the river.(photo 16) With measured steps, he slowly edged into the water, going deeper and further each second. I watched with bated breath as he made his way mid-way and then further, stronger, until he reached the other end.


And that was the signal the herd was waiting for. Upon the success of their leader, they gained strength and like a team, like a huge black army , they began their course across the mighty river. Many failed, many lost lives.(photo 18) But their strength and conviction has stayed with me these many years.

The crossing of the river symbolises to me where we are now in our lives: in the face of the might of the fearful Covid-19, we are cowering on one side of the bank. At 60+ we have had to adapt to a complete and utter lockdown, many of us away from our families and loved ones. We have had to adapt to a life of Zoom calls and Netflix. May we ease into this new life with grace, as easily as the baby gazelle understood what she needs to do in order to survive. And may we, during this difficult time, have the strength of a sturdy wildebeest, to be able to take each day a step at a time, always going forward, with hope and courage, to a better future.

Take Care and Stay Safe.

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Is it right for conditions on travel tickets for senior citizens? Thu, 14 May 2020 11:01:57 +0000 Are airlines and railways justified in placing conditions on concessional tickets for senior citizens? Sonavi Kher Desai cites a case study In India, some airlines have been offering tickets to …

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Are airlines and railways justified in placing conditions on concessional tickets for senior citizens? Sonavi Kher Desai cites a case study

In India, some airlines have been offering tickets to senior citizens at concessional rates. In 2004, a senior citizen petitioned the Rajasthan High Court complaining that the following conditions were attached to the concessions offered, which nullified the concessions: The senior citizen (i) had to apply 7 days in advance of the journey; and (ii) was required to stay a minimum of two days at the outgoing destination to be eligible for the concessional return ticket.

The matter was taken up as a PIL by a Division Bench of the High Court and notice was issued to the said airline and also to Indian Railways which offers concession to senior citizens, and the Government, although no relief had been claimed against the latter two. The Division Bench found that the conditions imposed were unreasonable and directed the airlines not to insist on the two conditions. The Bench opined that the conditions placed by the railways with regard to the purchase of concessional tickets at the railway station alone and restrictions on a change of the class of ticket or extension of journey etc. were unjustified.

The Government filed an appeal against this order in the Supreme Court. Their lawyers argued that the judgement of the High Court proceeded on a completely fallacious basis as the concession was offered with certain conditions and it was not for the court to interfere and decide what was more appropriate with regard to these matters. They pointed out that policy matters were matters of administrative law and could not be a cause for interference by the court unless they could be said to be totally arbitrary or violative of some statute or law and as the concessions given were on the basis of the guidelines issued by the airlines, there was absolutely no justification for the court’s to interfere in the matter.

There may be a catch in that discounted flight, so read the terms and conditions carefully
There may be a catch in that discounted flight, so read the terms and conditions carefully

The lawyers for the senior citizen argued that it was unfair that a concession granted with one hand was being taken away by the other and that it was a duty of all citizens of this country to ensure a comfortable and happy life to its senior citizens. Hence, they said, there was no error in the order of the High Court.

After hearing the arguments, the Supreme Court opined that a concession granted by a carrier is a concession only, and no person is entitled to insist that the concession should be with conditions determined by that person. Once it is held that no beneficiary of a concession has a right to insist on a particular condition or conditions, the very basis for the judgement of the High Court disappears. “It appears that the court proceeded only on the basis of its subjective satisfaction to arrive at the conclusion that the conditions were not to the benefit of senior citizens ignoring the basis nature of a concession given on the basis of administrative policy and ignoring the effect that they could have on the concessionaires.”

Relying on earlier judgement, the Supreme Court held that it is not for the Court to interfere in matter of policy as that is a decision for the administrators on an examination of the various facets before them and the inputs they receive from various sources.

The Court allowed the appeal and concluded: “The very basis of this judgement is that a decision to grant a certain concession or a certain benefit and the conditions for their grant are a matter for the administrators alone and the court should not interfere in the matter on the premise that it was of the opinion that some of the conditions imposed were not justified. A concession based on an administrative decision de hors a statute as in this case stands on a yet weaker footing.”


In the 2004 case filed by a senior citizen, the airline and Indian Railways were issued notices
In the 2004 case filed by a senior citizen, the airline and Indian Railways were issued notices

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Artificial Intelligence: The Modern-Day Genie Thu, 14 May 2020 10:59:56 +0000  Artificial Intelligence is almost everywhere in our lives, and is set to amplify the digital world, writes Sandeep Suri Digitisation is challenging the way we live, and Artificial intelligence (AI) …

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 Artificial Intelligence is almost everywhere in our lives, and is set to amplify the digital world, writes Sandeep Suri

Digitisation is challenging the way we live, and Artificial intelligence (AI) in particular will soon change how we conduct our daily lives. These changes create conveniences, and ways of problem-solving that were never possible before. Artificial Intelligence is one of the most researched topics currently and adopted by corporates to gain an edge over the competition. So much so that sometimes I feel the term is being ‘overused’. Let’s begin deciphering the concept of AI…

AI, for lack of a better term, is a modern-day ’genie’. It is about ‘building’ machines that could ‘think’. It (AI) is being used almost everywhere today, from your smartphones to your cars to your home to your banking establishments; it seems to have endless opportunities! From Siri to autonomous vehicles, AI is progressing rapidly. Science fictions often portray AI as human-like characters; the fact is that AI can help you, from Google search algorithms to more sophisticated autonomous weapons. It is arguably the next digital frontier.

Behaving like a human

To simplify and understand AI little more closely – it’s the ability of machines to behave like a human in terms of thinking, acting and decision-making! It is about studying how the human brain acts, and learning its pattern while trying to solve a challenge, and then using the outcomes of this study as a basis of developing intelligent software and systems. Humans can do almost everything, but computers can do the same at an exceptional speed and with greater accuracy. Computers are not only good at calculating, storing and sorting through data but also mining relevant information among a lot of data marts is a task these machines can conduct without much difficulty. Computers have become ubiquitous and have transformed our world.

With concepts like the smart city and the internet of things, AI is already impacting life in many ways

However, there are quite a few things that computers can’t handle—a lot of issues that need decisions, complex thinking, or intelligence that computers struggle. You do not have to instruct AI about an action. Instead, you have to give a lot of examples of right and wrong, and the technology is capable of learning from it, just like humans.

Better accuracy

Once AI learns how to solve a problem, it can solve it much faster, again and again with better accuracy levels. Say, for example, it can recognize the voice, find what is in a picture, diagnose a disease, detect fraud and so on. Virtual assistants like Alexa, Google Home, Smartphones, Speech recognition are some examples of how we are engaging with AI every day. Around the globe, companies are beginning to leverage AI to meet customer demands and expectations better.

AI achieves these tasks much faster and cheaper than humans. It is the ability of AI that tasks these machines to perform a cognitive function like human minds say reasoning, learning and so on. These ‘narrow’ AIs can easily perform a range of tasks- the direction in GPS, Amazon recommendations, autonomous cars, and non-intrusive surgeries are just a few examples.

It is the data processing/computing power that is making AI so popular. With increasing computing power, data proliferation is what is propelling AI from hype to reality. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming more profound in our day to day living. As companies seek to augment the productivity of their labor force with AI technologies and automate some tasks, productivity is bound to gain multi-folds in the short and long term.

Voice-driven search is already taken for granted by many smartphone users
Exploiting the potential

The rapid increase in the usage of Artificial Intelligence techniques is one of the defining moments for business leaders today. Along with it, closely associated is the challenge of creating an organisation that can rise to the occasion and exploit the potential of AI at scale. Artificial Intelligence is poised to revolutionise all facets of our lives- unparalleled customer service enhanced productivity and scaled up operations are some clear benefits of AI. It is an excellent substitute for the tasks that are repetitive and mundane in nature; this allows the employees to shift their focus to more strategic and value-added activities.

As of now, AI technology is benign, but it has started to explode and has huge potential to grow. It requires distilling intelligence into an algorithmic construct that will be comparable to the human brain, and make this technology more profound. Once we walk through this door, there is a reasonably good chance we won’t be able to come back. By the looks of it, AI is gradually going to amplify our world in the years to come.

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Links to Covid-19 articles on Thu, 14 May 2020 10:56:32 +0000 Links to recent stories about Covid-19 that you can find on our website   1. 5 Food Tips for the Lockdown How to minimise food wastage and store your supplies …

The post Links to Covid-19 articles on appeared first on Seniors Today.


Links to recent stories about Covid-19 that you can find on our website


1. 5 Food Tips for the Lockdown

How to minimise food wastage and store your supplies smartly


2. How Safe is Growing a Beard in the Lock-down?

Maintaining beard hygiene will prevent your beard from being a host to Covid-19 germs


3. Think like Buddha to help regain focus and calm the mind about Covid-19

Adapting Buddha’s practice will help bring peace to the mind during this pandemic


4. Keep Active, Be Happier

Exercise regularly to beat the pandemic stress


5. Boost Your Immune System

Eating right will help strengthen your immune system and fight any virus


6. Will the Indian Consumer Change, Post Covid-19?

Covid-19 has set Indians to become more self-sufficient than ever


7. The Happiness of Dusk

Age is just a number, embrace yourself and start where you are


8. Is Covid-19 Natures Revenge?

Nature has its ways of teaching a lesson, learn from it.


9. Don’t rely on hearsay. Common Cold doesn’t equal Covid-19

WhatsApp forwards can be more dangerous than any virus


10. Advisory issued by the Government for the protection of Senior Citizens

Dos and Don’ts from the officials


11. Given Covid-19, what you should do if are feeling unwell

Isolate and take better care of yourself


12. Where is the world economy headed, given Covid-19?

Know about the expected economic outcome over the next few years

Beards, Boredom and Blood Pressure 2

13. How to manage your blood pressure in isolation

Accurately measure and manage your blood pressure at home


14. Laughter can Connect and Heal

Laughter is indeed the best medicine

15. Boredom may well be good for you and your family

Boosts creativity and train the mind to concentrate efficiently


16. As the Lockdown eases, how do you deal with your house help returning to work?

Be kind and show empathy


17. Diabetes in the time of Coronavirus

Managing diabetes right away will help reduce the chances of complications, if a diabetic gets infected with the virus


18. How to Navigate Relationship Distancing

Make space for each other and spend time together

19. Can wearing a mask for long hours affect your health?

Take a breather from wearing the mask every now and then

20. 10 Reasons Why You must not Panic about Covid-19

Being optimistic and taking strict precautions will help us get through this



COVID-19 Coverage by Seniors Today


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10 Cool Summer Foods Thu, 14 May 2020 10:56:10 +0000 Nutritionist Manisha Mehta recommends how to eat right without worrying about the heat Summer is all about vibrant colours, airy clothing, wearing cool shades, keeping it light and most essentially …

The post 10 Cool Summer Foods appeared first on Seniors Today.


Nutritionist Manisha Mehta recommends how to eat right without worrying about the heat

Summer is all about vibrant colours, airy clothing, wearing cool shades, keeping it light and most essentially keeping yourself hydrated. The scorching heat and the blinding sun can make you feel drained out if you are not hydrated enough.

Here are the top 10 summer foods to keep yourself well hydrated the cool way.

Watermelon – The exceptionally refreshing, sweet, vibrant-looking and nutrient-packed fruit for the summer. It is low in calories and fibre but high in nutrients and water content. Its health benefits include hydration, lowers blood pressure, improves insulin sensitivity and aids muscle soreness. Watermelons are super fun and versatile – eat them fresh or make a slushy.

Coconut water – The trendy cool summer agent with replenishing and electrolyte effect. The sweet water from the green coconut is a good source of fibre, antioxidants, Vitamin C and several other nutrients. Health benefits include: improved blood sugar, preventing kidney stones, lowering cholesterol and keeping blood pressure in check. You can swap coconut water for plain water and enjoy some coconut lemonade on a sunny afternoon.

Aam panna – The tangy sweet Indian summer cold drink. A perfect summer cooler made with raw mangoes. Its rich in fibre, carbohydrates, Vitamins – A, B1, B2, C, minerals – calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and sodium and essential nutrients. Among its health benefits, it hydrates, improves digestion, helps fight depression, prevents dry eyes and can prevent cancer. Although keep in mind excessive aam panna may raise your sugar levels and blood pressure. So, savour just a glass of aam panna.

Tomato – Juicy sweet ripe tomatoes not only make your dish delicious but are also extremely nutritious. A great source of Vitamin C, potassium and antioxidant. Cooked tomatoes contain higher antioxidants than fresh. Health benefits of tomatoes include reduced risk of heart conditions, lower cancer risk, keeping blood pressure in control, improving blood sugar and insulin levels, eye health and skin. How about some gazpacho?

Spinach – The nutritious greens protect your skin from sun damage. Consuming raw leaves in summer will provide you with the most nutrients. Spinach is low in carbs and high in fibre that provides better digestion. However, if you have kidney stones it is best to avoid spinach as it may have adverse effects. Toss a bowl of spinach salad as a healthy refreshing snack.


Zucchini – The refreshing summer veggie to keep you light. It is packed with variety of vitamins and antioxidants. Cooked zucchini is high in Vitamin A as opposed to uncooked. It aids heart health, reduces blood sugar levels and strengthens vision. Zucchini benefits bones, thyroid and prostate health. A versatile veggie to add to your salad, pasta or sandwiches or you may toss it in some olive oil.

Orange – All you need is a glass of OJ (orange juice) in the morning to keep you hydrated during the sweatiest summer days. A great source of Vitamin C and has a lot of alkaline minerals. It is good for immunity, prevents skin damage, lowers cholesterol, regulates blood sugar and is good for your gut. Orange segments dipped in dark chocolate make an amazing summer dessert.

Yogurt – A probiotic dose to keep your gut happy. Yogurt is cooling, protein-packed and contains every nutrient needed by your body. It is high in calcium, vitamins and minerals. It helps reduce bloating and constipation, reduces risk of osteoporosis and promotes good cholesterol. Some cucumber mint raita for lunch would be a good idea.

Cucumber – The cool and crunchy cucumber is a refreshing relief from hot weather. Cucumbers are low in calories and high in nutrients. Eating cucumber with the peel provides the most amount of nutrients. It aids digestion and promotes hydration.  Cucumber-infused water will add freshness to your day.

Basil – Add some flavour to summer with this fresh herb. Fresh basil in summer is robust in flavour due to the hot temperature. It is a very good source of potassium, copper, Vitamin A and C. It also contains calcium, iron, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. Basil can combat depression, reduce blood pressure and increase mental alertness. This summer cooler is a great herb to detox your mind and body. Let’s make some pesto!

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