Nourishing Neem

It is impossible to pass an unworshipped neem tree, especially in rural India. Neem tree, also famously known as sarva roga nivarini, has proven to be a sure panacea for many physical problems. Here are the many benefits of neem:

Chewing a couple of tender neem leaves can deworm your stomach, help you recuperate from jaundice, and also help in regulating blood sugar. It can also treat mouth ulcers, bleeding sore gums, and can prevent tooth decay.

Regular intake of neem leaves after meals regulates your digestive system, and can also get rid of psoriasis.

Consuming tender neem sprouts or capsules for a fortnight to a month can detoxify the body and strengthen the immune system. A healthier immune system helps your body in fighting off many illness and diseases.

When a paste made of neem leaves mixed with coconut oil and turmeric powder is applied to the face and washed off after an hour, it can leave it glowing.

Regular consumption of tender neem leaves can help you deal with fever, cough, aches and pains, sore throat, fatigue and nasal congestion.

Make your own insecticide by making little cloth bags of dried neem leaves and leave it in your provisions, clothes cupboards and bookshelves.

Bacterial infections in the nasal passages and respiratory system can be decreased by inhaling steam from boiling the leaves with a drop of eucalyptus oil.

This neem tree was outside our home.

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Equal Play and Work is the Name of the Game

A recent suggestion from the Union ministry says that the syllabi of school students must be cut down so that they can concentrate on the sports scene. (PTI File Photo. For representation purpose)

“Why can’t India, a country of two billion people, produce at least a few gold medallists at the Olympics?” is the most frequently asked question in the world of sports. A recent suggestion from the Union ministry says that the syllabi of school stu…

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Determinaton Vs Obstinacy

Many a time people want to achieve their goal by hook or crook. Their very attitude is proof of the fact that they are not in a position to distinguish between determination and obstinacy.

When a person refuses to weigh the pros and cons of a situation and pursues his ambition blindly, he is not only likely to harm the people around him but will wreak havoc on himself both physically and mentally.

An episode from the Mahabharata unfolds the unfortunate repercussions of tenacity. Ashwaththama, the best friend of Duryodhana had promised his dying friend that he would ensure the annihilation of the Pandava family at all costs. He manipulated the death of the Pandavas and ended up killing the five sons of Draupadi. In hindsight, he realised that his mission would be completed if he managed to abort the foetus if princess Uttara who was carrying the posthumous child of Abhimanyu. That way he could effectively put a full stop on the continuance of the Pandava clan. Accordingly, he went to the princess and aimed a potent blade of Darbha grass at her womb. The petrified Uttara ran away in panic. When Ashwaththama chased the pregnant princess, he was intercepted by none other than Lord Krishna.

Krishna understood that the son of Drona was not in a position to distinguish the right from wrong, and there was simply no way he would tarry to listen to the Yadava king. It was then Krishna looked at the gem signifying human intelligence studded on the forehead of the Brahmin. He hastened to pluck it out and prevented the perpetration of foeticide. The mindless Ashwaththama could not focus on his evil undertaking. Thus, Krishna rescued the unborn baby. He ensured that the last scion of the Pandava family – Parikshit- the one who was tested arrived safely on planet earth.

When one examines Ashwaththama’s behaviour, it is not difficult to see that he was being faithful to his friend and true to his promise although his bosom pal was dead. All the same, it is apparent that he lost sight of human propriety in his zeal to redeem his promise. Had he realised that the means is as important as the end he could have spared himself of the ignominy?

Smart Pools- An Upcoming Trend

Urban India is being riddled with lifestyle diseases. Doctors vouch for the fact that this problem can be contained to a large extent if people get to exercise enough. People who have the time have many options to burn those extra calories, but the ones with time limitation will do well to swim for at least twenty minutes three or four times a week for a complete workout.

If one does choose to swim, the tall task of finding a pool in the vicinity of one’s residence can prove to be the next challenge. If you are lucky enough to have one nearby, then the availability and cleanliness factors of the pool can prove to be bothersome.

It is perhaps keeping these factors in mind, that engineers have come up with the concept a Smart Pool, which is compact, can be personal, needs very little maintenance and serves the purpose all the same. Initially, Smart Pools were designed to be fitted out into the penthouses on skyscrapers, cruise ships and caravans to cater to the needs of the super rich. However constant redesigning and addition of attractive and practical features have made builders and even owners of villas consider introducing a Smart Pool in their premises.

The concept

For those of you who are wondering what a Smart Pool is all about, it is a modestly sized swimming pool, mostly linear. which operates on electricity. It can be fitted indoors or outdoors. Smart Pools can be installed above the ground like a giant bath tub or within ground like a regular pool. It can be fitted in your basement, roof top or even in a room.

It is a place where you can swim against an adjustable water current of your choice. The pool can give you the variations in depth, breadth, smooth and harsh waters, according to your requirements. In other words, you can set the tone of the kind of water that you need to swim in, by operating it on the lines of your washing machine.

The features of Smart Pools can be compared with that of a conventional pool. The water can be filtered, heated and chlorinated automatically as and when you want. If you want to give your Smart Pool a touch of class and optimum utility, then it can be fitted with underwater lights and Jacuzzi jets.

If you want to give your Smart pool the conventional look, then, go in for sitting benches which can be fitted within the water to help you soak up or to attend to your therapeutic needs. These very benches can also used outside or around the pool.


One of the interesting and useful accessories of a Smart Pool happens to be the insulated pool cover. This large pool lid can serve multiple purposes such as retaining the heat of the water; preventing dust and dirt from falling into the water between uses and keeping the empty pool clean and dry when not in use.

This variety of pool has been quite popular among the rich across the globe. Of late, the practical and medical utility of these pools have made spas, old age homes, hospitals, physiotherapy centres and even apartment complexes consider such pools fitted out in their premises.

These pools can double up as hydrotherapy aids and rehabilitation pools to soothe the nerves and give relief to aching bones and muscles by just soaking up in them at the prescribed temperature. It is possible to add bath salts, oils and fragrances just like one uses teabags to infuse the essential ingredients as and when necessary.

High-end Smart Pools also known as fitness pools fitted in body building studios have in-built underwater treadmills and resistance therapy jets which can increase the stamina of the user. Its manageable size and optimum utility has the ability to make even sport complexes of a moderate size and school and college campuses
consider having one in their premises.

Of late, quite a few Indian entrepreneurs have been working on the production of these pools and its attendant accessories. Even as more and more people start considering this novel facility, there will be an increase in demand for the pools.

Since in-house manufacturing is likely to bring down the price all the while offering more options, Smart Pools will prove to be the apt way out especially when negotiating with space constraints.

Outsourcing is the Word

Everything we ever want is available to us just at a click of a button, well almost everything. The things that cannot be achieved directly by technology can be outsourced for a price tag.

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Where Is the Time to Play?

Although almost all schools boast of a PT period in the timetable, there is little or no physical training happening at many places. And qualified PT teachers are forced to spend their time acting as substitute teachers and office assistants to invigilators and discipline enforcers apart from doing their regular job.
A casual look around you will reveal that youngsters even in their early teens have a plethora of ailments which were hitherto unknown or rare in the earlier generations. Doctors have put down the causes of these disorders to a predominantly sedentary way of life. Apparently the root cause of the health setbacks can be routed to their childhood which is mostly spent in school. Considering the fact that children studying in schools run by the government and private bodies are expected to spend at least ten per cent of the total time they spend in school in some physical activity the (ill) health scenario appears to be an anomaly.
A stopover at some of the schools revealed that more than sixty per cent of the schools do not have an open ground in their premises. Some schools have rented out some public parks or vacant sites within a reasonable distance from their schools to conduct their physical training and sports activities while some enterprising schools conduct these activities on their terrace itself.
Despite the space constraint all the schools have trained PT teachers who have completed their C Ped or B Ped courses. The school timetable allocates anywhere between two to three periods of class hours for physical activities. The students are directed to wear a specially designed sports uniform and canvas shoes on certain specified days of the week to comply with the comfort and decorum of sports. Most schools have at least the very basic equipment in their sports kitty suitable for both indoor and outdoor games. Though the scene appears to be picture perfect, a sojourn around the schools presented a rather dismal picture barring some schools which have a spectacular sports achievement record.
A talk with several PT teachers of the schools revealed that the time allotment was merely there on paper while in reality students spent less than fifty per cent of the prescribed time in outdoor activities. When the matter was discussed with the management and school authorities they transferred the blame squarely on the weight of the syllabus which is presently topped with the trimester system which does not give them even breathing space between the academic sessions. This rush for time invariably pushes them into finding the extra time for completing the portions by taking over the time fixed for games. As a result school going children spend anywhere between six to seven hours of their day at school working away at their desks most of the time except during the breaks. The new age education system and technological advancement have supplemented the lives of young children with a variety of activities which keep them on their toes but do not really involve any physical exertion on their parts.
This information sounded very disturbing as it is a well known fact that the education system of India has incorporated several co-curricular and extra-curricular activities in its courses.
The PT teachers find their roles very hazy and undefined on the work scene. Though they have been appointed specially for the purpose of training the children physically to help them acquire “a sound mind in a sound body”, most of them find that it is just one aspect of their job. Many teachers confided under conditions of strict anonymity that they found their posts rather disgusting and sometimes suffocating since they are told to help out with just about every activity in school. Most teachers are roped into the academic stream and are expected to double up as substitute teachers for the regular subject teachers who may be on leave besides doing a lot of office work. PT teachers invigilate during exams, collect fines, maintain order and cleanliness in school premises, fill mark sheets, update information on computers, and attend to bank and post office work besides doing the job they have been appointed to do. Since most PT teachers are men they take care of the discipline in the school (read as beating the children when directed to do so) during assemblies, functions, at cycle stands, canteen and wherever else their service is required.
In fact PT teachers simply do not enjoy being sidelined for they feel that they are not allowed to function in the roles they have been appointed for. Nevertheless they carry out the tasks assigned to them out of a sense of duty because they are getting paid in any case.
Some teachers are busy stepping up their educational qualifications in search of fresher pastures.
Those who are rather passionate about sports find that their first love has started festering because of an obvious lack of interest both by the school authorities and also the students. Each sports teacher had a thick file of medical certificates submitted by students at various times which prescribed them to stay away from any physical activity for at least a week or fortnight. Despite all the impediments many schools have been able to identify sportsmen and coach them to showcase the talents of some of their students who have shown their sterling qualities at the district, state and national levels. Evidently not everyone can excel as a sportsperson but if schools make up their minds not to touch the timings kept aside for sports for any reason whatsoever, eventually we can emerge as a healthier nation. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and probably Jill a dull girl too…