Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wanna keep looking young? Eat Amla!

Here is another wonderful fruit from India again :) This time, it was Mary who introduced me to this new fruit called Amla. She told me she used to eat them all the time at school but had completely forgotten about them until she recently read an article about Amla's wonderful medical power.

Amla is rich in vitamin C and also contains tannin like in green tea and wine. It is typically eaten after being marinated in salt or honey. I ate one raw, but it was just too bitter to eat and I decide to dip it in a lemon/salt mixture. But as the old proverb says, good medicine is bitter in the mouth.

According to this article, Amla can be pickled with salt, oil, and spices, and also used as a primary ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine. It normalizes body function, balances the neuroendocrine system, and improves immunity.

It is almost like an anti-aging drug (youth in both physical and mental health). The efficacy of this fruit varies. The same article above mentioned that it works for the following (I sort of liked "sensation like a wet blanket covering the chest" - hmmmm I wonder what it is like):

"vitiligo, abdominal tumors, flatulence, dropsical swellings (edema), chlorosis, alcoholism, piles, ailments of the grahani (duodenum), chronic intermittent fever, diseases of the chest, diseases of the head, diarrhea, disgust for food, cough, gonorrhea, epistasis, enlargement of the spleen, abdominal dropsy when new, discharge of phlegm matter, hoarseness of the voice, discoloration or loss of complexion, anemia, intestinal worms, waste of dhatus (main body components), some forms of asthma, vomiting, loss of virility, weakness of the limbs, blockage of ducts of various kinds, sensation like a wet blanket covering the chest, a similar sensation in the heart, and dullness of the memory and understanding."

Anyway, Mary and I started to do our own marinating (in honey). You can also buy pickled ones in a jar, and I heard there are dried ones, too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

phobidden fruit in Indiranagar

Food: ★★★★☆
Service: ★★★★☆
Ambience: ★★★★
This restaurant, which looked like a little hide-away, was highly recommended by my friend, and finally we had a chance to go there. The restaurant is a bit difficult to find as the entrance is small, but it is on 12th Main west of 100 Ft Rd. Close to Yamaha store.
Phobiddenfruit-3We went there for lunch on Sunday, and the place was pretty relaxed. Ambience was great. A palm tree going through the roof was somewhat amuzing and nice (in the sense that they kept the tree rather than cutting it down just to build the restaurant).
One thing we missed so much in LA is Pho. For those of you who are not familiar with Vietnamees food, pho is noodles in broth. Really yummy. And, there it was on the menu!  The pho was great and a dish of crispy spring rolls was also fabulous.
Highly recommended!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fish bone stuck in your throat?

So... I had a fish bone stuck in my throat for nearly a week, and it got so bad that I finally decided to go see a doctor (yep, I am not so fond of hospitals). First, I tried a doc near our house that my great neighbor Leela introduced me to. The doc was professional yet old and didn't have any kind of new-and-high-tech-looking devices in his small office. He looked into my throat with his antique-looking head scope (and with his reading glasses on??) but couldn't find anything, so he recommended I go to a bigger hospital. Yes, yes, so off I went to Manipal Hospital near the old airport.

The hospital was packed with people as usual. But something was so different from the typical hospital ambiance. You know how hospitals are usually white, white, and white with blue or green clothed workers and occasionally colored clothed visitors. The minute I stepped in, all kinds of color came into my vision. Bright! Lots of bright saris all over the place. That somewhat added warmth to the typically cold feeling of hospitals that I hate.

Since this was my first time there, I had to go through registration. It was pretty organized, to my surprise. An old man (probably a retired volunteer?) was at the main reception area and guided me how to do the registration. I filled out a piece of paper with my name, address, passport #, etc, and went back to the reception desk where three ladies were behind the counter typing in what the people filled out in their registration forms. On the counter, there was a monitor facing towards the patient, so they can check what the lady behind the counter is typing. This is good, as you can catch any errors she may be making, such as in my case when she typed "India" as my birth place. So I immediately raised a red flag and said "no, no, do I look Indian?"  She looked up only with her eyes, smiled, nodded, and immediately fixed the entry. Efficient!

The old man told me that the ENT is on the 1st floor (meaning 2nd floor in the US) and that I need to register there again.  He was very helpful. The ENT section was also crowded. I had called earlier to make an appointment, so they were expecting me. I got there 15 mins earlier than my appointment, so they told me to just wait. I waited for an hour (45 mins or so past my appointment) and finally my name-like name was called. They called me differently, but I figured such a weird name had to be mine :-)

Guessing from his height (tall!), the doctor might have been from the north. He had something comical about him. He wore a friendly smile somewhere on his face (couldn't really pin down which part of his face) all the time. When I explained what I think might have happened and told him that the other OLD doctor couldn't find a bone, he giggled and told me "let's see if this younger doctor could find it".  Everyone laughed. However, he could not find it, either. So, he decided to go with the endoscope. Ouch! That was the one thing I had hoped to avoid, as I've had one before in the US and it was really uncomfortable. Yet I was so eager to get rid of the bone that I went for it of course.

One of the nurses took me to another room that had some spiffy looking new devices and equipment which calmed me down somehow (yes, strange certain objects can calm people down) and started to numb my nostrils and throat. After waiting for 15 mins, my throat was still sore (I also had some cold...), I asked for more numbing spray (yep... call me a weakling). After waiting for another 10 mins, the same doctor came and started to put an endoscope into my throat through my nose. It tickled but didn't hurt like last time. Okay, this isn't bad. I could still feel the endoscope going up and down and knew he found something when I heard the sucking sound. It took less than 3 mins. I got up, and there they were - four pictures of my throat on the monitor in front of me. One of the eight nurses tightly squeezed into the room to watch the doctor's fabulous work explained to me in detail what the four pictures were and how they could see a small white object next to my esophagus in one picture and how that was removed in the second picture. Indeed, there was something stuck in the corner of my throat, and now it was GONE!

The doc asked me how I felt, but all I could say was that I was numb. Sorry doc! All of them laughed :)  Although my throat is still sore due to my cold probably, I no longer have that strange feeling in my throat. Thank you doc! You were great.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ganesh Chaturthi - Bye bye Ganesh~

I already wrote about this on my Japanese blog, but thought I would share briefly here for my English-speaking friends as well.

Ganesh Chaturthi, which starts on the fourth day of the waxing moon period in late Aug to early Sept, is one of the most important festivals for Hindus. This year, it started on Sep 1. 

Around this time, people buy Ganesh statues made of mud or clay, or, nowadays, of plaster of paris, which is causing an environmental problem, and worship it for up to 10 days. Then typically on the 11th day (this depends on the family tradition and some may do this on the 3rd, 5th, or 7th day), they would take Ganesh to the nearby sea or river to immerse it, so as to let go of all the misfortunes Ganesh gathered during the puja for the family. In the case of Bangalore, which borders no ocean, people immerse their Ganeshes in a closed part of a lake. Our super driver Babu took us there one evening (thank you Babu!). The surrounded area was filled with people immersing Ganeshes and watching other people's Ganeshes being immersed and children oohing and aahing at the sight.

Ganesh statues come in different sizes, with the biggest over 70 feet high. The biggest one we saw was probably 8 feet high that day. Still, it is too big for a human to carry it into the water, so they were using a crane to carry the bigger ones to the middle of the lake, so that the boys can just dump (yep, dump) them into the lake. It was rather funny as the act of dumping Ganesh itself really didn't have a feel of any sort of sacred immersion (do you call that?).

On the other hands, smaller Ganeshes were carefully immersed into the water.

Note from Bob:
On Monday our office had a Ganesh-related pooja that lasted almost an hour. Apparently this kind of thing doesn't bother the Muslims or Christians at all, compared to the havoc that would be caused by, say, having a nativity scene in the lobby of your company in the US, which would result in multimillion dollar lawsuits. I myself participated in the pooja (carried out by the same unassuming priest that did our housewarming pooja), including circularly waving some flaming camphor in front of the idol, who looked quite handsome, not to mention pleased, festooned as he was with garlands of flowers with offerings of bananas and coconuts in front. Tomorrow is the seventh day and as there is some related festivity in the office (where the Ganesh idol remains enshrined for the duration of the celebration), I will be wearing ethnic clothes along with other employees, who look quite smart indeed in their elegant kurtas and saris.