Finding light in the dark

CB Patel Wednesday 25th March 2020 12:57 EDT

Dear Readers, 

The COVID-19 pandemic is very concerning. The outbreak shows no signs of slowing down and has disrupted not just lives, but markets and businesses as well. Amidst all the negativity that surrounds us today, India, under the able leadership and vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave the world a little something to smile about with its proper following of the 'Janta Curfew'. Trust Modi to find a shining light in the darkness. I received multiple reports and videos of citizens clapping and clanging in appreciation of our frontline workers – doctors, nurses, and medical staff. The move was not just followed by the people, but also by Modi's die-hard opponents. Sunday was a prime example of why we all need to stay together in these tough times. I have always said this, and will do so today too. India, and the world needs a visionary leader. Modi showed true leadership by calling a virtual SAARC summit recently. The initiative was recognised by leaders of the G20, some of whom have on record stated that they have a thing or two to learn from Modi.  This is not the world's first pandemic, and will most certainly not be the last. But what is vital right now is to recognise the problem and do our part to curb the onslaught. Days are very critical and of course, one can never be too cautious. However, I would also like to stress on not taking things too far. Follow the norms, but do not let your mind wander into the dark. Stay educated. Stay aware. If you are not careful, the novel coronavirus may radically alter our society, but too much caution will push you towards paranoia. Italy seems to be fighting a war its losing with every single accounted death. Britain took its own sweet time in recognising the gravity of the situation too. As the World Health Organisation (WHO) repeatedly says ; Washing your hands, social distancing, and maintaining hygiene only works if it is paired with intense testing, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment. Only and only if, the government does its part, will the people do theirs. The Boris Johnson-led administration needs to set an example and enforce compliance in the bid. The worst of the lot is without a doubt, America. The biggest power of the world as we know it shows the least seriousness in tackling with the virus. President Donald Trump is a businessman, and that is where his head lies. His idea of promoting fake optimism is visibly disturbing and insulting to actual scientists and doctors working hard to find a solution, and treat patients. As for us mere mortals going about our routine lives, we need to take personal measures and do our part in the society. Work from home if possible. Make sure you don't see the current situation as an opportunity to hold dinner parties and tea parties, and get-togethers. The whole purpose of social distancing does not mean gathering around a bunch of friends. It means to limit exposure, and it begins with you. Spouses working in close quarters of each other all day, make sure you see this as an opportunity. Now is your time to show your love and respect for each other.Ways to make survive to work-from-home with your family:Maintain separate work spaces Manage expectations from each other sensiblyCivility – You are two separate individuals, contain your  contempt and cravings Find what works for the other  Work to keep a positive environ ment as a team  Exercise – Take that steam off Asian corner shopkeepers have years of experience working with each other. I want to tell people to see this as a blessing in disguise. May be this is nature's way of asking us to calm down, take a breath, and enjoy a better quality of life that allows us to work from home, save ourselves some money, and most importantly, give us a considerably less polluted lifestyle. Resort to home ailments, or Dadi manu vaidua, I like to call it. Refrain from pumping your bodies with modern (over the counter) medicines, and instead, just follow those small remedies your grandmother taught you years ago along with your Doctors prescriptions. There is a massive crisis today. Employees are insecure about their jobs, cities are under lockdown, businesses have no way of surviving. Show consideration. Every person you know today, is going through their personal crisis.Some simple nourishing recipesI am guessing you have stocked your kitchens with food essentials. Now is the best time to put you simple cooking skills to test. Dust the dirt off that cookbook you've stored in the back of your pantry and make a family day out of it. Mixed Lentils Curry (Dal) Soak a mix of your favourite lentils for eight hours, then pressure cook them until soft. In a pan, put some cumin seeds, one pinch asafoetida, chopped onions, and ginger-garlic paste. Cook them until translucent. Then add some chopped tomatoes and sprinkle a pinch of salt. Once the tomatoes are soft, add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and some garam masala. Saute until all spices are cooked. Now add the previously cooked lentils in the pan and add some water to balance the consistency. Close the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes. Finally, add some salt as per taste. Veggie Buddha Bowl In a bowl, toss some cooked chickpeas, cooked barley, cooked brown rice, chopped lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cubed cucumbers, some julienne carrots, and sliced avocado. Squeeze some lemon, sprinkle some Himalayan salt, and pepper. Finish off with a drizzle of olive oil. Vegetarian Omelette In a bowl, whisk some chickpea flour, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, dry mango powder, and salt. Now add some water and whisk until it reaches pancake-batter consistency. Make sure to leave no lumps. Add chopped onions, tomatoes, and coriander to the batter. In a non-stick pan, pour some of the batter with a ladle. Flip over once one side is done. Pair it with some green chutney, or ketchup. Cooker Pilaf In a pressure cooker, add some butter, one bay leaf, one inch piece of cinnamon, two cardamom pods, and two cloves. Toss in vegetables of your choice – potatoes, onions, tomatoes, peas, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. Saute them for 2-3 minutes. Now add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and garam masala. Saute until everything is mixed. Now add some soaked rice, mix, then pour in some water. Add salt as per taste and close the cooker. Cook until 3-4 whistles. Release the pressure before opening.KhichadiSimple khichadi with variations of lentils, vegetables could provide a quick nourishing and healthy meal.Exercises to do at homeBe ActiveKeep active dont be a couch potato in front of T.V, in the house, flat or on the varanda, more safely as much as you can.Do one or more of these exercises of which you can do, subject to your health condition.Exercises to do at home see below.Chair poseStand with your feet hip-width apart, pointing forward. Take a deep breath in and raise your arms straight up over your head. Push your shoulders down and away from your ears. Then, bend at your hips and lower yourself, as if sitting in a chair. Go as low as you feel comfortable. Lengthen through your spine, and breathe deeply. Try to hold this pose for six to eight breaths. Return to standing. Repeat.Forward bendFrom the chair pose, reach your hands up to the ceiling and return to standing. Breathe out, bend at your hips and lower your head as far toward the floor as possible. Cross your forearms and hold your elbows. Let your head hang and relax. Breathe in, lengthening the front of your body; as you breath out, reach your hips toward the ceiling. Hold for eight breaths, then place your hands on your hips and, with a flat back, come back to standing. Repeat.PlankPlace your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart, and walk your feet back until you are in a straight plank position. Spread your fingers out as much as possible. Lengthen through your spine and send the top of your head away from your heels in a straight body position. You should feel a stretch across the muscles of your back as you rotate your shoulders out from your body. Hold this pose for eight breaths. Lower to the ground. Repeat.High lungeGet into plank position. Bend at the knee, reaching one foot forward, placing it between your hands. From this position, reach for the ceiling with both hands so your upper body is now straight. (Your back leg remains straight and your front leg is bent at 90 degrees.) Your lower-body muscles should be engaged. Hold this pose for eight breaths. Return to plank pose and then repeat on the other side.

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