ALL ABOUT AARTHI (RT)

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mum of three angels

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Navrathri - Spiritual Significance

The Navrathri festival starts today. What exactly is the spiritual significance of Navrathri? One explanation, excerpted from 
 
http://www.indusladies.com/forums/chitvish-on-hindu-culture-vedanta/3033-the-spiritual-significance-of-navaratri.html

Navrathri is an important Hindu festival. Nava means nine and Ratri means night. During Navaratri, the Goddess is worshipped in Her various forms as Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Though the Goddess is one, She is represented and worshipped in three different aspects, on the nine days. The tenth day is called Vijayadasami. Vijaya means victory, the victory over our own minds that can come only when we have worshipped Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.

Durga:

On the first three days Durga is customarily worshipped. Durga is the one who removes our evil tendencies. She personifies Shakti or divine energy. She is also called Mahishasura Mardini, the destroyer of demon. Mahisha means buffalo. Is not there a buffalo in our minds? We do have the qualities of laziness, darkness, ignorance and inertia. Durga Devi’s killing of the Mahisha demon is, symbolically, the destruction of these qualities within us that is difficult to destroy.
By worshipping Her, we invoke that divine Power within us to destroy our animalistic tendencies.

Lakshmi:
For knowledge to dawn within us, our minds have to be prepared. The mind must be pure, concentrated and single-pointed. This purification of the mind is obtained by worshipping Lakshmi Devi. We think Lakshmi represents only material wealth. Real wealth is self-discipline and the values of love, kindness, respect and sincerity. By practising these values, our mind becomes purified. Only they help us preserve our material wealth. Our wealth of virtues is our true Lakshmi. The six forms of wealth are calmness of mind, self-control, self-withdrawal, forbearance, faith and single pointedness. Our goal is victory over the mind which comes only when the mind is prepared and this mental preparation is the symbolism of the Lakshmi Puja.


Saraswathi:
Victory over the mind is gained only through knowledge and through understanding. Saraswathi represents this highest knowledge of the Self.

Thus we see that the theme of the entire Vedas is reflected in the Navaratri festival.

1. Purify the mind and remove all negativities.
2. Cultivate positive virtues.
3. Gain spiritual knowledge and transcend limitations.

This is the real victory-the dance of joy-ritualistically performed at night by some communities in India.


Happy Navrathri, folks!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

going eggless

recently, i had been experimenting a lot with eggless and vegan cooking/baking. i'm always on the lookout for eggless or vegan recipes, trying them as soon as i could to get the best recipe for each category of our favorite baked delicacies 

ever since dh had turned meatless (he's on the way to become a vegetarian), have been more motivated to bake & cook without eggs 

currently, i have about 7 recipes that i had collected for eggless chocolate cake, of which i had already tried about 5. most of the ingredients are the same except the binding factor, which varies from yogurt, vinegar, lemon juice or condensed milk 

today i discovered another useful site on ingredients to replace eggs, very informative, the link is:-

http://www.wikihow.com/Replace-Eggs-in-Your-Cooking
 
excerpted from the link: 

"Work out what you want your egg replacement to do. Do you want to replace a whole egg, or just the yolk or just the white? This will help determine what to use in place of the egg product. Eggs have different uses - sometimes they are used for binding, sometimes for leavening (making lighter/fluffier) or sometimes just for the taste. You should also try to be aware of which of these elements you are trying to replace. 

Fruit makes an excellent replacement for eggs - try bananas, apple puree or any high pectin content fruit. Usually 1/4 cup of banana will replace 1 egg. i had used this method successfully numerous times

Tofu is fabulous as a replacement, as it will take on the flavour of whatever you are cooking it with. As a general rule, 1/4 cup of tofu will replace 1 egg. Whip or beat it before adding it to the recipe. Make sure to use silken tofu - firmer types will not blend well. You can also use 1/4 cup of soy yogurt per egg. tried once, also successful

Grind 1 tbsp whole flax seeds (or use 2 1/2 tbsp pre-ground flaxseed) and combine with 3 tablespoons of water to replace one egg. Make sure that the mixture has gelled before using it. Some people recommend simmering the two items together to thicken this mix. on my waiting list

For a replacement for just the egg white, mix 1 tbsp plain agar powder (available from health food stores/Chinese stores etc) with 1 tbsp water. Whip together, chill it and then whip it again. on my waiting list

Another egg replacement is 2 tbsp water mixed with 1 tbsp of oil and 2 tbsp of baking powder. Mix together well before adding. have not tried yet

In savory recipes, such as a vegetarian loaf, try binding agents like mashed potato, tomato paste or rolled oats. These agents help to thicken and gel with the other ingredients. Also bread crumbs, cornmeal/flour, arrowroot and whole-wheat flour are good substitutions. one of my favorites

Apple sauce, canned pumpkin, mashed canned fruit of choice - all of these can be used as an egg replacement in baked goods. These will leave their own flavour of course, so be sure of the taste you want. Fruit can make the baked item heavier, so add a little baking powder if this concerns you. Try the blends of peach/apple; strawberry/apple etc for delicious muffins. have not tried yet

Yogurt? It may sound a little weird, but yogurt indeed can be used as a substitute for eggs. If you use plain, then you will not be able to taste the yogurt, which makes it great for several recipes. Other flavors can still make baking items delicious and fruity." have tried with very good results


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

time flies.....

wow, just realized that it's already almost 2 months since the year began, I have so many thing to reminisce & muse, not sure where to begin... hopefully in the next few days

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Saathana is 3!


Exactly 3 years ago, it was a state of confusion, disillusion, slight resentment (towards myself) & a few other not-so-positive emotions. Never a day passed by without me worrying, even for the littlest thing, no matter how minor & so irrelevant it was.

All because of something that was unplanned - mind you, unplanned doesn't mean unpleasant. It was by far, a very pleasant thing, something that many people want but could not have. The only thing about the whole situation was it was unplanned & came at the wrong time.

You see, I got pregnant. Unplanned, of course.

I tried to make the journey an enjoyable one. A few things bothered me very much, my age, for example. The fact that down syndrome runs in both our families, my previous C-section, my for the first time being labelled as having glucose intolerance and a few other things. All these fed to a very imaginative mind like mine, and you have a very worried pregnant woman.

Having to check my blood sugar put me off and as usual I made a big drama of it most of the time. Would I become a diabetic, am I going to have a bad delivery, etc etc, blah, blah. All these were heaped on hubby dearest, him being the nearest one & only one to be blamed for my prediction.

Everyone else was so very happy and looking forward for the finale except me - yes I wanted to get over it fast but at the same time, having someone to chaperone you around, food materializing at ungodly time at the click of a finger, I was starting to enjoy the extra attention even though I still had all those worries.

Finally, the day came, off I went into the OT for a planned C-section. I felt a sudden sensation of vacuum in me esp my belly & my darling Saathana was out. We already had a name for her before she was born.

The next few weeks was a whirlwind of life with a new baby, adjusting life back to normal and the like.

I was still annoyed sometimes, at my ownself for having her too far apart from the elder 2 but then again, how was I to know! It was unplanned!

Motherhood was tougher this time around but I must admit that this is the most enjoyable time of my life so far.

She 's just so gregarious, so full of life, always giggling, her face bursts into smiles everytime she sees me and that is more than enough to make my day. She is cheeky, adorable, someone with whom you can spend hours with without getting bored. Sometimes her baby talk surprises me - she is so grown up! She is very loving and possessive of her elder siblings.

She's like a kind of drug to me, I need to be with her, no matter how much she 'tortures' me with her demands and tantrums. In her, I see so much of myself yet she is so different from me. No matter, she is the apple of our eyes.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DARLING! AMMA LOVE YOU VERY MUCH.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The LASEK experience (Part 2)

The first week of post-LASEK was frustrating. Yep, extremely frustrating.

Why? Mostly due to the fact I had the bandage lenses on my eyes, which became very very uncomfortable, you know the gritty feeling one has when dust or tiny particles are in your eyes. Very uncomfortable. No pain, just plain uncomfort.

Sleeping time was worse, I needed to put on these see through goggle-like eye protective cups over my eyes so that I don't accidently scratch my eyes. Because of that, I could only sleep on my back with most movements restricted!

Morning after I wake up is especially uncomfortable as the bandage lenses have been there for hours and hours, so my eyes were really dry (those wearing contact lenses would know what I mean) and it took a lot of artificial tear drops before I was comfortable.

Another reason for frustration is my vision was not really good. Can't watch tv, can't read, can't do house work or cook (for fear of dust and oil). Basically confined to the house, on a week long MC and the best part, no small limbs climbing all over you but unable to partake in any enjoyable activities! Well, anyway I was supposed to be resting my eyes. The only exciting thing that ever happened was when I needed to put the artificial tears in my eyes every half an hour.

So, what did I do? Talk-lo! Called everyone whom I know and chatted with them. I think some actually got tired of me calling them, he he. Sorry guys, but me so boring! And I also curi curi surfed the net, when my vision was not foggy! The fogginess was due to the temporary lenses that I still had on.

Somehow, I managed to pull through the loooong first week. During that time, there were 2 more visits to the doc, one a day after and the other on the fifth day. On both days, my doc told me - no dear, you can't take the lenses off, still not healed well. Finally, on the Friday after the surgery, after almost 163 hours of wearing them, the bandage lenses were taken off. I was so relieved that I now could see more clearly!

The next day was even better. We went out for breakfast (my first meal after a week cooped in the house) and wow! I just felt that everything was so crystal clear, the colours were so vibrant, bright & sharp! Maybe all these years I have been wearing glasses and lenses, my vision is always through either the glasses or contact lenses which somehow filtered out the brightness? Whatever it is, I was sure happy!

My vision one week after the surgery - right eye 50, left eye 25. 6 weeks post-surgery - right eye 50/astig 100, left eye 0/astig 25. Approximately at 10 weeks - right eye 50/astig 75, left eye 0/astig 0. Still need to wait for another 3 months before my vision stabilizes to find whether the surgery was 100% successful.

Oh, my sight pre-surgery was - right eye 800/astig 100, left eye 800/astig 125. Pretty high, huh? And been shortsighted for almost 28 years; contact lenses for 17 years.

During the last 3 months, my vision had been fluctuating. Sometimes very clear and sometimes not so clear but can still drive, use the PC etc, nothing that prevents me from going on with my daily routine. Vision is slightly affected by dark lighting. So, I made sure I had bright lights on and the windows open during the day for better lighting.

Having the artificial drops really helped not only for the eye dryness, but also to heal the eyes faster. Coincidently, my vision is always sharper immediately after the drops. I used up almost 4 boxes of 36 vials of the drops in 2 months time!

The major change came after the Chinese New Year break. I had a wonderful 4 days break at my parents' place with no TV, no books, no PC and I guess all these and just looking out at the windows at the greenery all around gave my eyes the much needed rest.

I could feel a drastic difference after that where, low lighting & eye drops didn't affect me as much as previously. In fact my usage of the drops went down so much, it was only one-two drops per day. So, guess good rest is very important for better and faster healing.

So far, I am glad that I had gone for it. It has tremendously changed my daily routine.

Shall post further in another 3 months.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The LASEK Experience (Part 1)

Friday 17th December 2010 was the day when I finally took the plunge - got myself something that I had wanted to do for so many years but never got to.

I had laser refractive surgery i.e. had my vision corrected with laser.

The surgery was fixed for 11 am that morning. A few months earlier, I had already went for the eye screening test with Optimax Penang. After almost 3 hours of testing, the doctor saw me and went through the options that was available for me. Since my cornea was not so thick, she adviced me to go for the Lasek treatment instead of the more popular Lasik. The difference is the healing time of course and some discomfort associated with Lasek.

After mulling through, I took her advice and agreed to go for Laeek. Of course, I still had another 2 months to make up my mind whether I am indeed going for the surgery.

After lots of internet browsing, I ended up more confused!! There were varied responses from those who have gone thru the surgery in the forums that I had browsed. Some excellent reviews, most with moderate feedbacks while a fraction had horrible experiences.

I went back to the consultants at Optimax to thrash out my worries and finally decided to go for it.

On the surgery morning, after the do's & don'ts explained to me, I was given some drops to numb my eyes several times during the first hour. Then I was aked to go the surgery room located at a different floor. There, I changed into an operation gown, my eyes were checked again by the assistant and then the doctor.

Half an hour later, I was escorted into the rather cold operation theater, come to think of it, all op theaters are very cold! I was asked to sleep on the couch beneath some complicated equipments (during this time, I was off my specs so someone had to literally take my arms and walk me through to the bed - I was almost blind as a bat!!).

Apart from the doctor, there were about 4-5 assistants, here I got a bit nervous - why so many people for what I was made to believe is just a simple short surgery. Eventually I found out each one of them had to do their own albeit small part in the whole procedure.

Once I was made to lie on the surgery bed, my head was positioned right under the equipment. It took several angles of positioning for the girl assistant before the doc was satisfied. During that time, one guy was adjusting the equipment. Another girl was at my foot, adjusting my legs and stood by until the end of the surgery (why, I never found out?!!?). I think one other person was standing slightly far away at another equipment.

2 more girls were at either of my side trying to put on the eye clamps on me. These clamps are necessary to open the eyelids and secure them in place so that I can't blink no more. So left eye was clamped and right eye bandaged. They also had to tape my eyelashes since they were too long, he, he!

All this while, the doctor was talking to me, explaining what they were doing to me. She kept asking me whether I was tensed, had my breakfast, do I have any medical problems etc, etc, her talking was partly I think to relax me.

I could see her using a spade shaped tool to scrape something over my eyeballs - that's the epithelial layer, the doc explained. After a few minutes, she was done. Now, the equipment guy started to readjust the machine over my head again.

When everything was positioned and ready, the doc told me to concentrate on the green dot within the red circle (or was it red dot and green circle - can't remember!). My vision started to get cloudy as in foggy - it was quite difficult at that point of time to concentrate on the red dot!

A few seconds later, I could smell flesh burning - the laser burning the eye ( I wasn't really alarmed as I had already read about it in the net). The guy who was holding the equipment over my head was slowly counting down from 30. Then, at the count of zero, it was over, as simple as that.

The doctor then warned me that she would be washing my eyes with some cold liquid which would be uncomfortable - she was right! It was so uncomfortable esp when my eyelids were still secured down and I couldn't blink! But less than a minute only. The doctor replaced the epithelial layer and secured it with bandage lenses. Then, the clamps were unhooked and bandage put over my eye.

Same procedure was repeated for right eye.

After almost 20 minutes, everything done, they took away the bandage. I was asked to open both eyes very slowly and wow, I could see so clearly!! Like an excited child out on an outing, I kept looking at everything around me, the people, the machines, the clock on the wall. That feeling was really exhilarating!!

However, at that time, the assistant told me to try to close my eyes and took me to an adjoining room with a very comfortable recliner sofa. She asked me to settle down in the sofa and to close my eyes. I could feel her putting a blanket over me. She asked me to just relax and that it's ok to doze off, which was what I precisely did!

Half an later, she woke me up. I went into the locker room, changed into my clothes and then for the first time after surgery, I saw my eyes - boy, were they red or what!! It looked like I was crying non-stop for hours!

Quickly, I donned my sunglasses. I was asked to rest for another half an hour and then I was asked to go back, to return the next day for follow-up check up. The time then was about 2.00 pm I think.

The drive back was uneventful. I was quite hungry by then, after having lunch, DH left and I went to sleep as my eyes were really very tired.

So, what happened next? Catch my next post, only God knows when that will be!! This one took me almost 2.5 months!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

prize presentation day @ SJKT Prai Penang

sunday was a very proud day for me - both my kids did very well in their mid term exams.

some lovely pictures (taken again thru my hp as ran out of camera battery!)