Friday, May 10, 2013

My relationship with Water

Yeah, that's right. Water.

That is one of the other things that is terribly important to me more so because my country is on of those that will have a water catastrophe by 2030 if scientists are to be believed.

You may ask, relationship? Isn't that too far-fetched?
Well, because my knowledge and feelings for water have evolved over the years, I'd say it is a relationship.

Till I was 9, I never gave a thought to it like a lot of other kids in the world. Then, I became passionate about the environment and that brought along a new understanding of the world and its resources and a new awareness of my actions.

Today I find that the only thing which irritates me to no end, makes me cringe and want to hit someone is the sound of running water. Especially when no one is using it. Even watching it rain in movies annoys me because I know that its all fake.
Today in every major city of my country borewells run dry, rivers reduce into streams and all plants flower at once because they feel threatened. if you think what's so great in all plants flowering at one , let me tell you that it is a very very bad thing. It is like a 4-year-old menstruating.
But people still go on wasting water like there is no end to it. In fact very few of my friends are water-conscious. They still ant to play with a hose pipe during holi. They'd happily splash each other with the water in their bottles. They stand under the shower for 1/2 an hour even after they are all clean.

So, I'm going to be telling you all what I do to save water.

1. I bathe every other day. I sponge on the day I'm not showering. I finish my shower in 4-5 mins.
No, I'm not dirty and I don't have BO. I barely sweat from armpits and other places that cause BO. And it is actually possible to wash off foam in 4 mins. Beyond that you're just stripping your skin of moisture and also wasting water.
Science has proven that even a month of not bathing(I don't do that though) keeps microbe levels in the skin blow the permissible limit. You won't become sick as long as you wash your hands.

2. I turn off the shower when I'm lathering up. Really this step alone can save gallons of water.

3. The plants in my house are watered with water from washing veggies. We wash veggies in big bowls instead of letting it all run and give it a final 2 second rinse in running water.

4. I for any reason we've taken excess water for maybe cooking or something we put the excess into a buckt that we later use for bathing.

5. I've switched to soap from bodywash. It washes off faster.

6. I've been trying to convince my neighbours to fill the pool only twice a week but no one listens. This is what I meant when I said that no one cares.

This post is not about telling you guys what the dangers of not conserving water are. If I have to tell you about that after all the awareness schools, scientists and what-not have been generating, the I'm sorry, you probably don't deserve to live. Seriously. Atleast common sense should have told you that wastage is not good.
What I want to point out is that You can save resources by making change to your own lives, if you can't control the thoughtless idiots out there. Sometimes conservation is bigger than you and you should forego your own comfort.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Why I stayed Hindu

This blog is supposed to be about my thoughts and all that matters to me. So, if I didn't speak about religion which has now become very important to me, this blog wouldn't accomplish its purpose.

This is my story. I don't ask you to follow my example or agree with me. This is the way I see things and I mean no offense to anyone here. To each his/her own belief and this is mine.

By birth I am Hindu. For the first seven years of my life, I was not religious at all. Festivals to me were the time to eat sweets and God wasn't something I thought about. I mean sure, my parents like so many others would tell me that if I did something wrong God would punish me but I didn't really care. Being grounded was way worse to me.
My family would tell me about Hindu mythology but to me, they were just fascinating stories that flew off my mind when the narration was done. So, religion really didn't affect me in the beginning. Its weird now that I think about it but that's how I remember it being. My memories are also supported by a bunch of kiddy diary entries I recently dug up. My family was not orthodox at all and didn't really care about religion.

From age 8 onwards, I was exposed to cartoons, Small wonder and a few other shows where christmas was a big deal. I was fascinated by their lives which were so different from mine. Going to church seemed to make them so happy, whereas frankly, I found temples too crowded. I read a bit about Jesus Christ, I forget where and I was sure that I had to be a christian. For a while I pretended to be one, saying christian prayers in my head during assembly and making the sign of the cross outside churches. This went on for about a year and then that phase was over.
I reverted to being non-religious. It wasn't that I came across something I didn't like, it was just that, that passion was gone one day when I woke up.

Around 12 there was a period when I worshipped all religions as equal while not really caring for any.

All through school we had Bhagavad Gita reading. It did not affect me because it was all in Sanskrit and I couldn't understand it and couldn't be bothered to read the translations. I studied in a school run by a board that was Hindu and before you run away with any wrong ideas let me tell you that besides the morning prayer and the Gita reading(that no one liked because it was not something we could relate to), no one cared what religion each student belonged to. No one discussed religion.

The next major change happened when The Da Vinci code became the rage. Everyone was divided over whether it was okay for Jesus to have a family or not. I thought(and still do) that having a family doesn't make him any less good than he was. It did not lessen the good that he did. I couldn't see why a 'son of God' should be prevented from having a family if he wanted to and I relished the idea of the Vatican being the suppressors of history. Then of course it all turned out to be false documentation.
At this point I was in a phase of wanting to prove that religion is bs and its all the same.
During this period I borrowed a bible from a friend and decided to read all holy books from all religions and prove that they were all the same.
Only something happened when I read the Bible. The old testament seriously disturbed me with all the incest but the new testament was like a revelation. Suddenly I was touched by Jesus and I began to agree whole heartedly with the teachings. I felt like I had discovered THE way of life. It was quite a profound feeling and I felt sure that I wanted to convert to Christianity  I contemplated approaching a church but it did not happen as I couldn't go anywhere without my parents accompanying me.

This went on for a couple of months and then the final change happened. One fine day during a particularly boring assembly programme when I was 17, I started reading the English translation in the Bhagavad gita. I was terribly sleepy and I had nothing else at hand. I glanced through the first chapter as it is not important in my opinion but the second chapter made a deeper impression on me than anything I had ever read. I was hooked and I read the book till the 10th chapter, steadily, all through the day. The bible fell away from my brain. For some reason it no longer compared to the Gita.
That was when I realised that I didn't need to go looking at other religions to satisfy myself because my Hinduism had all the answers too. The bible was a very good book. I tried reading it again but the magic was gone. The Gita had opened something in my life in a way nothing was able to do.

And that is why I decided to stay Hindu. From then on , I explored Hinduism more thoroughly. If I came across something I didn't like I could ignore it and I'd still be a Hindu because that is the nature of Hinduism. There is no one belief, there is a wide plethora of beliefs and streams, so you can adopt anything you like and chuck what you don't. You can pick one God or Goddess you like or many or believe in one supreme being.

What I liked about the Gita that I found lacking in the other religious books was the openness. It told me what was right and wrong but it did not tell me that there was only one right and wrong. It framed guidelines that one could tweak and follow according to the age in which one lives. While it is directed at men, women can also easily follow it. One can ignore teachings one disagrees with(like the caste system). The best part is that it addresses several dilemmas that the others don't that are not religious. It does not say that it is the only way to salvation. I have found it to be the best guide to life ever written.

If you are wondering whether I read the Quran, I did. I mean no offense to anyone but it did not impact me in any way and I found myself disagreeing with a lot of things in it. I didn't like the overtly instructional nature either. It was a good book though with good things in it.

But I prefer the Gita today. The Bhagavad Gita gave me a chance to grow. It taught me to resolve my own battles and carve my own journey by encouraging me to make my own decisions. If you don't understand what I mean by this then you have to read the book. Not to change your life or anything. You may read it to just see what ancient literature is or to know more about world religions. But the book is definitely worth a read.

A piece of advice to everyone here who plans to convert to whatever religion from whatever religion. Give your religion a chance before you change it. Read all about it. Definitely don't talk to people belonging to the other religion before you have explored the one of your birth completely. Read from different sources. You may find that there is no need to change after all.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Deep Cleansing Face Mask: with Fuller's earth(multani mitti)

Having managed to successfully kick myself into a skin care phase, a face mask was inevitable. For the first 3-4 days, This was my routine:
Morning: Wash with Cetaphil cleanser for sensitive skin. Alternate with Vicco foam wash. Tone with Acnes powder lotion if cetaphil used. Apply Lacto calamine or Vicco turmeric cream.

Evening/night: Wash with Cetaphil/Vicco foam wash on alternate days. Tone with Acnes if Cetaphil used. Apply Vicco turmeric cream.
On alternate days appy tretinoin acne medication after washing with cetaphil but without toning.

When I thought about my previous phase I remembered how important face masks were in my routines. Now, I am not an advocate of regular usage of face masks because a)they can stress the skin when used on a daily basis due to the pull caused when drying and because of the concentration of active ingredients and b) washing them off wastes water unless you like me have techniques.

Here's my mask washing technique:
Wet and soften the mask with water and then rub gently till it no longer adheres to skin. Take a bowl with about 2 cups of water and wash the mask into it by taking palmfuls of water and using it to slide mask off . I don't change the water until the mask is nearly off. Only then do I take clean water and remove what remains. I regulate my water usage with cups and I have noticed that my skin is completely clean with 3 more cups of water.
This method is a bit of trouble the first few times you do it but you get the hang of it very soon. I believe that water conservation is very important and that the earth shouldn't suffer for my vanity.
Most of us really waste a lot of water in the name of skincare but actually we need very little. You will notice this the moment you start measuring and using water.

To make masks more effective clean your face with a good cleanser before putting them on. This helps them penetrate more effectively and also increases their saturation limit.

So, here's the mask:
1 heaped tsp fuller's earth(multani mitti)
1/2 tsp kasturi turmeric( or ordinary turmeric if you can get rid of the stains)
1 tsp honey
milk or rosewater
Use the milk/rosewater to mix the mask to the desired consistency(not too runny).

Fuller's earth deep cleans and reduces the appearance of pores.It absorbs oil. turmeric is antibacterial and helps diminish acne, blemishes and scars. Honey moisturises and is anti-bacterial.

This mask is best used twice a week(once a week if you have very sensitive skin).

I liked the effect this mask had on my face and neck. My skin felt clean without being dry or stretchy.

For those of you who don't know, kasturi turmeric is a variety of turmeric which gives the same benefits but does not stain like normal turmeric. It is not eaten and is used for cosmetic purposes. Don't worry, unless you're allergic to it, it won't hurt you. Neither is it toxic. Its been used by Indians for centuries.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Truly Beautiful Skin

Hi you all!

So, I told you all about my phases of skin and hair care. Now, I'm trying to push myself into a phase of skin care because benign neglect benefits my hair the most. And what happened today might just make that easier.

Today, we went to meet an acquaintance of ours who had recently been sick. We met her mother there, who'd come down to look after the woman and boy, am I glad that I had the chance to meet her! This is one naturally sophisticated and beautiful old woman who has truly aged gracefully.

Not only was she gentle and sweet but physically beautiful as well. She must be around 76-80 but has absolutely gorgeous skin that can put celebrities that age to shame. She has no wrinkles! Yes none! Her skin is smooth and flawless, the only sign of aging being the loss of elasticity in the skin which is natural at that age.
She has folds at the corners of her eyes and lips, but only because of gravity and the afore-mentioned loss of elasticity. She has no lines on her forehead, no furrows....It was just amazing to look at her. Even more so after I learned that she had once burned a part of her face(it was mild but still left a mark which is now invisible).

Now, I know for a fact that she has had no cosmetic procedures done because she could not have afforded them and where I live, people of that generation frown upon such things ( unless medically necessary). So I complimented her on her skin and asked her for tips. She told me that she doesn't do anything special; she cleans her face with a solution of unboiled milk and sugar and then washes that off with plain water. Soap does not touch her skin as far as possible. She uses whatever cream she finds at hand as a moisturizer  which is usually Boroline or Ponds' cold cream or Nivea.
My mum then told me that my aunt who has gorgeous skin cleans her skin with a mix of plain flour and milk cream. The paste is applied, allowed to dry and then rubbed off vigorously with dry hands. It falls off, forming these eraser dust-like things. Some of you might wonder how it cleans but it is the concept of like dissolving like working here. Most dirt that sticks to our skin is non-polar, so it sticks onto the fat in the milk cream which is non-polar too. Then, a water-only bath is taken.

The sweet old lady also told me to drink plenty of water. She complained that most of my generation is dehydrated and that is why we have so many skin problems.
She has also never used makeup of any sort. Not that she would ever need it anyway- she is astoundingly lovely even at her age.

Until I met her, I always had doubts about skin care. What is the point of spending time on skin when eventually it would break down one day when we were old? Why cry about something that wasn't going to last anyway?
But now I have proof of the fact that good skin care can keep your skin beautiful even when you are old. I have seen a lot of people older than her who have the usual old-people skin but she is truly different.

This has renewed my passion for skin care once again.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Fact About Myself

This is something you all ought to know. It will explain why my entries are so sporadic and also I'm sure that a lot of you are this way.

My obsessions switch between skin and hair. 4 months a year I'm nuts about my skin and the rest of the year I'm nuts about my hair. When I obsess with my skin I absolutely neglect hair(it seems to help my hair though)
and vice versa(neglecting skin is bad for me).

Behavior when I'm on skin care mania:
1. Wash hair once a week unless working out (actually, washing hair less often is good for it and not dirty at all as long as you give it a good brushing or combing. I also do water-only washes a couple of times in a week)
2. Bundle it into a french roll secured with jaw clip.
3. Comb just once a day
4. Completely forget that I have hair on head on holidays

Behavior during hair care mania:
1. Force self to bathe
2 Use wet wipe to clean face and follow up with compact powder once a day
3. Forget about lotion for days on an end
4. barely remember deodorant (fortunately I do not suffer from BO problems-I barely sweat in normal stink zones)
Now that I have controlled acne neglect no longer poses a problem but I still have to be careful.

So right now I'm on a hair obsession.
So, why am I not writing some hair posts?
I have to find a routine or products that I'm completely happy with.

So, until I find something worth writing about.........

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Secret to Smooth Skin-Homemade body scrub

I was googling 'oil for smooth skin' when I came across this article:

Although Jillee used it as an aftershave exfoliant, I used this while bathing, after washing with soap. After I saw how amazed all the ladies commenting were by this scrub's effect, I just had to try it out.

But I thought the big grained sugar(which is all I have) would be too harsh and scratch my skin while salt which can also be used would seriously kill a couple of scratches that I have. So, I reinvented the scrub and i am bowled over by it. It is seriously amazing, much better than any OTC body scrub I have ever used( I can't remember which brand that was).

So, here's what I did:
I took 2 heaped tblsps of rice flour, 1 heaped tsp of sugar and salt each in a bowl and poured in sesame oil. I don't know how much oil I put in exactly; I stopped pouring the oil when it reached the consistency I wanted(semisolid-the oil shouldn't float on top). Then I added the juice of a quarter of lemon. I mixed it till the oil and juice were no longer 2 separate components.
This was sufficient for me; I still have some scrub left over( I'm 5 ft 3 inches tall). I rubbed it gently for a couple of minutes on wet skin and then rinsed it.

Because I didn't use any more soap after scrubbing there was a layer of oil on my skin(I don't mind that because I'm not going out anywhere). You can also use this scrub first and soap later if you don't want the oil layer.

It is tremendously moisturising and you will be amazed by how smooth your skin feels and this is just in one use. And I didn't even shave!

Depending on how sensitive your skin is you can adjust the amount of oil you put in. If you find sugar too harsh then plain rice flour alone will do as well coz its gentler.

If you are acne-prone don't use this scrub on your breakout zones aka face, back, shoulders.

This scrub really helps with dry skin as well. It can be used 2-3 times a week. Any more will chafe skin.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: Oriflame Body Lotion with Green tea

The weather is kind of dehydrating now where I live and my skin is seriously dry. Its really annoying having oily skin above the shoulders and dry below.

I bought this lotion a few months ago when there was a discount in the catalogue. Now, that I've finished half of it I think I can review it.

I was happy with it in the summer. I use it everywhere below shoulders and it did moisturize well in the summer. But in the last one month, ever since it has been getting drier this lotion is insufficient for me.

This lotion is supposed to be for normal to dry skin. It costs Rs.590 for 400 ml so it is rather expensive but I got it in discount.

It claims to provide all day hydration and intensive moisturization.

So, does it live upto its claims?
Sort of. it does not hydrate my skin all day long but it keeps dry itchiness at bay in the summer. But, now as winter approaches(it is still really warm though) it lasts for only around 4 hours. It also does not leave your skin smooth. It forms a sort of layery powdery feel once it dries. It won't work on very dry skin.
The bottle has a flip cap. I am anyway never bothered by packaging as long as it doesn't leak.

It is a pretty good sealant for body oil, however.

Will I buy it again?
No, not for this price anyway.