All posts by Prasi

Worked in a mine?

Brakpan Power Station (Courtesy Eskom)

Have you worked in a mine? No one  has ever asked me this question before. I worked in a mine while I was studying my bachelors. South Africa has many mines and I had the opportunity to work for an automation company which had contracts with coal mines. There are strict regulations and medical certifications that one has to get before getting the permission to work in the mines.

A Miner in Uniform

There is a specific dress code that has to be worn by miners when entering the mines. There are many safety protocols that is followed at the work place. My work responsibility revolved around the control room or the brain of the mine. It was a very interesting experience and I had/have great interest in automation. One of the few drawbacks I experienced for this job is the long travels to the area where the mines are located. There are other safety procedures that can be time consuming so a lot of patience is necessary. Preparing for work can be a tedious process unlike a regular white collar job.

From my short working experience at the mine, I am not experienced enough to provide any detailed analysis of long term medical effects or possible work place accidents. However it was a really cool work experience and I would love to do it again.

My Daughter Abi – 1

Appa and Abi at Virginia Beach, VA

Being a father is different from being a husband or brother or son. The additional title of fatherhood comes along with immense responsibilities along with enjoyment. My daughter means the world to me and there is a special feeling to be around my munchkin. There are various occasions where I wish I could spend more time with her. No matter how much time I spend with her, it is never enough.

Appa and Abi at Mt Snow, Vermont

The past 21 months has been a transition for me. This transition has been a big change of my attitude, patience and the way I view the world in general. When comparing generations, I saw a similar transition over the years of my parents and grandparents. Even though the period is different the parental care remains the same. My parents saw a little of them in me and I see a little of myself in Abi.

Alternate remedies – 1

Thulasi - Ayurveda (Photo Courtesy - Pradeepa Mohan)
Thulasi - Traditional Medicine (Photo Courtesy - Pradeepa Mohan)

Recently when I got the flu, I was asked by a friend to try herbal cold remedies. I wanted to dedicate this post to some of the alternate / traditional / herbal remedies I use in my routine. The alternate or traditional remedy I refer to could be ayurvedic, homeopathic or from a grandma’s recipe. In many scenarios I prefer an alternate remedy versus an over-the-counter or prescription drug. The treatment path I follow depends on the threshold of pain or condition of illness.

Common Cold – I prefer having ginger and lemon tea with honey. This usually has a soothing effect on my throat, helps with the phlegm for a specific duration. If I am going to be on a teleconference when I have a cold, ginger lemon tea is a good remedy that provides me instant relief from running nose and cough.

Cough – Kashayam and cough goes along well. There are various kinds of Kashayams out  there but I prefer the one made with black pepper. I stumbled upon this blog on how to make Kashayam. Check it out if you are not familiar of Kashayam and how to make it.

Constipation – Having a toddler around usually means running stomach or constipation. The extremes! Not only for the kids but adults also can have prunes for constipation relief. For bigger infants, prunes can be soaked in warm water and that water is fed because infants cannot eat the fruit itself.

Cholesterol – I have been diagnosed with border level cholestrol for the past seven years. My cholestrol levels keep fluctuating depending on the time of the year and what I eat couple days before the test. Overall the levels are between 195 – 230. I do not take any prescription medication for Cholesterol as it is not required for this level. My primary physician and other friends recommended Flax seeds. Flax seeds can be added to any meal or dish and other than the brownish color, there is no taste. Flax seeds has helped me improve my cholesterol health. Since hyperlipidaemia is a genetic condition that can be aggravated by unhealthy diets and lack of exercise, the number one focus should be on healthy diets and regular exercise.

Flax Seeds
Grains with Flax Seeds

I did not intend all my condition be c words. 😉 Looking forward to other alternate remedies which you have in the comments.

Changing Seasons – 1

It has been a few days since my last post and as I recover from my viral flu I can focus on the many topics floating in my head. Now that we are in March, I am sure every one of us globally are talking about changing weather. Some may be happy about the change and some not so happy. People in my region are looking forward to spring and the good weather to go out.

Antenna - Freezing Rain 2011 (iPhonography)

We had good weather this winter with less than usual snow. The previous winter we had more snow storms, freezing rains and below freezing days in general. We are still not out of the woods yet. We still have another few weeks of winter before we are officially in spring. When I lived in upstate NY, the expectation of the weather was completely different from what I have in central NJ. There are many things associated with change in weather. Travelling will be difficult with bad weather conditions. Prices go up for some products and more over there seems to be a sense of unreliability. Weather is controlled by nature and no matter how experienced an expert is the predictions can be a failure.

 

VW Routan Wiper Blades (iPhonography)

The purpose of lifting the wiper blades up during a snow storm has been defeated during the freezing rain storm in 2011. Luckily this winter we did not have any major freezing rain in my area and it saved a lot of time and effort. This is one of the major reasons why many people like Spring and Summer compared to Autumn and Winter.

 

My Backyard (iPhonography)

 

There is no good or bad aspect about changing weather. Nature has to take it’s course for the world to keep functioning in a natural order. Even though we as individuals find it difficult to manage in certain ways to do our routine work, there are things that occur beyond my/our knowledge.

Man has lived under different weather conditions globally ranging from the hottest deserts to the coldest deserts. I have heard in various discourses about how seasons can change out of order with the change in righteousness followed by the world citizens.

Photography – My way Part 1

Almost every photography app I came across for my iPhone and iPad interested me in a different way. The apps that I bought are Camera+, Photoforge2, ColorSplash and Painteresque. When shopping around for apps, I try to create my use case for the requirements I have and I might have. If I find it beneficial and useful, I go ahead with the purchase. I will review these apps in another post, one fine day but today I wanted to share my compositions.

Painteresque - The Gazebo

I was amazed with the painteresque app and really enjoyed seeing the outcome of the images from this app. Not all photos will be suitable for this app. I found the gazebo interesting in this view. It is a nice place to sit and eat on warm days. The near by pond and the absence of building on the one side gives it a relaxed atmosphere. This might appear concealed for those who dont venture behind Panera.

Panera Meal

Panera Bread is a chain restaurant and is one of my favorite places to eat near my work. I like the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich combo with the creamy tomato soup. On a recent photo walk with my colleagues I thought this combination on the left could be interesting.

 

 

 

Painteresque - The Walk

 

This is a narrow pathway near my work and recently some of my colleagues and I have been spending some time here during lunch to experiment our photography skills. I would like to thank two models in this pic. 🙂

Color Splash - The blue pond

 

Playing with the color splash app. This was my first attempt with working on color splash. I dont think I got the outline of the pond precisely. However it is work in progress and it will get better with experience. I am particularly excited working with such compositions.

 

Looking forward to the reviews and suggestions for improvement.

My Macros – 1

I have always wanted to put together my collection of Macros and other photographs categorically but that again is a pet project for one fine day. I thought it might be a good start to display a few unedited macros as my first official photography post.

Captured in Canton, MA. I think it is an Africanized Honey Bee.

While visiting a friend, I was attracted to his back yard and captured this worker bee hard at work. As per my quick research, it seems to be an Africanized Honey Bee. If any of my blog followers are Entomologists or bee experts please can confirm this.

Mill Pond Park, Montgomery, NJ

I have learned from some experts to get close to my subjects and as close as possible. It makes a big difference when compared with a similar image above zoomed in. I also prefer my images with a person or character. It gives more life to a picture. I believe the guy sitting on this plant is a field fly.

Mill Pond Park, Montgomery, NJ

I tried to get a bug/character on this image as well but it was too fast for me and I lost the patience to follow it after few minutes. Besides my family and friends walked way too far away from me in the park and I was afraid I might not catch up on the conversations. My intentions to visit the park was multi purposed one and the macros were a plus. Looking forward to the critics. 🙂

Back Yard Barbecue – Grilling Veggies

Appa Grilling on Dad's Day 2011

I tried something new in 2011 and it turned out that I love it. One of our favorite summer activity has become grilling. I bought a small grill and did not wanna invest in a big, expensive grill because it was my first time barbecuing. I found it to be a great activity and it also gave my wife a break from the kitchen ;). My buddy helped me assemble the mean machine and we parked it in my back yard. It was gas operated so I also had to get a gas cylinder.

Now that I bought the grill and have it assembled, the next question that arose was what am I gonna grill?!? It was puzzling initially because I am a lacto-vegetarian and I thought my choices were limited. On visiting my local supermarket, I was surprised to see the available options. I also had to buy the associated tools to help me with the grilling process?

Close up of the grill

 

Now coming to the menu, I liked the combination of veggie burgers, veggie kebabs and corn. These became my all time favorite. There are various types of veggie burger patties that I chose from. I prefer organic masala veggie patties. It throws a little spice apart from the different organic veggies. In my area, I can get them from Trader Joes or Whole Foods. The veggie kebabs requires some preparation. My wife helped me soak the veggies and paneer/pannir in yogurt and some spices like chilly powder, black pepper, etc for few hours. I preconditioned the  skewers / sticks in water so it does not burn when it comes to contact with the fire in the grill. The soaked veggies and paneer are then pierced on the skewers. I prefer using olive oil when grilling because of the taste and health aspect. Warning: Grilled food can be low carb or very rich in high calories. It all depends on how we want it to be.

In addition to the meal aspect, I find grilling as a great way to socialize and entertain guests. It has been a good family activity and a different routine to dining without the table in the back yard. If you have not tried grilling, I would strongly recommend that your try it. If you have grilled before feel free to send me your tips in the comment section below.
Happy Grilling!!

Got Stress – Get Nature!

Mercer Park, NJ

I would define stress as an imbalance which every common man experiences. I will not address stress as a disorder or condition but a mere state of the mind that is under pressure. Lack of such equilibrium could lead to other imbalances like depression which is a widely spreading so called “disease” amongst Homo Sapiens. As the saying ‘Prevention is better than cure’, I reckon that the cure is not a million dollar drug. I prescribe mother nature as the main cure for stress and related conditions. Nature has the power to alter our state of mind and give us a sense of rejuvenation to steer our lives towards the horizon.

Coco Cay (Private Island), Bahamas

I try to unwind at every opportunity. Some of my favorite places include up-on-the-hill locations and or under crowded nature trails. I believe that the human mind deserves a break from the routine tasks. This break will allow us to think better and focus on our goals. The ‘break’ for our mind I refer to does not have to be an exotic location, thousands of miles away but could be our back yard or a local park. Any place where our mind finds peace is the location that cures our stress. Nature is my stress reliever! What about you? Where do you find peace?

Social Media – Whats so crazy about it?

Social Media

What is social media all about?

Some people like it and some people dont. Some consider it a threat and others think its a nuisance. A lot of people live with it and some cannot live without it. Social media can be addictive and in my humble opinion too much of it is not good. As my father says often ‘too much of anything is good for nothing’. I sometimes tend to use it more than I think if I have time to kill. Lately, I have been spending time with my blog so I have very little time for social media ;).

I see the purpose of Social Media as below:

  • Stay in touch with family / friends. In my case, my family is spread out so I get an opportunity to keep up to date with those on my friend list.
  • Read about the latest products, news, etc. I follow my local town’s tweets during storms or bad weather. All emergency details are updated on the town tweets. We have even seen political changes in various parts of the world, thanks to Social Media.
  • Messaging or chat feature. I dont need to use a separate chat client when I am already on most social media sites.

Things I dont like about Social Media:

  1. Gossipping!
  2. Living on Social Media. Some people I know do that. I often see a like or comment within seconds of posting almost every time I post something. This is something I dislike the most after gossipping.
  3. Security issues. It is advisable to have the correct security settings.

Having the correct settings is important and it depends on your discretion on how much one wants to share with whom. I have a range of groups like close family, close friends, professional groups, distant family / friends (usually those I have not met or dont know well), limited access (for family / friends with whom I dont want to share much), etc. Thus I conclude that social media can be an effective tool when put to good use.

Symbolism of light

The Lamp

The philosophy of light and it’s symbolism is woven into various cultures globally. The spark or flame has been in existence from the beginning of civilization. In addition to the heat the flame creates, it also produces the light. During the christmas holiday season I was amazed at light displays in my neighborhood. A few years back I saw the Christmas tree in Manhattan and the Time Square area of NYC decorated with lights. The whole experience of light viewing can be a great experience. Fireworks are events that draws large groups of people because of the use of fascinating lights that many admire.

Happy Birthday!

While we were on vacation last year, my good friends came up with a quick idea to celebrate my wife’s birthday. Whatever the purpose of the light, the symbolism means the same. I would explain this symbolism as the process of dispelling darkness i.e, getting rid of our ignorance. In our minds, it can be accomplished by learning with an open mind.

One of the few things that never changed over time is the concept of fire. With various types of electric lights that are available today, the natural flame still holds its value.