10 Zen Takeaways from Albus Dumbledore | Most Inspiring Quotes By Professor Dumbledore

10 Zen Takeaways from Albus Dumbledore | Most Inspiring Quotes By Professor Dumbledore

I don't understand why so many people have written-off the Harry Potter books as "kiddie fiction" without even reading them! I personally find these books to be a storehouse of zen wisdom. Every single book in the series is full of amazing insights into life and people. There are dozens of inspiring and thought-provoking lines in every single book, that force you to change your perspective about life, about people, about relationships, about everything basically.

Earlier, I shared my list of 10 Favorite Harry Potter Characters. And I mentioned in that post that selecting only 10 characters was so difficult, because there are so many other characters of this series that inspire you and touch you.

Today, I was originally planning to share 10 Zen Takeaways from the Harry Potter series... 10 most-inspiring quotes from these books. But that turned out to be downright IMPOSSIBLE!

So I narrowed it down to only Professor Dumbledore... 10 inspiring and life-changing quotes of Professor Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of all times, from the Harry Potter series.

10 Zen Takeaways from Professor Dumbledore

  1. “To the well-organized mind, death is merely the next great adventure.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    Death doesn't scare those who are wise. For them, it is just another step in the natural progression of things. The Hindu philosophy, the Buddhism philosophy, both talk about rebirths. And about the eternity of soul. Fear of death is, therefore, only for the ignorant.

  2. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    Friends, and family, and relatives, and colleagues, and yes, our bosses too. It takes a great deal of courage to say "NO" to any of them. Even when we know what they're doing is wrong, we still try to avoid a confrontation as far as possible.

  3. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    Day dreams, fantasies, they don't get us anywhere in life. Only action does. Life is right here. Life is right now. Nobody can change the past. And nobody knows what will happen in the future. There is no point in living in either the past or the future.

  4. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    You may have big, impressive degrees from foreign Universities. You may hold big, powerful posts at your workplace. But if your choices in life are based on narrow thinking and short-sighted goals, then none of this matters. At the end of the day, you are measured not by your potential, but by your actual performance.

  5. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Remember to turn on the light. That's all there is to it. Human minds can hold only one thought at a time. The moment we think of something else, the previous thought disappears, until we consciously choose to think of it again. So whenever we are unhappy, we just need to REMEMBER to think of something happy.
  6. “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    One world. Nothing is impossible to achieve if we all focus our energies towards it, together. No cultural or language differences can be a barrier. 'Destination, Determination, Deliberation!' Together, these 3Ds will take us anywhere we can dream of!

  7. “Youth can not know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    Whenever I see parents who expect their kids to be more understanding and mature, I honestly feel like giving them a piece of my mind. "You can't relate to what your kid is going through, despite having been there yourself! Yet you expect him to display a level of wisdom that you've acquired only NOW!"

  8. “Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    Youth may lack wisdom, but it more than makes up for it with its courage and determination and resilience. Just give them a chance, and more often than not, you'll be surprised at what they can accomplish. Have a little bit of faith.

  9. “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
    Words are magic. How true is that! One person wounds you with his words, at times so deeply that your soul may bleed for years. And another person heals, again with just his words. Such mysterious and powerful magic!

  10. “It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
    As I mentioned in my post on 10 Personal Skills Of Narendra Modi That Truly Inspire Me, the moment you become attached to power, the moment you let it get into your head, is the very moment that marks the beginning of your downfall.

10 Zen Takeaways from Albus Dumbledore | Most Inspiring Quotes By Professor Dumbledore
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So there were my top 10 most inspiring quotes of Professor Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books... 10 priceless nuggets of zen wisdom that you could takeaway from Dumbledore, regardless of how old you were.

Which of these are your favorite too?
Which of these Dumbledore quotes have impacted you the most?
Do you have any other such favorite inspirational and powerful quotes of Professor Albus Dumbledore?

Here's more in "Books"!
And here's more in "#TenOnTuesday"!

This is my last post for A to Z 2019.

I have attempted this challenge twice before, and published one kindle ebook out of it. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

Happiness Begins With You | If You Want To Live Happier, Start Putting Yourself First

Happiness Begins With You | Start Putting Yourself First To Live Happier

Today's post is especially meaningful to me, because this is something I'm personally struggling with right now. Putting myself first. After years and years and years of putting everyone else and everything else first, I've finally decided to put my foot down and become "selfish" (if that's what it is).

Most of us grow up learning to put ourselves second. This "martyr-type" syndrome is ingrained in us right from the beginning. Especially with females, at least here in India.
"Let the old people eat first, then the guys and the kids, then we can eat."
I've been watching the ladies in my extended family do this since I was a little kid. Naturally, this, then, shapes up into your own belief system, doesn't it?

You grow up into adulthood, and you still continue putting yourself second-place everywhere. And eventually, some of you realize what is going on, and you start dissenting with this.

But that makes you hate yourself. Because you are not as much of a "martyr" as you are expected to be. You are "selfish". You are thinking about yourself. When all your life, you have been trained to NOT think about yourself.

Which means that there is clearly something wrong with YOU!

That's when you start becoming unhappy. Eventually, it starts showing in your body too, in the form of various illnesses.

I don't understand.
Why on Earth is it so wrong to think of ourselves at times?

Are we any less important than others? Were we created by mistake? Don't we deserve to exist and to occupy space?
Why are we always expected to compromise? On the food. On our personal space. On our favorite TV shows. On our career. Everything.

Why do we always have to be so accommodating? Even of other people's shit?

Why do we "sell ourselves short" in practically all spheres of life?

Just a faulty belief system that we were brought up in.

Happiness Begins With You | Start Putting Yourself First To Live Happier

I don't have any kids, but if I ever do, I just hope I can teach them that their happiness matters too, that they have as much of a right to live freely and fully as anybody else, that there is nothing wrong in thinking about yourself at times, about putting yourself first at times.

6 Ways In Which You Should Start Putting Yourself First, To Become Happier

  1. Your feelings are important

    I remember when my mom passed away. I was 19. The eldest daughter in the family. I was told NOT to grieve, but to be strong, as my family depended on me to look after them. Worst possible advice that you can ever give to a teenage girl who has just lost her mom!

    From a very early age, we are taught to repress our feelings, invalidate them, judge them into right and wrong. That is just so idiotically stupid! I don't know who came up with this brilliant idea, but all it does is create confused individuals who can never seem to get their shit together!

    Our feelings are the medium through which our higher-self/intuition communicates with us. And we are told to block this communication channel altogether! Or even to second guess it, doubt it! How does that make any sense at all?
    Your feelings ARE important. If something/someone makes you feel bad even the slightest bit, then it probably IS wrong. No two ways of looking at it. Let nobody convince you ever that your feelings are wrong.
  2. Your dreams are important

    "No need to see such big dreams okay... job, career...!
    Your in-laws will decide after you are married! Just learn how to cook and take care of the house!"
    Unfortunately, that's still the sad reality of most households in India.

    The movie Chak De was based pre-dominantly on this concept. And more recently, in Dangal, when Aamir Khan tries to guide his daughters to achieve their full potential as professional wrestlers, he has to face the wrath of the entire community!

    Women or men, why should anybody need to sacrifice their dreams for family? What are families for anyway? Are they supposed to help us chase our dreams, or are they there to chain us and pull us back from them? If it's the latter, then why have a family at all?
    Never sacrifice your dreams for anyone. It only builds resentment. You can always let go of one dream because some other dream is more important to you. But let your feelings guide you.
  3. Your work is important

    Raise your hands if you have faced any of these situations!

    • Husband's parents are visiting. So naturally, the wife has to take an off from work.
    • "Working from home? Oh then you can easily juggle your schedule to accommodate us."
    • "It's just writing, for God sake! You're not doing anything serious!"
    • "This is handmade... who's going to pay so much for this!"

    Whether you're a housewife or working, junior executive or top management, formal employee or a freelancer or an artisan, your skills are unique. What you bring to the table is unique. What you create is unique.
    Never let anyone underestimate your skills and what you do. Never EVER let anyone convince you that what you do is not important enough.
  4. Your needs are important

    In April 2016, when I was taking physiotherapy for my injured shoulder, my therapist told me that usually, women my age never regain full movement of their shoulder, because they don't take the time out to do the exercises, and they don't give it the rest required. They are just so busy looking after the family, that they don't even give their body time to heal. Some insight, huh? But what he said was quite true.

    There is nothing wrong in taking care of the people you love, catering to their needs. But your needs are important too. And you have every right to take care of your needs first. This is not some Mythological epic saga, and you are no "Daanveer Karn" that you have to take care of other people even at the cost of your own basic needs.
    You have every right to ask for whatever you need, and you have every right to receive it. Be it help in something (for me, it's usually shopping), or some special food constraints, or a "timeout", or even just your personal space for an hour or two.
  5. Your "me-time" is important

    Family, kids, parents, customers, clients, boss, friends, neighbors, they are all important. But so are you. I learnt this the hard way. When I opened my store, I was working 7 days a week, from 10 am to at least 9pm. Sometimes even later. Plus all the housework. And I didn't take a vacation for almost 5 years after opening my shop! #facepalm

    As someone mentioned to me a few months ago, "even a machine needs yearly maintenance". So yes, the stress started showing eventually.

    We really do need to make time in our day to exercise, rest, recuperate, go out with friends, enjoy our music, watch TV (and yes, we have the right to watch our favorite TV shows too), and pursue our hobbies, whatever they may be.
    Yes, our hobbies ARE very much important! And yes, it is completely OKAY to spend money on our personal hobby blog, if that's what we want and can afford it! Let nobody tell you that it is a waste of money!
  6. You are important

    There are so many people around us who go out of the way to talk us down, show us, at every possible occasion and in every possible way, that we are "less", that there is something totally wrong with us, that we don't deserve any of the good we have in life. That we are just not "worth it". Not worth returning calls, not worth doing something nice for, not worth showing up on time (at times, not showing up at all!), in fact, not even worth basic respect and kindness.

    Unfortunately for us, our schools teach us so many things that we never ever use in life, but they don't teach us about people. Especially about how to recognize and deal with narcissists.

    People who really love you NEVER put you down. They go out of their way to make you feel special and loved and cared for. They don't go out of their way to make you feel small and insignificant all the time.
    You ARE important. And you deserve to be appreciated and respected. Let no one take you for granted, EVER.

Happiness Begins With You | Start Putting Yourself First To Live Happier
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These are the 6 ways I recommend, in which you should start putting yourself first. At least, this is what I have started doing since last couple of years. Some people may not like it at first, because they have been used to being put on the pedestal until then. But eventually, if they genuinely care for you, they WILL turn around.

Yes, this is very difficult to do. Yes, the people around you, who are affected by your sudden change, will not make it any easier for you. Yes, you will come close to giving up so many times. But remember:

  • You are stronger than you believe.
  • You are more beautiful than you think.
  • You are loved by many more people than you know.
  • You are more amazing than you could possibly ever imagine.

So just:

ACCEPT yourself as you are, BELIEVE in people a little bit, FORGIVE those who don't make through this transition in your life, and be GRATEFUL for those who do acknowledge your worth in their life.

Do you ever put yourself first? Or is it always about the others and their needs?
Do you feel exhausted and worn-out all the time? Ignored?
Do you hold you head high? Or do you let people use you all the time?

This is my 25th post for A to Z 2019.

I have attempted this challenge twice before, and published one kindle ebook out of it. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love

5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love

A Xenophile is a person who is attracted to all things foreign... foreign people, cultures, and customs. If you are a xenophile, then you will love watching these 5 English movies that are set in foreign countries, and give a glimpse into that country's culture, life, and people.

While there are thousands of English movies that are set in various countries all over the world, not all of them show much about the culture of those locations. Some are simple love stories, like Letters to Juliet, some may be rom-coms, like Leap Year, and many others are more focused on fantasy than the place's actual culture, like The Great Wall and The Forbidden Kingdom. There are also full-fledged action movie series based in different foreign locations, like The Fast and Furious series, or the Bourne series.

I am not touching any of those movies in this article. This is only about movies that actually show something about a foreign place's culture. Here are 5 such must-watch movies for all xenophiles.

5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love

These are 5 brilliant movies for all the xenophiles among you. If you love knowing about foreign people and their culture, you will fall in love with these movies. I have made a mix of genres here - comedy, romance, action, drama - they're all in here.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. (Many thanks, if you choose to support me this way.)

  1. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel series (2011/2015)

    5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

    Seven British retirees come across an online ad of a newly restored hotel for elderlies, called "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". Impressed by the ad, they decide to "outsource" their retirement to this luxurious but inexpensive seniors facility, on the outskirts of Jaipur, India. On their arrival, however, they find that it is not so luxurious after all. But their host, the young and optimistic Sonny (Dev Patel), makes up in charm for what the hotel lacks.

    At first, they are all overwhelmed by everything... the "loud" people of this country, the spicy meals, and of course, the dilapidated hotel, but soon, they are completely taken over by Sonny's exuberance and India's vibrancy. We watch them adjust to their new reality, even as Sonny deals with his own personal issues. And somewhere along the line, many different stories get entwined.

    Watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and its sequel,The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, on Amazon Prime Video.

  2. The Last Samurai (2003)

    In the face of an enemy,
    in the Heart of One Man,
    Lies the Soul of a Warrior.

    5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love: The Last Samurai

    Set in the 1870s, in Japan, The Last Samurai tells the story of Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise), a cynical veteran of the American Civil war, and an American military advisor, who is hired by the Emperor of Japan, to train his peasant army in modern warfare using firearms. The traditional Imperial Samurai warriors, however, reject this Westernization and use of firearms, even as they remain loyal to the sacred dynasty.

    When the ill-prepared army is slaughtered by the sword-wielding Samurais, Algren's life is spared by the Samurai leader Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), because of his courageous stand in the battlefield. As a prisoner of the Samurais, Algren recovers from his injuries, and also learns about their traditions and code of honor. He finally ends up embracing the very same Samurai culture that he was hired to destroy.

    Watch The Last Samurai on Amazon Prime Video.

  3. A Walk in the Clouds (1995)

    A man in search. A woman in need. A story of fate.

    5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love: A Walk In The Clouds

    Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves) is a young married US military soldier. On his way home after World War II, he meets a girl, Victoria Aragon (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón), who is terrified to go home to her strict and conservative Mexican family, because she knows they will never approve of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

    Paul offers to help her by posing as her husband until things calm down, when he would leave. But during his stay at their place, he not only wins her family's hearts, but also hers, at the same time, falling in love with their customs, and with her. Unfortunately, he is still married. Will fate intervene to bring them together?

    Watch A Walk in the Clouds on Amazon Prime Video.

  4. Hidalgo (2004)

    Unbridled. Unbroken. Unbeaten.

    5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love: Hidalgo

    Frank T. Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen), a cowboy and dispatch rider for the U.S. cavalry, was the greatest rider the West had ever known. But the East was known for its centuries old 3000-mile race for survival across the Arabian desert, the Ocean of Fire, a challenge in which only the finest and noblest Arabian horses ever participated, horses owned by some of the most royal families.

    So they don't take too kindly to the American cowboy who claims that his mustang, Hidalgo, can compete against the world's purest thoroughbred Arabian horses and Bedouin riders. For Frank, this race was not just about money or honor, but about his very survival, and that of his spirited horse, as they try to make their way through the unknown and hostile Arabian desert, and attempt the impossible.

    Watch Hidalgo on Amazon Prime Video.

  5. Queen of Katwe (2016)

    One girl's triumphant path to becoming a chess champion.

    5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love: Queen Of Katwe

    Katwe is a small slum in Kampala, Uganda, and the Queen of Katwe is the story of 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) who lives with her mother and siblings in these slums. It is a distressing portrayal of her family's daily struggles with poverty, until she goes to a missionary program and meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), who teaches the local kids how to play soccer and chess.

    Under Katende's tutelage, Phiona goes on to become a top chess player. But you know, it's never so easy to leave your past behind. You have to really fight for what you want. And this movie is all about Phiona's fight, about how she steals her destiny from the shackles of poverty and despair in the slums of Uganda.

    Watch Queen of Katwe on Amazon Prime Video.

5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love
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So this was my list of 5 most-recommended English movies, set in foreign countries, that all xenophiles will love watching. These movies are not just based in different countries, but they also give some glimpse into the life and people of those foreign locations.

There are many more such movies. I will keep adding them to this list gradually.

Do you love watching English movies that show the cultures of foreign lands?
Which of these have you seen before?
Which other English movies would you recommend for xenophiles?

Every Saturday, I give recommendations of products, apps, books, movies, and websites. You can sign-up for my FREE Weekly Newsletter below to receive them directly in your inbox.
Here's more in #SpotlightSaturday from miss_teerious!

This is my 24th post for A to Z 2019.

I have attempted this challenge twice before, and published one kindle ebook out of it. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

14 Water-Rich Vegetables That Help You Stay Hydrated | Summer Veggies With High Water Content

14 Water-Rich Vegetables That Help You Stay Hydrated | Summer Veggies With High Water Content

Human body is made up of about 70% water, and it needs this water-balance to be maintained, in order to perform its various functions. So we need to continuously replenish the water we lose in summers, because otherwise, we can suffer from dehydration, a serious condition that can cause various health problems, such as headaches, tiredness, confusion, irritability, constipation, dizziness, fainting, and even death.

With temperature already over 40 degrees Celsius, it is peak summers here in India. Even indoors, in the afternoons, it feels like we'll just evaporate! No matter how much water we drink, we are still thirsty! That is why, we need to include water-rich foods also, in our daily meals during summer. Luckily for us, we have plenty of high water content fruits and vegetables available in summers, to keep us hydrated and refreshed.

While fruits are more preferred by most, because we can eat them raw, or make cool summer juices, smoothies, and shakes with them, there are many of us who can't eat that much sugar on a daily basis. Not even the natural sugar in fruits. For them, we have a huge variety of water-rich vegetables, many of which have even higher water content than fruits.

Here's a list of 14 summer vegetables, with the highest water content, to help you beat the heat and stay hydrated during these scorching summers.

14 Water-Rich Vegetables That Help You Stay Hydrated In Summers

  1. Cucumber

    Cucumbers are an excellent source of water during summers. With around 96% water content, they are low in calories and rich in nutrients, like Vitamin A, C, K and folic acid, and a storehouse of minerals, like Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese. They promote weight loss and bowel regularity, may lower blood sugar, are high on antioxidants, and good for the skin. Their skins are a rich source of fiber. And they are super easy to eat. Their cool, crunchy, juicy taste is very appealing in summers.

  2. Bottle Gourd

    Bottle Gourd, or lauki or doodhi, as it is known in India, is considered by some to be a "magic food". With 96% water content, this humble vegetable has many health benefits. Its high water content, fiber, and alkali content, help in relieving constipation and acidity. It helps fight inflammation of the liver and kidneys, has an overall cooling effect on the body, and keeps your heart healthy. It is a natural detox food, promotes weight loss, reduces stress, helps in treating insomnia, and prevents premature graying of hair. Bottle Gourd can be taken in the form of juice, or soup or cooked as a dish. For the more adventurous, here's my Bottle Gourd (Lauki) Kofta Curry Recipe.

  3. Lettuce

    Lettuce is the leafy green thing you'll find in your burger or salad when you eat out. Made up of 96% water, it is crunchy, refreshing, and has a neutral taste. It is not so rich on fiber, but has significant amounts of Vitamins A, K, and C, and also Potassium, Calcium and Folate. Adding lettuce to your daily meals is easy. Cut into bite-sized pieces, and toss into your favorite salad, or throw a couple of leaves in your sandwich. It can be stored in your refrigerator for up to a week, loosely bagged in plastic. If wilted, soak in ice water for about 15 minutes to make it crisp again.

  4. Celery

    Celery is a marshland plant, with fibrous stalk that tapers into leaves. With about 95% water, celery is an excellent source of dietary fiber, and a storehouse of a wide-variety of minerals and vitamins. It helps to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, promotes Urinary Tract health, improves heart health and immunity, detoxifies the body, and has anti-inflammatory and even anti-cancer effects, as per this study. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22320960) Add it easily to your salads and soups. Note: Celery is NOT recommended in pregnancy.

  5. Radish

    Radishes are a root crop, available in various shapes and colors (white, red, black, purple). With about 95% water content, radishes can be juicy, sweet or pungent in taste. They are rich in a lot of nutrients, including the B-Vitamins (thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, folate, and vitamin B6). They are good for stomach and liver, are natural detoxifiers, promote immunity, and help relieve symptoms of piles/hemorrhoids. They are diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-congestive and anti-carcinogenic. Radishes may be eaten raw, or pickled, or cooked.

  6. Zucchini

    Zucchini is a summer squash that can grow up to 1 meter long, but is usually harvested at about 20cm. With about 95% water, zucchini is rich in fiber and contains zero fat. It has significant amounts of Vitamins C, K, B6, Folate, riboflavin, and minerals, like Potassium and Manganese. It has good antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and assists weight loss by keeping you full on hardly any calories. You can eat it raw, sliced or shredded in your salad, or you can cook it. Try to avoid storing it in the refrigerator for more than 3 days, as it can't stand cold temperatures.

  7. Tomatoes

    With 95% water, minimal carbs and calories, tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C, K1, Potassium and Folate. Knowledge about their laxative properties has been passed down to us through generations. Their vibrant color and flavor can turn the most boring food into a mouth-watering delicacy. Tomatoes are such a vital part of our kitchen that I can't imagine a single day without eating tomatoes in some form or the other. Salads, soups, sauces, chutneys, lunji, curry, sandwiches, bhelpuri... the list is endless!

  8. Bell Peppers

    Sweet bell peppers, or capsicums, contain up to 94% water, and are also an excellent vegetarian source of Vitamins C, A, E, K1, B6, Folate and Potassium. Available in different colors (green, red, yellow, orange, purple), most of their calories come from carbs. Green ones are the unripe variety. So they are not as sweet in flavor as the rest, and are also cheaper than the other colors. Bell peppers are especially good for skin and eye health. They can be eaten raw (finely chopped/shredded in salads) or cooked. Here's one of my favorite recipes for bell peppers... Stuffed Capsicum in Microwave.

  9. Cabbage

    Cabbage has been one of my favorite vegetables for the last 2-3 years. Earlier, we used to get it only during winters, but now it's available practically all the year round. With 93% water content, cabbage is amazing for weight loss. It is extremely low in fat and calories, and a storehouse of Vitamins C, K, B1, B5, B6, and minerals like Potassium, Iron, Manganese and Magnesium. A natural antioxidant, cabbage helps reduce inflammation and improves immunity. I find it a bit too chewy eaten raw in salad, but I love it cooked (stir-fried, or in soups or various dishes), or even as sauerkraut.

  10. Okra

    Known as Lady Finger or bhindi in India, Okra is also a high water content summer vegetable, with about 93% water. This green, finger-shaped vegetable, with a mild taste and characteristic viscous juice, is another good source of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects on our body. It promotes heart health and gastrointestinal health. Fresh okra has a slight fuzz on the outside surface. It should be stored dry, and can be cooked in different ways. Most people don't like its slimy texture after cooking, but that can be avoided by cooking it without a lid, or in a microwave oven. Here's my recipe for Microwave Bhindi/Okra.

  11. Cauliflower

    Cauliflower is yet another nutrient-packed vegetable with about 92% water. Until a few years ago, it was not to be seen in the Indian vegetable markets after Holi. But now, we get it for quite a few months into the summers as well. Cauliflower is a weight-loss friendly, high-fiber food, that promotes healthy bacteria in the gut. It is a good source of antioxidants and can serve as a low-carb alternative to legumes and grains. It can be steamed, boiled, baked, roasted, stir-fried, stuffed, and even deep-fried as cauliflower fritters. You can grate it, to make cauliflower rice, or replace your mashed potatoes with cauliflower mash.

  12. Spinach

    Popeye's super-food, spinach, needs no introduction. We all know that this leafy-green vegetable is loaded with proteins, vitamins and minerals, especially iron. Spinach is, presumably, the richest vegan source of iron. But with 92% water content, it is also an excellent hydrating vegetable in summers. That is, if you can find it in decent quality in summers. I mostly get wilted/wet spinach here, which rots very quickly, so I avoid them in summers. Crisp, dry ones, like in the picture, are the best. Make soups, smoothies, dips, and fritters. Eat spinach raw, or sautéed, or cooked. Make spinach white sauce, and add it to your pasta or noodles or rice. Or make the popular Indian dish palak-paneer.

  13. Eggplant

    Eggplant, or aubergine, or brinjal, or baigan, as it is known in India, is another summer vegetable with about 92% water content. Low-fat, high-fiber, good source of Vitamins B1 and B6, and Potassium, Copper, Magnesium and Manganese, eggplants help manage weight and cholesterol levels, and are good antioxidants. They are a highly versatile food. Can be easily stewed or roasted or stuffed or baked. My personal favorite eggplant recipes are baigan ka bharta (roasted, peeled, mashed eggplants) and baigan ke pakode (eggplant fritters).

  14. Broccoli

    Broccoli belongs to the same plant group as cauliflower and cabbage. I personally don't like it, because it looks like a fungus-ridden cauliflower to me. But, it has some amazing health benefits too, along with roughly 90% water content. Until a few years ago, I had never seen Broccoli in India, but now, it is quite common at most vegetable shops. Rich in a wide variety of Vitamins and minerals, and also in omega-3 fatty acids, broccoli aids in digestion, prevents chronic diseases, and reduces allergies. It boosts metabolism and immunity, and has anti-inflammatory and detox effects on our body. Like cauliflower, broccoli can also be steamed, roasted, boiled or sautéed. Add it to your soups, salads, stews and curries.

14 Water-Rich Vegetables That Help You Stay Hydrated | Summer Veggies With High Water Content
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So this was my list of the top 14 high water content vegetables. Make these summer veggies a part of your daily diet, and they will help you stay hydrated and fresh. Note: Most of these water-rich vegetables are also a rich source of Vitamin K, which can interfere with your anticoagulant medicines. So please consult your doctor, if you are on blood-thinner medication, before taking these. Which of these do you include in your regular meals during the summers? Which ones are your favorite from this list? How do you like to eat them?

I share food tips, ideas, stories, and recipes, every Friday. You can sign-up for my FREE Weekly Newsletter below to receive them directly in your inbox.
Here's more in food from miss_teerious!

This is my 23rd post for A to Z 2019.

I have attempted this challenge twice before, and published one kindle ebook out of it. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

My Favorite Video Game As A Kid: Nintendo Oil Panic

My Favorite Video Game As A Kid: Nintendo Oil Panic

I used to be crazy about video games as a kid.

I had the Nintendo Samurai TV Video game console, with a cartridge that had around a 100 different games. Naturally, there was the traditional Mario Brothers and Bricks, plus there were games like Legendary, Islander, King Kong, Chess, and even Mahjong, which I didn't know how to play back then, but is an absolute favorite now!

Do you remember any of these games?

Oh, and how can I forget Road Fighter? The hyper-addictive game, because of which, I almost gave a heart attack to my driving instructor... and STILL can't drive! :P :P :P

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. (Many thanks, if you choose to support me this way.)

Well, I also had several pocket video games. Among these, my most favorite was Oil Panic. Coincidentally, this was also from Nintendo, from their Game & Watch series.

This is what it looked like:

My Favorite Video Game As A Kid: Nintendo Oil Panic

Oil Panic was a dual-screen game, about an oil leak on the second floor of a gas station.

Dual screen, hence double the complication level. You had to keep an eye on two screens at the same time! That is why, it became such a favorite.

Plus, this is one game that I have actually completed all the way through... right to the end. So naturally, I am a bit more partial towards it! :D :P

I had no idea it was such a popular game until I did a Google search for it today, to find an image for this post. Frankly, I wasn't expecting to find a single image, but I found several!

In fact, I even found a YouTube video showing the game in action! Have a look...

So the top screen shows the inside of the second floor of the two-storey building. The guy on the second floor can collect maximum 3 drops of oil in his small container, which he then has to empty in the big barrel carried by the guy on the first floor, making sure that he doesn't spill it instead on the two waiting customers at the ground floor.

I was addicted to this game like crazy. It was my favorite companion back then on all my train journeys.

I had really mastered the art of watching both the screens simultaneously. Man! What concentration I had while playing this game! I feel amazed just by thinking about it now!

And you know something?

One of my cousins in Patna (an year elder to me) has actually managed to free the princess in Mario Brothers. In front of witnesses, yes!

So he and I were competing for high scores on this game during one of my summer vacations at Patna... when, suddenly, my game got finished.



I completed it! Finished the very LAST level!

For a few seconds there, I couldn't understand what had happened. And when it finally sunk in... I was like...
I beat a Mario Brothers princess-winner at a video game!
I beat a Mario Brothers princess-winner at a video game!
I beat a Mario Brothers princess-winner at a video game!"
I mean, can you believe it? :D

I actually managed to beat a Mario Brothers princess-winner at a video game! How cool is THAT for a bragging right? :D :D :D



My Favorite Video Game As A Kid: Nintendo Oil Panic
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Oh boy! What days! What memories! What simple pleasures in life!

Did you play video games when you were a kid?
Which one was your favorite?
Have you ever managed to reach the end of a game?

P.S. - While doing research for this post, I found an Android App version of Oil Panic on Amazon. I haven't tried it out myself. The one review posted there says that the game is fine, but the picture quality is poor. But you can give it a try if you want to experience the game.

I also found a remake of the classic Road Fighter, again an Android app, called Road Racer. This one is available for FREE download at the time of writing this post.

Here's more in "#ThrowbackThursday".
And here's more in "Games"!

This is my 22nd post for A to Z 2019.

I have attempted this challenge twice before, and published one kindle ebook out of it. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

How Often Should You Update Your Blog | Ideal Content Publishing Frequency For Digital Marketing

How Often Should You Update Your Blog | Ideal Content Publishing Frequency For Digital Marketing

How often should you update your blog? What is the ideal frequency for publishing fresh content on your blog for digital marketing?

There is a never-ending debate in the blogosphere about this. Some content marketeers say you should blog daily, some vehemently tell you to NOT blog more than thrice a week, and yet others advise a posting schedule of several times a day!

So whose advice do you follow?

You decide for yourself, because there can be no "one size fits all" in blogging.
Your goals from blogging are different. Your commitments outside of the blogging world are different. Your blog niche is different. Your reader-base is different. So how can your content publishing frequency be the same?
Okay, but then how DO you determine the ideal blog update frequency for YOU?

To answer this question, let’s first take a look at the pros and cons of high blog post frequency.

Advantages of High Update Frequency On Blogs:

  • Better Search Ranks and Authority.

    That is obviously a given. Google loves fresh content. So, all other things remaining same, blogs that get updated more frequently are better ranked on search engines.

    Of course, this is only true when you’ve taken care of the SEO aspect of your content, and you are not downgrading the quality of your articles.

  • More "New Visitors".

    More new content means that there are more of your posts on search results pages. In other words, there are more “entry points to your blog” for new visitors, who find your blog through search engines.

    Again, this is also dependent on the quality of your content and SEO. Sometimes, even just one exceptionally high-quality and high-ranking post can bring in more traffic that half-a-dozen average posts.

  • More "Repeat Visitors".

    If a news channel showed the same news for a week, how often would you watch that channel? Same principle applies to blogging.

    If you don’t give new content to your readers for days on end, why would they visit your blog repeatedly? Unless, of course, you've created some kind of lengthy tutorial, which they've bookmarked and refer to repeatedly.

Disadvantages of High Update Frequency On Blogs:

  • Writer Burnout.

    This is the most common problem with posting too frequently on your blog. You experience what is called "Writer Burnout".

    Posting too often on your blog can affect you as a writer. It can drain you physically and mentally. It can affect your writing quality, and even dry up your inspiration wells. Worst case scenario: it can cause you to give up blogging altogether.

  • Reader Burnout.

    A severe case of “blogorrhea” can affect your readers as well (i.e. the regular ones). They might not be able to keep up with your update frequency and opt to unsubscribe. I mean, let's face it, yours is not the only blog they have subscribed to, is it? So, try to to keep this in mind when designing your content schedule.

    Also, if you plan to increase/decrease your blog update frequency for a temporary duration, then you might want to inform your readers about it. Keep them in the loop, so they know what's happening.

  • Reduced Engagement.

    How often have you left WhatsApp groups because they were too active for you? Every time you checked your phone, there were like 600 unread messages from the group. At first, you tried to scroll through them all, but then you realized that those discussions were already over. It was like reading yesterday's newspaper.

    That's exactly what happens on a very high blog update frequency. It doesn’t leave much time for reader engagement through comments. The “commentariat” are forced to move on to your next post. You are also busy writing your next post, instead of replying to comments on your last post.

Pros and Cons of High Content Publishing Frequency On Blogs

Based on the above pros and cons of high blog post frequency, here are 7 pointers that should help you decide how often YOU should update your blog.

7 Points To Help You Decide How Often You Should Update Your Blog

  1. Blogging Goals.

    What exactly are your goals from blogging? Are you simply keeping a personal journal? If yes, then write whenever you want to write, because none of this applies to you. This post is only for bloggers who are into digital marketing. If, however, that's what you are, then please DO read on.

    How fast do you want your blog to grow in readership? For slow growth, post twice or thrice a month. For moderate growth, post twice or thrice a week. For steady growth, at least 5-6 posts per week are recommended. And for fast growth, you need to post 3-5 times per day.

  2. Blog Age.

    The age of your blog is an important factor in determining your content publishing frequency. If your blog is new, you need to focus more on marketing, than content and readership.

    You must spend time finding other blogs in your niche and commenting regularly on them. Building relationships, so to speak. You must try to submit guest posts on other blogs and article directories, to establish yourself as an expert and gain some “backlinks”. Moderate update frequency is good during this period.

    On the other hand, if your blog has established a decent level of online presence for itself, then you can work more on content creation, to speed-up your growth rate.

  3. Content Diversity.

    If you have a tight niche blog, you should go with slow or moderate content update frequency. Because your readers won't be able to keep up with anything faster than that. They may have queries regarding your content, so you'll need to give them adequate time to engage with you.

    A diverse, all-over-the-place kind of blog, on the other hand, (like mine) with many unrelated categories, performs better with an update schedule of at least once a day, because its reader-base is also equally diverse, and not everyone reads every post.

    So you should aim for a slow/moderate frequency for each of your main categories.

    News blogs/sites are a completely different story. They HAVE TO post several times a day, because readers expect to find the latest information there.

  4. Traffic Source.

    How are you bringing visitors to your blog? What is your content traffic strategy?

    If you depend on search engines primarily, for your blog traffic, then it makes sense to have a higher update frequency for your blog. (As discussed in the pros above.)

    Unless you are in a niche where there is hardly any competition, or if you can create a handful of absolute "killer content" articles, that get linked to from thousands of other blogs. (Oh yes, some bloggers DO manage to do that as well!)

    But, if your readers are regular subscribers, or those who have bookmarked your blog, then you should try to keep it moderate or steady. In fact, even "steady" can be a bit too much if you have a niche blog. Both for you, as well as your readers.

  5. Post Length.

    If you write long, detailed, informational posts on a regular basis, then a posting schedule of once or twice a week is good enough. It gives you enough time to research and write, AND it gives your readers enough time to absorb what you’ve written and have their queries answered via comments.

    Shorter posts, however, can be published more frequently, as these are lighter on the brain cells, and usually don't require much research or engagement. Photo-heavy posts can also be published more frequently, for the same reasons.

  6. Number of Blog Authors.

    This is yet another important point for deciding your blog update frequency. Are you are a solopreneur, or a full-fledged content marketing team, with a diverse set of writers for different categories on your blog?

    Team blogs, or group blogs, also known as "multi-author blogs" can have a higher update frequency, as there is less likelihood of writer-burnout. Besides, they usually have different people for managing the other aspects of blogging, besides writing.

    Single-author blogs should, however, stick to slow or moderate growth. Because you don't just have to do the writing, you know. You also have to prepare the images, do all the internal linking and SEO, manage your blog's social media accounts, respond to your readers' queries, plus all kinds of admin jobs. As such, even daily posts can result in fatigue.

  7. You. Yes... YOU!

    I just mentioned above that solopreneurs should NOT go for high update frequency on their blogs. And yet, I have designed my blog's content calendar to have daily posts! Or at least, 6 days a week! Why is that?

    That's because... "I am ME".

    I have too many interests, and I get distracted too easily. So, if something is not a part of my daily routine, chances are that it will keep getting procrastinated, and eventually not get done at all. I did try "once or twice a week", but before I knew it, I was posting "once or twice a YEAR"! #seriouslyfacepalm

    That is why I say, read all the advice on the subject, but do what feels true to YOU. Because only you can decide what's best for you.
How Often Should You Update Your Blog | Ideal Content Publishing Frequency For Digital Marketing
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So, while there is no fixed "ideal content publishing frequency" in the digital marketing world, hopefully, the 7 pointers above will help you decide how often you should update your blog.

And whatever blog update frequency you decide on eventually, be sure to maintain consistency with it. If you’d like to experiment with it a little, don’t make the changes too abrupt, or at least inform your readers about what you’re doing. You can even conduct a poll and ask for their opinions directly.

So tell me...

Do you have a fixed blogging schedule currently?
How often do you update your blog?
Is it working for you?
Or do you think you ought to change your update frequency?

Here's more in "Blogging"!
And here's more in "#WorkspaceWednesday"!

This is my 21st post for A to Z 2019.

I have attempted this challenge twice before, and published one kindle ebook out of it. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

10 Interesting Truths About Bloggers

10 Interesting Truths About Bloggers

I've been blogging now for over a decade, and until a few years ago, blogging used to be more personal, giving us bloggers an opportunity to know each other better and even become friends.

We would share personal stories on our blogs, talk about our likes and dislikes in detail, sometimes rant together about stuff. Oh and there was no Instagram. So we'd even do the daily photo challenges on our blogs, complete with the background stories for each photograph.

Basically, we were a big virtual family.

And based on all my interactions with my "blog family", during all those years of "personal blogging", I came to some interesting realizations about bloggers in general.

Some of these insights into the bloggers tribe are amazing, some are outright funny! And I'm sure all bloggers reading this will be able to relate to these 10 interesting fun facts about bloggers.

10 Interesting Truths About Bloggers | 10 Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Notice About Bloggers

  1. Bloggers love books.

    Bloggers, as a general rule, are book lovers. Most love reading P.G. Wodehouse. Well, at least they have Wodehouse on their book-shelf.

    And their TBR pile is never-ending, because every time a blog buddy recommends a book, it automatically gets added on to the pile.

    They face all those challenges that other book lovers do, with one difference... they blog about those bookish challenges.

  2. Bloggers are amazing story-tellers.

    Oh yes! Bloggers love telling stories... even stories about how their little toddlers love telling stories!

    Their family members are often heard saying about them... "She takes 6 hours to narrate a 3-hour long movie."

    When they are conversing with their family members about something, they are told to "just give the short version, and save the details for their blog." Sighhhh.

  3. Bloggers are more prone to weight problems.

    Let's face it guys. No point in hiding the truth. Most of us are trying to lose weight.

    And we look at the handful of fit bloggers in our tribe with awe, thinking they are obviously from some different planet, or that their bodies are made from some different kind of material.

    Some of us even have a specific tag or category on our blog for this. (Ahem! Checks own 'tag-cloud'!)

  4. Bloggers excel at creating "something" from "nothing".

    Nothing is too insignificant for bloggers.

    We can dish out our "500 words" for practically anything under the sun... be it a flavored yoghurt from the market, or even just a glass of water! We can write a whole post on a one-line comment received from someone.

    Making mountains out of mole-hills?

    Oh yes, that phrase was coined for us.

  5. Bloggers are never really understood by their families.

    Our family and friends just don't get why we are so crazy about blogging. "You just have to sit in front of a computer and do a bit of writing and share a few photographs. What's the big deal about it?"

    Alas! They don't understand the creative process, the thirst of creating something different, wanting to stand out!

    But, while they may not understand us, thankfully, they have at least accepted our "insanity" by now. So they usually cooperate in our "blogging-adventures" without too much fuss or complaints. (READ: They have learnt that "quick" is "painless".)

  6. Bloggers are awesome jugglers.

    While professional bloggers do this full-time, small bloggers, like the ones in my blogger tribe, also have other occupations besides blogging. They manage families, kids, even other jobs some of them. And yes, they have other hobbies too, besides blogging.

    The more seasoned and prolific the blogger, the better s/he becomes at time management. Work, home, socializing, reading, blogging, playing virtual games... these are nothing more to them than balls in an expert juggler's hands.

  7. Bloggers are an innovative lot.

    Blogging, inevitably, makes us innovative and, as we Indians like to put it, "jugaadu". If a post has to be done, it just has to be done. It doesn't matter how many boxes we have to "think out of" in the process.

    For example, the time when I had to post on "Broken", but couldn't find any broken stuff in my house. Or the time when I had to post a picture of a "Kiss", with red lipstick, but I didn't have a red lipstick!

    Bottom-line: I've done some really weird things for my blog... AND I've seen my fellow bloggers also do equally crazy stuff for their blogs.

  8. Bloggers are a multi-talented species.

    Oh yes! Whoever thinks that blogging is only about writing and posting pictures, is downright dumb.

    Bloggers are skilled at so many different things. Writing, photography, using photo-editing tools... these are a mandatory part of our skill-set. Some of us even acquire varying degrees of web-designing skills, just to be able to beautify our blogs to our liking. Not to forget our varying degrees of SEO and social-media skills.

    In fact, why don't you just go ahead and read my full post on Blogger's Arsenal?

  9. Bloggers can have their "Eureka" moments anytime, anywhere.

    Yupp. Like all creative people, bloggers can get hit by blog ideas anytime, anywhere... a discussion on Facebook, while at work, in their dreams, while cooking, while painting their nails, even in the shower!

    (Note: Here are my Top Sources of New Blog Post Ideas.)

    And, while they may not run out naked like Archimedes, they might burn the dinner, (or even forget about it completely!), or they could just "zone-out" in the middle of a conversation, or a movie, and start typing furiously in the memo app on their phone.

  10. Bloggers love "blogger jokes".

    You know, like we Indians have our "sardar-ji jokes", bloggers have "blogger jokes". And they love sharing these "blogger jokes" with other bloggers. And they also love listening to, or reading about, "blogger jokes". Or anything funny about bloggers really.

    And I'm quite positive that as they are reading this post, they are nodding their head in agreement, AND laughing out loud at the funny bits. :D :D :D

10 Interesting Truths About Bloggers
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So there are the 10 truths I've noticed about bloggers. Ten interesting fun facts that all bloggers usually share.

Which of these do you relate to as a blogger?
And if you're not a blogger, but have a friend or family member who is, then which of these would you say applies to him/her?
Would you like to add to this list?

Here's more in "#TenOnTuesday"!

This is my 20th post for A to Z 2019.

I have attempted this challenge twice before, and published one kindle ebook out of it. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.