Sunday, 22 April 2018

Sandakphu-Phalut Trek

Not a very popular trekking destination but I thought to go for it. I had done a couple of treks before in the Uttarakhand region, and this seemed a bit different. Sandakphu is the highest peak in West Bengal, and it offers a grand view of the world's tallest peak - Everest (8,848 m), Kanchenjunga (8,586 m), Lhotse (8,516 m) and Makalu (8,463 m). Moreover, it gives an opportunity to cross the border and continue trekking in Nepal for half the duration making it an international trek (Haha!). I had enough reasons to finalise it as my first excursion in the Year 2018. 

I began my journey on 30th December 2017. I reached New Jalpaiguri next morning from where my pick up was scheduled for Jaubhari - the base camp. I joined other trekkers, and we were briefed about high altitude treks, the village, and Project Green Trails. I had a good night sleep and was mentally prepared for the challenges from next morning. 

We started early morning, and our destination was Tumling. The distance we had to traverse was 11 km with an altitude gain from 6,400 to 9,450 ft. Our first halt was Chittrey where we stopped for a quick tea break and roamed around a monastery. The journey continued, and I encountered India-Nepal border stone - a good photo opportunity and I took some time to click pictures. We continued to Lamaydhura where we stopped to catch up with the group while enjoying Tibetan delicacy from a local shop. The trail from Lamaydhura continued to Meghma, and on the way, we crossed SSB check post. Not very far from here, we stopped for lunch in one of the tea house. It took us another 45 minutes of flat walk (right next to the motorable road) to reach Tumling. It marked the end of our day's trek, and we were greeted to the views of the Sleeping Buddha. 

The Sleeping Buddha (also called 'Sleeping Shiva') is the name given to the Kanchenjunga cluster for its appearance. Mt. Kumbhakarna forms the head and face of Buddha, while Kanchenjunga forms the upper body. The other peaks that make up The Sleeping Buddha are Kokthang, Rathong, Frey, Kabru South, Kabru North, Simvo, Mt. Pandim, Tenzingkhang, Japanu, Narsing. 

The day began with an exhilarating view of Mt. Kanchenjunga bathing with first rays of the sun. Such a glimpse pumped us for our today's trek that was supposed to be challenging. Our destination was Kalipokhri, and the distance we had to traverse was 13 km with an altitude gain from 9,450 to 10,400 ft. We discarded the motor road and followed the hiking trail. It took us to Gairibas where we halted to catch our breath. Gairibas is a small village and marks the beginning of Singalia National Park. Our next stop, Kaiyakatta, was not very far but the trail included a steep climb. We had our lunch here! The difficult part of the trek was over, and we slowly moved to Kalipokhri. It is said that the Kalipokhri (black lake) is the footprint of Lord Shiva. The darkness soon engulfed the place as we reached our homestay. 

The next day's trek was not long and only slightly steep. Our destination was Sandakphu, and the distance we had to traverse was 6-7 km but with an altitude gain from 10,400 to 11,950 ft. As we reached here, we spotted a glass house near the cliff, and it gave 180-degrees panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks. While some of us sipped tea and coffee inside the glass house, I just walked around contemplating yet another Himalayan summit. 

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Dear Past Me

I know life has been quite difficult being inept at handling daily errands and we have always wanted to have a personal assistant like those in hot shot movies, who could just do all the tiring work for us. I call us ‘we’ because you are past and life is changing, we’re entering into a different era altogether. I am going where the world is going, and I recently had the privilege to fulfil our dream of making life easier. So, I came across this great invention by the fast-paced technology that is that of Google Assistant. It is a virtual personal assistant developed by Google that is primarily accessible on mobile and smart home devices, and it can also take on a two-way conversation which is its USP. Users can interrelate with the Google Assistant through natural voice or via keyboard input is also supported. In the same nature and as Google Now, the Assistant can search the Internet, schedule events and alarms, adjust hardware settings on the user's device, and show information from the user's Google account. Google has also announced that the Assistant will be able to identify objects and gather visual information through the device's camera, and support purchasing products and sending money, as well as identifying songs. 

The incredible thing about this technology is that it has now been included in Gooogle VPA enabled Bose QC35 II headphones. And these are the first to have Google Assistant. You see dear self what world has to bring in for us in this life. You know also it’s effortless to use Google Assistant, we just have to press the “Action” button on the headphones, and further one can easily talk normally like one does while on a call. You remember dear self how many times you missed out on important incoming messages and appointments? This is a solution to all such life problems as you can hear incoming messages and calendar appointments too. Further, we can also control music regarding skipping, shuffling tracks and switching playlists. Now isn’t that as good as a life hack! It also improves the music experience as it then gets used to your preferences and taste. Also, we have always been lazy to read news on our own and given that the world is facing a lot of advancements, you must have dreamt of keeping someone to read news for you. So, I’m going to spill the beans now; the Google Assistant also reads the news for you on a single click of the “Play the News” button. Similar to this is its calling experience where you don’t have to go on searching numbers. The headphones also make noise cancellation, and I know you wish you had something like that too, to save yourself from all the lies you spoke to parents. 

Google’s VPA indeed has limitless benefits, and it has made the interaction with the world more accessible. Everything is just a click away, and I finally have an assistant to give orders to, this is the coolest thing you can look for in the Bose QC35 headphones. Never thought everything that I have ever wanted would come in a headphone and it will make my daily life errands fun and easy. The headphone comes in our favourite colours- black and silver, and I can’t wait to suggest my friends about the same, now that I am done telling you how cool it is! 

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Decrypting Vitamin E

We all are constantly looking out for something that could keep us as healthy as possible. But what if one comes across something that could not just benefit a particular organ or disease but has multiple benefits and can literally give people branding other vitamins a run for their money. 

Vitamin E is one such nutrition that has multiple benefits. It plays many roles and not just takes care of health but naturally slows aging. Now, isn’t that great? 

I have been trying my best to keep the most appropriate amount of vitamin E in my diet as I heard a lot about the good it does and not just to one’s body but also skin and hair! Mostly, vitamins and other nutrients tend to only add to the goodness but vitamin E also protects the cells from damaging. Vitamin E also plays the role of antioxidant, preventing free radical damage to specific fats in the body. Vitamin E is also known as fat- soluble vitamin that’s required for the proper function of many organs. Further, vitamin E-rich foods also helps in treating and preventing diseases of the heart and blood and is found only in plant foods, including certain oils, nuts, grains, fruits and wheat germ. 

So, I recently increased vitamin E intake and that included taking more almonds and avocados. Almonds lower blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, reduce hunger and promote weight loss. On the other hand, avocados are nutrient-dense fruit. Further, I also started using olive oil not just as my cooking oil but also for my skin and hair where I use it with carrier oil. This makes skin and hair texture better. Vitamin E s also known for making vision better and one of the good sources for that is palm oil. And it also boosts immunity and prevents cancer. Palm oil is mainly used as cooking oil. 

It’s not just oils and fruits but we also have healthy snacks to munch on and also get the best out of it. Sunflower seeds are one such snack that has plenty of vitamins E. It is known to reduce risk for heart disease. So, you can always grab a nutty bar covered with sunflower seeds and have it to improve your energy level on the go. 

And how can I forget to mention spinach that I have increased intake of. The best part about this particular food is that you can eat spinach raw or toss it up in salads and consume all the goodness. 

For the people who love to munch on non-vegetarian delicacies, shrimp is one good source of vitamin E. Shrimp may be high in cholesterol but it is a low- calorie food which is rich in minerals and vitamins, especially Vitamin E. To get the maximum vitamin E intake one can combine shrimp with chopped onions, tomatoes, chilli peppers, garlic, lemon juice, and put olive oil on a bed of romaine lettuce. 

Vitamin E intake can always be fun and easy for kids and adults to consume and take care of themselves from many diseases and it’s not only only about the cure but vitamin E also prevents! With the right amount of Vitamin E intake in the diet and doctor-recommended Evion supplements - India's No.1 Vitamin E Brand, one can live a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. 

Go #Evion to win over Vitamin E deficiency.