Friday, 8 December 2017

Things we bet you didn’t know about Chinese Food

  •  December 2017
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How many times have you claimed that Chinese is your favourite cuisine or how many times have you ordered for your favourite noodles and chilli chicken without even looking at the menu? No matter how many zillion of times, you have sworn allegiance to the cuisine from our neighbouring country, the fact remains that there are many aspects of Chinese food that we are unaware of. In fact, the food that we eat is an Indianised version and is very different from the authentic fare. Here are some interesting nuggets of information.

Soupy tales

We bet you begin your meals with soup. That’s not what the Chinese do. Unlike other cuisines, soup is part of the last course in a Chinese meal. The Chinese feel soup aids in better digestion and hence should be partaken towards the end.

Wide vegetable variety

If you think there aren’t many vegetarian options in Chinese food, you are hugely mistaken. Chinese eat far more vegetables than Westerners. They grow a wide range of vegetable such as bitter cucumber, pomeloes, tree fungi, varieties of

Everything is bite-sized

All food must be bite-sized so that it can be eaten with chopsticks. Chinese do not eat with fork and knives as they consider them to be weapons and eating with them is looked upon as barbaric. All food is chopped into bite-size pieces and cooked.

The rice/wheat divide

The rice/wheat divide is very prominent in China. People in the colder Northern regions eat mostly wheat in the form of dumplings, noodles, steamed buns, etc. and people in the relatively hotter Southern regions eat rice. If you visit Southern

Bones are to be eaten

Usually whole animals are served at meal times because Chinese do not like to waste anything. The bones are cooked and made soft enough to be chewed but at times when that can’t be done, they chew and spit it out onto a side plate.

The fortune cookie is unknown in China

Fortune cookies are served in all Chinese restaurants worldwide except China. This is because fortune cookies originated in the 1900s in San Francisco and got popular thereafter. Some historians have also traced Japanese origins for the cookie but there’s no evidence of it in China.

Myriad flavours

Chinese food has the widest range of flavours. According to Chinese medicine it has five key flavours—sweet, salty, bitter, sour and spicy that need to be balanced. The flavours differ from regions to region, for instance Sichuan food is known to be hot and spicy while Fujian cuisine is sweet and sour and Cantonese cuisine focuses less on spices and more on retaining freshness and natural flavours of ingredients.

The same food different versions

In China, the same food can be cooked in a number of ways, like chicken can be fried, steamed, stir fried, pickled in brine, deep fried, roasted, sautéed, so on and so forth.
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Thursday, 7 December 2017

7 Times you Need to say no to your Kids

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While being a parent comes with its own set of responsibilities, having to say ‘no’ to your child is probably one of the toughest parts of the job. But sometimes you need to fight off all temptation to cave into their little demands for candy before dinner or some extra video game time, and be firm while laying down the law especially in matters concerning their general health and wellbeing. Here are a few situations where saying ‘no’ can boost their immunity:
Going to bed and waking up on time : You need to be strict about bedtime—be it on holidays or school nights. If your little one is feeling energetic and lively at midnight, you need to convey that playtime is over and ensure that he or she goes to bed and wakes up on time. After all, an adequate amount of sleep is necessary to rejuvenate the body and keep it strong enough to fight off infections.
Skipping meals : Consuming food at regular intervals is good for digestion and helps keep the body strong. If your child refuses to eat certain meals, coax them gently. Breakfast is especially important. Skipping the most important meal of the day deprives the body of adequate nutrition. A healthy breakfast is necessary for effective cognitive functioning and will you’re your child’s energy levels high.
Overall hygiene : You need to stress on the importance of maintaining hygiene and cleanliness, especially before meals. Inculcate the habit of washing hands after using the toilet. Also, you needn’t feel guilty about saying no when your child sits at the table after playtime without washing his or her hands. Maintaining overall hygiene standards reduces the stress on your child’s immune system.
Less video games, more exercise : Allot time for your child to use the iPad or play video games. But also encourage them to go out and play some old fashioned football or take part in any other physical activity they enjoy. Exercise plays a huge role in boosting the body’s immunity; it increases the white blood cell’s ability to fight off infection.
No loading up on sugar : Ensure you control your child’s sugar intake. A diet high in sugar is known to weaken the body’s ability to fight germs.
Avoid junk food : Talk to your kids about how eating roadside food can make them sick. Sure, a pizza or burger once in a while is alright, but if it becomes a regular demand, you have to say no. Promote healthy eating! Your child’s diet should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean proteins and unprocessed whole grains.
No gadgets at mealtimes : Too much time in front of the television or on the computer will make your child lethargic. In turn, this will have an adverse effect on his or her health. So take the time to educate them about the harm too much TV can cause to their eyes. Introduce rules such as no gadgets at mealtimes or no unsupervised browsing.
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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Health Benefits of Drinking Hot Water


December 2017
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Drinking water is one the best favors you can do to your body. It has surprising health benefits such as strong kidneys, more energy, better mood, and lower cholesterol. Hot water only adds to the long list of reasons why water should be a staple in your diet with several exclusive reliefs. No one can argue that hot water is not tasty. But the few seconds of weirdness significantly outweigh the benefits.

Better digestion:

Warm water stimulates digestion. The body won’t use so much energy to break down the food you consumed, which makes it very easy for them to be digested and to smoothly pass through the intestines. Drinking cold water while you eat has the opposite effect. This is another reason why restaurants offer coffee or tea at the end of a meal.


Warm water helps the body flush out toxins as you sweat and urinate. Body temperature will rise as you consume the hot drink, causing you to sweat. There is no need to subject your body to juice cleanses. Many detoxing diets basically require you not to consume anythingbut juices. Your body needs about 2,000 calories a day to function properly. Anything less than that puts it in stress mode.

Improves blood circulation:

Drinking warm or hot water flushes the toxins, including fat deposits, circulating in your body, which improves blood circulation. Muscles relax as well, also aiding in better blood flow. Also, just like in taking a warm bath, your arteries and veins will expand, which gives more space for blood to flow, according to Johnston UNC Health Care.

Helps with pain:

Have you ever heard of women with menstrual cramps applying a hot pack on their belly to ease the pain? It works like a charm, not just there but on any swollen or painful area. The hot water relaxes the muscles and relieves the pain. Hot water also helps with headaches and other body aches.

Aids in losing weight:

The No. 1 immediate effect is hydration, which helps to shed extra pounds because you feel fuller for longer, resulting in eating less. Also, warm water raises body temperature which, in turn, increases your metabolic rate, which means you are burning more calories at rest. A study showed that drinking hot water helped people lose weight without having to follow a special diet or exercise program.

Slows aging down:

If you are looking for a free anti-aging product, look no farther than your kitchen sink. As your body detoxifies, your skin can recover faster after coming in contact with germs and other free radicals. Cells repair quicker which means your skin is glowing. It is elastic again, which significantly reduces the risk of wrinkles. Hot water also helps against acne by unclogging the pores.

Relieves constipation:

Constipation is a common result of dehydration. Water is what keeps the food moving down through your intestines. If the body is dehydrated, the large intestine will soak up whatever water it can from the food you consumed, making it too hard to pass, causing pain and constipation. Warm water will break down food faster, relieving your pain quicker. Also, warm water is more soothing for the intestines.

Cleanses the skin:

Hot water opens up the pores and flushes out the toxins within the skin. It hydrates it, so in a way it is a natural moisturizer as well. Fewer harmful bacteria in the body and in the skin mean a smaller risk for skin infections and other conditions, such as acne.

Better hair:

Hot water activates the nerves at the roots of your hair, making it soft and glowing. Regular activity of the roots helps the hair grow faster. Dehydration is one of the main reasons for dry hair. Each hair shaft is made up of 1/4 water and when you don’t drink enough, it causes your hair to become weak.

No dandruff:

The logic is unbeatable: Warm water keeps your scalp hydrated preventing the formation of dandruff, which are small pieces of dead skin, in the hair.

Lower risk of infections:

You have probably heard of boiling water when you’re hiking in the wilderness. This is because the process kills harmful bacteria and microbes in the water that can hurt your body after drinking it. By reducing your exposure to opportunistic infections, hot water is superior to room temperature or cold water.

Improves metabolism:

Drinking 2 cups of water will increase your metabolic rate for about 30 percent for up to 40 minutes, according to a study. This includes warm water, which increases your body temperature, resulting in a faster metabolism. Keep in mind that the difference won’t be huge – your metabolism is mostly affected by weight, age and genetics.

Soothes sore throats:

This is the perfect natural remedy for when you have a cold. Hot water dissolves the thick viscous substance secreted by the mucous membranes and helps to remove it from the respiratory tract. Drinking hot water also doses miracles with nasal congestion, especially if you inhale the steam.

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Aadhaar Linking: Insurance Policies, PPF, Bank Account, Mobile SIM, Deadlines And Other Details


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Insurance policies have to be added to the list of products or services to be mandatorily linked with Aadhaar. Linking of Aadhaar number – the 12-digit number printed on an Aadhaar card – with insurance policies linkage is mandated under the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017, insurance regulator IRDAI has said, asking insurers – general and life insurers alike – to implement the rules without awaiting further instructions. Quoting or linking of Aadhaar – the 12-digit personal identification number known as UID (Unique Identity Number) issued by the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) – is compulsory for many tasks today. These range from opening a bank account, a PPF (Public Provident Fund) account or a Post Office account to using a mobile phone/SIM.

Aadhaar Number-Insurance Policies Linking, PAN mandatory

IRDAI said Aadhaar and PAN/Form 60 are mandatory for obtaining financial services including insurance. Form 60/61 is submitted by those not owning a PAN (Permanent Account Number) card for making a transaction where quoting of PAN is mandatory.
Here are some deadlines set by the authorities for linking Aadhaar:

1. Deadline for linking Aadhaar card with PPF, NSC: December 31, 2017

For opening a Post Office account or investing in small savings schemes such as National Savings Certificate (NSC), PPF and Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP), Aadhaar is a must. While Aadhaar holders are required to mandatorily produce the Aadhaar, those not having an Aadhaar card or Aadhaar number as yet can quote the EID or enrolment identity number of their Aadhaar application, the government has said. Existing depositors can update their Aadhaar number till December 31, 2017, according to a notification issued by the finance ministry.

2. Deadline for linking Aadhaar card with PAN: December 31, 2017

In August, the Central Board of Direct Taxes – the apex policy-making body of the Income Tax Department – extended the last date for linking of Aadhaar with PAN or permanent account number. The new deadline given by the taxman is December 31, 2017. Earlier, this deadline was August 31, 2017. Linking of Aadhaar with PAN is mandatory for processing of ITRs for assessment year 2017-18, the Income Tax Department has said.
“If this linking (PAN-Aadhaar) is skipped, the return could be considered invalid and the person may have to file it again, which shall be considered belated and may attract penalty, interest and other consequences like disallowances for losses,” said Sandeep Sehgal, director of tax and regulatory at Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP.

3. Deadline for linking Aadhaar card with mobile number: February 6

Telecom companies have been sending alerts to customers about completing the process of linking Aadhaar card with SIM (mobile number). Aadhaar is to be linked with mobile connections/SIMs by February 6, 2018. The telecom department has announced three options to link UID with mobile connection: app-based, OTP-based and an IVRS facility.
DoT Secretary Aruna Sundararajan has said the government will not disconnect mobile connections of people who do not have the UIDAI number. She said the department is waiting for the Supreme Court judgement on Aadhaar issue to decide on the action to be taken in cases where people have Aadhaar but do not want to link it with their mobile number.

4. Deadline furnishing Aadhaar card details with banks/financial institutions: December 31, 2017:

Those already holding bank accounts are required to furnish the Aadhaar number by December 31, 2017, failing which the account will cease to be operational, according to a notification from the revenue department.

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Monday, 4 December 2017

10 Quiet Beaches Where the Sunsets Are Incredibly Romantic

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Want to escape with your partner to a quiet seaside getaway with magical sunsets? HolidayIQ reviewers know exactly where you should be heading to.

1. Havelock Island

HolidayIQ reviewer Archi Banerjee adds, “The Howrah bridge, a natural coral bridge is a must watch so is the sunset point, where everyone gathers in the evening to watch the wonderful sunset. Near the Howrah bridge you can find a whole lot of sea life and living corals. …Neil Island is a place to sit back and enjoy nature”
HolidayIQ reviewer Akash Banerjee says, “Pristine white sand beach and nothing else…The beach is wonderful and is a picture to behold. The sunset at the beach is a wonderful sight.”

2. Alappuzha (Alleppey)

HolidayIQ reviewer Amitra Kar adds, “ Being one of the finest beaches of Kerala, it is one of the busiest as well and there are plenty of reasons for it. It’s a clean white sandy long beach which is best viewed during sunsets when the pier provides a unique and magnificent photo opportunity. ”
HolidayIQ reviewer Rizwanuddin Rafiq says, “Vembanad Lake also known as Punnamada Lake, it is the longest lake in India and it is the largest lake in Kerala. Famous for its boats and cruise….This backwater and boat’s journey at least I can not forget. Really this was a milestone of my romantic trip. ”

3. Kozhikode (Calicut)

HolidayIQ reviewer Joji Joseph says, “Watch sunset nibbling seafood delicacies at Kozhikode Beach …sight of a clear sunset. We walked along the Dolphin’s point and the spectacle of Dolphins playing in the water was mind blowing. ”
HolidayIQ reviewer aviral Mukherjee adds, “Beautiful sunset at Kozhikode Beach …go with any mood return with the most romantic ones!!!!… It was 5 in the evening and the perfect time to be there. There was some musical show going on and we could enjoy both. The sunset along with Malayali music. ”

4. Canacona

HolidayIQ reviewer Nikhil Manchanda shares, “A clean beach with lots of seashells to be collected. A worth while visit with a no water sports though but it offers Dolphin rides which are quite enjoyable and fun. … quiet and tranquil experience.”
HolidayIQ reviewer vijay adds, “Beautiful and calm beach to stay. It is worth to visit this beach. Sunrise and sunset looks awesome. Very good place to relax. Very good ambiance in the evening.”

5. Vagator

HolidayIQ reviewer Rizwanuddin Rafiq shares, “The sunset is wonderful through rocks…This beach is providing all the opportunities fun, sea bath, tanning-Sun bath, and the magnificent sunset View, which is a major attraction, and much more to increase the majesty of your vacations or holidays.”
HolidayIQ reviewer Hridesh Singh Tomar says, “Divine sunset view at amazing beach …Amazing, picturesque and nice beach, with superb food options. A beach where you can spend quality time with your partner without being bothered by the crowd and away from the hustle-bustle of places”

6. Mandrem

HolidayIQ reviewer Rizwanuddin Rafiq shares, “Mandrem is another quiet beach, the most affectionate for me and for others, the best preserved paradise on the North Goan coast…. It is one of the safest beaches and has numerous Beach shacks, really served fine sea food and beverage of your choice. This beach is also a great choice for foreign tourists, it has very soft and nice sand a very good stretch and beach is having uniform gradient and waves are really nice. …The waves of the beautiful Arabian sea helps you get back to you. I love the beach, and I love sunshine perhaps I am crazy. Really this is the most attractive and beautiful Beach In North Goa. Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”
HolidayIQ reviewer Rizwanuddin Rafiq says, “This is place where blue sapphire coloured ocean will make you to be romantic, as well as a perfect beach for physical transform and beach shacks play their role sincerely. …This beach is very peaceful and for sun bath…Having a nice stretch and soft golden sand backed by the coconut and palm trees. ”

7. Varkala

HolidayIQ reviewer Gaurav Vashistha shares, “It is one of the best beach I have visited, you must visit here. Best time is during sunset. There are quite a few people. The beach is really long and wide, so it feels enough space for everyone. The good thing is that the restaurants are really close to the beach. Best place to relax and rejuvenate yourself.”

8. Gokarna

HolidayIQ reviewer Ami Bhat says, “We stayed at the Kudle beach …Dotted with rocks, this is an amazing place to just sit around and relax. There are plenty of shacks on the beach which gives you quite a few food options. The beach is freq…The sunset on the beach is really beautiful and worth a million clicks. ”
HolidayIQ reviewer Sreesha Divakaran shares, “Om Beach – blissful and serene … I’ve always considered myself a beach person. Which is why, for me, Om Beach was like the cherry on the icing! Not only is it a pleasant beach, it was less crowded and VERY clean! ”

9. Mandarmani

HolidayIQ reviewer Pranesh Sarkar shares, “Walking at the beach during sunrise/sunset is an awesome feeling….go to the Mohona where you can see Red Crabs. A very pleasant atmosphere during sunset. ”
HolidayIQ reviewer Shyamal Choudhury shares, “Peaceful beach… If you are looking for a calm and quiet vacation for two to three days, a perfect location to choose from.”

10. Malvan

HolidayIQ reviewer Konark Patel adds, “Serene White Sand Beach…Visiting the beach after dinner in the night was one of the best moments of my life – Peaceful moment with sound of the waves pleasing the soul! Try to visit the beach during sunset for witnessing one of the best views. Carry torch at night as crabs are active at night on the beach.”
HolidayIQ reviewer Mrunalini Randive says, “Perfect place for Holiday. Beach is clean and water is clear. Had awesome experience during scuba driving. For fish lovers food is excellent. sunset on this beach is very beautiful.”
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Thursday, 30 November 2017

Dos and don’ts for Buying a Second Home

Dos and don’ts for Buying a Second Home Credits :
Owing a second home can be a rewarding experience. However, home buyers should be clear about the purpose of investing in the house and select a location and property according to their needs. We examine the points that one should consider
The main purpose of a weekend home or second home, is to provide an avenue for recreation and to spend time away from one’s regular routine. Consequently, weekend homes are generally located away from urban areas.
A home buyer invests in a second home for two main reasons:
  • To use the property for one’s own purpose or to rent it out.
  • As an additional investment over the long-term period.
“Sometimes, the purpose is to spend quality time with family, or pursue hobbies like reading, playing sports or engaging in other activities that may be related to the location of the weekend house,” says Anubhav Jain, director, Group Silverglades.
For example, weekend homes near golf courses provide recreational value to the buyer, while a home in the hills or on a beach provides a serene view, all while living in a home away from home, Jain elaborates.

Why do you Want to Buy the Second Home

Experts believe that one should buy a second home property for self-use, only if they can commit themselves to spending a good deal of time at that home. Dharmesh Jain, chairman and managing director of Nirmal Lifestyle, points out that the advantage of buying a home for self-use, is that the home buyer can move into or occupy the property at his/her discretion. The home could be in could be a picnic spot, or in a hill station that has a pleasant climate and away from noisy urban areas, or in a location where the family can get together for parties, he says. However, there is also a segment of buyers, who tend to use real estate as a source of income generation.

ROI Prospects of a Second Home

The ROI prospects of the second home, depends on factors such as:
  • The location of the second home.
  • Rental demand in the area.
  • Social and physical infrastructure in the region.
  • Overhead cost, such as maintenance charges, car parking charges, etc.
  • Availability of public transport
For example, the cost of a second home in the Mumbai’s suburban area such as Navi Mumbai, will be low, as compared to a house in Mumbai city. While a home of 1,200 sq ft in Navi Mumbai, would cost approximately Rs 90 lakhs to Rs 1.1 crores, a similar-sized home in Mumbai city will cost around Rs 1.5-1.8 crores. However, the rental return for a second home in Navi Mumbai is around 3%-4%, while the same for a first home in Mumbai is close to 5% of the capital value. The maintenance and other variable cost, will also be higher for a first home within the city area, in comparison to a second home at a distant location.
Moreover, within the second home segment itself, a property that is close to commercial spaces and offices (such as Thane), is likely to give higher ROI than a second home in a secluded location (such as Kharghar).

How to select a second home that suits your needs

“One of the most important things, when you plan to buy a second home, is to select the right location. The second home should not be too far away from the city. Another major thing, is to determine how much the second home would cost,” suggests Jain.
Buyers should also study the demand and supply in the desired neighbourhood and opt for a second home that is easy to rent out and earn rental income, as well as providing capital appreciation over the years.

First home vs second home: Key differences

First home vs second home
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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

3 Things to Know Before Buying Earphones/Headphones

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Most of us use headphones or earphones on a daily basis, with our smartphones or music players. But do we ever think about whether our pair of earphones or headphones is the best at its job. Let us look at a few tips on how you can select a good pair of headphones.
Here are 3 factors to consider while buying a new pair of headphones-

1. Usage

The primary factor to consider must be your usage type. There are various types of headphones- the ones meant for indoor use, outdoor use and so on.
If you use your headphones while travelling, look for the one with a noise cancelling feature as it blocks the external noise and lets you enjoy your favourite music without any disturbance. If you are a fitness enthusiast, opt for the one with water and sweat resistant feature for obvious reasons.
If you use your headphones for watching TV at night, opt for wireless headphones as it lets you choose your favourite position while watching a good movie. If you are watching a movie or playing a game, go for the ones with stereo surround output for an immersive experience.

2. Music type

Headphones and earphones differ on the basis of their impedance levels.
In simple language, impedance is basically the amount of power required to drive a pair of headphones. Headphones with low impedance require less power to drive and thus can be used with source devices with weaker amplification like smartphones and portable media devices. They are more likely to blow out if excessive amplification is delivered to them.
On the other hand, headphones with high impedance require increased amplification to drive and deliver a more powerful output.
Therefore, it is important to look at impedance levels of your headphones while buying one. You must buy it keeping in mind the source device with which you intend to use your headphones.
Low impedance level is anything below 15Ohms and the high impedance is 50Ohms and above.
Most smartphones and media players are designed to be able to support headphones with impedance as high as 80Ohms, so impedance may not be an issue.

3. Design

If you intend to listen to music for a longer duration, go for the one with a good fit and padding.
Circum-aural or over-the-ear headphones distribute sound evenly and are very comfortable whereas in-ear earphones are ideal for travelling and blocking external sounds.