Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Ice, Ice, Ice Baby!

The long weekend was approaching. Nina wondered if she could host a party at her place to reciprocate all the parties and get-togethers they had been attending over the last year. 
Yes, a three day weekend was ideal! Preps from Fri eve through Saturday, party on Sunday and Monday to clean, catch up on chores and maybe even relax. Perfect plan! Now to call Nikhil and drop the bomb on him. 

Nikhil had very specifically planned on doing absolutely nothing on the long weekend. He'd been dreaming of sleeping all through Saturday, eating and watching TV on Sunday and catching up on morning snooze, afternoon nap and maybe watch a movie at the new mall on Monday to keep the kids happy. But no, Nina was buzzing about this party that would be the end of all his carefully planned weekend scheme.

On top of it, he had to take charge of the entire drinks menu.


Nina was whirring like a dervish, flitting from room to room. Duster in one hand, phone in the other she dusted, cleared, rearranged the whole house, room by room while barking out lists to the vegetable vendor, screaming at the hapless Neel and Varun for the umpteenth time to not keep their toys always lying where people would be bound to trip over them. She sidled up to the kitchen for a cozy chat with her cook to motivate her to not let her down like she usually did.

Nikhil had been tirelessly going through all the youtube video tutorials there were on making ice. It was not an easy task. Getting the perfect, sparkly, crystal clear cube was an art. That reminded him, he must check if they had enough ice-trays. By afternoon, he'd memorized all there was to know on the art of ice-making. He decided to put the knowledge to work now. 
The freezer revealed 2 bars of icecream, frozen peas, a bowl of a strange green colored dessert that he fervently prayed wasn't meant for the party, some boxes of dryfruits....but where were the ice-trays?
Panic-attack! "Ninaaaa......" 

Now how on earth was he supposed to know that the ice-trays would be in the children's art basket? And who used ice-trays as painting palletes? Nina, of course!
Scourging the tarnished trays took some serious grit and determination and bravely he rose to the occasion. The trays were now nearly back to their original color.
With a steady hand he poured water (twice boiled to be specific) into the trays, draining off any excess and gently wiping away any stray drops, exactly like the tutorial instructed. 
An idea struck him, a brainwave infact! What if he made flavored ice cubes like he'd seen in that show-off Thakkar's place? That guy couldn't stop bragging about his strawberry daiquiri he, Nikhil would show him something even better!

Bless the souls who selflessly upload the web with lifesaving hacks and tutorials, Nik thought gratefully as he browsed the umpteen videos on making mind-boggling, exotic ice cubes. From Bloody Mary to Tequila shot flavored cubes, it was a whole new dimension he was venturing into.
He gracefully concluded that he would settle for something within his reach. The Blue Lagoon cubes sounded exciting and doable. All he needed was a spot of blue Curaçao and a dash of lemon juice in his ice-ice-ice baby!
Blue curaçao seemed untraceable in the kitchen and hunting for it with the formidable cook, Sheela maushi reigning over it was next to impossible. "Ninaa....."

Hmmph! So much for creativity and invention! What can one do when the basic infrastructure is so lacking? Is it so difficult to stock blue curaçao or tabasco or lime cordial or Kahlúa or whatever? Nik settled for some 'nimbu ka ras' and 'pudine ka patta' that the cook graciously smuggled him after a verbal shoutdown from Nina when he asked her for that blasted blue curaçao! He would show her, real talent doesn't need great ingredients. It's just the technique and knack! With the finesse of a Michelin star cook he tossed the 'local  produce' into the ice tray and dexterously transferred them into the freezer.

The table was groaning with everything from noodles, pizza and pasta to idli-sambhar, dahi-wada and pav-bhaji.
The guests were all over the house, kids romping over carefully dusted sofas, adults wiping fingers on curtains, music blaring and laughter all across.
Nina keep a steady flow of starters and snacks running while Nikhil enthralled the company with his steady supply of jokes.
Suddenly Nina jabbed Nik from behind and whispered,"Get the drinks started, will you?"
Nik immediately excused himself and went to the kitchen. The counter was laden with crockery of every size and shape. The glasses were thankfully kept fore-front, sweaky clean and ready for some action! 
He pulled out the ice-trays and emptied the perfect flavored cubes into his latest acquisition - a Champion's trophy shaped ice-bucket, bit of bummer considering India lost it, but still he was quite proud of it.
Now to get the spirits and he'd be ruling the party! He hunted the fridge from top to bottom, unrelenting to its irritating alert beeps of door open. Not a spot of alcohol! A cold chill ran down his spine....he was supposed to get the booze yesterday! But what with all the hassle of the ice-cubes, he'd totally forgotten.


Nina was in bed with a book having decided to postpone 'Operation Clean-Up' till her aching bones agreed to co-operate. Oh, well the party had been a success after all, she mused. They had all laughed endlessly at Nik's faux-pas! Who cares that between herself and Sheela maushi, they'd messed up most of the dishes or there was no rum in the Mohito? 
All's well if you have good friends who tell you of the bigger blunders their husbands have made! Nina chuckled at the thought of Thakkar's guffawing face going pale as his wife narrated how he'd put the pasta in the dustbin and the vegetable peels in the fridge while helping her out in the kitchen. 
But seriously no one could beat Nik....I mean what is it about Men and Ice?

Image source: Pixabay


 Psst....Nik insists I share this Youtube tutorial: How to make Crystal Clear Ice cubes

Read other stories from Nina's World:  

Disclaimer: All the characters in the Nina's World series are fictional, any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional.

Linking this post to the BAR-A-THON edition 2 at Blog-A-Rhythm

I am writing on today's prompt which is: Of Ice and Men


Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI

Monday, 19 June 2017

Little steps to Fame

He mopped his brow and reclined on his customized Lazyboy. A set hand brought him a tall glass of his favorite pick-me-up drink. Suzie, the prosthetic artist was fussing over the makeup which made him look like an out-of-this-world character that he was supposed to be playing in this multi-starrer Hollywood fantasy.

These Hollywood guys sure were professional, he thought to himself. Sipping his drink, he sat absolutely still to allow Suzie to do her work, which would take the better part of an hour, sometimes more, just for a touch-up between scenes. He allowed his mind to wander.

Back home, Bollywood had seen him in several comic sidekick roles. He'd landed his first big role in a mainstream movie playing the protagonist's best friend when one off-beat filmmaker decided to cast new faces in his movie. The film turned out to be a big hit and he never looked back. Roles of every kind landed at his doorstep but eventually he came to be known for the his sinister and villainous roles. He wondered dispassionately if he was really good at playing the meanie or his unusual countenance aided those menacing characters he portrayed.

Looking back further, he acceded that the little accident in the traveling circus did have a fortuitous outcome after all. When he fell off the trapeze and landed on his back, the audience and even his friends had burst out laughing. He was in a world of pain and barely managed to crawl backstage without any help. As he sat, wincing at the sharp pain shooting every time he moved his body to divest himself of the multicolored costume, he gazed at his pathetic frame in the mirror. Something inside him just cracked. He had to get away from this world and create a new one for himself. One where people would look up to him. 

He'd definitely done it, hadn't he? He sighed contentedly as he reveled in the foot massage, a service the producer had graciously arranged for his special star from India. He wasn't a little nobody now. He had avenged himself and his name.
His mother had named him, the eight child, after the then smallest currency in India when she noticed how tiny he was. Pie was unsure if she ever loved him but he was sure she would be smiling from above at her little midget son, smallest at barely 4' he was definitely not redundant like his namesake. Life had been good to Pie.


 Image source: Flikr Vancouver Film School

PieA pie (abbreviated as Ps) was a unit of currency in India, Burma and Pakistan until 1947. It was the smallest currency unit, equal to 1/3 of a paisa, 1/12 of an anna or 1/192 of a rupee. During the mid-nineteenth century, one pie was worth 12 cowry.
Minting of the pie ended in 1942, though it remained in circulation for a further five years. The pie was demonetised in 1947 as it had become practically worthless due to inflation.
Source: Wikipedia 

Linking this post to the BAR-A-THON edition 2 at Blog-A-Rhythm

I am writing on today's prompt which is: Life of Pie


­­Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Picture Perfect

 Picture Perfect

Bad hair and grey roots,

New members, here to stay. 

Spots and dots,

Don't pass off as freckles of late.

The chin wants to double,

Love handles do the jiggle.

Shakira croons, Hips don't lie,

Now you gotta teach them to lie.

Wipe an ugly pimple,

Deepen a little dimple.

Apps that gloss, polish and brighten,

Thin, blur and whiten.

Be flawless, be perfect

Beauty is picture perfect.

Selfie-queens sporting that pout,

Is that your only clout?

The fault is in our stares,

Insta-beauties, take off your glares.

 Haven't you heard?

Beauty is only skin deep.



Are we headed towards an age of perfection where only physical attributes need to be perfect?
Don't Judge a book by its cover. All that Glitters is not Gold. Remember?
Body shaming is becoming ritualistic. No one takes pride in their imperfections.
Grow up people! You are perfect as you are and just the way God meant you to be!

The masks of perfect selfie smiles hide the insecurities behind them.
That makes me want to sing...Tum itna kyun muskura rahe ho....
And no, I have nothing against selfie addicts just because I still don't know how to click the 'perfect' selfie! Is there a reason behind the obsession with getting the 'perfect' selfie? Food for thought!

Linking this post to the BAR-A-THON edition 2 at Blog-A-Rhythm

I am writing on today's prompt which is: The Fault in our Stares

­­Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Celebrating the Joy of Hearing #CochlearCelebration

Imagine you are watching a live cricket match with exciting commentary, buzzing action on field and on the stands. Now replay the same scene on a mute button. Absolutely no fun and the silence is deafening, isn’t it? 

This is the void of silence that fills the life of a hearing impaired person. Unable to comprehend and freely communicate, he is deprived of the simplest and most basic joy of life a normal person takes for granted.

The WHO estimates that worldwide 360 million people have a disabling hearing loss, out of which 32 million are children

Up to 5 of every 1000 infants are born with or develop a disabling hearing loss in early childhood and over 90% of these hearing impaired children are born to normal parents.  

I was fortunate to attend an eye-opening event hosted by Cochlear India on 14th May 2017 at Shanmukhananda Auditorium, Mumbai as a part of a blogger team.
This amazing event was conducted to create awareness and to celebrate the success and achievements of the several recipients who have received a Cochlear implant – A #CochlearCelebration. It also brought to light so many hitherto unknown and neglected facts about hearing loss.

Event Inauguration:

The event was kick-started by an effervescent introduction by Isha Vartak and a classical dance performance by Sharanya Manoharan, both Cochlear recipients

The event was graced by dignitaries and philanthropists Mr.S.Ramadorai, Mr. Arun Nanda, Mr. Deepak Parekh, Mr. Bharat Shah and many others who generously support the cause of ihear foundation dedicated to helping the hearing impaired.

Address by Dr.Milind Kirtane:

Dr Milind Kirtane, renowned ENT surgeon, Padmashri awardee and the incredible man behind the ihear foundation, shed light on various aspects of hearing loss.

Causes of hearing loss:


Cochlear Implant:

The Cochlear implant is an electronic device inserted into the ear in a straightforward medical procedure. Because it functions by bypassing the damaged parts of the inner ear, a Cochlear implant can provide hearing when hearing aids can’t. They can in fact provide around seven times better hearing performance than hearing aids.

A Cochlear implant is an established, effective and long-term hearing solution for people with severe to profound hearing loss.  Quite simply, it is a miracle that brings sound into silent lives!

The BEST Approach to tackle hearing loss:

Dr Kirtane shared the four-fold approach termed BEST to tackle hearing loss. 

B – Bilateral Cochlear Implantation
E – Early Intervention
S – Smart Hearing Partner
T – Therapy to follow up post implant involving Speech and Audio therapy

Expert Session and Panel Discussion:

Audiologist Nishita Mohandas emphasized the importance of having bilateral (both ears) cochlear implants. A unilateral implant functions normally and enables you to hear just like you should, but imagine having to hear with only one ear or see with only one eye. It’s restrictive and the vision remains incomplete. Bilateral Implantation ensures perfect hearing.

The challenges with a unilateral/single ear implant would be,
SAFETY – Important in situations like crossing a road where the traffic is coming from both the sides.
HEARING IN NOISE – Focusing on a particular voice amidst noise, e.g teacher’s voice in a classroom filled with other external and internal noises.
FATIGUE – The brain expends a lot more effort when it has to process information from a single ear alone, resulting in brain fatigue.

Early detection – As early as a new-born, and not later than 6 months old, a child needs to be screened for early signs of deafness. The test involved is simple and highly effective.

Vaccination – Protecting the child with vaccines against potential infection such as Meningitis and Influenza.

Early Decision – Early detection of hearing loss followed by early decision to have implantation done can greatly influence child’s learning ability, since brain development and cognitive abilities are at their prime in the first three years of life.

An illuminating panel discussion comprising of Dr. Soonu Udani (Paediatricians and Intensivist), Ms. Geeta Char (Paediatric Audiologist), Dr Samir Dalwai (Paediatrician) tackled some rather important aspects of hearing loss.

Cochlear implantations can and have been performed successfully on children as young as 6 months old.

Here, Dr Kirtane shared the example of Swara Pathare of 1.5 years who has recently undergone successful implants. He emphasized the importance of following up the implant procedure with dedicated Speech Therapy. 

Ms. Shefali Shah, Director of Sound Steps, a leading early intervention Center for hearing impaired, shared the importance of the role of Parents in therapy.

Success stories of Recipients:

It was a heartening sight to watch chirpy Divesh Indulkar, charming Jehan Deboo, intelligent Sunny Shah, champ Rujal Jain, bubbly Kuhu Deshpande, cute Nupur Chowdhary, smart Vedant , sweet Shravani Mahajan, talented Bhagyashree Mohan, vivacious Shanice Fernandes, sporty Nabha Wamburkar and danseuse Palak Berad – All Cochlear recipients with success stories of fulfilling great achievements and nurturing bigger dreams, despite their hearing affliction. 

The happiness, achievements and success of these children were possible, simply because their parents took the decision to intervene early and go in for Cochlear implants when they were very young.

Cochlear, the World leader in cochlear implants:

Coming to the brand itself, Cochlear is the global leader in cochlear implants, delivering over three decades of implant innovation to millions of people worldwide. Cochlear is built upon a foundation of success. Over 450,000 people of all ages, across more than 100 countries, now hear because of Cochlear. Cochlear is dedicated to bringing the gift of sound to people with moderate to profound hearing loss. 

The Cochlear hearing system consists of a surgically placed Cochlear implant and an external sound processor.
The Cochlear Profile Series implant is the world’s thinnest at 3.9mm thickness and their Nucleus C124RE is the most used cochlear implant in the world with a 99.1% reliability record. This system is so advanced that it allows your child to hear by cutting through the background noise and streaming directly to the sound processors – super-hearing, thereby helping them dream big and achieve those dreams.

Kanso® Sound Processor:

Cochlear’s latest offering, the Kanso® Sound Processor is the ideal hearing solution for children and adults.

The Kanso® Sound Processor works with a Cochlear Nucleus implant. It is an off-the-ear, all-in-one sound processor that is the smallest and lightest in its class, designed for people who want to be able to forget they are wearing a hearing device, especially ideal for children.
Kanso® is so discreet it's barely noticeable, so small and comfortable; your child can forget he is wearing it. Kanso® is a hearing solution that gives your child the confidence to live his life to the full and you the peace of mind that he will be able to join in with his friends and explore his potential to the fullest. Combined with the wireless accessories and versatile remote functions, it is an unbeatable product to combat hearing loss.
Watch this video to understand how Kanso® works:  
For more information: Kanso® Sound Processor

The Cochlear Family:

The happy stories and testimonials of all the Cochlear recipients’ leads back to a very crucial and integral part of the therapy and that is Support. Cochlear as a brand is dedicated to providing the best support. The recipients receive the best lifelong hearing experience and access to innovative future technologies.

For an A+ hearing experience, Cochlear offers,

Support with (Re)habilitation

Access to Industry Experts

Recipient support

Service and Repairs

The Cochlear Community

Cochlear’s support mantra is quite simple

Hear now and always.

Your family is part of our family, for life.

The event culminated with a heart-warming vision of all the Cochlear recipients coming on stage along with the incredible Dr Kirtane. The happiness, warmth, pride and genuine bonhomie shared by the recipients and their families with their doctors, therapists and Cochlear was indeed touching.

I came away from the event with one line firmly etched in my mind,

Films can be sub-titled, life cannot!

If you are a parent of an infant, ensure he is screened for the universal new born hearing screening. If your child or any other child you know is affected, do not wait.

Bilateral Implantation, Early intervention and Therapy is the best solution. Importantly, going in for the best available hearing partner, one who will help and support you all along.




This is a sponsored post. In all sincerity, I have reported facts gathered from Cochlear India.
Readers are advised to use their own discretion regarding usage of the above information.


Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI