This is the picture of a local train at Victoria Terminus of Mumbai. These trains are the lifeline of the city bringing to and fro thousands of employees to the offices from suburbs homes. These are electric trains and each train has about 700 to 900 seats. But at the peak hours there must be 2000 thousand passengers packed like sardines.
There are three services called Western, Central and Harbor running to cover the majority passengers. There must be about 3000 services per day. Last stations on these lines are Churchgate and VT Chuechgate
From the Gateway of India we can see number of boats. Most of them are motor driven. Tourist board them to have a enjoyment in the Arabian sea. From a far off distance one can see the Cola a dotted with highrise buildings. At a short distance ahead are the dwellings of the original inhabitants of Mumbai. They are fisherfolk called Kolis who lent their name to the area called Cola a or Kolaba. Their boats are decorated with buntings and fluttering flags. from here you have to take boat for visiting Elephanta Caves situated on an island.
In front of Gateway of India and Hotel Taj in Mumbai, there are hundreds of pigeons. The visitors scatter the seeds and they gobble these with insatiable appetite. They can eat literally from your palms. They are not scared by humans.
After almost a year, I am in Mumbai the city in the vicinity of which I have spent more than 20 years of my life. I lived in Panvel where our company had constructed a huge accommodation. But most of the offices are in Mumbai and employees who live in Panvel have to spend at least 4 hours travelling to the work. There is though a trade off. In Panvel colony you have big area for walking and also lesser pollution. It is a gateway to Beautiful Konkan region as well as to Pune. There are a number of good natural spots nearby Panvel. We landed at Santacruz airport from Delhi. Temperature was 29C and as usual humidity was very high. The same stuffy weather which we have become attuned to during our long stay here. In fact, I loved this city for its oddities. But like Saleem and his sister in the Salman Rushdie‘s Midnights Children, I did not shouted back to Bom. We hired a taxi and soon we were lost in the sea of people on the roads and vehicles. The familiar Udipi hotels, vegetable vendors on the roadside selling their vegetables and ubiquitous Coconut sellers and Koli women selling the sea fish, prawns were before eyes. There were same black and yellow taxis. Many new flyovers have come up in the city’s struggle to ease the traffic pressure. It seemed as if we have not got left the place for good and have been out of station.
Chocolates in moderation are good for health. They contain cocoa which is storehouse of thousands of good chemicals which benefit our health. It contains organic chemicals called poly-phenols. These chemicals have been proven to reduces the bad LDL Cholesterol and boosts HDL Cholesterol. This is good for our heart and arteries.
The benefits of these poly-phenols do not stop here. They are very active compounds and catch the free radicals which are very harmful to our body. Free radicals are atoms, compounds which have free unpaired electrons on them and are very reactive and can oxidize many useful compounds in the body and cause diseases like cancer, Alzheimer and other deadly diseases. These phenols render them ineffective and harmless.
Similarly chocolates contain a chemical called “Anadamide” which boost the mood and removes the gloominess. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word “Ananda” which means bliss.
Chocolate acts as a stimulant. It contains two compounds namely Caffeine and Theobromine whicha re stimulants. They also contain poly-phenols class called Catechins. These compounds help in reducing the risk of stroke in humans.
It contains Cortisol a chemical which boost the morale and reduces the stress levels. 1.5 ounces per day for two weeks have been found to do the trick.
But chocolates have a downside to health. They contain a lot of sugar which is bad for health. And also there are many other foods which contain many of these useful compounds but so many of these are collectively found in cocoa. So in moderation chocolates are good for health.
It is the spring season here. The nature has broken its hibernation of freezing cold and there is a thaw in the season. The plants and trees after shedding the old leaves are adorning themselves with fresh light green leaves. Within days the skeleton branches are covered with leaves. The days are becoming longer and hot. Soon it will become very hot and unbearable.
The weather in India are not uniform and every 3 months weather changes. This is why the natives here are in continuous struggle with the weather. There are extremes of weather in North India. This gives India a vast variety of vegetation.
The bottlebrush trees also called Callistemon so called because their shape resembles the brush used to clean the bottles. These days the trees are laden with these flowers of red color. There is a strong contrast between the rich green leaves and these flowers which hang like garlands on the tree.
All day long different animals and birds visit these trees to lick the pollen from the flowers. First in the morning are monkeys especially their kids which can easily reach the ends of the branches where the flowers are located. They eat the nutritious pollen and then snap the flowers from the branch. After this parrots come in big groups. They chatter, make noise and lick the pollen. They are the worst and break most of the flowers and the ground beneath is littered with fresh broken flowers.
Nightingales also come. If you look closer you will find the honey bees hovering around the flowers. There is a continuous buzz. They are the gentlest and use the flowers to make honey-one of the nature’s best gift to us.