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This one time in mid-August, I woke up to a third day of what seemed like a never-ending downpour. Detesting the sight of gloom peeking through the sheer curtains in my room, I deliberated ditching the comfort of my bed, as the remnants of sleep continued to lull my mind. I was slowly drifting back to sleep, when the sound of a sizzling frying pan sought me out of sleep's convincing lullaby. The very next moment, the tantalising aroma of not-so-unknown spices tickled my senses. I lay wide awake on my bed, as the strong aroma filled every inch of my room, and my memories alike. © Thinkstock Images I was no longer in my rented flat, thousands of miles away from home. Somehow 'home' had found its way into the rented flat in a faraway city. My mother had come over to spend time with me, and in that moment she was the one eliciting the many scents of home, and my childhood. Breakfast followed soon after, Ma's special aloo'r dom and luchi (dum aloo and puri) - the perfect Sunday brekkie anyone could ever ask for! Every bite beckoned to the nostalgia of taste. Taste, that did a lot more than make me go “yummmm”, it evoked happy memories, and made my heart sing! And that's exactly what we're going to talk about today. The nostalgia of taste - the real reason why we'll never find a match to “ma ke haath ka khana” no matter what we try. If you don't understand what I mean by it, then consider this. © Thinkstock Images You visit home and get pampered with all your favourite dishes by your mom. Everything tastes heavenly, and each bite reminds you how badly you're going to miss this rajma chawal when your holiday gets over. But, it's not as if you've never had better rajma chawal away from home. Rather, you've tasted a better version plenty of times. Yet, nothing ever tasted anything like how your mother makes it. Not even an Indian Accent could pull it off. Know why? Because your mom's rajma chawal is more than the mere recipe itself. It is a reminder of all the good times that are attached to its taste. Perhaps, that day before your finals when you skipped lunch in a rush to revise your syllabus, and mom came along bearing a plateful of rajma chawal, which she fed you between your revisions. Another time your school friends dropped by during lunch...how all of you devoured this same rajma chawal together, and had one helluva time after. There may have been numerous other incidents such as these, and perhaps featuring many other mom-made dishes. © Thinkstock Images You see, it isn't as much to do with the food, as it is to do with the nostalgia it is capable of evoking. Your personal pool of happy memories. Research shows that happy memories associated to food has profound impact on us. Right from affecting how good we think food tastes, to how good it makes us feel, it's all connected. It's a lot like Proust's “little madeleine” effect - when a (food) product takes you back to happy childhood memories and fills your heart with joy, or at times leaves a bittersweet taste in your mouth. Thus, nostalgia becomes a yearning for yesterday and in this case, it's food that serves as the vector. A study by researcher Chelsea Reid found that “nostalgia can be evoked in different ways, but scents may be particularly likely to evoke nostalgia due to the strong link between scents and memory. The smell of pumpkin pie might bring all those holidays with family flooding back, or the smell of a familiar perfume might arouse memories with your partner”. © Thinkstock Images Similarly another 2015 study conducted by Jordan Troisi and his colleagues showed that people associate such “comfort” foods with close relationships or people who take care (or have taken care) of them. That's how the feeling of comfort (and happiness) gets attached to foods. That's the reason, no matter how many times I gobble up plates of dum aloo and puri in my city of work, or you devour mounds of rice with rajma prepared in the best commercial kitchens, it'll never match up to the magic your mother's cooking can sprinkle on your tastebuds. That's something which works beyond your palate, it thrives in your memories. Besides, the cup noodles can never be a match to the taste of your mom's khichdi on a sick day, can it? © Thinkstock Images Like Joydeep Gupta from Mumbai says, “nothing seems better than a cup of tea that tastes like home on a rainy afternoon. There isn't quite a better nostalgia to get to drenched in”. So here is to the many tastes that are powerful enough to transport you to better days, pull you out of the gloom, and propel you to take firmer strides towards a happy and calmer you, each bite at a time.
ADMIN posted a blog entry in FDF Online NewsOne of the biggest myths that most people have about building strength is that they think that a gym membership is required to do so. While the truth is that 'starting strength' can be built right inside your house, using your body as the mode of resistance. Yup, body weight exercises are very underrated and especially by total beginners. A few weeks back I detailed on a number of exercises you must get strong on before spending on a gym membership. With this piece I'll chop up a very basic upper exercise called the pull-ups/chin-ups. The Pull-Up Solution © YouTube If you are a beginner and can't do a single pull-up, don't worry. You aren't alone and that's very natural when you haven't ever taken exercising seriously. The best way to get better at or start doing pull-ups is, well, DO pull-ups. Yes, practice. Pull-ups is one exercise that gets better and better with more and more sets and reps over time. So read this tutorial and prep yourself for a lot of failure before eventual success and loads of strength. The Pull-Up Bar It is one of the most common yet the most under-utilized strength equipment you can get installed at your place. Priced at about Rs 2000-3000, you get a decent bar that can easily hold up to 200 kilos of hanging weight. You can opt for the classic single straight rod or a multiple pull-up/chin-up grip. I'll prefer a multiple grip rod because it gives you a choice to use different grips to best adjust your pull ups. How To Start © Ebay Once you are well versed with the correct posture, gripping and hand placement, do this. Your first goal is to crack in 10 pull ups. No, they don't have to be in straight set. Do one when you can do only one, do two when you can and so on. The point is to get as many in one go as you can with correct form. If you are absolute beginner, spread your reps over the course of the day or however much time you spend at your place. Make it a point to do at least 10 pull ups every day. This will soon add up and you will see yourself getting stronger and proficient at performing the pull.