September 2020 Newsletter

Fall is up on us and like spring and summer, we are inside most of the time wishing we were outside enjoying the beautiful fall days, not too hot but not too cold, witnessing fall colors, sipping pumpkin spice lattes, football and most of all desperately hoping for a 100% effective vaccine!

But till that happens, Corona doesn’t have to take all the fun out of everything we want to do. If the past two seasons have taught us anything it is that the pandemic is here for a while, but we can still enjoy some activities-it’s just that they will look little different, with social distancing, virtual get-togethers and masks (‘wearing is caring’!!).

As we move into October we hope you all stay safe, enjoy the outdoors, pumpkin carving, trick or treat, watching football sitting on your couches with a beverage of choice and of course the array of articles we have for you in this edition of the newsletter.

– Smitha Sasindran

Reflections & Ramblings #8: Fall 2020

-Hari Narayanaswamy

The calendar said, Fall is here
But I demurred, not for me
Fall had arrived in Spring for me
Winter hastened on Summer nights

The pandemic winds blew very hard
We held our breath and hid in nests
Hunkered down behind four walls
Shivering in fear, silent in prayer

We know for sure it will pass one day
Though not sure when the day will come
Are the winds slowly dying down, Or
Taking a breather to blow more harsh?

I should be glad that Fall is here, for
Empathetic nature shall join our plight
Together shall we wait for Spring
When sky will brighten and we fly out!

Lost Innocence

-Ravikumar Hariharan

The road whorled like a serpent. The curtain of dawn was falling over the day’s events. My eyes were pivoted on the huge rock on the top of the hill, the permanent milestone for all my evening walks. The cold evening breeze tottered along with me, giving me reliable company. The sky was a mosaic of colors. Grey clouds dispersed between patches of blue and red along with dapples of gold. With every step I took, the hill seemed steeper. I dragged myself on.

My mind traced the panorama of events I had walked through. Every event that flashed was unique, each adding its own color and beauty to the happenings just as the colors of this evening sky .Painted together made an even beautiful whole. Then there were the grey clouds that pierced through the colorful happenings…moments of regret??of pain? Every look at those black patches made them look bigger.  I briefly reflected on those small incidents in my life, the moments of despair, frustration and regret that had kissed my life in the yesterdays. The frustrations from those incidents reminded me of the overpowering ego that sometimes conquers and rules the invincible self. The moments of despair reflected my expectations that had transgressed beyond. Regrets evoked in me the reality that I am sometimes a helpless soul, a mere puppet in the hands of destiny.

The sky turned purple, slowly dissolving into the darkness and I lost myself in it. My mind like the dark firmament above was starting to paint itself grey. I continued my journey up the hill, The rock on top of the hill was no longer visible in the brooding darkness. The street lights cast their long shadows on the road, in the process also wetting my path with their faint yellow light.

Suddenly as I turned to my right, I found a boy running by my side. As the street light fell on his face, I saw the infectious smile that played on his lips. At the speed at which I was walking, he had to run to keep my company. But he was bustling with enthusiasm, and made me forget that my legs were tired. I gave him a smile and asked him…”You seem to be very happy…Why??”. “Why shouldn’t I be??”, his face seemed to say. I gave him a sarcastic smile as if to convey “You have just started your life, kid, You are yet to know the harsh realities that make up this life. Do you know, that life is not all that easy, and that you cannot always keep smiling like are doing now??” The smile on his face grew wider. He kept running, as though my words had hardly reached his ears. I don’t know what was happening to me in his presence, but I was starting to blurt out my mind. “You know…human Beings are by nature selfish. And many a times your self esteem and dreams are trampled over by insensitive minds that cannot see a world beyond theirs. Every person here is involved in a mad race, a race to satisfy ones ego with every step that is taken.” The wind carried my voice to every place except for the boys ears. He was singing a rhyme as he happily ran up the hill ,and the rhyme fell to my ears thus:

“Twinkle twinkle little star..How I wonder…what (ALL) u want???”!!

He was enjoying every moment without involving himself with my emotional upheavals. Once in a while he would stop to pluck a flower or two along the way, and he would say with the most innocent smile “For my friends..” Undeterred by his indifference for my words, I continued my lament. “You know one must never be emotionally attached to any person or thing…Attachment breeds expectations, expectations leads to over-expectations and finally ends in frustrations and pain.”. I continued to realize that my words were reaching deaf years and that the boy was fully absorbed in the totality of the moment. In his zig zag run, he would sometimes bump into me and flashing that naughty infectious smile, he would continue running.

“The boy smiled and smiled from his heart; Brought out an innocent smile from my part, Have I smiled similarly ever before, No trickery, no lies, All innocence to the fore ??”

The faint smile that appeared on my lips did little to wither away the storm that was brewing in my heart. However hard I tried to think of something else, my mind like a cyclone swirled and swirled and came back to the same pains…uh… His singing of rhymes continued, and fell on my ears thus:

“Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall(of expectations ???)  Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!!!”

I was starting to lose my temper…Who do u think I am talking to…these trees???” I yelled out at him. The happy go lucky boy seemed to not hear it. My legs had traversed a fair distance and though I could not see the rock in the pitch darkness, My mind told me that I was getting closer to my destination. I shook my head in frustration and cried out “Oh God, I am living this life all wrong!!!”

We were nearing the top of the hill, and the rock I had set out to reach was now slowly becoming visible in the faint street light. I slowed down my steps, but the boy kept running, and before I could realize, he was slowly dissolving himself into the darkness that lay ahead of me. I called out to him…”You dint tell me anything about yourself…What’s your name??How old are you???”A cute little voice yelled back from the dark…”Dint you realize??I am Ravi…and I am 6 years old!!!”As I started my journey down the hill, I could not help but smile to myself…”. Now I knew where I was going wrong”!!

How to mix Alcohol : Balancing Risk

-Sreejith Menon

Alcohol, mallayalis favorite word in the dictionary. I hope you will think about this article next time you say cheers.

Alcohol effects both your mind and body. Here are some of the effects it can have on your health.

Muscle Loss – Alcohol increases the chances of muscle loss if you’re in a calorie deficit diet. So, even if you manage to fit your beer calories into your diet, they still might have a more negative effect as compared to other calories consumed.

Fat Gain: When you consume alcohol, most of your cells prefer to burn it as a fuel source before they switch back to burning their usual mixture of carbs and fats. This means that your body is not burning the other calories as efficiently, and they are slightly more likely to be stored as fat. If your goal is weight loss, then alcohol is likely to slow down your progress.

Impaired Recovery: Alcohol directly reduces the rate of recovery after a training session. It means that the harder you train and the more recovery demands you make on your body, the more pronounced the harmful effects of alcohol will be. Athletes, in particular, are likely to be most affected since recovery plays such an important role in their performance.

Effect on Sleep: Sleep is the elixir of life, and plays a critical role in facilitating weight loss, muscle gain, and general wellness. Alcohol disrupts the normal sleep cycle and makes it more difficult for someone to reach levels of deep sleep.

Hydration Issues: Alcohol consumption causes dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, so be prepared to make a LOT of trips to the bathroom.

I bet, no one wants to hear alcohol is bad and just STOP drinking. So here is what you can do to reduce some of its effects on your health.

1. Drink in moderation: Don’t consume more than 2-4 drinks at a time. Also restrict the number of times you drink to may be once in two weeks.
2. Avoid “kaddies”: High-calorie snacks with alcohol are a big no-no. Stay away from them.
3. Mixers: Use a calorie-free beverage. Water and plain soda are preferable.
4. Avoid drinking too late: Maintain a sufficient gap between happy hours and bed time
5. Less is Better: An obvious one – try to limit alcohol intake as much as possible
6. The Other Liquid Of Life: Remember to stay hydrated. Drink water between drinks and after you’re done.

These are just guidelines that can reduce the adverse effect of alcohol. But keep in mind that there will likely be a trade-off with your health. Include alcohol in your lifestyle only if you are okay with that.

As always, drink responsibly!


References –

Scuba Dive

Adithya Menon

I love adventure and thrill in life, so I decided to get certified in Scuba diving.
To get started we enrolled with Captain Rick who runs the dive school in Westerville. He is a US Army Veteran and was a NAVY Sea Cadet Scuba Instructor.
Getting certified with NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) was no fun, as it took me to school learning about buoyancy and air pressure. Had to clear online exam which I did great with the help of fun videos and online learning experience.
Next was to be show the stamina to the diving instructor and to achieve it, had to swim 9 laps without stopping in Westerville aquatic club, and also did many dive sessions in 10 feet pool.
I was all set and flew to Florida with my mom for getting both of us certified in Scuba diving. We did our open water dive in a huge lake and 3 dives 40-70 feet in Atlantic Ocean, this was all when I was 10 year old in 2017.
The whole process took 6 months to be called certified Scuba Diver.

Long story short the experience I am talking about here was diving in WV at Summersville Lake few weeks back. The lake is formed by a rock-fill dam (Summersville Dam) on the Gauley River, south of Summersville in Nicholas County. It is the largest lake in West Virginia, with maximum depth of 327
I did two dives here on a beautiful day going down 40 feet. The experience was different than my firstdive in Florida 3 years back. Florida was ocean with salt, yet many fishes and corals. Summersville wasrocky clear lake with beautiful views.
Planning for more dives this New Year in Florida. If you are interested, Captain Rick does discovery divesessions, to help you for the path to get certified as Scuba Diver.
Here is link to my Video.

Sky Dive

Deep Jayabalan

I have a very long bucket list, and one of the things was to Skydive.
My first dive was in Sep 2016, in Columbus OH. The best part of this dive was Jay (Husband) planned to give me birthday surprise to fulfill one of the long pending bucket list. My mom who was 56 year old then, and had acute Rheumatoid also decided to dive with me. What else to ask for in life; when you have such an inspiring and motivating family.Then Sep 2020, Jay (Husband) and few of my friends decided to give me birthday gift again to Skydive in Chicago. Best part was the friends who were willing to dive with me as my birthday gift had acute Acrophobia (Fear of heights). The experience both times cannot be explained, however I will try to put few words here:
In the hangar we put on our harnesses and helmets and were given instructions. After signing a few papers we were on our way to the plane! There were few of us in a very small space, some getting certified, some like me for the adrenaline rush.
Suddenly we were 14,000 feet above the ground. Its tandem skydive, which means tied to the instructor, still has few protocols to be followed; like making sure legs are folded behind before jumping off the plane, body in arch shape during free fall etc.,

Slowly the people in plane started to jump, and then it was my turn, and here we go with free fall of 240-290 km/hr. for 60 sec (This is the thrill of the skydive; with strong wind gushing on the face, and just falling freely down from the height of 14,000 feet).And then the parachute opens and everything suddenly slows down. We floated peacefully towards
earth, leaving the beautiful clouds behind us.
This was definitely one of the chilling and most exhilarating experiences of my life. The sensation of falling from so high is amazing and the adrenaline rush is crazy every time it’s done.
The sense of achievement of being able to fulfill the bucket list, not just once but twice feels just so good.
Thanks for reading my experience and am happy to answer questions, if planning for your dive.
Here is my YouTube channel with both the videos.

Meals on Wheels volunteers

September 27, 2020: Subin, Simple Subin, Kevin Subin and Trisha Subin

Completed Route #V1801

September 13, 2020: Praveen Kumar, Priya Praveen and Gauri Praveen

Completed Route #1600

 Huge Thanks to the volunteers!


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