January 26, 2010
Are you afraid to take off your footwear in the presence of other people? Are troubled that your foot odor will repel your girlfriend away?
Stinky feet are always embarrassing. A lot of people mask this odor by spraying deodorants but this is only temporary. There are many causes for smelly feet. But here are some simple home remedies that can be tried out.
1) Wash your feet regularly in warm water and dry it thoroughly, especially between the toes.
2) Change your socks regularly. Sweaty socks after a workout can emit bad odor.
3) Use foot powder especially designed to combat smelly feet.
4) Use a foot scrubber as often as possible to get rid of dry and dead skin cells.
5) Apply a light, moisturizing foot cream before bedtime. This will heal any cuts, cracks and calluses that could be emitting the stinky odor.
6) Air your shoes. Most of the time, after a run or workout at the gym, we pack the shoes back into the shoe closet or cabinet. The bacteria present in the sweat remain in the membranes of the shoe and develop huge colonies of bacteria. These bacteria then work on your feet when you wear the shoes again. The best way to tackle this is to air the shoes.
Leave the shoes in bright sunlight for a day to kill the germs. Also, wash your shoes every month to keep it free from grim and infections. Most sports shoes have washing instructions written on them. If you are too pressed for time, then just soak the shoes in warm sudsy water for couple of hours then wash it under running water and leave it out to dry in the sun.
7) Foot psoriasis can cause terrible foot odor. If such is the case then you should consult a skin specialist or dermatologist at the earliest. These tend to spread so immediate action should be taken. Using ointments over the counter for foot psoriasis is not advisable. It is most essential to get a consultation from a specialist.
8) Many people soak their feet in tannin water to curb smelly feet. Tannin is present in tea. It is said that tannin deactivates the sweat glands of the feet. Brew about two tea bags in around two cups of water for fifteen minutes. Add some amount of plain water to make the temperature ambient and comfortable so that you can soak your feet in it. Allow your feet to relax in this water for around thirty minutes.
Smelly feet can cause discomfort and embarrassment in relationships. Foot care is essential and feet should be well-maintained at all times. Pedicure could be done at home or at salons minimum once a month. Maintaining healthy feet is as important as taking care of your diet or hair care. If nothing helps to curb foot odor then head straight to the doctor’s office.
©Nayna, 2007-2010. All Rights Reserved.
January 15, 2010
Vasant Panchami or Basant Panchami or Shree Panchami is celebrated every year on the fifth day (which represents the word Panchami) of the Hindu month of Magh (January- February). It is the first day of spring or Vasant Ritu or Bosonto Kal/Ritu in Bengali.
Spring season is the glorious time of the year when the sun has a new shade of yellow and the blooming flowers and flauna brings life back from the dreary, chilly winters. This day is very auspicious as Goddess Saraswati is worshipped. This festival is widely popular in the state of West Bengal and Orissa.
Goddess Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music and fine arts. She is the serene mother who bestows the power and strength to the mind to comprehend all forms of gyaan or knowledge. The knowledge can be in any form-acadamic, music, singing or spiritual.
The idol of goddess Saraswati is white as the milk and her magnetic eyes draw the worshippers to her lotus feet. She is the divine consort of Lord Brahma. She is dressed in white or light yellow coloured saree. Her four hands hold different objects depicting its sacred values. One hand she holds sacred scriptures, on the other a lotus, while the other two show her playing the string instrument, Veena. She is sometimes depicted as standing or seated on a white lotus. Her vahan or vehicle is the white swan and stands close to her feet.
The elegant, white swan is symbolical as well. It represents the Sattva Guna (pure and untainted quality). Only a swan can separate milk from water so the swan is trying to imbibe this quality to her devotees as well that we should all have the power to distinguish between goodness from the negative sources.
On this day, women wear yellow sarees representing the Vasant ritu or season. Students throng to the feet of the Goddess to seek her blessings so that they perform well in their examinations. They keep their textbooks and notebooks that they have difficulty in studying like mathematics, science at her feet. Some even keep writing instruments like pens, pencil, geometry sets so that it get blessed and brings them success.
Parents earnestly wait for this auspicious day because they make their little ones write their first alphabet in the presence of the divine Mother. The priest, who performs the rituals and invokes the goddess on this day, holds the hand of the little ones and helps them write an alphabet on slate with a chalk. This is an ancient tradition and still earnestly followed in the Bengali community.
Vasant / Basant Pachami is also celebrated on a large scale by Vaishnavs or Vaishnavas. Both Gaudiya Vaishnavs and Pushtimargi Vaishnavs celebrate this festival with a lot of gaiety and devotion.
These photographs taken are from the Saraswati Puja held at Bengal Club, Shivaji Park, Mumbai.
©Nayna, 2007-2010. All Rights Reserved.
January 11, 2010
2010 Kumbh/ Kumbha Mela (Kumbha or Kumbh means pot and Mela denotes fair) will be held at Haridwar from 14th January to 28th April. 14th January is marked as a very auspicious day as it is also the kite flying festival or Makar Sankranti.
This year, the Kumbha or Kumbh Mela is called Maha Kumbha because it will be celebrated after 12 years. There will be 11 bathing rituals during this 3 and half month period. There will be 8 Parv Snaan and 3 Shahi Snaan.
Haridwar is known as the gateway to the pilgrimage places of the northern hemisphere of India. Haridwar is known as a pious city. The word Hari denotes Lord Vishnu and Dwar means gateway or door. This is also Lord Shiva’s in-laws abode or Sasural in Hindi. Goddess Ganga follows here from Lord Shiva’s Jata or matted locks and purifies the souls of the devotees.
Saints, sages of various schools of thoughts and teachings gather during this time and leave only after the Kumbha Mela is over. Taking a dip during these 11 different dates and timings is considered highly auspicious and leads to the liberation of sins. Some also strongly believe that seeking blessings at this time along with bathing will end their cycle of rebirth and death.
The Haridwar locals are overwhelmed by the sight of the saintly people and invite them to their homes. These saints spend all their time in deep meditation and stay away from material bondages. They are known to acquire Siddhi because of their constant austeries. The householders at Haridwar take special care of these saints/sages and long to invite such holy men into their homes. They firmly believe that their positive vibrations will bring happiness, peace and prosperity into their lives. They cook special meals without thinking of their budget and feed thousands and thousands of these saintly men. They believe that such acts are a way of accumulating good Karmic deeds.
Kumbh Mela takes place in only four selected places in India. They are Prayag, Ujjain, Haridwar and Nasik. There is an interesting incident that leads to these locations as being marked so pious. During Samudra Manthan when the pot of Amrit or divine nector came out Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini to allure the Asuras or demon. (Read our previous posts to understand the reason behind and the aftermath of Samudra Manthan)
It was agreed that the Amrut would be divided equally between the Devas (Gods) and asuras (demons). But the King of demons was so mesmerized by the beauty of Mohini that he failed to see that Mohini had started offering the divine nectar to all the Devas first.
An asura took the form of a Deva, stood in line and drank the nectar. Lord Surya or Sun God and the Moon God or Chandramaji instantly pointed this out to Lord Vishnu that it was Rahu who had deceived them and drunk the nectar. Instantly, Lord Vishnu transformed himself to His glorious form and ordered his divine disc, the Sudarshan Chakra to cut off Rahu’s head. If the nectar reached his body, Rahu would then become immortal. The head was separated from the body which known as Ketu.
In this commotion, Garuda, half man and half bird, the divine vehicle or vahan of Lord Vishnu quickly flew away with the divine pot filled with nectar. The pot was heavy and at times, he rested on the way. The places where he relaxed and started his journey again, lead to the sprinkling of this divine nectar. It is said that 12 drops had fallen. 8 of them remained in the heavenly abode while 4 fell onto the earth. These four drops fell at these places- Prayag in Allahabad, Ujjain, Haridwar and Nasik. This is why there are the holy spots where the Maha Kumbha Mela takes place every 12 years.
The photograph one is of Har Ki Pauri where the Maha Kumbh will take place. This area looks serene in these pictures but will be jam-packed with people in the coming months. It is estimated that over 5 crore people will be attending this site in the next 3 and half months. The second photograph is of the Goddess Ganga temple which is the main temple of this city. Ganga aarti held in the evenings at the ghat are spellbinding. People throng in hundreds to get the slightest heat from this aarti’s flame. A bit of this aarti’s blessing is enough to purify the soul. I feel very lucky to have had the priviledge to do so.
©Nayna, 2007-2010. All Rights Reserved.