Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Breathe Pure, Live Healthy, the royale ATMOS way


Hey folks,

I found the easy way to stay healthy! 
You just gotta breathe pure!
Not so simple you say? I disagree!
Oh, you will agree too, once you see this video!

video
Psst...watch the video in full screen mode please!
 

You could read all that's on the video, right here too!



"Story, story, we want story!" chanted the two children. "Yes, yes, hold it munchkins, coming," Nina called out from the kitchen.

The bedtime routine was never complete without a story. "Achoo!" sneezed Neel followed by Varun's  sporadic cough. 'Oh dear, are these two coming down with a bout of something again?' thought Nina as she walked into their room.


It didn't help that she took every imaginable care to help protect them from repeatedly falling sick. Hand sanitizers, immunity boosting vitamins, fresh nutritious home-cooked meals, ginger-lemon drinks morning and evening...sigh nothing seemed to be helping.

She observed closely to see how they were doing. Neel's face looked flushed and Varun was coughing every few minutes. She narrated a little story to appease them and soon tucked them in.

Worriedly she went to her room and absently switched on the TV. Her favorite actress Deepika Padukone was on screen. But why was she wearing a mask? As the commercial progressed, something clicked in Nina's mind.

 

She realized she'd been battling an enemy, invisible and unacknowledged. 
An enemy within the very premises of her home
A home that she was so proud of, one she kept spankingly clean. 
Humph! Going by what she'd seen, she wondered what was the logic of all that cleaning if the disease-mongers were living in the very furniture and walls!

She decided to dig further on Google about 'Indoor pollutants'. 
As usual umpteen results popped up! 
She went from one lead to another. What she read left her dazed! How come she never knew this?

Her new found research informed her that,

The air inside your home can be 5 TIMES more polluted than outside.


Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC's are emitted from a number of sources within homes. Household furniture made of particle board, MDF, adhesives, varnishes, air freshners, aerosol sprays, paints, vinyl floor coverings, cleaning liquids etc release gases like formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride among several others which cause various health and skin problems and long term exposure to them can be carcinogenic.


Molds that thrive on moist walls, inside Air Conditioning units, in bedding upholstery can produce mycotoxins that can be powerful triggers to allergies and respiratory problems.

Her mind boggled as she read of possible indoor pollutants like Lead, Radon, Nitrogen dioxide, Asbestos and more.

All this was in addition to the pollution that came in through the windows from the outside world. That included particulate matter like dust, smoke, effluents containing harmful gases like Carbon monoxide, Carbon dioxide and God knows what not!

No wonder, her family fell sick so frequently! She cringed inwardly thinking of the violent asthma attack her mother had encountered when she'd stayed at their place.

What to do, what to do? Obviously she couldn't throw away everything in the house! Nor could they wear protective masks inside the house all through!

It was 9.30 p.m. Nik entered home to find Nina engrossed on the laptop. 
 
She told him she knew the reason for their family's bouts of sickness and briefed him on the ad she'd seen on T.V.  She felt that the first step towards making their home a healthy place was to be go in for Asian Paints' new paint, Atmos especially with the festive days just around the corner.

Royale Atmos 
 
A paint with so many laudable features, they observed as they went through the product details on the Asian Paints website.


The paint has Activated Carbon technology which helps neutralize harmful molecules of common indoor pollutant formaldehyde. 


"Nina, it says here in the FAQ's that Atmos will continue to reduce formaldehyde in the indoor air for upto two years post application!"

Nik was further impressed as he read, How Asian Paints tested the efficacy of Royal Atmos. Practical testing of a product was very important after all, and this third party testing had revealed an 85% drop in formaldehyde concentrations after use of Atmos.

Besides removing formaldehyde, Atmos also reduces Malodour causing gases of Nicotine, Hydrogen sulphide and Ammonia that emanate from cigarettes, rotten eggs, garlic etc. 

"Oh that is simply wonderful!" Nina exclaimed, "A paint that absorbs bad smells!"

Atmos emits a soothing fragrance of its own instead of the usual paint smell.

"Wow! That is something!" Nik exclaimed as he hated the typical smell of paint.

There was a helpful video too,



She researched some more and came up with more solutions for her problem, besides this one solution that was firmly etched in her mind.

To improve the Indoor Air Quality she could,


Minimize chemical pollutants by consciously reading labels of products to see if they are certified free of VOC, especially paints, polishes and avoid strong smelling cleaning products. Stop buying furniture made of particle wood or MDF.

Keep the home clean. Regularly clean or change mattresses and pillows. 
Vacuum sofas and carpets. Clean the filters of air conditioning units.

                                                                   Image source: Liveinthenow


Air purifying plants such as 1. Bamboo palm, 2. Snake plant, 3. Areca palm, 4. Spider plant 5.Peace Lily, , 6. Gerbera Daisy, Dracaena, Chrysanthemum, Aloe vera improve the air quality by absorbing harmful gases like formaldehyde and ammonia besides releasing fresh oxygen.
Read: 9 Air cleaning Houseplants that are almost impossible to Kill


Keeping the house well ventilated and keeping humidity at bay keeps the microbial growth in check.

Oh what a relief! She was getting a hang of how to go about solving the problem of indoor pollution! She was indeed thankful to the chance viewing of the Asian Paints Atmos ad, that had triggered all this knowledge-seeking! 

This festive season, she vowed she'd have a home that would be truly beautiful, healthy and free of harmful pollutants!



So dear friends, what are you waiting for? 
Start your pre-festive home-improvement spree now and ensure the health of your loved ones! 

Breathe Pure, 
Live Healthy,
 the royale ATMOS way!



Image sources: Asian paints, Pixabay
References: Asian paints, Wikipedia, WebMD, EPA


I am taking part in the Indiblogger - Asian Paints Blogging contest #CleanAirBeautifulHomes. 
Do visit: https://www.asianpaints.com/atmos 
for more details on Royale Atmos.




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Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Home Shanti Home


Nina is on her bed, staring at the intricate network of ever-expanding cracks on the ceiling. What had started off resembling the map of the Indian peninsula has progressed to cover the Asian continent and is currently a global one, the outlines growing more pronounced with each passing day. With fascinated horror, she wonders when the whole ceiling will come crashing on her head.

But she can't ponder it long since the insistent drip from the bathroom faucet diverts her. There, she's managed to dull the drip with a thick towel wrapped around the faucet.
She looks at the clock, whoops! Is it that late? Time to head out. It is one of those rare days when she gets a day off while the rest of the family is at work and school. Yes, a day to make hay even if its raining. She pulls out the long list of chores she's accumulated for a day like this. She quickly scans the contents of the list, marveling at the thought that she'd imagined to get them all done on this fated day! 'I must have been in a very optimistic mood,' she infers.

Picking up the AC remote, she jumps high while aiming the remote control towards the AC. Now why isn't this working? She does a couple more monkey jumps but still the blasted thing won't switch off. A few whacks to the remote should do it, but no, the stubborn gadget doesn't yield. Maybe changing batteries on the remote will do it. But of course, she finds they store only used and discarded batteries. Resignedly, she switches off the main control switch.

She dexterously manages to open her handle-less wardrobe door, quickly pushing back the avalanche of clothes and retrieving a fresh pair of jeans and tee. The clock in the living room shows it's still early, or maybe it isn't? She's not sure. The clock in each room works perfectly and shows the right time; it is just a matter of figuring out which time zone it belongs to. 'Thank God for the time-date feature in mobile-phones,' she sighs.

She checks her mobile, 'Drat! This phone needs charging more than an infant needs feeding.'
For some reason today the sole plug point that doesn't trip the fuse or zaps everyone with electric shocks is simply not working. Her next bet is the one which works fine except for a loose contact issue; the one conveniently located behind the bulky three-seater sofa.
She grits her teeth and tries to push the sofa forward. It refuses to budge as the floor level is, well, not level. Quite a few of the floor tiles have started wobbling and making hollow, knocking sounds. 'I don't mind it much but it is an annoying reminder of my weight every time I tread on these tiles,' huffs Nina. She takes leverage against the wall and pushes the sofa. There now, all good; with a bit of toggling around the plug-point, the phone gets charging.

But what's this on the wall? An impression of her hand, alongside numerous other prints. 'A forensic scientist's haven this could be, a wall full of prints,' she sighs. She touches the wall, it is damp. Oh well, 'If it rains outside, the walls get damp inside,' she remembers the painter's explanation from last year. She delicately traces a heart on the wall, then adds another, then another. 'Maybe I can create a wall-paper like effect if I doodle all over the wall?' A great weekend distraction for the whole family, she decides.

She heads to the kitchen for a drink of water. 'Oh shucks, I've forgotten to boil water!' The water purifier is long past its AMC contract and she's too wary to drink the unfiltered water. As she sets the large vessel to boil, she leans over to slide open the window. 'Hummph!' The sliding window slides no more, thanks to the damaged rollers and warping aluminum channels. No problem, she turns on the exhaust fan. With a few grunts, it starts rotating reluctantly while she vaguely wonders, 'Does anyone dare to clean such a greasy machine? Maybe replacing it with a new one might be easier. Phew done! Water boiled, phone charged, just need to pick up the keys and I am all set to tick off the chores on my list.'

Hanging from the key holder are a couple of shopping bags, school ties, bunches of rusty old duplicate keys of the car, cycle, tricycle, pram, and God knows what else. Nina a veteran at tracing missing paraphernalia, digs into the the shopping bags hanging on the key holder. Voila, the second bag yields the lost key-bunch!

Now all she has to do is, simply bolt the inside door that has a messed up locking mechanism and lock the outer safety door. The only catch is that the safety door is temperamental one. The wooden door expands and contracts in sync with the weather and right now it is saturated with the humidity of Mumbai monsoons. While she struggles to pull the door shut, she manages to drop the laundry bag and its contents. There are muddy, wet footprints outside the door. 'Oh great! These clothes are anyway due for laundry, so I'll be getting my money's worth with the added mud stains.' The clothes are back in the bag and with a final almighty tug, she slams the door shut.

Almost instantly she realizes something is amiss. Oh, yes the familiar comforting weight of her over-sized tote! The tote that has her purse amidst other articles. The purse which carries the keys. In the tug-of-war with the door the wretched tote got left behind. 'Hmm, I just need to spend the next six hours waiting outside for Nik to come home with the other set of keys.' Well, obviously that is not happening, so she decides to distress call him asap. But of course, the phone had to be in the tote, hadn't it? She lugs the laundry bag and heads to the neighbors.

Her neighbor, the old aunty advises her to call the key-maker instead of bothering Nik and helpfully provides his number - Munna Keymaker. In less than 5 minutes, Munna the genie cum keymaker is at her doorstep. A thorough professional, this Munna guy, between unputdownable, non-stop phone calls and hissed orders to Nina for a screw driver, coconut oil and rag cloth, opens the door in jiffy. He hands her a shiny new key while tut-tutting on the strenuous labor he had to put in while wrestling with her unwieldy door. She borrows 500 rupees from aunty dearest and pays off the extortionist.

All these exertions have made her tired. It is pelting cats and dogs outside. She tiredly picks up the troublesome-tote and laundry bag and retires indoors. A book in her hand, a bowl of crisps by her side, she's back on her bed. In between reading, enjoying the pitter-patter outside and admiring the artwork on her ceiling, she drifts off into a blissful snooze.


Image source: Pixabay

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Read other stories from Nina's World:  

1. Sunday - Happy Day
2. A Change of Heart
3. Delirious Dilemma
4. Holiday Ahoy - Part 1
5. Holiday Ahoy - Part 2  
6. Party Time - Wardrobe Woes
7. Party Time - Beauty Woes
8. Musical Rhapsody 
9. The Influencer - What would we do without you?
10.To Gift or not to Gift
11. Many Hats, One Master 
12. Party Ahoy!
13. Cut a long story short
14. Home Alone

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






­­Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Fallen Oak




After having worked for years in the tea-estates, all the plantation workers lost their jobs when the tea-estate made way to a large holiday resort. Under their very eyes, they saw the plantation they had tended to being razed and cleared for construction. 
Aroo's Baba had been in shock for several months but finally realized that he would have to make a living in some other way. Being good with wood-work, he took up carpentry at a furniture shop while Ma went to work at a nursing home, both a few miles away from their village. 

Even as the family was coming to terms with their new life, fate struck a big blow in little Aroo’s life. Ma and Baba were both killed one late evening on their way back from work when their bus toppled into the ravine.
 
Aroo was taken away to Kolkata to live with distant relatives. They took good care of her and ensured she went to the municipal school and passed her SSC. One of her school teachers ran a computer training institute and Aroo had her first brush with the internet and computers while working at the center doing odd jobs. She picked up the basics in no time and soon moved on to learning softwares with help from the instructors at the institute.
By the time she was twenty-two, she had a good job at one of the better software training institutes in Kolkata.

All this time, the hills and the crisp air of Darjeeling beckoned her but it was only now that she had enough security about her to venture back to her roots.
Her native village at Lamahatta was not the same place she had left. The large resort had finally been been built and the village had lost all its serenity. Many more hotels and lodges had cropped up in the ten years she had been away. Tourist buses and vans buzzed to and fro, while shops had sprouted faster than mushrooms all over the place.

Aroo made her way up the steep slope leading to the little cluster of homes. She recognized many old faces but they just thought her to be an off-trail tourist. She stopped to chat with Lina kaki and Bahadur kaka and they were thrilled to see her. They exclaimed and fussed over her and soon the entire hamlet was around her. They had been a close-knit community and remembered her family very fondly. Lina kaki made sure she was sufficiently fed before handing her the key to her house, one that had been locked for the last ten years. No one had claimed stake to it or tried to usurp it and Aroo was humbled by this fact.

Picking up her light airbag she made her way along the road leading to her home. People had always teased Das dada that he was crazy to build a home that was open to the cold winds from all sides but he went right ahead and built his house, just the way he wanted - With a view that was priceless and out of this world.
She was shivering now as she stood in front of her house, the cold breeze rattling the broken panes and roof tiles.

Gingerly, she stepped up the three steps to put the key into the rusty old lock. Surprisingly the key wound smoothly; she slid the latch and the door was open. 
The place looked exactly as she remembered it from ten years back. There lay the tacky mat on the floor where Ma took her catnaps and the old trunk which served as a wardrobe for all three of them. The old frames of Gods now cracked and covered in cobwebs. The tiny kitchen where Ma cooked hot daal and thick rotis smeared with homemade butter. Tears blurred her view as she went further in. The single cot her Baba slept on bereft of the mattress, on which she often sat beside him listening for countless number of times to the story of a great treasure his great-grandfather had found and then hidden somewhere in the plantation. And there in the farthest corner was the wooden dresser.


She paused by the dresser, a beautiful one that her father had made for her mother. Old memories came gushing. She vividly remembered the great oak tree in the plantation that had crashed during a particularly bad storm that had hit the area. All the estranged estate workers had been called in to help clear away the giant tree. Though the main trunk had been lugged away at a good price, a few remnant branches and boughs had been left behind. Aroo's father managed to get a decent sized piece of the lumbar from the lot. He had been in a state of frenzy ever since he’d laid his hands on it. He painstakingly spent days and hours working on it until the wee hours. Scraping, sawing, carving, sanding and polishing the block of wood into a work of art for his wife, just like the one he had seen in the 'memsaab's' room - A Dressing table. All it needed was a mirror to be placed on top, one he planned to get at the earliest. In the meanwhile all their neighbors came to see Das dada's handiwork. Her mother's face had been suffused with pride and joy as she welcomed everyone home and showed off the object d'art that her man had made for her. 

Aroo too loved the dresser with its many drawers, beautiful carvings and smooth finish. She remembered the day her Baba had called her over excitedly. He showed her a clever little hideaway chamber within a drawer. He told her it would be the place where he would keep a wonderful secret for her, safe from everything. Aroo was thrilled to be privy to such a priceless secret. Only she, Ma and Baba in the entire, whole wide world, knew about it. 
The dresser never got its mirror; the fatal accident took away the master carpenter before he got around to it.

Shaky fingers now ran along the thick coat of dust covering the dresser’s surface. She marveled at the chiseled perfection of the intricate, decorative carvings. It was almost like that day, years ago, she could feel the same excitement building within her as on the day Baba revealed the dresser’s secret to his little girl.

Her hand reached out automatically to the last row, corner-most drawer. It slid open smoothly. She felt about the false backing at its end and traced out the slight gap in its panel. Pushing it gently sideways, her hand moved deeper into the secret compartment behind the drawer. Her fingers moved around and wrapped onto a palm-sized object covered in cloth. Heart beating, she withdrew her hand, bringing out the stashed hoard. It was a cloth bag; she recognized the cloth - Ma's old cotton saree. She tugged at the drawstring and peered inside the bag pulling out a perfectly polished wooden orb. What on earth was this? It felt heavy. She shook it; something shook within. But the orb was completely smooth, how did one open it? And how did this come into her poor Baba's secret drawer? Should she smash it open or should she let it be?

Nervously she switched the ball from one hand to another. The sun was almost down and the room was getting darker by the minute. She peered intently at the object, now shining her mobile-torch on it. She could discern scores of tiny alphabets in Bangla script on it. At the bottom she could decipher some words that made sense; it was her father’s writing!


It read:

The mighty fall but rise again.
Now what on earth did Baba mean by this cryptic message? And how was she to tell her Baba even if she knew? Aroo racked her brain hard...mighty-fall...did, did, did Baba mean the mighty Oak tree that had fallen and risen again in the form of his labor of love - The wooden dresser? She shone the light on the orb and looked over the random alphabets engraved all over it. Searching desperately, she found what she was looking for.


ত্ত – ক্ (Oak in Bangla) 

The two alphabets were next to each other! She ran her little finger over the alphabets, pressing them gently and with a soft click, the orb popped open.

Tucked inside a small piece of muslin was a fistful of the brightest red rubies she had ever laid her eyes upon. The treasure of her ancestors that had been lost, long-long ago!  tale her Baba never tired of telling her. A tale of lost fortunes and hidden treasures. Her Baba must have found it while clearing the fallen oak tree. A treasure that had been hunted for generations, now lay in her palm.




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Disclaimer: The above story is a work of fiction. All characters and places are a figment of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to any character living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional. 
The image used in the story is for representational purpose only.

 The above story was shortlisted in the top three in the #StoriesInArt contest held by Tell-A-Tale.




­­Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI