Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bagful in a book - Kid's delight

Having enjoyed reading 'Highlights' as a kid, a recent visit to the community library ended up with 3 recent issues following me back home. Well, 'Highlights' is a children's magazine in circulation since 1946 that has managed to sustain enough interest from children and adults alike. This magazine has a particular charm about it, that is hard to explain in words. The unique styling of the cover page not only makes it alive and speaks out its inner contents, but also draws instant attention.

The magazine is packed with informational facts on science, nature, arts, culture and what not; all presented in a very simple, children-friendly manner. Even the adults are intrigued by the nitty-gritty facts and are educated like a small child. 'Highlights' also features certain regulars in every issue that happen to be the most popular among its vivid readers.

For the young Sherlock Holmes, there is 'Find the Pictures' which gets them started on some spying as well as remembering things. 'Hidden pictures' is a Highlights classic in which a number of everyday objects are blended really well within a picture that speaks more than a 1000 words. The idea is to locate the objects, with the option of stealing a glance at the clues on how these would look like. There is a 'Thinking' section' with a historical twist that provides a sort of mock situation and challenges the young brains to come up with reasoning.

Other regulars like 'The Timbertoes', 'Brain Play' and 'What's Wrong?' provide some fun as well as activities to work on. 'Highlights' also encourages youngsters to display talent by asking them to submit their stories, poems and jokes among many other features. With lot of colors and variety in each page, no wonder that 'Highlights' is said to provide fun with a purpose. For subscription details in the US ----> Highlights for Children Magazine

More magazines for children...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

So much to do

Spare time in a fast-paced urban lifestyle is really hard to come. Yet, the most common complaint is lack of interest and boredom. Boredom can be easily conquered with a little bit of planning. While watching the latest blockbusters or daily soaps on a big screen TV is a favorite past-time activity for many, there are lot more avenues to explore.
  1. Learning music and creating a new tune soothes the soul.
  2. Cooking is a great way to de-stress and explore the exciting world of culinary arts.
  3. Photography provides a whole new insight to nature and a different perspective to shapes and colors.
  4. Gardening helps in more than few ways; While the plants gift us with natural bounty, they cleanse the air and maintain Eco-balance.
  5. Playing a traditional board game with a loved one is a nice way to bond and relax.
  6. Chasing a rare phenomena and putting a good research on it gives great thrills.
  7. Picking a new jogging spot everyday, lets you explore and exert at the same time.
  8. Visiting a prayer hall and engaging in peaceful meditation boosts energy levels.
  9. Books are the best friends for loneliness.
  10. Jotting out thoughts on a piece of paper lets your steam out and generates new ideas.
  11. Participating in a community activity promotes social networking and welfare.
  12. Re-arranging the present home setup gives a fresh new decor and mood.
  13. Organizing an event gives us new responsibilities and knowledge.
  14. Lego toys lets out the childish innovator in you with glee.
With so many such options, boredom really shouldn't find a place in our lives.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A trip to America's Oldest Italian restaurant

If your taste buds long for authentic and traditional Northern Italian fare in a classy setting, Ristorante Fior d' Italia offers that and lot more. Established in 1886, Fior d' Italia holds the distinction of being the oldest Italian restaurant in the US. It is housed within the historic San Remo hotel in the North Beach district of San Francisco.

Fior d' Italia provides a old world hospitality in its trattoria and well-stocked bar near the entrance, a large main dining hall around the corner and its many banquet rooms. While waiting for food, a roving look at the walls will reveal lot of interesting historical information.

Frequented by prominent personalities and tourists alike, Fior d' Italia takes pride in dishing out fresh pasta dishes and sauces; that are mostly made in-house. Many people consider their Caesar salad to be best in that part of the world. The chefs have made sure that their extensive menu creations satisfy the gastronomical needs of varied clientele. So, a trip to San Francisco is not complete without the culinary experiences of a 121 year old Italian tradition.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The joys of growing a home garden

The early morning dew on the leaves, the new baby shoots, the spring blossoms and the onset of fresh produce all make an inviting call at the dawn of every new day. In the age of urban living and high rises, a great way to enjoy natural greenery is to nurture a home garden. The spacious patios in the swanky apartments provide that much needed open space.

With a bit of planning and insight, each inch of the space can be well utilized to provide a mini canopy of greenery. Not only does it offer upbeat aesthetic appeal, but also provides a lung space in our own dwelling. An unique eco-diversity of sorts is established with daily visits from insects and birds. A creative combination of flowering plants, fresh herbs, vegetables and fruits form an interesting mix. Just make sure that the plants are well pampered like humans and pets.

Our one bedroom apartment in sunny San Diego has a decent sized patio and houses a diverse variety of plants like red rose, dwarf lime, mint, tomato, curry leaves, cilantro, cactus and some shrubs.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Where do the Indians meet in San Diego?

... Well, within 'San Diego Desi'. What exactly is it? In the contemporary world, when almost everything; from teaching to trading happens online, meeting people and communicating with each other is no exception. It started with an idea to create a forum to bring all the desis in San Diego together under one roof and 'San Diego Desi- an online portal' was created just for that purpose. It aims to establish connection between the different people of Indian origin scattered around the San Diego county.

The opening page invites the first time visitor to join the growing online community. This page also gives a good idea of what to expect from this portal. It has neatly laid out sections for the different categories. Though still under development, a number of 'recent' postings under the various sections suggest that the web-site is being utilized quite well.

'San Diego Desi' proudly displays being America's finest Indian community and also manages to sustain enough visitor interest because of the diverse nature of areas it covers. For the curious buyer and seller, there is the Classifieds section; rentals and accommodation taking the lion's share of posts. Google maps assisted Yellow-pages is an interesting concept that has a decent coverage of Indian business listings along with the pinpoint location in a Google map. It is a fair assumption that this section will be updated as new businesses mushroom.

Indian events in San Diego have always generated good public interest and having a specific section for that is a definite plus. A bit of work however to cover all the Indian events in San Diego will ensure this page being bookmarked by most people. For people who love to write columns and express their thoughts, there is a Soapbox section and for others, who are more of a discussing type, there is a Discussion section as well.

With few other miscellaneous sections, a current weather display, a search engine feature and links to other network sites, it aims at being literally a one-stop shop. For all the San Diego Desis out there, 'San Diego Desi' definitely warrants a visit !!

Monday, July 2, 2007

'Future Cup' extends Sachin's ODI future

The men in blue came back strongly after the World Cup fiasco to beat Bangladesh earlier and more recently to beat South Africans in the just concluded 'Future Cup' in Belfast, Ireland. The encounter with the Proteans have been heartening in more than one way; First thing, Indians have played really well outside the sub-continent against a strong team and most importantly, Sachin Tendulkar has resorted back to match-winning knocks and attacking innings.

Not only did he become the first cricketer in the world to cross 15,000 ODI runs but was also generous enough to share his man-of-the-series award with Yuvraj Singh. When critics and cricketing fraternity alike wrote off Sachin, he proved that he is still among the best.

This is a case of another Tendulkar blitzkrieg and more motivation to write to Sportingo. This time around, the publishers have trimmed and edited my original writing and am personally not happy because it has changed the flavor and context a bit.

-------> Sachin's article in Sportingo