Category: Lifestyle

Towards more sustainable travel

I love traveling and think it’s a great way to refresh, recharge while at the same time learning more about different places and cultures. So I was a bit unsure how to react to this news article – http://www.dnaindia.com/just-before-monday/report-the-ugly-side-of-travel-is-your-hobby-leaving-a-massive-carbon-footprint-behind-2645694

As kids, I remember our annual summer holidays where we would take the train to travel to grandparent’s place. The train journey was as much part of the holiday as meeting family. Maybe one option is to try and take more sustainable modes of transport while holidaying, wherever feasible.

The first holiday we took when we moved to Bangalore was to Mysore. And we took the train rather than a car. We took the Shatabdi and it was extremely comfortable and stress free. Similarly, when we took a trip to Kerala, we took the train one way. Kids enjoyed the experience of an overnight train, sleeping in ‘bunk beds’, as they called it!

Yes, it is not always possible in this day and age, when time is in such short supply. The impact of travel and tourism on sustainability is a topic that I am very interested in, and will look at in more detail.

If you have any suggestion, ideas, please let me know. Thanks!

Towards a healthier diet

People who are meeting me after a few months almost invariable comment that I have lost weight. And I tell them that it is by choice. I have made some changes to my eating habits that I believe has caused me to lose a few kilos and, more importantly, feel lighter, fresher and happier.

The story goes back a few months when I was going through a rather bumpy phase. My stress levels were high and so was my blood pressure. It was at this stage that my wife heard about a naturopathy based cooking workshop. As I have a strong interest in cooking and strongly felt that I needed to make a change, I registered for it.

The session was an eye-opener in terms of what we typically end up putting in our stomachs (and bodies). The workshop also recommended a few changes that we could make in our cooking habits to lead a healthier life.

I won’t say that I have implemented everything that I learnt in the workshop, but even the few changes I have made seem to be working. What are these changes? Quite simple actually. Reduce the amount of processed food that we eat (no chips, deep fried stuff, etc.) Reduce salt and sugar. Reduce (ideally eliminate) the use of oil in cooking (use nuts instead). Avoid tea. Have an early dinner. It was told that our bodies only need two meals a day. I still have three meals, but I only have a light dinner, and I typically have my dinner by 7 pm.

But the most important change I have made is to incorporate fruits into my diet. I begin my lunch and dinner with a course of fruits. I feel that this enables my body to absorb all the goodness in the fruits and also means that I eat less of the other (more processed) stuff.  If there in one change I would like everyone to make, it would be this.

 

Public Transport

I have always enjoyed traveling by public transport. Even when I had my own car, I preferred to use the local trains in Mumbai to commute to work, as opposed to driving my own car. I think I must have been the only person in office who had a car but still traveled by train!

This is my second stint in Bangalore and I must admit that, in my first stint, for over 3 years, I don’t think I took the public bus even once. I had my two-wheeler and used to to get around everywhere. Now, in my second stint, I don’t own a car or two-wheeler, and rely primarily on Uber to get around within the city (and Zoomcar for outstation trips). And when I am traveling by myself, I try to take the bus as much as possible. And, to be completely honest, I found the experience quite pleasant.

I think it’s a shame that most people who can afford not to, do not take the buses in Bangalore. I have found them to be quite clean, fairly reliable, with a good network, and obviously, fairly expensive. And now, with the integration of the bus timetable with Google Maps, it’s even easier to navigate and find the correct bus routes.

What do I like about public transport? I think it’s a great way to really get to observe the places and the people up close, as compared to the bubble of an air-conditioned car. It helps one to stay in touch with the reality of the place we are staying in. Its healthy – one has to walk to and from the bus stop. You get a better view around as you are sitting above the top of most vehicles around you. I don’t feel as claustrophobic when you are stuck in a traffic jam. I also feel less road rage as you do not observe all the nonsense around you. It’s obviously more environmentally friendly and, of course, it’s cheaper!

So, if you are in Mumbai or Bangalore, or indeed any city with a half decent public transport network, give it a shot and see how you feel.