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Moving Abroad? | What to pack?

Are you moving abroad? Whether you are planning to move to another country as a student or on an official deputation or as a permanent resident to a country like Canada, I am sure you have innumerable questions - amongst which " What to pack? " tops the list! Should I carry my certificates, daily essentials, food items, clothes and the list is endless. And this is one of the most frequently asked questions in social media groups and (or) amongst friends/ relatives/ colleagues who have travelled before.  While some genuinely respond, I have seen many mocking the asker, quoting it is too stupid to carry lentils, tooth brush or any basic essentials that will be available at the destination or just brushing it off as a dumb question. There is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers. In this article, I shall try to answer your question "What to pack while moving abroad?" as much as I can. If you find this article useful, please don't hoard it to yours

Book: Before We Say Goodbye by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Before We Say Goodbye by Toshikazu Kawaguchi is the 3rd book I read this year. The 2nd was Meet Me in Mumbai by Sabina Khan. I have posted its audio synopsis and review on my you tube channel - Our_Bookshelf. It is available in this link . Meanwhile, if you wish to read my latest articles and watch the content I create, follow me on  Instagram  and  Facebook !!  Before The Coffee Gets Cold is the first book as part of the series written by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. It was originally a play written in Japanese in 2010 that turned out to be a bit hit. Later it was published as a novel in the same language in the year 2015. Due to its popularity, the book was translated into English. The author published sequels Tales from the Cafe, Before Your Memory Fades, Before We Say Goodbye, Before We Forget Kindness in 2017, 2018, 2021 and 2023 respectively. All except Before We Forget Kindness have been translated into English and the fifth book is expected to be released in English in Nov 2024. When I

Review: Heeramandi - The Diamond Bazaar (Web Series)

The web series Heeramandi , The Diamond Bazaar, written, directed and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is a historical drama based on the life of courtesans (tawaifs) during the pre-independence era. Ever since Heeramandi was released on Netflix, the internet is flooded by Heeramandi's success parties, reviews, interviews and memes. But what is the true story of Heeramandi? I will try to share few insights I gathered, along with my review of this 8 episode series.  Heera-mandi translates to Diamond-Market in Urdu. The story dates back to Mughal period. The then Prime Minister of Punjab (undivided India) Heera Singh Dogra, established a Market (Bazaar/ Mandi) as an economic center to promote trade. The place was named after him - Heera's market, so Heeramandi. To promote the economic hub further, they brought women from different places who were well trained in various art forms like dance, poetry, music etc. to make it a cultural hub too. A fort was constructed closer to the

Hype of today's kids lunchboxes

Today, 7 out of 10 videos on social media are related to food, out of which half a bunch are on lunchbox recipes. Every thing that gets packed into the lunch bag, isn't prepared straight-forward. If you accidentally click some random video mesmerized by the aesthetics, your social media accounts will be flooded with tons of such videos/ reels. I recently came across someone preparing peppa pig idlis, flower dosas, all nuts (cashew, almond, walnut etc.) chutney (instead of the regular idli, dosa and chutney). Someone packed colourful pooris (as part of their holi-lunch series). Another person made variety rice, dal, roti, egg curry and amrakand - all from scratch for the lunch box. And there are millions of similar videos on internet from all over the world.  After watching few of my food videos, even my friends ask how I make those varieties daily. I politely respond and move on. I post videos (under the name Manu's Menu, on my youtube channel) only whenever I think it might he

Book: The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutler

My knowledge on Buddha and Buddhism is limited to my school text books and some documentaries. I always wanted to know more about Buddha, his preachings and the philosophy of Buddhism. Few months back, I reached out to a book recommendation group on FB. Just within minutes, I received multiple suggestions on books on Buddhism, out of which I chose "The Art of Happiness" (the one with the highest number of recommendations). I decided to read it as the first book of 2024.  If you had been following me regularly, you would have known I wasn't successful at meeting my yearly reading goals. So unlike previous years, I wanted to adopt a different approach and goal towards reading, that could enable me to read more. I have explained about it at the end of this article.  For now, let me get into the topic "The Art of Happiness" is authored by the 14th Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. His Holiness Dalai Lama needs no introduction. HH Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of th

Recipe: Idiyappam | Sevai | String Hoppers

Idiyappam, is a well known break fast item in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. It is also known as sevai or string hoppers (in English) and is primarily made out of rice floor. Like idli, idiyappam is made through steaming using no oil, making it very easily digestible and light on stomach.  When I think about idiyappam, I remember 2 instances from my childhood. One of my friend's mom, used to feed her 2 year old with different colourful sevais for evening snack - white, yellow, red along with a liquid version of it too, almost 3-4 times in a week. Later I learnt from her elder daughter (my friend) that they are coconut sevai (sweet version), lemon sevai, tomato sevai and rasam sevai. Though born and brought up in Chennai, we aren't much into idiyappams.  I don't remember eating them until I crossed 10 years. Whenever we visit a doctor with fever, our doctor used to give a list of food items - kanji, bread, idli, idiyappam and rasam rice, which I was usually averse to even

Losing an hour of sleep

After reading the title of this post, don't mistake me for a health expert or a lifestyle coach who is going to lecture about the importance of sleep. I am also not going to explain how loosing an hour of sleep is going to impact your gut health, circadian rythm or your overall well being.  Loosing an hour of sleep is an usual phenomenon experienced by those living in North America, parts of Asia, South America and Europe, once in an year though and at different time period for each country. Typically it happens around spring/ summer. Yes, I am referring to Daylight Saving Time (DST). For someone who is born in India like me, it never made sense to observe daylight saving time, until we moved to North America. In fact I hated DST, as my Onsite meetings mostly with my North American Clients and colleagues (while I was working at India), used to get delayed by an hour and run into my late evenings and nights. For those who are new to this concept, Daylight saving time is the period,