My World

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Letter to my Guru: Celebrating Each Breath

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dr venkat

My Dear Dr Venkat

A very happy birthday to you!!! I am so grateful to this Universe and the mother who brought you into this world to spread love and wellness in this world.

This is what you said last year on your birthday – “Every breath is a new birth. So it’s a birthday for all of us, all the time.

Last year (2015) had been the year which taught me so much through you, through your words, under your guidance. The year started or I would say it continued its course from the previous year jerks and when I did not slow down it just pushed me forcefully from the mountain where I was standing. Down I went in few hours to an end , to death. I would not say I saw any light in the dark tunnel as many have seen in the near-to-death experience. I do not remember one whole day of my life – may be it was a transition period from death to a new life. For a new beginning and for a new life to start, there has to be an end to the previous one.

The new beginning, the new start of a new life started that day. I could see my husband, my parents, my family and my friends all with a smile when I entered this new life. But there was a fear in their eyes behind that glow, there was a worry behind those smiles which they would have gone through in last 30 hours. I know you were also so much worried about me constantly taking updates from Mumbai but it was you who had given me the strength, it was you who had filled in me the vitality towards life which helped me fight and be born again. I was happy to gain my breath back. It was scary two days back to that day when I was struggling for each breath.  It was a sad ending but a happy beginning.

It is almost a year now. The new journey started that day but the fear and the worry in those eyes were constantly haunting me. And then I, with my husband beside me as always, decided we would juggle our priorities putting our health first. You made us realize that self care and self love adds vitality to life.

Our own experiences made us realize the real meaning of the phrase that we all have learnt from childhood “Health is Wealth”. All our dreams, our ambition, our aim everything comes after health. Everything else can wait. Without health there is no life. We all have seen in our families or around us how impaired health of one member of the family can affect the whole life of other family members. I have seen it since my childhood, in my extended family.

We were ready to miss other things happening in the world. And why not? We have ignored ourselves, our health for last 30 years running behind other things. We can ignore “other things” for this wonderful creation of nature – our body. We are so grateful to you for making us realize how beautiful our body functions. We all appreciate nature, the creation of nature – the forest, the flowers, the wildlife, the mountains, the river but we forget to love and appreciate one of the beautiful creation which is always with us – “Our Body” – “The Self”.

If it was not you we would not have embarked on this journey with the FAITH that like every creation of nature, our amazing body would also grow(heal) if we nurture it with love and care. No life long or life threatening illness can take over this wonderful creation if it is nurtured with right inputs at right time. It is like nurturing that dry plant with sunlight, water, love and faith and in few days it is alive and green.

You with your love and care helped us realize that when we love and appreciate something/someone, we spend more and more time with them. When we spend more and more time with them, we start knowing them better. In our case it was “THE SELF” -> “OUR BODY”, “OUR SOUL”, “OUR MIND”, “OUR EMOTIONS”, “OUR THOUGHTS”.

As I am knowing myself more and more, I am feeling that all these years I was living a superficial life, it was a superficial “ME”. And I owe this new life and the new (rediscovered) “ME”, my new breath, my new birth to you Dr Venkat. I wanted to tell all this to you sitting in front of you but I was late. Nevertheless I know you can still listen to me.

Love you, Love you, Love you

Voice of Dr Vijaya Venkat

Late Dr Vijaya Venkat is the founder of The Health Awareness Center, Mumbai. These letters are a tribute to her letting her know how she has impacted our life which I could not share with her when she was present physically with us. This is also an attempt to let the world know how she had a profound impact on our life through her teachings, her guidance. 

Written by Priyanka Varma

January 30, 2016 at 11:38 pm

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Letter to my Guru: Celebrating Life

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My dear Dr Venkat

You and The Health Awareness Center (THAC) were one of the best thing that happened to me. I remember one of your mails telling me that Sushil and THAC has been the best thing that has happened to me and that has been very much true.

My first meeting with you was on 27th February 2014. I still remember that day how one moment you were scolding me and the other moment you were full of love and concern for me. From that day onwards you have been guiding me as a Guru – tough from outside but lots of love and concern behind that toughness.

I had never met such a compassionate person as you. You were the one who crushed my personality which was not me and helped me rediscover myself. You never answered my queries directly but always helped me, like a Guru, take the journey towards finding the answers myself.

I felt as if you knew me before I knew myself. You instilled faith in me that life is abundant. I have always kept the mantra given by you that “Everything is possible when we are honest to ourself” and that has been keeping me going. You taught us to trust the universe completely and be grateful that we are alive. You taught us to be in gratitude to our body, our breath and our cells.

I met you for my health but you added life to my life. I was so much looking forward to meet you this year again and be with you but was shocked to get the message that you have slipped silently to eternal sleep. It is very difficult for us to come to peace with it.

But as you always said “Death is definite. It is a perfect balance between the known and unknown, the visible and invisible. In death we explore the unknown in the invisibleAccept death with grace and beauty for then life is a celebration and death is celebration. Make it beautiful.”

You will always be with us Dr Venkat in our hearts and in our life as we live and celebrate life as you taught us. I always looked up to you for your guidance on this journey and I know you would still guide me. I owe this new life to you.

The impact that you have made on my life is unforgettable. Your voice full of love and your beautiful smile will always be remembered.

What you have done in this one life time by giving  rebirth to so many uncountable souls like me, I cannot even imagine doing a part of it in many life time. Today, you are not physically present in front of us, but I know that you have only left this physical medium and will still be with us, around us. Dr. Venkat you will never die, I know you have only gone for a sleep. You used to say – “Don’t worry, I’ll be there to cry when you die“. I know you will be there when I go to sleep.

Voice of Dr Vijaya Venkat

Love you, Love you, Love you.


Late Dr Vijaya Venkat is the founder of The Health Awareness Center, Mumbai. These letters are a tribute to her letting her know how she has impacted our life which I could not share with her when she was present physically with us. This is also an attempt to let the world know how she had a profound impact on our life through her teachings, her guidance. 

Written by Priyanka Varma

January 6, 2016 at 5:42 pm

A Journey

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Life is a journey and this journey is important. Sometimes the destination seems to be at just 100 meters ahead but then a narrow hidden lane might take you away from the destination. This narrow lane might be topsy turvy with bumps and manholes. You might get jerks and you might fall down. But at the end of the lane you will remember and enjoy the experiences you had in this lane rather than the smooth ride on a flat road.

Last one year has been a memorable journey for us. There has been a lot of learning through this undulating ride. Everything has a purpose.

All the events and moments which are happening to us has a purpose. So live it and experience the happiness, pains and the sorrows. I have learnt that we should live through the challenges and not try to avoid it. Through these challenges we learn and through these learning we evolve. We move ahead and not be stagnant in life. The diagnosis of the autoimmune type 1 diabetes has been a boon for me and for people around me. Because of it I could learn to listen to my body, I could learn about the importance of natural living, natural food and getting closer to nature. I feel a sense of satisfaction when I hear from people around me that we have influenced them towards a healthy living.

My journey still has some bumps ahead. I have been taking care of my mother for last 3 months. She has psychiatric health issues. Because of her health issues I am learning about the different aspects of life. We took this challenge of healing her without any of those anti psychotic drugs. I am coming across lot of alternative healing techniques. I am learning to be patient. I never had understood her mental health and now I am getting to understand how she is going through. Though there are moments when I feel frustrated and sad but when I think about the time when she would be fully fine, all those frustration vanishes.

I am jotting down this today as we could feel a good amount of improvement in her. One of our friend recently shared about enjoying those small happy moments in your life rather than waiting for something big to happen. A positive change in her mind and body is one of those small happy moments for us. I thank all those who has been a part of my journey for last few months. Looking forward to more of those small happy moments. We would not have been able to take this ride alone. Thanks to our friends, the pioneers in alternative and natural healing, and my family and extended family in Bangalore. 🙂

Written by Priyanka Varma

October 30, 2014 at 6:02 am

Posted in General

Wandering with Healthy Taste Buds

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I would like to share my Journey to the Healthy Plate with as many people as I can so that it reaches to all those who need information on coming out of an incurable disease without strong medications. So sharing here on my personal blog too.

Wandering Taste Buds

When I had started “Wandering Taste Buds”, I had a plan of compiling and bringing to you food and cuisine from all around the country. Mostly the food which I would have been writing would have been unhealthy though I did not think them as unhealthy at that point of time. The blogs would have been tempting with the aroma of mouthwatering Biryanis from Ambur, Kolhapur, Hyderabad, Lucknow etc, Chicken and Mutton dishes, the Kebabs, crispy Dosas, sizzling sizzlers, Death by Chocolate, hot Jalebis and all those tempting and tasty food. Now I have realized the unhealthiness part of it.

But 8 months back when I was diagnosed with one of the incurable (as defined by medical science) autoimmune disease “Type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent)”, I was first disappointed that I would not be able to have any sweet or dessert even though I was not a sweet tooth(…

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Written by Priyanka Varma

June 11, 2014 at 9:58 am

Posted in General

Gulmohar – My Window Curtains

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This beautiful view is from my room. Come April-May and this tree is full of these bright red flowers and new green leaves. Just looking at these beautiful trees and flowers can bring lot of happiness to your heart. The morning breeze which nudges us to wake up and enjoy is cool because of this tree. And for last two years that we have spent at this house we have seen a family of White Cheeked Barbet grow up in this tree with lot of squirrels.

The wonderful tree has been a home for this White Cheeked Barbet. Every time she is going to give birth to her babies, she cleans the nest in the trunk of this tree. Thanks to this tree that we have been able to observe the mother Barbet raising up her family.


 The Baby Barbet Photo Courtesy: Sushil Katre

Thanks to the standing tree for making my windows look beautiful and for the cool breeze and the beautiful birds we get to watch. The gloomy days become happy with just a look at this beautiful tree. You have been a colourful blessings for the streets of the city.

Written by Priyanka Varma

May 16, 2014 at 9:20 am

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A Love Letter to Me

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This love letter is to myself, to my body, to my inner self which is going through a turmoil. 😛

Dear Me

First of all very sorry for putting you in great pain for last 6 months – the physical and the emotional stress that you have been put through. I have been desperately trying to take you out of this situation but in this desperation I think I have been hurting you more and even others in your vicinity.

I love you and have started to understand you much better. I have been constantly learning for last few months and have been focusing all my attention towards you. I am making mistakes on this journey and its good that I realize my mistakes. I think I am knowingly making most of them to get attention 😛 . I know you need lots of love, care, space, time and understanding at the moment and no advices.

You are unique. You are not perfect but you are open to learn and grow which is the best thing that you possess. You have a big, open heart which has love for everyone except for few like Narendra Modi and few more :P.  But sometimes you behave like a kid who wants to grab all the attention.  I need to communicate with you regularly and scold you like a parent for being a over demanding child and also praise you for being a good child.

Thank you for the inner strength, determination and positive thinking that you possess. Lets be in harmony and lets take the path ahead together with love with few bumps and rough roads :).

Love You


Written by Priyanka Varma

May 9, 2014 at 6:18 am

Posted in Feelings, General

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Ejipura: “How many malls do Bangaloreans need?”

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This article was originally written for The Alternative. Reblogging it here.

For all those who are not aware there was the demolition of EWS quarters of around 1000 families at Ejipura just opposite the National Games Village, Kormangala in Bangalore last week. This demolition has happened for building up another mall by the builders of Garuda Mall. Even the Garuda Mall at MG Road is not legally built. The land was given for a multilevel car parking but the mall has come up instead of the parking. The residents of Ejipura whose houses have been demolished are out in the open in the cold without water, power, food and shelter.

“My 8 months old child is suffering from jaundice and fever. My husband is not there and I have lost my job. “says one on the residents of Ejipura whose house has been demolished. In spite of all these challenges she has been helping the volunteers in distributing food and clothes to the right people.

Pic: Mayank Rungta

Can we who live in our comfortable houses with food and snuggled into warm blankets be so strong? I am really amazed by these people who are greeting us with a smile even in the difficult times when they have lost their shelter. They have not forgotten to care for their neighbors checking if they received the food and blankets. Apart from that they are also taking care of their pets, mostly dogs and cats.

They are out in the open, on the footpaths on both sides of the road with their minimal belongings with nowhere to go. What was their crime that the houses of 1000 families have been demolished? Even a criminal has a roof over his head in the jail. The toilets have been destroyed. The first day itself water supply and power supply was cut off. And in just 2-3 days the ground where once these people used to live has been grounded and the area has been fenced. I really should appreciate BBMP for the efficient work they have been doing in demolishing the houses. They have carried out this eviction very strategically in phases, first the houses were demolished, then people were pressurized to vacate the place, then they started leveling the ground without looking at what’s on the ground and this debris was piled on all the sides to block various entrance so that supply of food, water and other essentials arranged by volunteers can be ruptured and finally fencing the whole area with very high tin sheets. If they channelize this efficiency towards the grappling problems of our city, I am sure Bangalore would be a much better and a cleaner place in no time.

With no access to power supply, water supply, toilets, food and shelter the government has left them out in the open to suffer and not even taking the responsibility of providing them an alternative shelter. To add to it yesterday they demolished more houses in the area. It is only because of the continuous efforts of few people and volunteers that these victims are able to get food, water and blankets regularly. Even we volunteers faced resistance by the police in distributing food and blankets. The vehicles carrying food was not allowed to enter the area. We had to walk with the food cans to find people among the rubbles in the dark and distribute food to them. It is really unbelievable how much callousness exist around us.

My emotions have been overwhelming to put everything in words. I feel angry. I feel helpless not able to fight for them. I am sure after all this my conscience will never ever allow me to step into the mall which would be standing here in next few months or years or rather any mall. How many malls do Bangaloreans need? I and my husband rarely visit a mall and our life goes on smoothly.

I, along with other volunteers, have been visiting the site for the last one week. I can’t really explain the plight of the people in words; how people have been sitting or sleeping in the cold. I would request that we all to go to the site and see for ourselves what it feels like when you lose your home. At least, the residents would feel that they are not alone. We know how much it matters when someone is there with you just to talk to you in the difficult times. Many of the residents have lost their jobs and it would be good if we can help them find jobs. They are mostly home maids, driver, cook etc.

Appealing all to come out and help the residents of Ejipura in any way – helping them fight for their ‘Right to Shelter’ or help in spreading the awareness or help with the logistics or finding them a home or a job.

You can follow the updates on Ejipura and volunteer for relief work through the Relief for EWS Ejipura Demolition Victims Facebook page or the hashtag #EWSEjipura on Twitter.

Written by Priyanka Varma

January 28, 2013 at 8:40 am

Wandering Taste Buds – New Blog

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I would like to tell my readers that we have started a blog exclusively on travel and Food. Please checkout our new blog “Wandering Taste Buds”. Visit . Do give your feedback on the posts. Happy Reading 🙂

Written by Priyanka Varma

August 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm

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Good Old Summer Days!!!

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Last Sunday I was at one of my friend’s place and was just peeping through the small window in his apartment. It was a sunny day just like any other scorching summer day. I stood for an hour staring at a small old-designed house with an open verandah with around 5-6 kids sitting and playing carrom. Even the parents were sitting besides them and watching them play. As soon as the sun started setting, the kids came out of the house and started playing cricket.

That scene took me back to my childhood – Myself and my 2 younger brothers sitting on the floor around the carom-board with my dad and mom inside the house. All doors and windows closed with curtains pulled to not let the hot air into the house or even a ray of the sun. You could hear the strong hot winds blowing outside. Sipping chilled lassi in the glass we would play for hours and also talk about our friends, school and studies. This was a regular scene each and every day of our Summer holidays.

The only difference would be that carom would sometimes be replaced with Chess, Ludo, Snake and Ladder, Monopoly, Checkers, Scrabble or Brainvita. And instead of cold lassi we might be relishing nimbu pani or sattu mixed in water with salt and lemon or the evergreen ruhafza or Rasna or watermelon or some sharbat, custard or icecream.

As the sun would start setting we would be allowed to sneak out of the house to the big playground in front of the house or to the terrace. And then would start the evening outdoor game either cricket or badminton with my dad , brothers and the friends in our neighborhood. Those were one of the real moments that we enjoyed in our life and thinking about them really took me back to the good childhood days.

The days when only people that meant to us was our parents and our brothers and sisters. And there’s so much to remember about.

Written by Priyanka Varma

March 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm

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Pani Puri, Golgappa, Phuchka – Memories around it !!!

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I was sitting at my home flipping through a book and enjoying the nice rain when suddenly a temptation to eat something ‘chatpata‘ made my taste buds restless. Keeping the book aside my foodie soul woke up and placed floating images of ‘garam pakoda‘, ‘samosa‘ in front of my eyes. Seeing those mouth watering images the eyes gleamed, but I was in no mood to cook for myself. So I consoled my foodie soul and was back to my book.

But the taste buds were really getting restless and again a sudden temptation arose to have the ‘pani puris’. Waited for the rain to stop and stepped out of the house in search of the ‘panipuriwaala’. Just next to my street on the main road are 2-3 of them. Circling around the stand were 4 of us with our plates. Gulping one paani puri, waiting for another round I savoured them. My soul was filled with the satisfaction after gulping 10 of those and then one “Churmur Chaat“.

While having those pani puris, I was remembering the paani puri bhaiya who used to have stall at our school. I know him for now 21 long years. Still his face is fresh in my mind and the speed with which he used to serve those pani puris.


A man with his thela( its a vehicle with four wheels and gets pushed to move) which carried a box full of paani puri and few other vessels enters the main gate of the school. Pushes his vehicle till the big playground under a tree and places his gaadi with other gaadi of Dosa/Idli and icecream waala. Little girls playing in the playground turn their faces as if waiting for him, runs towards him and stands around the gaadi in a circle. Atleast 20 of them around the gaadi and bhaiya in the center with his fast moving hands serving one by one. You will not believe but by the time you are still relishing the first paani puri, he would have placed the second one. The fast moving hands were so good at their work.

Enjoyed the 10 years of his paani puri when I was in school. Seen the price rise from 4 pieces for 25 paise to 2 pieces for 2 rupees but he continued serving with the same speed and same taste. In those days there was not much concept of  pocket money. I used to cycle to school , so I used to get some money for the puncture , air filling etc. Saving from those or sometimes faking a puncture would arrange for the pani puri.

Till 2 years back I met him and tasted his pani puris. We knew the place where he used to place his gaadi in the evening after school. Whenever we went back from our college we used to visit him and he would also recognize our faces with his old eyes. And still served with the same dedication.

I am sure all the Notre Dame Students from Patna would remember him. Sometimes people who might not be anything to us might be something and we might have lots of memories around them. I know you will not read this but we really enjoyed your pani puri :). Your memories dominates a great part of our school life. And now I realize that whenever I have gone with any of my friends to have pani puri at other places I have always mentioned about you telling I have never  tasted the ones by you and the speed with which you served.

Back to the Present…

Oh that was only the first pani puri that I gulped. It got digested too and now the time for the second piece. Another customer standing there says “Sir mere ko akele alag se khilao. Mazaa nahi aa raha hai. Wo jaldi jaldi khilao to mazaa aata hai.” (Sir please serve me separately. I am not able to enjoy. If you serve fast then it is fun). I give him a smile and walk away.

Just a post remembering someone. 🙂

Written by Priyanka Varma

October 10, 2011 at 6:25 pm