Vipassana Experience: All perishable, Live in NOW

I had tried doing meditation maybe 100 times till March 2021 but more than 10000 thoughts used to occupy the mind. But yes #meditation calmed me in spite of those 10000 different things trying to take the centre stage.

After going through some major events in 2020, I was looking for something life-changing to Declutter my mind and start afresh. Reality -there is no such thing but there are tools and avenues which help.

I got the chance to attend #Vipassana at #DhammaVipula, Belapur , Navi Mumbai . So for anyone thinking about attending #Vipassana, some key pointers –
1. The 10-day course may not make a drastic change on the 11th day but if you are able to practice it post-attending even if not regular you will definitely see the difference. The first course you do will be like the pre-primary of your journey to understanding self and life.
2. Even though you go for a meditation course that is FREE ( you have the opportunity to give back monetarily or non-monetarily after you have completed it) , it gives you all the comfortable stay and food minus dinner. Those worrying about missing dinner, most likely will not.
3. Nothing is permanent. Neither Happiness nor Pain. Everything changes, everything is perishable; including our breath which would be the key focus all throughout.
4. For those with any condition – either requiring dinner or seating on a chair etc, can be requested. We had a mix of 20-65 year age group with two expecting mothers as well, all completed their 10 days course. Thanks
4. Enrolling at multiple centers is permitted, but once selected at one, you need to cancel other applications.
5. You will be required to reach a day before the course starts say Day 0. Day 1- Day 3 is when you practice Aana Paana meditation which is observing your breathing and preparing you for the Vipassana which starts on Day 4. Day 4- Day 9 is Vipassana where you also get the opportunity to practice in Pagoda Chambers. Day 10 is when you are allowed to speak with your fellow participants ( other days no communication except with the teacher and management ) and also the day when you practice Metta Bhav. This was a different experience as well as the key highlight for me as this day is like a healing day they call it. I call it the day you try to leave the baggage you are carrying against anyone as this day you practice seeking goodness for those you feel were not good to you.

After 16 months, I still get 10000 thoughts but I also am able to meditate, focus , respond and feel better for a longer duration. The 10000 thoughts now occupy 65 percent of my meditation time as against 95 percent earlier.

Good Luck to anyone planning to do Vipassana. Thanks to all managing this course and centers and continuing the legacy of #Shri S N Goenka who started it.


Converting Group Medical Insurance Cover to Individual Cover

Most of us take/ have taken medical insurance for our parents as a part of group policy from employer. Ideal scenario is having separate policy or family floater policy other than group policy taken. But then what if not done especially when the age to be covered is beyond 60

That was a key concern for me when I decided to take a long-term break from corporate employment. Just in time came the most crucial information from Mr Amit Kallianpur on porting group policy to individual/floater plan. He highlighted this option which enabled me to continue the group medical insurance which had 10 years continuity

Interestingly very, few even in the industry know this information.

Image by Tumisu,from Pixabay

The regulatory norms for last couple of years have included the option of converting the group policy to individual policy. And it helps-

  1. Continuity benefit/ Waiting period/ Pre-existing conditions covered under existing group insurance policy. 
  2. Limited options on Getting insurance coverage for elderly especially on entry age etc . 
  3. When deciding on starting your own venture or freelancing where the fear of losing out these intangible benefits on health cover from company affects your decision.

So you can continue the policy with same insurance company with continuity benefits of earlier years post leaving the employer from where this policy was taken.

You need to initiate this conversion at least 45 days prior to your last working day.  You can write directly to the group insurer who can guide the employers on the process if not known to them. 

It’s noteworthy to highlight on the quick response I received from the New India Assurance co – from the chat bot( this one is quite intelligent unlike other experiences where you have to wait for the bot to understand a simple request )  to the person in charge who handled it subsequently. 

So, make use of this option of portability of Group insurance to individual when making a switch/change from employment.

#Groupinsurance #medicalinsurance #porting #Healthinsurance #Migration


20% less waste & 40% less chemicals: Journey of 21 months

April 2020 was when I first time heard about bio enzymes. Sounded more like big word and complicated stuff.

Once started doing it, realised how simple it was and how big the impact it created with 30 kg food otherwise going in bins was reused.

We all read and hear about transformations with small steps taken consistently. This was one such step.

Veggie and Fruit Peels converted to bioenzymes

Easy to practice so it became a habit.

Looking back last 21 months:

  1. Reused 30 kg of fruit/vegetable peels to make natural cleaners ~ bio enzyme.
  2. This is roughly around 52 kg less Carbon footprint.
  3. These peels would otherwise have gone to a composting unit in best-case scenario. Bio enzyme making helped its reuse 1-3 times to make cleaners and remains composted post that at home. With this the household waste was less by 20%.
  4. These cleaners made from peels replaced the need to purchase chemical cleaners. So saved on buying 36 litres of cleaners per annum.
  5. With lesser use of chemicals reduced my chemical footprint by 40%. (Next in line is to reduce on detergents, dish wash liquid and toiletries).
  6. Reused >75 plastic bottles available and borrowed without any recycling costs and still reusable.
  7. Have now stock of cleaners for more than a year for use and sharing.
Reuse Reuse Reuse – Bottles & Raw Food leftover

20% less waste = 40% less chemicals = Better Tomorrow

If you want to know more on bio enzymes read on

Race to -1 : One step at a time


Can Orange be the new GREEN ?

Till 2019, orange peels used to go to bin at my place. But no more now.

Imagination, creativity and successful experiments by people around the world have given us various options to use and reuse.

At the same time with time constraint and busy schedules, I was lucky to have found something which is easy to adapt and continue to use.

So this is what can be done.

  • Collect the peels.
  • Take any airtight plastic bottle/ container which would otherwise be a discard. ( Soda, Soft drinks etc)
  • Take 3 portion orange peels, 1 portion jaggery and 10 portion water in the above.
  • Open the bottle cap daily till the fizz goes away or 15 days,  later of two.
  • By Day 90 you have an orange fragrant chemical free cleaner ready to use.
  • You reused the peels, reduced waste & use of chemicals and also created something green.
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay 

So can you make Orange the new GREEN ?

To know more about this magic liquid, read through

#bettertomorrow #racetominusone #sustainability #reuse #wastemanagement #greenchoice #peel #natural cleaner #bioenzyme


Uses and NO Uses : Orange Peel

Till 15 months back, I wouldn’t have thought that the outer covering ie peel of orange could have so many uses and no uses.

Image by Alexandra ❤️A life without animals is not worth living❤️ from Pixabay

Those who are using it either in edible form ( it is and I did try but family didn’t like the taste) or as a home made beauty enhancer; GREAT.

When not being used then it would broadly go into below three outputs. Which of these do you like ?

Image by 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay  

Or may be this one

Image by Alexandra ❤️A life without animals is not worth living❤️ from Pixabay 

Or may be below. It however goes through a second round of input-output cycle of 90 days but is its worth the wait. And when its done all peels settles down as indicator.

All these three pictures each give a different choice. Make your choice. Which output would you prefer ?


Why I didn’t have to buy any surface cleaner ?

So by the end of 2.5 months of re-using the peels my collection of plastic bottles which would otherwise have gone for plastic recycling was getting reused at home.

The compost bin started getting less load with part of that diverted for reuse instead of recycle.

They looked good together for a better tomorrow. And that’s how I didn’t need to buy any surface cleaner for my home for last 5 months. 

Less waste, less chemicals and savings was bonus. Only it requires two things 2 minutes everyday and some jaggery.

#sustainability #saveenvironment #reuse #peels #bioenzyme #plasticreuse


Don’t throw the leftover peels?

There are different takes on whether we should be consuming peels of fruits and vegetables or not. If you are already convinced that we can consume them and are doing so please do share your experience to enable more people to move to the best use of that.

But if not lets put the peels to the second best use of making multipurpose cleaners cum disinfectants cum drain declogger ( Bioenzymes) in 2 minutes.

And the result I got is this.

And this doesn’t end here. Along with putting the peels to a new use, I didn’t need to buy any surface cleaner for my home for last 5 months. Welcome to Race to -1.

#sustainability #peels #saveplanet #savenvironment #bioenzyme #waste #reduce #reuse #peels #leftover


Choose any of these 5 steps to start sustainability

Environment, bio diversity, ecological balance; all these have become more important and urgent than ever now. Although an old concept but CIRCULAR ECONOMY is gaining a lot of attention and initiatives. So at the time when the businesses are devising the strategies towards a sustainable supply chain and closing the loop for this value chain as a part of their sustainability development goals/CSR etc; is there something an individual can do ?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

The answer was a NO till Feb of this year for me. Last 7 months was a great learning experience. Among many things I came across you may find useful to start with :

1. Carry any bag available at home ( no matter if you are reusing a plastic one as well) to avoid using & bringing extra plastics while shopping.
2. Segregate the waste into wet, dry and hazardous at your house itself which will help you move to next step.

3. Put and compress your clean and dry plastics in any discard bottle which will make it compact and easy for either the garbage collectors/ scrap sellers or recyclers. These are called eco bricks which is finding its use in many more ways.

4. Citrus peels residues can be made into cleaner (bio enzyme) which would otherwise be going into your dustbins. 3 portions of peels, 1 portion of jaggery and 10 portions of water in a plastic airtight bottle in a dark place. Open everyday to release the gas formation in the bottle. Ready to use as cleaner by 90th day by what time peels settle down in the bottle. For knowing process and usage visit

5. Use any old bucket/ paint bucket/ pot with holes in bottom and sides to start composting. After above process of bio enzymes whatever is left from kitchen can be put in this unit with some soil or dry leaves and process can be started. Maintain one layer of kitchen waste and one layer of soil or dry leaves and keep it covered. Add some curd or butter milk as an accelerator for process. Check it after 3 months. For more details

Would the area around where you live look different if every family from decides to take up one of the above step? Are you ready to make the difference ?

Race to -1 : Towards Better Tomorrow

#zerowaste #sustainability #circulareconomy #bioenzymes #wastereduction #composting


Composting DIY vs Composter + Powder

I started #composting as a DIY. Its been past the normal period by which compost is expected to be done. But as I had been experimenting it on continuous food additions, using different types of browns and not turning around every week; so my patience continues. Also the fact that its not smelling lets me not loose the faith.

Today I am going to try out the compost bin sold commercially for this very purpose along with use of compost maker. Lets see the difference and figure out which is easier and convenient to get everybody I know to get started on this journey.

Image by Joke vander Leij from Pixabay

Although I was so far not quite inclined to buy something to reduce waste; but if that helps convert waste into something useful for many more; then its worth a try.

For those of you who are new to composting below is a quick bite on that :

  • Composting converts human food waste and discards into food for plants.
  • So instead of all this waste going outside home and getting stored/ dumped on landfills ( unless its going for community composting); you can by way of composting contribute to save land, water and air.

So waiting to see the the results. Revisit after 6 weeks on Nov 17, 2020.

Race to -1


CHOICE – yes or no ?

Choice or no choice makes a lot of difference in the way we do and treat things. Even though it applies to multiple things in our daily lives, in this post I write on CHOICES we come across as consumers.

So when we have CHOICE-

  • Choice of cooking less or more makes cook more at times. The extra if not used appropriately becomes a waste. Make use of the option of sharing it with others. #reducefoodwaste #sharewithcommunity
  • Choice of buying less or more makes us buy more at times. And if that is not optimally utilized it gets wasted. #beresponsible #saveresources
  • Choice of buying or not buying tilts in favor of buying but sometimes misses the point on whether its just a mere purchase or need and / or want. #essential #nonessential #luxury

But when we DON’T have the CHOICE-

  • Cooking becomes exact or less. No waste but chances of it lesser than required is there. #Nocookedfoodwaste
  • Buying choices are more clear as exact needs to be bought. Wastage is not tolerated. #Optimalutilization
  • Buying choices are determined by the priorities and essential’s. #Priotize #essential

To rebuild tomorrow we can exercise some choice (s) and change some choices. What do you think ?

Race to ‘-1’