Print Edition: Apr 15, 2012

Off The Beaten Track

A self-confessed adventurer, Karn Kowshik talks about the new wave of free-spirited vagabonds who aren't slaves to tour guides and travel books.

People go on adventure breaks to add excitement to their lives. Yet, what often happens is we end up with more stress than enjoyment. Here's how you can avoid common rookie mistakes.

Being Ready
Adventures are physically and psychologically straining and require top fitness levels. Hit the gym or start jogging at least a month before the trip. Take rock climbing classes and brush up on your swimming. Learn basic first aid and carry a basic med-kit along with a warm and light windproof jacket.

The Art of Adventure Building
Thrill comes to those who seek it. Stop depending on vehicles; get driven by instinct instead. Flying to Ladakh is pass so why not climb the 6,000 metre Mt Stok Kangri instead? Or how about kayaking around the Andamans instead of driving around them? Think beyond the usual. If rafting the Rishikesh tides seems done to death, head to the North East for a two week expedition down the Brahmaputra.

Travel like the Local

Natives often have insightful perspectives. Give the travel guide a break and ask locals about the paths they take, specially in hilly and desert terrain. This opens up lesser known areas. So, instead of hiring a pony, lace up your trekking shoes.

The Great Indian Outdoors
Some lesser known exploits around India include canyoning the waterfalls in Manali, skiing the slopes of Gulmarg, Solan Nallah and Auli; and downhill mountain biking in Kerala's Munnar range. Another thrilling trail is a trek through the Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh. Nestled in the majestic Himalayas, the villages here are easily among the highest human settlements in the world.

The Budget Line
For adventure sports, instead of renting an expert on the spot, go through an agency. This works out cheaper and takes care of essential equipment. Expeditions can cost you anything upwards of Rs 5,000, so save up by lodging in tents, cooking locally available foods and trekking around.
The writer co-founded the company Geck and Co Adventures

The two prerequisites to a golfer's bends and swings are a flexible upper body and strong and firm pair of legs. Wring out the knots in your muscles and get ready for a better round of action on the greens. Here's a massage designed specifically for the golf junkie at Tarudhan Valley Golf Resort, in the Aravallis.

Pre Game Strokes
Loosen up golf-specific areas which comprise hip flexors ( the muscles in front of the thighs and abdomen), the thoracic spine (or the middle portion of your back) and neck and shoulders. This should be a dry massage in rhythmic circular strokes around these areas. Follow up with a hot towel compress.
Duration 20 to 45 minutes

Post Game Stretches
Massage the muscles you've exercised the most, for instance shoulders and upper back for those long drives down the course, to the lower back that bends as you putt. To release exertion you should focus on a deep massage done with herbal hot oils, specially sesame and rosemary-infused ones. Follow up with a five to eight minute steam.
Duration 30 to 45 minutes
Quick Tip A 10 minute stretch to improve blood flow before and after the game is recommended.


Mohammed Sabir, pastry chef at Gurgaon's new European fine dine Eurail, makes baking at home creative.

Melt two white and brown chocolate bars separately in a double boiler. Then spread the brown chocolate onto a foil with a brush. Next, brush on the white chocolate. Refrigerate for 10 minutes and peel off the foil. The result in an animated impression of waves.

A layer of whipped cream on your cake turns it into a canvas. Now, use assorted fruits as paints. Divide them by colour and chop them up finely. Look at getting dark, medium and light mixtures, and create your own design.

Bake two cakes of different flavours and join them with a layer of butter cream. Try pairing a Red Velvet cake, which is a vanilla cake coloured with beetroot, with an almond cake. Discover combinations that you like.

Carl Jung
Carl Jung

1. Carl Jung, who is sometimes called the 'Darwin of the Mind', is widely considered to be the founder of modern psychiatry and analytical psychology

2. At 38, when he suffered from visual and aural hallucinations, he deduced them as works of an active imagination.

3. Jung allegedly had apocalyptic visions of blood before the First World War. He believed this established a mysterious link between internal and public rage.

4. Jungian psychiatrists believe everyone carries a shadow, which is the repressed and unacknowledged part of one's personality. Dreams light up this shadow.

5. His dream analysis started a second wave in psychology and is still the only serious competition to Sigmund Freud.

It's time for summer cocktails
Summer is around the corner, and ditching that single malt for a chilled fruit cocktail is a welcome idea. Frank Cohen, Regional Director, Asia Pacific at Stolichnaya Vodka, suggests cocktails based on the brand's smoothest clear vodka, Elit.

Classic Martini
Add two parts of vodka to a splash of vermouth. Pour in another few drops of dry vermouth in a chilled martini glass and swirl to coat the inside of the glass. Shake out the excess vermouth from the glass. Gently stir the vodka and vermouth mix in ice and strain into the glass. Garnish with an olive.

Elit and Masterful
You need one part vodka, a cube of brown sugar and two dashes of bitter champagne. Place the brown sugar cube in a flute and add the bitters and vodka. Fill up with champagne.

Take two parts vodka, one part black raspberry liqueur and one part pineapple juice. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

Anupam Dasgupta, General Manager at Ananda Spa in the Himalayas, wants corporate India to benefit from the wealth of Vedic knowledge. The spa's guide to Vedic philosophy is summarised from Swamy Parthasarthy's book 'Governing Business and Relationships'. Here's how Ananda believes executives can find calm.

Corporate Effectiveness
A strong intellect is the path to corporate success. The way to develop and strengthen intellect is by questioning everything. Reading meaningful and thought provoking literature is a good way to develop a strong sense of self. Most organisations tend to organise work in independent circles, whether by departments or teams or hierarchies. Vedanta teaches organisations to function as concentric circles where the centre of the circle is the welfare of the company and not of oneself. Workers must understand that individual success is a consequence of group success.

Time Management
More than managing time, the problem is managing oneself. Don't blame factors like excessive workload, or lack of cooperation from colleagues. Take on work that's well within your mental and physical capacity. Another cause of delays and failed deadlines is the forward planning approach. Instead, plan backwards from the end goals to develop a perfect line of action and execute every detail step by step.

Stress Management
Vedic philosophy holds that work can never be tiring. What actually causes fatigue is worrying about the past and anxiety for the future. Vedanta calls for focussing your attention on the present. The practical way to getting relief from stress is by assessing the world around you and establishing the right relation with the environment, person or situation you encounter. In other words, be true to the situation and assess things and people as they are and not as you want them to be.

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