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Chef Vikas Khanna’s drive to feed the hungry started due to a spam mail

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Michelin-star chef Vikas Khanna, whose debut film as a director The Last Color was in contention for an Oscar nomination at the last Academy Awards, has taken a break from both culinary and filmmaking duties to turn focus on social service.

Khanna claims he is so busy these days organising a massive food distribution drive through a social media campaign that he has initiated that he has no time to even think about the release of his directorial debut.

Khanna’s drive, #FeedIndia, aims at providing meals and essential supplies to thousands of dabbawalas in Mumbai as well as widows in Vrindavan during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“It started from a spam e-mail. On April 1, I saw an e-mail that said, ‘after lockdown in India, there are oldage homes and all they need is your attention’. I deleted that mail. But sometimes it happens that you board a wrong train but it leaves you at the right destination, and that’s what happened with me in this case,” he recalled.

Khanna continued, “It was a spam e-mail but the pictures in the e-mail, where old people were lying down without food, broke my heart because I have earlier worked with oldage homes and leprosy centres and I knew that they generally have storage of food. Then I tweeted about the issue to check whether it was true or not and after that, we got hundreds of e-mails. We didn’t know people paid attention to our tweets but I started getting messages from various places including Goa and Karnataka.”

The 48-year-old Amritsar-bred chef added that National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) helped him to execute his plans. Over the course of nearly 80 days, Khanna says he has distributed 14 million meals in orphanages, old-age homes, leprosy centres, widow ashrams as well as among migrant workers, across 125 Indian cities with the help of the organisation.

About releasing his film, Khanna said, “Honestly, I don’t have time to breath because of this whole situation. So, as of now I am not even thinking about the release of my film.”

The Last Color is a film about the age-old taboo surrounding widows in Vrindavan and Varanasi, who struggles daily for survival on the streets. The teaser of the film featuring Neena Gupta was released at the 71st Cannes Film Festival in May 2018.

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Lifestyle

Raksha Bandhan goes digital this year

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With travel restrictions and physical distancing becoming the new normal this year, traditional visits to our siblings for Rakhi this year are being substituted by virtual Rakhis sent online.

Major e-commerce sites have seen massive jump in the number of orders placed for rakhis and e-gifts given the restrictions and apprehensions about travel and social distancing.

Snapdeal saw rakhi orders jumping three-fold as more users have opted to buy or send Rakhis online. Adding to the trend, Snapdeal’s shoppers moved to completely digital solutions for Raksha Bandhan this year by choosing E-Gift cards as the topmost Rakhi gift.

The platform witnessed a surge in the sale of digital gift cards two weeks before Rakshabandhan. It logged an increase of 70 percent in the sale of these cards, vis-à-vis last year, the company announced in a statement.

Last year, travel accessories like go-pro mounts, selfie sticks, and backpacks were widely picked as Raksha Bandhan gifts. Ethnic clothes were also widely bought as gifting. This year, as India continues to be cautious of the virus, digital gift cards saw a big boost in sales.

“The number of Rakhis sold this year exceeds the number of Rakhis sold in the last two years combined. This is primarily due to the shoppers exercising caution and avoiding the festival linked travel,” the company said.

Flipkart has also seen a sale of over 1,00,000 rakhis per day. Overall, the platform has seen 2x growth as compared to previous year in terms of units sold.

The North is the largest chunk in the pie, with almost 45 percent demand coming from the region, followed by Eastern states with 25 percent share, the company said.

The top 10 cities generating demand are New Delhi, Bangalore, Patna, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata and Gurgaon

Ferns N Petals has witnessed 100 growth in in comparison to the previous rakhi seasons. It has received 10,000 rakhi and rakhi gift orders every day, total 300,000 orders till Saturday. There have been 400-600 orders per day for virtual gifts like Guitarist on Video Call, Personalized Video message, and celebrity video message. The company is anticipating to close this season at 1.5 million orders.

“More and more customers are shopping online than before, in order to maintain social distancing. With this shift in buying behaviour, we have witnessed a huge surge in customers who want rakhis to be delivered in other countries like the US, followed by the UK, Singapore, UAE and a couple of other countries,” informed Manish Saini, COO, ecommerce, Ferns N Petals.

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Why daily stretching is a health necessity

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Working out is important as it keeps the body and the mind active.  When it comes to working out, stretching has always been the underdog. On one hand, people believe that it is an essential part of an exercise to avoid injuries, while on the other hand people believe that it leads to injuries itself. The truth of the matter is that both of these claims aren’t entirely incorrect. It’s the execution that makes all the difference when it comes to stretching.

According to Dr Sneh Soni, MD Physician, myUpchar, stretching on a daily basis, the right way, can lead to many health benefits. These range from:

Increasing your range of motion:

Just like most inanimate objects, if we don’t use our body and our joints regularly, they begin to get rusty. Doing stretching exercises regularly ensures that your muscles remain healthy, maintain their flexibility, and don’t become a hindrance when you do need to use them. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching, in particular, is found to be extremely effective in increasing your range of motion. PNF stretching is a technique that uses your natural reflexes to give you a deeper stretch. Consult a physical therapist if you would like to explore PNF.

Boosting performance

When it comes to sports, engaging in an active warm-up is considered the norm. This is where dynamic stretching proves to be very useful. A study published in the ‘Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research’ shows that instead of static stretches, dynamic stretches can boost overall performance by improving flexibility, speed, endurance, etc. In dynamic stretching, you don’t hold a position for too long, instead, you keep your muscles moving in a similar motion to that of the sport you’re about to play.

Improving blood circulation

A recent study published in ‘The Journal of Physiology’ suggested that passive stretching, done for a period of 12 weeks, can help dilate the arteries and aid in reducing the stiffness in them. This leads to better blood circulation, which is one of the key factors in the prevention of vascular diseases like strokes, hypertension, and diabetes. Passive stretching is when you remain in one (relaxing) position while your muscles are stretched with the help of a partner, prop, accessory, or even a wall.

Helping you relax

Over the duration of the entire day, many of us can end up accumulating stress with physical implications. Sitting at a desk with a slight hunch, for example, can prove to be extremely harmful to your posture, muscles, and even bone structure. Even stress can stiffen your muscles. By employing the use of some basic and practical stretching techniques, you can relieve this physical discomfort and stress, which may allow you to rest easier during the night and wake up feeling refreshed.

Preventing strains and injuries

Stiff muscles can prove to be dangerous — when you suddenly stretch them during your day to day activities, they could either end up putting unexpected pressure on your joints or lead to an injured muscles itself. Adding even just a few stretches to your daily routine can help you avoid this by improving the flexibility of your muscles and giving endurance.

Relieving chronic pain

There’s a reason why stretching has been included in physical therapy interventions for the management of shoulder, neck, back, and knee pain. While you might imagine that stretching is not as effective in pain management as muscle-strengthening exercises are, a study in the journal ‘Clinical Rehabilitation’ found that only stretching was just as effective in reducing pain as a combination of strengthening and stretching over a year of physical therapy.

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Immunity drops quickly in mild COVID-19 cases, shows new study

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A study shows that in people with mild COVID-19 cases, their antibodies against the coronavirus drop sharply over the first three months after infection.

A research team at the University of California, Los Angeles, did an in-depth study of 34 people who had recovered from mild COVID-19 infections. They tested their blood two or three times over three months.

The researchers found a rapid drop in antibodies – the immune system proteins that help stop viruses from infecting cells in the body. On average, the antibody levels fell by half every 73 days, according to the study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings raise concern that humoral immunity against SARS-CoV-2 may not be long lasting in persons with mild illness, who compose the majority of persons with COVID-19, said the study.

Further studies will be needed to define a quantitative protection threshold and rate of decline of antiviral antibodies beyond 90 days, according to the study.

The study comes at a time when the Coronavirus cases are increasing rapidly globally.

Th total number of global COVID-19 cases has increased to over 14.8 million, while the deaths have topped to more than 615,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Wednesday morning, the total number of cases stood at 14,898,145, while the fatalities rose to 615,462, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

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