Healing With Inspiration – Alternative & Holistic Health Service

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”....Walt Disney

Most of you know our entrepreneur for the month, Nandita Yedery for her painting artistry. I hope you have visited her art gallery and enjoyed her paintings on our website www.ontariokonkanis.com. Please support our artists by visiting their galleries, following them on social media and referring them to friends & colleagues.

Besides being an artist-painter, Nandita is also an energy healer. I decided to spotlight her business ‘Healing with Inspiration – Alternative & Holistic Health Service’ for this month for its uniqueness. Her profession of energy healing intrigues me so much so that when I spoke to my daughters about it, they decided to have a session with Nandita.

Since their session, both my daughters have already booked their follow up sessions with her. I was curious and asked of their experience. They said it was very relaxing and an amazing experience and would encourage everyone to try a session. Just as we routinely visit our massage/physio therapist for aches and pains or take our pets to see a vet, energy healing also provides a similar effect. In their own words “unlike massage where it is dependent on how much pressure is exerted by the therapist, there is no physical contact in these sessions and yet it is so relaxing that we almost fell asleep.” Needless to say, I am booking a session with Nandita.

I was surprised when Nandita said she has been practising energy healing for over 25 years. It is a profession yet to gain prominence in the western world. She is a Reiki Master, Angelic Healing practitioner, Interspecies communicator, and a Healing Art Therapist. She follows Master Mikao Usui’s Reiki method of channeling healing and has international certification. Her sessions include a combination of Reiki with Archangel healing.

Reiki healing dates back about 2500 years and was forgotten for a long time. This energy healing method has its roots from India. It passed through Tibet and China to Japan where Dr. Mikao Usui rediscovered it. Energy healing experience gives real and profound results. As a channel, the practitioners can literally feel the energy flow through their hands. The client feels the warmth, some see colors, and some feel the vibration. They all find it very relaxing. It is a profound feeling which starts to positively change things around them, their body and life.

Archangel or Angelic healing is a form of Energy healing. Angelic beings are celestial intermediaries between God and humanity.  In Angelic Healing, the angels or archangels guide practitioners (therapists) while they work with the client. The therapist is a vessel to let the healing of the angels pass into the client. The therapist is open to this energy and is fully guided by the angels. 

Nandita talks about how she was drawn to it at an early age…“I always knew the direction of my path. As a child healing came naturally to me and I would unknowingly channel healing to stray animals.  As a young adult I came to know of it as Reiki and since then started training. I came across Archangel healing similarly and researched and started to self train initially and later started training from a teacher.  With guidance from higher beings, I am encouraged to learn more energy healing practices and I will soon start working with those modalities. Before I start my session, I connect to archangel energy, angelic beings, and spirit guides for their guidance and protection.

I do this work in a very high vibration room. This combination of abilities helps me work fluidly to see, understand, and access information which most often the client does not know, and in the case of animal clients they are unable to express to their owners. This pure positive high vibrational energy is channeled directly to the individual and their higher self”.

Nandita says, healing works on an individual’s free will and it is effective when one has faith, trust and one surrenders to the universal life force. She connects to Universal energy, which can also be channeled to plants, homes and business locations to increase the vibration; bring about positive outcomes; address health problems and illnesses. She is attuned to channel this healing energy and give direction. This gentle energy is highly recommended when one is dealing with stress, emotional issues and trauma effects which take physical form on their body.

Nandita also does Reiki facial for skin relaxion and regeneration. For specific pain related issues, energy is directly channeled to the root cause location, it eliminates the underlying energy imbalance that is causing the disease. Though healing results are not immediate in long and prolonged issues, and requires numerous sessions, yet it works wonders with every session.

As an Alternate Healing Practitioner, Nandita wants as many people to experience Reiki & Angel medicine healing. Her sessions are generally 30-40 mins long and are available on weekends: Sat – 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sun – 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Charges are $50 & upwards for each session.

Clients can contact ‘Healing With Inspiration’ for either in-person or distance healing by email art4uboutique@gmail.com or by phone or text +1 905- 867-1845 or send a message by visiting her website here.  

I am looking forward to having my energy healing session…why not indulge yourselves for much needed relaxation?

Art 4 U Boutique Inc. – Healing With Inspiration is open for business and takes steps to help protect your health by following all applicable laws and regulations concerning COVID-19 safety.


About the author…
Surekha Shenoy is a Strategic Business Consultant and has worked with SMBs across North America for over 20 years. She is deeply passionate about supporting small businesses. In her free time, she loves to study the stars…

Navrathri Festival





Navratri, the festival of nine nights is celebrated across India with great fervor. The nine nights celebrate the Mother Goddess in her various forms, culminating on Vijay Dashami. There are many legends surrounding the festivities; the most prevalent one being that Goddess Durga defeated the demon Mahishasura on this day, the triumph (Vijay) of good over evil.

Amongst the Konkani communities too, Navratri is celebrated with great fervor. Through the nine days, families worship the Goddess, praying for strength, wisdom and prosperity for their family.

Navratri marks the beginning of the paddy harvesting season in Karnataka. On the first day of Navratri the Tandla Madki, the rice pot in the house is cleaned and decked with flowers, preparing to receive the new harvest. The Paddy, kaanas, is also tied to front doors, welcoming the Goddess home. The bringing of new rice is symbolic of continued prosperity for the house.

Suvasini pooja and Kumari pooja are performed by many households during Navratri. While one reveres married women as an embodiment of the Goddess, bestowing her with vhonti and haldi-kumkum; the other honours young girls and includes haldi-kumkum and token gifts for them. Generally, school supplies and small toys are included in the Kumari Pooja gifts.

Days 7 and 8 are dedicated to Goddess Saraswati.  Kids and elders in the house place their books and musical instruments in the Pooja room and pray for knowledge, wisdom and success in the coming year. This time is also considered auspicious for Aksharabhyas. Young children are initiated into reading and writing by writing “Om”, “Shree” etc. On a bed of rice.

Day 9 is celebrated as Ayudha Pooja. Ayudha means weapons, but in the modern context has come to imply any tools of your trade. Therefore, everything from laptops and mobile phones to cars and bikes are worshipped on this day. Kids spend the previous evening polishing their bikes and decorating vehicles before the Pooja is a competition in itself!

According to the Mahabharata, the Pandavas hid their weapons in a Shami tree while in incognito for a year. On Navami day they came to retrieve their weapons, and paid obeisance to both weapons and tree before moving forward, hence the celebration of Ayudha pooja on this day.

On Vijay Dashami, the new rice is used in preparing a meal, called Nave Jevan. Shami branches are also exchanged with friends and family on Navami and on Vijay Dashami as a symbol of goodwill with greetings of a Kannada phrase that loosely translates to “May our love and goodwill grow”.


About the author…
Shweta Pai is a Project Manager by day and a new mom. When not mesmerized by her baby boy, she likes to read about food and the stories behind various Konkani traditions.

Gen Z – Aarnavi and Vivaan Kamath

"A person's a person, no matter the age" - Dr Seuss

Say Hello to our OKA Gen Z –  Aarnavi Kamath (9 yrs.) and Vivaan Kamath (6 yrs.)

Parents: Purnima and Kiranraj Kamath

Aarnavi and Vivaan, great having you both here!! Please introduce yourselves.

Aarnavi : Hi everyone,  I’m Aarnavi Kamath. I’m 9 years old and I live in Ottawa.

I like to rollerblade, ride my bike and play Minecraft and Roblox. Amma shouts at me when I play too much. Does yours too?? 

I love dalitoy, saarupkari, sabudana khichadi and buns that Amma makes. But Annu is my favorite chef!! He makes yummy pav bhaji!!

I have lived in Chicago, Dallas and Raleigh before moving to Canada! I have so many friends there and I still keep in touch with them through Facebook Messenger Kids!! I would love to be your friend too!!

Oh and did you know?

I am a brown belt at Tae Kwon Do and have won medals at regional and national championships held at Dallas and Raleigh!!

I’m going to go now and let my little brother introduce himself or he’ll get mad at me !! 

Vivaan : Hi everyone, I’m Vivaan Kamath. I’m 6 years old.

I love to play with my Hot Wheels cars, ride my bike and play with Luna, our neighbour’s pet dog. I also play Minecraft and Roblox with Akka. Amma shouts at Akka and not me because I think I’m her favorite!! 😉

I’m shy with strangers and do not talk as much as Akka does. She is a chatterbox!!

I don’t have many friends yet as this is my first year going back to school. My best friend is my Ajja who lives in Pune. He talks to me in English and I tell him to repeat all that in Amchigele!! 

I love food! I like chicken biryani that Annu makes and cheppi daali made by Amma!! 

And all that talk about food is now making me hungry, so I’m going to go and ask my parents for food!!

Bye bye!!

Hey Aarnavi and Vivaan, it was a pleasure getting to know you !! We wish you both all the very best with everything and hope you have a great fun year ahead!! Vivaan- We hope that you make lots of friends and we pray that nobody ever picks a fight with Aarnavi!! 😊

Dear OKA members, please let us know if you wish to showcase your kid or grandkid (no matter the age) or if you simply wish to share any of their art/achievements/funny incidents etc. with us. We would love to know more about our OKA Gen Z.


About the author…

Neha Mallya is a Chartered Accountant and currently in the unchartered territories of motherhood. In her spare time Neha loves to write…


Good food. Good friends. Good spirits.

“Laughing at your mistakes can lengthen your life” 
- Shakespeare

What  struck me  most was  Manoj Pai’s chef’s hat. Well positioned and truly defined the task at hand. Nevermind that infectious smile and tons of enthusiasm. I am talking about the Ontario Konkani Association Shravan cookalong. That chef’s hat told the story in bold letters, that the kitchen does not have to be only a woman’s domain. Given an opportunity men can be versatile and creative in the kitchen too, and at least helpful. Full credit to our presidents, Anita and Vivek Nayak for giving Konkani folks of both genders an equal forum to display their culinary skills. That is the true leadership of an equal opportunity “employer”. Kudos!!! 

While being respectful of  stereotyping and gender biases, historically women embraced the role of feeding the family at home. “Mom” is a word that defines the celestial virtues of compassion, kindness, and respect.  After all the phrase  “Maa ke hath ka khana” (home made food by mom) rules the world versus “pitajike hath ka khana” (order from Uber). 

It is more than just the cooking of meals. Creating something from scratch, solely through your own doing, as a comfort for yourself and family members should make anyone feel good about themselves. Add to that the kindness and respect for what the body wants leading to better overall health. The phrase “Kitchen is the heart of the home”  says it all.

Extrapolating from these motherly qualities, you would expect women to rule as head chefs in leading restaurants and even host  shows like Master Chef, Hell’s Kitchen and for that matter Khana khajana. Surprise!Surprise!! But instead the hosts are invariably male. Not only that, the hospitality industry is dominated by male chefs. As one data point, enrollment in culinary schools is 75% male. Even  Growing up in India whenever we had a big function we always had a male coming to  chef meals, nevermind it was always a male in dhoti. The word “bawarchi” literally means a male chef. 

This difference in gender between at home versus outside begs the  question, why are so few of the top restaurants with female chefs ?

According to one survey, the answer may have  something to do with the preferences of the patrons. The Gastronomy Association of England conducted a year-long survey and asked people who they preferred as chefs. The findings were startling because even women clients found male chefs to be better than female chefs. One may say that this is purely an error in perception because female chefs are as good as male chefs. The survey even is quoted as saying that female chefs lacked innovation and were less experimental than their male counterparts. 

Many of you may disagree. In my household, the female chef has for many years also been the more creative and innovative chef! 

Angela Hartnett is one of the best chefs in England. She is a joint owner of five excellent restaurants, three of which have women installed as head chefs. Though contrary to how she runs her businesses, even Angela believes that female chefs are more hesitant to go beyond the conventional when it comes to experimenting with food.

Even science may be ganging up against more women becoming top chefs.  It is believed that biologically women have a slightly less sensitive  sense of smell than men. Smell plays a very important role in cooking. All chefs are endowed with fantabulous olfactory senses. There’s a Greek term ‘Keroza’. It means, the ability to distinguish the smell or aroma of a food item after putting salt and spices. The female olfactory nerves often fail to differentiate between the salted and spiced forms. Male olfactory nerves can naturally distinguish this extremely subtle difference which is also known as ‘Naghaish’.

Well, my views tend to differ from these studies. Just look at the tyrant behavior of Chef Ramsey, really how many women would act like that. Add to that the  pressure cooker environment, sexism and  shift work probably does not fit the feminine domain.Never mind the physically demanding work and putting up with testosterone fuelled rage.

All said and done, where male chefs miserably lack is the department of emotional involvement. Female chefs are far ahead of them on this count. Male chefs may cook more innovatively, but they can’t cook emotionally like Mom. 

Finally, I saw a sign in restaurant recently, that sums up the whole debate:

“A chef must think like a scientist, organise like an accountant, plate like an artist and cook like a grandma.”

Those words should put this debate to rest. I will be happy to hear your three C’s, comments, criticism and compliments.

As for the chef’s quiz: What do each of the following chef’s specialise in?

1)Pantry chef 2) Executive chef 3) Sous chef 4) Station chef


About the author…
Madhav Shanbhag moved to GTA in 2017, after spending more than 40 years in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In retirement, Madhav enjoys the luxury of few hours of leisure and nature time

Learning Avenues

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young"...Henry Ford

UPCOMING EVENTS

DIABETES CANADA PEER CONNECT PROGRAM: Register for the last Type 1 or Type 2 Peer Connect session. It will feature presentations aimed towards the uniqueness of the type 1 or type 2 diabetes community and provide an opportunity to hear from knowledgeable speakers, connect with a panel of experts, and provide an opportunity to discuss with peers in breakout discussions.

Peer Connect – Type 2 Series, Session 4 – Mental Health
Wednesday, October 27; 7:00 – 8:50PM, EDT. Speakers: TBD

Peer ConnectType 1 Series, Session 4 – Mental Health
Thursday, October 28, 2021; 7:00 – 8:50PM, EDT. Speakers: TBD.

For more information, visit  event page or contact DC-ontario@diabetes.ca

DIABETES TECHNOLOGY NIGHT: TECHNOLOGY. RESOURCES. ANSWERS.

Diabetes technologies have shown to improve health outcomes – learn how they can help you! You’re invited to join this free virtual session for an evening of presentations on the latest in diabetes technology. Industry experts will share information on device innovations in the areas of insulin pumps, sensor technology, glucose monitoring, and diabetes apps.

  • Type 2 Diabetes Tech Night info: Wednesday, November 24, 2021; 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST
  • Type 1 Diabetes Tech Night Info: Thursday, November 25, 2021; 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST. Click here to REGISTER.

WEBINAR ON SENIOR’S COMMUNITY:  The webinar on Retirement/Senior’s Community held on Sunday, September 26, 2021 was attended by close to 100 families. At this virtual Session Mahesh Nileshwar of Nirvana, Raghu Krishnamoorthy of RetCom GTA and Sandeep Duphar of Jeevan Niwas familiarized us with the progress of their efforts to build Retirement/Senior’s Residences for our community. Sadanand Mankikar shared some important facts and stats to start the session. Anita Nayak moderated a lively Q&A session. Please view the event recording here Event Recording.  

OKA EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM: Estate, Will and Power of Attorney and End of Life Planning are two major elements of this OKA Seniors Forum Program.

For preparing Wills and Powers of Attorney you may contact Marvin Talksy (905) 405-0199 ext.  257 or Mary Bojkovski (905) 405-0199 ext. 276 of Nanda & Associate Lawyers. For additional information or assistance, you may also contact Raghunath Kamath or Ashok Bhatt.

For End of Life Planning please contact Harjinder Bilku of Chapel Ridge Funeral Home at (905) 305-8128 or (647) 966-0093.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS KITS: If you have not received complimentary kits, for a limited time, you may obtain them by sending an email to sadanand.mankikar@gmail.com. Additional small, medium and large size kits at cost may be obtained by sending an email to the same address. For more information , please visit Emergency Preparedness Program tab on www.ontariokonkanis.com.

OKA AADHAR CHAT: This interactive, the web-based chat was established in 2017 as a part of the OKA Seniors Forum to facilitate communication amongst seniors and soon to be seniors. Since then, we have started posting upcoming events and relevant information on this chat. Members may post any questions and we will attempt to get answers. We invite everyone, young and old, seniors or not, to join this chat and share information including their experiences and expertise. To join this chat group, please email shraddhapai.home@gmail.com.


About the Author
Sadanand Mankikar is the Past President (2004-2005) of the Ontario Konkani association and has been instrumental in the initiation and maintenance of the OKA Seniors Forum.

The Upcoming Flu Season and Flu Vaccination

Everything you wanted to know about them...

The influenza or flu vaccine is available free of cost to all individuals six months of age and older in Ontario.

As per National Advisory Committee on Immunization or NACI, the flu vaccine may be taken at the same time as, or any time before or after the Covid vaccine.

Persons who are at high risk of flu related complications or hospitalization are especially recommended to get vaccinated.

High Risk Individuals:

  • Pregnant women
  • Residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities
  • People over 65 years of age
  • Children between the ages of 6 months to 4 years
  • Indigenous peoples
  • People with chronic health conditions including but not limited to diabetes, cardiac and pulmonary diseases, cancer, conditions/medications that compromise the immune system, renal disease etc.
  • Persons that provide care to high risk individuals, those that work in nursing homes or senior residences, those that are in community service or those that have children below 6 months are highly recommended to get vaccinated against the flu.

Fluzone HD (high dose) for individuals above 65 years will be available in pharmacies this year.

Any component of a vaccine may produce an allergic reaction. It is recommended to stay on site after receiving a vaccine, for at least 15-20 minutes. While egg protein is a component of most flu vaccine products, the NACI indicates that egg allergy is not a contraindication for influenza vaccination and that egg-allergic individuals may be vaccinated against influenza using the full dose of any age-appropriate product.

The flu vaccine should be available in most pharmacies and doctors’ offices by mid-October. Some pharmacies have made it possible to register online so that you will be notified as soon as they receive the vaccine.

It is especially important to get the flu vaccine this year because of Covid-19 cases still seen in the community. Preventing flu will not only protect us, our families and the community but will also help reduce the burden on the healthcare system during the pandemic.


About the author…
Veena Shanbhag is a practicing pharmacist and owner of Streetsville Shoppers Drugmart. In her spare time Veena loves to teach yoga….

Cozy Organized Nook.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”....Walt Disney

I hope you have browsed our new website and visited our entrepreneurs on ‘Our Partners’ tab. Please take the time to browse their websites, stores, FaceBook or Instagram pages. While you are there, we hope you encourage them by liking their page, following them on social media, and referring them to friends and colleagues for their services.

Our entrepreneur for this month is someone whom we could all reach out to for help organizing our home, office, garage or any space we want decluttered. Generally when I spotlight an entrepreneur, my usual routine is to interview them and bring their story together. However, with Purnima Kamath, true to her business she was so organized even in her writing that I sent it straight to the printer!

In her own words is the journey of Cozy Organized Nook…Honestly, I didn’t even know Home Organizing was a thing! Just before moving to Canada, I was reading a book in which one of the characters was a Professional Organizer. As I read more about it, it felt like my calling. Anyway, I loved cleaning and keeping my house organized, so this was something I would enjoy doing and get paid for it!

As soon as we moved here, I went ahead to get my Certification as a Professional Organizer. Soon after, I started my company, Cozy Organized Nook. As excited as I was to start my venture, I was also clueless on where to start and how to find clients. The lockdown that started in December was a big blow to my fragile confidence in running a business. The frequent lockdown extensions brought me to tears as I was incurring business costs but wasn’t bringing in any returns.

What do I do as a Professional Organizer?

When I went into the course, I was skeptical that people would hire me to do such basic activities. I voiced my panic and concern to my mentors and they pointed out that what I feel is “basic and easy” may be a herculean task for another person. They said “Not everyone finds it enjoyable or has the time to do what you love to do.”

I now know, my mentors were indeed right. I see people riddled with anxiety and frustration over not being able to keep up with the household organization. 

As a Professional Organizer, I get to know every client and their family/ work dynamics so I can tailor solutions for them. I understand that each person and their situation is unique and that is how I offer solutions that work for them.

A lot of my clients are working parents and/ or those who love being outdoors. This means their home is often neglected and even if they want to, they cannot gain control over their clutter and mess. Most of them need a guide to tell them exactly what to do and how.

When I enter their space, I encourage them to declutter and get rid of things that have been collected over the years. My main goal is to have them cut down on the amount of things they own that they do not need in their daily lives. It is interesting to note how easily they let go of things with me by their side to coach them. All they need is a gentle nudge in the right direction.

I help my clients create space and bring function into their home that suits their lifestyle. I believe in giving each client that “AHA!” moment when they witness the beauty and full potential of their home. I love how at the end of my project, my clients are ecstatic over not just the physical transformation but also the mental shift that has come about in the process. Initially, I used to think I’d be proud of myself for delivering a successful session. However, nothing pleases me more than seeing that my clients undergo a change and take control of their space. It is rewarding when my clients tell me they are already starting to feel better when I’m still not done completing the project with them”

I know we can all use Purnima’s help to transform our spaces. Her anxiety as she launched her business just before the pandemic appears to be just that. She has been busy with clients since the economy has opened seeking her help to transform their homes, de-stress and enjoy the place we call home. Please visit her website www.cozyorganizednook.ca and her FB & Instagram @cozyorganizednook. We wish Purnima much success in her venture.


About the author…
Surekha Shenoy is a Strategic Business Consultant and has worked with SMBs across North America for over 20 years. She is deeply passionate about supporting small businesses. In her free time, she loves to study the stars…

Flavonoids and Their Benefits

Everything you wanted to know about them...

What are Flavonoids?

Flavonoids are certain chemicals that occur naturally in some vegetables and fruits. There are six different kinds of flavonoids- flavonols, flavones, flavan-3-ols, flavanones, anthocyanidins , isoflavones

Where can we find them?

  • Vegetables rich in flavonoids are tomatoes, peppers, onions, kale, broccoli, spinach, parsley, lettuce.
  • Fruits rich in flavonoids are berries, peaches, grapes, citrus fruits.
  • Soybeans.
  • Foods from plant sources like tea, dark chocolate and red wine are rich in flavonoids.

It is recommended to have a variety of fruits and vegetables in our diet to get the different kinds of flavonoids.

What are the benefits of flavonoids?

They have an antioxidant effect and they help our body fight toxins. They help in cellular function and in fighting off free radicals.

The anti-oxidant effect of flavonoids helps prevent certain types of cancers like breast, prostate and colorectal cancer.

They help lower the risk of age related cognitive decline, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Flavonoids help our body immune system to fight against bacterial and viral infections.

As with everything else, flavonoids must be consumed in moderation. At high doses, they can act as pro-oxidants and can also interfere with metabolism. A typical vegetarian diet gives an optimal amount of flavonoids.


About the author…
Veena Shanbhag is a practicing pharmacist and owner of Streetsville Shoppers Drugmart. In her spare time Veena loves to teach yoga….

Good food. Good friends. Good spirits.

“Laughing at your mistakes can lengthen your life” 
- Shakespeare

A good way to build a good appetite before dinner is to take a walk. This has been our routine  for god knows how long. It is not just about burning a few calories and more about exercising your taste buds.

Confused? Let me explain.

Although barbecues and kitchens are out of sight, there is always that aroma in the still air. Hanging long enough to give hidden clues about what is cooking in the house. This aroma is more pronounced when barbecues are fired up. While the sources  are hidden in backyards, a whiff of smoke fills the entire neighbourhood and that aroma stimulates appetite. I can almost guess who is cooking chicken, who is cooking sausages and for that in a multicultural neighbourhood like ours even tandoori chicken.

Today propane has been the go to source of heat for neighbourhood barbecues. But we do still occasionally get that aroma of old fashioned charcoal. With manufacturers putting all the bells and whistles, propane bbq’s have become one stop outdoor kitchens. These are fancy, fashionable and easy to light grills. 

Call me old fashioned, or  ancient, but to me the charcoal BBQ still  reigns supreme as far as delivering the mood and the flavour of the food.  There is something special about that gentle struggle to light charcoal and then fighting to keep the coals alive. It contributes to  that spirit of cooking in the wild.  

Charcoal might be an ancient fuel but it still has a place in modern times. I agree charcoal is dirty to handle, it can be hard to light, it takes longer to get up to temperature, and there can be flare ups that can burn food. It is hard to tell what temperature you are cooking at, it is hard to turn down the temperature rapidly. If you do not give charcoal enough oxygen it can deposit soot all over your food and there is ash to clean up. So what is about that unique charcoal smoke that has drawn generations to outdoor cooking? I decided to find out.

The starting point of charcoal is wood, a useful fuel because it is full of molecules that can react with oxygen and give out heat in the process. Wood is the internal storage system of the tree and the scaffolding that holds the tree. The internal serum flows through a system that nourishes the tree and holds the tree up for many years. The strength of the tree comes from cellulose, lignin and long molecules with carbon backbones that form a thin wall around every cell in the tree. These molecules are what makes wood a fuel.

When you start to heat wood with  fire the first thing that happens is water evaporates. As the temperature rises to 400 or 500 degrees fahrenheit, cellulose and lignin start to break down but do not burn yet. The heat causes the other molecules in the wood to escape as gases and these burn in the air just above the wood surface. These are the flames you see as burning wood.  As the burning continues and the wood temperature rises further, the lignin and cellulose breakdown further, and all the mobile molecules evaporate and join the flames. What is left is pure carbon and that is the most potent fuel. When it burns, the carbon reacts to turn into carbon dioxide. There is no smell but a lot of heat.

Charcoal briquets are mostly carbon. The point of charcoal is to skip to the final step. In the commercial process of making charcoal, burning takes place in large concrete silos with limited oxygen. It  pushes wood through all the stages, stopping at the point where mostly only carbon remains. . 

This “lump charcoal“ burns hot and fast. Barbecue enthusiasts often use briquettes, which are made from powdered sawdust charcoal and then pressed into bricks with a binder. They are slower burning and more predictable.

Who would have thought that the authentic and appetizing aroma of charcoal is remnants from the tree?That is the story of science and charcoal. On the metaphysics side, there is something to be learned from that tree.  Panchmahabhutas came from earth, nourished with water, then fire, air and went into ether (akash) with smoke. The volatile molecules that survive the final barbecue also flavour our food, not to mention add “ bon appetit” , stimulating scents on a pleasant summer day.

Summer is a short and happy barbecue season for my Konkani Bandhwas. Finally, drop me a line if I have succeeded in converting you from propane back to a charcoal barbecue.

Something to think about, ”real men do not use recipes, they use BBQ.”

As for the BBQ quiz, what is the BBQ capital of the world?


About the author…
Madhav Shanbhag holds a Ph.D in biochemistry. In his retirement, he enjoys encouraging budding entrepreneurs and imparting the wisdom of our rich culture…

Learning Avenues

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young"...Henry Ford

WEBINAR ON SENIORS COMMUNITY: As the demographic is changing and the over 65 group is expanding, there is a great deal of interest in knowing about Retirement Communities, especially, catering to the needs of ethnic groups. Following a highly successful webinar on Senior’s Living on Sunday, July 25, 2021, a number of attendees have asked whether there are any Retirement Communities, especially, for immigrants from India.

At our next virtual Information Session to be held on Sunday, September 26, 2021 from 11 AM to 1:30 PM, Raghu Krishnamoorthy of RetCom GTA and Sandeep Duphar of Jeevan Niwas will familiarize us with the progress of their efforts to build Senior’s Homes for our community (see flyer in upcoming events).  If you have any questions for the speakers, you may send them to sadanand.mankikar@gmail.com.

DIABETES CANADA PEER CONNECT PROGRAM: Register for the Type 1 or Type 2 Peer Connect Series to enjoy the remaining two virtual evenings of peer support and education. We attended the first two sessions in the Type 2 series and found them informative and entertaining. Each series will feature presentations aimed towards the uniqueness of the type 1 or type 2 diabetes community and provide an opportunity to hear from knowledgeable speakers, connect with a panel of experts, and provide an opportunity to discuss with peers in breakout discussions. If you are an individual affected by diabetes, family member or caregiver, this series is for you.

Peer Connect – Type 2 Series, Session 4 – Mental Health
Wednesday, October 27; 7:00 – 8:50PM, EDT. Speakers: TBD

Peer ConnectType 1 Series, Session 4 – Mental Health
Thursday, October 28, 2021; 7:00 – 8:50PM, EDT. Speakers: TBD. For more information, visit  event page or contact DC-ontario@diabetes.ca

OKA EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM: Estate, Will and Power of Attorney and End of Life Planning are two major elements of this OKA Seniors Forum Program.

For preparing Wills and Powers of Attorney you may contact Marvin Talksy (905) 405-0199 ext.  257 or Mary Bojkovski (905) 405-0199 ext. 276 of Nanda & Associate Lawyers. For additional information or assistance, you may also contact Raghunath Kamath or Ashok Bhatt.

For End of Life Planning please contact Harjinder Bilku of Chapel Ridge Funeral Home at (905) 305-8128 or (647) 966-0093.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS KITS: If you have not received complimentary kits, for a limited time, you may obtain them by sending an email to sadanand.mankikar@gmail.com. Additional small, medium and large size kits at cost may be obtained by sending an email to the same address. For more information , please visit Emergency Preparedness Program tab on www.ontario-konkanis.com.

OKA AADHAR CHAT: This interactive, the web-based chat was established in 2017 as a part of the OKA Seniors Forum to facilitate communication amongst seniors and soon to be seniors. Since then, we have started posting upcoming events and relevant information on this chat. Members may post any questions and we will attempt to get answers. We invite everyone, young and old, seniors or not, to join this chat and share information including their experiences and expertise. To join this chat group, please email shraddhapai.home@gmail.com.

DESIGNATED SITES TO SCATTER ASHES: The following link provided by the Hindu Federation lists a few specific locations: https://www.hindufederation.ca/disposition-of-creamtion-ashes


About the Author
Sadanand Mankikar is the Past President (2004-2005) of the Ontario Konkani association and has been instrumental in the initiation and maintenance of the OKA Seniors Forum.