Common Cold and Steam Inhaler

Last two months climate in Chennai  has been comparatively (for Chennai) cooler and there is common cold in the air – with every other person I see being affected for few days one time or other this season. I find that I am more prone for picking up common pollution caused allergy, which in turn triggers common cold and sore-throat in me. Though the running nose gets cured in few days, the side-effects of cold & dry-cough stays for a longer time – usually for 1 or 2 weeks, affecting my work and productivity. This time I have been suffering with this for more than 2 weeks – with me deciding not to take any drugs, which I got sick of taking every time this happens and as I said I am very prone for this. I asked my Homeopathy doctor and she advised I take Steam Inhalation few times every day with the water mixed with Tulasi leaves (Ocimum tenuiflorum). I have been trying this for last few days and it has been effective, especially clearing the nasal blockage and allowing me to sleep better in the night without breathing through my mouth (and aggravating the sore throat). 

I used the below Facial Steamer that I got few years back from a Utensil shop in Pondy Bazaar, Chennai for Rs.200 (US$4) – for curiosity when I checked in Amazon today similar facial steamers sells for an average $25 in USA.

Facial Steamer

Tulasi leaves are commonly seen in Vaishnavaite temples in India and they are given as the first offering to the lord, households in south india normally have this plant in a specially built structure in the back of the house. If you are in India, the easiest place to buy Tulasi leaves is in front of "Vishnu" temples – you can get a handful for just few rupees. 

Thulasi Leaves

References I found while doing a web search on the above:

  1. Definition of Common Cold
  2. How to inhale steam vapour?
  3. Tulasi as a nose-care agent
  4. Tulasi as a Siddha cure for cold, asthma and cough


I have been looking for a good colouring and painting programme that my 5 year old son can use easily. Windows Paint is Okay for beginning, but beyond a point it is very limiting for their creativity. I have tried many of the commercial one’s that you get in CD and DVDs in Bookstores but most of them are little more than being useless. Today I came across a free and Open-Source drawing program for children ages 3 to 12 called TuxPaint. It combines an easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who guides children as they use the program. Last one hour my son is playing with it and seems to like it a lot.


My woes with Sun Direct DTH

Fedup with the local cable TV operator (which is a Monopoly in my area just like everywhere else in Chennai) few months back I switched the remaining 3 Television connections in my house to Sun Direct DTH. In my working den I have been having Tata Sky for more than a year as I like to watch STAR World and other English channels, and Tata Sky at time had good packages for that.

The offer of Rs.2999 for Set Top Box and One Year Free Tamil Channels from Sun Direct was ideal for the two televisions in the living room and my parents room – as they watch mostly Tamil Channels and some English News channels, that’s all. Since I have a 5 year old son, for my bedroom I opted for the add-on package of "Pluto" that includes Pogo and Cartoon Network for Rs.27 per month. All was well for sometime. Recently one day, Pogo and CN stopped working and son started screaming. I called Sun Direct customer care after few minutes of verifications the person insisted I say whether I am a customer or a dealer  – though I introduced myself as "Venkatarangan" husband of "Lakshmi Venkatarangan" in whose name the connection is.  He explained that I have to renew my package (Pluto) to get this and to do this I have to disconnect, call again and this time get connected to their "Recharge" department. After doing that, it turned out to be that I have to renew the "Pluto" every month. Can you believe it?. I can’t give a standing instruction that I need these channels/packages for every month. Even though I have balance of over Rs.200 in my account, Sun Direct would like you to speak to them every month and renew it. The customer care representative said please make a note that your package expires on 24th Feb 2009, so remember to call us near that time and renew again. As a customer it is our job to remember and call them – what a great service in this digital age.

Sun Direct DTH - Packages

After doing that I thought it will be easier doing this through their web site. It turns out this is the same way in the web site as well, and the web site works only with Internet Explorer. I learned this when I used Firefox to login and change the default password, it kept saying the password I gave didn’t meet minimum length – it turns out their JavaScript/DOM access is scripted only with IE in mind.

So if you decide to purchase Sun Direct DTH, though there are no issues on the Broadcast quality, you will find their customer care and web site will test your patience from time to time – be prepared for that!. In Customer care, online and mobile access – Tata Sky is superior and miles ahead.