Tips To Grow Your Own Herb Garden

March 16, 2017
In today’s day and age, everyone wants to go green and stay fit, and one can do that by eating healthy and organic. What’s better than growing your own herbs at home, in a few simple steps? The Palava nursery at Posari is home to a sprawling herb garden! Now with the help of this quick picture tutorial you can start gardening herbs at home too.
Check out the helpful infographic below, and get started with planting parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme and others.

Palava Takes A Big Step Towards Providing High-Quality Healthcare To Citizens

October 14, 2016
Free Health Checkup

Palava partners with Healthspring, India’s leading experts in primary healthcare, to open its first clinic in the city.

‘Healthy citizens are the greatest assets any country can have’, said Winston Churchill. Palava concurs with this and hence strives to provide a healthy lifestyle to its citizens through its infrastructure developments and facility alliances. In addition to having plenty of open spaces and landscaped green surroundings and providing immediate aid with 911 emergency services.

Palava has now launched its first Primary Healthcare Clinic by partnering with Healthspring, India’s leading experts in family healthcare.

Inaugurated in June this year, the Healthspring clinic at Palava presently houses a physician and nurse and an on-call physiotherapist; it also provides pathology services and X-ray facilities. It will shortly have an ENT specialist, gynecologist, orthopedic, dentist and pediatrician, and provide sonography, MRI and other medical services. The clinic will host regular health camps to measure body mass index, daily calorie intake and other parameters, and advise adequate measures to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Healthspring was founded in 2010 by Professor Gautam Sen, a revered general surgeon and specialist in oncology and his son, co-founder, Kaushik Sen.  It presently has over 31 clinics across Mumbai, Delhi and Pune and over 100 doctors and 500 health experts, including nutritionists, nurses and pharmacists.

Harvard alumnus and management consultant with Bain for over a decade, co-founder Kaushik Sen is passionate about reforming the healthcare system in India, and shares insights about the vision and mission of Healthspring in India.

Q: What motivated you to delve into healthcare?

A: Our key drivers to delve into healthcare were to improve the broken healthcare delivery system at the entry level through family medicine, and reduce healthcare cost burden for the customers while providing better health outcomes. My biggest source of inspiration was my father and the Chairman of Healthspring, Dr. Gautam Sen, who is one of the most respected surgeons and leading medical thinkers and visionaries in India. Dr. Sen has been instrumental in a number of pioneering efforts to bring change to healthcare delivery in the country. He has over three decades of experience as one of Mumbai’s finest surgeons and has been on the Board of Governors – one of the six-members – for the Medical Council of India.

Q: What led your family to launch Healthspring?

A: Healthspring was founded with a vision of transforming India’s health delivery system where it matters the most- the entry level of personal care. Healthspring comprises of family health experts and focuses on family medicine, a specialty devoted to providing comprehensive health care for people of all age groups. We provide pre-hospital care, be it at home or responding to day-to-day health care needs, ranging from acute and chronic illnesses to more urgent and emergency medical situations. I believe that if done correctly, family medicine has the potential to keep people healthier and reduce unnecessary testing and hospitalizations. It also helps detect issues at an early stage, increasing the chances of response to treatments. Early healthcare can help in drastically reducing the medical costs by lowering the need for expensive and unnecessary hospitalization and procedures.

Q: What are the fundamentals that lay the foundation for Healthspring?

A: We are a one-stop for all health care services for everyone.  Be it an individual, family, community, corporate house or industrial complex, we cater to all. At Healthspring we are committed to a culture of good health and our vision is to be the most trusted healthcare organization in the country. We strive to provide excellence in healthcare by hiring diligent doctors, training them in medical protocols and supporting them with the right infrastructure. We aim to deliver great customer experiences, focused on convenience, patient friendliness and a team-based approach. We are transparent and ethical, and always look for the best interest of our patients when they need us the most, especially during emergencies.

Q: How are medical experts and team members recruited by Healthspring?

A: All our doctors are MBBS with a minimum of 5 years of work experience. We also have doctors who have professional experience of over 20 years either as standalone practice or working with hospitals or corporates. Irrespective of their experience, once recruited by Healthspring, they undergo a one month training program to learn the best practices of the healthcare industry. This induction ensures standardization of diagnosis, treatment, maintenance of medical records and delivery of customer service.  While attracting great people is one of the challenges for a start-up in India, particularly when one is not an e-commerce platform, our senior team comes from diverse industries, such as education, media, FMCG, telecom, investment banking and also includes entrepreneurs, and in most cases, they have sought us out. Healthspring has an ambitious team that believes in its mission and is passionate about reforming healthcare.

Q: What are the unique characteristics that distinguish Healthspring in the field of healthcare?

A: Healthspring has its own in-house team of general physicians, pediatricians, gynecologists, physiotherapists and dietitians, supported by in-house diagnostics (pathology and radiology), as well as pharmacy. Unlike hospitals or polyclinics, the entire medical team comprises of employees of Healthspring and their sole objective is to keep one as healthy as possible and avoid hospitalization, unless absolutely necessary.

Condition management at Healthspring is not limited to interaction between the patient and doctor; it involves comprehensive care given by a team of doctors, dieticians, physiotherapists, nurses and others. Take diabetes for instance; 97% of our members who have enrolled for our diabetes management program have witnessed improved sugar levels with an average of 40% decline in sugar counts while under our care.

Q:  Did you encounter any challenges while setting up operations in India?

A: The top 3 challenges that come to mind while building this healthcare service network are getting capital, convincing the medical fraternity or internal stakeholders, and changing the mindset of the society towards primary preventive healthcare.

Firstly, establishing a robust world-class primary healthcare delivery network is capital intensive. Attracting investments is a challenge unless you demonstrate quality, which we have successfully managed to do over the last 5 years.  Secondly, it is a challenge to find the right talent who is motivated to serve customers in the best manner possible. We took a while to change the mind-set of the medical fraternity and have it see itself as service providers and strive for complete customer satisfaction. In India, doctors hardly treat patients as their customer, which is why there is lack of professional attitude towards managing the health of patients. At Healthspring, be it any team, customer first approach is ingrained in all our employees from day one, as it is crucial to achieve the desired service levels. Thirdly, there is a lack of awareness and people are reluctant to move away from reactive healthcare and adopt proactive and preventive healthcare. We continue to educate people on the multifold advantages of opting for preventive healthcare services as such as preventive health check or membership. These investments don’t just ensure good health but also save lacs of rupees spent on hospitalization or health recovery.

Q: What would be your most memorable success stories through the journey so far?

A: Healthspring has catered to the needs of over 3 lac customers in a span of 5 years and grown to 32 clinics across Mumbai, Pune and Delhi, which are owned and operated entirely by us. We have witnessed robust growth because we’ve been able to build credibility amongst customers. We have brought health improvement to corporate health programs and systematically managed to reduce the high-risk percentage in our corporate members. As a result, in 5+ years of doing corporate programs, we have a 100% renewal rate, which is very rare in the healthcare industry.

Another service that we have received accolades for is our unique 24×7 doctor led medical emergency response system. We have doctors on-call to cover emergencies at any odd hour of the night. We have till date attended to over 2000 emergencies in which over 80% of the time the patient has been stabilized on the spot without needing hospitalization. A tremendous amount of testing, drills and processes are required to run this seamlessly, and we have been able to pull off each one with 100% uptime.

Q: Do you believe the urban audience values customized healthcare services?

A: The fact that we have been able to serve more than 3,50,000 customers stands testimony to the fact that people do appreciate the value of personalized healthcare services that we offer. We have over 50,000 people who have enrolled for an annual membership, which means that there is adequate traction for annual health management programs.

Q: What would the demographics of your audience be?

A: While most of our customers are above the age of 40 years, we see the customer base between 40-50 years growing rapidly. We receive a lot of queries from youngsters as well, enquiring about the packages that we could offer their parents. In terms of the socio-economic profile, we primarily see prime interest from Sec A and above, however there’s a growing degree of awareness and interest from others strata as well.

Q: How did you decide to collaborate with Palava?

A: When Healthspring learnt about Palava’s desire to provide high-quality, dependable and easily accessible healthcare to its citizens, we quickly realized that it was very much in sync with our ethos and hence decided to explore a partnership.  Healthspring endeavours to work closely with the team at Palava to craft an integrated health solution for the city, and is happy to see our efforts come to fruition.

Q: What is the plan of Healthspring to better the health quotient of citizens in Palava?

A: Healthspring’s array of services at Palava include a group of highly-trained doctors, nurses and associated medical professionals who together form a “care team”; a pharmacy, diagnostic capabilities as well as dental services.  Citizens can simply walk into our clinic to avail of this care, or explore some of our unique membership models. 

Healthspring firmly believe that the road to good health should start with a simple health check, and we have some great health check packages to offer to all citizens.  Following the health check, our doctors devise a customized health plan for each patient, and follow up regularly to ensure that the patient is on track with the agreed regimen.  We back up our clinic-level care with home doctor and nurse visits (whenever required), as well as 24×7 emergency medical response.  Essentially, we want to create an ongoing relationship with Palava citizens as that is the fundamental premise of our healthcare model.

Q: What is the vision of Healthspring for the near future?

A: We plan to open at least 200 clinics in major cities in the next 4-5 years. This requires great amount of know-how and expertise, and above all a set of motivated individuals, which we are fortunate to have. Response from the customers towards our service has been overwhelming and we are truly grateful for their appreciation and support. Our goal is to also take the elements of our model and scale it to rural populations through a public-private partnership with the government. We are currently in discussion with a few state and local governments, as well as some of the best international aid agencies to scale our model further. On the corporate front, we are relatively fledglings though we have already achieved remarkable success with some of the best companies in India. We expect this area to grow significantly as we see more and more companies invest in their employee base.

(The Healthspring Clinic is open from 8 a.m until 4 p.m. at the PCMA building in Casa Rio, Palava and accessible to all. Please contact +91 94339 39684 for appointments and further details.)

Step Out To Stay Fit

September 11, 2016
5 tips to have a healthy life

Pick a hobby; it will help you uplift your spirit!

Do you like to stroll in the mall? Do Bollywood beats make you tap your feet? Does nature make you strap on your hiking boots? Are you a religious yoga buff?

If yes, you may be unknowingly doing a lot of good for your health, says Dr. Kavita Nikam, physician at the Healthspring Clinic at Palava. Read on the find out the how your hobbies are keeping you fit! Take that time out for them, they are doing you good!

Hike to build a robust heart

Trekking is a good exercise to keep the heart healthy and agile. As one engages in cardio exercise while trekking the heart pumps blood vigorously and helps in strengthening the cardiac muscles,” says Dr. Nikam. It may not be such a bad idea after all to take a holiday every quarter for a quick trip to the hills.

 Shop to burn off sugar

A visit to the mall does more than simply elevate your mood, says Dr. Nikam, and adds “Regular walking for 30 minutes helps cut down the risk of type 2 diabetes by 60%.” Now block your calendar for a stroll every day; remember you can choose the location or the store of your choice!

Dance away your stress

Any high intensity dance form with upbeat moves helps release mood-improving endorphins,” explains Dr. Nikam. Zumba, Kathak, Bhangda, take your pick and step into the groove. It is time to let the music play!

Swim to beat insomnia blues

Swimming is the best exercise for peaceful sleep at night,” advises Dr. Nikam, “and it was reiterated by the findings of a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation.” After all a few laps followed by a plenty of refreshing dips isn’t really exercise, it is more of unwinding in bliss.

Flex to boost immunity

Study has shown that regular practice of yoga helps build the immune system and fight off infections,” reveals Dr. Nikam. A recent Norwegian study revealed that yoga helps in changing gene expression that positively impacts the cellular composition. Hurry! Grab your yoga mat today!

The art of making the perfect modak

September 5, 2016
modak recipe

Ganesh Chaturthi marks the beginning of a 10-day long festival to celebrate Lord Ganesha’s birthday. During these ten days people of all caste and creed come together to celebrate enthusiastically, it truly is one of the most revered Indian festivals, which brings people together.

Over the next ten days people install Ganesha idols in their homes, pray to the lord and hold get-togethers where they sing songs of praise of the deity and eat his favourite food, which are modaks.

During this festive period one cannot get enough of the traditional sweet dish, a plate of these translucent dumplings filled with coconut and jaggery are devoured within minutes and we’re going to tell you how to make the perfect modak.

Modak recipe:

For the outer modak covering:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 5 cups water
  • ¼ tsp oil or ghee
  • a pinch of salt

For the inner sweet filling:

  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • ¾ cup powdered or grated jaggery, for a more sweeter taste, you can add up to 1 cup of powdered jaggery
  • 3 to 4 cardamoms, powdered in a mortar-pestle, about ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • A pinch of nutmeg powder or grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp poppy seeds
  • ½ tsp ghee or oil
  • ½ tsp rice flour (optional)

To make the filling:

  • Heat ghee in a pan and to that add poppy seeds, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder. Sauté the same for a minute.
  • Then add grated fresh coconut and powdered/grated jaggery.
  • Mix well and cook this coconut-jaggery mixture on a low flame. The jaggery will melt first.
  • Stir at times and cook this mixture till the moisture from the jaggery begins to dry. Switch off the flame and don’t overcook as the jaggery then hardens. Keep this coconut-jaggery filling aside. On cooling, the mixture will thicken more.
  • You can also add a bit of rice flour to this mixture. This is an optional step. The rice flour helps to absorb moisture, if any from the filling.
  • Keep the filling aside to cool.

To make the modak:

  • In a pan or dekchi add the water, oil and salt. Keep it on the stove-top.
  • Let this mixture come to a boil.
  • Reduce the flame and add the rice flour gradually. Quickly stir and mix the flour with the water.
  • Stir till all the rice flour is mixed with the water.
  • Switch off the flame. Remove the pan from the stove-top and then cover this pan with a lid for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Now take all the dough in a plate/thali or in a bowl. Gather the dough together and begin to knead it.
  • The dough will be hot when, you begin to knead, so apply some water on your palms and knead the dough. Remember to knead the dough very well.
  • If you feel the dough looks dense or hard or dry, then just add a few teaspoons of warm water and continue to knead.
  • Make small balls from the dough. Roll the balls till they become smooth in your palms.
  • You can also apply some water on your palms, while rolling the balls. Keep the balls covered with a kitchen towel. The balls should be smooth in appearance and should not have any cracks.

To assemble and shape the modak:

  • Before you start shaping the modaks, keep water for steaming in a pan.
  • Grease the steamer lightly with oil or ghee.
  • Take a ball and flatten it with your fingers to a round disc or a shallow bowl shape. You can apply ghee/oil in your palms, while flattening.
  • Place the modak filling in the center.
  • Press on the edges.
  • Bring together all the edges and join them. Remove the extra portion of the dough from the top, if any. Shape and taper the top of the modak with your fingers.
  • Make all the modaks this way. Keep them in a steamer pan.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and steam for 10 to 15 minutes on a low flame.
  • Once the modaks are steamed, drizzle a few teaspoons of ghee on the modaks.

This recipe first appeared on Veg Recipes Of India

Hope you get to try this recipe and if you do, don’t forget to share your photos of your perfect modak in the comments section below.

Picture Courtesy: Himanshu Jagtap

A City That Is Changing The Way Urban India Lives

March 28, 2016
Model smart city

While India’s population is becoming increasingly urban (studies project over 40 per cent of India will live in cities within the next two decades), our cities are ill-equipped to cope with the influx. The extraordinary scale and pace of this transition is already placing an enormous burden on Indian cities, which are already stretched to deliver even the most basic services to their citizens. Increasingly, experts have stressed the need for a new model of urbanization, where even as we strive to improve liveability, we need to plan and build new future cities.

City of opportunity

Palava was envisaged by Lodha Group, India’s No 1. developer, as India’s answer to the urbanisation challenge; to provide a far smarter way of living, enhancing quality of lives by creating an opportunity for people to flourish in a better urban environment. Spread over 4,500 acres (1/4th the size of the island city of Mumbai), Palava, Mumbai’s sister city, is the largest greenfield private development, funded, built and governed by a single enterprise.

Palava has developed and rolled out several initiatives across governance, healthcare and education, safety and security, transportation, sustainability, and energy and utilities.

Currently, phase 1 of Palava which is over 250 acres and has over 18,000 homes is nearing completion and population is expected to hit 1,00,000 by 2017 “In just 7 years from its start, making it the fastest city startup” in world history. Best firms from around the world including GE, IBM, Sun Edison, Philips and many others are already working together to create India’s first greenfield smart city. Palava is envisioned to have a population of 2 million people and provide 3.5 lac jobs.

Today, with over 24,000 flats sold and over 5,000 families already living there, Palava underscores the appetite for high-quality middle income housing. Palava offers citizens a greener lifestyle with over 60% open spaces (the highest among world cities), a riverfront park, neighbourhood gardens, high-quality educational facilities like two operational ICSE schools as well as 20 other upcoming schools, sports facilities including a cricket ground, a FIFA standard football stadium and a golf course, luxurious clubhouses and cafes. Opening soon is a 5 lac sqft mall with PVR multiplex followed by a multi-speciality hospital. Palava will also be home to a world-class multi-disciplinary university, an Olympic-standard Sports Complex, a vibrant Centre for Arts and Culture, lakefront and river-front plazas, high street retail and a 100-acre Central Park. All this will give the citizens of Palava a multitude of opportunities for all-round development.

Its Central Business District will offer millions of square-feet of world-class offices and the city will create 3.5 lakh jobs by 2025, making the ‘walk to work’ concept a reality for the citizens of Palava.

Palava aims to provide citizens a hassle-free lifestyle. Having partnered with IBM for its smart city technology, advanced systems are already integrating information from all Palava city operations into a single system. Centralized monitoring and analytics in the areas of security, emergency management and transportation are further improving response time to city problems.

Palava recognizes that it is not only infrastructure that makes a city great. Arts, culture and entertainment play an equally important part in the fabric of any city. Recognizing this, Palava fosters and seeds arts, culture and sports through a participative, citizen-driven process – with the goal of creating opportunities and experiences for the community so as to explore their potential. Last year, the city’s flagship arts and culture festival ‘Palava Tarang’ saw performances by India’s finest artists like Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Dr. L Subramanium and Ustad Rashid Khan among others. Activities like urban farming, creative photography and other workshops are already being conducted towards forming community clubs.

Palava’s urban governance model offers a unique and sustainable solution to India’s urbanization challenge. Palava’s own municipal body, Palava City Management Association (PCMA) is responsible for delivering policy and rule-based administration for all stakeholders. Already in operation, PCMA comprises of citizens and city experts which will collectively aim towards cost-effective services. PCMA already administers core amenities like power, water and transport for the citizens of Palava. A franchisee agreement with Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd ensures that Palava has near-uninterrupted electricity. 24×7 monitoring and emergency response teams, video surveillance, a highly trained security force, street level panic alarm systems, and electronic access control and automatic fire alarm systems in buildings ensure safety, day and night.

Built for the future

One of the many unique aspects of Palava will be walkability, making the entire city easily accessible to its citizens and fostering a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Each neighbourhood has a pedestrian-focused design and is planned to be self-sufficient, with all daily needs met within a 5 to 10 minute walk from home and public facilities just 15 minutes away making Palava a walkable urban city of the future.

Palava was built to offer its citizens three things: opportunities to prosper, the chance to participate in the running of the city, and a fulfilling lifestyle. These are the key cornerstones of the city, being fortified by meticulous planning and the desire to match the best. All these total up to Palava being a true city of opportunity for generations to come.