Do You Know if Your Senior Loved One Needs Help?

We all like to believe that we are in tune with our family. But how much do you know about your aging mom or dad’s daily life? If senior loved ones are still living alone, here are a few things to look for that may indicate that they are ready for a helping hand, and ways you can step in and enhance their quality of life.

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Seniors may need help if:

  • Home maintenance has fallen behind (e.g., grass remains uncut, appliances broken, light bulbs shot but unchanged)
  • Clothing is unwashed
  • Hygiene has become an issue
  • They have experienced a sudden change in mood
  • Bills aren’t being paid
  • There is unexplained bruising
  • They often miss healthcare appointments
  • They have gained or lost noticeable weight
  • You find scratches and dents their vehicle (if still driving)
  • They get confused when washing dishes, making phone calls, and performing other familiar tasks

If your loved one’s health, safety, and happiness has become compromised, it’s time to begin talking about care options. When he or she wishes to remain at home, there are plenty of resources that can help. From hiring a home health aide to taking classes to keep the mind active, you can help honor your senior’s wish of aging in place.

Community matters – Community organizations are an invaluable resource for seniors who live alone. If seniors are feeling isolated, involvement with a community group may help. Many offer social activities that can boost self-esteem and encourage them to take better care of themselves.

In-house help – A home health aide is an individual who may come in on a regular schedule or live in the home with your senior. He or she will assist with daily living tasks such as cooking and cleaning along with hygiene and giving medication. A home health aide is an excellent option for seniors who do not want to enter a long-term care facility.

Occasional assistance – Health care assistance is not the only type of help a senior may need. The National Aging in Place Council includes real estate services, financial planning, insurance, and elder law among services that can help a senior stay at home.

End-of-life care – Death is the inevitable end to all life, and at some point, transitional care may be needed. The National Institute on Aging describes end-of-life care as that which offers medical care and support in the days, weeks, and months prior to death. This may include hospice services and palliative care.

Once you have determined that your elder needs assistance, you must approach him or her from a place of love. No one, and especially not someone who has raised children, fought in the military, and/or been self-sufficient for decades, wants to acknowledge they are no longer able to care for themselves. It may be wise to consult with friends, family, and other individuals who can offer advice on the subject. Be prepared for some pushback and consider bringing in an elder mediator to smooth things over. Remember, it’s not about you being right or forcing your loved one into submission, it’s about keeping him or her safe and healthy. Sometimes, an impartial third party is the best person to bridge the gap between you and your loved one.

It’s a tough conversation to have, and it’s even harder watching your beloved family member become increasingly fragile with age. However, by finding ways to help as issues arise, you can help your mom, dad, grandparent, or other elderly family member maintain independence and sense of integrity for as long as possible. All it takes is a keen eye and willingness to step in when help is needed.

Image via Pixabay

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10 Most Delicious Ways Indians Cook Biryani

It doesn’t matter what time of the day, the simple mention of the word Biryani is enough to make you hungry, isn’t it? Its rich aroma, exotic flavor and mouthwatering taste make you crave for it. For rice lovers it’s heaven and for even those who don’t fancy rice, biryanis are an exception. Here are 10 delicious ways Biryanis are made in different parts of India:

  1. Hyderabadi Dum Biryani

Hyderabad and Biryanis go hand in hand. This is because of the Mughlai influence who first introduced Biryani. One of the most famous ways of cooking Biryani is the dum method – where the rice and meat/vegetables are cooked 3/4th and then layered together again to be cooked in slow fire with tightly sealed edges.

  1. Lucknowi Biryani

Referred to as pukki biryani, here the rice and meat are cooked separately. They are then stacked in alternate layers to complete the dish.

  1. Sindhi Biryani

Unlike other biryani, it is loaded with finely slit chillies, coriander, fresh mint and roasted spices. Thick curry with goat meat is added to the rice. Not to forget the dry fruits, nuts and onions that complements this lip-smacking dish.

  1. Dindigul Biryani

From the state of Tamil Nadu, it has a tangy taste, thanks to the addition of curd and lemons. Vegetables or meat are added to and it does not use tomatoes or coconut.

  1. Kolkata Biryani

Just as other Bengali dishes, it has a sweet tinge to it. It is much milder in spices than other biryani. Potato is a pretty dominant ingredient of this dish with rice and it is layered with juicy meat and soft-boiled eggs to add a finishing touch.

  1. Mughlai Biryani

The original find of the Nawabs, this biryani is cooked with curd, almond paste, dry fruits, fiery green chilies. Fit for royalty, it is very rich in taste and can be loaded with vegetables or tender chicken pieces.
7. Awadhi Biryani

For all the vegans, this is the best vegetarian biryani of all. Roasted spices are ground and added to rice to give the dish a distinct taste. Served with ginger raita, it makes for a heavenly feast.

  1. Beary Biryani

A non-vegetarian delight it is loaded with chicken, mutton, fish, prawns and beef. Home to a coastal district in Karnataka, it is flavored with ghee, local spices and left to sit overnight for all the flavors to spread through the entire dish. Also, it is lighter and milder on spices.

  1. Bombay Biryani

The addition of kewra makes this one distinct. Loaded with all spices, the meat tastes a lot different than other biryanis.

10.Kozhikode Biryani

The rice used in this Biryani is much thinner and called Khyma, which is generously mixed with ghee and spices. Fried onions are also added for a sweet taste.

Try out some of these drool-worthy biryanis and savor the heavenly taste of this rich Indian dish!

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5 innovations that are making our homes smarter and safer

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Remember the Jetsons or the Stark Mansion from Iron Man. For years high-tech homes were only seen in cartoons or movies. However, it could be a thing of reality now as researchers are getting closer to innovate and transform our lives for good.

From high-end flat screen TVs to voice-controlled assistants and beds that can adjust themselves to maximize sleep quality, the fun is just beginning now. Much of this high-tech inventions are still in the pipeline and can expect to hit the market soon.

Here are 5 amazing innovations that are already transforming our homes:

1. Appliances that will turn on when you ask them

With Google Home, Apple homekit and Amazon Echo control your home appliances through voice commands just like Siri. Start the electric kettle or coffee maker so it’s ready as you head home. Turn the lights on and off as you please. Also stay informed of weather updates, traffic updates, manage your schedule and more. It will be your cool personal assistant doing things that you ask for!

2. Smart Windows

Go from transparent to frosted and to completely opaque with a simple flip of a switch. These windows are employed with technology that adjusts the light on the surface in the response to an electrical current.

3. Home Security through Facial Recognition

A video camera installed at your doorsteps to identify who enters your house. If it is a stranger, the system can then easily run the person’s mug against the criminal and terrorist databases. This way we will not let in someone dangerous to our home.

4. Paint that Purifies Air

How about a paint that not just makes your home look beautiful but also keeps your air quality in check? This paint’s activated carbon technology reduces pollutants and gets rid of foul smell to make the air cleaner.

5. Smart Fridge

Samsung Family Hub Fridge and other built-in voice assistants installed in refrigerators let you take a snapshot of what you have inside them. Once you are doing your grocery shopping, you can access the snapshot from your smartphone to know what you need to buy. It may even be able to tell you how long your broccoli is been in there or how much leftovers you have.

As you can see, technology is not just embedded in our cars or phones but is slowly making its way into our homes. From smart windows to paint and personal assistants, it gives you yet another reason to hang out at home more often!

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Exercises to try even if you lack fitness skills

You don’t have to be a Marathon runner or a gym regular to get a good sweat session! After all, some of the best workouts require low fitness expertise. According to studies done at Harvard Medical School, these routines can increase muscle mass, weight loss and help in maintaining a heart healthy.

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Take a look at the exercises below and the next time you feel bogged down by high-intensity workouts, give these routines a shot!

1. Walking

Easy and Sufficient? Absolutely. A simple 15 minutes walk can keep your body and mind brisk. The next time you commute to your office or go for shopping, park your car farther away and walk the rest of the distance to experience the bliss of a short stroll. Many studies indicate that walking reduces blood pressure, weight and keeps one generally healthy.

2. Swimming

Dive in for a nice and calm workout! A low-impact exercise swimming works multiple muscles. The next time you feel too worn out to hit the gym, why not go for a dive and get the same results? Swimming is good for adults with conditions like Arthritis as it doesn’t strain one’s joints a lot. According to some research, swimming keeps one young and protects the brain from age-related decline. Now isn’t that enough reasons for you to try it out?

3. Yoga

Why not give this Indian fitness routine a try with mild intensity poses, breathing exercises and meditation? From pregnant ladies to senior citizens, anybody can do yoga and reap its benefits. It keeps you physically and mentally fit. Try out simple breathing exercises and asanas from the hundreds of videos available on youtube.

4. Weight Training

Who said you need to be a pro to do weight coaching? Get started with your dumb-bells with fundamental biceps curls. Weight training is the way to go to burn calories, boost muscle power, give you a sharper mind and a healthier heart. 

Being active is definitely better than being a couch potato! Break the monotony and get moving with these exercises to be fit!

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How achievable new year resolutions are!

New year resolutionAnother year has ended. Like every year we all have listed down our aspirations, aims, resolutions, and targets for ourselves. But what have we learned from our past experiences?

Most of us break our new year resolutions within the first few weeks. So how do we make them more successful this year?

Here are some simple ways to keep up the most common new year resolution!

  1. Focus on Health/ Lose weight

Understanding nutrition and calorie intake are required for weight loss. Changing our diet, regularising sleep patterns, staying active – not just exercising but also keeping yourself active throughout the day is paramount to maintaining your weight. So is feeling happy mentally. If you are stressed or depressed, get help.

Do not make any changes overnight and do not expect any changes overnight. Keeping a regular routine for sleep, meals, and exercise goes a long way!

  1. Get organized

Getting organized is vital to managing your time effectively. The first step to an organized home, office, or your desk is decluttering. Donate or discard all that you have not used in the past one year. Carry a small notebook and pen handy to make notes on to-dos and upcoming events. Check the list once in the morning and once before going to bed. This helps you keep track of your tasks and will help be more organized.

  1. Take up a new hobby

Make use of your free time in a constructive manner and learn a new hobby at the same time! If you’re interested in communication skills, arts, music, or sports, find out how to learn new skills and hobbies in a short time. There are a lot of online skill training courses too.

  1. Less time on social media

Social media has taken the place of outdoor play, games and meeting up with people. It has become a serious addiction for all ages. Most of the people use social media to stay in touch with family, but if you consistently spend more than 3 hours a day on social media, it’s time to take a break. Take a digital day off. Switch off your phones for a day. Check them only once or twice a day during weekends. You will be surprised to see how much time you can actually save! Spending time on social media should not be substituted for spending time with your family.

So what is your new year resolution this year?

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10 fun facts about Bollywood you didn’t know!

Bollywood – One word for a multi-million dollar film industry of India that rules our heart. Rarely do we know what actually goes on behind the cameras and what it really takes to churn out heart-wrenching flicks that make us laugh, cry, love and more? Let’s take a moment to unearth some interesting fun facts about Bollywood.

Bollywood facts

Lights, Camera, Action!

1. Indian films are screened in over 90 countries across the globe! Did you know that North America generates 25% of Bollywood’s overseas box office revenue?

2. The Longest Movie in the world is a Bollywood movie – LOC: Kargil. The screen-time is 4 hours and 25 minutes long. If you plan to catch up with this war sage, sit comfortably!

3.Bollywood has a distant connection with the famous Eiffel Tower. Our B-town diva Kalki Koechlin’s great-grandfather was the Chief Engineer of Eiffel Tower and he also helped to build the great Statue of Liberty!

4. Until 1990, Amitabh Bachchan was the only Bollywood star to be paid in Crores of Rupees. Now most of the leading stars are paid around the same.

5. One fascinating fact is that Saif Ali Khan was the original choice for Shahrukh Khan’s role in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge or DDLJ as many like to call it. In fact, it is even harder to believe that Tom Cruise was also considered for the role of our favorite loverboy Raj Malhotra!

6. The famous Bollywood song “Choli Ke Peeche” from the movie Khalnayak was a path-breaking song that caught the notice of all. Many politicians were against the lyrics. Nonetheless, it set out to be very popular with even the two playback singers, who crooned the song winning accolades and awards for the same!

7. Bollywood is older than Hollywood. Nope, we are not lying! Bollywood’s origins can be traced all the way back to 1899, way before Hollywood started out!

8. Such is the appeal and allure of Bollywood that even the late M.F Hussain admitted to having watched Hum Aapke Hain Kaun umpteen number of times. Who doesn’t like this evergreen Bollywood movie?

9. Keeping the number games in mind, it is said the Kareena Kapoor holds the highest record of wearing the most number of costumes in a Bollywood movie. In the movie Heroine, she wore over 130 dresses made by several designers!

10. Leave the money matters to Aamir Khan. This star’s movie Ghajini was the first movie to rake in Rupees 100 Crore and he recently started the Rupees 300 Crore bar with the release of his film PK.

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New Year Eve Outfit Ideas

It’s December, the magnificent holiday season and New Year’s Eve is right around the corner. So, behold for the mighty day because it is your best excuse to dress up, try something new and get downright creative with your look. Whether you are gearing up for a girl’s night out, a quiet evening or something in between, we have got you covered with some cool outfit ideas to put an end to your dreaded what-to-wear dilemma on the biggest party night of the year.

1. Go Classic with Black

Everybody is sure to have one black outfit in their closet. While wearing something brand new makes you feel good, why not make your classic black outfit new again by accessorizing it with gold or silver tones with sparkling hues. Gather your winter essentials – some warm leggings or a contrasting scarf to add more charm to your LBD vibe.

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2. Experiment with Ethnic Textures and Prints

Connect with your roots by flaunting your ethnic side. If simple solid colors are boring for you, go creative with ethnic motifs and prints on your outfits. Pair it with black tights or patterned ones, heels or boots and you’ve got a striking outfit that will be remembered.

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3. High on Shine

All of us own that one shimmery statement dress that just lies in our closet waiting for that perfect day. Well, new year’s eve might be just right for it. Whether it is a velvet jacket or a sequined gown, get it out of your closet and glam up.

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4. Go Trendy with Jackets and Jeans

Winter is in peak and it might be too cold, so what can be better than the trendy jackets to create a bold fashion statement this New Year’s Eve. Whether it is a fun color or a simple blazer, combine it with crisp shirts, a statement necklace and ripped jeans with your favorite heels. You are all set!

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5. Cocktail Sarees

You can never go wrong with the saree. Why not drape it glamorously with crop tops, halter neck blouses or spaghetti tops to set the party mood on. You are sure to turn heads everywhere you go. Opt for pastel or ombre shades of designer sarees this new year’s eve and be sensuous.

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6. Leather Accents

Denims are old school now, leather is in. That too with the chill in the air, let your beauty gloom with this astounding fabric. Whether be it leather jackets, leggings or skirt, they are a killer new year’s eve outfit that you can definitely pull off!

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Take inspiration from these new year’s eve outfit ideas and ring in the new year with style. Happy new year!

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Connect with your Grandkids!

Your grandkids are your most cherished treasure. While it may be normal to feel a generation gap, there are still ways to get to know them better and create a loving bond. After all, love is the greatest gift that one generation can leave to another.

There are many fun ways to become their cool grandparent and connect with them. We are sure you have your own but here are some from us!

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Storytelling: Indian grandparents have a natural innate talent to narrate fantastic folklores and tales. How can we forget those enchanting mythological tales narrated by our own grandparents? Share those memories with your grandkids and make them chuckle. Bond with them and let them learn about the vivid culture and traditions of India through these stories. You can also add in cute stories about their own parent’s childhood and amuse them. One twist to this could be have them tell their stories! It will be great for the you to learn about the various cultures they are surrounded by and make them understand that it is always good to embrace different cultures while making their own a strong base to follow.

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Dine together: Eating meals together as a family is a great way to bond. Especially if they are teenagers, this will give you an opportunity to open up and engage in a friendly tete-a-tete with your grandkids. Talk to them about how their day was and share interesting stories. Pick up the phone, make a date with your family at a nice restaurant or better yet make dining together as a daily ritual. Feature a family recipe, set the table with the finest china and sit down together shutting off those pesky electronic gadgets. Remember that this is as much of an important part of your grandchildren’s nourishment as the delicious food you serve.

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Engage in Vintage Games: In a time of play stations, video games and gadgets we have almost forgotten the traditional board games. Remember those times we couldn’t wait for school to get over so that we could be back home to play board games with our loved ones.  Introduce your grandkids to the joy of evergreen vintage games. Why not recall and play games like Carom Board, Chess, Snakes and Ladders, Ludo and more? This will give you an awesome opportunity to teach them something interesting. Don’t be surprised if they soon get better at playing it than you, after all, kids grasp things quickly!

Try out these activities to build a strong bond with your grandchildren and give them all the love and attention you can provide. In the modern world today parents due to their busy routine, can’t often spend enough time with their children, so it only makes sense for grandparents to pitch in and nurture their grandchildren.

 

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Desi Fashion with a Modern Twist…

Why should you flaunt traditional outfits only on special occasions? With the modern day ramp, transforming ethnic motifs into contemporary patterns, you can flaunt ethnic or desi fashion every day with elegance and stay connected to your roots.

Nothing succeeds to bring out the best in you than elegant and colorful traditional wear. The ethnic chic with a twist of the modern exudes positive vibes and has taken the fashion world by a storm. Classics like kurta-pajama, saree, dhoti, salwar-kameez have undergone a creative transformation.

So, it’s time now to make use of your ethnic clothes that have been hanging in your closets to turn heads everywhere you go.

 Here’s how:

Mix and Match: Desi clothing is very versatile. You can quickly give the saree a modern twist by mixing and matching it with jeans or leggings. All the lovely ladies, you can flaunt your straight kurtis with culottes and make a whole new style statement. All the handsome gentlemen can flaunt suave kurta tops with jeans for a flamboyant style.

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It’s all in the Prints: Subtle ethnic prints of India are slowly finding its way into mainstream stores. Engage in casual layering with quirky prints and add more drama to your outfits. Pair up a block printed short kurti with ripped denim and sneakers to get all the attention. There is a whole new wave of contemporary printed Indian wear that’s smart and right for a boardroom meeting or a casual dinner date.

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Bling it on: Further, stylize your outfit by teaming it with the right type of accessories. Antique style silver jhumkas have almost become a staple now and you simply got to have that quintessential pair of them. Experiment with tribal jewelry and sequined stoles or dupattas to give your outfits a desi twist.

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Men are not left behind when it comes to modern day accessories. Ranging from statement rings to stylish ethnic bracelets, you too can try out new styles.

Leave no doors unturned when you want to flaunt your ethnic side.  After all, it is all about experimenting with styles and making your own fashion statement! What better way to do it than our traditional desi styles?

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“Tabla” – the Indian percussion instrument

History of the Tabla

Rhythm plays a vital role in music and a pair of Tabla provides the same  in Indian classical music. It justly holds the position of being the “Queen” of Indian Percussion instruments but little do we know about its origin and roots.

Have you ever wondered where the Tabla came from? Read on as we reveal to you an interesting story behind the evolution of the Tabla and let you traverse through nostalgic lanes.

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Origin 

There are many interesting myths and legends about the origin of the Tabla, but there seems to be no conclusive evidence to point out a single inventor of this wonderful instrument. The origin of the name Tabla is believed to be from the Arabic word “Tabl” which means drums. Arabic, Turkish and Persian influences are also seen in the physical structure of the Tabla. Tabla was first introduced to accompany other instruments, vocalists, and dancers in the Indian durbars of the early 19th century.

Roots 

The roots of the tabla are traced back to an old Indian instrument called the Mridangam or Pakhawaj –  a double ended percussion instrument. It is said that to satiate the need for a sweeter tone than that of the Mridangam, the Mridangam was cut into two halves. In an attempt to fuse Arabic and Persian art forms with the Indian style of music, the tabla was born with a well-suited tonal quality. Amir Khusrow, a musician in the court of Allaudin Khilji, is believed to have created the Tabla by cutting the Mridangam in half.

Physical Structure 

So, from where does the Tabla get it’s mesmerising sound? Tabla consists of two drums that create the rhythm. The smaller one, made of wood, is called as “Dayan” while the bigger one, made of clay or metal, is called “Bayan”.

They are covered with cow or goat skin and has a black middle spot which is made of iron fillings, soot and gum. The black spot or the “Syahi” makes a characteristic bell-like sound when played. All put together, this whole ensemble lends the rhythmic appeal of the Tabla. Each part of the tabla has a unique name as shown in the image below:

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Tabla is the most endearing and charming musical instrument of India. Not just famous in India, it enjoys a global presence as well. Tabla has greatly been used worldwide and has given rise to global music that has the best of all dimensions.

Tabla Gharanas

There are mainly six Tabla Gharanas:

Delhi Gharana

Ajrada Gharana

Punjab Gharana

Banares Gharana

Lucknow or Purab Gharana

Farukhabad Gharana

Out of all these, Delhi gharana is the main one. All other gharanas were derived by the sons of the artists from the Delhi gharana.

Some of the very well known tabla artists are Gamen Khan, Ahmed Jan Thirakwa, Kanthe Maharaj, Jahangir Khan, Ustad Amir Hussain Khan, Ustad Allah Rakha Khan, Ustad Karamatulla Khan, Kishan Maharaj, Maseet Khan, Pandit Samta Prasad or Gudai Maharaj,  Habibuddin Khan, and Ustad Zakir Hussain.

Language

There are mainly only ten “bols” ( like notes for music) for Tabla:

Dha, Dhin, TiTa, Tin, Na, Ka, Dhi, Ta, Ki, Katt

From these main ones the “bols” for Dayan and Bayan were created by adding some of them together.

Bols for the Dayan:

Naa, Ta, TiTa, Kitt, Din or Tun, Tin etc.

Bols for the Bayan:

Dhi or Ga, Ka, Katt, Kin, etc.

Bols when both tablas are played together:

Dhin, Dha, Dhin na, Din nak, Giddi, Gid Nag, Kitt Tak, Trik, Kdantaan, Takeet, etc.

Basic rules for tuning a tabla:

  • A metal hammer is used to tune the Tabla by hitting it softly on the Gajra or moving the Ghattas or wooden blocks up or down to vary the tension on the Baar or the lace.

  • The Bayan is tuned one octave lower than the Dayan and have to complement each other.

  • Tabla should be tuned to the same pitch as that of the accompanying vocalist or instrument  and are primarily tuned to Shadaj or “Sa” and Pancham or “Pa” but if Pancham is not in the Raga being sung or played then it is tuned to Madhyam or “Ma”.

 

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