People Social

World Environmental Day special Weekend Read: UB Baatcheet with Bhuvnesh Ojha, founder of Pukaar

As we mark World Environment Day (WED) on 5th June, we should pay attention to warnings and take them seriously. And environmental alarm bells are no exception! On biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, and climate change, there are a plethora of startling statistics. Facts to which we can no longer turn a blind eye. So, in the lead up to World Environment Day, we bring you another episode of UB Baatcheet. We have all heard about how important it is to plant trees, but we aren’t so quick to implement. Therefore, to know about the dos and don’ts of plantation, we have an expert who will educate us about the same. Today, our guest is Mr. Bhuvnesh Ojha, Founder of Pukaar Foundation, an exceptional environmentalist and has inspired everyone around us. Let’s hear about how they started and what inspired him to work for the environment.

Watch the full video below:

Highlight transcript from the video:

How did you start Pukaar?

It has always been my dream to work for the environment. This thought came into my mind when I was in 8th grade, and I saw that my village (near Bhilwara) has a lot of uncultivated and barren land. I used to hear from my grandfather and father that many farmers are committing suicide due to lack of land and crop production, so I thought, why not make the barren land useful by giving it some attention. But obviously, when I discussed this idea with my friends, they told me that I would need capital/money to start social work. I heard about some guys who went to IIT and got a package of 1 crore per year, and I thought, why not do something like this to raise money for my social work. I went to Kota for higher studies, and there I found motivation from various experiences that now is the time to start doing something for the environment. I still remember that quote from Steve Jobs – “If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?” and that hit me hard. We planted the first plant of Pukaar on 10th March 2013; at that time, we were not even sure about the name of this foundation, and we were just a bunch of friends from my colony. Slowly and gradually, the children in the neighbourhood also started taking part in the plantation drive. We started buying plants from our pocket money and planted 20 to 30 plants. Our work slowly got viral on social media, and we got a lot of requests for volunteer work. So, on 10th November 2013, we did a plantation drive outside our colony (100 ft. road, Udaipur), and we dedicated a Sunday for planting trees. After that, it became our motive to dedicate every Sunday to plantation drives with as many people. From 2013, we have dedicated 310 Sundays till now.

What challenges has Pukaar faced till now?

The biggest challenge was to raise awareness about planting trees and explaining to people why it is such a big deal. I was a teenager when I started plantation drives in Udaipur and when we used to talk to senior people or give them advice about which plant to use, they had this sense of superiority that was a challenge. Funding was another challenge we faced, and I believe a lot of non-profits face the issue where they cannot get enough funding to support the cause. Also, after receiving the funding, the implementation process further becomes a challenge. However, when there is a team spirit and passion for making a difference, the obstacles seem smaller.

When did you know that you can make a difference on a bigger scale?

Even after working for a decade, I still can’t make peace with what we have done so far. When your targets are bigger, then getting every accomplishment to feel small. However, when I see that the forests we planted and cultivated are now home to honeybees and birds, that makes me immensely happy and motivated me to do more and more plantation drives.

What is Miyawaki Forestation, and what steps did you take in this direction?

Miyawaki is a technique where you can plant a forest even in a tiny, room-size area. The technique is immensely helpful for your health as well as your biodiversity. Dr. Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese Botanist, invented this technique in the 1970s, and he followed the natural process to make this standard method of growing a tiny forest near you. It is imperative to plan local crops or plants because only those will help the ecosystem around you. Every soil has its own components, and it is vital to understand the same and plant trees that are suitable for the environment. So, first, we try to extract a lot of forests near Udaipur, such as the Jaisamand area, Chirwa, Sajjangarh, and nearby regions. Then, we study the region’s soil and plant only those trees that can naturally grow there. These forests tend to grow denser with time and eventually helps to absorb the microbes and pollution around us. Basically, they act as a filter wall for you, which is why the Miyawaki technique became so popular.

What can we do, or the steps can we take to protect the environment?

The first thing I would like to say is that don’t plant non-native species around your home and switch to native species since only those plants contribute to the environment around you. Some of the best choices for a home garden or nearby areas are moulshree or Bosali, Amaltas, Kachnar or Bauhinia, Shehtoot or Mulberries, Harsingar or Night Jasmine, or Moringa (Sejan ki Phali) or Drumsticks.

What message would you like to give the readers of UdaipurBlog?

Firstly, I would like to say that whenever we want to achieve something big, we have to take baby steps. So, if we want to save ourselves and the earth, then we must restore the oxygen banks that is our forests and vegetation around us.

Let’s reconnect with our villages and stop the carbon footprint around us! More power to the people who are working for plantation drives and trying to make a difference.

People Social

How to take care of your health in lockdown: Interview recap with Udaipur’s Health Experts

Are you maintaining your health or taking care of your health when gyms are closed in Udaipur? Many people have lost track of keeping up with their health routine and are becoming lethargic day by day. Keeping up with a fitness routine without much-needed help from the gym is quite difficult for some people. Although it is not always ethical to doubt someone’s body positivity or self-confidence, it should be considered whether they are receiving accurate knowledge of where their bodies are and what risks they are exposing themselves to. This is not a question that will be answered too soon. People will continue to work for a healthy lifestyle if they are better informed about obesity and its consequences. People will continue to work for body positivity by reducing their risk of such illnesses if they are well informed about obesity and its risks. Embrace being healthy and hear it from the experts about keeping ourselves healthy by having a proper Indian diet.

Let’s hear it from our experts about including Indian food in your diet plan and fit with the right tips and exercises.

On 7th April 2021, which is the World Health Day, we kickstarted our all-new series, UB Baatcheet. We hosted a talk with Dr Vyom Bolia, a renowned physiotherapist from Udaipur, and Mr Rishabh Jain, a legend in the fitness industry who also won the Ironman Race, the world’s toughest race! We talk to these personalities on various topics, including their views about the closing of gyms, body positivity, health & fitness, and how can one remain fit without going to gyms, which is necessary specially during lockdown period. Here’s a weekend recap, just in case you missed it! Watch out for the video to know the right way to stay fit and healthy in the long run.

Dr Vyom Bolia and Mr Rishabh Jain have answered a few questions concerning people’s health and well-being, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a transcript from the interview. Do note the interview happened in the first week of April 2021, so the lockdown situations are different now than the restrictions then.

Mr Rishabh Jain, what hurdles did you face while completing the Ironman Race Challenge?

His answer was pretty on point! “I dedicated a whole year to training and forgot all about my life and family for the time being”, says Rishabh Jain, the Ironman Race Winner.

Since he took the challenge in 2018, he couldn’t find a coach in Udaipur, so he went to Mumbai to get trained by a professional who could prepare him for this ultimate race. India’s fitness enthusiast and model Milind Soman inspired Rishabh to participate and win the race!

Dr Vyom and Mr Rishabh, how long has it been since you are serving Udaipurites with health and fitness facilities?

“It has been over a decade since we started the first yoga studio in Udaipur with a trendsetting workout session in the city named as ‘6 Days, 6 Workouts’ where patrons got to experience 6 different types of workouts in 6 days”, says Dr Vyom. We then started Healthline Fitness Studio in 2016, and now we have more than 40 personal trainers, yoga teachers, Zumba trainers, etc., offering the best kind of gym facilities to Udaipurites.

What does fitness mean to you? Many people have this perception that fitness is all about being slim, reducing fat, losing weight, and having abs, and it has become a cliché. What are your thoughts about the same?

“Our clientele was mostly female when we initially started the gym business. There is a stereotype that weight lifting is not meant for women. But in my opinion, it is as important for women as it is for men since after the age of 35 women start losing muscle strength and weight training help keep their body tight”, says Rishabh.

He further adds that most women came with a strong need to become as thin as possible in less time, which is quite unreasonable, to be honest! “We mostly recommend doing the right type of workout every day. After a certain age, especially in females, the muscles lose their capacity to stay tight, and for the same, we suggest doing weight training since it is as important for women as it is for men.”

Due to the COVID-19 norms and guidelines, gyms will now remain closed. What are your thoughts on the same?

“We work for improving people’s immunity in gyms, and I, for one, haven’t heard anything about a cluster of COVID-19 patients identified from gyms”, says Dr Vyom. He further adds, “Gyms were closed for more than 6 months, and we were quite patient about it, but the guidelines given by Rajasthan Government recently is unjust and fairly unreasonable. There are a number of food joints in Udaipur where we can get a raving crowd of more than 100 people gathered at one place, then why should gyms stay closed when we are utterly vigilant about sanitization and hygiene at gyms!”

How do you suggest people can keep up their diet and exercise in tune, even without gyms?

Dr Vyom and Rishabh suggest that taking out some time out of your super busy schedule and dedicate it to exercise. Now with smartphones and constantly evolving technology, everyone can manage to find the right type of exercise that can add to a healthy lifestyle. “Leave your laptops or PCs for a while, do brisk walking in the office lobby or at your home, do stretching exercises from time to time, and keep your posture straight while working to have a fit body. This will further help reduce back pain, muscle soreness, joint pain, etc., and the biggest benefit is you don’t need any equipment for the same. We live in a beautiful city, and Udaipur is full of places that offer peaceful places to take a stroll or even have a short run. Fatehsagar, Rani Road, Gulab Bagh, etc., have ample amount of space for you to run or walk for an hour or two. Do yoga at home or register yourself for online training that will keep you going for a healthier lifestyle. Don’t just do exercise for the sake of losing or gaining weight, but make it a part of your routine for long-term benefits”, says Rishabh.

There are a lot of myths associated with Indian Food. As a society, we think that Traditional Indian food is unfit for people. So, from the perspective of diet and nutrition, do you think that this perception is right? What are your suggestions for adding healthy and affordable Indian food that people can add to their daily routine and cut out junk food?

“People have switched to western diet plans and food habits since they think Indian food is unhealthy. It is simple logic; if we date back to ancient times or even take an example of our grandparents, they are still fit compared to teenagers or people in this era. Our ancestors used to eat oily food, ghee, roti, and other essential or say real Indian food and were still very active and healthy”, says Dr Vyom. People blame Indian food, but in reality, the issue is that the amount of food consumed in a day is far more than the number of calories they can burn per day. This impacts excessive weight gain. Every country has a different climate and culture, and as far as I am concerned, Indian food is the best source of nutrition for us Indians. “More or less, our eating habits are changed! Earlier wheat was processed by chakki (hand flour mill) through which the fibre content remained intact. Today the same flour is processed in machines, due to which the wheat loses its fibre and nutritional value. Adulterated food is the biggest problem faced by our generation. That is why organic food products are so much in demand now compared to the early era when only organic food was available in the market. Eating at odd times, midnight munching, and likes are affecting the health of our generation. Nutrition and healthy food play 60% role in your lifestyle whereas exercise play a 40% role”, says Dr Vyom. “We eat as per our taste buds. Adding soya sauce, chilli sauce, or any other taste enhancers or preservatives impacts the nutritional value of the food. The least we can do is change our lifestyle and switch towards a routine where we give equal importance to nutritional food and exercise”, says Rishabh.

Finally, Dr Vyom asks us to take a pledge to spare at least 45 mins daily and follow any type of workout to make this Smart City a Fit City!


So, wrapping up this extremely fruitful conversation with Dr Vyom Bolia and Mr Rishabh Jain, we received some very interesting tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle even when gyms are closed. Watch UdaipurBlog’s Baatcheet session for more such insights! We’ll come up with lots of more content for you shortly. In the meanwhile, do subscribe to UdaipurBlog’s Youtube channel, if you haven’t yet. See you in the next episode!