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Reroute

One morning I woke up replaying an argument I had a few days ago and I lived with that thought playing in my head the whole day. This became normal after a few weeks. I couldn’t tell I was doing this, a few months down and it was habit before I realised. It’s a dark space to be in, I can see now that I’m not there anymore. Over thinking had become very natural to me and I didn’t want to call it depression. It’s a taboo, right?, to have depression and talk about it. I mean not everyone thinks it’s okay. Not even today.

From this dark space my mind could only operate like that, but from another view I knew I’m blessed beyond imagination. How do you decide in the worst second of your mood that you need to be seeing life from the sunny-beach eyes and not from some cold-cave-hollow-eyes(exaggerated)?  

It was the urge to live better and fulfilled but knowing what I deserve. Know your worth, that you deserve to feel good. My sister passed me on this advice she got -“if you know you’re doing the right thing, don’t let anything that anyone says or does affect you”. What does your conscience tell you? 

I think talking to her, sharing my space and taking help was the main thing. Need to know that I deserve better. Sulking, believing in the negative words voiced at you, playing victim, beating yourself up mentally, letting yourself think your life is controlled, it was all exhausting me and I could tell by the way I felt. I wanted better. A few friends heard me out, some pushed me away. I wasn’t giving up.

A while back I wrote about how I want to have a fulfilled experience of life and not just chase happiness. No emotions are wrong or bad. It’s the way we deal with it. Over time I’ve learnt to not resist any emotions. Feel it, leave the thought behind and just pick myself up and move. 

Do everything in my capacity to get back up for me. 

So it’s not like I’m mentally on the beach all the time, I still have rough moments in a day. I can choose to hold on to it and I can still add up everything that’s not happening the way I want it to. Every obstacle, everything that I’m being stopped from, every troubling incident that’s added to my memory like when you’ve added too much salt in your curry and you can’t take it out. Just trying to fix my curry as I pass every day. 

The idea is to not fix the curry, the salt is already added you trying to fix it is only going to make things worse. Just accept and make a new one.

Once I know I’m not able to think clearly I tell myself to “reroute”. Keep a list at hand -Dark chocolate(its magic), call sister, call a friend, take a shower, blare music, get a walk, Netflix, binge watch comedy videos (Sunil Grover) and read some inspiring stories online, . Not running away but just giving my mind some timeout, because when you’re emotional it’s not easy to tell the difference between sea breeze and cave chills.

So may we help each other in rough seas and pick ourselves up when there’s no one around, because who doesn’t like beaches.


Must Must Must watch this!!!

DO read! Very helpful! 

https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/ways-cultivate-good-gut-bacteria-reduce-depression/

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Attached

I have a million other topics but this one is long due in my subconscious. Board games were a thing a while back and getting one on your birthday meant something. I used to carry it with me all day, tucked under my arm; While eating, while going to play outside, till I’d leave for school and once back, even to bed. I wasn’t a teddy bears or dolls kind of person, just this one, if I was attached to anything, I’d literally glue it on to me. I don’t know of anyone that clingy to be honest. I couldn’t get to sleep without holding my mom’s index finger the whole night. I don’t know where I lost this trait of mine, kind of. Okay, getting there.

Attachment is something you don’t understand when you’re that young, and as we grow older we do start associating with different things. I see people are attached to work routes or jogging routes. I know of people who are attached to certain food (rice, potatoes). People attach themselves to people, which I thought is pretty normal, but that’s a perspective. There is another take on it. Sometimes even attaching to thought patterns or ways of doing things, like waking up from one side of the bed or having fixed seats on your dining table (hate much?). Smallest of things can become an integral part of your life and it becomes a habit to have those things or people in your life. For me that’s attachment as I’ve grown older.

This article was totally inspired by my swimming goggles. Served me for more than a decade and managed to snap after bearing for one last swim. I can say I was totally amazed at how I wasn’t ready to let go of it yet. I put it in one corner of my room for keeps, oh souvenir­–I told myself. If you’re really reading you know this isn’t about the goggles. Don’t we do the same with people? Hold on to them till the last thread and still keep hoping for something to happen. What is it like to just let go?

It was one of those house parties (party at home) I don’t remember what was the celebration but we’d planted helium balloons tied to stones outside our house. I wouldn’t do that today as I’ve seen too much on how balloons affect other animals once they’re up and away and land somewhere we don’t even see. Although, my take from that night was when my niece and nephews were so excited to just grab some and let go. Look at the helium slowly rise up, taking the balloon with it. I could sense their feeling only to make a relative sense out of it.

Imagining everything I have ever attached myself to, flying away in that thick night air, not caring to look back at me or plead at me to not let go. All this while, it was all up to me to just know that I wanted this. To loosen my grip on those thoughts, watch it drift. The thoughts like helium are meant to rise up, only if we choose to let the strings lose. Taking with it all our sense of baggage and leave us feeling lighter than ever. May be we are meant to always feel like that but we want to be the stones holding the balloon to the ground. What satisfaction in being stones? Feeling under control maybe, having some kind of authority. Is it worth it though?

I got this in complete clarity only by reading “The Immortal talks” by Shunya. Its something I will hold-on to till my last breath. Or till I know I want to let go.

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When we attach something we make it a part of who we are, give it identity. This is Jerry’s phone, or this was Lata’s idea. The phone or idea, or object is belonging to someone and the ownership makes us feel important. We created it or used it for a purpose and after that purpose is served we can keep the memory or learning (in our lumbar minds- Sherlock Holmes), remove what’s not needed. How do you know if you’re too attached? Just try letting go. If its easy then may be you don’t have to abandon it, if not definitely time to make the move.

I have read that only an empty cup can be filled again. It never made sense until now. Only if we detach from our unfulfilling attachments can we be ready to receive other things, learn new thing, meet new people, see new places. (If mom’s reading I’m still voting for Coorg AGAIN! That’s a different context. Next time may be a new place.). Try jogging from a different route everyday, I did this and I’m telling you its liberating in its own smallish way. Try new cuisines and vegetables you’ve hated all your life; you never know your taste buds might surprise you. Why should there be a wrong side to roll out of bed. Roll out from all sides, everyday choose a different one. See life from different angles and that’s going to happen only if you turn the kaleidoscope, in different directions not if you are hypnotized by one design. Just saying, I’m not keeping the broken goggles, it served me well. I’m Grateful and time for new ones!

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https://www.amazon.in/dp/8193305205/?m=A30ML99BADFZ9Y

Buy the book already!!! And if I’ve gifted it to you read it already!

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It’s all up to You

The challenge bug was back and this October though more hectic than needed, I took it up that if I saw something nice about someone I would say it. It seemed so very easy, just drop compliments everywhere you go. Yes? No! Not so easy if you mean exactly what you say.

We all are acquainted with so many types of compliments, some just meant to make an awkward situation worse; some just to flatter and get things done. Some are a conversation starter. I knew exactly though, how a genuine compliment felt, when someone said it and they meant what they said. It’s a sort of validation and appreciation and you can tell by the way it feels. Acting like the yeast in the fermentation process. Catalysts exist for a reason, don’t they? So I thought of spreading this ‘feel good’ (inspired by some genuine compliments), because why not let people know if you think they’re fly.

In the movie “Hancock”, Will Smith the lead role says “Good Job” to the cops who are not even half as good as him. Shocked, but because he meant it, their faces light up. Remember the famous ‘Jaadoo ki Jhapi’ In Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. where Sanjay Dutt hugs the hospital staff? Frustrated sweeping the floor over and over, a small appreciation of his work makes the old man’s day.

A nanny of one of my nephews told me that when you tell babies or kids ‘they’re good’ and ‘they’re such kind people, or generous’, which ever adjective you put there, they’d want to live up to it. Encouragement goes such a long way than reprimanding children. My grand dad told me once I’d be a great person some day, I want to live that everyday of my life.

images.jpegIt’s a small thing really, to just say something, but my difficulty was in meaning it and getting to the other person without looking like “WOAH! What did she eat this morning?”. So trust me I didn’t give away much. Not as much as I expected at least. I learnt something in the process though, there is so much beauty out there, so many things to be fascinated by, so many people to be inspired by. We just miss out so much of it by burying ourselves in heaps of criticism.

You could enter the bakery and leave without even noticing the smell of freshly baked focaccia, because the whiff of someone’s intestines made their way towards you; you were busy eaves dropping on the couple fighting next to you (take home gossip); or you saw your ex and ran out; or you were engrossed on your phone. So many distractions out there; overcoming each one, even if you got to breathe in the heavenly bakes, you’d be too callous or take it to be too obvious, for granted. If we overcome that too and reach a grateful point in our lives, we wouldn’t want to look stupid or be judged as a fawn.

Yes, I dissected the whole thing. I have personally hated getting a compliment all my life and backed off judging the other person as flattering me. I even opine that flattery and flatulence have a lot in common. Of which I can discuss with you at length on another day. For now, lets get some fresh air on this subject. Compliments are healthy and ‘Thank you’ to every single one I’ve received.

Of course there is the other end to it where celebrities get addicted to the fame, paparazzi, fan following and praises. If used like a drug, compliments can be dangerous. You cannot fuel your motivation by just compliments from others. ‘Anything in excess can be harmful’ the age old saying drilled into my head . Not to fear just getting the balance is the key.

Addict   ←  Self evaluate and go ahead Feel Good  → Shut it out don’t compliment me

Giving compliments to different people and watching their reactions, only left me with one idea. People who knew where they stand and were secure enough about their valuation, took it gracefully, felt good, thanked you and didn’t need to store it for later. Embracing the goodness is up to you. Looking out for beauty and fascination is also up to you. Appreciating someone’s efforts, nature, people who show up for you, being grateful, it’s all up to you. Making someone’s day is up to you. So are you making this world a better place the next month? Because it’s all up to you.

 

“Beauty is not a question of shapes and forms. It is a question of what you exude.” Sadhguru, Isha Foundation.

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Diwali Purging

I’m back to my annual cleaning for Diwali, donating things I don’t use, arranging things, organizing, changing the liners in my cupboards and making space for good things to come in. I got this crazy idea synonymously. This is just the external environment we refresh annually; a lot of people do it for Christmas. Physically our bodies do it with the help of our kidneys and liver, which detox naturally (I just have to relate things to health after all). What about the mind? The mind works more and we are always using it. How about removing thoughts we don’t need? Arranging the limited thoughts that are useful and organizing them mentally (jotting it down). Making space for new thoughts to come in.

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For all of us over-thinkers, I guess we’re just very materialistic in terms of the mind. Hoarding things is bad enough, we hoard thoughts, imagine how crammed our brains get. So the essential question here is “how” to de-clutter your mind and remove thoughts you don’t need?

I was at a point of time where a thought once held in my mind, it just got pasted there and won’t leave no matter what. It was like compulsive thinking. Feeling like a rat on a glue patch, I would go on attaching myself to it and all my idle time would drown me in it. Obsessive thought process is like a bald man buying too many combs and hair brushes. How did I come out of this?

When I was growing up I didn’t like yoga classes and I just couldn’t sit still. I can still remember the expression of Mrs.Dolly (my yoga teacher) every time I’d peek open my eyes in meditation. She had given up on me. It grew on me only recently, so much that I want to write about it.

I gradually moved into loving meditation since, one of the yoga sessions; we were told by our instructor, Deepti, to listen to different sounds lying in shav asana. The cycle bell went off, then I could hear a bus whizzing away till its sound faded in the distance. Someone was leaving, so the door opened and closed. It wasn’t like the usual relaxation but we were supposed to be actively focusing on things. It was annoying for someone who looks forward to the five minutes’ power nap. I realized only later that only my sense of hearing was active the whole time and the rest of the senses were on a holiday. Detaching the other senses made hearing smallest of sounds seem so natural.

Imagine detaching from all of your senses then. It doesn’t come naturally and takes years of meditation. There are Float therapies which put you in a sensory deprived state, yet to experience that one, for now I’m just incorporating meditating into my daily life.

I even had this weird idea that everywhere (at work, home, school or at the station) it would just be normal for people to stop whatever they were doing at a particular time of the day and meditate. Just like standardized time zones, living patterns, receiving newspapers, and many worldlier accepted habits, why not have a world over standard time for meditation.

I can only imagine how many people would still choose not to or not be able to, since it would be easier when everyone is doing it. It wouldn’t be something you need to teach anymore, since any child would see this from the day they are born and naturally want to imbibe it. Like how we can’t wait to start wearing watches and tell the time.

I picture my thoughts, like the yellow 3M post-its, knocking at my head. So meditating hasn’t stopped my thoughts or the knocking. Its just made it easier to hear the knocks and not answer the door. The knocking slows down and gets tired eventually. I now mostly let in (focus on) only the thoughts that help me live in a better way or become better at whatever I intend to do. Keeps my mental space roomy and airy enough to let the post its fly out when I’m done. This Diwali, or once in a while make sure you air out your mental space and use the right post-its to decorate your wall.


How to meditate has been answered by too many people but I’ve generally followed the Smile-and-sit technique for 10-15 min, also a few links bellow for whatever I’ve tried along the process.

Eat, Pray, Love- Elizabeth Gilbert 

Chanting Om-mani-padme-hum

Twin hearts meditation

Isha Kriya by Sadhguru

Disclaimer: The cover photo is not clicked by @mycoffeeweather Its available on the internet and its just got it edited as relevant to the article. 

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A meeting with Silence

A tailor bird almost never sits still and if you’re a bird watcher you’d know; its incessant tweeting can be painful to some. I want to start by narrating this beautiful encounter one cloudy morning on my terrace. The tailor bird decided to do something differently that day, which left me a different person in some ways. It was honestly lucky I spotted one, perched motionless on a branch almost a meter away from me; like a breathing statue, in the quite moist air of the early morning. We were both letting the stillness soak into us. It felt like we both felt each others presence, almost a conversation without any language. What was so special about this moment anyway?

I met silence that day. I don’t know if the tailor taught me something or it was just Bangalore weather working its charm, I was mesmerized.

Silence can be felt anywhere and everywhere and you don’t have to be any special place for it. One of the Fridays in June this year, as I stepped out of my room, my mom in her usual morning-tea spot expecting a ‘good morning’, was being confronted with a dumb charade. Unable to convey my point I wrote a note- “I’m not speaking the whole day”. I could tell she was happy inside—one day of peace. This experiment didn’t mean I was going to lock myself up; I went about my day normally. My curiosity to Vipasana Meditation led me to this challenge, and it wasn’t as easy as I had in mind.

I almost blurted out when emotions took over at any point. Just like all other bad habits, I realized, we have made this a habit to keep talking all the time. Unnecessary details and information being discussed, explain ourselves more than needed and repeat sentences till the listener wants to run away.

I recall being at Echoes in Koramangala (Bangalore), a unique restaurant, which is mostly managed and run by specially-abled people who are hearing- and speech-impaired. They gave better service than any regular restaurant and I was in awe. How little we need to say to convey what we mean. Just a few gestures and nods can also suffice. Actions speak louder than words and this was like a mind opening experience. If you’re a foody then all the more reasons to head there.

We don’t need to be loud to get the point across to the other person. Subtlety will be louder than your loudest words as read in a recent article, “Those who use the nuances of silence as their most effective communication tool. Indeed, how well we use silence in communication is an indicator of our emotional intelligence. Those who speak less are heard with more care and taken more seriously.” Times of India Vineetha Nangia.

From whatever I know in Hindustani Classical Music, its’ said that there are seven Swars and they can be sung on different scales. The seven notes in music are like different sound frequencies. If all these frequencies are shut down only one big emptiness remains and that is silence. In Silence any swar gets created and silence bears that swar and becomes that frequency, then gets back to becoming silence. All notes begin from silence and end in silence. Hence silence is the biggest swar, can become anything from being nothing.

From the Big bang moment till now, silence kept fading away as the noise took over. Today people think silence can be found only in Himalayas (or secluded places). Silence is inside us and we can totally experience it if we just pause and focus on our own creation of sounds. From that one days adventure I am very cautious of the sounds I create. Keep noticing if I’ve kept the glass down louder than it was needed. I don’t use the horn so much when on the road, just wait up till it clears (whatever is holding me up). Surely noise pollution is something that each of us need to stop creating. Our DNA can get altered with the sounds around us, now more than ever, having this understanding we need to make a shift. If the tailor bird can sit still for a few minutes, I’m sure sure we all can make an effort too.

 

 

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A view or how I see?

I am lying on the beach bed and looking up at the stars in the sky, mesmerized enough to just be there forever. While my fambam just gave it a look and got on with their respective ways of enjoying the holiday. One’s surfing channels on the television, someone is reading a book, others just want to catch enough sleep. I look back at that time and wonder why didn’t everyone just want to gaze at the stars, or think it as amazing as I thought it to be.

Imagine we didn’t have any of the 5 senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. What would our experience of this world be? Could we feel any emotions, physical pain, or music? Nothing. You would feel nothing without your senses. If we didn’t have taste buds, we wouldn’t be able to tell the taste of coffee, or have an experience of any taste. Our perception of food would be very different. The Best part would be, we would probably all end up eating right all the time. Same way, just may be, the sight of stars doesn’t appeal to everyone as much as other things because of how they see it.

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Furiously texting post 11:00PM is possible only if I’m having a mind bending conversation with someone. Something that I wouldn’t miss for anything in the world. Some conversations question the way we think, challenges it and breaks open a new idea. You may forget the entire conversation but the new idea just sticks. Its not really about the conversation but the after-thought we are left with, which gives us a new way of thinking. Conversations do help us with new perceptions.

Recently, from what I recall, I had this conversation on Meditation and why one must (I’m against) go into seclusion to meditate. The conversation ended with each of us happy with our own opinions. It left me with just one idea, that may be our senses formed each of our opinions differently on this topic.

We can create an understanding only from what we see, feel, touch, smell and taste. Each of us have a different perception of life because of the degree to which we use each of our senses. The reality is different for everyone. Given that, we can look at our perception to be mutually exclusive and not enforce it on the other. This could save so many arguments if we just saw that difference of opinions and perception doesn’t mean the other person is too stubborn to accept your way of thinking. Her/his experiences wouldn’t allow him to. It changed my perception of how people don’t really want to understand my point of view sometimes. May be they just can’t for now.

Having been chased by street dogs on one of the lanes in my running route, now when I go running, I automatically avoid that lane without thinking. Every time I see a street dog my body starts to stiffen up and I slow down my run. Even if we consciously focus on not using our 5 senses, we can react in auto pilot. Owing to the most beautiful creation, the Human Brain, we store information (old experiences) in subconscious and the conscious minds. Our memories play a huge role in imprinting our previous experiences on our future. To perceive things in a new way we have to blur out the memories mostly. Doesn’t mean I’m going to take that lane tomorrow. I just know that its my perception of street dogs—being a potential to getting me bitten. Going to wait for it to change, may be a new way of looking at street dogs, till then slow runs.

 

 

 

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Mental Rehab for Injury

This is my second time getting injured (I’m not proud of it), and I just felt like the referee telling me to sit out a match without even getting a red or yellow card, no warning. Just wait till the next match, or probably when I’m fit to play. Any injury while playing, working out and sports can cause a lot of physical pain. There is a lot on the internet on how to avoid an injury and all the dos and don’ts. This time though it was more of a mental challenge. Getting fit is a journey and you need to have an open mind.

Acceptance plays a huge role in the mental work post an injury. A lot of people just like to deny it. It’s a part of your journey- It happened, and now you need to accept it, so you can do something about it. The minute you deny it (to avoid the cost of recovery, the missing-out of workout ‘high’-endorphins) you will land yourself into trouble. It could even become chronic.

We want everything quick, right? Food can be heated quicker- microwave, message can be sent quicker- Internet, and you expect the human body to be at the same pace. Recovery isn’t magic and we haven’t invented anything that can get you out of an injury within minutes. Be smart with the time instead. I plan it -lots of reading, movie binging, catch up with friends, doing everything in that workout time I couldn’t do before. Make It fun! You may even forget the pain for a bit.

That lazy voice in my head tells me its okay if I don’t see the physiotherapist or doctor (orthopedic), and I’m glad now I don’t listen to it. Getting a professional opinion or two saves you the trouble of guess work and trial and error. You can be sure of your road to recovery and that boosts your confidence.

It’s easy, almost very easy to just blame your trainer or the place, the lack of people supporting you, yada yada. I have done it. All it does for you, is cloud the right perspective. Even if this was someone else’s fault, you don’t realize that it was up to you to not let it happen. You could have totally avoided it. What is it that you needed, to avoid it? Many people miss out on this question and keep falling for the same mistakes. Take it from me- Lack of stretching.

You need to discuss and talk about it. A lot of times I thought its something to be ashamed of. “How could you get an injury?” I don’t know whose voice rang in my head but, Hey! A lot of fit people I know didn’t get away with it either. Once I was more vocal about it, I got that its not “periods” which you can’t talk about in public (pun totally intended). Its normal. I’m learning and I’m allowed to fall as long as I’m learning from it.

 

Post recovery is another phase I totally suck at. I’m getting scared of this honestly. I have no idea if a lot of people do this but you just forget you have had an injury and recovered. Go all out and forget about those rehab movements you need to continue doing. Now you need to do some special movements which the group class won’t be doing with you. Lazy brain, time constraints, and the yada yada yada setting in. Its just a little extra stretching or strengthening. Just because its recovered we cannot conveniently forget about it.

On the other end I know of people who just quit workout all together, – “oh exercising causes injury”. No! (bubble popped for some). Wrong form causes injury, wrong posture causes injury, Inadequate knowledge about your body (e.g. flat foot) causes injury, lack of stretching causes injury, lack of proper warm up causes injury and may be lack of strength in a few tiny muscles could cause injury. If you have figured all of the above, you could have an amazing body and exercising would be the culprit. Don’t quit. Just take it slow.

 

So as I was trying to wave off all the clouds stopping this perspective, I just had an insight, that may be my injury just taught me something and I don’t need to feel all that bad about it. All you dying soldiers out there, with battle scars and broken limbs I feel you! (exaggerated much?). Join the club and let’s get educated and spread awareness so others don’t need to suffer! No worries, take all the help you can and smile!

This Ted talk will get you thinking though

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Standing in my Mother’s Shoes

Like most Indian (paranoid) moms I have a beautiful lady for a mother and she loves her children, beyond anything I can explain. I was a fussy little brat when young—she still thinks I’ve not grown up an inch. I look at her toil everyday, every second, in her own way to make sure everything is smooth in our lives. I don’t see her complain about it; she is doing it selflessly. Sometimes I try to understand this attitude of endless giving. I can’t even comprehend it, secretly don’t want to. Mostly, because I cannot fathom being that selfless.

Selfless or even grateful for that matter. Whenever my demands are met, I wouldn’t express my gratitude as much. On the contrary, sometimes when I’m upset, I make a huge scene, blow it out of proportion and make sure the point is made. I wonder what gets into me. Without airbrushing any of my mistakes, I stand here being a total “dementor” (Refer: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling). I can’t even imagine being in her place.

Most of us are very ambitious and goal driven. I feel every one wants to achieve something in life. Go somewhere, do something great, leave a mark and get noticed. What about mothers? (Long pause to think)

I love children and I wave at every kid I see, shamelessly ignoring their parents getting annoyed. I would love having my own kids some day. Oh! No! The idea of having a kid like myself, really shakes the ground in my imagination. What sort of a mother would I be? Would I thrash the living ghost out of the kid or spoil them with everything? What’s right? Who is going to tell me? The thought of putting myself in her shoes really got me blown away. Would I sacrifice my evening soap siesta to teach my children Hindi? Would I let my kids butt into every conversation I would have with my husband? I have no idea what in the world they are going to throw at me? A whole new ball game.

We always think moms should be this way, she should do this and not that. My mom doesn’t socialize much; I pester her to call her friends home. I put so much pressure on her. The over-smart side of me could write her a manual on “How to be my mom”. For a human to have tiny humans act smart is difficult for the ego to take. I know this because I have a tiny human for a brother who has shot up and doesn’t act tiny anymore. Now if the tiny human has come out of your own body and is acting smart I would want to show them their place. What stops my mom from showing me mine?

On connecting the dots, I think that’s love. Her love for me is in my cells and my thoughts, my feeling, my words and even my bones. She doesn’t want to stop me, or doesn’t ever put me down. She knows I’m tough on her but she is so open to it. She is where I get my willingness, motivation to learn and be high on life. She has always been there for me even in my nastiest rebuttals. Sure it’s normal to argue with moms for a daughter. I still care, I care for her more than anybody in this world and sometimes the thought of not having her around someday to lie on her lap, brings tears to my eyes.

Mothers, they are your living walking, talking pillar of support and strength. I hope I’m better than a rainbow kooshball for mine. I know I haven’t been the best kid anyone would want, but my mom is irreplaceable to me. As I’m writing this I’m realizing the importance of feeling grateful for the people in your life, from every single cell. No one can be anything alone, you have a whole back up team helping you stand up from falls, dressing up your wounds and bringing the roof on your head for rainy days. So grateful for my people, especially my Mata! I LOVE YOU <3

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Disclaimer: This article doesn’t imply that I’m planning to have kids now. I am still an overgrown kid trying to get perspective. I’m that kid who studies in the summer holidays even before the year starts.

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Menstrual Cups forever now

Being a nature lover, I do my best in every way to save this beautiful environment. The one time I felt guilty though was during my periods, for using plastic pads. I told myself I was no less than a person chopping off trees. That I didn’t care.

My first time looking at a menstrual cup was at @happyhealthyme an organic store. I stopped by many times but only to look at it. It was daunting to even think about it. Then in one of Karen Anand’s farmers market I happened to see @boondh in the stall of @grindingstone. I have to give the credit to the two girls selling it, for me having made this shift. Personal feedback from having used it themselves, not pushy, helping me understand who to approach to learn to use it. They said they loved it and it is super comfortable,  they worked out with it even. I just picked it up.

Now the cup was in my court, literally. I read the instruction manual and it was not the best for a newbie, honestly. I tried it and thought I hit dead end. I was going all wrong. Anxiety hit me as usual and the Internet is just the wrong thing to do when you’re anxious. So I YouTube-d and hit upon several videos, some websites even tell you to get lubes. I was not going to give up, so I decided to have this awkward conversation over the phone with Boondh.

The nicest lady on the phone told me that there is no stress of having to learn it immediately. Half my worries dissipated. I needed to relax and it would take me some time to really get the hang of it and she cleared all my doubts. For someone who hasn’t even used a tampon it can get real scary. I looked at the size of that thing and wondered how it’s even going to make its way inside. Here I am, today I went swimming on the first day of my periods.

It took me 3 times of giving up, this beautiful link http://divacup.com/2015/okay-so-i-bought-the-divacup-now-what/ and now I’ve got how to use it. This link should be on the first hit on google search. Best help. I can’t even tell you what an achievement this feels like. No more plastic pads! Hurray! One lady less to clog and choke the landfills.

Quickly my experience-

  • Putting it on: I realized its not like wearing a pad, it’s a learning. I got to know my body better and with some patience, I got it only the third month after I bought it. Now it’s a piece of cake. If you’ve got it right this doesn’t betray you like how sanitary napkins do sometimes. Read, watch videos, google, ask your seller, or just go to the link mentioned above, but don’t give up till you’ve figured. Its totally worth it.
  • While its on: I forget I have my periods. No rashes from the sanitary napkins, Oh my gosh YESS! I’ve gone running, swimming, to the gym, to work and basically everything and its like its not even there. You can even address your natures call and not have to worry about it.
  • Removing it: 12 hours of gap is fine to remove, clean, and sterilize it. It can get messy sometimes don’t freak out and jump up, just deep breaths. Its your body and your own blood, it doesn’t have to be so bad.
  • Life: The internet claims you can use one cup safely for 10 years. The more you dig, though, the more you learn that there isn’t one set shelf life of menstrual cups. Each of them will probably last a different number of years, depending on how it’s taken care of — how it’s cleaned, how it’s stored, how it’s used, etc. See link below on maintenance.
  • Popularity: Honestly I don’t know why this never got popular and why Akshay Kumar didn’t make a cup-man movie instead of padman. You can always encourage other ladies to make a shift too. Just share your personal experience.

Happy Nature and Happy Periods!

More links:

Best link to go to: http://divacup.com/2015/okay-so-i-bought-the-divacup-now-what/

Shelf life and Maintainence: https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/health-fitness/long-menstrual-cup-lasts/

The first video that made sense: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voqd8e8aaBs

History for the curious: https://www.lunette.com/blogs/news/short-history-of-menstrual-cups

 

 

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High on life

How tough is it to feel high spirited all the time? Is social media to be blamed? I have not been able to stop myself from using a lot of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. I could just say its unavoidable but I personally know a lot of people who hardly or never use it to go about their lives. Did it get me anxious at some point? Yes. Does the likes and comments on social media give me a high? It did, at least sub consciously.

No one would document their entire life on social media, especially not the lows. You just have to know everyone’s human and no one is posting a selfie when they are crying. Imagine seeing photos of people crying everyday, that’s not what you want. So be happy for someone if they’re doing good. I only got this recently thanks to Hitha Chandrashekhar‘s ‘hithavachana“. Have courage to find people posting their beautiful moments on the web and not feel bad about yourself, or your life. Self talk- ‘Dont make it about you.’ Its their moment of shining glory, clap for your tribe. WE CANNOT COMPARE.

Everything’s downhill one second and exorbitantly great the next. I don’t know this unpredictability is growing on me or I’m ignoring the lows. Now I can say I’ve come a long way from that. “Not all days are the same!” This was told to me by my Coach at boxing class when I was upset about not giving my best. We cannot expect all days to be the best. Everyday is not a Sunday and we have to love Mondays too with equal force. EACH DAY IS BEST IN ITS OWN WAY, TAKE WHAT YOU CAN FROM IT.

The one thing that keeps me really up and about is my workout schedule and my body clock. I don’t compromise on it and my body doesn’t compromise on me. Its important to have a morning routine and I go up to my terrace to see the sunrise even if its cloudy. Even if it’s a bad day look for the good- that’s the message I’m taking in everyday. And when its that golden goldy coming out of the tank of my neighbours building I close my eyes and just feel the light on my face. That’s me. You could have your own thing going. MORNING ROUTINE.

Exercising or sportsobviously as the internet and mostly everyone I know of, proclaims to keep your mood up! There’s not much I can add to it, its all out there, endorphins, sweating it out, blood circulation, be active. WORKOUT.

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Watching movies like “Chak de” or “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, “Wonder Woman” and “Creed” brings the enthu cutlet out of me. I keep myself in reach of anything that can motivate me. Its just contagious. Reading books help too. The lead character from the series “Me Before You”, “Me After You”, and “Still Me” by Jojo Moyes, Louisa Clark really inspires me to be upbeat in every situation. My friend once suggested I watch videos of people breaking their limits before I workout and Yes that does get your spirits up. GET INSPIRED.

This one you don’t want to try for every time. I use all the healthy food that I like as a motivator, like dark chocolate and banana chips. I set it like a reward system. If I finish my work by a time I’ve set, I get a piece of the healthy treat. Its like a carrot stick effect. It totally works for me and I’m not indulging in something completely off my lifestyle. TRICK AND TREAT.

Sometimes I break my routine by doing something very different. I call a friend in the middle of work, eat in front of the TV, don’t speak for a whole day. Its what distracts me from my routine, but believe me these small changes have a huge effect when you get back to the regular. Travel can’t be convenient for everyone at all times, so try to do some thing differently everyday. May be play music in the shower if you don’t already. MAKE IT DIFFERENT.

Last one, to be motivated you have to care enough about something, that you are interested in. Enough to do something about it. If you don’t care about anything and you don’t mind being complacentabout everything, then you really don’t land yourself anywhere but where you already are. CARE ABOUT SOMETHING.

Start making an effort towards your attitude to approaching anything in life. If you want to be motivated all the time its up to you. When you find your own motivator inside you, you don’t need to look outside. Or wait for someone to cheer you, you are enough. It’s a skill you want to develop because not everyone is waiting to pat your back. Keep the spirits up and amplify the motivating voice inside.

 

Motivation in the 21stcentury business world

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From Milo to French Press

A few months back when my friend wasn’t married and packed off to Bombay, I made a pact with her that we keep challenging each other with whatever the other is uncomfortable doing. Like eating at a restaurant alone, getting closure with a friend and going out of my way if I normally don’t believe in it. I didn’t know why I suggested this back then and only now I realised I have FOBC-“Fear of Being Complacent.”

FOBC is me running away from  compliments, in the hope that it doesn’t get to my head. I don’t become too pleased with myself.

My coach just waits for me to accept I’m good enough, but I keep denying my form or acting like a 560kg leg press is like ‘no big deal’. My subconscious- “Don’t show your excitement or you’ll become complacent.”

Being wired like that doesn’t make me a control freak, it is in fact the best attitude to have to grow and learn.

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Imagine ordering a coffee at a fancy eatery and getting a Milo. How does that feel? Every time you snooze the alarm, every time you say you will workout and skip, when you don’t finish the work before heading home, if you give a time and don’t reach, you are being a Milo. Not for anyone else but yourself.

I don’t want Milo, I don’t expect Milo from myself. I raise the bar every time. If I am the filter coffee, then maybe I become a cappuccino, then I aim for Mocha Latte, higher Expresso and may be the French press one day. But never going back to Milo.

We may not be French Press in all aspects of our lives today. We can work on each one of them and through the process of failing, learning and getting better rise from being Milo.

Sometimes I over think and feel I’m not doing enough, but as long as there is progression and we’re aiming for the next level it’s not a complacent attitude. Which makes me realise I can celebrate my wins too without becoming complacent. (That’s my next challenge.)

If you have that attitude you could be hard on other people sometimes. Expect them to be more than Milo, but they need the same space and time to progress as you would. If you’re too okay with their complacency, as a team you may slack, and if you’re too hard on them they may just become demotivated. The key is to balance it out.

It’s all about the attitude. So let’s be more resilient in our endeavours and less complacent. This attitude will help you reach any goal, be it losing weight. Correction. Be it getting FIT, having enough water, making it on time, whatever you are aiming at. So get on with the day now, go get your French Press.

PS: I’ve never had Milo so no offence Milo I just took it as a reference with coffee. It’s not aiming at putting down the drink or anything. For some Milo could be where they want to reach from Ceralac/Nanpro.


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Tisane over Chai

“Tea is anything that comes from the camellia sinensis plant, so if it’s herbal it’s called a tisane,” tea master and founder of Tea Masters Australia, Sharyn Johnston, told The Huffington Post Australia.

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Samosa and Chai in this beautiful rainy weather is a lethal combination taking you straight to heaven, but we cannot do this all the time because- health. So why is milk tea- “CHAI” unhealthy anyway?

  1. Flavonoids in tea, called catechins, are beneficial for the heart. A group of proteins in milk, called caseins, interact with the tea to reduce the concentration of catechins.
  2. The caffeine interferes with the iron absorption in the body.
  3. Disrupt your metabolic system due to imbalance of acidic and alkaline substances in the stomach.
  4. It is diuretic in nature which means that it removes the water from our body.Excessive dehydration will eventually cause muscle cramps.
  5. Tea can cause erosion of enamel because of the presence of sugar.
  6. Milk tea is calorically dense it doesn’t help the weight watchers.

Tea/tisane was initially used for medicinal purpose and not used to feel awake and alert all the time. Choose to have tea without milk/sugar. These are the teas that I’ve tried and loved. Its easy and you can have the ingredients in your kitchen garden and backyard.

  1. My No. 1 tea is Tulsi-ginger-honey! Considering the beautiful Bangalore weather and the allergies that come along, I swear by this. For 2 cups- Just boil 3 cups of drinking water, and add 15-20 green ‘tulsi’ (Indian Basil) leaves, 1 teaspoon ground ginger. Let it simmer and reduce to 2 cups. Strain, add honey and sip.
  1. Lemon grass tea: My mom introduced me to this. Just boil 2 cups of water and add Lemongrass (washed and chopped). Make sure you don’t mess with this grass its got blades invisible to the eye, I had an incident which I can tell you about another day. Its excellent for digestion, bloating and it is packed with antioxidants. Strain and sip. Okay I’ll just tell you, I rubbed the lemon grass behind my ear because it smelled so good I thought it will leave some of the perfume on me. Don’t do that. Cuts.
  1. Spearmint-Pudina-Tea: So I bought this spearmint green tea from Tea Monk a while back and I wanted to enhance the minty-ness of it, but not have it tasting like “pudinhara”. So boil 10-15 (freshly plucked only) Pudinaleaves in 2 cups of water. Let it cool to just warm to drink and then strain and use the Spearmint green tea bags from Tea Monk. This is to die for. You need to grow pudinain your kitchen, it’s the best thing you could do for yourself. If you’re going decaf, then avoid using the green tea and just go for pudina
  2. Basil Tea. This is the Thai basil, which grows easily in the Bangalore weather in my backyard. Just pluck 4-5 leaves wash, break it roughly with your hands. Boil 2 cups of water, take it off the stove and once it’s a little hotter than lukewarm add the leaves and cover for 10 min. You could leave it longer as per preference, I like it mild as these leaves are really strong. Strain and enjoy.

Floral teas:

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  1. Aralia/ Firangipani/ Temple tree flower tea: Boil 2 cups water, take it off the stove to cool to luke warm. Add washed flowers 5-6. And cover with lid. Strain in cups and don’t forget to smell between each sip, its like liquid perfume. I’ve sometimes added some basil leaves to make it taste fancier. Temple tree flowers attract the ants so shake it off and wash well before use.
  2. Rose-Fenel-Mint tea: This is a cracker! Recent and I took it out for a picnic! Boil 2 cups water, take it off the stove. You don’t have to cool this one. Add some fennel seeds, 10-12 plucked fresh pudina, and petals of 1 rose. Cover this for longer as the rose really needs to get in there. Strain and may be leave a few petals in the cup. Make sure the rose petals are not wilted and if its freshly plucked nothing like it. This is from FOREST ESSENTIALS tips! <3

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My next article is going to have more teas coming, till then try these and you could use the tips below!

Tips:

A) Use only lukewarm water for store bought tea leaves and tea bags as they can make more than 2 cups in one use, as with boiling water it becomes too strong and the essence is lost. B) Don’t use lemon in hot/warm/lukewarm water it has a capacity to erode your enamel and your dentist will hate you for it. C) You can always add cinnamon or honey in any herbal tea as per your taste and heath, as cinnamon regulates insulin and honey could have other side effects, add as per your bodily requirement. D) Don’t over-do just one type of tea. I keep changing it as per my mood and weather. E) Don’t use stems in any recipe as they give a bitter taste to the tisane.

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The Auto-mate (Circadian system)

I had no clue why I felt sleepy by 9:30PM and woke up exactly after 7 hours without an alarm clock everyday. The idea of feeling thirsty had become alien to me at one point. I thought its all just to do with habits, but there’s a whole science to this. Meet our built-in programmer- the circadian system. (pronounced as: sir-kedi-un)

For all humans, plants and animals it is synchronized with the Earth’s rotation. The circadian time is ideally in sync with sun-time and its a 24-hour clock. It is the time keeper for our body temperature, sleep, metabolism, release of hormones, hunger, thirst and all physical functioning of the body.

It is vastly influenced by light. It varies for individuals depending on genetics, habits, food, emotions, activity levels, etc. Seasons and weather also affect this biological clock system.

It can be altered by consciously changing one’s exposure to light, meal time, temperature controlled showers, water intake, activity level, etc.

  1. Early morning showers help the body to release more white blood cells, which help with a good immunity. You could make it fancy by taking a eucalyptus shower it helps you feel fresh and wide awake.What I do: Put some water and eucalyptus oil mixed in spray bottle. Spray it on the walls of my shower. Switch on the shower to the hottest and let the bathroom steam up for a few seconds, adjust the temperature to have a bath and it is the best thing on earth.
  2. Less light during the day makes your body produce less serotonin, a hormone for regulating the mood. It also affects the melatonin production in the brain, in turn altering your sleep cycle and stress hormone. Less natural light can thus cause mood fluctuation and make you feel aggressive or irritable. Making sure you get exposed to enough sunlight can help your circadian rhythm to function better. If you are exposed to light at the time your body needs to sleep the brain will get signals that its still not time to go to bed. Cut screen time around bed time to get better sleep. I’m still working on this one.
  3. Losing weight with some fad diets can prove useless if your circadian rhythm is out of whack. Natural hunger patterns help your metabolism to be in check and the digestion is also at its best. Keeping a time schedule for eating everyday at the same time can create a new habit and eventually make you hungry at that time (I’ve tried that). You need to consult with your grand parents for the right meal times if you’re confused.

The suprachiasmatic nucleusis a patch in the brain, a control room of the circadium system but each cell has its own clockwork. The individual cells are affected by genes thus the circadium system depends on how each of these genes express themselves with age. Babies develop their circadian system only after 3-6 months and there is a loss of rhythm in many of these genes in older people.

The environment and your habits have a huge role in getting our circadian rhythm balanced.

So I guess the age old saying “Early to bed early to rise makes a human healthy, wealthy and wise” now makes sense.


RESEARCH

  1. Importance of morning showers.
  2. One of the best articles you must read. Morning Sunshine!
  3. Gut health and Circadian. Throwing light on microbes and the rhythm
  4. Fun watch on Fasting: Awakening the Rejuvenation from Within | Valter Longo
  5. Winter and Circadian System
  6. Every Single Cell in Your Body Is Controlled by Its Own Circadian Clock
  7. Age and Circadian System
  8. TED talk on neuroplasticity and how to create a brain you want: Lara Boyd
  9. Stem cells and Circadian system
  10. Why circadian clocks? Martha Merrow at TEDxVienna
  11. If you’re more concerned about sleep issues.
  12. From the National Sleep Foundation
  13. You need patience to watch this one. Technical stuff
  14. Patience to read this one: DIET and circadian system

 

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Just happy or human?

Are we all looking for happiness instead of a fulfilled human experience? Even as a baby when we cry everyone tries to cheer you up immediately. What about that part of the human experience? Like having to miss people, to be heart broken, to fail at times, get uncomfortable. Is it all not natural, like a part of the journey of life?

Its very important that we stop reading articles which says “10 ways to be happy” or “do this to have a happy life”. Situations are going to come which will throw you off your couch and make you feel really low. Chances are you’re not going to be able to make yourself happy instantly. To accept being in that place and be okay  because its a part of this experience should be the normal. Not getting anxious about your next bout of happiness.

I have been there and done that. Read some 10’000 quotes on happiness and how to be happy manuals. Its only going to make you feel like being unhappy isn’t normal. Sad and unhappy is also a part of human emotions. The sooner we accept it, we go through it and come out of it, the more human and normal it is.

May be when you’re not happy you’re just neutral, it doesn’t  necessarily have to be sad. Neutral is also an experience to take in.

Yes there may be research backing up the importance of being happy for good health and laughing and smiling more often. I just feel I can’t force laugh if something isn’t funny, laughing clubs isn’t my thing. If I genuinely feel its funny I know I can’t control my laughter. Why hide other emotions? If ‘LOL’ is a thing even “Crying Out Loud” should be a thing. Its only real that we treat all emotions with equal respect.

The sky is the same, the clouds keep changing shapes. I am the blue inside and my emotions are just like passing clouds. Imagine if the clouds never changed their shapes or moved. There would be no rains and the sun would just shine through in the same way everyday.

Everyday is different and we can just take it as it is. Happiness is being glorified but I would not fixate on the idea of being just happy.

“Openness means no conclusions – simply looking at everything the way it is.” – Sadhguru

I want to be every expression this human life can give. So when I’m actually happy I can relish it for what it is.

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Curl up and Love

We can hate too much and we can love something way too much, it is in our capacity to notice what we are choosing to do.

We all have this ideal image about everything in our lives. We cannot deny the influence of social media, advertisements, movies, people around us and unsolicited advice shaping our thoughts of how things should be. Anything out of the ‘should be’ standards is rejected.

An example of an old advertisement speaking for itself

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Dark skin is such a worn out discussion but I know of people who still hate their shade and are wondering if they should invest some time in the ‘fair and lovely” gimmick. Wondering why some actors with unmatchable skills in their profession and success are not confident in their own skin (literally).

There are a million topics like,  growing taller as kids, balding as adults, having Happy dent teeth, obsessed about body size over fitness levels, leaner looking arms, 6 packs and even skin tone, big IQ, making choices acceptable to your environment, not failing ever, associating with the “good” people and what not. We are always under some kind of pressure to meet the standards our environment puts us in.

Focusing on things our bodies are not good at, we start hating that thing instead of accepting it.

I grew up watching the Vatika and Clinic plus girls swishing straight hair with light perfectly reflecting off their hair like a white shiny line. I thought something is wrong with my hair, made up my mind that it’s too dry and I need to fix it. I even got a friend scorn at me, on a day I was lazy to struggle with my hair, “look at your hair” and I was left out of the plan only for not fitting the “should be” standards.

I didn’t want to be left out and I didn’t accept my hair for being curly. My dad had the curly hair genes and Mom was the Vatika girl, and that didn’t help either. I was at war with my hair when removing knots and combing it down trying to straighten it and on giving up, get it chopped off to a short length.

The journey of getting to know my curls, accepting, being friends, to taking care has taught me self love.

I stumbled upon some good angels like Dolma from Body craft Bangalore, Nikita Suresh @nikynutrition Nutritionist, Bangalore and @honestlizhere Instagram. Life just was on good roads. On another hair venting session Liz said “pyaar se” translated as  “with love”. It lighted a bulb in my mind. Honestly, I’ve never stopped loving my hair after that.

It’s different when you’re not waiting for love to come from outside. You’re waiting for yourself to show up for you, to accept yourself and be kind to yourself. It’s not selfish it’s self love to learn to be kind, loving and patient with yourself, whoever you have become over the years, who ever you anticipated to be and have turned out differently or not, accept yourself wholly first and be kind to yourself my friend and things will just turn around for you. May be this February create a small challenge of self love.

Also I read this in a mbg article, watch the tone of your self talk. It’s going to change your life if you can talk to yourself “pyaar se”.


Also Have to check out:

How To Grow Confident In Your Own Beauty

RAJKUMAR RAO TALKS ABOUT HOW HE WAS REJECTED FOR A ROLE BECAUSE OF HIS SKIN COLOUR

Accepting yourself (TED)

How do you define yourself? (TED)

 

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How is your life? “It is fine” she said.

Do not be quick to tip your king, Phiona. You must never surrender.” Coach Robert.

Phiona, a 14 year old, from Uganda and her story made me want to write this today, about how I felt after watching the movie, Queen of Katwe, based on her life-story.

‘Challenges’ is what I’m going to talk about. Everyday is a challenge and in everyday there are many challenges. A few of them we know how to deal with so we immediately attend to it with full confidence and a few we procrastinate because we have our reasons. Some we see it coming and others just throw us in an uncomfortable place. Then we do everything in our capacity to make it comfortable for ourselves. Even if that means putting away the challenge or acting like it doesn’t exist. When it’s new at first it’s a challenge and as we keep putting it away it becomes a problem.

Phiona is very strong headed like her mother and it just puts me in an embarrassing situation just thinking of all the challenges they fought head on in their lives, which makes my problems look so made up. Made up or may be I just don’t plan how to take on my challenges and not let it wait.

We must plan, plan and we must plan. The kids in Katwe had to plan for when there would be rains or when there is drought. Their Coach taught them to take this planning for a challenge attitude to their game of chess. If everyone took a challenge like what it is and planned for it, he or she would definitely beat it with necessary action.

I have a challenge of getting stressed out in a certain situation and instead of planning I am literally running into that situation over and over again. I haven’t really planned anything on how I am going to react to a situation like that, the next time it’s coming. Which means I’m not prepared even though I’ve experienced it more than a million times. I don’t even see it coming until its happened and I’ve given the same old reaction.

I am enjoying the comfort in not having to deal with it. I am not looking at the damage it’s causing, my health and my reaction is causing to other people. So first step is to really study the situations coming, like how Coach Robert says

“Slow it down. Think it through. Then you will see their traps coming.”

Once you’ve seen the trap then we use the plan. When we see our plans succeeding and challenges overcome, the joy of all the hard work is unmatchable to anything. May be that’s how I felt when I saw the movie; I could feel that joy. This movie and her attitude to life makes me want to meet my days with more grace and far-sightedness instead of being ungrateful and cribbing about having to deal with things. Every one has to meet challenges in their own ways and we must not give up. To each one of us  “Do not be quick to tip your king, …. You must never surrender.” Coach Robert

P.S. Watch the movie if you havent. Queen Of Katwe

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Postura #januaryobsession

How often do we think about our posture on a daily basis? It was not a New Year resolution and I was just learning more about how to work on my fitness level. ‘Posture’ immediately takes me back to the picture in my school textbook of a boy balancing a notebook while he sits and stands.

I asked myself if I was missing out anything when it came to posture. I have had a bad neck on and off and I keep blaming it on my workout. I have a tendency to shrug my shoulders when I’m doing any workout, so may be I hadn’t really noticed how I sit and walk around. Which lead me to focus a bit on this topic.

I did some extensive reading and found out a few things about how I had constantly engaged my shoulders, walked with feet flopping out a little, didn’t stand enough compared to how many hours I sit and my postures on a daily life wasn’t the best. I happened to visit Dr. Prathap a Chiropractor at my gym who also gave me a few tips on how to sit when I’m at work and how sitting for 6 hours would nullify the effect of my 1 hours workout. All this and I knew some changes had to be made.

Not like the next morning I was up and about all fixed and aligned. I was catching myself slouching, straining my neck too while using my phone, lying on the bed and reading books, slowly melting on the couch while watching TV. The worst was I knew this wasn’t going to be easy, to get back to sitting, moving and doing things how we are naturally meant to do as humans. Mostly I saw a pattern with technology and external factors that were making my body tense up and accept an unusual posture as comfortable, my body got accustomed to such an extent that it almost felt normal to my body. Firstly I had to notice my movements and separate right from wrong as much as possible. So this was the painful stage.

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Using too much of my phone and laptop were causing a bad posture most of the times, switching from facebook to instagram and then to whatsapp. I decided to delete all the apps on my phone for more than a month and I was able to notice myself and it became easier to correct myself. This was definitely a great experience and everyone should try a digital detox once in a while its totally worth it, at your own risk as your people really need to be understanding for you to do this.

I had a problem with my toes turning out when I stand and understood how I can improve it through one of these articles. (1,2)

How things affect you emotionally also influences your posture and this was news to me. Overtime whenever I came around an authoritative figure or I wasn’t feeling too buzzed I’d notice my shoulders were already drooping like whole body language was showing what I felt.

It’s been almost a month and it still doesn’t feel easy to maintain the right posture, and I’m catching myself every time I’m faltering. It is not permanent yet but my neck pain isn’t there anymore.

To make it come naturally and make it permanent I will have to change the furniture (chairs) and pillows I’m using. So instead of slouching on the bed I use the dining table if I have to read something for now.

If I can spread this message to all the young people out there who are learning to live with wrong postures, please correct yourselves before its too late and not so easy to unlearn and before it causes any injuries to your body. Good habits are easily lost and so hard to get back and this ones just one of those.

My take back from this January’s obsession turning into a lifestyle change is being active and half the problem is solved.

Note: Find more videos and information on the Facebook wall of @mycoffeeweather #january

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Arabian Potato Wedges

(Serves 2)

(No fry + No sugar)

Cook Time: 45 min

**HEALTHY 

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INGREDIENTS:

3 Potatoes

Handful washed Mint Leaves

5 whole Walnuts

5 Deseeded Dates roughly chopped (unsweetened)

1/2 Table spoon- Lemon juice

Salt to taste

STEPS: 

  1. Half Boil 3 medium-sized potatoes (around 15 min). Till then step 2..
  2. Paste: Add the dates, mint leaves and the walnuts to a mixer grinder and make a paste, can add some water. To the paste add the lemon juice and keep aside. **The lemon juice is to cut the sweetness from the dates so taste and add as per your personal taste.
  3. Once potatoes are half boiled remove it and chop it into halves till you get 8 or more wedges from each potato. Brush with very little olive oil just to bake. **The thinner, the better to bake. Now line the baking tray and bake it for 20–25 min in the pre-heated oven at a regular heat of 200–220. Bake till it is brown
  4. Take them out mix it with paste in a bowl as much required and add salt to taste. Its not yet crisp, if you want them to be crisp then you can now put it back in the oven for 5-10 min. **Crispy is better

Serve hot and add a little bit more salt while serving.

**Do read!! The cooking time is long, as the potatoes don’t go undercooked. You can store the paste for next time in the refrigerator and it wont take long if you have the paste the next time you make it.

I have got good feedback for this recipe so do try it, and please get back to me for any doubts!

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Mission H2O

We are all aware of all the facts about water and why we should be drinking it. Why has it been a challenge for many to keep up even to an 8-glass rule then? Why has this habit been really not that easy to inculcate? Should we drink water only when thirsty?

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In my experience I’m the biggest cheater when it comes to drinking water. A few months back, there were days where I wouldn’t have had even a single glass. I have been doing my homework to get myself to drink 8 glasses of 300ml a day and it has been the whole of April and I haven’t failed. Yes you can clap for me. 😛

There are a host of things to help you, like for me it was this app called Plant Nanny, it has all the best features to keep you motivated to drink sufficient water throughout the day. It’s the best water app I’ve come across.

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You can even keep a written track near your bed and record the number of glasses you have consumed every day. When you miss out 2-3 days by just one or two glasses you wont feel too good about it and that’s going to motivate you to do better the next day.

If you never feel thirsty, it doesn’t mean you’re well hydrated, it could be over-eating or your body has just gotten used to getting in less water, which causes a lot of bloating and water retention which means your body thinks its getting ready for drought. So it’s best to meet the measured and recommended requirement of your body even if you’re not thirsty. I can see the difference it made to me and I do feel thirsty automatically now.

Nutritionist Nikita Suresh suggested me to have a glass of water 10-15 min prior to every meal so that I can get 3 glasses in easily. I started off with that tip and it has been such a boon. Water is essential, but how we drink it is also important. Grandma Tips that I’ve heard is ‘drink water with closed teeth’ probably so you don’t fill up your mouth by expanding your cheeks. I have yet to do my research on this but it seems to make me more consciously drink every sip and be aware that I’m having water. On a general day when a person’s thirsty they would just gulp down 2 glasses without even realizing what they’re doing.

You could flavor your water by soaking a few cucumber slices, lemon slices, or mint leaves over night. It is super refreshing and needs to be consumed by the next day or it gets too sour. You cannot forget to have it then. Detox water is different and requires a certain diet to be followed with it.

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Lime juice has become my best friend this summer 2016. I have it first thing in the morning with a spoon of honey mixed well. In the day (I got this recipe from a friend for) Chia Lemon juice, a brilliant concoction to keep cool. I didn’t add the sugar. Also sometimes when I feel too full after a meal I have a lime juice with some black salt (pink colour) after a gap of 10 min. Easy to get hydrated with some taste and Vit C.

So far so good, I’ll be honest I haven’t become all glowy or there hasn’t been a drastic change in my appearance as I’ve read in a few articles, but I feel less lethargic and drowsy, don’t get dehydration head-aches, muscles cramping has reduced, lot of people telling me I’ve lost weight and the best thing is at least I feel thirsty now.

Oh! Oh just one more, having water from the earthen vessels just got cooler with Mitticool selling these earthen clay water bottles, it’s the best thing that could happen this summer! Love the taste of the water once its been in the clay bottle. You can find it on amazon!

For more questions do connect by email or message on Fb, I would love to share whatever little I know from my experience.

*Tip before the monsoons cools off everything, keep some water out for the birds, our little part we can do to give back.

 

 

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‘I Workout to Eat’-To-Eat right!

I have always wanted that beach-abs that I’ve seen on Instagram posts of fitness models and other crazy fit people. Kept thinking it’s to do with a lot of crunches and avoiding oily food. Read a few articles about how water can help you get them flat abs. I have not yet cracked how people drink 3-4 liters of water in 24 hours looks like a huge task.

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I was in this zone, deciding if my workout should be changed or what should I do to just be able to look like that. It wasn’t all aesthetics but, a little bit, it was. I believed my core was strong, not knowing that it can and should have been much stronger, than my imagination. I worked out 6 days a week, had decent the ‘8 glass water’ rule, ate at regular intervals and portion wasn’t too much. What was wrong?

I didn’t want to go to a dietician/nutritionist, just didn’t, so now what? I have read a lot on the Internet about Paleo, Vegan and other kinds of diets to follow, but I don’t want to risk following it without help either. My dad and me had a challenge (we weren’t too serious at first). No sugar, No fry, No spicy. Spicy you can count that out, I don’t think I can survive without my spicy food, but at first stopped everything and it lasted for about 1-2 months and I started having again.

It was an epic fail, then I decided to just forgo sugar. It’s not easy, and till now I haven’t stopped wanting it. Jalebi, gulab jamun, my toughest one is ice cream, and coffee tasted so different (slapping myself in my head). Yes, if you live in India it’s a challenge to leave sugar, especially if you have a big sweet tooth. You have to set your mind on what you want more! It’s all you! No dietician can come and slap the sugar off your hands if you don’t want the fitness then you won’t do it!

So first rule is don’t start any diet if you’re really not interested in the results. Rule 1.

It’s made all the difference in my body, leaving sugar for good! ‘It’s a lifestyle, not a diet’ yeah, that sentence finally bit me too. (I do have a bit of honey/Jaggery rarely)

Then came the fry, a sucker for samosa- pakora, with chai combo, kachori, puri, my homemade delicacies, golgappa(puchka). Can’t, can’t stop this right? And one day decided – ‘stop fried’. Air-fryer is now coming handy but I don’t trust what side effect that machine can have (my head isn’t totally convinced) so using it in rarity.

It’s super duper tough, can not decide what to eat when I’m out at a restaurant. Now Pizza and salad is like a regular, if it’s not a South Indian place.

So far so good, in one month I’ve cheated once with my fav (samosa-chai) combo, and not had fried otherwise. So may be what Crossfit Coach Prashanth had said once is now in handy “One at a time”.

Now talking about the results, there is no one thing that leads to results, there are many factors involved. Have I got my six packs? Not yet. But I’m positive about the journey and it feels a lot less lethargic for starters. It’s not about looks anymore, I could look like anything and not care as long as it felt fit.  Feeling fit became a priority than looking magazine ready.

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May be it’s also helpful if you have your folks at home also join you in the journey, a lot of trouble is saved; no temptation, no extra cooking, more motivation, and less chances of failing.

While weight loss is important, what’s more important is the quality of food you put in your body – food is information that quickly changes your metabolism and genes.” Mark Hyman

I know now that there is a whole world of information out there and we need to read and understand a lot about it, because we don’t get much information on nutrition in our school education. It’s not safe to start any diet without consulting your doctor, or a specialist, but we can always read and be curious about what we are eating. Ignorance is only going to cost us our health.

So my fitness journey is just getting started here and I have a long way to go. I have to get the water-intake right, next goal. Till then just focusing on ‘why I’m doing what I’m doing’!

Links:

Take the Sugar quiz its worth it: http://eatlocalgrown.com/quiz/14410-which-has-more-sugar.html?ref=sidebar

 Super helpful (Total thumbs up): http://www.prevention.com/food/secrets-every-nutritionist-knows 

 Sugar sugar: http://www.realsimple.com/health/nutrition-diet/healthy-eating/sugar-in-healthy-foods

 Metabolism: https://www.boundless.com/physics/textbooks/boundless-physics-textbook/thermodynamics-14/the-first-law-of-thermodynamics-117/human-metabolism-410-6345/

 Healthy eating: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/04/21/upshot/simple-rules-for-healthy-eating.html?_r=2&referer=