Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Knowing the difference.

Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them ~ Richard Bach

So when I refused to leap into the river and swim about along with every other person that went rafting at Kolad, I had enough time to think long & hard about it. Was I scares of leaping into the water? Was I afraid of drowning? What was stopping me?

The same thing that's stopping me from having children. The same thing that's telling me I do not like backpacking, hitchhiking tours. The same thing that's telling me I do not want fit into anybody's definition of cool but my own.

I don't enjoy it.

Is it my limitation? No. Limitations ought to cripple your ability to submit to a situation. Can I jump into the water? Oh yes. Do I want to? No.

No limitations kept. I love rowing and kayaking, bouncing off rapids. And no, I do not want to swim with the fish :) Soaring with eagles, well yeah, that's another story altogether!

Monday, 29 September 2014

For Friends

I have been one of those people who has always felt she can live without friends. I never had a best friend, just a few very good friends. It never, even now, occurs to me that if I have a problem, I can reach out to a friend. I try & solve my own problems & at the most, the husband gets to hear all the dirty details when I really need a sounding board.

Which is why it's unusual for me to be writing this. In the last few months, I have consciously tried to reconnect with old friends & have somehow, also ended up making new ones. I have made an effort and included them in my life, shared details, confided and asked for advice. I have listened, I have heard their version of life & living and found that although we may hold radically different point of views on world issues, we still want to be part of each other's lives.

This is a relief for me. I still haven't reached a place where friend are indispensable. But now, they sure are important. I am glad I can say this now. And for those two friends who were my sounding board today, I am grateful. You may not know who you are but I love you both, all the same. I am thankful for y'all.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Reviewing The Week That Was.

Teaching has to be a pointless sort of joy every once in a while. Like, absolutely pointless, do it coz you love it sorta joy.

Sometimes, you must avoid looking at the price tag. Buy pretty shoes.

A cup of hot chocolate can do wonders for your mind. Yes, with real whipped cream.

Why are there no slides for the grown up side of the pool? So many subtle ways of reminding us that we aren't meant to have fun. Still go have fun.

There are little joys that don't seem like much on their own but together, they keep you sane. Like getting a bus that doesn't take detours. And getting a window seat. And the relief of finding that one rupee coin at the bottom of your wallet to give to your pissed off bus conductor.

Showing off, once in a while & just a little bit? Good for your health. So, umm, enjoy it when you do it.

Gender stereotyping among children is everywhere & easy to succumb to. So even if they mean pointless gift buying, go forth & prove a point. Coz I did. Unisex toys for all.

Broths are ridiculously easy to make & perfect for dinner as long as you have good bread, cheese & fresh herbs. And butter.

And finally, to remember to live absolutely selfishly. Thank you, Don Shimoda.

For Tree

I am late in publishing my entries but here I am, nonetheless.

Dear Tree,

This one's for you. You make the best soup-in-a-cup with noodles. And you give the best head massages. You write the most amazing emails & letters.

You are also what ties me down most to the one place I have loved with careless abandon: college.

But mostly, I love you because we do not need conversation fillers. You are my only proof that old age does not mean people have the leeway to go batshit crazy, that they can be funny, wise, loving, childlike and constant. Like a very reassuring presence. I hope I can be that when I am old. Because really, if there's any more chaos in my future, it will be that much harder to go on.

That's why I call you Tree :)

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Knowing What You Don't Want.

I absolutely could not write yesterday. Tons of work. So I have two posts for today. This one's about the future. And I'll keep it simple because I did think about this. I'm only writing it in a bit late :)

I know now that sometimes, it's wise to wait until you have a grip on your solid reality of today before you're able to trapeze into the nebulous possibility of your tomorrow. We all like to play safe. But sometimes, your reality is large enough that you're gripping with both hands. Sometimes, to launch yourself into a future that is waiting to happen to you, you need to let go.

With no promise of a tomorrow. Not a dependable tomorrow at least.

But live with passion doing things you really want to do. And spend time finding out what really calls to you. Most of us don't quite know. But if you do, you're already miles ahead of the crowd.

I recently came face to face with what I do not like. At work, I hate being disorganized. I hate lack of process. I hate chaos. I hate start ups. With a deep, ingrained loathing of all things chaotic. I need to have a pattern that at least I can see, that assures me things will self-align.

It's a big step - knowing what you do not want. And hopefully, that means I'm on my way to finding what I do want. My hope is for that future. One where frustration isn't an everyday occupational hazard. And where I can be fired up about contributing to something I really believe in. In an orderly, answerable manner.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Physical Pride

I got my twenty kg dumbbells today. So thrilled! Even more thrilled that when the courier delivery boy asked "madam, yeh heavy hai, main andar rakh du?", I nonchalantly said, " no, thanks", and took the pair from him. Yay!

I remember when I was not a big fan of working out in the gym. I worked at Google then & used to go for aerobic workouts five days of the week. An hour every evening of back breaking aerobic workout, interspersed with weights & steppers. I got so used to the group energy, rhythm and pace of the thing that it took me a lifetime to figure why people would opt to go to the gym. Mumbai made that option impossible - I had to gym. Not a single decent aerobic instructor in sight & no infrastructure to boot.

But almost three years down the line, it's a distant memory. I am glad I adapted. Adventures often come disguised as adaptations. And when you know something really well, it's very likely you'll fall in love with it.

Finally, to that guy in the gym who pointedly told another girl in the gym that "weights aren't for women", try lugging a steadily growing heavy dumbbell inside your tummy 24/7 for nine months; women gave birth to weight training.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Coz Things Can Make You Happy

Yes, intangibles are the best sort of happiness. But sometimes, handy little things that make you lfie easy are amazing too! This post is about acknowledging that.

I am thankful for:

- An epilator that is absolutely water proof - god knows how much of an extreme lone runner I am and this absolutely removes all my dependence on parlours and their inefficiencies. And much love to the man for letting me pick my gift this Pujo.

- For online shopping - I just got my exercise wheel, a back rowing attachment and a pair of twenty kg dumbells is on its way - I am so thrilled this is possible! Now to take weight lifting to another level!

And now for intangibles:

- For this writers' group that I attend on some Sundays - it's great to meet people. Read stories. Listen to the thoughts your words can inspire. Watch people's thoughts weave into words. Over extremely pretty and affordable martini glasses of creme cold coffees. Yum.

- For this part of my brain/mind that is absolutely accepting of foods people eat. Absolutely. And still knowing what I can make my peace with.

- For whatever forces of humanity and superhumanity let me become a Google Regional Trainer - it's so good to be be in touch with that space and the minds that make it what it is - it reminds you that all humanity isn't running on mediocrity.

- For the most delicious meal the man and I ate during the Gourmet Week - at Levo, in Andheri West. Delicious, delicious and the man loves Porcini mushrooms! I am so stoked!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Looking Back

Fridays are for looking back. This week was quite a hectic one but I am glad I got a chance to make it count.

- To begin with, I started this blog. It's a great place to reflect, remember and relive. Perspectives always alter slightly in retrospect. This blog also gave me a chance to reconnect with some dear friends & it's great to hear back from them! Second best to written letters are nice, long, detail-packed emails :)

- I met two very good friends. Over some seriously delicious food. Gourmet Week is on in Mumbai and the food is deliriously good in places. It's great to dine with friends & so food to call a chef out & compliment them generously. It lights up their faces!

- I love Google. They are my past employer and by far, the best. I am also a Google Regional Trainer which lets me conduct SEM trainings on behalf of my ex-employer, for new agencies that are about to plunge into search marketing. I am off to conduct one such training today. This is the best part of my job - teaching & meeting people & learning amazing new things!

- I am organizing a blogger outreach programme for one of my clients & its a slow, long term, paced activity. I have total freedom to tailor & do it well. It feels so good to enable this! And make real use of the opportunity social media & content marketing offers!

- This week, I realised that I really look forward to going to the gym. I have always been a Yoga & Aerobics person but because I have not had access to decent trainers & a space where these can be practised, I settled for the gym. Almost three years now & I am finally at a stage where I cannot wait for my rest day to pass! So awesome & insane!

- Thank God for canned cherry tomatoes & passata. Because putting together a quick spaghetti lunch is no longer a difficulty.

- For those Kayani's Shrewsbury biscuits that the man's colleague got from Pune because every time the man travels, he gets something to eat for his team. So somebody decided to get something for him this time. And I think I have eaten more of those biscuits than he has. I guess. I must say he gave half of them to his team before he got them home. I think I have had seven this week. Eeks!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Because This Is Our Fuel.

Thursdays are for affection. Of any kind.

I could be affectionate about the most amazing Tiramisu a human body could ever experience. Mostly because I ate one today. But that's probably for next week when the memory of that dessert will be far more dear to me because it will be far more away from today.

But this one's for Ramya.

Dear Ramya,

I just want to tell you how glad I am that we met. I can talk to you about everything. You really listen. You turn into this big ear when you are listening. That's so difficult to find these days. You are funny, wise, charming, beautiful and I would have known none of those things had I not said yes to meeting you on a whim. Time flies when we talk and I always come back with brand new perspectives later. Do you know how rare that is?

I hope you see this. Because we all must know how ridiculously amazing we are every once in a while. Over cutting chai glasses of Mithi river water.

Reema

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hope

Today, the book asks me to project a future that I envision for myself. It doesn't have anything to do with willing things into happening - or maybe it does. But the idea of this post is to hope for all those things that I feel are part of what's ahead. The key word, obviously, is hope.

- I hope for a future where what I do contributes to the dynamic times we live in. To be a part of a larger picture consciously, to feel alive and happy when I wake up, knowing that I'm part of something exciting, something that's making the planet a projection of the total potential of the human consciousness.

- I hope to go back to work, in the total sense of the word. And love it. With people who live up to what I mentioned above.

- I hope that eventually, humanity will align itself with what's life sustaining.

- I hope to have next to no dependency on tangibles for my happiness while absolutely and graciously accepting that they have great capacity for comforting me.

- I hope that at 100, if I live to that age, I'll be able to walk upright, be in good health & never be a burden. To anybody.

- I hope to have enough money to be able to provide for myself & the people that matter to me - and splurge on them every once in a while. And not throw a hissy fit if I lose 500 bucks.

- I hope the nomad in me isn't left restless for too long. And that I eventually get myself a dog who is allowed on public transport, restaurants & malls. Then we can be nomads together.

- I hope I can live in a place where I can kayak. And para glide. And cycle.

- I hope I never forget the healing, nurturing, comforting power of a good, baked Philly cheesecake.

- I hope the man stays with me through this journey. It gets terribly quiet without him.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Reliving Adrenaline Rushes

In 1998, I was in Manali. It was an eight day long camping trip and this was in those days when Manali wasn't the crazy place it is today. It was cleaner, simpler and not as dang crowded. One of those days during the camping trip, we went to Solang Valley. To paraglide, of course.

I wanted very badly to go paragliding on my own, although I was also mildly petrified at the idea. It took me forever to convince my folks to let me go. Finally, I went with my dad and we para glided from this super lame altitude. Plus I wasn't allowed to go on my own. I was very miffed.

A few years ago, the man and I decided to go to Manali - it was his first time and I wanted him to see all the places I had been to and loved. We stayed in Old Manali, away from the desi tourists. We rented a bike and did most of our exploring. We paraglided too. From a 1000ft altitude. There was an option to paraglide from 2000ft but we decided to take a middle path - this was the man's first time and I wanted him to like the experience. At Solang. He went with his instructor and I went with mine.

He landed smoothly. And my craft crashed. Into a heap, on the hill and I bruised my elbow and sort of twisted my ankle. And I do not remember feeling happier. Crazy, insane and borderline nuts sort of feeling. At that insane height, you are pretty much deaf. You can only hear the wind howling in your ears even if it isn't that windy on the ground, you have goosebumps and it's freakin' cold. You can't feel a thing, you have no body, you have no identity, you are just one huge being packed with the rush of flying for the first time. You can see the tops of pine trees, you can see an eagle flying parallel and while it's just 10-15 seconds of being airborne, it feels like an eternity.

If I am ever rich enough, it's what I am going to do: take para gliding lessons and spend time para gliding. I am not sure anything feels as amazing as being airborne does. I am glad I even know feeling that way exists.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

I Am Thankful For...

...several things. But mostly, this post is about three things I have tremendous gratitude for.

- The husband: And I am seriously lucky to be able to stake such a solid claim on this person. I would be equally thankful if this person were a friend or a colleague or a relative - but I am so glad he is not. I am so glad he is related to me the way he is because that means I get to spend most of my time at home with him. I can make unreasonable demands like "stop doing that and come talk to me" or "please scratch my palm until I fall asleep". I am not sure friends, colleagues and other relatives put up with nonsense like that. I am grateful for him because I am an angry person - and he calms me down, absorbing most of my fury like a sponge and waiting, waiting until I have calmed down. Had it not been for him, I'd have, by now, done something pretty drastic. Of course, he irritates me too but I will take that a hundredfold. My life as I know it today makes no sense without him.

- Mumbai: I am an individualistic person who mostly never gets bored, even if she is left to her own devices for weeks on end. I can be at peace with myself in crowds, and I love this city that I was born in - because it fits who I am perfectly. Mumbai lets me be who I am, at my own pace and lets me drown in a sea of anonymity. Anonymity is comforting - you can do what you want to and nobody pokes their nose in your business coz you are anonymous. Yes, there's other awesome things, like the incessant rains during the monsoons, my favourite part of the year. And there's the crazy, thronging crowd, which won't let up even at 2am in the morning. All other cities feel like they have a curfew thing going post midnight. That makes me nervous and shifty. I love this city. It's the best you can get in India if you are a self-focused person.

- The gym: This looks like an odd entry but there's very few things I do for my own sake as of now. I love cooking coz the man loves to eat good food. I bake for the same reason. I write because it's the easiest means of communication for me. But going to the gym? I do that just for my own sake. It makes me feel alive, it makes me feel like a superhuman. As I gradually go from lifting 7.5 pounds to being able to sort of scoff at 25 pounds...I can see my body changing, morphing, becoming more powerful and it makes me delirious! I don't much care if it's going to make me fit into the world's image of a perfect body - but when I do something strenuous and it does not tire me out? It makes me thrilled. And proud of myself.