Friday, May 10, 2013

Day 11: Smile

Ooo danger party hai! Hardly a smile worth returning, eh?! I remember feeling scared of this shark even on the other side of the glass. It also seemed to me (my overactive imagination of course!) that the shark was repeatedly coming back to smile at me. I also remember thinking had the shark learnt to brush its teeth, it would take forever to shine its pearly whites. 

Thinking now of Bruce, the friendly shark in 'Finding Nemo'.
"I am a nice shark. Not a mindless eatin' machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends. Not food."

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Days (7,8 & 10), 9: (F, Shape, Stars), Snack

Guest Post by Button (4 years old) 

Fan, Semi-Circles and Stars: Appa bought a new thing called iPad for amma last year. A week after he had gifted it to her, she still did not use it saying she was busy with the new baby. She was so busy looking after the baby, she did not hear the iPad cry for some attention. I decided to help her and took some pictures, actually many pictures. Amma often says the world has to learn not to be afraid from children. Amma's friend said the same of my pics - he said Button takes such wonderful shots, you should buy a camera for him. I wish amma listened to him. 

Snack: Now amma doesn't always listen to me. I said I wanted snacks for my friends on my last b'day. What do you give 4 year old kids? Let ME answer. Some popcorn, a cupcake, chips and maybe cucumber slices. Now look at the pic to see what amma put on the plate? NOT GOOD! All mothers should listen to the kids. How will mothers grow up otherwise? :) 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A Virgin at the Gym!

I have always been a tad more 'prosperous' than is the norm. Usually no more than 10% of the standard weight for my height, say 4 - 5 kgs overweight at best. Once I had my son, things steadily started going downhill. I began to steadily buy a larger pair of jeans every 6 months. I did not stop to think the effect of eating on my body. A short while after delivering Button (the older one), I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I used it as a crutch to continue piling on the pounds. Nary a thought about jeans size (you DO get really large sized jeans provided you know where to look). In 2010, I moved from Bombay to Chennai. In Chennai, the pressure to lose weight is even lower, many pretty and plump maamis in town! I did drop a few kilos, mostly by sweating them out, thanks to the Sun God. After my second one, Twinkle, was born,I was 25 kgs more than my prescribed weight.

Two things subsequently happened - I wanted to be healthy for my daughter. I remember the taunts and jibes that I listened to as I grew up (and certainly do not want that for my daughter). Secondly, I found this lovely red top that I have (3 sizes smaller) that I LOVED wearing and had somehow forgotten about. So began my quest for fitness. I am not aspiring to be a svelte modelesque size 0, but I do want to be healthier and back to less than 10% over my standard body weight. I ate healthy and was back to pre-pregnancy weight in just 3 months.

Now I am working on the first pregnancy's weight gain. I have at least 15 more kilos to drop. Long way to go, but I try to do a mix of 80-20 (Aerobics:Weight training) at least 3 times a week. The whole of April, I devoted my gym time to blogging. Yes, the A-Z challenge. It was a challenge I was determined to complete, and between childcare and looking after my parents (who had health challenges in April) and completing my story-telling course, I let my fitness routine slip. Like Barney Stinson would say "Big Mistake".

And then, like he says , because I was sad, I became awesome! This May, I am working on a 26 days of gymming (my personal challenge for the month). Okay, I know 'gymming' is an Indian English word, cut me some slack okay?! I am blogging about this because public announcements always helps me stay committed.

So here's what happened this morning at the gym. I was cycling and listening to Madonna. And without realizing it, I started singing LOUDLY! Which song? "Touched for the very first time, like a viiirrrrgin". Yes, I got "THE LOOK" quite a bit, but made a couple of friends too. :) 

Monday, May 06, 2013

Day 6: Broken

Remember Shrek? The lovable adorable Ogre, who showed us beauty ONLY lies within. Well, I am re-discovering him, thanks to Button. Button too talks nineteen to the dozen these days, just like the Talking Donkey. The Donkey apparently talks to Button too (did I mention he loves role-playing?) So one evening I came back to find that the donkey had talked his head off! 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Day 5: Paper

Most people I know keep an emergency stash of cash. Emergencies could range from medical exigencies to impulse purchases to ATM malfunctions to unexpected bills. Well, I am one of the few who never kept a stash like that. I was in labor (second kid), the contractions were fast and furious and the husband and I realized we had NO cash in hand! We had to scramble around to pay Rs.8/- to the parking attendant. Luckily Apollo, Chennai has an ATM on the premises

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Day 4: In my cup

"The taste that gets you started up, the taste that gets you going on...Nescafe! Pa ra rap pap pap"
Remember the jingle, with that pretty girl doing a dance?

True Fact: Tam brahms are sometimes ridiculed when they ask for Nescafe (Ca pronounced to rhyme with ray, and fe pronounced like you would in kni'fe'). How do I know? Well, I am one of them. I cannot stand filter coffee being murdered. So if my mom doesn't make my filter coffee, I'd rather drink instant coffee :)

ps: Which pic do you prefer?

Friday, May 03, 2013

Day 3: This is really good!

When you drive to or from Leh, you can't help notice the funny signs by the BRO. This one had us debating for long on what it means. 6 years later, we still don't have any answers. Any suggestions? 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Madness in May! (Days 1, 2)

As if blogging away in April was not enough, I am mad enough to accept a new challenge in May, this time a photo challenge. I fancy myself as having an eye for photographs, although I am yet to invest in a good camera or develop my skills professionally. Anyway, I jump in, with eyes wide open, hands ready on the 'click' button and a heart full of hope! 

The challenge: To post a pic each day as per the topic list below: 

Day 1: I Bought This: I missed the first day. C'mon, it was May Day yesterday, labor holiday :) That didn't stop me from shoppign though. We bought these lovely red crocs for Button. 

Day 2: Morning Ritual: No morning goes by without cuddling up Button. He is the older one, he is going to turn 5 soon, he is already all angles and planes and soon he'll be telling me off. I cherish these hugs and early morning kisses not only because I know they are numbered, but also because there is something fantastic about a warm and cuddly child, full of sleep, yet filled with brightness and joy about the day to come. 

A-Z: Reflections Post: What I learnt in April'13

The A-Z blog challenge was SUPER-INTENSIVE. A blog post EVERY day of the week,with a blessed break on Sunday. As is wont my personality, I took it up on a lark. After all what would life be without whims! It changed me a bit. It changed my daily schedule quite a bit. But what it changed most of all, is my outlook towards writing.

Before I 'reflect' on the challenge, a shout-out to lovely Corinne Rodrigues. She was the leader of our FB group created for the A-Z challenge. She is a good example of a great leader - mostly cajoling, definitely monitoring, sometimes scolding, but clearly loving. I enjoyed not just reading her blog, but also the way she managed the group. Almost every person in the group is in love with her and her sunny personality. May your tribe grow Corinne!

So here are a few things I learnt during this challenge:

1. Being Organized: I thought I led a fairly organized life, but this challenge woke me up to reality! No, I am not as organized as I used to be. 'Being organized' is a term I use in 2 ways - being organized in terms of time (some people were fantastic about posting at midnight - Afshan, Suzy, Priya Sreeram to name a few), other super-organized in terms of their content - Notably Cynthia, Bhavya NK, Laxmi.  Either a story, or a mommy special, or travel special. I started with planning a travel series, but since I didn't plan, I got stuck at several instances and moved to a miscellaneous month instead.

2. Blog Revamp: My blog was started in 2006. I have written over 150 posts. But as far as the look & feel of the blog is concerned, except for occasional photo changes or layout changes, nothing has significantly changed about my blog. I intend remedying it. In fact, one of the key annual goals for myself is to revamp my blog. Learn (currently geeky sounding words like) feeds, traffic, burner, bloglovin and other such!

3. Size of the posts: Given that this challenge involves posting EVERY single day, I wish I had set out some guidelines about the size of the posts. I sometimes had long posts, sometimes short ones. Some posts were hastily written, with disregard for (gulp!) grammar, spelling mistakes or style. This needs to change.

4. Reading / Comments: Ideally I wanted to comment more. Visit at least 3 non-Indian blogs EVERY DAY. I managed on an average 1 every 4 days. But with sick parents, an infant AND a naughty young boy at home, I think I did good on this count. I did comment on most blogs on the FB closed group almost every day.

So will I do this next year? 

Too soon to predict. The format has a certain 'suspense' element to it. A feeling of driving to a thrilling finish line that appealed to my adrenaline glands more than my rational brain! Next year, if I plan, I shall execute. Half the battle is the planner. Like I always say, never say never!

Special Mention

My top 5 reads (in no order of priority) are - Roshni (for being witty and self-deprecating about her parenting adventures), Corinne (for writing clearly & precisely, for having wonderful co-writers in Jose and Pablo, and finally for having a blog that is so easy to navigate, clearly a work of love), Monika (well, for being Monika! For clicking pictures that are SO FULL of life, just like her), Vinita (at Blogwatig, for being 1 part irreverent, one part serious, one part fun and one part witty, a great package!) and Kajal (for being a lovely writer, covering myriad topics).