Monday, October 29, 2007

Haunted (Writers island 4)

The prompt at Writers Island this time is 'Haunted.'Strangely it matched my mood, and compelled me to doodle this picture,after I wrote this piece.
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Haunted.

Haunted is when you wake up and the dreams still continue.

Haunted is when you cannot stop thinking and thoughts continue inside your head like a whirlwind.

Haunted is when you know it is not possible, but you hope anyway.

Haunted is when you wish and wish you could have just five minutes, with that person.

Haunted is when you go through every photograph you have of them, at least a 100 times.

Haunted is when you comb and comb your memory just in case, you pick up little bits of togetherness, that by a miniscule chance got left behind.

Haunted is a lump in your throat at just the mention of their name.

Haunted is feeling sad, even at a very happy bit of news, just because they aren’t there to share it.

Haunted is when the pain still stays, even after what seems like eternity..

Haunted is when nothing else matters.

Haunted is a longing for something that can never be.

Haunted is when you want to die, but have to live.

Haunted is just a permanently empty place, in your heart.

Haunted is where I am, right now.

© Ps

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The stranger (writers island 3)

The prompt this time at writers island is 'The stranger'. This is my piece.
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The stranger

Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

No magic pills

There is SO MUCH written about weight loss. Weight loss industry in India alone, stands at about Rs.8000 crores (1 crore =10 millions) Every day, when I open the newspaper, there are at least 5 advertisements for weight loss and fitness. There are many which charge you for the number of kilos you want to lose!
Almost all my friends are trying to lose weight. They ask me how I manage to be, the way I am, despite having two kids and despite being 35. (I am 5 ft 4 inches tall & weigh 53 kgs which is about 117 pounds) When I say that I watch what I eat and I work out, they say “Oh!—but YOU don’t need to work out. You never put on weight.”
Excuse me!!! EVERYONE puts on weight (yes—I have had my share of battles with the bulges too.) and I NEED to work out. Isn’t prevention better than cure?
Somehow, I am paranoid about putting on weight. I watch my weight carefully and the moment it goes to 54, I step up my work out and eat healthier. (more fruits, less fried stuff etc )
It is no picnic to try and lose even 1 kg. It is an uphill task—literally. Theoretically it is easy. Everything you eat, has calories. Calories are burnt for every single activity that you do, including sleeping.—If you burn more calories than you consume, you will naturally lose weight. It is that simple. The rate at which you burn calories is called Basic metabolic rate. You can do many things to boost your metabolic rate. This article is a good one.

There are no easy methods—there are no short cuts. If you starve yourself, you will end up with saggy skin and hair loss—not to mention other ailments caused by lack of nutrition. If you work out too much and not eat right, you will again fall ill. What is most disappointing is that you do not get instant results. It will take at least a week to ten days, to lose even 500 grams.(unless you go on crash diets—which are not healthy)

Personally, I don’t go to any gym. I have a professional treadmill at home. On most days, for half an hour, my view is this.(After this I do a bit of yoga and ab-crunches)

Since treadmill can get monotonous and boring, I usually use my mobile and text friends. Or I watch an interesting movie on my DVD, while on the treadmill. (The experts call it the disassociating effect—where you switch off from what you are doing) I also have weights at home, though I confess I haven’t touched them ever since I got back, from my holiday.

My brother has been a great influence on me, when it comes to fitness.(He is a fitness maniac, into body building and I have seen the amount of dedication and care he takes. He has a very high pressure corporate job, yet makes time for fitness) He once told me “Don’t compare to yourself to your next door neighbour or friends. Your role models should be somebody you really admire.” I told him that the ones I really admire are celebrities and they have an army of servants to take care of their children and also have personal trainers. He told me to not use that as an excuse and see what I could achieve, given my ‘limitations’.
Today, I am happy I took his advice.
If you want to lose weight, the first thing is to accept that it is tough and is going to take a LOT of hardwork. Second is to eat healthy. Third is to drag yourself to workout, even on days that you don’t feel like it. The last is to persist, persist and persist.

Good luck!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Moms are always special




Mothers—Aren’t they darlings?

I never understood my own mother, till I became a mom. When I was expecting my first child, I had absolutely no clue what it all involved. As I went from stage to stage, realization dawned on me for the first time, that this is exactly what my mother must have gone through, when she was having me. My respect for her increased hundredfold. Instantly.

When I was in college and she worried about me when I got home late, I used to laugh at her concern and tell her not be paranoid. When my own two, started going to school, I understood exactly why she worried.

When she used to proudly tell her close friends about my achievements in sports as well as academics, I used to be embarrassed and insist that she should NOT talk about me. Now that I have my own children, I know just how much it must have meant to her.

When she used to stay up the whole night, just because I had a fever, I used to tell her to stop being fussy, and it was only a fever, for God’s sake. Now, when the slightest cough, from one of my kids wakes me and I am at their bedside, in a jiffy, I understand why my mom could not sleep.

I had got this in an email forward and I could so relate to it---as all mothers can, I guess.

You Know You're a Mom When...

You count the sprinkles on each kid's cupcake to make sure they're equal.

You find yourself cutting your husbands' sandwiches into cute shapes.

You can't bear to give away baby clothes - it's so final.

You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.

You hire a sitter because you haven't been out with your husband in ages, then spend half the night checking on the kids.

You have time to shave only one leg at a time.

You hide in the bathroom to be alone.

Your kid throws up and you catch it. Someone else's kid throws up at a party. You keep eating.

You use your own saliva to clean your child's face.

You've mastered the art of placing large quantities of pancakes and eggs on a plate without anything touching.

You cling to the high moral ground on toy weapons; your child chews his toast into the shape of a gun.

You hope ketchup is a vegetable, since it's the only one your child eats.

Your feet stick to the kitchen floor, and you don't care.
You no longer object to cold pizza for breakfast.

Your purse is crammed with emergency toys, candy and first aid supplies.

You can talk on the phone, pack a lunch & breast feed all once.

You wonder why it was you ever feared being alone.

You spend an entire week wearing sweats.

You can remove chewing gum from just about anything. You say at least once a day, "I'm not cut out for this job", but you know you wouldn't trade it for anything.

The older one gets, the more one realizes how precious these relationships are and how short life really is. Many a time, you don’t realize the value of what you have, till you lose it. (click here for a detailed explanation)

My mom lives in Kerala, which is about 1200 kilometers, from where I live. I speak to my mom every single day. Sometimes, several times—just a short call to tell her that I am thinking of her and I love her. Today too, I did—but today is special, because it is her birthday.

Happy birthday, Mom! When I reach your age, if I am half as pretty as you and half as courageous as you, and I do half as good a job as you did in raising your kids (wink!) I would truly be thrilled!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Message in a bottle (Writers island 3)

The prompt for Writers island this time, is 'Message in a bottle'. I had made a painting (Oil on canvas) nearly 12 years back--and it seems apt for this poem I wrote, as my entry for this prompt.


Message in a bottle.

Past washed ashore
In bits unseen,
Snatched glimpses,
Of what could have been.
Perhaps life would
Have taken a different turn,
Had you felt my pain,
And seen me yearn.
Bottled up now
And thrown to the sea,
I wait no more,
Yet I am never free.
© Ps

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My laptop went on a date!

Of all the electrical and electronic appliances that reside in my home, my laptop probably is the most hardworking!

So it was only inevitable that she (yes --the laptop is definitely a she—Can any male endure such harsh treatment, unintentional neglect and so much work?!) wanted a break. So off she went, on Tuesday night, with a total stranger (the software engineer who had come over to take her on a ‘date’) riding pillion, in his backpack. She did not even look back. (Sigh!)

She was supposed to be back on Thursday morning. But I think she was having too much of a good time. 4 frantic calls to the software engineer (The rogue refused to answer two of my calls.) and I came to know that she would be coming back ‘for sure’ on Friday morning. Friday went by.

The calls multiplied to 16.( They have a way of increasing in geometric progressions, when interlaced with panic and internet withdrawal symptoms—not to mention a gnawing worry, that SHE had been kidnapped)

Pukka madam—aaj raat tak ho jayega ” The software engineer assured me. ( a rough translation for my non-Hindi speaking friends "Sure m’am. It shall be done by tonight")

She finally came back to me, on Saturday night. Like all of us, she too had a holiday hangover. She refused to connect to the net. She had to be coaxed (read configured) by another software engineer, who managed after a great effort, to convince her, that she has to get back to reality!


So here I am, blogging away-- (oh, how I missed it!) and a bit annoyed that my intentions of updating my blog every other day, took a break because of my laptop. But when I think that she has been upgraded to 160GB (from an earlier 40GB) and is now ‘performing’ so much better (the icing on the cake being that all the earlier data has been transferred into her new hard drive too) I feel happy.

Also, since she takes a break only once in four years or so (I don’t even remember when was the last time she took one.) I guess, it is forgivable!

See you more often now! (Unless she decides to go on a strike.)


Monday, October 08, 2007

Renewal (Writers Island 2)

The prompt for Writers Island this week, is "Renewal". Here is what I have to say on it.

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Renewal

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They say you have to reinvent yourself every seven years, in order to not stagnate, and in order to grow—emotionally and psychologically.

Whether we like it or not, we all grow older, as each second ticks by. As children, we are constantly discovering things. We are growing –both physically and mentally. There is so much to learn and so much to do.

As adults, we seem to have seen it all and done it all. Very often, we define ourselves by our work identities. “I am John and I am a senior Vice president at Microsoft” or “I am Lina, and I head HR at Glaxo.” Somehow I feel, this work identity seems hollow—simply because you do not get to know the person underneath. Also, if your identity is your job, it is frightening to think what happens if you get laid off or retire.

I know of many mothers who gave up corporate jobs to be stay-at-home-moms and then sank into depression, as they felt they were ‘doing nothing’. The present day society places so much of emphasis on being productive—and ‘Being productive’ here, is equated to whether or not the activity generates income. I have met many women, especially in my country, who apologetically confess to being ‘just a housewife’. Their identities seem to be “Wife of so and so, and mother of so and so.” I cannot understand why they feel apologetic. The work they are doing cannot be measured in terms of money. They are running a home and raising a child. What an enormous responsibility, that by itself is! Hats off to these women who have the courage to be what they are and do not juggle a career, home and kids , just to ‘prove’ that they are not ‘mere housewives.’ (Somehow I hate the word ‘housewife’. “Home maker” would be more appropriate.”)

Why should we reinvent ourselves if we are content to be who we are? I say, it is because you do not know what lies on the other side, till you spread your wings and look. We have to shake ourselves out of our comfort zones and push ourselves, to discover what we are capable of.

They don’t have to be big things. You could make a start, by renewing a hobby that you gave up when you started working. You could renew old friendships that somehow took a back seat when you got busy or moved to a different town.

I would say even something like completely changing the way you dress,(try wearing fiery red, if you have always worn pastel shades) or getting a new hairstyle (if you have had the same one for years) would be a good start.

Have you reinvented yourself in the last few years? Have you done something completely different? I would love to hear what you have done.

As for me, I was completely different 10 years back, from what I am today.(and I am happy about the change). I’ll tell you about myself, but after I hear yours!

And if you haven’t done anything what are YOU going to renew? (and please don't tell me you are going to renew that library book or your club membership! You know that's not what I mean!!) :-)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

And sometimes dreams come true.



Some things leave you with an ache, a longing and deep despair to hold on to them, even as they slip through your fingers, like sand on a beach. My meeting with Niall and my holiday was one such thing.

Niall already wrote about it—you can read it here.

For me too, it was a like a dream come true. I couldn’t believe that I was actually inside this dream, and this dream in reality, is a reality! I was interacting with Jan, for the first time and I felt I had known her all my life. My kids too got along with Annie really well.

Niall gifted me EIGHT of his pictures. I just couldn’t take my eyes of them. Seeing them ‘in the flesh’ (as he puts it) is something else. The prints that he has of his pictures, are such high quality that you cannot distinguish at all, between the prints and the originals. They are incredible. He had inscribed them, and it makes it so special. He later told me that he has given his originals to very few people--and I felt so honoured to be among those few.

At the hotel room, when he took them out, I asked him which one was for me.
He said “All of them.” I was speechless. His pictures are simply Sui generic, outstanding, brilliant. I feel so proud to own so many of them—that too inscribed. These paintings are treasured so much and always will be.

Sometimes words are simply not enough, to express the depth of a friendship, a relationship or an emotional bonding that transcends all bondaries. If you find a friend like that, you must do everything to hold on to it.I feel really fortunate to be blessed with such friends.

We were there for about nine days. We did all the touristy things. Went to all the places worth going to. (or at least what the tourist brochures say are worth going to!) For me, more than these places, it was the chance that I got to actually gaze at Van Gogh and Rene Magritte (my favourite artists) ,Georges Suerat (along with Niall, at the National gallery) , Manet and Monet and many others. I never thought that I’d ever get an oppotunity to see all these paintings. Niall remarked that it is like meeting old friends. I couldn’t agree more. These images were so familiar, having grown up, gazing at prints of these pictures, and even copying some-- and suddenly here they were—the originals.

When all of us were walking outside, Big Ben, Niall said to Atul (my 9 year old) that the inscription on the clock, just under the clock face, says that the last person to go to bed has to wind it up. Atul and I actually looked up to see if it actually said that.(you never know—with the English sense of humour, they actually might have something like that!) A second later I realised he was joking and I burst out laughing. Jan quickly clarified to Atul that Niall was only joking, and the inscription was in Latin.

We went to Cambridge too—that was a stunning , magnificent and a picturesque town. It deserves a whole new post, and I shall write about it soon.


Here are some pictures—and I shall drop by your blog soon to see what you have been upto!