Let me be ME

Archive for the ‘life goals’ Category

Robotic surgery specialist ,a gynaec delivering babies and a tough IM finisher: Dr.Ashwini

Dr.Ashwini

A busy gynaecologist ,performed Mumbai’s first gynaecological robot-assisted surgery, a podium finisher at Kolhapur triathlon, Turkey Ironman 70.3 finisher, someone who juggles between delivering babies at the clinic and her training, mother of two, here is 47-year-old Dr. Ashwini from Mumbai.

Family of doctors

I come from a Maharashtrian family where education was the utmost priority. My mother is a gynecologist herself, and I have seen her managing work and home with precision. 

I was always a sincere, “accha-baccha,” and was awarded the best student medal in grade 10. 

My single focus was to be a gynecologist even when my mother warned me about the hard work followed by long working hours.

But I was determined about my career goal. My elder brother went to KEM to be a gynecologist, and I followed his footsteps.

I was a table tennis player in my childhood, but never an athlete. In the later stage, I loved going to the gym and was always fitness conscious.

I went to KEM and enjoyed my tenure in learning medicine. I married my classmate, and I am blissfully married for 23 years now.

Dr.Ashwini during her pregnancy

I started with my private practice immediately after my post-graduation, and I had no time for anything else. My kids were born in 2003 and 2006. I had multiple duties to address now.

I had excellent live-in help, and I knew my babies were cared for well. And hence I could focus on my work. I could manage breastfeeding by expressing milk to be given to my babies in my absence.

Work-home-work: juggling

My mother and mother-in-law both are working women, and I am very proud to mention how beautifully they have managed their work-life balance. 

Although I had generous support that enabled me to focus on my career, but due to long work hours, I could not attend to my kids as much as I would have wanted to.

When my daughter was ten months old, my full-time help left. My clinic was from 7-9 pm, and I was returning home at 10 pm.

I had to take a tough call here. I had self-talk and concluded that my children would grow only once; my work will go on.

I decided to manage my work timings according to their schedule and shifted my evening clinic hours to morning.

“There are choices to make at each point in life, but choose what makes you proud.”

says, Dr.Ashwini

The Tri-game

In 2011 two of my close friends did a half marathon, and the distance attracted me.

Very next day, I was out in the neighboring park to try out running. Not even 500m and I panted, as I had run at full speed. An unknown lady who must have been 60 years of age was watching, and she approached me and asked if I aimed to run. She then offered to teach me and showed me how to run slowly and steadily without getting breathless. And I was then able to run 2 km efficiently.

SCMM 2014

I joined a running group called Run India Run. I did my first half marathon at SCMM(Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon) under the able guidance of our excellent and inspiring Coach, Mr. Samson Sequeira.

I was in love with the outdoors now. We were blessed to train at Juhu beach, which is serene and beautiful in the early mornings. The morning training at the beach with constant encouragement and support from the rest of the group started on a positive and lively note.

In 2014 just a month before the SCMM, I incurred a stress fracture.

I was extremely disheartened but I still went to the expo and collected the bib.

I was restless the entire night before the race day, and seeing my state, my husband told me to go and run on the condition that I do not return further injured.

I jumped out of the bed as if I was waiting for some push; I went ahead and finished the run.

“Deep desires find their way.”

believes, Dr.Ashwini

I then enrolled for 42kms. I developed hyperactive airways due to smog exposure in the winter months and had to take inhalers to be able to train. In two out of three full marathons that I attempted, I had bronchospasm despite the inhalers. I still completed the distance, though I wouldn’t recommend anyone to do so, being a doctor myself. I realised that this was becoming counterproductive.

By this time, a couple of my friends had done the Half Ironman, and the idea of doing three different sports back to back intrigued me. I decided to try my hand at it.

However, I had never trained in swimming. And I had hardly cycled in childhood, and never after that. After the SCMM, I purchased a hybrid bike and enrolled for swimming lessons and enrolled for my first Duathlon at Vasai, where I stood fourth.

I started learning to swim and cycle for races at the age of 45. After the Duathlon I attended a Tri camp to understand what a triathlon was all about. Most of the people there were experienced and talking about cadence, BRM, and what not! It was like Greek and Latin to me. I felt entirely out of place.

I joined swimming lessons keeping the Goa tri in mind, to be held in February 2018.

Swimming and cycling were a substantial uphill task for me. I had to slog in the pool and put in lots of effort. In November, I tried to swim in a 50m pool and came out completely exhausted. Till Nov end, I was unable to swim 1500m in the pool. And here I was eyeing the Goa tri, where there was a sea swim! (quite ambitious).

I was determined to overcome this incompetency and gave it my best.

And one beautiful November morning, some magic happened, and I could swim the pool’s distance. I was amazed at this miracle.(well, thinking about it later – it was my ardent effort of not giving up)

Cycling was another challenge. I was terrified to ride on the road. I was scared of the traffic, potholes, being run over and falling. It took me three years to finally think of cycling as fun! Before this, it was nothing but stress for me. But with consistent practice, I grew in strength.

After completing the Goa tri, I registered for the Kolhapur triathlon in Nov 2018. I stood first in my age category and managed to shave off a good 30 mins from my Goa timing.

For both Goa and Kolhapur triathlons, I trained under Dr. Kaustubh Radkar, and I thoroughly enjoyed the process.

It was now time to take a plunge in the Ironman race. I registered for Turkey 70.3, and under the strict guidance of Viv Menon, I started my disciplined and structured training. Ashutosh Barve helped in a big way to improve my freestyle swimming.

The race in Turkey was a remarkable experience. The water was cold, and I struggled with headwinds during the bike course. But by God’s grace, I completed all the three courses of swim, bike, and run successfully. All credit goes to Viv and Ashutosh for making me worthy of this medal.

It was a delight to see my family cheering for me at the finish line. I was genuinely grateful to complete the race, but I couldn’t cherish the moment the way I had imagined it. 

My partner in crime, my best friend, with whom I had trained for all the races, had two punctures on the bike course and couldn’t complete it. She was genuinely happy for me, though, and I hugged her with teary eyes.

Next race, I look forward to crossing the finish line together with her.

Managing the clinic, training hours, and children were challenging, but then it had to happen, so it did.

I remember episodes when I have rushed to the clinic for emergency delivery calls and came back home to finish the remaining cycle training.

Learnings at 45

There is a learning in every race. I have grown from a person who didn’t know swimming, was scared of cycling to a successful finisher in Turkey Ironman 70.3.

I recall a childhood episode where I was in the pool with my cousin, splashing about at the shallow end. He jokingly dared me to jump into the pool’s deep end (15 feet) from the first-floor diving board. Without hesitation, I went ahead and jumped. He was shocked and scared, as I didn’t even know swimming. “Giving-up” and “turning away” from challenges doesn’t come to me easily, I keep fighting until I attain my goal. This one incident pulled out the fear of open-water away from me.

Last year, I thought I would try to do the same thing. Now I knew swimming, and there was nothing to fear! But believe it or not, I walked to the edge of the first-floor board and couldn’t muster the courage to jump! I turned back on two occasions.

As children, we are far more fearless and daring than adults who are gripped in uncertainty and anxiety. Childhood experiences can translate into valuable life lessons. Skills like swimming and cycling when learned as a child remains for life.

Dr.Ashwini

I have also come across people who have labeled my race participation as a mid-life crisis. It is difficult to explain the finishing line’s joy even when I haven’t won the race.

“The more you explain, the more they will ask. Put your heart into your dreams; the questions will wither.”

be firm,stay firm and belive in yourself

Mother, gynecologist, working women, athlete- what’s the Gyan for women audience?

Mother– As a mother, you’ll always have unending responsibilities. You have to be the strongest pillar of the family. It is vital to find some me- time, however. Take care of yourself first to be a caregiver to others.

Gynecologist– Women need to do weight-bearing exercises, including strength training for better bone density. Strolls won’t help to make bones stronger.

Medal hanger designed by Ashwini herself. She says, if you want it then earn it

Please get back to the routine soon after childbirth. The best time to lose weight is during lactation when you can actually eat 500 calories extra and still lose weight if you exercise a bit. So start working out, and you’ll be back in shape quickly.

Working womanIt is imperative for a woman to be financially independent, whether she needs to contribute to the household or not. A woman must have an income of her own. Children of working women are usually well adjusting, confident, and independent.

Athlete– Discipline commitment and hard work, my training has made me A better human being with lots of patience. 

I can prioritize my work and other obligations. I have started oil painting again and joined music classes too.

My approach towards personal and professional life is more organized and structured.

Never think that you are too old to learn a new skill or start your journey on fitness. It all boils down to only one thing-

How badly do you want it, and how hard are you willing to work for it?

if you want, you will- Dr.Ashwini

I would say take the plunge, and soon you’ll be on the racing track!

DHUNTE REH JAOGE-A WINNER WHO IS FAR FROM SOCIAL MEDIA FANFARE: DR.UMA VINOD

“When I first saw the racing arena, zooming cycles, training jargons, and high energy at the event, I was almost hypnotised. I never imagined that such a world existed. I made up my mind that I’ll be a part of all these high adrenaline events.”

Dr.Uma

Meet 47 years old Dr.Uma Vinod. Ahmedabad based Ophthalmologist and a  mother of two boys. First rank holder of Gandhinagar Triathlon 2018 and winner at several cycle racing events(you will not find her on any social media although)

As Dr.Uma says,

I got married immediately after my MBBS and completed my Post Graduation in Ophthalmology.

I was soon engrossed in all motherhood duties, work, and house chores—a typical story for most married women. 

The race euphoria 

In 2012, I participated in my first half marathon and finished in 3.45 hours. I was at cloud nine that I finished the race.

In 2014 I witnessed a cyclothon in Ahmedabad. I was aghast to see the zooming cycles, the cheering crowd, and pumped up, high energy athletes. I was stunned by the entire event. I never imagined the existence of such a world, as if it was a parallel universe.

In the same year, I registered for a super sprint event. The main reason to register for the event was – Milind Soman(blushes).

The race briefing was an eye-opener. I heard the terms like wet-suit, cadence, cut-off timing, and several other jargons that seemed like french. The trainers talked about cycle gear ratio and cleats while I came to participate in the race on my son’s bicycle!

For the event, I got my first BSA “thin” tire bike assuming it’ll make me go faster. Only thin tyres don’t make you win a race but training and effort do.

With all the learnings of the previous event, I got my first road bike and participated in a Duathlon in 2014. I stood first!

By now I was in deep love with cycling. 

I started participating in cycling races and winning too. I was utterly mesmerized by the sheer joy of zooming on the bike and winning as well.

I was a hypothyroid patient until the age of 40, but then I decided to lead a healthy life and gifted myself a significant weight loss.

Do it, because it makes you happy.

In 2015, I went to Manali-Leh biking, and as it is known that the route is not for the lesser mortals. I was surely not the one. It was a life-changing experience for me. It was my zen moment of putting all the elements of the body together and strengthen the mind. 

Winner at Gandinagar Tri 2018

I was gaining expertise in cycling, but my running was still lacking. I started with proper training in 2017. Guided practice, along with a proper diet, helps a lot in improving the training performance.

In 2018 I participated. in the Triathlon in Gandhinagar. Due to fewer women participants, the organizers kept an open category for women 18-55. I stood first in the race!

I then registered myself for the Berlin Marathon in 2019. I was hesitant to go on my own, but my elder son persuaded me to travel. Technology and I don’t have much of a friendship. To navigate the phone to find a way or even to use google translator is tough for me. 

But I did. Because it made me happy, very happy.

says, Dr.Uma

Women in endurance sports- lesser lady

Is it a new discussion? I face the same set of questions each time,

Dr.Uma in one of her training sessions
  • what fun do you get in killing yourself in training?
  • You are always either running or cycling, do you even spend time with your family?
  • Why are you going alone for your races, take your children along too?
  • How will your family manage without you?

I’ll miss cooking a great meal over the weekend, but I’ll never miss my training, this gives me a title of – lesser lady.

Dr.Uma in her training session

I mostly train alone and do not share that moment “ME” with anyone. It is my meditation. My alarm buzzes at 4 am and I go out for my run. Being dark at that hour, I can’t go far for the practice; hence I run in loops at a stretch in front of my building. I have informed my guard that if I don’t turn back within time or he hears my scream, then he should run to trace me. 

There will be questions, allegations, and stereotypes to face, but the choice is yours, either pay heed and remain in your cocoon or be a butterfly. What will you choose?

asks, Dr.Uma

Male dominance and raising boys

I have five males in my family: husband, father-in-law, father, and two boys (18 & 15).

I am a working female, and along with my training and work, the house responsibility doubles up. There were days when I could not prepare the meal, and my boys made their tiffin and went to school. In the growing years, my children understand cohesive existence. They also see that I have a liking towards sports gadgets than fancy clothes.

There was a point where I was fulfilling all my duties as a mother, wife, daughter, professional, but I wasn’t doing anything for myself.

It was a tough call to prioritise my liking over everything else. We live in a society where women are meant to be more focused on home, but

Elder son at IIT Kharagpur

I believe that when you don’t negotiate you’ll never be taken for granted.

Younger son after his first Tri

Today my elder one is studying in IIT Kharagpur and is in the college squash and running team. He is a swimmer as well.

He says, “mom, sports gave me recognition.”

He prefers a girlfriend who loves cycling!

My younger one has already completed a triathlon and is looking forward to more.

Mothers are the first and most significant influencers, see that you prove this to yourself first.

believes Dr.Uma

What lies ahead?

I aim to improve my race timings and keep winning as a mother as an athlete and emerge as a more robust version of myself.

Women- Pack your bags!

Travel, the word is quite a buzz these days.
And it comes in various forms.
Adventure, luxury, experience, exploration name it the way you want.
Nowadays, everyone loves to travel as can be seen in the status updates!
Each one has their way of traveling and exploring places.

But, I am precisely writing this piece to target women moreover moms.
I want to suggest, recommend, and tell each mom to pack their bags and move out.
Ok, now I’ll surely get lots of bashing from all categories here,
Men– “why just women?”
Husband: “bigad do hamari biwi ko”
Parents– “hum toh kabhie nahin gae”
Neighbors– “Look at her!”
Others– “Batao, Kaise Chali jaati hai” (this BATAO variety is amazing-humor intended)
Well! Whatever anyone says, I would still firmly say to pack your bags!

Why am I adamant on mommies to travel?

I feel motherhood is a very tedious job, and a mom is automatically the worst person in the house.
Mom is a creature who is checking, correcting, scolding, getting hyper on even small issues, and is found screaming most of the time. We are never good leave aside perfect in anything.
For instance,
Kids,
got bad grades
getting complaints from the school
fighting with other children
health being bad
not learning new hobbies
-Is always mommy’s fault.
With all this, we go on the guilt trip quickly.


Thus, to overcome all these I-am-not-at-all-worthy feeling, pack your bags.
Planning a trip for yourself will help you in lot many ways.

Let’s see how?

Know yourself more

You will explore the options for travel and will conclude on one which is closest to your liking. Here you will get a chance to know your liking as an individual and not a collective as a family.

Better decision-maker

You will choose a trip and then convince yourself that you are going to make it. You will also convince your family about your decision. Making a decision and then executing it makes you a great decision-maker. When you are on your own then taking quick decision during the trip also helps you building your skill as a decision maker.

While in Goa we had quite a few changes to make in our plan and we were able to do it without any hitch

Efficient manager

You will ensure that everything runs in the house the same way even when you are away. You would instruct your maids not to take any off, inform the grocery guy to deliver things whenever asked and many more such things. Like, I write down every single thing right from the menu to essential phone numbers for easy accessibility. My maids do not take any off when I am away, and children have a set of instructions to follow.

Financial planner

Working or not working, each woman has to manage her finances very well. When you travel on your own, you will use either a part of your salary or your pocket money, in either way you have to manage funds very well.
Like, I go frugal whenever I am planning a trip. I am a back-to-work-mom and unable to get to the mainstream. Hence my income is every restricted. I have to manage both my athletics training and travel expenses efficiently. Much before my travel dates, I stop my coffee at Starbucks, cut down majorly on eating out, look for Zomato discount options, and opt for early hours to watch a movie. I have not bought a new dress for months now(which is like Arghhhhh…) not even a single piece of new jewellery(BATAO!!!) I even have to cut down on my beauty parlour visits. Sound crazy? But I have to prioritise things-can’t help.

Making family members responsible

Each member of the family must have their share of responsibilities. Children and other family members often take us for granted when we are always around .Let the children learn to get up on their own for school, put their tiffin boxes in their bag, serve food from the kitchen than maid or mom giving them and many more.
Let them learn to manage things on their own and take small decisions too.

A better version of you

Once you are out and on your own, you learn a lot of things about yourself which in general you miss observing. For instance, in all my travels, I have realized that I love walking far and wide to explore. I also don’t like going to all world famous places instead I like walking in the countryside or not so known places. The famous places we have already seen either in books or on social media; hence, it doesn’t feel,” Wow! I am seeing this for the first time.”

At the leaning Tower of Pisa. No sooner I reached I saw myself moving out of the rush

Builds up confidence

Planning and executing everything by yourself immensely builds up confidence, which withers away in many women after a while. I have observed this mainly in homemakers, where dependency for each and everything is too high, and they keep seeking “time” from their partner which generally doesn’t happen thereby making them low on confidence and left out.

Dear mommies, imagine your smile when you’ll enter back home after your trip and with a head held high that you managed every minute planning for the journey on your own and not even airport or station pick and drop.

Lookup for destinations, book your tickets, apply for the Visa, pack your bag, book uber, wear the widest smile and off you go!

Need not be far and wide but GO


Adios Amigos !!!

Nothing comes easy!

“You’ve lost so much weight!
You look so toned
Your abs are finally showing
You look super fit”

I am overwhelmed and accept all the above compliments in absolute humility.

But let me say this- Nothing comes easy, just nothing.

Few are lucky to get everything on the platter, but I don’t fall into that category. I have to struggle hard and very hard for every single thing, same applies to shedding weight and getting into shape.

And it burned my arse to attain the body I wanted although the journey isn’t over yet.

Trust me, it ain’t a cake walk!I am writing this piece precisely for those who have started following a proper regime, picked up running, have got into a routine, or have started with a diet plan after seeing my results.

I feel good that my little contribution has got a few if not many, into a healthy lifestyle.

So, let’s start with the journey,
2005- 84 kgs after Sid was born, age- 26 years
Did nothing towards a healthy lifestyle as I was reeling under severe postpartum depression(which went unnoticed)
2009- 86 kgs after Abhi was born, age – 29 years
No clue about myself leave aside following a healthy lifestyle, post-partum depression worsened.
2015- 79 kgs, age-36 years
Went for Bhutan mountain biking trip was and ended each ride in the support vehicle.
This year I started running and also followed some basic workout routine
2017- 72 kgs, age 38 years
I realised something was missing hence contacted a dietician and began with the plan. I also got a personal trainer at the gym and got into serious training.
2018-62kgs, age 39 years
Now the triathlon bug was already in so I was now following baap-of-all training plans. Gym, cycle, run, swim without missing a single day.
2019-59kgs, age-40years
I still have a long way to go as my body needs more effort to build up the stamina and come into shape.I can blame it on my genes.

All this required great mental strength.

Following a proper workout plan and that too for a triathlon was not easy at all. I had to discipline myself further and schedule my day according to work, travel, and kids.

I followed the diet plan for a year, and afterward took things in my stride.
No processed sugar, not even on any festivals, no late dinner, no late nights, no carbonated drinks and a lot more.

During my work travel, I did not miss my workout. Being a vegetarian foreign country doesn’t leave you with many options, but I was mindful of what I was eating and never gained weight.


There were several personal battles to be won as well,
I am asked time and again, why training so much? Stay at home, look after children, take care of the house, why do you have to go to another city or country for a race? What will you gain out of this? Take your children along for runs. Why are you spending so much on your races and training?


“IT WAS NEVER EASY, IT NEVER WILL BE”

If you are looking for a transformation, physical or mental, then discipline and hard work is the key.


Just keep going, pause, restart but keep going

There will be plenty of setbacks to stop you, but the choice is yours to look beyond them or succumb to them.
Each body, stamina, genes, metabolism is different so listen to your body and then decide what suits you.

Following a regime is not about fitting into the a glamours dress but to tame your mind. After all, it’s all the mind game.

I wish you all the best!
Thanks again for keeping me as an example to lead a healthy life.

That’s all !

102 or not but NEVER out

As an ardent Bollywood fan and especially Amitabh Bacchan I could have never missed 102 not out.
What a delightful movie! I loved every bit of the hours spend munching mandatory popcorn and sipping the latte.
I had a word with few friends who watched the movie, and everyone had different perceptions. Few said they were delighted to see the father-son relationship while few liked how well a father understood his son and helped him to overcome his weaknesses.
Let me share my take away of 1hour 40 minutes dedication and investment in tickets and compulsive munchies.
The father who is 102 years old has seen the ups and downs of life, he had his share of happiness and grief, he knows that he has few years left to see the bright sunlight, but he is still living each day with joy and bliss. He has no complaints, no grief and no pain from relationships or from anyone for that matter he is in a very happy zone.
While his son who is 75 years old lives in his shell, is extremely particular about things and get agitated if things don’t fall the way he desires, is stuck to a dead relationship with his son, is unable to forgo the loss of his spouse, he has cocooned himself.
The father is detached while son is lonely.
There is a fragile line between being detached and being lonely.
Most people who have suffered a lot of pain in relationships or are emotionally hurt are heard saying – I am detached from X person, and his/her presence or actions don’t bother me anymore.
“This” type of detached person will be seen taking escape route from the situation, will talk less, stay introvert, gloomy, loss of interest in anything and everything, will pick things or will try to engage into activities which primarily are not his / her behavior traits.
This detached person is lonely which he/she fails to register or acknowledge.
The father was detached.
He was detached from the fact that he is old and danced his way out
He was detached from his fragile and aged body frame, hence lived as young as he could
He was detached from the nonexistent relationship (with his grandson) but cared for those who were with him (his son)
He was detached from rules and discipline that restricted him from staying happy, so he lived a carefree life
He was detached from emotional bonds but very sensitive when it came to taking care of his loved ones.
On the other side, 75-year-old son was, lonely
He was lonely in his thoughts so kept holding the dead relationship (with his son who didn’t even bother to come for his mother’s funeral)
He was lonely in his actions, so he found rules and regulations on day to day basis as a format to his life
He was lonely within so he kept the old thoughts, memories, episodes locked in him thereby restricting himself to think beyond anything else.
I conclude by two personality traits that if one can find that thin line between being detached and being lonely, then the battle of life becomes sorted and well managed.
I love the dialogue from the movie Jab we met by Kareena Kapoor, “Mera favorite game hai- Zindagi”(life, is my favorite game) and why not, we get just one life, make it large (Royal stag – on the rocks here )
Getting detached is to live life with passion, zeal, full of mistakes and then making up. Letting go bad thoughts. Loving to the fullest. Laughing uncontrollably. Taking risks. Accepting that I am not perfect, also recognizing the fact at times, I failed in relationships. Not a great mother. Not feeling guilty on the thought of disowning children (especially during summer break), thinking about own happiness, pursuing what I genuinely like. Keeping away bad ideas and only think of bright ones. Not holding on to what is gone but living in the moment.
The game of life is fantastic. Keep it rocking and rolling in the most excellent way possible.
                                               102 or not but never out – NEVER!

life

You can check for the movie story, details and plot here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/102_Not_Out

LifeCycle of “Like”

I met somebody a few days back, supposedly the one who can look right inside you. It’s scary because the layers that you managed to keep for long are now exposed, you feel naked. But we terminated our conversation with a thought of “What I want .”
Ok, so you are asking a woman what she wants. The most learned people have failed to answer this question what will my tiny brain do? He was triggering the most intricate, unpredictable and complicated thing – a woman’s brain.
Before I could think, “what I want,” my mind wandered and thought hard for “What I like ”
Again, a tricky business. My likes have changed so much since childhood that if I start thinking what I like I’ll need a century to figure that out. I like many things. Yes, materialistic too. Oh! Common I am a woman, and I love dresses, that lovely liner, new matte finish lipstick. I’ll surely try to squeeze myself in a short dress and then blame my trainer for all wrong workout.
I am a woman, and I have full right to blame another person for my folly. I am blessed with this power.
Coming back to what I like.
Let me narrate the lifecycle of my likes.
I have always studied in all-girls school and then all-girls college. Somehow I managed to do my post graduation in a co-ed. Thank god, that’s where I met my boyfriend now my husband else I would have never explored my female sexual side.
In my school, I always liked army girls. I was in a convent school which was in a cantonment area, and we had a lot of girls from the army. I used to find it very royal when they came to school in that truck cum bus. That big huge truck, with stairs at the end, driver, and conductor in army uniform, Wow! I instantly disliked my father. I was always a specy girl and always wore huge, plastic frame glasses which used to cover almost half of my face. I never knew life without glasses. So, I liked the girls with big eyes. They had so much drama around their eye movements.
We had Miss.Braganza type of a teacher named as Mrs. D’Costa, oh man! I was in total awe of that lady. Her short skirts, matching lipstick, hairstyle, speaking English with attitude. Wow!
She used to check us; girls don’t’ walk like this, girls don’t talk like that. Wear your skirts four fingers above the knee. You need a bra ask your mom to get one for you. I liked girls who wore a bra when others were just blossoming.
I liked other girls
As I have grown up in a township and you can’t mess around if you are in this kind of a small setup. One naughty business and parents get to know within no-time. In government townships, everything is rank and caste based. Things might have changed now, but back then an official of a general category was respected more than an official with the much higher rank of a SC ST category. We had our own circle based on the unsaid rules. I chose to like girls who used to wear night suits. Why? Because I used to wear nighty. That long tent, which you keep pulling down even while sleeping because mom said, girls should be all covered. I still wonder how did I obey this?
I also liked girls who used to wear jeans/denim. Why ? because I never did. I got my first pair of jeans in my graduation. I used to love the way legs moved in that pair of my dream dress, the curve of the bottom ( covered mostly). I used to look up to girls who wore tight denim in public gatherings. They were real divas for me, and I used to flutter around them just to have a closer look.
I liked other girls.
Then came college. Well ! what new? Girls again. Ah ! I have seen it all there. Lesbians, girls having a crush on me, someone madly in love with me, flirting with only bald head sir (lucky chap, I must say), girls claiming to my elder sister or mother or some platonic connect or just you, and I types to assure the connect. By this time I was like that child who demanded one ice cream when his /her parents were in a bad mood, and they offered a cup of ice cream with multiple scoops. Same was with me. Just too many scoops in my cup, I inevitably burst. I turned a rebellion. The tomboy in me was now up in full swing. But, what I did? Remember I am still at an all-girls college. With so many girls around a tomboy will stand out, and it did. I didn’t like any girl now and not even the boys. Well ! Poor me, where were the boys?

I didn’t like girls.
Finally, during my post graduation, I had boys in my class. I went to the college with a thought that I’ll see all types of superbikes, macho boys, those punches, boys looking at me and I’ll be like that pond’s girl who would enter the class, and everyone turns their head towards me. I even bought the best smelling Ponds talc and Liril soap. I should not miss any fragrance to allure others .
But , what a crash ! Nothing happened. Just nothing.
Why ? I was still a tomboy. Laughing loudly, riding a geared bike, wearing shoes always even with salwar kameez, very short hair. No upper lip or threading done.
I envied girls who wore terrific dresses, had a long mane, had their lips colored with beautiful pink, had shapely eyebrows, nail paints.
Again, I liked other girls.
After the placement, it was a culture shock for me. From a small town to Mumbai. It happened too fast. I was amazed at the pace of this city. Confident girls, moving out even when it was dark, how they snapped at autowalas, managed their way in the train, wore jeans (my dream pair of legs) with a short top (at times cleavage showing too- cheeky isn’t it ) It was overwhelming. I loved every girl in this city.
I liked other girls.
I finally got married to a guy hence was able to prove my fertility and had two kids. Now, I was overweight, sagged skin, unshaped better to say shapeless body, what was once north found the way southwards.
I loved women who got down of the car in their best looks, smelling good, hair in place, clothes ironed, lovely sandals, designer bag dangling on one arm and a mobile phone in the other.The maid was carrying the child and the baby bag behind. How much I dreamt of walking like that with a high head.
I liked other girls.
God I feel is too smart. He might have heard my mumblings and offered me an all-boys family even my dog. Fooling him is silly. My focus shifted to all-boys stuff. Geared motorbikes to geared cycles, all rough and risk-taking activities. I now focus on my biceps than my lipstick shade. I am cool if I have not waxed myself and I have to wear a short or sleeveless dress. I give a damn to “log kya kahenge” (what will people say ). I aim to get super toned abs for my birthday (my mom doesn’t like this ! )I am comfortable in my skin. Those beautiful girls, wearing stilettoes and walking like stilt walker don’t attract me anymore. I love looking at myself and blow a kiss in the mirror. Too-much-self, if you may call. Then please do, who cares.

What I want will take a while to answer but what I like? I like me.
I like myself. Period.

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Dear Zindagi , you are truly Dear

Dear Zindagi released last week and when I am on rest and no early morning workouts then I leave no opportunity to miss the latest Bollywood flicks.

The movie talked about mental health and it was an attempt well made. The girl (Alia Bhatt) stayed away from her parents and she felt rejected and lonely. She kept switching her boyfriends because she didn’t find herself safe with anyone. She had the fear of being left alone.

In short ,she had a disturbed and insecure childhood, and confused youth.

In both the cases she needed an outlet. She wanted some to just listen to her without being judgmental,  someone to just hold her and say ,”everything will be fine” , someone to assure that she will pull through , someone who would love her unconditionally , someone who would accept her the way she is and not demanding change .

Just person to fulfill all these “wants”? Isn’t it too much to ask?

We all need that someone in our life. Younger children will seek parents, girlfriend will seek boyfriend, spouse will seek each other, older couple will seek their children and the cycle continues.

But what if the person you are seeking doesn’t live up to your expectation?  Now, you’ll say relationships don’t demand expectations. Really! Cross your heart and say that you don’t expect? Well, we all do and if there is no expectation there no relationship. It is more like living alone.

Yes, living ALONE. This is highest level of peace and serenity with oneself. Once this we attain this here will no heart breaks , no relationship woes , no blood pressure issues because of unsuccessful relationship , no depression , no sinking feeling , what you’ll have is joy and happiness .

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But how ?
It is no rocket science or no life coach’s statements or any astrological prediction.

One day in the gym my fellow workout partner’s t-shirt read, “Consumed by Obsession , Motivated by Passion” .I read it again, gave her a high-five and moved on towards my workout . My instructor then told me that when that female first started her routine at the gym she was over 100 kgs and it is her sincere dedication that she is now fit and healthy. So, what made her so dedicated? It was her stubbornness to lose weight and her passion to make herself fit and SHE DID IT. She found her outlet.

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The strongest word here is Passion. You need to submerge yourself so much in your passion that it becomes your motivation. There would be times when you urge for someone but the other person is unable to understand your need. We all have our own share of stress , work , start-up success or failure , children , spouse anything but then what do you do? Sit and cry? Why?  You need to have a driving force within you, that pulls you out from every critical situation and says “Common, just move on”. Wear your running shoes or hop on to the saddle or let the body move with music and let that stress move out of your body as you sweat . Allow it to find a way .

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Listen carefully!

I strongly believe, “What drives you will drive you”. In a certain situation if  negative thoughts drive me then I am driven by negativity. But if I can over come those emotions and divert my mind towards positive belief and constructive thoughts then I will be driven by positivity.

It is important for us parents to make our children also realize their liking. May be a sport , music , art , books or just anything . Parents know the energy of their children very well and channeling it in proper direction is important. Liking may change as the years progress but by then they will know that there is a positive outlet and it is their liking which will then take the shape of their passion.

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You are the universe, accept it

Many people around me often tell but actually complaint that how can I plan my weekend on a Monday morning. Well, the answer is simple, I get up each day to look forward for my weekend be it cycling, running or hiking with my boys. That’s my push every morning. If we don’t aim then we just drift and possibly get washed ashore.too Things may or may not happen as planned but just the thought of what lies ahead is enough to pump energy in me.

I always tell me boys to get up each morning with the broadest smile ,look into the mirror and say, “I will be better than  yesterday and my best today ”

It’s just one beautiful life, why waste cribbing, expecting, crying and living with negativity.

Live as if it is your last day , dance as if no one is watching , laugh loud as if you are not bothered about anyone , love as you want to be loved , give the way you want to receive , sink your thoughts in your passion , pray as if the world is coming to an end above all Live the life the way you want to !

Exactly, live for yourself,live to the fullest

Drive through the joys of life !

After my not so great meeting  I called for Uber.

As I settled myself in the cab and after my usual greeting to the driver (which I always do) he almost jumped off his seat with joy after knowing my destination. Surprised on such behavior I asked him the reason, he told me his car always gets a customer from there. I could see him smiling from the rear view mirror. That smile had something attractive.
He then started talking about the type of customers he gets during the day and few episodes too. It was easy to make out that he wanted to talk and so did I. After the stressful meeting I wanted to talk to someone absolutely unknown and non-judgemental. He had stories from all walks of life. We talked about how cab system has changed life of many and how it is easy and comfortable for  customers .He then took me through the entire process of registration, getting into the system, training given, ethics at work etc . I almost felt like a part of Uber cab service system.

But, our conversation is something to share. Let me put in his own words.

“Madam, it’s so much fun riding the cab. I get to meet varieties of people.  Few are big corporate hunks, few are stinking rich business man, sometimes sadhu (god-man) , at times very disturbing customers . It is wonderful to talk and learn from them. “

“I start at 6 am and finish my last ride by 11pm. Few customers who go long distance offer me food which I gladly accept. We finish the ride as friends. I love this work and I am truly enjoying it. I am a part of Uber service for past two years”

“I was working as a private driver but my boss shifted to America. Before leaving he gave me a lakh of rupee which I invested wisely .Within six months I bought this car Chevrolet Enjoy with a down payment of one lakh and rest on loan. I heard from driver friends that a new cab service will be launched and we can make a lot of money. I registered my car and started driving. It was not easy back then. The map was not in place and the app had issues. We had to wait for long and at times the drive got cancelled. But nothing comes easy in life. I waited with the hope that things will fall in place. And madam they did “

“It is not an easy job. There is a lot of hard work but when I see the result my will to work hard gets stronger. I  got a car for my wife and she is now a part of this service for past seven months. In fact there are many women who are driving Uber cabs. We assure them that in case of emergency they should contact us immediately . We support them a lot. We have also advised them not take any ride after 7 pm “

“I have three children and I shifted them from Marathi medium to English medium now. I also bought 3 BHK house in Vasai. We have a laptop at home and my children can map my car. I used to go to local shops to buy stuff, I now go to Dmart . The other day I took my children to Bandra and we had Domino’s pizza. My children were making fun of me as I was unable to use fork and knife. I was happy for my children as they were learning new age nuances”

The car finally stopped at my destination and I moved out smiling with a thought,

happiness , joy and satisfaction is everywhere , just need to look around.

Happy in his own Chevrolet Enjoy

Enjoy – Winning will come later

On a typical hot and humid Sunday I entered home post noon after a long ride tanned, dirty face, tired with a parched throat.. I removed my helmet which was dripping with sweat, kept it on the table and rested myself on the sofa. With a deep exhalation I said, “Damn, I could have ridden faster and longer today but it was too humid”. My words disappeared in the air as all other members were busy with their Sunday chores. I was too tired to take their observation into account so decided to head for a wash.

On some other day, I entered my house after my run and checked on my sports recording app for my distance and time. I was unhappy and murmured, “what is wrong with me, why can’t I run fast?”

I reacted in similar way after my swimming or stair climb but I thought my words went unnoticed, really?

It was on Sid’s sports day when I realized that my each word was taken into account.

After the prize distribution he came running to us with more than 3 medals dangling around his neck and his face beaming with joy. Surely, it was an elated moment for all of us. He said in all glee, “, Mom, I am the fastest in the entire junior section and no one is even closer to me “. I patted his back and was surely proud of his achievement.

Sid with his hard earned medals

But then the things changed a little. He wanted to race anywhere, anytime and with anyone. Why? To prove and show that he is fastest of all even the younger sibling suffered several times because he was slower. He was not even happy when he stood third in cross-country race among more than 70 students .Sid asked me one day to record his run on Strava (sports app which records your sports activity) .So, the Strava bug was setting in.
After my rides or run he checked upon my distance and speed. He was also curious to know if I was fast in the group and who was the fastest (he knows some of the fastest riders in the group) .This was alarming .I could see fierce competition.

I was at fault.

Unknowingly I introduced this culprit. My activities  are purely my passion. It is my outlet to anxiety, stress and depression but this was not conveyed properly and I could see my son getting into unhealthy competition.

So, how did I correct it?

Talk about enjoyment first , winning may or may not happen – it is just fine !

After my rides I talk about the fun we had , chit-chat, weather, road condition, what we had for breakfast, some funny instances. Also, focusing on how the group rides together and not to race. I focus my discussion  more on the love for ride than any Strava jargon.

One of our group rides

I run alone so after my run I come home with a satisfied smile and then talk about my sprint for a short distance and slow run for longer distance.  Also, discussing long distance running tactics with my boys and asking for their comments.

In the end it is neither the speed nor the distance that will matter but consistency will.

Parents feel elated by the accomplishments of their ward and look forward for medals too.  It is good to get recognized for the efforts but it is equally important to be happy and satisfied without medals dangling around the neck.

We have a medal stand at home and I love that corner of my house. It shows my effort , my participation, my pain , my strength , my hard work and my will to do more . My each medal has a story and a memory to it.

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Our medals: We have a story and memory attached to each one

It is extremely important to get into a state of bliss when you enjoy any sport than comparing, creating records for recognition, proving oneself better than other and feeling low for not being at par with the group. My accomplishment, effort, handwork and dedication are for myself and not to prove to anyone else.

Joy, during my Rajasthan exploration on my cycle

Children give learning of life and my son did too. I shall continue to pursue my passion towards adventure in full fervor but for myself and not for any competition. I would love to get recognized by own inner belief that will scream to me,” DISHA, I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT “and I’ll give MY complete dedication to make it with a smile on my face.

“My boy, love , live , explore and come out as winner in life”

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