Let me be ME

Archive for the ‘Woman’ Category

No, I am not running

Ignorance is bliss when we are into unwanted arguments, but definitely doesn’t hold good when it comes to our health.


With few triathlons and marathons lined up all through 2019, I was in my all-time high of ignoring the pain, swelling and persistently strained IT band .
When I enrolled for triathlon, I was in full enthusiasm and awe of that finish line, but I never knew what’s in store.
Relentless practice, the guilt of missing out on any workout, conscious eating, backbreaking work, and discipline was the training part, but the significant component to take care was – time management.

With boys grades declining in each term, teenage catching up, workload increasing bringing in not-so-much needed stress and anxiety, I was in a zombie zone. Ice packs, signoflam was the love of my life.


I kept ignoring everything.

Standard Charted Singapore Marathon 2019

I understood the gravity of the situation when I finished my Standard Charted Singapore Marathon on 30th November 2019. After the mandatory posing with the finishers medal, it was time to walk to the metro station to board a train for my hotel.
It was the longest and most painful walk of about a kilometer after finishing the half marathon.
I was in a hurry to reach the hotel as Sid was attempting his first 10K the next morning, and he was waiting for me in the hotel.
I was sore, limping, and had a swollen knee when I reached the hotel.
As ever, my lover came to my rescue, and I can’t thank her enough, my dear Ibrufen
Sid triumphantly finished his 10K, and we flew back.
I was in so much pain that I had to ask for wheelchair assistance at the airport.


SCSM was the last race of 2019, and the final phase of my ignorance as well.
I started with my physiotherapy regularly. I slowed down majorly. Listened to the advice given by my coach, followed the prescription, obeyed every instruction like a good student.


Came 2020 and the first race of the year also the most awaited one which was happening in my city, TMM(Tata Mumbai Marathon). I did not run.
I collected the bib, didn’t calibrate it.


I saw the finishers pic of my fellow runners. I went through all the zeal and happy faces on social media. But, I did not run

I am often questioned on why I am walking and not running? Why am I not doing deadlifts in the gym? Why am I not lifting heavier weights? I always get a lump in my throat to reply- I can’t.


I cried out of my misery, my pain, my inability, and above all, my ignorance. But, I did not run.


I am still on rehab, signoflam, cold compressions, guided exercises, posture correction is a part of the routine.
It hurts, it pains, it’s frustrating, it’s killing, but I am not running.


Injuries are a part of the life of an athlete, but listening to your body comes first.

My coach said,

“if you have to run fast, go slow”


It is said that God resides in each body, then the body is our temple, worship with all your devotion.

Hold, wait, breathe. P.A.T.I.E.N.C.E

My recovery may take months, or I don’t even know how long but the journey right from the injury to ignorance till recovery is teaching me lessons of life which no textbook ever taught me.
Patience
Hold on
Breathe in
And
Rise like a phoenix

Love yourself and your body the most, this is the only thing that will stay with you forever.

Vietnam: Coffee and beyond

I was searching for a cycling trip, and as ever, my focus was on my favorite destination, Europe. But by the time I decided and finally made up my mind, it was already winters, and Europe was ruled out.

The extensive search began again for the best countries to travel in December. None other than south-east Asian countries reflected in my search.

My cycling friends suggested doing Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam.

And I was back in my exhaustive search. 

I was mailing to cycling touring companies, getting the best tour deals, searching for best deals on flights, AirBnB options, checking on reviews, bike hire, planning an itinerary. Phew! I was exhausted.

But finally, the plan was laid we were set of our trip, cycling in Vietnam

Excited as we board the flight

Day 1

With fewer flight options, we took a flight to Hanoi via Kolkata from Mumbai.

No one knew what was in store. Not even me, even though I had planned for the entire trip.

We reached Hanoi in the eve, and after a little glitch in coordinating with the pickup guy(as language was an issue), we were heading towards our stay.

We reached the small bylane, and our host leads us to our apartment.

With our host Thang

All the hotels and buildings in and around our stay were more vertical than horizontal, same as Hongkong. Our apartment had two rooms on each floor with three stories and a swirled staircase. We all captured one place each, luxury of staying in a condo than a hotel.

After a quick freshening up, we were out in search of food and beer. As we were walking around the street, we realized that we were staying in the central city, and we had lots of eating and drinking options.

The cosy Czech Bar
Happiness is BEER

We spotted a Czech bar and headed straight in without wasting much time.

Day 2

According to figures by the Ministry of Transport, there are 45 million registered motorcycles. For a country with a population of 96 million, that’s close to one bike for every two people. Hence our guide,Tom suggested we move out of the town and then start the ride.

All set for the ride

We reached our ride venue, assembled and checked our bikes, and were all set. The weather was terrific, and we traversed through beautiful small villages, rough patches, dirt roads, canopied trails, and places where you’ll not find tourists. We loved it. It was just our group that was riding on those beautiful trails.

We crossed Nin Bingh, did not go for the caves ride because it takes three hours for the tour, and we were running short on time. The ride around the mountains was breath-taking: beautiful, serene, and no traffic. 

Nin Bingh
All geared up

We carefully saw the banana and pineapple plantation.

Pineapple plantation

After a great riding day, we packed our bikes and cushioned ourselves in the van to ride back.

Day 3

We were up early and about for another riding day. Today we were to start our ride from the city and then move to the outskirts. While crossing the road, our guide was pretty impressed by our ability to crisscross the streets, after all, Mumbai traffic has taught us all!

We picked up the bikes from the cycle store and started our ride. We rode past the narrowest bridge I have ever seen, explicitly meant for two-wheelers. It rumbled, shook, and rattled as if it’ll breakdown any moment. I held my breath all through until I crossed it.

Resting after lots of Orange stealing from the farm
Crowded streets of Hanoi

We then rode across the periphery of the city, crossing the cabbage fields, talking to farmers (google translate came handy here), flower fields, stopping now and then for clicks or just soak in the beauty around. Weather played a significant role in making the ride favorable.

Sunflower fields behind
Chor chor.. Oranges Chor !!

Another fantastic riding day, and we were back with all smiles.

This eve we also went for a little stroll and watched the water puppet show. It’s just a 45mins show, and the artists clad in traditional dresses, playing traditional musical instruments narrate different scenes which are common in Vietnamese culture. Go for this show ONLY to experience the music. I booked the tickets in dance via Viator; you can choose your preferred timing and seating. Opt for the first row if possible to get you a clear and uninterrupted view.

Chilling at the night market after the water puppet show

We then chose to sit on the rooftop café and sip our coffees and also roam around the night market. The place was vibrant and lively. We loved the vibes around and spent almost entire eve here.

Day 4

It was a day to fly to a close-by island. We packed our backpack (as Veitjet Air allows only 7 kgs of handbag and you pay for everything else – that’s how low-cost airlines work) and headed to the airport. There are very few domestic airlines that fly between the islands; also, they are very poorly schedules and unorganized.

Off to Hoi An

But we had no choice, and with few glitches, we landed in HoiAn. Our host was excellent and very prompt in communication, and she also arranged a vehicle for the pick up at the airport. We enjoyed all these luxuries because Vietnam is not an expensive country to travel, and we were paying bills like a multi-millionaire in lakhs and billions. Uh, la la !

Our apartment was a beautiful two-floor bungalow and all to ourselves. While searching for lunch, we landed at a beachside restaurant with a breath-taking view. Vast, beautiful sea with lovely breeze made the environment all the more soothing. We had a heartfelt meal and were not at all keen to go anywhere else but just plonk ourselves on the couch.

The food and drinks- that’s all !
The beautiful sea

We somehow forced ourselves and landed on the cycle seats. We decided to explore the night and lantern market that day. It was a beautifully lit market with well-placed shops and neat lanes. 

I would suggest visiting the night market at HoiAn than Hanoi. 

Lantern Market- Hoi An

After exploring almost every lane and tasting the food and drinks, we rode back to our apartment.

It was a beautiful eve as we sat and chatted for a very long time and ended the day with a great spa.

Another amazing day 

Day 5

We took the day easy as the weather also demanded the same. We went for a stroll by the beach and had a sumptuous breakfast cooked at the apartment. We then got on to our bikes and, after a little discussion, decided to head towards the pottery village and coconut village. Knowing nothing about the route, we started riding. Our google map showed coconut village closeby, so we obeyed every direction instruction.

Cafe enroute coconut village

While on the way to the coconut village we saw a beautiful café and we stopped there to have a coffee. We chatted with the host and sipped our coffees. We then continued our ride in search of the coconut village. A lady midway guided us to the village, and we were there within no time. We hopped on the round boat and went an hour-long ride. The experience was terrific. A must-do when I Hoi An.

Making friends on the way

We had our lunch, which was the toughest part for me. Myself being the only vegetarian in the group found it challenging to remove chicken from the chicken fried rice and eat, but I had to as there was no other option. That’s how travel makes you learn and adjust to all types of situations.

Here and there, somewhere
Pottery Village

We strolled all through the town and were back to our apartment by evening to board the flight back to Hanoi.

Day 6

Cheers to not just one but many more rides to come

We planned for a short ride around the town but visited the local cycling shops instead. After a hitch start as there was an ATM fiasco that took time to get sorted, I left the situation as it is and headed for our destination. Another learning, struggle until you can else leave the issue and move ahead. We then walked around local markets and shops until it was time to leave for the airport.

The beautiful, mesmerizing, filled with laughter, secrets revealed, countless beers and so much chatter in this trip.

Our last lapse of the trip was here.

Day 7

Back to base

Back to the pavilion and reality.

Must do when in Vietnam:

  • You can land at Hanoi or HoChiMinh city; both are crowded and chaotic
  • Don’t expect clean and organized lanes. You’ll have a Bangkok and Mumbai feeling there
  • Do use google translate, and it helps a lot
  • People are amicable, sit with them, and talk. It’s a beautiful experience 
  • Leave the central city as soon as possible (if you are keen for main tourist attraction then visit water puppet show, night market and center of the town)
  • Look out for experience tours where they take you to local villages showing you the essence of a country. You can opt for walking or biking tours
  • Cave boat ride to Nin Bingh 
  • Halong Bay Cruise
  • Try egg coffee, coconut coffee and even other flavors of Vietnamese coffee
  • Eat local food, also if you are vegetarian like me do try the regional cuisines
  • Two days at each place is more than enough
  • You can club Myanmar and Combodia too
  • Check for hot air balloons over golden pagodas in Maynamaar
  • Hoi An has lots of high-end hotels as well so if you are keen for luxury can check those too
  • Shopping, eating is very cheap there so look out for pieces of stuff made out of bamboo
  • You can easily create a week’s trip in less than 60-65K, which will include your flight, stay, eating, shopping, and roaming around.

Useful sites

  • Skyscanner
  • Trip.com
  • Viator for local tickets
  • Airbnb for stay

Useful links for stay and local restaurants

Bull’s eye

After a very long time, I got an opportunity to watch something other than Marvel, Avengers, or those heavily animated movies. I don’t say that they are all crap, but for the sake of family time, we end up watching what the boys demand.

This weekend I had time for myself, and we decided to go for Sandh ki Ankh. watch the trailor https://youtu.be/-uA-ONin_5M

Bollywood lover in me was wholly engrossed in the movie, and as ever, I also assumed myself as one of the characters in the film. The movie plot comes to life, and whatever goes on screen seems to be happening with me as well.

This movie, Sandh Ki Ankh, is amazingly gripping, talks about the determination, struggle and fight for daily survival as well as personal existence of women living their life under the veil with no permission to express their opinion too.

I have been to one such village in one of my field visits and even stayed overnight at lady sarpanch’s house. I could relate to the situation. Check the video below, and this is the place I’ve stayed. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-india-37701026/the-indian-women-refusing-to-wear-veils

The movie revolves around a typical village family and how men treat women. Women are nothing more than the cattle in the house and an object of desire for men. The plot changes when accidentally two grandmothers of the house discover their talent and expertise in shooting. It is quite interesting to watch how they manage to move out of the house to participate in shooting competitions even when they were not allowed to step outside their village all these years. They were now keen to train their daughters for this sport, and then the entire story shows their battle against the taboos and society. They wanted their daughters to lead a meaningful life. 

A life of purpose, passion, and above all, a life that gives them their identity.

“Yes, I’m a feminist because I see all women as smart, gifted, and tough.” ~ Zaha Hadid

The movie shows the daring of a woman. All the instances in the film clearly state the power a woman holds within her. I have always been a firm believer in the power of mind. I also believe in the transfer of energy.

When Sid(my elder son) went for boarding, he was unable to adjust despite being in an experiential environment and very cooperative teachers. It was difficult for even me back home as I missed him on all occasions and family outings. It was terrible. When I met his school counselor, she told me to “release” him

I pondered over it for a long time and realized that my love is binding him, and I am somehow transferring my insecurities to him. I started working on my circle of energy consciously, but somehow he gave up and was back home with us in the family.

Since then, I am very cautious about the kind of energy I am creating around because I know that Sid would be absorbing my vibes.

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” – Sophia Loren

The movie also said a similar story. The daughters absorbed the hardships of the females around them. What also came along was intense energy and self-power.

Bringing up children and instilling values is the duty of both parents. Still, as per my opinion and observation (views can vary ), a mother plays a vital role in the emotional well-being of a child.

A mother is a creator, and she has the power of the universe within her. She has the capability of nurturing and forming a complete human being from her own body- so, imagine how much strength she beholds.

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture, and transform.” ~ Diane Mariechild

Right now, as I write this blog, I feel actively responsible for my boys. Children learn a lot by just observing. At every point, one has to be careful and conscious of their actions as somehow, children are silently watching us. Having said this, it doesn’t mean that we fake – well! They are smarter, and they read this too. But, we can genuinely try to adopt the same behavior that we want in our children.

“Men are what their mothers made them.”

Whenever I think about “children observing me,” I keep humming, 

Every breath you take

Every move you make

Every bond you break

Every step you take

I’ll be watching you

A man and a woman may differ in physical strength, that’s how nature has done the creation, but the immense mental power a woman holds is unmatched. 

Rani Laxmi Bai – Grit

Mother Teresa – Humility

Helen Keller – Making the impossible possible

Nur Jahan- Only female Mugal ruler

Aisan Daulat Begum – major contributor in creating Babur’s personality

And I can go on quoting several examples, who have played a vital role in bringing in the major transformation in their family and society.

For any mom who feels even for a moment that there is no energy left or you don’t have any vital role to play anymore then please go and watch Sandh Ki ankh, because it’s a reminder to direct my and your energy to hit the bullseye.

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 !

Sulu : Just like You and me

sulu-tumhari-teaser1-678x381

Power to dream and fly

Writing in haste else I take few days to finish a blog. I think and rethink, then try on some excellent reference, but this one is a no-brainer. It comes directly from the movie I watched today.
I took my help at home for Tumhari Sulu this afternoon. She was free and was excited to join me. I canceled one of my meetings, and we went for our movie outing.
I loved the entire storyline, acting, drama and the execution. Vidya Balan as ever stole the show. She is fabulous, but I think she should shed some weight (she inspire many women around and keeping good health can be a way forward as well). Sorry, the fitness freak in me sees the tummy and arms bulge first, others can ignore.
The movie talks about the struggle of a woman when she decides to step out to make her mark .The “mark” is a little not-so-accepted-thing. How her own family, leave aside the society discourages her and holds her responsible for all the chaos in her OWN family.
I could relate every moment . I am sure so many of us around can relate too.
Sulu gets a job in what she was good at.
She excels in her work.
She truly enjoyed her work.
She tries to manage everything back home.
She lures her husband as well (which so important).
But still, what she gets? Backfire… from everywhere.
When her son doesn’t behave well, and the school suspends him, the blame is on her. She is asked to leave her job. She is asked to spend time with her son. Take care of the house. Why? Because she is a mother, wife, daughter, homemaker and it is her responsibility to take care of all the errands of the house. She has just started to work, and her salary raise will take time, but she is asked to quit because she is the one who runs the house and without her ,home is a mess.
I thought that when a woman is held responsible for everything, mostly bad- mark it and mainly when it comes to children it is SHE. Just imagine the immense power she holds in herself. The fantastic capability to manage the show yet she is blamed. Her expertise is at the highest level, yet she backfired for her irresponsible management.
I loved a particular scene where the school suspends her son , and his entire clang was blaming her, yet she lifts her bag and moves out for work.
That is the kind of kick-ass attitude a woman must possess.
I also loved a dialogue where she asks her husband, “you are in which team ? mine or theirs ” (“their” are the relatives who were asking her to stop working)
No matter how much she kept the husband in the loop, lured him, gave herself (willingly or unwillingly), it was the husband who doubted her and questioned her work. But thank god, the husband got enlightenment in time else this woman goddess wouldn’t have let anyone come in between herself and her dreams.
The dedication she had for her family, towards her child, husband and household responsibilities is remarkable.
Trust me it hurts when YOU are held responsible,
for poor house management
poor grades of your child
poor tiffin packed for lunch
misbehavior of your child
for not giving enough time to children
being over ambitious
being passionate
But ,
I loved every bit of Sulu.
She is a dreamer
She is a happy soul
She knows her responsibilities
She knows how to keep her man (that’s a tricky business)
She has immense love for her child
She is a dutiful wife, mother, and caretaker of the house
She is outgoing, yet she knows how to keep unwanted men at bay
She is fierce yet beautiful
She is a woman as YOU and ME.

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